Penland prep

Leaving in a little over a week.

Got the FJ A/C refilled with freon at a great Hasidic-run shop in my childhood neighborhood, off Ditmas Ave. The mechanics do this nifty thing where they pump in UV reactive dye alongside the gas, that allows them to pinpoint the source of any refrigerant leaks in the future using "extra special goggles," as the tech explained to me.

Fingers crossed, I'll be riding cool through the Virginias, a bit of Tennessee?, then finally North Carolina.

The workshop is about ring design and fabrication. I have virtually no experience drafting designs for jewelry, so here is my self-assigned homework from studio today. Over time, I will learn what I want to build and how to show it, but for now these 16 clumsy little doodles.

(Sakura Gelly Rolls are a guilty pleasure of mine and have been since I was 12. Their GLORIOUS range of colors is texturally diverse as well (sheer glaze, dimensional matte puff, silver and gold sheen, metallics, neons, glitter). They are my favorite way to accent designs for jewelry and apparel as each dot of ink has a dimensional, jewel-like quality to it. Gelly pens are NOT just for pre-teen girls....)

Disruptions

I've been beading therapeutically for some years (in 2014 with a growing inkling to turn the pieces into a wearable collection), but sometimes even now it stops being a 'project' or a 'business' and goes back to being therapy, time-filler, time-waster, something to keep the hands busy.

On Saturday, I returned to the studio after a week and a half away, sick and adjusting to some new medication, handling (not with aplomb) family matters, meeting with new doctors, suffering a small injury, and so on––

sitting at my desk I was unsure what to do. Saturday afternoon. The sun not throwing itself aggressively down my skylight but the sky was unobtrusively and very prettily blue. It was not precisely a block, the way they call it, but rather that everything was precisely where I had left it, untouched, but I felt a million miles away and at the time it seemed unclear if I was 'allowed' to touch. This will or will not make sense to you.

It was a transient feeling but one that occasionally comes and goes when you break the regularity of studio practice. Introducing new habits can also disrupt the creative process. Medication, meditation, psychotherapy, hard running on the piers, an injury, these can all bring me to another plane of being/thinking too far from baseline to recall how to 'make like I used to'––sometimes the plane is six inches off of reality, sometimes it is out in the cosmos.

Cat's first day in the shop.

Cat's first day in the shop.

I finally made a small painting––oily, scratchy, with wet spots, like a little dog needing a bath––and it was a picture of what I felt my mind was capable of that day––and while I waited for it to dry I sat in the sunlight and beaded.

I haven't had a manicure since my friend bought me one in 2006.

I haven't had a manicure since my friend bought me one in 2006.

It was a few hours after I'd driven in to Brooklyn that I drove out of Brooklyn, and I'd made some sort of nonsense necklace, but my hands felt worked and I thought things were returning to normalcy, somewhat.

Cupped sequins and smoky hexagonal quartz.

Cupped sequins and smoky hexagonal quartz.

April studio purge

Things are in flux at the studio I work out of, both inside my space and out, so I thought today was a good day to completely wipe clean the "gallery" wall, put the salt experiments in storage, and start fresh.

Close-up of the only thing on the wall. Flat black gouache, crystals and sequins.

Close-up of the only thing on the wall. Flat black gouache, crystals and sequins.

Mail came today! From Greece, New Zealand and from Bullseye Glass :) Just a couple of nose rings from Etsy plus kiln shelves, kiln posts, and four sample packs of their full sheet fusible line. This will help me order glass in the future without any guesswork; their "striker" colors which change tone after hitting a certain temperature have already been fired, eliminating any confusion.

A deadline I've set with a new client prototyping a clear cast tank....

And lastly something silly I spilled for myself before locking up for the night, because I believe in the restorative powers of "not taking yourself too seriously" on days when you've taken yourself much too seriously:

At-home silk dyeing with Sennelier Tinfix

It's the weekend. I'm going to do a little at-home project before I head out to the studio.

A few weeks ago, I picked out a few shades of French silk dye from Dharma Trading Co., plus some Synthrapol (a surfactant/excellent fiber cleanser), urea, and a couple of kinds of fluorescent acid dyes. Today I'm running a batch of silk threading that will be used for our everyday-wear pearl, bead and geometric crystal necklaces.

Sitting in the living room with the cats, measuring out a few skeins at different lengths. This is a size of thread that'll fit 11/0 seed beads perfectly and make for very fine, delicate colorways underneath clear glass.

Sitting in the living room with the cats, measuring out a few skeins at different lengths. This is a size of thread that'll fit 11/0 seed beads perfectly and make for very fine, delicate colorways underneath clear glass.

For these skeins, the ends can be trimmed off because we're not using it for stitching/weaving/anything requiring continuous thread. This makes it easier for me to handle, too.

For these skeins, the ends can be trimmed off because we're not using it for stitching/weaving/anything requiring continuous thread. This makes it easier for me to handle, too.

From left to right, Sennelier Tinfix dyes in Parme Rose 34, Indigo Gray 99, Cloud Grey 94, Indian Purple 43 (one of the most insanely saturated colors I have ever seen!). These cheapo foam brushes are great for dabbing on color.

From left to right, Sennelier Tinfix dyes in Parme Rose 34, Indigo Gray 99, Cloud Grey 94, Indian Purple 43 (one of the most insanely saturated colors I have ever seen!). These cheapo foam brushes are great for dabbing on color.

My kitchen rig. Upturned colander as steamer, our least-favorite ceramic plates as weights to hold the paper-rolled skeins in place. I have an electric water boiler continuously ready with the next batch of boiling water so the steaming isn't interrupted.

My kitchen rig. Upturned colander as steamer, our least-favorite ceramic plates as weights to hold the paper-rolled skeins in place. I have an electric water boiler continuously ready with the next batch of boiling water so the steaming isn't interrupted.

Check back to see what becomes of these silk threads. I'm thinking layered seed bead necklaces using beautiful transparent Miyuki Delicas, but we'll see....

Penland Session 3: Metals with Tim Lazure & Jen Townsend

I got some mail...

I got accepted to this workshop I'm really excited about! Scroll down to Session 3 to read about this class led by jewelers Tim Lazure & Jen Townsend.

From Penland's course description:

This workshop will offer a unique opportunity to see two very different approaches to ring making. We’ll cover a range of techniques from basic fabricating to lost-wax casting and make everything from understated bands to sculptural and flamboyant cocktail rings. We’ll also address object capture—whether this means a stone or some alternative material featured in the ring. We’ll discuss the meaning of rings throughout history and what these little pieces have to offer conceptually. Symbolizing love, status, affiliation, or commemoration, rings are small but potent. Come join the two-ring circus! 

It'll also be my first time attending Penland not as a work-study/scholarship student, but as a fully paid-up student with leisure time and 100% dedication to studio. The scholarship program at Penland is incredible, but it's a very different experience––and I'm excited to make the shift.