Convergent Series

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

Posts Tagged ‘Pittsburgh Society of Artists’

My “Three Rivers” Pendants are back!

Posted by C Scheftic on 2017/06/08

As soon as I heard the theme that Pittsburgh Society of Artists had chosen for their summer show at the FrameHouse & Jask Galleryda burgh — I knew what I had to do!

PSA's postcard for the showI’d had a lot of fun, back in the spring and summer of 2014, when I made a whole series of “Three Rivers” pendants. I started in the spring, figuring out how to make them. Although they all had the same basic idea, with Pittsburgh’s “three rivers” flowing across them, no two were alike. The pieces were different shapes; the “land” and “rivers” were made from different metals textured with different patterns; the rivers might be recessed, inlaid, or overlaid; and some had an extra element, a triangular stone (rounded or pointed, cabochon or faceted) set at the place that locals know as “The Point” (where, in Pittsburgh, the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers come together to form the Ohio River, which flows down into the Mississippi and, eventually, into the Gulf of Mexico). I sold some of those at the Three Rivers Arts Festival that year. I had two (ones with fewer ‘burgh-specific features) accepted into The Confluence show sponsored by The Hoyt at The Confluence Cafe in New Castle later that summer. (The piece shown, next, left, even earned a Merit Award there!) And I kept selling the rest off in various other shows and shops throughout the rest of that year and the next.

Now, I meant it when I said that I had a lot of fun making them. But some of that “fun” involved facing and overcoming a lot of challenges, doing a lot of problem-solving. I was mixing metals: various bronze formulas along with copper and a couple different steels. And, because those all have different shrinkage rates (and those with stones had extra stresses because the stones do not shrink), there is a certain “failure rate” in the process. What’s a failure? Well, sometimes little cracks appear that are readily fixed, though that results in another whole round of firing, in which there is yet another chance of failure. Other times, however, the cracks are so significant that it’d take more time to fix them than to just make a whole new piece. While I do enjoy the challenge of getting everything to ‘play nice” together, there’s a limit to how much one can add to the “overhead” price of pieces to cover all the time and materials that go into both “research and development” and “unavoidable losses” while keeping the pieces reasonably affordable. So, after a half-year binge, I moved on to other design challenges.

But I kept thinking I wanted to make more, and the PSA theme was just the push I needed. Of course, it’s never simple. Since the last time I made them, I’d been working more with some different metal formulas, so another round of “R&D” was required! Oh, and while I was at it, I had decided to try to develop yet another approach to distinguishing the rivers from the land.

Three Rivers: Metro (their postcard and my entry)In my first few firings, the successes all had the most simple designs; ones that failed had the more complex (and thus more interesting) mixes, and those all failed in ways that I considered beyond repair. Ah, the challenge: I will make this project work!

Oh, and I’d also decided to make these on the larger side. Not huge but, since I was working with base metals (various bronzes, not silver or gold) I could afford to risk pieces that started out around two inches in diameter. (After shrinking during firing, those would end up about 1.75″ across.) I also made some oval pieces, ones that started out at 1.5 by 2.0 inches, and shrank to around 1.3 by 1.75 inches.

Of course, making them that big then limited the number of pieces I could fire in a single load…. Each load does add a small amount to the time I spend, but the real issue is having pieces stack up just waiting to be fired. Since I make one-of-a-kind pieces, and rarely do real production / volume work, I don’t consider that a major issue. It’s not meant as a complaint, but I mention it to explain to some readers why testing that, in a production environment, might be measured in weeks ends up taking me months….

I’m going to keep experimenting with these over the summer, and hope to eventually report on a few more here. In the meantime, though, I’m now presenting the first one that will appear in public, having been accepted the PSA show that opens tomorrow, Friday, June 9! For the piece I submitted to the da burgh jury I decided that, rather than worry about going complex, I’d stick to a simple design and go for a double-hit at the theme:

  1. The design is a basic, overhead view of Pittsburgh and its Three Rivers, AND
  2. The black spinel trillion cabochon set atop the golden bronze metal show the same black & gold of Pittsburgh’s major professional sports teams!

I added a small image of it to my version of PSA’s postcard, above, but here’s a bigger look at it. This is just my basic inventory shot because, silly me, I forgot to take a picture as it appears in the show, hung on a really nice necklace that alternates large loops with short chain segments. To see that, come to the FrameHouse & Jask Gallery this month!

