Convergent Series

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

Archive for the ‘Guild’ Category

Some Bronze Buttons.

Posted by C Scheftic on 2015/03/12

While I was making the little domed disks I used for the charms I mentioned in my last post, I had another small project going, an item I’d made ages ago and had for some time been wanting to make more of: Buttons!

And then, my colleagues in the Western PA Metal Clay guild decided that our project / activity for our January 2015 meeting would be to make bracelets in the style popularized by Chan Luu, where the closing on her signature pieces involves a hand-made button. So now I had the push I needed to return to button-making.

Except our January meeting was cancelled due to weather issues, and the project was pushed forward into the February meeting. I didn’t want to show button pictures until we’d done the guild-project, so I put off posting about it. And then I got bogged down in snow-shoveling, ice-chipping, pothole-damage to the car, etc., until tonight, at last, I found a few minutes to take a few photos to share here.

First (above) is a photo of eight different buttons: three were made from Hadar’s Quick Fire Bronze and five, from her Rose Bronze.

Second (left) is a photo of the bracelet I made during the guild meeting … for which all in attendance offer thanks to our leader-for-the-day, Sharon Shepard! That one includes yet another of my Quick Fire Bronze buttons.

Third, not shown yet, are the backs of any of the buttons. Regular readers of this blog will know that I usually show both sides of the pieces I make. In large part, that’s because I tend to make pieces that are fully reversible. But buttons may or may not be used in ways that are readily reversible. So I made some shank-style buttons (all the ones shown here feature shank-backs) and some other two-hole ones. I hope to write more about all of them eventually.

But I’m not doing that yet: (A) Part of the button-making involved trying out a handful of different techniques for actually making shanks. While I do know enough to be successful at that, in general, my exploration-goals were to (1) examine how easy/difficult the different ways might be and (2) to be able to test whether any particular approaches held up more/less well after longer-term use. And (B) I’m testing them by further by producing samples of ways to use them well beyond just the Chan Luu bracelets, which also takes time to work out.

Why am I going to all that “trouble” when all I needed was one button for one bracelet at one guild meeting? Because the reason I’ve been wanting to spend a few weeks making buttons, and then several months (or more!) testing them out, is because for a long time I’ve been thinking I should put together a button-making workshop!

There are just soooo many great ways to use buttons and button-shaped elements. I’m looking forward to creating a variety of pieces to incorporate those, myself, and to the further inspiration I’ll get from students when I offer the class. I’ll post places, dates, and times here (and elsewhere) once I am satisfied that I’ve done enough testing. After I’ve taught it (once or a few times) then I’ll be more inclined to come back write more about it here. Please stay tuned…!

Posted in General Techniques, Guild, Teaching Metal Clay | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Trying to “catch up” a bit: the 2014 Western PA Metal Clay charm exchange

Posted by C Scheftic on 2015/02/23

Now, the delay in posting this is not entirely my fault. OK, some of the delay is, just not all of it.

Most (but not all) years, members of the Western PA Metal Clay guild hold a holiday-season charm exchange. For some reason, it rarely gets agreed to very far in advance (which, of course, is why some years it just doesn’t happen…). In 2014, well into the fall, it was decided to not do it in December but, instead, skip that gathering (fair enough, it is a very busy time of year for everyone) and do the exchange in November. Aack!

One of the things with the last minute planning is that we do let people exchange IOUs. That is, if you want to participate, but can’t get charms made in time, you can exchange an IOU that you’ll deliver your charms by our next meeting. Me, I find November easily as frantic a time as December and, though I made several attempts to block out a chunk of time for charm-making, each block kept getting eaten up by something else for which there was no escape. But I do enjoy the exchanges, so I jumped at the chance to use the IOU option. We typically exchange three (3) charms according to some rule or other. In the past, for example, we’ve put all the charms in a stocking and drawn pieces at random. This time, we changed the plan and did direct back-and-forth exchanges.

The first photo shows the charms I received in the exchange. The bee in a circle, highlighted with gold colored guilder’s paste, was from Holly Dobkin. The puzzle piece, highlighted with Vintaj patina color, was from Debbie Rusonis. And the abstract circle, highlighted with a liver of sulphur (LOS) patina, was from Georgie Nix. I love the artistry of all three, in general, and was very happy to receive their 2014 ideas.

Now, I could have posted that much right away. But I decided I wanted to wait until I could post the pieces I offered in exchange. I started them in mid-December (after my last show of the season), but we didn’t have a meeting set for that month, so I let the final step slip into early January. Except, we cancelled the January meeting due to weather issues … and I didn’t want to post my pics until the recipients had their pieces in hand. Finally, we met (despite winter weather this time) in February. Yesterday afternoon. So, at last, here’s what I offered in return. They were made from Hadar’s Quick-fire bronze. (The photos were taken before I added oval bronze jump rings.)

Even though we typically exchange three charms, while I’m making mine I always add at least one and sometimes several more. This time, I tried to make five: three for the exchange, one for me to keep, and one extra for some time when having a little treat to offer would be useful. Except, somehow, I managed to crack one of the pieces while I was joining its two dried segments (I was so annoyed with myself: I even managed to crack both parts at once!) and it just did not seem worth the trouble to try to repair it. Instead, I reconstituted that clay and used it for something else later on.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I love to make reversible pieces, and I do that even for little charms. For these, one side simply displays a deeply-textured pattern. I ended up being very happy I’d waited until December to even start these, because that permitted me to use the charms as my very first attempt at a variation on the Chip Inlay Project for the Holidays posted by Hadar Jacobson on December 3rd! The final photos shows what I did on the “other” side of each charm: I made little cups that I could fill with something called “Painted Desert Sand” that I’d gotten a while back for a completely different reason. As my first attempt at this process, I’m definitely keeping the fourth charm, both as a reminder to myself and as a sample to use in discussions with other artists or students.

I hope my guild-mates will let me know how these seem to hold up. I believe they’ll be fine, and I’ll be happy to replace any that appear to have any problems, but I’d sure rather learn about that from a sympathetic fellow artist than a possibly irritated customer. I’ve since used the technique on a few other pieces I’m testing out myself. Basic images of those, if not more detailed reports, will appear here eventually. (For now, I will say only that there are both similarities and differences among various fillers and holding agents…) I’ll say more once I’m confident in what I’m talking about with these, not just displaying untested guesses.

For now, though, I just want to be sure folks know that making these sure is fun!

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Another Anniversary: Four Years … and Another Open House!

Posted by C Scheftic on 2014/10/09

Yes, the room has evolved a bit over the years! This is what it looked like at the beginning of October, four years ago:

And this is what it looked like at the start of October this year, set up the way I tend to have it when I’m working there on my own:

The table in the middle, to the right with a bright blue tablecloth on it is where I work with base metal clays (i.e., bronze, copper, steel), while the one to the left with a white tablecloth is where I work on precious metals (e.g., fine silver or gold). I spent my early metal clay years (back when the only options were among the precious metal varieties) working on a single “TV tray table” in my family room, but now I just love having the space to work that way: it just seems practical to me, as a way to help me remember which clay I’m working on and whether I have to clean off a tool if it’s coming from the “other” table, to avoid cross-contamination. (There’s nothing special about the colors, just that they differ. When I teach a workshop using all one kind of clay, both tables get covered in the same color, and tools can move across without giving it a second thought….) The “CD cabinets” with all the little cubbies behind those work-tables are segregated by metal-type: when I put things away, they go on the side where they were last used. Or, if I’ve already cleaned them up and they can go anywhere next, there’s space designated for that too….

Ahhh, but which side do you think I use when I’m working with sterling silver, since sterling is an alloy of silver and copper? (Leave your guess as a comment on this post!)

Except, right now, I’m not working with metals. I’m trying to clean the room up a bit, put away all the tools (a good excuse to look at the set-up and decide if I need to rearrange few more things), and turn it into my “shop” layout:

Because EcoFest will be happening all over the community center this Saturday, which is an excuse for me to hold an Open House. Here’s an example: two new bronze pieces I’ll have available:

(Sorry for the harsh color of that last photo. In person, they’re still bright but somehow much “softer” in color. Two of my overhead lights are out, one of my photo-station lights went out. (I’d bought a two-pack, so I tried to use the other one, and it’s not working at all either… And, no, it’s not the lamp. I tried the bulbs in a different lamp that I know is working, and they don’t turn on there either.) I’ve been drowning in different deadlines the past few weeks, and I just haven’t had time to deal with specialized light bulbs. And I still have a backlog of PMC Flex pieces to finish, fire, polish, and write about.

If you’re in the SW Pa area on Saturday, October 11, though, do stop by and I’ll be happy to show you what-all I have finished and what-else is in the works. I’ll be there from 10 am to 2 pm. Even if you can’t get to my studio on Saturday, you’d also be welcome to come to the next meeting of the Western PA Metal Clay Guild on Sunday, October 26, from 11:30 am until around 3 pm. I do have to finish off some of the Flex pieces by then, because that’s when I’d promised to do some demos and, if folks want, hold a mini-workshop on Flex. That won’t be in my studio, though; it’ll be in the Art Room at Rodef Shalom (in the Oakland neighborhood, near Carnegie Mellon). One place or another, for those near here I hope to see you; or, for everyone, at least, to hear from you….

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This Sunday: Creative Marketplace in Verona (for the second year!)

