Up and Hanging

I thought, that since my first exhibition opened last Saturday and it did include jewelry I could bore you spitless with images of my paintings before coming to the jewelry.

A couple of pen and ink sketches on paper

Anticipation - acrylic on canvas 
Open Late - acrylic on canvas

 November Cane - acrylic on canvas

Easily Emused - acrylic on canvas

Sticky End - acrylic on canvas

Saltbush and Sand - soft pastel

The Watcher - soft pastel

Under the Mango Tree - water colour

Singers of the Rain - water colour and ink

Yes there was jewelry, my challenge was how to hang the necklaces in a small group that did not cost a fortune.
I found a tutorial by Ginger of The Bluebottle Tree, and it immediately sparked a lightbulb moment. My necklaces were more complex than the pendant Ginger displayed, but the materials certainly did the trick.

 I cut a half circle from the foam core board and glued it to the front. The necklace is attached with black glass head pins. I used nylon fishing line from the back to a slim piece of timber with attachments to take the gallery hanging system. Worked well looks good and didn't require a 2nd morgtage. 
Was going to hang them in a straight row, but ended up hanging at an angle making a much more interesting display.
Oh and I managed a bracelet.
Am quite addicted to the rough piercing enamelled copper domes. They have a slightly sinister air that pleases me.


Is That It?

Is that all there is?
Fair dinkum! you mean to tell me that after nearly 3 months all you have you show is 
ONE pair of earrings? 
OK I admit that they are interesting and I love the enameled focal and clearly the soldering is beautiful, but really only one pair?
Boy, you better have a good excuse.

Well, I think I have a good excuse. . . 
Way back in November last year, in a moment of madness, I agreed to do a joint exhibition at our local gallery in December this year. Paintings and jewelry.
No worries, I have heaps of time, it's not for a whole year. I'll start in June, July, August, September, Oh my God I've only got 2 and a half months!

Doing a series of paintings in my increasingly crowded studio was a challenge, so I started on the front verandah. Good light, but I was at risk of a nervous breakdown over the worry of spilling paint on the timber deck. Then I had a brilliant idea.
The old caravan and glass annexe that we first lived in, was sitting there, basicaly a junk storage. A few alterations, some tables and storage and da-daaaaaaaaaaaaaa Studio 2.
Here I can sharpen my pencils on the floor and slosh paint with gay abandon and walk out the door at the end of the day.
So to cut a long story short I now have 12 paintings ready to hang. No spoilers will show them next post.

Decided to display 5 necklaces and came up with a nifty way of hanging them. (read cost effective thanks to Ginger of Bluebottle Tree)  Needed to make one more necklace.

Then someone bought one of the necklaces and I had to make another.

Then I decided that I needed to upgrade my display in the gallery gift shop, so made 3 new bracelets.
Then I decided that the whole display needed revamping to a more cohesive look including new earring cards and swing tags. Made and stained all the components and they are all now installed at the gallery waiting the Exhibition/Christmas shoppers.

Phew, I'm done. 
Just don't look at my 2 studios! 

Tears of Bitter Price

Summed up in two phrases – it seemed like a good idea and how hard can it be.

Introducing Kuchi buttons. Cute and just the right size for earrings.
Good Idea?

Come in 2 flavours.
Little flat ones an easy target.
 Nip the little loops off the back, bung in a coupla holes, hang stuff and there ya go, and if the junk from the nipped off loop bothers you, can all be solved with a disc of some metal or such.Done n Dusted!

Now the ones I really liked are the high domed variety.

Nice central detailing on the right hand one and the other, that resemble pert young mammary glands.

(Now I've said that can’t look at them without imagining a mature aged lady rocking the buxom bosoms on her lobes - oh wait, that'll be me)

A quick look on the internet revealed these kuchi buttons were uncommon in earrings.

Bewdy an obviously unexploited niche, but let me tell you why.

Wanted a really cool and innovative method of attaching the buttons to the earwires and other elements. Much sketching, contorting of wire, scrabbling through various boxes for inspiration/easy solutions, in dispersed with wandering around, thinking, coffee, more thinking, more coffee, pee stops. Woah squirrel brain!
Finally in desperation tried jump rings. 
Had I done that first woulda saved half a day. Then began working the second earring and ran straight into the Universal Truth of Kuchi Buttons – Variation. And these little buggers have variation in spades!

The little loops on the back are bigger, smaller, offset, squished, twisted, flattened. No two alike.

Jump ring again – how hard can it be?
Then I began making jump rings just the right size so that all the elements were more or less equal.