ThreeRivers: Metro Pendant (with Black Spinel Trillion at The Point)

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Wrapping Up 2016…

Posted by C Scheftic on 2016/12/01

Yes, we have a whole month left! The title of this post contains a bad pun … but I’m hoping you’ll wrap up some of my creations as gifts, or receive one wrapped up for you!

Here are places where you can find my art jewelry this December (and you can find me—in person, with extra treats—at those with an asterisk):

  • Holiday Sparkle Art & Craft Market at the North Hills Art Center, now through December 10
  • Holiday mART. Sweetwater Center for the Arts, December 2 – 11
  • Holiday Open House, Hoyt Center for the Arts, is on December 3, 2016, 11 am to 4 pm, and then special holiday sales will continue throughout the rest of the month
  • Studio Open House *, in my studio at the Wilkins School Community Center, December 2 (6-9 pm) and December 3-4 (10 am – 5 pm)
    I’m not promising to be back in my studio all day the following weekend (Dec 10-11) but I’m likely to be there for a few hours at some point. If that’s the only time you can make it, please let me know so we can agree on a time to meet there!
  • Trunk Show *, The Artsmiths of Pittsburgh, December 17 (Officially I’ll be there myself just that day, but check with me if you’d like to come out on either Friday (16th) or Sunday (18th) as I may be there part of those days too. And I have a smaller, but still great, selection in the ‘Smiths Shop year-round!)

And, finally, I’m honored that, as a member of the Pittsburgh Society of Artists, I was able to have one of my pieces selected for display (and for sale) in The New Collective show at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. The show runs from November 18, 2016, through February 26, 2017, and I sure hope you’ll be able to get over to see all the wonderful artwork that’s been included. To find my entry, first head upstairs and then turn right, and right again, and then head down the last gallery on the right. My Bronze Bead Shelf is at the end of that, on the left. Since it’s framed for display in the show, so you can see only one side there, here’s what it looks like on both sides:

I hope to see you, or to at least have you see my work, at one or another of those events. If I don’t see you in person, there or somewhere, please know how much I appreciate your interest and support, and that I’m wishing you all the best!

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Picnics, and Parties, and Art Shows, oh my!

Posted by C Scheftic on 2016/07/09

What’s this mythical concept of “lazy days” of summer? Summers just seem so busy, with all sorts of events and happenings and things to do that one really does not want to miss. That’s not a complaint: it’s just a puzzle to me, where the lazy-days idea came from!

Anyway, amidst all the many things to do all summer, this is a super-busy weekend. Since I post here mostly about art & jewelry / teaching & learning types of activities, I’m going to skip over the truly “personal” events this weekend. I can fill a long post with places my jewelry and other art-creations are going themselves this weekend.

  • Arts on the Riverwalk, in New Castle, PA: The art show that the Hoyt Art Center is running at The Confluence, in conjunction with this event, has its opening tonight, 4 to 6 pm. The show itself will run through August 26. I’ve had two pieces accepted for this, one of which is shown below. Although I was thinking of all the ocean-shore walking I’ve done in my life as I created it, I do enjoy walking along any sort of waterfront, so this still seemed to be an appropriate choice for this show:

  • Community Days in Cranberry Township, PA: The Cranberry Township Community Chest and the Cranberry Artists Network are partnering (for the first time this year) on a show in the Cranberry Municipal Building in conjunction with this annual celebration. The opening reception for the show, Martinis with Monet, held on Wednesday night (for which I managed a post on Facebook, but not here…) was the kick-off event for the weekend-long celebration. The show itself will run through August 3. I’m thrilled to have had two pieces accepted for this show, one of which is shown below. I created Flowers Burst Even Through the Garden Paths for several reasons: primarily to honor Monet’s Gardens in line with the theme of the show, but also as one I could use as demonstration pieces for classes (layering, on the title side, and basic stone setting, on the other side) until it took off for Cranberry and, one hopes, a new home:

