Convergent Series

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

Archive for November, 2012

2012 WSCC Holiday Gift Shop

Posted by C Scheftic on 2012/11/30

Earlier this week, I carried 30 pieces (the jeweler’s limit…) downstairs at the Wilkins School Community Center (aka WSCC, where my studio is located) for their annual Holiday Gift Shop (HGS). A much shorter trip than getting over to Sweetwater (whose show, which I mentioned recently, is still going on) but, once again, the commission WSCC will get from my sales is going to benefit another worthwhile organization.

I must say that I am so thankful that, this year, the Friday after Thanksgiving weekend and the First Friday in December are not the same day! For some reason, a number of groups / organizations with which I’m involved all try to “avoid the major holiday crunch” by scheduling major events for that one, super-crowded, day. So I am always torn between them! But, approximately one year out of seven (leap years do tend to confuse the pattern a bit), like this year, those two are not the same day. Whew! So I’m still waaaay to busy, but at least it seems somewhat more manageable. (In fact, I’m hoping to have both the time and the energy to get up and go orienteering on Saturday morning. In another lucky coincidence, that meet will involve less travel for me than any other I’ve ever attended: it’s actually within walking distance of my studio, not a two-hour drive away!) But I digress….

I mention that Friday-thing, in this context, because tonight from 7 to 9 pm is the Opening Night Party for WSCC’s HGS. In addition to several rooms full of a range of art and craft items, there will be food and drink and live entertainment, including the Steel City Ukeleles and Milton Street Carolers. By clicking on the announcement (upper, right) you can get information on the times it will be open each day from now through December 9.

If you’ve never been there before, the building photo (lower, left), taken in the spring, may give you a clue where you’re looking to end up. I’ll be in the building, off and on, throughout the show. If you see my overhead lights on (in the window over the front door) and don’t see me at the HGS, do come upstairs and say hello.

In addition to the pieces I’ll have in the HGS, I’ll also have my entire studio open myself next weekend, December 8 & 9, for a more extensive sale of my own precious metal and art jewelry items as part of the East End Art Buzz Tour. I’ll post a note about that in the next few days.

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2012 Sweetwater h*liday mART

Posted by C Scheftic on 2012/11/21

Last weekend I delivered 40 pieces (the jeweler’s limit…) to the Sweetwater Center for the Arts for their annual “h*liday mART”!

If you’re in SW Pennsylvania, you should know about Sweetwater or, if you don’t already, then do check it out! They’re “down the Ohio River” a ways from Pittsburgh itself, in Sewickley, in a delightful old post office building with lots of interesting architectural details, and they offer a great little program of shows, concerts, and classes covering a range of arts, crafts, music, food, and more.

If I actually lived closer, I’d be tempted to just camp out there. As it is, I went through two sets of tunnels and crossed two rivers and several small streams to get there. (That’s a sort of local joke about reality here, as in, “Jane won’t join us if we decide to meet there. She’d have to cross a river.” But what gets to me are the tunnels, not the tunnels themselves, but the way that traffic slows down for no reason approaching them, like drivers suddenly have to slow to a crawl until they see the light at the far end even if they’ve been driving through that same set of tunnels as long as they can remember….) But I digress….

In this case, it seemed worth the trek in order to have my art jewelry in the show. Sweetwater folks (staff & lots of volunteers) do the selling, and of course the center takes a commission, but it’s going to such a good cause that I’m happy to contribute to their efforts that way (and, hopefully, make a bit of money myself in the process!). This being the holiday season, there are a number of food-themed events (a champagne preview party on November 24 that I plan to attend, plus a holiday luncheon and even a “three-course meal prepared by the all-male volunteer-turned-gourmet chef team that has yet to receive a single complaint”). Click on either of the images with this post to be taken to their page with all the details.

The mART show itself is free to attend, as are the evening “Happy Hour” sessions. Oh, and you should let me know if you’d like a $5-off coupon for your shopping spree. It’s good on any purchase of $35 or more at the show (though of course I’d be thrilled if you should purchase something of mine…).

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Catching up, or at least trying to….

Posted by C Scheftic on 2012/11/19

I love autumn! Love, love, love it!

I love the “crispness” of the air, between the melting-heat of summer and the freezing-cold of winter. I am happy to get outside and do things, without feeling like I’m going to melt if I take another step (yes, I am very sensitive to the heat!), and without the encumbrances of frost-protective gear.

I love the colors of the sky in the fall, with the sun at that lovely mid-way angle. And I love the changing colors of so much of the vegetation, as the chlorophyl production stops pushing all the green colors and the other hues that have been hiding in the plants get a chance to shine on their own.

I come out of my shell then too, happy and eager to catch up on everything that needs to get done.

And then it hits me: there is no way to catch up. No way….

