Convergent Series

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

Posts Tagged ‘collage’

If at first you don’t succeed … create an alternative!

Posted by C Scheftic on 2018/07/03

There was an announcement for a Quilt Show at a local venue. (Which one may slip out elsewhere but, for the purposes of this post, I don’t intend to name it… Though I had a few moments of frustration, this is not meant as a rant against them; it is simply intended to describe some aspects of the life of a working artist…)

Here’s something you need to know about that Quilt Show from the start: it was announced as being non-juried opportunity! Entries would be juried for awards, but not to get into the show in the first place. The call for artists said that they’d accept entries all day each day for a week, as long as they still had room to exhibit them.

So I started to design a quilt to enter. My “medium” these days is more often metal than fabric, and my “scale” is typically jewelry-size. I decided to make a quilt-pendant out of fine silver, using the process of sintering powdered metal (aka “metal clay”). I would “piece” samples from a selection of different textures for one side. The other side would be textured with a floral pattern that I would accent by setting a small, yellow CZ into the center of one of the flowers. The pendant would hang by the use of an integral bail: a sort of woven-fiber pattern shaped into a “tube” much as could be used for a fabric quilt displayed as a wall hanging. And, yes, all those elements were deliberately designed as a nod to more traditional quilting!

I hoped that a quilter, or quilt-lover, or quilter-lover would appreciate it during the show and decide to buy it… I also wanted to make a piece that, while it did incorporate a number of elements, wouldn’t be an exceptionally complicated piece to make: I didn’t have a lot of spare time to work on it but, even more importantly, I wanted to keep it to something that could be sold at an “affordable” price! I started it several weeks before the entry-week but, with one thing and another going on, hadn’t finished it as the deadline approached. With a lot of other things on my schedule for every day leading up to the opening of the drop-off time, my only option was to use the one and only day I’d been holding open as a “day to play” for at least a few hours. Instead, I spent all of that time, and more, playing with ways to complete the creation of my quilt piece, then firing it, polishing it, adding a patina, finding a chain that I thought would work well with it, taking a couple photographs, deciding how best to display it, giving it a name, filling out the entry-paperwork, etc. It ended up being a rather long day.

Yellow Flower Birthday Quilt (Both Sides)But, eventually, my Yellow Flower Birthday Quilt pendant was finished and ready to go on display!

First thing the next morning I packed it into a carrier bag and drove off to the Quilt Show venue. I looked around for a couple minutes, taking in pieces from the previous show that were coming down and noting that already a few entries were there for the new one. When the person handling all that was ready for me, she greeted me with a cheerful, “Oh, I didn’t know you made quilts too!”

I pulled the quilt-pendant out of my bag, smiled, and said, “I know this isn’t a traditional quilt, but I read the prospectus carefully, and it does not specify fabric. I hope you’ll take this silver quilt.”

“What? It doesn’t say anything?! That’s a lovely pendant, but please hold on.” She went to get a copy of the prospectus, and came back saying, “You’re right. We never thought to specify fiber as the medium because I don’t think we ever imagined anyone would enter any other kind of quilt.”

“Well,” I replied, “when you’re dealing with creative people, don’t you expect to be surprised? She laughed, with “Personally, I’d be happy to have it in the show, but I think I’d better check.”

The person she went off to check with wasn’t available. She sighed and said, “If you’re willing, you could just leave it with me, and I’ll let you know the final decision as soon as I can.” I said that was fine, we chatted for a moment about logisitics, and then she got a call. No, they wouldn’t accept my quilt. She was sorry but wanted to assure me that before they presented another quilt show, they’d take care to be more specific about their requirements…

The show is now on. Because I’m not naming them, I can’t promote it for them either. In this case, I figure that’s fair enough. I’ve been back, have seen the show, and am impressed with a number of the entries. I did also note that the showroom still has in place several of their usual display pedestals–empty–where it would have been easy to exhibit my quilt-piece on any one of them. But that’s all water under the bridge, as it were.

But … the story doesn’t end there!

