Convergent Series

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

Posts Tagged ‘enamel on steel’

Mid-Winter Hues, 2019

Posted by C Scheftic on 2019/01/31

Spring Thoughts on a Gray DayThis Saturday, February 2, brings us the opening reception and awards celebration for the 2019 Mid-Winter Hues show at the North Hills Art Center from 7 to 9 pm. The show runs through March 1 and, after the opening night, can be viewed on weekdays (M-F) from 10 am to 3 pm, plus Monday evenings from 7 to 9 pm.

The juror for this show was Katie Koenig, a local artist (and very new mom!) whose realistic acrylic paintings of everyday objects I just love! So I’m particularly interested to hear what she’ll have to say at the opening / awards event about various pieces in the show.

Apparently there are a total of 106 entries (wow!), and I’m delighted to report that the two pieces shown in this post, both of which I made late last winter, will be among them!

Spring Thoughts on a Gray Day is an enamel-on-steel pendant. Mid-winter days here in this “rust-belt steel-town” are often rather gray…. We remember that brightly colored skies, hillsides, gardens, and more will return. Cars will have snow and salt washed off them, and those with bright colors will reappear. People will take off their heavy, dark coats and again sport bright colors. But in the cold, dark, gray of mid-winter, pastel tones may be the brightest colors imaginable on some days….

Serendipity WaveBut then there are days when the sun does come out and various bits of sparkle do brighten things up for a while. I tried to capture that idea via the lavender cubic zirconia and selective polishing in the reversible sterling (.960) silver pendant I’ve titled Serendipity Wave, while the textures on each side of this piece remind me of various kinds of tracks in the snow … or perhaps dreams of tracks in the sand dunes of an escape to warmer climates!

I’ve seen some preview pictures of a couple walls of paintings (probably about a third of the total Mid-Winter Hues show) and the thing that impressed me was how many seemed to be attempting to banish the grays of winter with bright colors! So I’m looking forward to seeing the whole collection on Saturday. And to seeing some friendly faces at the opening. Oh, and after having spent that afternoon in my studio, to suddenly trying to fit in a little stop at the Mt. Nebo Pat Catan’s (did you see my last post?!) on my way there.

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Ten Years!

Posted by C Scheftic on 2019/01/07

Happy New Year! OK, I am a few days late with that thought, but where has the time gone? How can it have been just over ten years already since I started this blog?! I want to thank everyone who has helped to make the past ten years so wonderful!

And here are a few of the things coming up early this new, coming year:

After a break for the Holidays, my (mostly) Second (mostly) Saturday Studio Sessions return on January 12!

Two Pairs of Reversible Earrings (enamel on copper)

This month the time will be from about 2 to 6 pm. I’m setting it a little later than usual so it will run into the International Pot Luck Dinner that Global Pittsburgh is hosting in the same building from 6 to 9 pm, to make it easy for folks who want to attend both.

I’ll have a little mini-shop open. Mostly it’ll have my newer enameled pieces on copper or steel, along with a selection of silver earrings and a few of the smaller silver pendants. (If you missed getting something special that you wanted last year, let me know ahead of time and I can try to bring that in too!).

And I’m planning to have one worktable set up, so there should be room for one or two students to join me. Again, give me a heads-up … otherwise, I’m likely to just spread out over the whole thing myself since I have several deadlines looming. (But company is always welcome!)

The next two Studio Sessions are tentatively, hopefully, scheduled for:

  • Saturday, Feb 9, 1 to 5 pm
  • Saturday, Mar 9, 1 to 5 pm

If I make any adjustments to the dates or times for February or March, I will post updated information for those events over here.

My first workshop for the year will be on Friday, January 18.

A Workshop Sample

Petites on a Post is scheduled to be held from 6 to 9 pm that Friday night at the North Hills Art Center. You’ll learn how to make a pair of fine silver post-style earrings. But my classes are always flexible: No holes in your ears: join us anyway and make a couple lapel pins! Not into posts: they’re the “bonus step” in this class, but you can join us and make dangles instead. Not into tiny things: join us anyway and just work larger! (NHAC’s course fee includes enough silver clay for two petite items, but I’ll have more that you can purchase from me in class.)

Technically, registration closes a week ahead, so that’d be Friday the 11th. But since I’ll be able to show off samples and answer questions during my Second Saturday open house, I’m hoping they’ll still let folks sign up that weekend. But registration will definitely be closed before that next Monday, so if you’re interested, please sign up as soon as you can! (Click on the link at the workshop title, above.)

I’m currently recruiting students for two workshops in my studio.

  • February (date & time TBA): Learn to Make Buttons!
  • March (dates & times TBA) A Two-Day Introduction to Bronze.

If you’re interested in being kept in the loop for one or both of those, let me know! Send me an email, or leave a comment with this post, and you’ll be included in the discussion of when we’ll meet and some specifics on the possible projects.

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Lately, I’ve just felt the need for some rainbows…

Posted by C Scheftic on 2018/11/09

Random Rainbow # 2… because we get rainbows when light breaks through the haze and clouds in just the right way!

So I’m trying to bring that on by making rainbows, adding vitreous (porcelain) enamel to hand-made steel pieces.  And I’m delighted that the juror for the Pittsburgh Society of Artists selected this one (whose little photo I’ve added to their postcard) for their 53rd Annual Exhibition!

The thing is, I really thought I’d taken a “final” photo of this piece, after a couple more firings of red and orange. Those are among the most sensitive (i.e., most easily “burnt”!) colors, so I’m super-careful with them. But I can’t find any later ones (after I’d added some jump rings for hanging it, and strung it on a nice black snake chain). I just had to crop the little image out of a big “what I did today” shot that I took before I left my studio that night.

