Saturday, April 4, 2009

Is spring finally in the air?

Picture taken April of 2007 at Chena Hot Springs Road

It has been nice to walk outside and hear drip drops of water off our roofs, see the snow melting in front of your eyes and feel the warmth 30 plus degree weather. The sun is finally shining full into our living room windows and that is what I look forward to after so many months of darkness in the winter. I can't wait to see blooming pussy willows, ice break up in the rivers, and birds flying to my back deck for food from the feeders.

With the renewal of energy I have been so busy. Track is under way for my freshman in HS, freestyle wrestling is still 3 nights a week for both boys, and in my free time I am still working on new skills and new designs.

I have had a couple opportunities for my jewelry to be showcased. I am not sure how that will turn out yet. So I will just leave it at that until I have more information. I am still playing with the idea of my own website through an art site, but I have to have dedicated time to it, so that is in the discussion works with Bo.

Bo has taken some time to just play with glass. Through that play he created one of a kind pendants. It is not made into jewelry yet but I do like taking pictures of them before and after. I always look at his beads as miniature works of art and always so proud of every piece he makes. Here are a few he has made so far.

This pendant was made a while back. I redid it to incorporate the dangles and the leaf charm. Nature always works its way into my art, always my inspiration.

As for now I have been busy learning a new skill. Precious metal clay. I had dismissed this technique a while back thinking it wasn't real. I took a metalsmithing class to incorporate metals into my work but then realized fast that I need more space, and patience for shipping some of the tools up here. But with the future move coming up, I decided to just wait to buy the bigger tools. Instead I realized there was such a thing as PMC.

Precious Metal Clay is small particles of metal mixed with an organic binder and water. You can sculpt and create small or large pieces of art then heat to a high temperature and with that the temperature change the binder burns off and you have an end result of the metal. The one I use will be silver.

Here is a little history on the product.(
Precious Metal Clay was developed by scientists working at the Mitsubishi Materials Special Products division in Sanda, Japan. After years of experimentation the first patents were awarded in the early 1990s with many additional materials joining the family of products. The principle ingredient of PMC is gold or silver, reduced to tiny flakes smaller than 20 microns in size. As a point of reference, it would take as many as 25 of these particles clumped together to equal a grain of salt.

The other ingredients in PMC are water and an organic (naturally occuring) binder. After firing, the water and binder have completely burned away so what remains can be hallmarked as .999 silver or gold.Dried out or unwanted objects can be refined just like conventional precious metal.

You can imagine how far a product like this can go. I mean there is no limitations to your imagination. Although of course things like this do not come cheap. You pay the price for quality in your work and durability.

I have right now just been playing with the clay to be able to grasp how to use it. This clay dries up faster and so you have to work within a certain amount of time. I was able to get the first tools and some clay from a local store here but her supplies were limited. So after the first night of playing I knew I wanted to dabble more and ordered more clay and supplies. I am patiently waiting for that order at this moment. It was rescheduled for shipment due to our Mt. Redoubt acting up and then they had my wrong address number. I am hoping to have it by today or Monday, but of course I am antsy since I have been waiting for it. Shipping to Alaska is one of the frustrations most of us who live here have to deal with.

I tried to sculpt, and imprint images from stamps or texture onto the clay itself to start with so that I did not waste clay. When it dried up, I sanded the unneeded areas and sharp parts.

The other night I fired it in my kiln. Unlike glass it doesn't take long and you can remove it right away and quench it in water. Then take a steel brush to clean off all the binder material.
Here are my fired pieces. I am still not done with them. I need to clean it more, antique it with liver of sulfur and actually turn them into pendants. I am thinking of drilling more holes to be able to hang some crystal or glass beads. But so far this is what they look like after firing.

Not bad for a beginner right? Well I hope to put more time and learn more to be able to go off on my own designs when I am finally confident in working with the clay. I am also looking forward to the summer where I can collect my leaves and miscellaneous things through my walk through the woods or our hiking trails to be able to use as texture for my pieces.

I have projects to conquer today. One is maybe moving my beading table out of my room into my den area by one of the windows pouring in lovely natural light in. But I have to be creative in making a space without it being an eye sore in my living space.
Next time I will also share my collage pieces that decorate my place and new ones in the works.
I hope you all have a great and sunny weekend!

1 comment:

Kristin Summerlin said...

They look great, Abby! Glad you're having some fun and expanding your horizons a bit. Hope to do a bit of that myself tomorrow.