Convergent Series

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

Posts Tagged ‘Three Rivers pendants’

Which Direction?

Posted by C Scheftic on 2020/05/14

Sometimes when I make a piece I have an idea, a theme, a story in mind, from the very beginning. Other times, I make a design, a geometry, and then let it tell me what it’s saying. Early this year, in January, BCO (see note 1, below), I had an idea for the piece I wanted to make for this year’s Art All Night event, a reversible pendant in steel and bronze. Then the pandemic struck and, DCO, it took me a while to get started on it. And the Art All Night show that’s usually held in late April was, first, postponed until the fall and, later, rescheduled yet again as an online event in mid-May. The piece discusse here is what I ended up making. It still exhibits my original idea, but is it now saying what I’d first been thinking, or something else … or both?

Let’s consider this side first. What might it represent?

  • Many people local to me here in the Pittsburgh area (2), and beyond, will read it from right to left, seeing the design as a confluence: where two major rivers flow along until they join together to make one that’s even stronger.
    • Please note that while one can hope that together+stronger means better, that is hope talking, and we should act accordingly!
  • But others (from here or elsewhere) will read it from left to right! In that case, it could represent a path that reaches a fork, where you must make a choice, or pick a side, and go with that. In some cases, the decision can be between right and wrong, while in others, simply a divergence where each one is neither is better nor worse, even though it will yield a very different outcome in the long run.
    • From this vantage point, at this scale, and as so often happens, it feels impossible to be sure where either path leads…

Now, consider the other side:

  • For a very special Pittsburgh event, this sort of art deco design could be an homage to many of our lovely older downtown (3) buldings built during that era, with the golden-bronze element in the center of the steel design reminiscent of the logos of US Steel and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
    • It could also represent the light at the end of the tunnel (4).
  • In general terms, a brilliant star in the swirling darkness could be there to help us see our way forward, whether we are traveling downriver amidst strong currents, or standing at a crossroads trying to make the right decision for ourselves and for all those we care about.
    • Alternatively, it could be the light of an explosion hurtling towards us, potentially signaling our destruction if we don’t muster adequate defenses.

For me, one good thing about Art All Night going online this year is that it suddenly become easy to display both sides of my piece together! Here is the collage I created for my entry this year:

What do you see in these images? Do you see what I’ve seen here? Do you see a confluence or a crossroads? Do you see yourself uniting with others to make something stronger, or choosing a path that could go beyond the point of reconciliation? Do you see the star as a beacon of light to help guide you forward, or as an explosion signaling potential destruction speeding towards you? And … what might you do with that understanding … of yourself, or of your reaction to others being faced with the same choices? Or do you see something else?!

And … what might you do with that understanding … of yourself, or of your reaction to others being faced with the same choices?

It’d be great to read your thoughts on this:
Please respond in the comment section below!



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Endnotes:

  1. BCO –> Before Covic-19 Outbreak;
    DCO –> During Covid-19 Outbreak.
  2. Here, specifically, the confluence is when the Allegheny, down from the north, and the Monongahela, up from the south, flow together to form the Ohio, which later joins the Mississippi River that flows the whole way to the Gulf of Mexico.
  3. Locally pronounced dahntahn, of course!
  4. Though the shapes don’t match, one interpretation of that note is another local reference: traffic congestion in both directions on the interstate at either end of dahntahn Pittsburgh is common since many drivers slow down as they approach the (Squirrel Hill or Fort Pitt) tunnels, and seem only to get back up to speed when they can see the light at the end….

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2017 Martinis with Monet

Posted by C Scheftic on 2017/07/06

2017_MartinisWithMonet_CranberryTownshipsLogoForItFor the second year in a row, the Cranberry Township Community Chest (CTCC) and the Cranberry Artists Network (CAN) are partnering on a show in the Cranberry Municipal Building in conjunction with the Cranberry Township Community Days.

Now the Community Days outdoor festivities will be on July 13, 14, and 15.

But that all kicks off with a special evening on Wednesday, July 12, with the opening reception for the art show, Martinis with Monet. From July 13 through August 10, admission to the show will be free. Three Rivers: When Sun Breaks Through The Clouds (with ruby trillion at The Point) But the opening reception serves as a fund-raiser for CCTC, and a limited number of tickets are available in advance for $10 through their web site or at the Municipal Building Service Center (with just under a week now left), or for $15 at the door that evening.

And I’m thrilled to have had two pieces accepted for this year’s show!

One of them is another piece from my latest round of Three Rivers pendants. I didn’t make this one specifically for this show but I had been thinking what I might enter during a discussion of the movement and light in Monet’s art. My original design for this piece did include the movement of rivers with the sparkly light of the faceted ruby. But it was the surprising gift from my kiln, of the dappled surface-coloring hinting at sunshine and passing clouds on the ruby-side, that made this piece seem an obvious choice for this show! Because of this side, I’ve titled it, When the Sun Breaks Through the Clouds.