Posted by C Scheftic on 2014/05/30

Once again, I’ll be joining some other members of the Western PA Chapter of the Precious (and non-precious…) Metal Clay Guild out at the Creative Marketplace that’s to be held in the Municipal Park (down by the Allegheny River) in Verona, PA this Sunday, June 1, from 11 am to 3 pm. I will likely take off by Noon, myself, but I’ll leave a collection of pieces under the care of my fellow guild members. If you’re in the neighborhood, please stop by!

The photo with this post shows two of the pieces I’ll have for sale there. The rectangular one was made from Hadar’s “Dark Champagne Bronze” and I’ve embellished it with a “clear” CZ stone on this side, to add an extra bit of sparkle. The round one was made from Hadar’s “Friendly Copper” plus a “lavender” CZ (which is more sparkly in person than this photo might lead you to believe; though the “clear” one is much brighter still…). On their “other” sides, the designs involve several layers, to add more visual interest through varying depths.

Many of the pieces I’ll have for sale (including these two) were textured using some interesting vinyl wallpaper bits and pieces I was lucky enough to get last month at a “designer samples” give-away sponsored by the wonderful Pittsburgh Center for Creative ReUse. I’ve been having a lot of fun playing with those: the underlying texture and the printed-on pattern are often very different! The pattern is what your eyes first see on the sample, but it’s the texture that shows up on these pieces. And as you can probably see here, while some of the textures end up looking fairly rough, some come out all smooth and shiny, and still others can be polished to reveal interesting contrasts. Until I figure out for sure which samples yield which results, I’m sticking to making fairly simple pieces with them. Most of the pieces are reversible (of course!), but still just basic shapes with small highlights (rather than the more complex, and longer-to-make, ones like various hollow bead structures with different kinds of openings, channels, etc.).

For marketplace customers, of course, that means these new pieces of mine will fall into the more “affordable” range this Sunday!

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This Sunday: Creative Marketplace in Verona (yet again!)

Posted by C Scheftic on 2013/07/07

As we were setting up, it hit me that we should have taken a bunch of charms to the show this month, and gone with a theme of “the third time’s a charm!”

Oh well, it’s too late for that now. It’s the first weekend of the month and, once again, folks from the Western PA Chapter of the PMC Guild and lots of other creative folks have already taken wares on another trip out to Verona, PA, for the “Creative Marketplace.”

Here’s hoping that (a) the rains (with flash-flood potential) predicted for this afternoon and evening will hold off until later tonight (the show runs until 4 pm, but it’d be great to not be packing up in the rain either…) and that, (b) if you are in the area, you will stop by. Lots of creative energy and treats to be shared all day! One-of-a-kind pieces that you’ll only find if you buy _local_ art!

Or, if you don’t see this until later (and thus don’t have time to get out there today), well, I have given several announcements that this was coming. But, never fear: just put next month’s session on your calendar. Once again, it’ll be the first Sunday, which means it will be on Sunday, August 4, from 10 am to 4 pm.

Of course, if you do get there today, you can always come back again next month too!

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This Sunday: Creative Marketplace in Verona (again)

Posted by C Scheftic on 2013/06/01

Creative Marketplace FlyerIt’s the first weekend of the month! Which means it’s time for some folks from the Western PA Chapter of the PMC Guild to take our wares on another trip out to Verona, PA, for the “Creative Marketplace.”

We’re hoping for a good day, in more ways than one: the unseasonably-hot temperatures are supposed to break (good) by a front that may also bring showers and thunderstorms (not so good). But the current predictions make it look like the “tough part” weather-wise may be during set-up, and then things may clear up for a nice time all afternoon. And, though we just had a “pop up” tent for the show last month, this time one of our members who has a real “show” tent (i.e., with sides and all) will be able to make that available for us to use for the June show. (Thank you, Barbara!)

So, if you’re in the area, and have a bit of time between 10 am and 4 pm on Sunday, I hope you’ll stop by. Do check out our Guild’s booth, but also take a look around at the other creative work being done in this area. Rain or shine, you should be able to find a very special gift from a local artist for someone special to you, or even a treat for yourself, something you’d never be able to find in a big-box / chain store.

(Any of my pieces that don’t sell at the Creative Marketplace, along with a number of other pieces from my stash, will then be going down to the Three Rivers Arts Festival, in the Koolkat Gallery booth, for June 7 through 16. I’ll include more links for that after this weekend.)

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This Weekend: Open House and More in Regent Square

Posted by C Scheftic on 2013/05/17

WSCC posterThis 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, a Plant, Herb, and Used Book Sale from 10 am to 3 pm. (See the poster, above-right.) There are tons of books available but, if you want any of the plants, it’s usually wise to arrive early.

And, because there will be all sorts of folks wandering around WSCC, I’m holding an Open House in my studio too, which is “upstairs, above the front door” at WSCC at the same time too.

Then, on Sunday, WSCC will continue their Book Sale (with even better prices) and I should still be around much of the day because the Western PA Chapter of the PMC Guild will be holding one of their great Clay Play Days in the classroom next to my studio. In theory, WPaPMC will be there from 10 to 4 but, since we moved the session a week early (to avoid Memorial Day), I’m not sure if the group will actually stay there the whole time. But, if you can’t make it over on Saturday, feel free to try to catch me there on Sunday. I’ll be happy to re-open my studio if you want.

UPDATE: WPaPMC (and I) will be there on Sunday,
12-ish to 4-ish….
The Sunday book-sale runs 12 to 3.

(After that, the next chances to purchase some of my creations will be in our Guild’s booth back at the Creative Marketplace in Verona in early June, and then in the Koolkat both down at the Three Rivers Arts Festival, June 6 to 17. More on those shortly.)

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This Sunday: Creative Marketplace in Verona

Posted by C Scheftic on 2013/05/04

Creative Marketplace FlyerA group of folks up the Allegheny River a bit from Pittsburgh itself have organized a new artists market that they are calling the “Creative Marketplace.” It will be held in Verona, PA, on the first Sunday of the month, May through September. Which means that the first one will be tomorrow!

The Western PA Chapter of the PMC Guild applied, as a group, and was accepted to be one of the 40 vendors at this event. Which means that our very first group show will be tomorrow too! A couple of our members, the most-seasoned show-vendors, were accepted to have their own individual booths. But, personally, I am really looking forward to being part of our group effort. Some of us have a bit of show experience, while a few of the members who will be joining us are hobbyists who have never sold any of their metal clay creations. While I hope that I am able to sell a few pieces (a girl’s gotta pay the monthly studio rent somehow….), I really hope that our “newbies” will also get the thrill of having their work admired, and actually bought, by a complete stranger. Yes, your friends and family have been telling you they like your work: you want then to say that no matter how they really feel. But it’s such a treat to get that recognition by someone who’s got no other reason to say so. I still feel delight and appreciation when someone chooses to buy one of my creations! I hope I never lose that.

If you’re in the area, and have a bit of time between 10 am and 4 pm on Sunday, I hope you’ll stop by. Do check out our Guild’s booth, but also take a look around at the other creative work being done in this area. Find a very special gift from a local artist for your mother (Mother’s Day is fast approaching!), for another family member or friend, or even for yourself, something you’d never be able to find an a big-box / chain store.

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March Meeting of Western PA Metal Clay group

Posted by C Scheftic on 2013/03/26

I often intend to write at least a quick note about meetings of the Metal Clay group in Western PA, but then I forget to take any photos and, without those to jog my memory, I then forget all about the good intentions I had. But, on Sunday, I did remember to take camera and grab a handful of quick snapshots, so here are a few things we did at our last meeting. We called it a “Clay Play” day and, while some of us did exactly that, there was more than clay involved too!

We try to have a “special topic” at each meeting. For this, someone will offer to demonstrate a technique that at least a handful of members are interested in either discovering (if they’ve never tried it before) or learning more about (if they have some experience but want to talk about it with others who are interested in the same topic). This may involve metal clay, specifically, but often it addresses some other skill that may be useful. This month, our topic was drilling holes in glass and stones. The first photo (above, right) shows Debbie doing one of several demonstrations of this. She brought a bag full of stones and beach glass that she’d collected on the shores of Lake Superior last summer, ones that were a good “shape” for beginners attempting this task, and let those who were interested have a go with her equipment. She also assembled a one-page handout that covered both the steps involved and the tools used. Thanks, Deb! I’ll have to raid my collection (currently displayed in a glass vase at home) that I picked up the last time I lived in California and would go walking along the shores there. Some of the nicest ones I have came from Moonstone Beach (near Hearst Castle).

Michelle is our “local advocate” for using the Sihouette Cameo cutter in all sorts of ways. She generously brings her set-up to most “play day” sessions (shown, middle left). This time, she brought cardstock from which she cut boxes she uses for selling her Rose Gold and Green Gold clays, and let that run while we did other things. But she also does demos, answers questions from folks wondering if this might be a tool they would use, and even lets folks try out some ideas to see if they might want to take the plunge. Thanks to Michelle too!

We also have a round of Show & Tell at each session. Shown last (lower right) is Sharon, who had just gotten back from a 2-week vacation mere hours before our meeting began. Despite having gotten little sleep during that return trip, she came because she wanted to participate in the stone-drilling activity! She did have a few new fine silver creations to bring, but also displayed a nice collection of bracelets she had beaded at the beach. Will your husband let the rest of us all come with you next year, Sharon?

As for me, no photos yet of what I did, but they’ll show up eventually. In addition to participating in everything else, I had a very productive clay-play day. I made all the elements I’ll need for a dozen pairs of earring and a half dozen pendants. The latter all need to have a few simple embellishments added before they can be fired. I have double-duty plans for some of these pieces.