How can this be? It’s not even necessarily that I’ve let things slide, myself. A few things, sure, but much of the time, things just seem to pile up despite my best efforts. And, for once, I have a simple pictorial illustration of what I mean.

I opened this post with a photo (above, right) of a few leaves that were in my yard on the 9th of November this year. They fell from the sweetgum tree in my front yard. I am sure of the date because that Saturday, the 10th, was the day that my city had designated for its one and only pass through to collect household leaves for their composting program.

The second photo with this post (left) shows the sweetgum tree in the yard of my next-door neighbors on that very same day. With just a few leaves left on their tree at that point, I am sure that they were very happy to have this public service offer.

Now, if you’re not familiar with sweetgums, these leaves are big. The smallest ones are the size of my hand: palm, fingers, thumb, maybe a bit of wrist too … everything. And the largest ones can be much, much larger. And there are lots of them. During and after the falling of the sweetgum leaves themselves, there is another phase of clean-up to do too, involving raking and collecting all the sweetgum-balls that will eventually fall. (Kind of reminds me of the balls on the tree that Lois etched onto copper, which I showed a few posts back, except there are many orders of magnitude more balls all over the sweetgum trees. If you enlarge the photo of the nearly-bare tree next door, you may be able to get a glimpse of them. Everywhere.)

When I last lived in California, I had a pair of sycamore trees in my front yard. Those dropped balls too, pretty much all in one quick load in the fall. They did take a bit of work to clean up, but I could do most of it in one shot, and then just finish with a couple quick follow-ups involving a few stragglers. Moving to Pennsylvania, I had no clue how different these sweetgum balls would be! You get a few of them with the leaves in the fall. Then more come down with each snowstorm, so you’re shoveling those around as you try to clear walks and driveways of snow and ice. Once that melts, you can really clean those up; but now you’ve moved them twice! Then more come down as you’re trying to prepare beds in the spring. And a few will hold on just so they can fall and try to twist your ankle during summer lawn-mowings or as neighbors stroll the street. My sycamores in CA had other problems (as many gardeners there would say, “when you have a sycamore tree, you have a sick tree….”), but their balls were not an issue.

So, having said all that, let me show you what MY sweetgum tree looked like, a whole week AFTER the city’s one and only leaf collection day. Clearly, in addition to having to deal with all the balls that will drop all year long, I will have to deal with all those leaves on my own too.

Now, this is not a crisis. I get to look at the lovely colored leaves outside front windows for several weeks longer than anyone else on my street. And I have a tool that’s a reverse-leaf-blower: that is instead of just using energy and making lots of noise to push leaves around, this one actually sucks them up and shoots them through a chopper mechanism into a bag. One bag from that is the equivalent of 4 to 5 regular “leaf bags” full of leaves, and I can just dump it into a composter. All of that is very good! (If you know about composing: I’ll dump that into my “browns” bin and, all year long, as I add “greens” to my “active” bin, I’ll scoop “browns” out of that bin to mix with the “greens” to help keep the “balance” right. I only compost leaves that have fallen onto my yard: ones that go onto the street, with the extra pollutants that can collect there, will get raked into “leaf bags” and put out with my trash. Sigh.)

But, whether I vacuum up and compost my leaves, or rake them up to add to the trash, the point is that I am taking time to do all of it (and, um, yes, I admit it, then to blog about the episode too…). But I’m not doing what the majority of my neighbors are doing, and simply raking leaves out for the city to collect. No, the tree in my yard simply won’t let me just say, OK, this year I’m way too far behind on too many fronts, let the city compost them them.

I have no idea why. But it’s one example in a very loooooong list of things that I really am trying to catch up on. And I wrote this because I needed to take a few minutes’ break from metal-clay work in the final sprint of preparations for various holiday-sales events. I’ll be posting information about those next. As I make all these great new pieces, I am stacking up ideas in my head (and in draft-reminders online) for some posts about working with metal clay and other jewelry elements: those should be coming along again right after all that.

I don’t even need to get caught up completely, just caught up enough! Do you know what I mean by that? Whether you feel caught up or not, I do hope everyone reading this is having a great autumn season too.

Posted in House & Home, Misc. Musings | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Adding to the stash: some beads too….

Posted by C Scheftic on 2012/11/13

I really had promised myself that I would use up some of the bead stash before acquiring any more items but, sometimes, “opporunities” not worth passing up just seem to appear … which is, of course, the foundation of stashes! The other thing I’ll say is that the photos with this post are not to scale, so I’ll progress from smallest to largest.

The gold-color two-hole beads (first photo, right) really are tiny little seed beads. I had an idea a while ago for something I wanted to try, but hadn’t quite figured out how to make it work. I’m not sure if these will fit the way I want, and I’ve got lots of other things to finish up before starting that exploration. Still, when I’m ready, I’ll have these to experiment with.