Three Rivers: When Sun Breaks Through The Clouds (the side without the ruby!)More colors from that kiln-gift are shown in the small, plain photo of the “other” side of that piece. Bronze firings can yield a wide range of surprises: sometimes the results cry out to be polished to a gorgeous, high shine everywhere, while other times they yield a stunning range of colors in random patterns (like this, with an upside-down rainbow in the midst of a crimson field). Though some people report that they find that unpredictability to be off-putting, for me it is part of what makes bronzes so addictive to work with!

The Artist's Impression Of Warm BlanketsThe colors in the other piece I had accepted for this show come not so much from the firing, but from the underlying colors of various metals, stones, and glass of the piece.

I made the focal bead, the one that generated The Artist’s Impression of Warm Blankets as the title of this necklace (Monet –> impressionism: get it?!), several years ago. It’s a large, hollow bead, with layers of copper wrapped around rose bronze wrapped around yellow bronze, all with various woven textures. It was originally made as part of a series of exercises exploring the various shrinkage rates of different metal formulas in the construction of hollow structures. As I built it, I was thinking far more about those issues that about its actual design but, as soon as I pulled it out of the kiln, I saw myself pulling a (tiny…) bundle of freshly-washed blankets out of the dryer!

Most of the focal beads I made remain just that, the focus of attention, with little to nothing else to distract the viewer’s eye from them. I strung this one on some beading wire, added a clasp, and wore it myself a few times, thinking it needed something else and waiting for it to tell me what it wanted. At a recent bead show, I saw both the stones and the chain, and they immediately reminded me of the features at a cabin I shared years ago with friends on a series of late-autumn trips, where warm blankets were much appreciated as the temperatures dropped at night, and that was it: I’d found what I needed to complete this piece.

I sure hope that one or both of these pieces will find someone else’s heart to warm now too!

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Summer Solstice, Raku Party, Artisan Market

Posted by C Scheftic on 2017/06/21

I am really looking forward to the way the North Hills Art Center will celebrate the Summer Solstice tonight … with the opening of their Summer Artisan Market and a Raku Party!

I still have a couple dozen pieces left of the huge batch of Raku pottery I made at IGMA: the video above shows details on a random sample of a dozen from that lot.

Several weeks ago I made a bakers-dozen new pottery pieces out of raku-friendly clay. They’ve since been bisque-fired, so they’ll be ready to put through the Raku-firing process at the party tonight! None of those are like ones in the video: I didn’t want to assume that the set-up there would be appropriate for that particular kind of piece (if you didn’t catch the video when I posted a link to it last summer, check it out now to see what I mean!), so the ones I’ll be firing tonight are items for use in my studio, as I do my own work or by students during classes: a mix of dohgu oki (for tool holders as I work, though these are a bit larger than the hashi oki I typically repurpose that way) and small vases (for tool storage, between sessions). This may well be a round of “no two alike” pieces, where I take advantage of the opportunity to explore the range of new-to-me glazes that will be available tonight.

Three Rivers: Metro MixIf you have never participated in a raku-firing before, know this: Most of the time, when potters or metal clay artists talk about firing something, they refer to loading up a kiln and then going off and doing something else until it finishes. But Raku is not like that! There is a brief period of waiting but, mostly:

Raku reminds me in some ways of torch-firing a piece of metal clay, with smoke and fire, and lots of fun things to observe, and ooohs and aaahs as you get your first glimpse of the firing results, and even more fun once each piece has been brushed / cleaned up.

And, yes, if you’re hesitant, you can observe the smoke and fire parts from a distance. Me, though, I want to be close to the action!

Oh, and there will be lots of action in addition to the Raku-firings. The opening reception for the Summer Artisan Market means there will be snacks and beverages for folks to enjoy while checking out a range of great hand-made products from local artisans. Those wheel-thrown pottery pieces of mine that I mentioned at the top of this post –– on a scale suitable for a doll house or faerie garden –– will be available, along with lots of regular-size pottery from others.

A few of my Urban Flowers and Three Rivers pendants (another new one of the latter is shown with this post), and many more of my styles of neck- and ear-wares will be available. (I really need to remember to take photos after I’ve completely finished assembling my pieces: they do come hung and all ready to wear!)

2015_11_FiveCardHolders_OneGearBusinessCard_PB241207So will dozens of my colorful glass card-holder ornaments! I sell those at the holidays as pieces that can be hung on a tree but, of the ones I’ve kept for myself, I never put them away at the end of that season. Since I’ve decorated then in a whole range of different, bright colors, I weight them down a bit (filling them with rice or lentils), stick little notes, reminders, instructions, or photos in the double-loops on top, and use them to spread bits of cheer around all through the year..

For my local readers, I sure hope I’ll be able to celebrate the Summer Solstice with some of you tonight! If you’re not able to make it for all that fun, but would like to shop at the Summer Artisan Market, it will be open when the center is open through July 8.

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