This past Sunday was drop-off day for this summer’s Artists Choice show by the Pittsburgh Society of Artists (PSA). Technically, that is a non-juried show too, but one big difference is that this one is not open to everyone, just to artists who have already been juried into the PSA Guild in the first place. It’s always an interesting show. Entries may be from highly prolific artists who are always looking for show possibilities to those who only make a few pieces and seldom enter any shows other than this one. They may be new, experimental works that an artist is just putting out there to see the reaction, or pieces that just did not fit into the “guidelines” for some other show. Now do you see where this is going?!

Yes, my Quilt Show piece has been renamed as Help Me Get Over the Quilt Show Rejection “because It’s Silver, not Fiber”! and entered in the PSA show at the Brew House Association (at the corner of 21st and Mary Streets in Pittsburgh’s South Side flats area). That one runs from July 6 through August 3, 2018.

And I’m still hoping that a quilter, or quilt-lover, or quilter-lover will find it there and want to take it home!

If you’re in the area, please join me at the Opening Reception from 6 to 9 pm on Friday, July 6. (At this point, I’m also hoping to head over to the Closing Reception, same time & place, on August 3, but who knows what may change in my schedule over the next month!)

2018 PSA Artists Choice Exhibition

Regardless of where you’re reading this from, feel free to comment: Do you enter art shows? Why or why not? How do you handle it when a piece doesn’t get accepted? Or gets accepted but doesn’t sell there (especially if you let the announced theme of that show serve as a part of your inspiration for the piece!)?

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Crazy-busy Season

Posted by C Scheftic on 2014/12/01

Life tends to get crazy-busy this time of year, for multiple reasons, some of which I’m sure you can imagine and others would take too long to explain. So I’m just going to list a few events you may want to know about should you be interested in seeing some of my work in person:


  • November 30 – December 7: H*liday mART at Sweetwater Center for the Arts, Sewickley, PA

  • December 5-6-7: Holiday Gift Shop at the Wilkins School Community Center, Swissvale, PA

  • December 5-6-7: Open House in my Studio, to coincide with WSCC’s Holiday Gift Shop

  • December 13: Open House at the Hoyt Center for the Arts, New Castle, PA

  • December 13-14: Open House in my Studio, to coincide with an Art Studio tour in Regent Square (Swissvale, Pittsburgh, Edgewood, Wilkinsburg), PA

  • For other venues, please see the list of Ongoing locations down the right side of this blog.

If you find yourself missing any of those, no problem. Just get in touch with me: leave a comment on this post, or message me via Convergent Series page on Facebook (and, while you’re at it, a Like there would be very much appreciated…). We’ll find a way for you to explore my creations!

I’m not sure how much else I’ll manage to post this month. But I have new designs in the works, new workshop pieces I’m testing out plus, of course, new variations of ongoing favorites in both those categories … and lots more for 2015! I look forward to posting about all of those in the New Year, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading about them too.

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2013 Art Buzz Tour — This Weekend!

Posted by C Scheftic on 2013/12/14

Have you heard the buzz? Six sites! All in the Pittsburgh area’s “East End” this weekend: Regent Square, Swissvale, and Squirrel Hill. And my studio is one of the locations on it again this year.

I’ve got lots of jewelry on offer, plus a handful of other small adornments.

I also have aloe vera plants that need a new home, babies that i repotted from some of the big ones I keep around. (I do work with hot metals here!) BONUS: small ones are free with a purchase of $35 or more (or a discount can be applied to the price of any of the larger ones if that’s what you prefer).

Plus you’re welcome to share some of my cookies and hot mulled cider. (I also got the makings for cranberry-orange frosties but, with all the snow that’s falling, I’ll save that until there’s a request or I run out of cider, whichever comes first.)

Happy Holidays to all!

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2012 Art Buzz Tour — This Weekend

Posted by C Scheftic on 2012/12/03

Have you heard the buzz? It’s even louder this year! Over forty artists! Seven sites! All in the Pittsburgh area’s “East End” this weekend. And my studio is one of the locations on it again this year.

At WSCC (where I’ll be), the Holiday Gift Shop will still be running downstairs, and I am pretty sure that Daviea Davis will have her glass mosaic studio open too, upstairs across the hall from mine.