As part of the accreditation program for Hadar’s Clay teachers, I need to do a series of kiln-tests, using different clays, and record the result. Hoping that mine will come out OK (or, at least, that I understand the parameters well enough that most of them will), I’m going to risk a few of the simplest elements in those tests. If I do have a few failures, I didn’t invest much time or clay in these, so any “loss” will be minimal. More importantly, though, all of the pieces have designs that involve pollinators of various sorts, so all of the ones that do survive can go into the collection I’ll be taking out to the Western PA Garden Marketplace on April 20. How good is that?!

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Snow ==> White ==> Christmas

Posted by C Scheftic on 2013/02/09

Thinking about the winter white-out storm that has been and continues to bear down on a number of northeastern states today, here is a very belated Christmas-time report from back during my blog-hiatus.

How did my brain make this connection? I was born in the midwest. I have no actual memory of my original home, however, because my family moved east to Ohio in my first year of life. I do have a few memories from that, but only a few: within two years we moved farther east, to Pennsylvania.

Then, when I was in second grade, my father won a trip to visit the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team at their Spring Training Camp in Florida, which was then in the Gulf-side area of Fort Myers. My parents fell in love with Florida and, a few years later we moved down that way, although we ended up settling on the eastern (Atlantic) side.

Thus, I typically say that I come from / grew up in South Florida, because that’s where most of my youthful memories come from. Although I do have a few early memories of the White Christmas phenomenon, my biggest association with white-winter snowstorms involves how much I would hope that there’d be enough snow to cancel school! I remember sitting with my mother on the porch of our house, both of us bundled-up in winter-wear, and having her tell me that I would have to go as long as the snow had not come up higher than the step. And being terribly disappointed a few weeks later, when several snowstorms had accumulated that much, that I did still have to go to school …. because it hadn’t come up a whole step in one storm! Having snow at Christmas was never a big deal to me: for the few years we lived there, getting enough snow to cancel school was what mattered to me!

In Florida, each year we hosted various visitors from those northern climates. They would note some differences (e.g., the summer heat and ocean breezes; those from the mountain-areas would remark on the flatness of the land; etc.) but the one thing all those folks would make a big deal about was, “I just don’t see how it can feel like Christmas without snow, without even a chance of having a White Christmas.” Now, readers of this blog who live in warmer areas probably know the standard response to that: “Well, what do you think the weather was like on the First Christmas, the day Baby Jesus was born: Was it closer to snow in the mountains, or to sand and palm trees?!”

Still Snow ==> White ==> Christmas is a common set of associations in the culture in which I live, so it’s easy for me to make the connection in that context. Thus, the photos with this snow-day post are from the Charm Exchange that the Western PA Chapter of the PMC Guild held again, just before Christmas, last December.

The three fine silver charms shown here, below/left, are the ones I received in our “grab-bag” style exchange. They come from guild-mates Georgie Nix, Susie Varoli, and Barbara Kaczor. Clearly, Barbara’s ornament commemorates the holiday season. Susie’s reflects her own sparkly personality and the camaraderie of the group. And Georgie’s illustrates the complex thinking that goes into of all her lovely artistry. I’m thrilled with all of them but I will note that I’ve even worn Georgie’s as a pendant several times, rather than risking its getting hidden in the jumble of one of my charm bracelets….

But there was something else very interesting going on this year: with jewelers exchanging gifts, their packaging often reflects their artistry as well! Shown at the very top of this post (to the right) is a shot I managed to capture of several of the charm packages as they went into the grab-bag. The one in the middle held the “friends” charm, and is a lovely, hand-made, 3-dimensional construction with, from Susie Varoli, a little more sparkle. The other two, that were ultimately selected by others in the group, are from Alice Walkowski and Michelle Glaeser. Both of them recently bought themselves one of the Silhouette Cameo cutters that began sweeping the metal clay community last year. Originally used a lot in scrapbook-making, they can be used for adorable little packages like this, whether you use their features for cutting (Alice’s, to the left, with cut-out green exposing red under-layer) or drawing (Michelle’s, to the right, with white ink drawn on green).

Our group had a great time, as we typically do at our monthly gatherings. I hope that all my readers had a great holiday season and that the illnesses and snowstorms and everything that seems to be circulating since the new year began are not limiting your opportunities for creative expression!

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The Charm(s) of Mika Tajiri

Posted by C Scheftic on 2012/08/15

This note will finish up on one item, leftover from my last post, about the charm exchange at the 2012 PMC Guild Conference….

The first two photos here, to the left, show both sides of the charm I received from Mika Tajiri in the charm exchange at the 2010 PMC Guild Conference. Although I did not make a big deal about it at the time, my immediate reaction was that, while I certainly enjoyed all the charms I received that year, this one was definitely among my favorites, both for the overall design, and for its being reversible!

But there was something else. Right at the moment of exchange, all I knew was that I was trading with a couple of “the Japanese ladies” who had come over for the conference. In retrospect, I did not recall noticing any jewelry this artist was wearing: But I remember being charmed by her, in particular, with her apparent delight at participating in the exchange.

Later, I saw her again in the “Show and Sell” area, and that’s when I did notice the jewelry she was wearing. I had just seen it in a recent issue of Fusion (which was (then) the quarterly journal of the (now much modified) PMC Guild): She had won one of the “Favorites” awards at the 2010 Hobby Show in Japan! And that evening she was wearing another piece from that collection. I recognized it immediately.

With a lot of smiling and hand-motions, I managed to ask, and she managed to confirm, that she was the person who had made the pieces (i.e., she wasn’t just wearing something gorgeous that she’d bought from that artist), and that my memory was correct that the charm I was already wearing on my bracelet from that year was also hers. Honestly, I felt like I had won the charm-lottery: a favorite charm was by a delightful artist who had won an award for a piece that I really admired!

So, at the 2012 conference’s charm exchange, I will admit that she was one of the artists I was hoping to spot for an exchange. When I caught sight of her, she was again wearing one of her signature pieces. I gave her a big smile, which she returned immediately. Which was just the friendly thing to do, right? Since I was wearing a collection of my charm-exchange bracelets linked together as a necklace, I reached for the segment from 2010, located her piece, and held it up with another smile, to indicate that I recognized her. Which brought on happy hand motions to say that, if I’d brought charms this year, she’d be happy to exchange again. Yes!

Well, the business card she included this year (photo with black background; but with no website listed … unless I just missed that in the part written in Japanese) included an image of her winning piece from 2010. And her “charm” for 2012 was a simpler, miniature piece made the same way as those other elements (the last photo, left, with this post). She was giving these lovely pieces away to others, in exchange for whatever little piece we had made. I was delighted with its design, and thrilled by this generosity!

I know, from talking with several other artists who traded with her, that we all think this one is both too lovely and too delicate to risk getting beat up on a fun-but-clunky charm bracelet. This is the one I held out (as mentioned in my last post): it has gone on a chain all by itself so I can wear it as a necklace. People I know ask if I’ve made it and I have to say, “No, but I sure wish I could both imagine and execute pieces like the charming Mika Tajiri makes!”

And this post is my way of saying an extra “Thank you!” to her for honoring me with one of these.

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Two More Charm Bracelets for the Collection….

Posted by C Scheftic on 2012/08/12

It’s taken me almost two months (where has the summer gone!) but I figured it was time to post a follow-up showing all the treats I got during the Charm Exchange at the 2012 PMC Guild Conference.

With a change of both venue and of overall schedule, there had been a bit of uncertainty as to whether this very popular exchange would even happen at all this time. Once there was confirmation that a modified form of the exchange would take place, and in between lots of other commitments and deadlines, I did manage to make a collection of small, very simple (but, this being me, reversible) charms in a mix of silver (some shiny; some with a patina) and bronze (some the traditional yellow color; others in the more-coppery rose bronze).

Alice and I had a great time “carpooling” out to Kentucky for the conference. Since we’d taken my car the last time we went together, this time we took hers. And she drove, which meant I was able to sit in the passenger seat and add jump rings to all of my charms while we chatted our way across five states: whew! Once I’d finished adding those, I kept going with jump rings and made a pair of bracelets: one out of Argentium sterling silver (with a sterling lobster clasp) and the other out of bronze (with a copper lobster clasp). Admittedly, a moving car is not necessarily the ideal setting for those activities, but it’s not like I was doing complex chain maille, we were mostly on good interstate highways, and Alice’s driving was nice and smooth. (I will let her declare whether that’s her normal mode or a concession to my activities.) So it was easy to complete those tasks and they even added to how quickly the time seemed to pass.

As I’d said before the conference (an event which also happened to extend over the Summer Solstice), I called mine “Moonlit Garden” charms, “not just because I cut them in a waxing/waning moon shape, but also because they have a sort of moonscape texture on one side, and some sort of garden-theme texture on t’other (cherry blossoms, gingko leaves, roses, ferns, or various daisies).” My idea was that all followed that same theme, but no two were alike.

Curiously, as I was adding their jump rings, I did notice three “pairs” that seemed to match up nicely. I stuffed those in a different pocket, thinking I could later sell those as earrings (and make a little money to help recoup a bit of the cost of all the charms…). One of the fifty charms I made went into the thank-you box that was presented to Tim McCreight and I kept a bronze one for my own bracelet as a record of what I’d done. That left me 42 to exchange: an ideal number for the two bracelet-chains I’d just made.