The second photo (left) shows a few of the small- to medium-size beads I got at Zelda’s going-out-of-business sale. I’d made a few pieces several years ago where I used up a strand of a larger version of the little sand-tumbled agate beads, and kept telling myself I should get some of the smaller ones. Though I’m sure I could have found them somewhere else, had I looked, it just seemed worth picking them up before they disappeared from the known-source. While looking for them, I “stumbled upon” the bluish dumortierite beads in two different shapes and immediately had a few ideas for those too.

Now, I don’t often buy very big beads. Since I make my own metal “focal beads” that I string with purchased gemstones, I don’t want the stones to overshadow my creations. But, again, as Zelda’s was closing, these large jade and jasper beads (at least 1″ across) were going for such a “good” price, that I figured I’d get them and see what even-bigger items they might inspire.

But the piece in the last photo is the one that prompted me to write about the latest additions to the stash: I like light blue agates in general and I find various kinds of crystals to be interesting, so this blue chalcedony druzy was just too good to resist. It’s well over an inch and a half long, and came from S&S Lapidary at the Bead Mercantile show. I have really no clue how I’ll use it: it clearly deserves to be a focal point on its own, so the challenge will be to design some metal-work that will complement it appropriately.

Then again, challenges are fun. That’s a really big part of what I like most about doing all this!

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Adding to the stash: Chains!

Posted by C Scheftic on 2012/11/11

I’ve been amazingly restrained in my bead-buying lately. But I’ve made up for that, in part, by buying chain. Not finished necklace pieces, but by-the-foot lengths that I can cut up into segments and intersperse with beads for hanging some of my hand-made pendants.

The first photo with the post (right) shows spirals with some of the chains I got at Zelda’s store-closing sale. I might have bought more then, but she had already sold out on much of it.

The second photo (left) shows crossed-lines of some small segments of vintage chains that I bought from CoolTools. I might have bought more but, just looking online, I wasn’t sure how big some of the segments / elements were in each design. So I bought short-ish lengths and can just hope that my favorites will still be in stock when I go back to order some longer segments.

And the last photo, again to the right, shows waves of some of the chains that I got from three different vendors at the recent Bead Mercantile show. The brass- and copper-plated finishes are ones I expected; the two brightest “pink” ones (rightmost) are both a somewhat-surprising-to-find rose gold plated. I’m not entirely sure what I may do with those so, again, I just bought a couple relatively short segments that I can play with as I finish assembling pieces for Holiday-season sales. Unless, of course, I decide to just hold off on using the rose gold segmants until I’ve had a chance to make some more pieces in a rose-bronze.

I’ll just have to clear off a work table, then spread out chains and beads and pieces I’ve made, and start rearranging elements until at least some things start to fall into place. I just hope I’ll remember to take a few photos, so I can post some of the results here before the year is out.

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Posted by C Scheftic on 2012/11/05

I led a “woven silver” workshop at the weekend. The first photo (right) shows the pieces that were made that afternoon and, um, once everyone got a roll, that evening too. (Yes, a few didn’t involve weaving. That’s OK too.) In that image, no finishing has taken place: it shows the “white” appearance of the silver crystal structure straight out of the kiln. I just wanted to grab a quick photo, while I could, to show how productive the session had been.

The second photo (left) of the folks at the west-side table at work is mostly a sort of visual note to myself to try to remember to take photos more often, in class but also elsewhere. Because the caption for that image should be, “No! I won’t look up! I will not look at the camera! No!” Still, I’d like to thank everyone who was there for being such good sports … in every other way.

I haven’t posted over the past couple of weeks because I’ve done all sorts of things where I just did not think to take any photos. You might think that I would have taken photos while attending a workshop on photographing artwork. But no, there were lots of handouts and images of copyrighted work and discussion and more. Even though I had both of my cameras with me, the only times either one came out of its bag were to show a few images that were already on their memory cards.

You might think I’d’ve taken some shots at our recent metal clay guild chapter meeting but, no, I didn’t even think to take a camera to that. We had an opportunity to play with the Silhouette Cameo cutter that one of our members has gotten; we did lots of great planning for next year; and there was all the usual sharing and showing and telling and hand-on time and more. But no photos….

I also didn’t think to take a camera on any of my recent shopping expeditions. But, now that I think of it, I have added a few interesting items to “the stash.” Maybe I can manage to (remember to) take photos and write in the next week or so, before those elements finish going to into pieces and out for holiday sales events.

It is such a busy time of year, with all the autumn chores and the lead-in to the season of holidays, I am sure you, dear reader, are keeping busy too. Please know that I hope you are feeling productive!

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