That collection had a number of rows, with several pieces in each row.  Ones at the top were finished; lower rows needed increasingly more work.  This one was in the middle of the bottom row: not too bad a starting point, if I do say so myself! You can see where I was going with it. Anyone in SW PA who wants to see it in person is welcome to stop by the 3rd Street Gallery in Carnegie, PA. It’s a delightful little gallery (and frameshop) that I am happy to have discovered through the process of getting juried-into this great show.

I’m heading over to the show opening this evening, wearing another of my rainbow-pieces. I’ll have a few for sale in my Open House tomorrow; there are several in the works on my bench; and I’m hoping to find time to make more before the holdiay-sales-crunch, which has already begun, gets fully underway! They’ve already helped me feel better and I’m hoping they’ll do that for others too!

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“Cool Sizzle” at Art All Night … Tonight!

Posted by C Scheftic on 2018/04/28

Yes, the last weekend in April once again brings us Art All Night! And Cool Sizzle will be spending all night night there tonight!

Cool SizzleThe Piece

Living in Steeltown (aka Pittsburgh, PA) it seemed only right that my tenth-ever entry into this annual show should, at last, be made from steel! All my earlier ones used silver, bronze, and/or copper, so steels’s the one metal from my main repertiore that hasn’t yet been shown there.

Specifically, Cool Sizzle was made from a steel that is both “sintered” and “black.” Regular readers of this blog will likely know what that means. If you’ve just landed here from the tag on my piece at Art All Night, the most important things to take from that are:

  • sintered: relatively light in weight for its size, and
  • black: not a shiny, stainless steel.

Sometimes I carefully design a piece (i.e., with a theme and a title from the start) but, more often, I start with a vague idea and see where the piece takes me. This was definitely one of the latter. Late last year (actually, while doing some Christmas shopping) I noticed a silicon trivet / potholder with a cute “flat bubble” design on it that I thought would make a nice “texture stamp” for a jewelry piece, so I bought it as a little gift to myself, and set it aside. Just this past Monday, anticipating Art All Night, I was looking around my studio and debating whether to enter something I already had on hand or try to complete something totally new. I moved the tray of enamel powders that just happened to be sitting on top of that trivet, and I knew: try to make something with it, out of steel, and colored with enamels!

Why call it Cool Sizzle?

The “sizzle” refers, not just to the bubbly pattern, but even more to all the heat involved in making it:

  • construted using the “metal clay” process, it was fired in a kiln to nearly 1900°F for two hours;
  • a certain amount of rust-protection was added via a “hot bluing” process (which turns it black…) of repeatedly heating it with a torch flame until glowing and then rapidly cooling it by quenching;
  • adding color by wet-packing vitreous enamel powders into some of the hollows in the design, which ended up taking five more firings (though only at about 1500°F this time).

And the “cool” refers to:

  • the use of mostly cool colors (blues and green) in the design (with just a touch of yellow (but not red or orange), meant to reflect the piece’s lightness (rather than for warmth)), and
  • how the metal normally feels relatively cool to the touch.

The Event

The rules for Art All Night are simple: one (only one) piece per artist, anyone can enter, with no fees, no jury, no censorship. Also, no sales at the show itself, but participants can offer bids on entries that are then passed along to the artists when they pick up their work. It’s up to the artists to then contact anyone who has bid on their art. If you get one bid at or above your asking price, you just arrange a time and place to make the sale. If you get more than one bid, or offers below your asking price, then negotiations can commence. I haven’t been overwhelmed with bids on every entry I’ve made over the years, but the majority of them have happily gone to a bidder (several at more than my asking price!), and all but one of the others have sold very soon afterwards. (The lone hold-out is actually one of my personal favorite pieces, and I’ve really no clue why it’s still in my collection!)

2018 represents the 21st annual Art All Night event, and the first one not held in the Lawrenceville neighborhood! I wasn’t even living in Pittsburgh when I first discovered it: I was still living in California then, and just happened to be in town for a conference, noticed a little blurb about it in the local arts & entertainment newspaper, and decided to go check it out. And was blown away by this wonderful (then, little) exhibit of community art! It had everything from little-kid “refrigerator” art (with some great bidding wars among grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.!), to people who made something (NFS: Not For Sale) for themselves that they’d just like to let others see, to wild constructions you’d never, ever see in a regular gallery anywhere, to works that were clearly professional creations, and more.

A year (or was it two?) later, I was invited to come back to the area for a job interview around the same time of year. So I checked to see when Art All Night would be, and asked to schedule the trip for dates that could include it. I didn’t get that job but, surprise, a couple years later was invited to interview for a different position. And I scheduled it the same way again! That one ended up involving a lot of negotiating and re-designing and more negotiating before it got sorted out so it wasn’t until a whole year later when a house-hunting trip just happened to coincide again. Oh, and in between there somewhere were a couple little springtime vacation trips to visit with some friends that I also planned for late April. And I’ve continued to go, to volunteer, to offer demos, to enter pieces — one or more of those each year — since actually moving here. And if/when I ever move away, I sure hope I will want and be able to return for future Art All Night events!

But the thing about it is how much it has grown over the years! It started rather small, but grew quickly. The growth has slowed a bit in recent years, but it is still so very big that finding a suitable venue is now a challenge. Community Development Corporations use it as a way to draw first hundreds, then thousands, and now tens of thousands of people to some huge yet empty building. In addition to the pieces hung on walls, displayed on tables, or built up on-site on the floor, there’s live music, art demonstrations, participatory activities, food & drink, and more. And it really does stay open all night: current hours are from 4 pm on Saturday through 2 pm on Sunday! Adding up the different times I’ve gone to it across all the years, I’ve been there at just about every time of day or night, and the vibe does vary over the duration. Do let me know when you’d like to go!

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