Stuffmaker

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Penland Last Days

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The last few days at Penland are a rush of activity. Getting those final demos in, firing a few more pieces. Staying up late in the studio, then even later hanging out with classmates. The last night of the session is an auction which is typically super fun affair. I won a brooch made by the lovely studio assistant Tanya Crane, and a blown glass and iron cloud sculpture that has sadly already met its demise. It was pretty while it lasted, and now I have an iron stand that I can hopefully make into something else. Penland is a really special place. If you ever have an opportunity to go, do it. I hope to return many, many times, and while I’m happy to be home with my kitties and sleeping in my own bed, I miss it.

Clockwise from top: A pile of enameled and copper bits; Whiteboard portraits of Arthur and Tanya created during the auction after-party; My successful champleve piece (Don’t Stop Believing!); My awesome roommate Tara; Tara with the amazing Arthur Hash bracelet she won at the auction; Upper metals jewelry sale on the porch!

Penland Last Days

Enameling cautionary tale, from left to right: Etched Deer (See day 5&6 post for how I did the etching); deer with added enamel after being accidentally left in the kiln while I went to lunch (should only be in there about 3-5 minutes… oops); Final piece after some grinding. 

enameling cautionary tale

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Written by stuffmaker

July 26, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Posted in Metals

Penland 2013, Days 9 and 10

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Day nine was sadly the beginning of the end. It was the Monday of the last week of the workshop with only a couple more full days in the studio and the morning was filled with more demos. We learned how to make our own sifting screens, using etching cream, how to do sgraffito, what the deal is with transparent enamel, using stencils, using graphite, and adding gold or silver foil to the enameled pieces. (I’m overwhelmed just by the list). Today (day ten)  Arthur went through a long list of the tools he likes to use. (I’m a little obsessed with tools). And most importantly, learned how to make a really cool broach setting for our enameled pieces.

Photos: Top row: sifting setup; second row: silkscreened silver foil, some of Arthur’s tools; third row: Arthur setting up to solder a broach setting. Image

Written by stuffmaker

July 16, 2013 at 9:42 pm

Posted in Metals

Penland 2013, Days 7 and 8

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I’ve been so busy in the studio in the day, and working on design at night, I haven’t had time to post anything in a couple days… So here’s a quick rundown of the weekend. Friday night (as I mentioned) I visited the Barn, the artist’s in residence studios, and saw lots of really amazing work (some photos below).

Resident artist work clockwise from top left: Chairs in progress by Tom Shields; Rachel Meginnes’ studio; An amazing Dustin Farnsworth piece; the entrance to Dustin’s Studio.

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Saturday some of my classmates and I took a little field trip. First to Bakersville, a neighboring town, to visit the Crimson Laurel Gallery which is run by the former Penland metals studio coordinator. The gallery mostly focuses on ceramics, but also carries the work of many inspiring jewelry designers.

After that we headed to Asheville where we visited a number of artist studios (info in the photo descriptions below).

Photos: Top row: artist’s work from the Crimson Laurel Gallery; second Row: Hoss Haley’s work and Studio; third row: Amy Tavern‘s Studio, and Noble Forge.

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Written by stuffmaker

July 16, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Posted in Metals

Penland 2013, Days 5 and 6

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Yesterday  we didn’t have any demos and had all day to catch up and try the techniques we’ve learned thus far (which means I got a SH!Tload of enameling done). I was in the studio until about midnight, then went to the glass studio (where all the cool kids hang out), and then ended up staying up until the wee hours of the morning talking and laughing with my roommate Tara. She’s also doing metals (in the lower studio) and already makes some pretty cool stuff. Check it out. 

Today we learned electrolytic etching, which is a non-toxic way to etch the copper. After lunch we learned champleve, which involves packing wet enamel into the recesses left after etching, then firing them and grinding down the enamel so that it’s flush with the copper.

