It’s been a crazy year

I’ve told several friends that I didn’t get to spend as much time in the studio as I had planned this summer, instead working on home improvements (hauling over 4300 pounds of brush to the landfill, supervising a new roof and exterior paint job, repairing window sills and replacing over 300 square feet of siding).  While that’s true, after reflection I realize that I’ve managed a few significant studio related accomplishments:

1) More complex dichroic jewelry

I’ve fired several blocks of textured dichroic glass layered with different transparent colors, and have improved my method for cutting and shaping matching cabochons for pendants and earrings. I’ve also moved beyond simple studs into wire wrapped and sterling bezel-mounted designs, the latter after taking a beginning jewelry course with Leslie Ferrell at the Spruill Arts Center.

2) Frit ball vessels

Prompted by a Bullseye video lesson, I fired about 100 grams of clear and light blue rod slices into balls, tack fused them in a spiral pattern and slumped the resulting sheet into a small bowl. My next attempt with adventurine green frit didn’t go as well (more in on that in a future post), but I’ll be doing more with this technique in the future.

3) More adventurous figural and sculptural lampwork

Again prompted by an outside inspiration (see “A Lampwork gift“) I’ve been working on representational art using stringers.  There’s room for improvement, but I’ve had some success.

I’ve also done some freeform sculptural work that I’ve been happy with:

4) Learning some basic silversmithing

I took introductory jewelry making at Spruill hoping to move beyond gluing studs on dichroic cabochons and stringing lampwork beads, and to be able to make components that you can’t buy in chain hobby stores.  Leslie teaches different subjects each semester, and the fall semester covered bangle bracelets (sawing, soldering and forging).  I enjoyed making bracelets, but what really excited me was the bonus project:  bezel mounting cabochons for earrings (the right hand picture in #1 above is one example).  The earrings I made in class were based on 10mm tigers eye cabs, but since then I’ve done a variety incorporating fused dichro cabs like those in the photo.  Unfortunately I submitted the other sterling mounted pieces to the OCAF Holiday Market before I took any photos.  I’ll post photos of those that didn’t sell once I pick them up.

Here are some examples of my bracelets in jeweler’s brass (gold colored) and sterling silver, and a sterling silver chain (fully soldered, 100% handmade ) that I made Amy for Christmas:

Review and introspection is a natural impulse at the end of the year, and after consideration I’m happy with my artistic accomplishments.