Convergent Series

learning, using & teaching metal clay, and other aspects of life

Archive for April, 2010

The local lingo, and other connections.

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/04/30

I really have gotten back to making more adornments, myself, this week, but don’t have any new photos of that yet.

But the 2010 section of Art All Night All Year has opened up. After the event, artists who participated are invited to upload a photo and other information about their entry. Check it out for yourself if you want.

Since some entries are not replicated there, however, this post includes shots I took of several pieces that I wished I’d been able to show to particular friends who, for one reason or another, were not in attendance. (Though these images are all small, clicking on any of them should open a slightly larger version in a different window.)

This is the entry that got me into the spirit of taking photos to share with specific people. While I found this full-size image interesting (though, given the venue’s lighting, impossible to shoot without including a shadow), I include it for my "Stop & Smell the Roses" teammates specifically because of its title:

(Speaking of what was on a piece’s label, I’m sorry that none of my images of the piece called "Cranes" turned out. It’s not so much that they were silver-colored origami cranes with beaded jewels dropping down from them, no, ’twas what the artist entered for the medium: "Hope!")

This next detail, from "Button Box" is, clearly, for my button-collector friend. (Dimensions of the full piece were, oh, maybe 8 inches wide by 8 feet long? Something like that. I’m sure we’ll talk about this once you’ve seen it!)

The following image, from "Spare Bits and Pieces" is for the Wild Women whose bowling team I never joined, plus any of my colleagues from the now-defunct software company who may remember my cube-mate (remember when it was growing so fast that we had to share cubicles…) and the bits and pieces of bowling-themed polkas he sang while working (yes, mere inches away, in that shared cubicle…):

The landscape is for a certain former ‘burgher who, this week in particular, I am sure would appreciate a nice big glass of white wine:

And, last but not least, although it’d never work as a tent, this is for my camping-buddies, both here and abroad:

I wish y’all had been there! To see lots more entries (from this year and the last two too), go to the Art All Night All Year website:

And mark your calendars for April 23-24, 2011!

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Metal Clay Entry at Art All Night.

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/04/28

Magic Carpet (striped frame side)
“Magic Carpet”

And I got several bids on it! So it’s going to a new home later this week.

I entered the piece I wrote about back on March 10. The woven-silver one with a hyperbolic / anticlastic / saddle shape (choose the word that makes the most sense to you, given your own background).

After several tries, I think I got a couple more pictures of it (one of each side), shown here. (A click on either one should take you to a larger image of it, in a separate window.)

MagicCarpet (woven frame side)

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Next to the Etch-a-Sketches.

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/04/27

There was a lot of attention at the "panel" where my entry for Art All Night was hung this year. They put mine right next to the Etch-a-Sketches!

A variation on that seems to appear every year: four connected Etch-a-Sketches showing images of a "set" of four people with some connection to each other. The images go from bridge of nose to top of head only.

The eyes, forehead, and hair (or lack thereof) are enough to enable most viewers to identify the subjects. Sometimes, although the identity of one or two might not have jumped out at you as quickly as the others had you seen them on their own, in context with those you can still tell who’s who. For example, one year it was John, Paul, George, and Ringo: the "Fab 4" Beatles.

This year’s entry had four images of a group that, when they are referred to with a number, it is "3" rather than "4" (although, over time, there really were something like six to eight possibilities, weren’t there?). Can you identify these four?

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A small sample of the big range…

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/04/26

I suspect that all the gardening I’ve done over the years is part of the reason that one of the entries in Art All Night that I really liked was a piece called (as I remember it now, at least, several days later), The Root of Love. It’s shown here, top center. (Clicking on the photo should take you to a slightly larger version of it.)

I know that you can only get a clue to it (the main part of that “root” which I was was delightfully surprised to see had a silver-ish tone to it) but can’t see any of the lovely detail. Sorry! But I chose to snap it from this far away because I thought this angle and distance also helped to illustrate a bit about the range of the entries to this event.

As you look at this photo, do realize that the black stretch along the bottom is not a part of the infrastructure. It is, for example, not how the organizers try to keep small children out of an “adult content” section. Though I did see in it an idea of constriction, in fact it is another entry in the show. It stretched across three or four of these big panels: Can you see what it’s composed of?

I’m sorry to report that I did not note and, tired as I was by the end of it all, can no longer remember its title. One of either the title or medium emphasized that “wire” was involved. The artist did list name and age, which I remember as being a woman of about 23 or 24.