And, now, I’d like to thank all of the following metal clay artists for exchanging charms with me:

All but one of those charms are shown above. I’m hoping to find time to write about that other one in a separate post….

Also not shown here, but much appreciated as well, are the non-charm trades I received from:

I’m thanking you here too, because I’m not sure when I’ll get around to posting something about how I used your little treats. But I expect they will show up eventually….

For anyone who included a link on the card that came with your charm, I included that on my list. If you didn’t, but I could find you in a quick, easy online search, I added what I found. Otherwise, I’ve just listed you without a link but, if you stumble across this note and have one you’d like me to add, let me know and I will update this post with that information. (Ditto for any other changes or corrections I need to make.)

I sure hope all of you (as well as any of the other artists I somehow missed in the exchange) are as happy with your new charm collection as I am with mine! Happy claying, everyone!

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Networking: Human versus Electronic

Posted by C Scheftic on 2012/06/25

I’m just back from the (last ever) PMC Guild Conference, held just outside of Cincinatti, Ohio.

The very BEST thing about the gathering involved the interactions among all the participants. Whether it was a presenter sharing information, an audience member asking or answering a question, folks in the vendor’s hall doing a demonstration, or all the interactions among everyone at the various social events (including out in the swimming pool under the stars late at night) … well, those interactions are the things that make this such a valuable event.

Blogs, websites, newsgroups, Facebook, online workshops, etc., are fine, but nothing like that wonderful, live, personal interaction among the hundreds of attendees. And seeing everyone’s “bling” live, for real, in person! Yes, many of the initiatives that the PMC Guild and Art Clay Society started have been picked up elsewhere. But not the big conferences; at least, not yet. And I’ve always found those to be very special events; and, coming from someone who generally prefers small groups to crowds, that’s really saying something! A girl can hope that good, strong, viable alternatives will re-appear in the next year or two….

Because I found that electronic-versus-human difference to be magnified even further by what I consider the worst part of this year’s event: the extremely limited ‘net access at the meeting site itself (especially since it had promoted its “Free WiFi” as part of the service). I really had hoped to get started on at least some new posts while on the road immersed in thoughts of metal clay (a few to finish and post immediately, and others to continue working on to post over the next week or two). But those posts just didn’t happen, and my schedule now is jammed up. I’ll try to get a couple of posts going, but it may be a few weeks before I can get back to any real writing.

Since I want to end this note with a positive thought, more in keeping with my overall positive feeling about the event, I will end with a photo from Tim McCreight’s “History of PMC” talk, showing him with CeCe Wire. My guess is that this was taken in 2006? Anyway, I’ve enjoyed learning things from both of them (whether it was when we agreed, or disagreed, about the best way to approach a construction…).

There’ll be more here about other people and interactions, plus news about my own workshops and projects, as soon as I can find the time. In the meantime, regarding the title of this post: yep, the direct human interaction won, for sure!

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Fifty for the Charm Exchange!

Posted by C Scheftic on 2012/06/20

As I’ve mentioned several times in the past (both here and here, and maybe elsewhere…), one of the regular events at PMC Guild conferences has always been an evening reception that involves a charm exchange. For the conference this year (the last one ever of this particular group, since it is disbanding at the end of this week … but those details will have to wait for another post!), no time was allocated for it. So no one knew whether or not to stock up on charms in preparation for the exchange.

Then, at pretty much the last minute, a way to do the exchange was decided upon by a few people who were going … and, presumably, already had a stash they were wanting to trade! Those of us who did not have much of a stash ready were left to assemble ours amidst the flurry of other things involved in preparing for the trip.

But I managed to make fifty! Of course, they all still need to have jump rings added so recipients can hang them, but I’m hoping to do that on the ride over. Lucky for me, Alice said she’d drive us! (If I’m really lucky, I’ll also have time then to make a bracelet or two from which to hang the charms I’ll get in exchange for these too.)

They are all similar, but no two are alike! And, of course, this being me, they are all reversible.

I call them “Moonlit Garden” charms, not just because I cut them in a waxing/waning moon shape, but also because they have a sort of moonscape texture on one side, and some sort of garden-theme texture on t’other (cherry blossoms, gingko leaves, roses, ferns, or various daisies).

In rough numbers:

  • 60% are made from fine silver and, of those:
    • 35% were polished in a magnetic finisher, and then got a LOS patina;
    • 65% were tumble-polished and left all shiny.

  • 40% are made from bronze and of those:
    • 30% are a rose bronze color;
    • 70% are the more-typical yellow bronze; and
    • both colors were lightly hand-polished in the hope of maintaining a bit of their lovely but random kiln-coloring.

The silver costs more in raw materials, but the bronze ones take longer to complete. At what I figure is a reasonable rate for my time, they come out at about equal in value to me. I still need to find the little grab-bag I used last time to haul them around in, so anyone who wants to trade can just reach in and get whichever kind their hand is drawn to.

And now that I’m over the concern about whether I’d manage to finish them, at last I’m able to look forward to seeing what I might get in exchange! Might yours be one of them?

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Western PA Metal Clay @ Art All Night

Posted by C Scheftic on 2012/05/01

I’ve been doing Metal Clay demos at Art All Night for five years now. We actually announced the formation of our local guild-chapter at a previous Art All Night, with our first meeting scheduled for about two weeks later. In subsequent years, I have been joined by anywhere from one to six other members of the group. With me this year were Alice Walkowski, Debbie Rusonis, and Donna Penoyer, putting on a little metal clay show for about five hours on Saturday night.

Debbie left a little earlier and Donna arrived a little later than Alice and I did. Here’s a shot of Alice and Debbie posed, during a brief lull, about an hour after we had set up our demonstration area:

And here’s another shot, taken moments after that one, showing how they really felt:

Yes, after a warmer-than-usual March, our April weather has been very fickle, and Saturday night in an unheated building turned out to be a particularly cold undertaking! Though, of course, our hearts were warmed by all the visitors!

We really did enjoy talking with the different people who stopped by our table. We were located in a somewhat challenging spot to find: you had to either work your way down a row of exhibits and then through the entire hands-on activity section for children, or else find the “back passage” through the show.

One thing that did draw some people to that back passage was catching a glimpse of the “artists in residence” down in a sort of pit just beyond our spot. I really thought I had taken some photos of them, creating pieces on-site, but now I don’t see any on my camera. Oops…. Though I’m sorry that a lot of people never made it down to where we were, the nice thing about how it worked out this year was that we had a great opportunity for some extended interactions with the folks who did stop by.

As far as I know, Alice and I were the only artists who entered pieces that were constructed using “metal clay’ techniques. Because we had checked in separately (although only a few minutes apart, we’d been directed to different stations), we were amused to find our two pieces hung together:

Since you probably can’t see much detail inside the frames on either of our entries, here are some photos we’d each taken earlier. First, there’s a shot of Alice’s piece, Diving with Pearls (with fine silver and a CZ, plus pearls and ceramic beads) that she took and I found on her blog, followed by my entry, a reversible pendant (in yellow bronze, rose bronze, and copper) called Three Flowers … with a Twist.

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This Weekend: Art All Night

Posted by C Scheftic on 2012/04/23

Yep, once again, the last weekend in April brings the wonderful event known as Art All Night. As ever, it’ll be in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh, but there is a new location for this year: just east of the 40th Street Bridge, down next to the Allegheny River. Details are at the event’s website:

Will I see you there? I plan to head down:

  • on Saturday night from the opening (4 pm) until maybe 9 pm, where some metal clay guild-mates (Alice, Debbie, and Donna) and I will be doing demos; this is my fifth year in that role (my, how time flies!); plus, I will also try to scout out sites so I can go back….
  • on Sunday around midday, when I’d like to try to take some GigaPan images, mostly because I want to try a couple things in order to learn some more about the quirks of that process (both taking the shots and “stitching” them together), but also because it seems like it should be fun to try to capture a hint of the magnitude of this event.

In the meantime, here’s a little video that I found online. It looks like it was made to promote Art All Night in 2011, with shots from Art All Night 2010. It’s just over two and a half minutes long and, at about 1:45 in, you can see Ann from our group with a flaming torch. (I was off exploring when that segment was shot, and heard about it when I got back…. But the lighted area on the table just past Ann points to the display I took down to the site that year.)

If you can make it, I’ll sure look forward to seeing you there!

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It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

Posted by C Scheftic on 2011/09/29

I just realized it’s been almost two weeks since I posted anything. Sigh… I realized that around the same time it hit me that it’s been just under a month since I last fired up my kiln. Yikes! Where has the time gone?!

It’s not that I’ve been completely slacking off, mind you. It’s more that I do not see this whole art-jewelry adventure as a “full time job” (and do not ever want to see it that way … by which I mean that, no matter how many or how few hours I work at it, I don’t want to ever let it even approach a feeling of drudgery!). So sometimes I decide to take things a little bit easier, to take time to just enjoy what I’m doing. In addition to the things I have posted about in recent weeks, I’ve attended market-shows, visited museums and galleries, and so on.

Mid-month, I held an Open House in my studio, where I did make a number of pieces just to demonstrate the process for visitors. Because those were done to illustrate one or more points about working with metal clay (rather than from some specific design I had in mind), I then just smushed most of them back up afterwards so I could use the clay in a more deliberate manner later on. I did finish and keep a few but, feeling no pressure to complete them immediately, I just set them on my to-be-fired tray for when I had more of a kiln load. I guess I could have taken photos and written about any or all of those activities, but I decided to simply enjoy doing all those things, without thinking about using them here. Same thing with most of the other activities I’ve been involved with recently, like events with the Master Gardeners (as well as with my own garden), spending time with friends visiting from out of town, etc.

