Convergent Series

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

Archive for May, 2015

This Weekend: Open House and More in Regent Square, plus a Garden event

Posted by C Scheftic on 2015/05/15

Once again, this Saturday is the annual community-wide Yard Sale organized by the Regent Square Civic Association.

Because there will be all sorts of folks wandering around the neighborhood that day, it’s also the first day of the Wilkins School Community Center‘s Spring fundraiser, the Herb and Used Book Sale from 9 am to 3 pm. There are tons of books available for $1 each (including lots of children’s- and cook-books) but, if you want any of their plants, it’s usually wise to arrive early. (The hanging baskets, in particular, are looking gorgeous again this year!)

And, because there will be all sorts of folks wandering around WSCC, at the same time as the Herb and Used Book Sale I’ll hold an Open House in my studio too. I’m upstairs, over the front door, in room #25. I only have a few of my Three Rivers pieces left (and none with something sparkly to indicate the Pittsburgh Point Fountain, as shown in the photo here), but I’ll be making more next month and will be happy to take pre-orders at the Open House. And not to worry, I do have a lot of other inventory, mostly my usual pendants and earrings, but also a few other items too.

In addition to my usual Art Jewelry selections, again this year I’ll have a collection of Aloe Vera plants for sale too. They are off-shoots of the ones I keep for burns, as in those little mistakes with torch or kiln…! They’re in good “cactus” potting soil in nice clay pots and I’m basically giving the plants away, asking just enough to cover the cost of the pots and the potting mix and the gas it took me to go get those.

I’m later than I’d planned in getting this post up so, if you just can’t get there on Saturday, let me know and we can arrange a time on Sunday if that could work for you. I’m going to the Western PA Orienteering Club‘s meet in Frick Park on Sunday afternoon, roughly 12 to 3, but luckily that’s the one event they hold right in my neighborhood, so I’d be close and happy to meet you in my studio before or after that. (Oh, and the book sale will continue, with even lower prices, during that 12 to 3 span on Sunday, so you could go check that out before or after we meet!) That’d be easy for me to arrange: I won’t pack up most of my pieces and turn the display space back into a work-room until Monday or maybe even Tuesday of next week.

My one disappointment is that there’s another event on Saturday that I’m going to have to miss: I schedule my Open House to coincide with all the Regent Square events, and this one just happens to be the same day, up the street into Point Breeze at the Edible Teaching Garden where I volunteer some time each week. One of our other volunteers applied for a Love Your Block grant from the city, and got accepted! The idea is that they’ll support the cost of some necessary materials if you can get a community group together to volunteer the time needed to work on some neighborhood improvement project. We needed some “hardscape” features for the garden, things like steps at the entrance (several people have already fallen on the slope there, so we have to do something!) and some critter-deterrent fencing. If you’re in the area and able to go lend a hand any time from 9 am to 1 pm, it’d be much appreciated! It’s a great little group working on a delightful urban edible garden project. I’m including the flyer for it here: click to see it full-size.

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The End of One Era Ushers in the Beginning of the Next One…

Posted by C Scheftic on 2015/05/14

Do you think Koolkat’s space looks bigger or smaller, now that all the art has been moved out? Here are photos from last December and earlier today:

After turning over the keys to the next tenant, those remaining went outside on a lovely spring evening in mid-May and snapped a bunch of photos that I’m sure they’ll be posting in all the usual places. As usual, everyone was watching out for everyone else, in this case the care was extended to the photographers as they kept backing up into the street to get a shot that included both the wonderful Koolkat sign (that will be taken down and preserved) and the folks in the doorway.

In this one of mine, which I just had to capture from a different angle, Samantha, Katie, Kate, and Paula are posing in the doorway for Jeanne, Elizabeth, Maureen, and Carol Beth.

Though it is sad to be saying good-bye to Koolkat Designs, the mood was one of happiness, anticipation, and excitement as we all look forward to the opening of its reincarnation as The Artsmiths of Pittsburgh (at some date still TBA) this summer!

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My computer’s been quiet, though I’ve still been making stuff….

Posted by C Scheftic on 2015/05/08

Long story not worth going into, but one of many reasons I’ve been relatively quiet online (here and elsewhere) has to do with having lost a whole bunch of photos of recent pieces. Some were great, others were mere experiments, but it’s still a loss.

The photo with this post is not a great one either: it’s just me trying to pick up where I left off on the photos, where I was playing with ways to get photos of a group of pieces (rather than my usual close-up of each individual piece without using any props).

I do know how to fix the background on this; at the time I took it, my focus was on trying to use a glass without any additional fuss in taking care with a background. I still think glass is a good idea, but its just yet another approach that’s best for only a small number of pieces, not the bigger group I was going for here.

Still, I just happen to like all the pieces in this particular set, so I figured I could post it and try to make that clear that focus. They are all made with various beads from my stash, and all feature some sort of hand-made end-caps. The caps are from yet another project that I’ll write more about once it’s farther along. For now, though, I’ll point out that some caps are silver while others are bronze, they vary in thickness intentionally (though I do prefer thinner ones myself), and some were cut with little generic pastry cutters while others were custom-sized to a particular bead and cut using an electronic cutting tool (where those are doing double-duty as part of yet another project…). For these, all the earwires are commercial products.

I have another, much bigger collection of recent pieces on hand-made earwires that I also want to capture in a picture. Regarding the earwires, for silver I tend to make them from spooled Argentium silver wire while, for use with base metals, I tend more towards niobium headpins. I do use other sorts of wire too, but those are my personal favorites. I appreciate the versatility provided by the spooled silver wire: I can ball up the ends if I want, can adjust the length as needed, and hardened Argentium will yield a stronger piece than will fine silver wire … without the need I’d have with traditional Sterling silver to use pickle (acid!) if I heat them up as I make them. But finishing the ends of the niobium is trickier than it is for the silver (even simple smoothing is harder, and achieving a ball-end look is far more effort than I can justify in terms of both cost and time…). For now at least, I’m happy-enough to hand-form those wires from headpins.

If you know of any good online photos of earring collections — six pairs or more all in a single photo — I’d sure appreciate it if you’d leave a link in in the comments for this post! I’m unlikely to copy the approach of any such images directly, but I sure could use some more inspiration on different ways to approach this photo-task. Thanks!

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