  • At the Panza Gallery, in Millvale, PA: The Pittsburgh Society of Artists is having a Members Choice show there this summer. The opening reception is tonight, from 6 to 8:30 pm, and then the exhibit will run through July 29, and be open Wednesdays through Fridays 10-5 and Saturdays 10-3. Silly me, I didn’t take photos of my entry before I dropped it off (because I thought I already had several) but now I can’t find any of them. What’s in the show is the latest piece in my Three Rivers series; an early piece from that is shown below. Both of them have bronze rivers (with “expansion joints” designating the major bridges) flowing through copper neighborhoods, with a cubic zirconia noting the location of Point State Park and its fountain. The one in the show has flowery-garden neighborhoods (not the metropolitan geometry of this one), and by the time I made it I was much better at getting the rivers to work as an inlay in the copper, like actual rivers (as compared to the onlay shown here). And it’s on a fancier chain. But anyone seeing one should recognize the other as different but similar / familiar…

  • ArtBrew at the Sweetwater Center for the Arts in Sewickley, PA: Last but certainly not least, from 7 to 10 pm tonight and tonight only (for this year) we have ArtBrew, the Arts & Crafts Fair where the “crafts” are the beers on tap. I was one of just thirty local artists who were invited to provide pieces for sale in the “arts” arena. Some worked in very beer-specific art forms, while others simply created works that the organizers found interesting. I’m in the latter category, and I’ve no clue how my pieces will do, but figured it was worth a shot. Sweetwater is a great place, and I’m happy to support this summer-fundraiser of theirs through commissions on sales of my work. Most of what I submitted are my earrings and pendants. Some were made using typical “metal clay” techniques, while some reflect other directions I’ve also been exploring. There are, for example, some enamel-on-copper pieces that I made on a whim in the spring. And some pendants and earrings, like the silver earring-elements shown below, that were cut out of clay in the “dry but still flexible” state using an electronic cutting machine on a design I created to fit the amount of material I happened to have on hand at the moment:

    I also had a dozen pottery items accepted for this event! I don’t often post about my clay-clay work here, but you can get a glimpse of the twelve I sent to Sweetwater below. Note: you really should click on this photo! I hope everyone who does will let me know (e.g., via a comment, either on this blog or at the photo-sharing site the click will take you to) whether you were surprised at what you found there, or whether, especially if you feel you know me and my interests, it was what you imagined as soon as you saw this photo.

Here’s wishing everyone a pleasant summer weekend, full of kindness and friendship.

And Happy 200th Birthday to Pittsburgh, PA, today too!

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April 1: no joke!

Posted by C Scheftic on 2016/04/01

What a great evening! I’d planned to treat a good friend to a birthday dinner (’twas actually yesterday, but Friday is a better night for going out), although I’d said we’d have to meet in the Lawrenceville neighborhood first because I wanted to go to the opening of the Pittsburgh Society of Artists’ (PSA) Small Works exhibit too. (I knew that’d be ok since this is someone who’s an active supporter of the arts!)

So we walked in, and headed down one aisle admiring the selections. It was fairly crowded at the beginning, but I managed to wave “Hello” to a couple of artists I know. Too far apart for an actual conversation, I was a bit puzzled when, instead of a waved “Hello” in return I got a wave and a mouthed “Congratulations!” What, I thought, am I missing some bit of social etiquette where we congratulate each other for having our works accepted into a show? It was a members-only show, and you could submit either one or two pieces for consideration. Of the 72 artists who’d applied, 45 had been accepted: 15 had two pieces in the show, and 30 had a single piece on display, for a total of 60 pieces. Now, I did have two pieces accepted, but three award-winners had already been announced and I wasn’t one of those. I knew all of that, from the mailing that PSA had sent out to its members, listing everyone whose work was in the show, and an interesting statement from the juror (which you can read there).

And then I turned the corner into the bigger room, and my entries leapt out at me! What in the world had I done to deserve a wall to myself! The photo below is a 270° panorama of three walls of that room. I shot it later in the evening, after the crowd had thinned out enough that you could see some of the artwork from afar. (And, while the artwork stayed in place, some of the people moved around which is why a few of them are partly cut-off or extended…. But the photo is about the art, so I’m using it anyway.) From left to right, there is a wall full of art, then a second wall of a different height with a strip of artworks, then a third wall with windows and a brick wall in between those, with just two pieces … mine.

You should know that these “small works” could be a maximum of 12 inches in any dimension. My pieces, in silver, were much smaller than that, 40 x 28 mm and 39 x 18 mm. (For those who don’t convert millimeters to inches regularly, 18 mm is just under 3/4 of an inch, and 40 mm is just over 1 1/2 inches.) For display purposes, I’d hung them in 10 x 12 inch black shadow boxes that I’d bought because they fit the specs for this show. And there they were, set off from all the paintings and photographs (plus more jewelry and sculpture, all of which was in two “aisles” behind me as I shot this).