We did have a meeting of the Western PA Chapter of the PMC Guild. That was on Tuesday, out at the Four Directions Jewelry Studio that chapter-member Barbara Kaczor recently opened out in Springdale, PA. The photo shows some of the folks in attendance that evening. (That’s Barbara on the left, standing up and leaning over between Alice and Michelle.) The group had not had a formal meeting in a while, so it was great to get together with everyone again, see what all they’ve been up to, and share inspiration and discoveries. As always, we started out with a Show & Tell session (which included metal clay pieces and traditional metalsmithing, but also reports of surgeries, weddings, and travels… we’re pretty flexible about what gets included!). We dealt with some “business issues” and had some refreshments (for which, thanks to new-participant Susie, I was not the only one who brought a dish containing edible flowers!). We finished up with a lively discussion of making your own textures using the “tear-away technique.”

Since that ran late, and Alice lives a lengthy drive away, she stayed over at my place. We went back to my studio the next morning, right after breakfast. Alice sat down at one table and began designing a bracelet she wants to make, and I spent a bit of time getting studio back in order for working. (It had been in Open House configuration.) I just sat down to start working when Alice got a text from her husband, asking if she’d be back in time to go out for dinner with “the Holders.” Problem is, she couldn’t think of anyone named Holder! After several more text messages, the situation was clearer: the “Holders” is what his phone thought he meant when he tried to type in “the golfers” — meaning the people that he was out with for the day! Once she finished her design, in its preliminary state at least, she decided that it was too complex to finish in one afternoon, so she’d be better off heading home. She said her farewells, and I got back to serious work.

I spent the afternoon and evening making several “trial” pieces out of Hadar Jacobson’s relatively new “Rose Bronze” clay! Though I’ve enjoyed working with many of her other products, that was my first-ever use of the rose bronze. Those pieces are in the kiln now: noting their firing in my log book is what showed me how long it had been since the last time I’d fired it up.

I don’t like to sit right in the room as binders are burning away, but neither do I feel comfortable just leaving the building as the kiln fires. So I took my laptop over to another room in the building that houses my studio, and started this post.

These pieces are only going to get their first-phase firing tonight; when they’re done, I’ll take them out of the kiln. They can cool down on their own, but too much carbon will burn up if I just leave them in the kiln. (That extra fiddling, and multi-phase firings, are among the reasons that creating with the base metal clays seems more labor-intensive than do the precious metals!) It may be a couple days before I find time to fire the second phase. I’ll post results, good or bad, once I see what I’ve gotten and done some post-fire finishing on them. Please wish us good luck!

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How I Spent Last Weekend.

Posted by C Scheftic on 2011/09/04

With a bit of island-themed whimsy, in honor of the workshops led by Gordon Uyehara at the Valley Art Center in Chagrin Falls, OH, last weekend, I open this post with a photo of the “Cosmic Honu” turtle pendant made last Saturday by one of my local guild-friends, Michelle Glaeser (who is also the developer of rose gold clay), checking out the “Pearl Box” ring that I made on the Sunday. As I’d mentioned in my last post, not everyone who went had been able to stay for all the events, but Michelle and I met at my studio for an hour or so a few days later to talk about the different workshops each of us had taken.

There are several ways to approach the making of a ring using metal clay, and this class from Gordon uses the method I practice the least myself. So, why did I take this class? First of all, I wanted to push myself to practice this method. Even though I don’t find it particularly easy, if you look at book and magazine articles plus a range of on-line posts, it appears to be the one most commonly used by metal clay artists. (I don’t know how many are just starting from the same point they first learned and extending that for their project, or if they have tried others and simply prefer this one. It is the first method I learned too, but I later figured out, read about, and otherwise explored others that I find easier (not necessarily quicker, just easier) and have, myself, mostly expanded on those. I guess I’d better think about making, and writing about, some of those this winter….) In the meantime, rather than struggle on my own to master this technique, I figured I’d take it (again) from someone reported to have many happy customers (both product buyers and workshop students), and maybe I’d be able to pick up a few tips I’d missed. Besides, there can actually be two ring-bands in this particular design: one that goes around the finger and another that goes around the decorative top. So, this offered double the practice all in one day!

[Several asides: I wasn’t the only one with questions either. At left, you can see Gordon doing a little demonstration for Carole B from Columbus. It was fun to meet her in person at last! We’d emailed each other for months, first over organizing workshops in separate cities when our three groups brought in Hadar Jacobson, which I wrote about early last April, and then there was more mail setting up this combined effort with Gordon last week.]

The finished samples Gordon brought, one of which was shown in my last post, all had the pearl set into a flat-topped, circular box, with the pearl off from the center of the box but positioned centrally in line along the finger when worn. He also discussed, had unfired versions of, and constructed during demos, some other styles: different box shapes, different top-shapes, various wall heights, with the pearl positioned in different ways (e.g., centered or offset relative to the top or to the textured design). At the right, in a snapshot that shows eight of the sixteen pieces that participants made (one kiln-load), you can get a clue about their choices: I can see oval, oblong, and triangular as well as circular, and having flat, curved, or fully-domed tops.

Those who know my work, especially those who take my classes, know that I love various curved shapes: domes, waves, loops, and more. And that, although I often use some fairly “subtle” textures, I do tend to put textures just about everywhere: fronts and backs (making pieces reversible), inside little openings (whether visible in public or a little secret about the space known only to the wearer), and so on. Also, having gotten some of my design sense through working within the math world as a geometer, I know how to find centers and figure angles and such. So one funny thing about this ring, for me, is that I made it with:

  • a flat top;
  • a simple satin-finish on both the wall-sides and finger-ring;
  • the pearl at some almost-random off-center, not-aligned position; and
  • the whole box deliberately set ever-so-slightly off-center on the band (both left-to-right and front-to-back) because it just seemed while I was assembling it as though it would sit nicely that way (too far off might want to topple, but a tiny bit off just felt better to me).

But another, even-funnier thing is that, without us ever discussing any of this during the session (because we were so busy working away on our own projects), both Alice (another local guild-friend, and my traveling companion for the weekend) and I made almost identical choices all along the way! (And this is not her typical style either, which usually has lots of curls and swirls.) We had brought different textures to use, and hers (left) was one that comes out a tiny bit deeper than mine (right). Other than that, however, I don’t think we could have made more-matching rings if we’d tried! We had a good laugh when we each saw what the other had done….

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Where I Spent Last Weekend.

Posted by C Scheftic on 2011/09/03

Three Metal Clay guild groups–in Pittsburgh / Western Pennsylvania, Cleveland / NorthEast Ohio, and Columbus Ohio–got together (with the help of a small grant from the PMC Guild) to sponsor four days of workshops, held at the Valley Art Center in Chagrin Falls, OH, over the last full weekend in August this year. (Sorry, but I don’t have links for websites of those Ohio groups. If anyone reading this can provide them, I’ll be happy to add the links here! In the meantime, if you’re trying to find either one, you might try checking the guilds listing at Metal Clay Today.)

One of the features involved a series of workshops by Hawaii-based metal clay artist, Gordon K. Uyehara:

  • “Fabulous Bail Link Bracelet” (two days: Thursday and Friday);
  • “Cosmic Honu” (stencilled turtle) pendant (Saturday); and
  • “Pearl Box Ring” (Sunday).

All the photos with this post show Gordon’s delightful pieces, samples for the various workshops. Two bracelets, above. One turtle is with the bracelets, and a second one is visible on Gordon himself during one of his demos in the ring class. (Click to see a larger version of either of those snapshots, which I took.) And, shown further down this post is one of Gordon’s own photos of an example of his ring project. (Beyond those, if you’re not already familiar with his work, do check his website to get a better clue of his style and range. I remain in awe of the work I know goes into making most of his pieces.)

There were a number of other sessions too, for which I have no photos (sigh…). The other major hands-on workshop, led by Ohio-based artist Catherine Davies Paetz, covered making a series of carved, seamless rings (stackable, if you wanted to wear them that way) using PMC Pro. Other scheduled sessions involved topics like design, photography, and flexshaft maintenance. And there was a big pot-luck dinner on Saturday night.

Now, it just so happens that all this got scheduled over days when I had tons of stuff already going on. And, in fact, I wasn’t the only one! So, while a few people stayed for the entire four days, there were lots of others who did their best to find an opening somewhere in their schedule when they could participate in at least some part of the weekend. Though that posed a bit of a challenge (would all the costs be covered by the registration fees that had been set?!) in another way it was OK: because there were a few openings, it was possible to accommodate requests from others to join the fun, which ended up including folks from Colorado, Maryland, Florida (and those are just the ones I caught; there may have been others).

So, on Saturday I drove up to Franklin, PA, to meet with Alice Walkowski, and we headed over to Chagrin Falls together. On my way to Alice’s, however, I hit a major traffic jam. I knew there was construction and, based on previous trips through that area, I’d factored in a 40 minute delay; online sites I checked en route then told me it would set me back 45 minutes; there is an alternate route, but it normally takes 45-50 minutes longer than the other route and due to lots of traffic lights, so I figured I’d risk the interstate construction for an easy drive the rest of the way. Wrong decision! In reality, that single three-mile stretch added well over two hours to my trip!!!

