Mar 11, 2014

Catch tray for the studio

I didn’t really think about the mess that working in metal can produce until I started piercing (cutting out) shapes for my jewelry class.  Then I realized that if I wanted to do any sanding, dremel, or cutting in my studio, I’d have to find a way to contain the metal dust.  I also didn’t realized just how fine the metal dust is until I used a towel on the dining room table for a sanding project and found that the dust had gone right through it!  That meant that in order to set up a contained station, I’d need a way to catch the dust and that it had to be non-porous.  A bit of research on jewelers benches showed me the solution for the catching: a catch tray (duh).  I tried a couple of different ideas for my bench using a shower curtain.  The curtain was too stiff and the Velcro, snaps and other attaching devices not “user friendly.”  Then I found a solution: using pipe to create a detachable catch tray.  I liked it because I could put it away when I was finished, and it could be customized for my odd shaped bench.  Trial run with the shower curtain showed that the structure would be fine, I just needed a different fabric.  A trip to JoAnne’s, a piece of lined vinyl and voila!  I also put a piece of the vinyl on the top of the table to catch fly away dust and attempt to keep it from coating all my bead & stone trays and tools!

A couple of tips: be sure to measure the fabric around the PVC pipe so it fits snugly.  Hem the front first, the sides next and finally fit to your bench with a dart.

Mar 6, 2014

Setting the Palette

You’d think after all this time I’d have a set palette arrangement.  But it seems like every workshop presents a new (and often good) idea – one of the hazards of too many workshops (cooks).  So this morning I went into the studio and pulled out all the paper palettes I’ve saved in the freezer.  And arranging them has taken the better part of the morning!  I love the idea of a simple and consistent set of colors – and tend to gravitate to the color theory set in Michael Wilcox’s “Blue and Yellow don’t make Green:” one cool, one warm of each of the primaries and white.  But then I love the play between the transparent and opaque; which means I also need transparent red and yellow oxide, violet and sap green.  I found these colors in the Nancy Medina, Charlie Hunter and Qiang Huang workshops.  And then once I have the colors chosen, do I set them out along the spectrum, break them out by warm and cool, or a value arrangement?  This is what I finally settled on for today - it has the spectrum of colors and some "puddles" of left over mixed colors.  I'll see how the piles shift as I use them... 

Mar 2, 2014

The discovery begins!

In January I took a series of workshops at the Scottsdale Artists School.  What a wonderful facility and staff – a place dedicated to creating art.  (I’m ready to move to Phoenix just to be near it)  Each of the four workshops was wonderful.  And no mater how diverse, all the learning builds on itself.  Four incredibly talented artists held the workshops.  Nancy Seamons Crookston focused on understanding color temperature and light.  Qiang Huang demonstrated how transparent paints make wonderful shadows and how to use them along with opaque.  His marketing talk was the impetus for this blog and getting me off the dime!  Charlie Hunter‘s workshop was playful and innovative.  He encouraged us to draw, and use alternative methods of applying and removing paint (cloths, scraping, q-tips, etc) and transparent almost monochromatic paints.  Values and luminosity showed up on all our pieces.  And finally, for a change of pace, Sandy Scott’s sculpting birds in flight was an intensive on bird anatomy, a unique armature system and wonderful demos!  Here is one piece from each workshop.