THEN we learned how to use the magnetic tumbler to make our finished pieces sparkle, THEN we learned how to use the Sparkie, a fusion welder to attach earring posts, etc. without solder (WANT!), THEN we learned how to use a hydraulic press to form metal. Seriously, my brain is about to explode. Both from the learning, and from the yearning to buy all of this equipment for my studio (none of which, I might add, is inexpensive). And don’t even get me stared on laser cutting…  Sigh.

This evening The Barn, where the artists in residence have their studios was open for visitors. There is some amazing work going on down there, but I’ll write more about that, and about life at Penland outside the studio, at a later date.

Photos
Top row: copper shapes; second row: enameled copper; third row from left: copper to be etched with vinyl sticker as a resist, prepared copper in salt bath (before starting electricity), Arthur demonstrating champleve; fourth row from left: the electrolytic setup, Arthur demonstrating the hydraulic press.

Penland 5 & 6

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July 12, 2013 at 8:33 pm

Posted in Metals

Penland 2013, Day 3

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In the studio today we were still in learning mode (therefore I have yet to create anything that’s actually wearable). Today’s lesson was on painting with enamel, both oil-based and water based versions. After the demos, we spent most of the day painting the little white enameled tiles we made yesterday with the various colors of “china paint” or “overglaze” that are available. The lesson was helpful in two ways. First, we’ll use these tiles as a reference when deciding which colors to use in the coming week, and second the exercise gave us experience firing the painted tiles, which requires less time and temperature than the sifted enamel (plus a whole process called ‘smoking’ where you dry out the oils that are used to mix the colors). At the end of the day I cut out some copper circles in preparation for a full day of enameling tomorrow.

Clockwise from top: Enamel color mixing palette and swatch in progress; Finished swatches, tubes of powdered pigment (0verglaze); Copper blanks; Powdered enamel colors I’ll be rockin’ tomorrow.

Penland Day 3_2013

Written by stuffmaker

July 9, 2013 at 6:26 pm

Posted in Metals

Penland 2013, Day 2

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I can’t believe it’s been a year since my first magical Penland experience and contrary to what has been posted here, I have made a lot of stuff, including an encaustic portrait series (work in progress–I’ll post here when I’m further along).  In the meantime, it’s July and I’m once again living the dream at Penland. This year I decided to take a class in the Metals Studio and after the first full day I’m sensing that I chose wisely. Yesterday (day one) I rolled in, unpacked, met my roommate (who is awesome), checked out the studio (amazing!), and met my instructor (also awesome).

Today we got a crash course in enameling (clean metal, add adhesive, sift enamel, fire, repeat). Our only task today was prep a few white enameled pieces for our assignment tomorrow (painting with enamel!). Doing so, we got a handle on how to use the kilns, clean and cut metal, use the flex shafts, &c.

Arthur Hash, the instructor, is all about using technology in his work, and while I know we’ll be learning many traditional enameling techniques, some hints have been dropped about exploring using more technology in our work… Exciting!

Clockwise from top left: “Penland is a Dream” illustration carved into one of the picnic tables at the coffee shop; the view from my workbench if I could see through the wall (my view looks out slightly to the right of this view); the view of the upper metals studio from my workbench; one of the pieces prepped for tomorrow’s lesson.

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Written by stuffmaker

July 8, 2013 at 7:04 pm

Posted in Metals

Petrified Orange

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About a year ago I brought an orange to work, put it on my desk, and on my desk it stayed.

Since then, it’s been the subject of much ridicule from my co-worker Erin, who thinks it’s is fairly disgusting (which I suppose it is).

This week I’ve had to pack up my desk to move into a new office (which my new office-mate Sean refers to as “the veal pen”). So what does one do? Pack and move the orange? Throw it away?

Neither of these options seemed appropriate… So naturally I decided to make some art!

Sadly, Erin is both moving desks and teams. So for a going-away present, I made this little orange nest to remember me by.

(acrylic, paper, copper wire, raffia, ancient orange)

Written by stuffmaker

December 10, 2010 at 10:43 am