But we still managed to arrive in Chagrin Falls just in time to make a quick stop at the delightful Village Herb Shop. I wanted to get there because it’s a great source for edible flowers (which you should know by now that I love to cook with). But I mention it here specifically because they also carry the lavender oil that many metal clay artists use in joining pieces of metal! In fact, they carry both the essential oil (alone) and a tincture (with alcohol), in several sizes. I already have a bottle of that, but this time I picked up some organic edible flowers, both in the Village Herb Shop’s special mix (where I may have gotten the last jar of this season!), and some separate, individual varieties (including some delightful little button roses whose petals can go into my next few batches of rose petal ice cream!) Alice is not quite the edible flower fan that I am but, while I shopped, she explored the yarn shop upstairs and the garden outside. So we were both happy with that stop.

After we were done there, we headed over to meet up with all the various guild members for that delicious pot-luck dinner. We spent the night in a near-by hotel, and were thus able to arrive promptly for a 9 am start for Gordon’s “Box Ring with Pearl” workshop. More about that in my next post.

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WPaPMC tries 14K Rose Gold Metal Clay!

Posted by C Scheftic on 2011/01/30

Yesterday (January 29), the Western PA Chapter of the PMC Guild became the first group anywhere to try out 14K Rose Gold metal clay.

A member of our chapter, Michelle Glaeser, announced the availability of this product earlier this month. This will not replace the more traditional yellow gold, but it can be a nice alternative or complement to that color. Michelle and I got to talking and the end result was that, when 14 of our members gathered on Saturday in a local library’s community room, we ended up sharing almost two packs of the stuff. Michelle kept what was left over for her own continued experiments.

Of course, the price of precious metals — including gold and silver — has been climbing lately. So we didn’t go off making big gold pieces. People brought their own creations made using their favorite form of silver metal clay. Some had already been fired so that only fine silver remained; others were still in the dried “greenware clay” state. Each participant bought a little piece (0.2 grams) of rose gold clay with which to embellish them. The open domed disk with a rose gold heart was made by Stephania; the photo shows her little heart, still in the clay state, attached to her piece of pre-fired, un-burnished silver.

Why would we fire the silver first? The basic formula for any “rose gold” involves gold, silver, and copper, and the presence of copper means that the rose gold clay must be fired in an oxygen-reduced environment. But the silver clay itself prefers to be fired with oxygen. If the silver clay has been pre-fired as usual then, once it is in its fine silver state, it can be re-fired with or without oxygen. So you can attach the rose gold embellishment and fire that new bit of clay in activated carbon, which is the easiest way to get the necessary reduction atmosphere. (There are other alternatives, if you really do want to fire the two together, but I won’t go into those here.) We had several stainless steel pans (which can take the heat of the kiln), filled them part-way with carbon, loaded our pieces (as shown), topped that with more carbon, covered it with a lid, loaded those into several of the kilns we’d brought, and set them to fire away!

When the firing cycle was complete (slightly over an hour later) we let things cool down a little bit, removed the pans, and started sifting through the (very hot) carbon for our pieces. Shown, are Dee, Donna, and Nicole searching through one of the pans.

As we found the pieces, they were laid out on a firebrick shelf for a few minutes until they had cooled down to a safe-handling temperature (as shown to the right).

Then we started examining the results. Most turned out beautifully!

Two of mine are shown at the very top of this post. Each little coil used half of the rose gold clay that I had (thus, about 0.1 gram each). My one on the left (up above) is what pieces look like straight from the kiln: the silver looks almost white, and the rose gold looks dark like the clay. The one on the right shows what happens when you burnish and otherwise polish the piece: the silver and rose gold get very shiny and bright. The darker areas on that piece are the result of applying a “liver of sulphur” patina (which turned especially colorful around the rose gold!), and then polishing that off the high points to accentuate the textured areas.

(I’m pretty sure those are Sharon’s hands, in the photo to the left, polishing one of her pieces.)

For a few, the little rose gold embellishments had come loose: with more (and very careful) sifting through the carbon we were able to retrieve those. (They can be reattached and refired.) Michelle’s earlier testing had shown that painting on thick layers of paste worked just fine; we discovered, however, that trying to be “conservative” by just painting on a very thin layer wasn’t a good idea. The way the attachment happens involves a reaction between the silver and gold atoms and, if there’s just a thin gold layer, it all sinks down into (alloys with) the silver. You need to use enough for some to remain above the part that attaches. (Well, and there may also be factors involving the exact temperature and length of the firing, but that’s beyond the scope of this basic report.) Michelle says that she saw no such alloying with embellishments that were at least 2 cards thick, and that is consistent with what we observed. With pieces that big, the shrinkage rate for the rose gold clay appears to be about 15%.

Finally, I will note that regular readers of this blog will know that I emphasize the fact that most of my pieces are fully reversible. This last shot here shows the “other” side of the two pieces with which I opened this post. Though they’re similar in design (but rotated 90° from each other) on the side where I added the rose gold (shown first), this last photo lets you see how different they are on their “other” side.

(As usual, clicking on any photo should open a new tab with a larger image.)

Posted in Guild, Learning Metal Clay, Technical Details | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

WPaPMC 2010 Holiday Charm Exchange

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/12/12

A few days ago I said I’d write another post about one other activity at the holiday-season meeting Western PA Chapter of the PMC Guild: our charm exchange. While a charm exchange can happen any number of ways, we typically swap three at a time. Each person makes three, all of them go into a grab-bag, and then the bag (or box or hat or whatever) gets passed around the table three times, with each participant getting to select one charm each time. (If you happen to grab your own, or a duplicate of one you already got this time, you just put it back and pick a different one.)

We set up some other rules too, though we’re not at all strict about enforcing them. One of the so-called rules for this one was to make your charms follow a theme that represented some aspect of either Pittsburgh or southwestern Pennsylvania. Your choice how to implement that.

My charms, above, incorporate three ideas. First of all, the overall shape of the charm itself refers to Pittsburgh’s history as the “Steel City.” It is loosely based on a part of the logo for both US Steel (based here) and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The embellishments on one side are meant to represent the “Three Rivers” (where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers join to form the Ohio river, which flows into the Mississippi and then on to the Gulf of Mexico). Historically, that confluence was a major factor in much of the development of this area. The branching design on the other side, in one way, could be taken as reinforcing the rivers-theme but, even more, it is my way of noting the oft-repeated comparison that Pittsburgh does not always feel like a city, but more like a “big small town” in the way people connect to and interact with each other.

One of our members, Barbara, had made charms for the exchange but was at the last minute unable to join us. So we managed to let her participate in absentia, and I am holding onto the ones that were drawn for her until she can get over to pick them up.

Two of the charms Barbara got are shown above. The one that I really had trouble getting even a halfway decent shot of (because of its smooth texture and bright shine) is an adorable Pittsburgh Pieroghi that Sally made. The other, with a holiday-theme instead of Pittsburgh (see what I mean about following, or not, the rules?) is a great little Christmas tree ornament from Lois.

Both Barbara and I got one of Michelle’s charms (below, left). She didn’t actually follow the rules either, but admits that after the fact she came up with an explanation that almost works.

Michelle moved here just a few years ago from New Mexico, and still marvels at the brightness, intensity, and color range of autumn leaves in this area, so her charm with an autumn leaf and a little acorn fits that part of it (even though the majority of it is not made from some form of metal clay … which was another (unenforced) rule).

The other charm shown above is the one I got from Alice, with her impression of the Smithfield Street Bridge in downtown Pittsburgh. (Another rule was to ID your charm on the outside of its package, so people could re-choose if they got a charm from someone they’d already exchanged with. Alice, like several other participants, ID’d hers on the inside…) Even though I had earlier exchanged with Alice, I’m glad I got that one: for a number of years I worked right at the end of that bridge (for two different companies, both in the same building, between the two different times I spent in grad school), and I walked over it regularly.

The other charm I got is this amazingly detailed house by Holly Dobkin. It reminds me of the house I lived in the last time I lived in Pittsburgh … which included the time I worked next to the Smithfield Street bridge. (I keep coming and going: I’m currently on my fifth different time here.) So for me, this one matches up beautifully with Alice’s charm. And it almost goes with Michelle’s: although, for me, acorns remind me of my house when I lived in Minnesota, all of them still resonate with “home.”

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Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/12/09

The Western PA Chapter of the PMC Guild held its inaugural meeting in May of 2008 in the Trevanion Room of the Wilkins School Community Center–the same center where I now have my studio. At that meeting were the three founding members (me, Donna Penoyer, and Jan Durkin), along with four other charter members (Alice Walkowski, Karen Haugh, Laura Tabakman, and Stacey Carulli who was representing Beyond Beads). In both 2008 and 2009, the shop Beyond Beads hosted our holiday season meeting but, between our growth and their move to a location with less meeting room, we were not able to hold it there this year.

Not to worry, I thought (way back, months ago, before I’d actually moved into new studio), I can now just offer to host that one. Although we have over 60 local “members” in our online community, we rarely get more than about twenty at any one particular meeting. We’re actually delighted with our current size: big enough to have a great mix of people, but with a small enough regular attendance that we can still fit into a range of different sites!

What with the first serious cold snap and snow of the season, a series of nasty “bugs” going around, and all the activities this time of year, I was delighted when sixteen members still managed to get to our annual “Holiday Season” meeting on Wednesday night. We could have squeezed in a few more, had they shown up, but sixteen was just about the right number to fit in, ah, cosily. The photos with this post were taken during a break for refreshments and small-group discussions.