I rarely post photos of myself, but here’s one taken of me next to my entries. And, if you look really closely, you’ll see a little red dot on the tag for the piece I’m standing next to, which means that one had already been sold, either as the show was being hung or in the first few minutes that it opened. That was the reason for the congratulations!

To the person who made my evening via their purchase, I want to say “Thank you!” And I hope that many of my fellow-artists will be thanking their purchasers before the show ends, on May 13. If you’re in the Pittsburgh area and want to check it out, it’s at the Framehouse & Jask Gallery.

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“Small Works” with the Pittsburgh Society of Artists

Posted by C Scheftic on 2016/03/27

What can I say … I’ve been busy making, and otherwise enjoying Spring, and over the next few days I’ll finally be reporting some news. Here’s the first item: this afternoon I was notified that two of my fine silver creations have been accepted into the Small Works show that’s being sponsored by the Pittsburgh Society of Artists. It will be held at the Framehouse & Jask Gallery, 100 43rd Street, Pittsburgh PA 15201, from April 1 through May 13, 2016.

Since I normally do work “small” (at least compared to what a lot of other artists do), I knew this was a show I had to try to get into. I thought long and hard about what to enter and finally decided that, while I do have the skills to design and develop intricate and complex pieces, that’s just not the style I like, neither to work in nor to wear myself. So I went for the fairly simple pieces that are more in line with my typical style.

Back in the fall of 2014, I made a series of pieces with “frames” constructed out of the the same material as the “contents” of the piece inside the frame. The first few were assignments in Hadar Jacobson’s teaching-accreditaton program, and then I kept going with more over maybe the next two months. I’ve been meaning to come back to those for a while now, and this silver-framed silver-plume is one of my newest ones. For the PSA show, it’s displayed in a shadow box with just this side showing. It has an integral tube bail, so the other side really is pretty much a “back” side, but it is still fully decorated and finished in my usual “other side” approach. I’ve got a few more silver-framed silver pieces in the works, and will say a bit more about the collection (with photos of both sides) once I’ve finished several more of those.

In recent months, I’ve also been exploring the use of a different approach to my “woven” pieces. In the past, I’ve always made sure that both sides were always securely framed the whole way around. I did that to ensure that the ends were always positioned safely and securely. With my latest weaves, however, I’m resisting the urge to frame them, and seeing how I can make them work in other ways. Woven Silver Banner Reclaimed is one of my newest examples of that. This one is also being displayed in a shadow box for the show, but it is fully reversible, with different textures showing on the strips from each side. And, yes, there will be more coming in the next week or so on the woven-silver pieces too.

But, for the moment at least, let me just wish everyone a Happy Easter. It’s a lovely Spring day where I am, with lots of delightful ways to continue to enjoy the rest of the day outside! I hope that some local folks will be able to make it to the show’s opening reception this Friday, April 1, from 6 to 9 pm or, if not then, at least at some point during the show.

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PSA’S 2015 Artist’s Choice Exhibition

Posted by C Scheftic on 2015/07/12

I had a great time last night at the opening of the latest show sponsored by the Pittsburgh Society of Artists.

I was delighted to find my entry, a pendant, in the “jewelry nook” between the two rooms downstairs at the Panza Gallery in Millvale, PA. I displayed it in a frame which led the folks hanging the show to place it on the back wall in that nook, which I thought was a great location. You just might be able to spot the frame way in the back of the first photo here! (If you want to see the actual piece, I offered up a photo of that in my last post.)

Aside: I keep going back and forth over whether to display pendants in a frame or out on a bust form. For art-jewelry shows, specifically, I’ll usually hang a necklace on a bust, assuming other jewelers will do the same and the sponsors will be prepared to handle the security involved in such a display. For art shows, on the other hand, where my piece may be the only piece, or perhaps one of only a very few, small enough to fit in the palm of the hand, well, though I do think of most show attendees as trustworthy, it hardly seems worth the risk to make my entry so easy for even just one nefarious person to pocket. Does that make me paranoid? Maybe. But I know other art jewelers who won’t even enter shows because they’re worried what might happen to their pieces, and I am willing to put my work out there. So, maybe more cautious than paranoid? I admit to being a bit shy personally, but I’ve always enjoyed having my work out there for others to see and consider, and I’m always thrilled to have intelligent conversations about such creations.