Feel free to leave a comment about either of those, or any of the other entries, shown in that snapshot.

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Preliminary Notes from Art All Night

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/04/25

What a wonderful weekend!

Just the center aisle of the first building.

I first started going to Art All Night as an observer, but soon added participant (in both the exhibit itself and the On-Site Art activities). This year, I think Allison (the coordinator of On-Site Art Activities) saved us the very best demonstration location in the entire site!

The venue included several integrated buildings. We were in Building 2, along with all the other on-site and hands-on activities, but set off a bit to the side. Now, there are advantages to being in the midst of all the hub-bub, but with flaming torches trying to get metal clay to sinter at 1650 degrees Fahrenheit, being off to the side is good.

But the really great parts were that we were right next to the walkway that everyone who went from Building 1 to Building 2 had to use AND we were in a dim corner, which meant that our display lights, torch flames, and burning binder caught people’s attention as they passed us.

We were busy all evening. I did manage to catch one photo of our table, taken during one of the few lulls the entire time. Ann and Mike had just left, but it shows Debbie, Lois, and Jess. A great crew: thanks to everyone!

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This weekend: Art All Night

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/04/20

The wonderful celebration known as Art All Night is this weekend!!! Are you going? This year, it’s going to be held in the former Iron City Brewery on Liberty Avenue, basically between the Bloomfield and Lawrenceville neighborhoods of Pittsburgh.

“Moon ‘n At”

The photo shows the piece I entered last year (2009), the first time I ever participated in the exhibit part of the event. I have this year’s entry ready, but I want to encourage you to come to Art All Night to see that one.

Both last year and the year before that, I participated in the On-Site Art activities. In 2008, about a month before the first-ever meeting of the Western PA Chapter of the PMC Guild, I was down there with finished samples, clay, greenware, and my torches: the first time I’d ever given demos of working with metal clay and I did it at a venue that attracts 10,000 people! Gutsy, or nuts-y?

The big thing I learned, on the fly, was how to give a demo via a backwards spiral. The torch and flaming binder are what draws in an audience. Once there, they want to see what has just been set alight, which is the dry greenware. Some are then interested to see the previous step, the moist clay, while others tend to be more curious about finished samples; which of those I do next therefore depends on what the audience at that point wants to see. After a bit more chatting, and a little break, I’ll fire up the torch again, set some more greenware alight, and draw in the next group.

The following year, I had colleagues: several members of our fledgling guild came along to give their own demos. That time, they put us in an area with much more light than I’d had the previous year, so the flames didn’t stand out as much. But having a crew to cavort with did. We were there from about 6 through 10 pm on the Saturday night. Our timeframe for demos this year is the same. The show itself runs from 6 pm on Saturday straight through (i.e. all night) until 2 pm on Sunday.

If you’re in the Pittsburgh area, I hope to see you there!

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Another great thing about domes.

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/04/16

I thought, with my last post, that I was done with entries about the Month of Earrings Challenge. But I admit, I had been wondering what happened to Vickie Hallmark afterwards.

Catching up with her blog earlier today, it turns out she took quite a tumble, with some serious (but one certainly hopes, only short-term) consequences.

Vickie Hallmark's Master Muse Ring
Vickie’s Master Muse Ring

Still, I was delighted to see that the announcement of Vickie’s latest project for Tonya Davidson’s Master Muses made it up on Wednesday. It’s for a lovely ring: a heavy-gauge wire shank topped with a PMC bezel holding a dome of torch-fired enamel. I really like this project! Here are just a few reasons why:

– The heavy-wire shank is (at least, currently) one of my favorite ways to make rings that incorporate metal clay. (Structurally, I like any form of shank-ring more than either simple band or bypass styles.)

– Even more, I’ve already noted that I like making domed-shape pieces, and this project illustrates yet another reason why. (I wish I’d been blogging longer, so I could’ve managed to get around to posting this reason sooner, but I’m happy to be able to use this project as my illustration.)

Because of the way metal clay pieces shrink a little as they dry, and even more as they are fired, it can be a bit tricky to get a bezel to come out exactly the right size to match what you are going to set inside it. But, if what you’re setting is a metal disk (regardless of the metal, and whether it’s made from regular sheet metal, or a piece of metal clay that’s been fired to pure metal), as you increase (or decrease) the amount of doming, you slowly reduce (or enlarge, respectively) the size of the disk’s circumference.