Our meetings always start with a “show & tell” session. Particpants show off their latest creations and talk about making them: new techniques tried, problems encountered, work-arounds involved, lessons learned, etc. Others are free to ask questions or offer suggestions. Lots of ooh-ing and aaah-ing is involved. New rings, in particular, seem to get delayed in their trip around the table, as people try to figure out which finger they best fit and how they feel, as well as how they were made. If you weren’t at the meeting, you can see photos of a few of the rings and other pieces that were passed around, such as two of the rings Donna Penoyer made for Whole Lotta Whimsy’s Master Muse projects, and one of the rings and a couple other pieces that Holly Dobkin made for Morgan Contemporary Glass’s annual Teapots! exhibit. (If any other members have relevant online-links, please let me know and I’ll be happy to add them here.) My major new creation for the Show & Tell this time, of course, was the studio in which we met!

Lindsay Newell, who came to join us after a number of years doing traditional metalsmithing (using sterling silver) had requested a demo and discussion on making fine silver bezels. Several other members generously met that request: Donna P demonstrated several techniques and issues with using fine silver bezel wire; Michelle Glaeser demonstrated the use of PMC+ sheet clay on a metal clay backing piece (one of the “Jen Kahn” approaches). In both, other members chimed in with additional questions, tips, and more.

If I can find the time in a few days, I’ll add another post discussing some other items from that evening. For now, however, I close with the thought that, in this season of giving, then, I want to thank everyone who gave something to help make that evening such a success.

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Late Summer Weekends.

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/09/13

What is it with weekends as summer draws to a close, so jam-packed with all sorts of things “to be fit in” before the season ends? This past weekend was one of those. I’ll mention a few of the more relevant events.

On Satuday, I went to the InterGalactic bead show as it passed through town. I didn’t buy very much: the thought of picking up much of anything that I’d then have to move at the end of the month when I get my new studio put some brakes on those tendencies. I did buy a few tools, ones that I’ll discuss later, once I’m settled into studio and happily using them. And I bought a couple little pieces to use in displaying work in that studio. I was really trying to resist buying beads, though I did pick up one quartz piece and a few hanks of crystals (sample shown right).

After that, I headed over to meet some friends (and just run into others, of course) at A Fair in the Park, which is one of my favorite local shows. No photos of my purchases there, however, all of which will be holiday gifts and those folks may read this. (Then I ended the day with a great barbecue dinner in perfect late-summer weather.)

On Sunday, our local chapter of the PMC Guild met for a “field trip” to the Carnegie Museum. Nominally, it was to see the current special exhibit, “Pittsburgh Adorned,” but the best part was that you had to pass through the wonderful halls of Minerals and Gems to get to that. We checked out a few other exhibits quickly and had a short business meeting over drinks in the “Fossil Fuels” cafe (which you access by going through the Dinosaur Hall…). Then, most folks headed home, while Barbara and I (we’d carpooled) decided we had enough time left to head down for the tail end of the grand opening weekend of the Pittsburgh Public Market. Interesting food and crafts but, for local readers of this blog, probably the best news is that the wonderful Zelda’s Bead Kit Company has a booth there too!

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Charm Bracelet #2 from the Conference

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/08/13

With tomorrow morning looming as a deadline, since our next guild chapter meeting will start off with a “Show & Tell” session, late this afternoon at last I sat out in the breeze on my front porch and (1) assembled three sizes of bronze jump rings into a simple bracelet and (2) attached my remaining charms from this year’s charm exchange (about 1/3 of my total “haul”). And here it is!

The ones on the other bracelet from this event are all completely, predominantly silver. The ones on this bracelet are either (a) clearly copper or bronze, (b) may contain a bit of silver but that’s not the predominant material, (c) silver wth a color added that I thought would go well with these or, (d) not clear to me exactly what material was used (e.g., the one from Mary Ellin D’Agostino (the narrow rectangle at about 7 o’clock) may (or may not) include a base made of her “married metals” (a self-made alloy of silver and copper clays) with a small silver square-shaped component on top). But, I think these eleven (including one of my very-first bronze fans) make a nice mix.

If you’re one of those people who pays really close attention to details, you may have noticed that neither the description above nor the photo include the concept of a clasp… Oh, well! At one point, I was looking at bronze clasps I might buy and thought, if I buy a chain it’s have one, and if I make a chain I’ll make the clasp to go with it. Well, here I am with a piece that’s calling out for a simple manufactured clasp. I may find one at the shop (Your Beading Heart) tomorrow, or I may just wait until a different opportunity arises. Easy enough.

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PMC Conference: Demo Sessions.

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/08/13

Most of the lectures and demos were held in what I think of as oversize classrooms at Purdue. (I have, myself, taught in “regular” classrooms (seating up to about 40 students) and in large “lecture hall” settings (holding many hundreds of students) but these are somewhere between those two. Almost as big as a small auditorium (where I’m used to being down in a “pit” looking up at everyone) but with the “flat” aspect of a regular classroom (forcing the teacher to be up on a stage). With a good selection of AV resources available (and you wonder why college tuition is going up…) Hey, Carol, get back on topic about something related to metal clay. But designing and operating such facilities has been a big part of my “other life”… Nevermind that. Focus here. Oh, ok, here goes…

There were a series of “tag team demos” at the conference this year, one during each “lecture sessions” slot. What a dilemma: go to one of the several other concurrent formal presentations, or one of these? Me, I split my time about half and half. (That is, of the five slots, for two I attended a lecture, for two I attended a demo, and for one I split my time about half and half.) If the same number of sessions had been spread across seven timeslots, instead of five, I think I could have gotten to all the ones I really wanted to attend…. (There were also three “general” sessions, and several other slots with different kinds of demos.)

The third of the five tag-team demos was offered by “our” Donna along with Robert Dancik. Most of these two-person demos covered some fairly basic techniques, but it still can be informative to see how someone else works, how they handle various situations, how they describe their thought process as they approach a task, and so on. Debbie and I decided to attend this one, but sat rather far off to the side here: we figured that others who didn’t have Donna in their neighborhood, nor have Robert coming to town in, really, just a few weeks now, should have the close-up seats. Still, I tried to get a quick snapshot of Donna during one part of her presentation.

Should you ever happen to hear anyone talking about Robert and his “big tools” then this second photo is my attempt to capture one small example of that. You may want to try clicking on the image in case you can get a better idea from the slightly larger version there, but he’s holding (and this is also projected on the screen behind him) what I’m guessing might be a pound of brown (uncured) polymer clay rolled into a log shape and he’s just pressed onto it what may be a foot-wide, inch or two thick, foil-covered disc of some sort, and he’s using that to illustrate various aspects of riveting. (If you’ve really seen these up close, and want to correct or help amplify my descriptions, please let me know….)

I can’t resist (trying to) end this series of reports with one more shot of Donna, at the end of their session, displaying an array of her wonderful creatiions spread out in front of her, and projected (to sizes too big for even Carmen Banana to carry off) on the screen behind her. It seemed like just about everyone in the audience who had a camera tried to get their own shot at this point!

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PMC Conference: The Program of Events

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/08/13

Just a quick note: if you’re waiting for me to do one of my long write-ups on the program sessions themselves, well, I wasn’t really planning to do all that too. Sorry!

Members of our local group (Western Pennsylvania & surrounding areas of OH and WV) can talk with Debbie, Donna and me at our meeting this Saturday. And anyone (local crew or otherwise) for the moment at least can still find some info about what-all was planned via the conference website:

An outline of this year’s full schedule can be downloaded here:

Handouts from a number of the sessions (though not all…) for the event this year (and others back through the years too!) are available to all here:

The one thing that really wasn’t available online ahead of time (and does not appear to have been added since) was the list of presentations held in the Vendors Hall. That schedule included:

– Introducing Something New: PMC Pro — by Mitsubishi (offered several times)
– Using Linda Kaye-Moses Doming Plates — by Whole Lotta Whimsy
– Fabrication with Copper Club Concepts — by Karen Hamilton / naturescapes studio
– Rivets and Gromets — by Chris Darway / Metal Clay Findings
– Wire Braiding & PMC — by Sharon Gillespie / Collage Studio
– Making Flower Forms Using Templates — Mary Ann & Ken Devos
– Alloying Silver & Copper Clays — Mary Ellin D’Agostino
– Masks & Faces Using Drape Molds — Lisel Crowley
– New Armature Materials for Hollow Forms — Mary Ann & Ken Devos
– BRONZclay — Yvonne Padilla / Rio Grande
– HattieS Products — Hattie Sanderson / Metal Clay Supply
– Quickart Templates – Judy Weers / Metal Clay Findings
– Syringe Mastery — Linda Stiles / naturescapes studio
– Rivets — Sherry Haab / Metal Clay Findings

(Links were not provided for those but there should be enough info that you can try searching for the contact people / topics if you want more info.)

The whole event was just so jam-packed full of information, and full of time for interacting with other metal clay enthusiasts, that it’d take way too long to report on it all. Just go next time and see for yourself!

I will, thus, start to wind down my conference-reporting. There should be one more post today that may be of particular interest to my fellow clayers in and around the ‘burgh (because it’ll have photos of one of ours). I still hope to post a photo of my base-metal-clays charm bracelet once it’s done. After that, I am praying for a break in the weather, so I can get back to making and to writing about that!