Back to the show itself: I’d never been to an opening at this particular gallery before, so I wasn’t sure quite what to expect in terms of number of people, ease of parking, or anything else. But we found an easy parking space just a block away and, even with that the turnout seemed great: these photos were taken well into the evening, after a number of people had already left, which meant I could capture a few shots that showed some of the art as well as people… For local readers I didn’t see last night, maybe you’ll get over to the show between now and July 24. If you do, please be sure to let me know what you thought of it all!

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My First Show as a Member of the Pittsburgh Society of Artists!

Posted by C Scheftic on 2015/07/03

Somehow, we’ve sped into another month already and on Friday afternoon I dropped of my entry for another Members-Only show, this time for my first opportunity with the Pittsburgh Society of Artists since being juried into that group. Details of the show’s location, dates, and hours are on the “postcard” shown to the right (as usual, click for a larger image where the details should be clearer). I’m so happy to have gotten in this year, and thus find myself able to participate in some of PSA’s 50th Anniversary events. (Though after all my years in community / public radio, I will admit that I still first register the acronym PSA as Public Service Announcement…)

It was fun to see the entries from a number of other PSA members when I dropped off my selection: I got there a little over half-way through the times allotted for that, but I only thought later that I could have asked what proportion of the expected pieces had arrived by then. No matter — I’m still looking forward to seeing the entire show once everything is in place!

For my local readers, please note that the show’s Opening Reception will be on Saturday, July 11, from 6 to 8:30 pm. I’m planning to go, and I sure hope I’ll see some of you there too! Do let me know if I should be on the lookout for you! Or, even better, let me know if you’d like to carpool. (And, if you’ve never been to the Panza Gallery before, let me know that and I’ll share what I know about parking in that area.)

Ahhh but what to enter?! I debated and debated that with myself until almost the last minute. Finally, I went with the idea to let it be one of the pieces that had gotten me into the group in the first place, the one that resulted from my “Combining Inspirations” from several of my favorite artists.

My hesitation about entering that one was whether or not I should hold it back to use as a sample in upcoming workshops. But I’m happy with the approach to making those, and I’ve been further exploring this approach by making a few other variations to show off in class, so I convinced myself that this is the one that should be given the opportunity to be seen live by a wider audience and, hopefully, find appreciation in a new home!

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Pittsburgh Society of Artists!!!

Posted by C Scheftic on 2015/04/05

“Happy Camper” Here!

Last Sunday, I went through the screening process to be admitted to the Pittsburgh Society of Artists. This involved:

  • filling out an application (online, in advance);
  • showing up at a certain time and place on Sunday morning to set up a display of three of my recent pieces;
  • going away for a few hours while one or more judges evaluated all the works that had been submitted;
  • returning to pick up my pieces, and
  • going home to await word on the decision.

I delivered and set up my display a little over half-waycoter through the drop-off time period. (From the number of pieces I saw and what I’d heard to be the number of applicants, I do think that the majority of entrants had already delivered and departed.) Once my pieces were all in place, I took a few minutes to look around at the other entries. While many of them were very impressive, there were two artists whose works I was particularly curious about. I actually got to talking to one of them at pick-up time: Ashley had singled out my work as she’d surveyed both rooms too! We were definitely in the minority, having submitted “3-D” pieces for evaluation, rather than 2-D. Turns out, though, that another link is that we’re both members of the Koolkat community (though we don’t remember ever having met at various events there), soon to have our pieces transferred over to The Artsmiths of Pittsburgh once that place opens this summer.

Of the three pieces I submitted for screening, the one shown here is the only one for which I can find a decent picture right now. I started it late last year, and it was the first piece I completed this January, but had held off posting about it because I was “saving” it for when I’ll talk about some new workshops I plan to write about shortly. Since I have a couple other pieces in the works that I can use to talk about workshops, you get to see this one now.

Anyway, I did not have to wait toooo long: around 8 that evening an email came in saying, “Congratulations! You have been accepted into the Pittsburgh Society of Artists!” I feel very honored to have been selected as a member of this group (and happy that they accepted Ashley too).

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