Convergent Series

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

Archive for November, 2010

WSCC Holiday Gift Shop time approaches

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/11/30

Silly me, I really thought I had taken a photo of this display board outside the Wilkins School Community Center last month, when they had a lovely poster welcoming me to the site, including photos of about eight pieces of my work. But, ummm, I can’t find it on either camera or phone disks, so I guess I thought about doing that but somehow got distracted.

Oh well, it’s now been replaced with a poster advertizing the Holiday Gift Shop. Which is fine. And, if you’re ever trying to find my studio (e.g., if you’re coming to the meeting of the Western PA Chapter of the PMC Guild that I’m hosting there this month), this does still give a clue about the building you are looking for (which is why I’d wanted to now post that photo I thought I had taken…).


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Holiday Gift Shop Banner!

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/11/24

The former Wilkins School has been a Community Center for over 30 years. (I think it’s 31, but I might be shorting it by a year or so.) And they’ve held a Holiday Gift Shop for a large part of that time (though I’m not sure of the exact count there either … in the last 30-some years I’ve lived a number of other places…).

(Thanks to Francine for the photo.)

This year, for the first time ever (at least, as far as I’m aware), there’s a banner across Braddock Avenue in Regent Square announcing the event. Here’s hoping it helps to bring in more shoppers (both because I hope this local center does well, in general, and because this year I’ll have pieces of my own for sale in the shop)!

For readers not from this area, I’ll mention that “Regent Square” is an interesting little community: it is a small business district surrounded by several blocks of houses (most 100-ish years old) on the edge of a large urban park. Within that little space are chunks of each of (in alphabetical order) Edgewood, Pittsburgh, Swissvale, and Wilkinsburg (each of which have separate business districts of their own, somewhere else, as well).

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Once again: crystal beads on spinner earrings.

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/11/23

Back last March, when I was in the midst of the “Month of Earrings” challenge, I wrote several posts on designs that were inspired by a project described in Art Jewelry magazine the previous summer. It was the one on latch back earrings, although it was the look of the layered textured disks, not so much the latches, that provided most of my inspiration.

At that time, I was trying some variations, and work-arounds to problems I’d found, such as the way I had to redo a few after I chipped the crystal beads I was using, varied the doming as one way to reduce the chipping-risk, and even turned the wire structure around.

[Click on any photo to see an enlargement of it.] I returned to this design again as I was preparing some of my entries for several seasonal shows, including the h*oliday mART at the Sweetwater Art Center and the Holiday Gift Shop at the Wilkins School Community Center.

To keep up with the pace of the challenge last spring, I switched from crystal to glass seed beads. I’ve now returned to exploring the use of crystals in this style. But this time, instead of using the bicones (which is just what I’d had on hand last March), I’ve used saucer- and margarita-style beads. These are all Swarovski crystals, 6 mm across, that I got at the GemShack booth at the recent Bead Mercantile show.

The 6mm beads were the smallest they had in these two shapes, but I decided to give them a try. I figured I could always look elsewhere for some other sizes and colors if these experiments seem to indicate that’d be worthwhile.

The “antique rose” color of the saucer beads on top pair is much lovelier in reality than I was able to capture in a photo. The middle pair has Amethyst Satin saucers; that color is a great complement to the deep blues and reds of the patina colors that appeared on the wavy textures of those disks. The bottom pair has Emerald green margarita (flower) beads.

So far, I’m happy with how these are turning out. The ones shown here have been delivered to Sweetwater for their show. In the next week, I’ll try to explore another variation on my approach from last spring, where I dapped the fired silver into various curved shapes, and nestled the beads inside concave segments. These crystals may be just a tad too large to fit inside my little domes. (5 mm should’ve been OK; 6 mm will fit but may just “look” too big. And I don’t want to make the silver parts bigger to accommodate the beads: I don’t think that increasing either the weight or the price of this little style is where I want them to go.)

I’ll post more once I’ve figured out more….

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Thanks for stopping by!

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/11/20

Just a quick note to say “Thanks” to everyone who stopped by during my Open House today. Whether you came because you saw the announcement in the WSCC newsletter (or on the board outside), or came up from the Trevanion Gallery show, or just happened to walk by looking for some other session and came in to see what was going on, or were one of my long-time friends who came to actually see this studio I’ve been going on and on about, it was great to see you!

Even if I was so engaged the whole time that I didn’t even think to take any photos, we (me and all those who came by) all have our own visual memories.


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Tripped Up!

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/11/20

It looks so innocent, doesn’t it? But that little kiln load is what I am guessing led to a lot of hoop-la tonight. It has a few of my pieces for an upcoming holiday show, plus the pieces from my last workshop–that is really what I intended to write about tonight–but I’ll catch that up in a few days now I guess. Because I lost a bunch of time tonight when I lost power in my studio. Just my studio. Not the rest of the building.