What that means is that, if you have a bezel that should shrink, in firing, to a size close to that of your dome, yet the two pieces don’t quite match, it is possible to increase or decrease the amount of doming to force the edge of the disk into the size you need.  Brilliant!

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All 32 pairs, for real (Month of Earrings – Second Summary)

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/04/12

Month of Earrings (all 32 pairs)

A few days after the end of the Month of Earrings Challenge, I was talking with another artist about combining various other materials with silver. I thought I’d quickly pull up my summary photo and point out a couple examples. Imagine my surprise when I looked at it, and couldn’t find in it my first couple of entries. Yikes! But, no crisis: I had enough other examples scattered around various places that I could use for the purpose of our conversation.

Later on, thinking back on what I’d done, I remembered that after snapping the first few, I’d promptly stashed them safely into my “get this ready to go out for sale” bin. (Each piece in there still need to be added to my inventory tracking file, noted with the location where I’ll try to sell it, have price noted, and put on a display card.) After that, since there were going to be a number completed in a short time, I’d just let the next few accumulate on the tray in my photo setup. Then I just kept adding to the tray, forgetting there were a few in the to-sell bin. When I took the photo, the space was jam-packed, so it wasn’t obvious that a few were missing. (And it took enough effort to get them to stay lined up as I was trying to light and shoot them, I didn’t actually stop to count them.) Once I realized I’d missed a few, I decided that the next time I set up to take photos, I’d have to re-shoot the “summary” collection. That’s what you see with this post. [And, though it actually took me several more tries to get it right, I did keep counting: this time, all 32 pairs are there.]

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The “extra” pieces (Month of Earrings #31-32)

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/04/10

Even though the Month of Earrings Challenge was to complete 30 pairs in a month, since there were actually 31 days in March, here’s #31, a pair of reversible domes (the other side has a random slip-trailed design):

Domed Bubbles

And, because I’m one of those people who is just a bit more comfortable with at least the start of a back-up plan, just in case, here are two views of #32, another reversible pair and (curiously) the only set I made all month that I thought needed some back-up thenselves:

Circles and Blocks (circles side) Circles and Blocks (one showing each side)

The photo on the left shows the side with circles, plus a little silver ball embellishment in the center of one set of those circles on each piece. The photo on the right shows one side, again, with the circles facing out, but the other one has been reversed to show the blocks on that side. The thing is, for some reason, in the kiln these otherwise flat disks “rippled” a bit around the edge. I’ve had pieces curve or warp on a larger scale, either during drying or firing, but I’ve not previously experienced small little rippled ruffles like these have. It is a kind of interesting look, it was just such a surprise to see it.

Although I was able to complete those earrings in March (as I’d mentioned earlier, and they are hidden in my “summary” photo with the April 1 post), I hadn’t gotten any decent individual photos of them. I tried again today, after picking up several interesting tiles (glass, ceramic, and plastic) at the Creative Reuse shop within Construction Junction.

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Some Spring Classes

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/04/07

One great outcome of the Month of Earrings challenge was coming up with a selection of projects for a May class. Specifically, on Sunday 23 May, I’ll be back at KoolKat with an earrings class. Here’s a photo of some of the options that will be available to participants:

That should be a great intro for beginners, people who’ve been wondering about metal clay but haven’t yet taken the plunge. But I’m hoping that we’ll have a mix of beginners and those with some experience too: the projects are simple enough to leave time, not always available in other classes, to include a few basic “finishing” techniques too. In other words, something for everyone!

I’m also looking forward to several other great workshops coming up well before that:

Sunday, 18 April, Lentil Beads, at Beads2Wear in McMurray, PA
Samples for How Charming Two Saturdays, 1 May & 8 May, Basic Pendants and Charms, at Eastern Gateway Community College, in Steubenville, OH.
Two evenings, 11 & 12 May, Mosaics & Collages, at Zelda’s Bead Kit Company in Bridgeville, PA

All of those are suitable both for beginners and for those with some experience who are looking to add more techniques to their repertoire and delights to their jewelry or gift stashes.

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per Alice’s suggestion (Month of Earrings – Summary)

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/04/01

Alice, of Ally’s Art, had suggested I take a photo of all my challenge pieces, and here it is:

Month of Earrings ++

That photo contains all 32 pieces: the thirty I posted at the Month of Earring pool on Flickr, and the two “bonus” pieces I mentioned with MoE entry #27.

To see any of the 30 entries in more detail, either browse back through these posts, or go to Flickr where you can see the entire set.

Whew! It’s been fun….

Posted in Challenges | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

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