2012 Art Buzz Map

If you’re in the area, I sure hope you can stop by. To say, “Hello” and “Happy Holidays” at least. If, for some reason, you can’t get yourself there in person, how about leaving a holiday greeting as a “comment” on this blog post. Even having you say just “Hello” or “Happy Holidays” would be much appreciated!

I look forward to seeing / hearing from you, dear readers, so I can extend my best wishes for this holiday season to you too, in return, in a more personal way.

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A Three-Metal Mosaic

Posted by C Scheftic on 2012/02/23

Almost a year ago, I wrote a post describing and showing a pendant I think of as The Little (Oblong) Piece that Could (because, with each problem, I’d pick it up, dust it off, say a few words of encouragement, and keep it going to completion…).

On one side of that, trying to develop a collage (or mosaic) design, I was applying a series of pieces that went straight across the “base” piece. I’d moisten the base and the mosaic piece, press them together, and wait for that to dry. Then, I’d repeat the process with the next collage piece. But the backing piece, which would of course soften a bit as I applied each next piece, kept cracking along those long and straight borders, so I ended up adding a series of elements to the other side to reinforce it all. That was not a problem, of course, because I like making reversible pieces; I actually found it interesting to think about what I might add from both visual and structural considerations.

Still, there is another way to approach this issue right from the start: design the piece so that no border between the mosaic elements goes entirely across the piece! That is, use the collage pieces to provide the necessary structure right from the start. A very basic example of that is one of the Three-Metal Mosaic pieces I made earlier this winter.

The base of this piece (not shown) was made from Rose Bronze, as was the center rectangle (which is shown in the photo to the right here). Then, going clockwise and starting in the upper left corner, I added alternating “mosaic tiles” of copper and yellow bronze. Although there is some lining up of pairs, I was careful to have no “line” extend the whole way across the piece in any direction! This is the simplest way I know of to avoid the problem I kept having with The Little (Oblong) Piece that Could.

Once I had all these tiles fully assembled, I tidied up the edges as needed (with just a damp sponge; sanding only a tiny bit at the corners, to round them off slightly), and added the Rose Bronze bail. The colors you see are mostly just the differences between the three separate metals, enhanced a bit by some green kiln-produced coloring on both the yellow and rose bronze textured “tiles” in the mosaic (but not, curiously, on the smoothly-extruded bail).

Who knows why, but I don’t seem to have a photo of the other side. Still, trust me, this piece is another of my fully-reversible designs! The other side was made using a delicate texture of tiny flowers, and then embellished with “vines” and “coils” in the three different metals. Since it was while looking at some mosaics in one of the museums I visited last week when I began thinking that I didn’t remember writing a follow-up post to the one about The Little (Oblong) Piece that Could, however, at least I do have this shot of the side that matters for this comparison.

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Another bar-pendant.

Posted by C Scheftic on 2011/02/19

This long rectangular piece developed over several sessions.

It started out as a piece I made during a workshop demonstration. First, I made a “backing” piece (I wish I knew of another commonly-accepted word for this because, as I’ll show shortly, in my quest to design fully-reversible pieces, the striped backing can certainly be worn facing the front…)

To that were added three textured squares that were the same width as that piece. Each was just a bit under 1/3 of its length. They were attached so as to leave just enough room at the top to add a simple, smooth, fold-over bail.

That was as far as I went in the classroom. I fired the piece along with those of the workshop participants, polished it, added some patina, and used it for a while as a “sample” piece I’d leave in other locations where I’d also get a “silver mosaics” workshop on the schedule. But, while I was fine with using it like that, for some reason it just never felt “done” to me.

Rummaging through my little bin of cabochons the other day, looking for a bit of red lace agate for another piece I was working on, I found myself digging through a few others I’d used recently that were still on top of the pile. Looking at the green aventurine and the little blue lab-grown spinels, for some reason I just thought of this piece.

When I next had a bit of time, I added bezel cups to each side of the piece, fired those into place, re-polished and re-did the patina, then set the stones.

Now, I do think it’s done. And, unlike the pieces I mentioned in my last post, I’m pretty sure that anyone looking at this one should get that it’s meant to be fully reversible.

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Some Spring Classes

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/04/07

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

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

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

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

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

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