I'm leaving for Texas tomorrow. A good thing, my fingers are cracked and bleeding from glass cuts and enamel (which is glass dust) and endless rounds of applying the enamel to the metal, sliding it into the kiln in two minute increments and doing that over and over and over. I spent 14 hours one day. I could not stop.
This is the first batch, now at Art Works Gallery, waiting.
In the enameling world these are crude examples even if the metal work is good. This is one of those skills that you can pick up in a day and spend the rest of your life getting good at.
I think it's the color. Sometimes you don't know exactly what the color will be until it's come out of the kiln. And then it's like some weird old instant film, you take the shot and sit around waiting for the magic to happen. These come out of the kiln molten hot and you have to watch it cool and wait for the real color to emerge.
I love it.
But, now I'm packing and looking forward to heading to the beautiful Austin and my divine Granddaughter and her entourage.
I don't think I've had this much fun in my studio for a long time. A long time ago I took an enameling class and ever since I've been dreaming of adding enamel to my silver jewelry. Because I work with a lot of fine silver the process is a little easier and in my opinion much more beautiful than the usual copper/enamel combinations. To spend a huge amount of time applying enamel to a cheap copper base seems pointless to me and the end result of silver is so beautiful.
Now that my studio is functional and everything is organized it was easy to pull out the enameling box and jump right in. I bought a sample box of powders and spent one evening sorting and washing a large selection of blues and greens. You don't have to wash them ahead of time but it really cuts down on the mess to have your colors ready to use.
Yesterday I fired up the kiln, got out my welding glasses, the long fork, the trivets, the powders, the brushes and whatever else came to mind. I set the kiln to ramp up and hold temperature for three hours and that was it. Enameling is mostly patience combined with some skill. Luckily I'm fairly skilled at preparing the metalwork base which is crucial for the project's success. I've heard that this is one of those skills that's easy to do but you can spend years perfecting those skills. I can see that. These are really pretty crude but at the same time they are very appealing. The colors are heavenly.
I chose several different styles to work with, a fold formed leaf and some simple textures circles. I've seen this style done many times but each person puts their own stamp on the piece. I'm going to do a lot more in different styles and colors.
There will be lots more to show in the future. These are my first pieces. One sold about five minutes are being posted on Facebook. They look like googly eyes, the top ones are before Tequila and the bottom ones are after a few shots, ha!
Having coffee right here, right now, enjoying every second of this fabulous place.
Dreams do come true.
Last night we were drinking beer at the Old Republic Brewery in Nevada City while enjoying pies from An Honest Pie, the incredible pie truck filled with sweet and savory pies. I was trying to figure out how I'd get the pie truck to park outside my place so I could have a party on the deck. I guess I'll have to stick with grilling or homemade pizza.
The Brewery is beginning to become a Cheers sort of place, you see the same people and they're quite happy to give you a hug and share their pizza and some nice conversation.
This is exactly the kind of atmosphere I crave, fun and informal, if your friends can't make it there are still plenty to people to hang with.
Everything is good, the house feels good and the outside landscaping just might get done this summer. Should I or shouldn't I repaint my bedroom? I want a lighter color in there that goes well with both the warm winter golds and the cool summer blues, such a dilemma.
My friends tease me by calling me Martha Stewart. I cannot believe there are people in the world who don't know what Marimekko fabric is, which is probably a leftover from my years of quilting and enjoying textiles in general.
My studio is once again the oasis of calm and beautiful functionality that I require. It's better than it was since I dumped all the old furniture and put in a big industrial bench. Now when I hammer and punch metal the bench doesn't move, very nice.
It's all good and only 11 more days until I head to Austin again, baby time.
I'm thrilled, it's perfect and of course, it's raining. We still have to wait for the final inspection on Monday but that's ok because it's ready for the spring for sure.
Another vision comes true, what fun.
The best part of all this was working with Frank Whaley of Whaley Construction. I've spent years and years involved in projects on houses, dealt with dozens of builders and contractors and have learned to appreciate those that will truly work with their clients to get a final project that makes them happy. Frank is one of those that goes out of his way to help you realize your vision, even when you're not quite sure what it is. His craftsmanship and imagination are amazing.
My revamped studio is almost perfect and very functional which makes me a happy girl.
These simple forged bar bracelets are the perfect everyday jewelry piece. I wear my own almost everyday.
Much more to come.