(But, if there’s anything else about the conference you’d like to know, feel free to leave a comment here…. If the weather remains so hot that I’m rehydrating clay via sweaty palms, and unable to even think of turning on a kiln or torch, I’ll appreciate suggestions for what to write about instead!)

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Surprise Appearance!

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/08/11

Carmen [lots of middle names, most ending with the letter “a”] Banana made a surprise appearance at the 2010 PMC Guild Conference!

‘Twas funny to see how many people thought she was a local Purdue student hired for the wonderful reception sponsored by Rio Grande, versus how many realized that she’d driven the whole way out from the Western PA Chapter of the PMC Guild in Pittsburgh just for this event, metal clay and all.

(‘Twas also interesting to see how many people did and did not realize that the person handing out door prize tickets as we entered was Mr. Bell, the sponsor of that evening’s event….)

The fact that Carmen wears bananas on her head, without obviously sporting a metal clay whistle anywhere, probably added to the confusion over whether or not she also sometimes shrinks herself down to the exact same size as “the whistle lady.”

Some of the party-goers who had not grown up in the US appeared to be a bit baffled by this kind of entertainment. I did not get a photo of the gentlemen from Mitsubishi whose faces read, “We don’t have anything like this at home!” But the delightful (if slightly navigationally-challenged) Moon eventually decided to just take this surprise in stride.

Do you have any “characters” like this in your Guild chapter?

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Conference Vendors’ Hall … and my selections

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/08/09

Well, I’d started writing up reports of various aspects of the PMC Guild Conference at Purdue (for any readers, but these were intended in particular for my local guild-chapter mates who were unable to join Debbie, Donna, and me there this year). Then I got distracted by a few other developments. But here’s another of those reports.

Many of the vendors who sell metal clay and related products participate in a Vendors Hall. Particpating vendors in 2010 included (in alpha-order):

Gem Resources
Metal Clay Findings
Naturescapes Studio

Oregon Sunstone
PMC 123
PMC Connection
PMC Supply
Rio Grande
Whole Lotta Whimsy

and one or two others that I am blanking on at the moment. (If you can identify any others who were there, please leave a comment to help me out and I’ll be happy to update that list!)

I didn’t buy as much this time as I did in 2008: a little bit of that is “the economy” but mostly ’twas because I’ve done a pretty good job of stocking my studio since then. Yes, there are some items I still want, but either they are pricier things (I have to sell some more pieces to earn the money for those) or they just weren’t available at the show. But I did go for one “splurge”….

I’ve been getting e-mailings from Metal Clay Findings for some time now, but had not actually bought anything from them before last week. They have a lot of interesting fine silver components, plus bronze and copper ones, that work well with metal clay (ring shanks, for example, that you can embellish, and embeddable eyelets and bails), although I’ve remained happy working out ways to make my own. But the thing that drew me in this time was this tool:

On the right side of the photo is a little piece I made using the tool at their booth with their sample materials. (Yep, I’ll bring it to Clay Play Day this month for local folks to see.) There’s a rectangular copper blank to which iI added a bronze bail and a little bronze star. Both are riveted on: the bail, with a close-top rivet, and the star with a tube-rivet. You use a separate setting bit for each of those, so that’s the extra handle and little round seat; the allen wrench is what you use to swap that part out.

What the hardened steel tool does is to punch a hole of exactly the right size to accommodate either kind of rivet. Not that one can’t do this by hand, of course, but with this tool it is just soooo easy and quick and smooth. In finished products, what I’ll be trading is this: spreading out the cost of the tool instead of charging for my time to do them laboriously by hand. This may come easy to you, and I’m not too bad myself with larger rivets, but these are lovely little jewelry-size ones! Fiddly to work with, but super-easy to set with this device! I’ve been doodling design ideas, and hope to have some samples shortly. (For me, please note, “doodling” means cutting out and building little 3-D models more often than it means sketching ideas on paper, so that step often takes me a while…)

I also bought a collection of pre-cut rivets and eyelets to use with the tool (though, over time, I will experiment with comparing the use of these versus making my own).

Just for the sake of comprehensiveness, I’ll mention the other “little” things I picked up:

Since I’d broken down and started buying from Metal Clay Findings, I also tucked in a small sample of their bails and embeddables. I look forward to comparing the use of these to the ones I’ve cobbled together by hand:

I’d been perfectly happy using hockey pucks as rubber bench blocks, shown in the upper right of this photo (Go, Penguins!), but I decided to spring for one with a hole in the middle too (upper left). And, rather than have to remember to take brushes from my studio to class sites, I picked up a couple extra of those (one each, brass and steel) so I can just pack a set (probably my older ones) in my class-kit.

And then Gem Resources had a little bin with “3 packs for $10” CZs, so I picked up three sets of cut triangles, in three different sizes. I’ve not done much with ones that shape, but figured this was a chance to give a few a try.

If you were there and found any other goodies, please feel free to leave a comment describing them!

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A Regular Event: The Charm Exchange

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/08/05

One of the regular events at PMC Guild conferences is an evening reception that involves a charm exchange.

Participation in the exchange is optional, but lots of fun. Prior to leaving for the event, you make up a number of charms: how many is your choice, but if you think that 15-20 makes a good-size charm bracelet, a lot of people will use that as a guide. (Of course, there’s no reason to limit yourself to a bracelet. Some folks will make a necklace. Others will decorate a purse. And so on: it’s entirely up to you!) At the reception, folks will wander around asking, “Do you have charms to exchange?” If the answer is, “Yes,” then you hand one over and get one in return. (At the end, a few people who made a lot will find that everyone else seems to have exhausted their pieces to exchange, but will often be generous and just give away their last few. If you feel so compelled, you can always make a few more and mail them one afterwards.)

The thing that is worth noting is that this is a sort of grab-bag event. Only rarely do you see in advance what you will be getting in exchange for your piece. You are just trusting that the people who attend this event are mostly interesting and creative people who’ll have produced something worth having. Most of the time, that is the case; and I just hope that most of the people who get one of my charms will appreciate what they have received as well.

All those little fan-shaped pieces I’ve blogged about in recent weeks were my entries into this event (and its spin-off, the Charms for Charity raffle, which raised a bit under $10K this time around). I had a few silver ones (made from PMC+), plus some copper and bronze ones (from Hadar’s powders). I took the grab-bag aspect one step further: I had them all in my pocket, and just grabbed one at random to hand out each time.

I took 30 in all. (I think it was 2 silver, 10 copper, 18 bronze. Or close to that.) Shown above are the 20 silver charms I got. I’ll post a photo of the other ten, all base metal (except one that has a silver base but includes some (again, this is what I think it is) resin in a sort of bronze-color that I thought went better with those). I’ve decided to assemble a bronze bracelet to hang those from, however, and add one of my own fans and maybe another small early experiment or two, so it may be a little while before I post that….

Some people include interesting elements. My biggest surprise, this year, was my exchange with Nicola Callow of Murano Silver in the UK who handed over a bar of all-natural handmade soap.

Now, Nic did get that this was a charm exchange. The soap was a bonus. A bonus that matched her charm! Note the round charm with a flower-shape having a red (resin, I think) heart in the center up at the top of this image (clicking on the image will open a larger version of it) that has the same design as the yellow flower in the soap.

The thing is, I’m now up to four charm bracelets (one from 2008, one from exchanging with folks in my local guild chapter, and these two from 2010), and I’m really not much of a charm-bracelet person. Oh well. One thing I do like to do with these bracelets is to take them when I teach metal clay classes. Even though the pieces are very small, they are a good way to open up discussions on a range of topics: design, construction, finishes, specific artists, and more. Lots of fun!

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Guild Chapters: Display Cases

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/08/04

Three of us from the Western PA area (Debbie, Donna, and me) went to this 2010 conference. One of the first things we did (before & during the registration hours) was to set up a display showcasing the work of some members of our local chapter.

In addition to the three of us, we had entries from Alice, Ann, Holly, and Stephania. Thanks so much to everyone who contributed! We had the first case as you entered the hallway, and Debbie and I commented on how it seemed that, every time we came through the door or down the stairs, there were a few people clustered around our display, pointing and talking about the contents.

I will admit that I really wish more of our members (there are over 60 people in our Yahoo group, for example) would have chosen to have their work included. We see such beautiful creations passed around during the Show and Tell sessions at our meetings. I would argue that every one of those pieces is at least as good as those in some of the other displays.

Some groups had, for example, items that were clearly from introductory classes, or were the set pieces from certification classes. And that’s fine: everyone was a “beginner” when they started out! And there are rising stars across the world now too, but there is no reason that the local “displays” should be devoted to those people only (the ones whose works makes it into journal articles and museum or gallery shows and thus have a variety of ways to have their work seen by others). I’m happy to have such pieces in our display, but this is a wonderful opportunity to mix those in with other creations.

What I saw as the “strength” of many of the displays (including ours, despite my comments above) is the way they seemed to illustrate collegiality among makers at all levels. I’ve no idea what the metal clay community may be like decades into the future but now, at just over one decade old, it still appears to be populated by a number of very open and helpful people. I hope that spirit lasts.

I did have some trouble getting decent photos of the display case contents: the fingerprint-covered glass doors and hallway activity and somewhat harsh lighting did not make it easy. I doubt I’ll post here (m)any of the shots I did try to take this year, though I will try to figure out how to get some of them to an upcoming meeting, at least, for my chapter-mates to see. In the meantime, if you want to see some samples, the PMC Guild has posted a few samples from the 2008 conference; if they update that site with 2010 photos, I’ll note that in a future post.

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