When it happened, I was setting up for Open House tomorrow. I figured I’d let this load run while I was doing that. If the set-up went smoothly, I thought I’d have time to finish polishing and labeling my pieces for the show, so I could have them all on display too. Ha! Ha! Ha!

Of course, by the time I lost power, it was late, and dark, and everyone else was gone. (Not real late, but 9 pm-ish). I hunted around (which included hunting for light switches for various stairwells), found a couple electrical panels, tried flipping any circuits labeled in any way likely, no change in my space. I called one member of the community center board, got voicemail. Called another, may have woken him up, but he came over. We went hunting all over the building: what an amazing experience. There are all sorts of rooms behind rooms, and electrical panels in several of them too, some better-labeled than others.

For what it’s worth, there are also multiple furnaces: those are set in closets between rooms, and heat just the adjacent spaces. I have run the kiln a number of times now, but I was thinking that this may have been the first time I’d run it since starting to run the heat, and that might have been the problem.

Well, Sam did find the circuit breaker for my furnace, reset it, and the heat was clearly working again. But no power to the room. We found nothing else, he said he’d just call electrician in the morning. He left.

I had enough light between the hallway and the light outside my window over the front door that I could move around OK. Not really work, but I spent time packing up a bunch of stuff to take home and try to work on. I was just about ready to head out when Patty arrived. She’d gotten the voicemail and had then come right over. She knew exactly where to go for my breaker. It didn’t look tripped, but we turned it off and on again, and everything came back on.

Which of course raises the question of why it tripped in the first place, if the kiln and the furnace are on separate circuits. Phase of the moon, perhaps?

By the time I’d unpacked everything to get back to work, it was nearly two hours later. I stayed to finish the Open House set-up while I let the kiln run through its entire cycle. I’ll have to finish the show-pieces tomorrow night. They must be delivered by Sunday, but at midnight or later, I was just too tired to trust myself with precious pieces….

But I had lights on, furnace running, and the kiln seemed fine that whole time. So I’m just hoping for a good afternoon on Saturday.

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Approaching 27 as I write this….

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/11/05

Yes … $27!…

So I thought maybe I could quit commenting on the price of silver for a little while. Have I mentioned that I seem to lead a rich fantasy-life?

The last time I commented on this, a month ago tomorrow, the price of silver had risen to a nominal price of $23/troy ounce. In the past month, it’s mostly fluctuated up and down between $23 and $24, but I had enough else going on that such bouncing didn’t seem to require a comment.

But the last three days, well, that’s another story. Today the price started bouncing up around $27/troy ounce: silver has had a three dollar increase in a mere three days!

Was it the election, or the “monetary easing,” or what? Call me naive (and, yes, I do actually understand enough basic economic theory to know why this next statement is yet more fantasy) but I just wish that “investors” would go find something else to play around with amongst themselves, and stop messing with real products that real people use. Having fouled up the housing market, can’t they please keep their grubby hands out of the metals market and more?!

I need to order the materials for the classes I have coming up, and I really don’t want people (especially the “new” participants via my new studio) to think I’m gouging them with the “materials fee” … which will come to waaaay more than what I make for my actual teaching (that is, for my own expertise). Sigh.

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First Open House!

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/11/03

OK, my studio is now officially “open”! It’s still far from “done” but it’s into shape enough that I’ll take a few weeks off from further “moving in” tasks so I can focus on “making” tasks. (And wait for Ikea to restock the long narrow tables I want for the central “classroom” area. The plastic table with green plastic tablecloth in the middle there is only a placeholder until those arrive….)

These snapshots give a clue of what it looked like for this evening’s Open House. Of course, when people were there, I was too busy talking to think to take photos, and I didn’t think to ask anyone else to snap any either. Oh well.

‘Twas a nice evening. Several guild-chapter members showed up, as did a couple of my neighbors who wanted to offer me some support. People who’d seen the WSCC newsletter took advantage of being able to come by to see what this metal clay stuff was all about before sending in money to register for any of my classes (which was the specific reason why I’d scheduled an event for tonight). Some folks who were just in the building for some other reason tonight stopped in to see what was going on. As I was almost ready to close up for the evening, who bounded in but a delightful woman I’d taken a class with the summer before last (and just happened to run into at the bead show last weekend).

I enjoyed the evening. Got a few people to sign up for classes, and sold several pieces. Maybe I will actually earn enough to pay for next month’s rent!!! Will I make enough to pay for all the silver, beads, wire, etc. too? Here’s hoping…

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