It is now the end of the day and finally nailed them and I consider the name most appropriate, Tears of Bitter Price

In addition, I can offer you a huge range of graduated sets of hand made jump rings measured in increments of gnat knees.

Suffer for your Art

It all started out hunky-dory.

I bought a rhinestone pendant waaaaay back in the 60's and wore it to death. Eventually the chain broke and the dangles fell off and I put it somewhere safe. Came back to haunt me when I opened another box from the shed.

Corrade - to gather from various sources
Luuurve the colours.
Tempted to keep this another 40 years

Another languisher

Alien Seed
been rattling around in one of the I dunno and mehhhhh trays. Whatever I put with them didn't work so went simple. Actually like the rusty crusty enamel Mary Ann back better than the Queen Ann front.

Then the horrible haunter straight from the crypt. Nooooooooooooo!!!
The more I looked at it the more I disliked it, no I hated it! 
Blechhhhh nothing works! Whatever was I thinking??

It all went onto the slippery slope from here.
Decided to replace silky beaded abomination with hand made chain. 
After many stops and starts and probably half a roll of wire later had these soldered figure 8 links.
Somewhere in the middle of all this, needing more space, I picked up a pile of stuff, including one of those tape dispenser guns, you know the ones, with the wicked row of serrated teeth. 
Gouged said serrated teeth across first knuckle of my left index finger. Was OK to begin, then the copious leaking began. 5 Band Aids and a towel later and it had slowed to oozing drops. With the life threatening haemorrhage under control I plowed on.
During my enthusiasm for my new found soldering skills I neglected the first law of Torch. Know exactly where the flame is pointing. Result - a burn to go with the finger. Then in making the bail on which to fasten my newly made chain, got careless with the soldering iron and inflicted not one but two burns. (I blamed my huge bandaged finger for being in the way.)
However, full speed ahead and damn the hot patches.
Spell of Binding
Much better now, with the handmade chain. 
More gritty and edgy don't ya think?

Then my brain started hurting from all the lateral thinking, and in sympathy with my suffering so, the masochist I am, started something else.

Dove into my miniscule stash and ferreted out 2 druzy slices.
Earrings in a flash I thought, however the holes were side to side, not front to back.
Then my brain really started hurting from all the problem solving and such. 
After about 4 do's, 4 undo's and 5 redos was getting close, when this interrupted.

 Helped the 2 delivery drivers wrangle the 400kg tank off the truck, heaved it upright and crow barred it on logs into place. Phew.

Going back nursing my wounds, the odd complaining muscle and sunburn to boot, I finally got the earrings done.
Meet - Kiss of Salt on My Skin.

Must have been the delirium from all the pain and suffering, because I decided that I was not done with heat and hammers just yet.

Made some earrings ages ago that flew out of my shop so decided to revisit the technique.
This is my secret crusty irridescent finish.
Clearly I was deranged from the trauma, pain, tank wrangling and probable heat stroke, because I came up with this. In fact I made 2!
Huge great earring discs!

Pretty unhinged even for me. 
Will think about them.
Another remake a little more restrained and the crusty iridescence came out kinda bubbly instead of crusty.

 But that's OK. 
All came out hunky-dory in the end.

Makies and other Stuff

All the house plumbing stuff is finally finished (apart from the 2 new water tanks). Hot running water at last! Oh yes - civilization!

Ashes of Imperfect Flight - black kyanite fan, more distressed tinned solder and natural linen. Gone over the ditch to live in the 'Shakey Isles'

Mellifera - brought about by helping DH clean out an old Landcruiser ute that has sat quietly rusting for more than 10 years, and found a length of slotted metal. I can use this I thought . . .
Teamed with some of my ceramic beads with flame fired enamel, and rather delicious little golden glass drops 

OK hands up all those who have not read the size properly when buying beads and stuff?
Yep I did. Thought these cabochons would be just right for my first attempt at a bezel, but when they arrived they were tiny!
Called for a complete rethink. So did a no solder bezel and captured the cabochon with a backing plate. Sneaky right?

And . . . my first ever custom order! Variation on a theme.

The Good, the Sad, the Bad and Marsala

The Good 
I now have a fully functioning kitchen with cupboard doors. (Hooray no more dust, dead moths/bugs or peek-a-boo geckos)
The best bit, besides acres of bench space, is a fully functioning gas cooker. Mmmmmmmmmm roasts, home made pizza, cakes that is, until the novelty wears off

The Sad 
We lost our beautiful, sweet, Kelpie girl, Gidgee from an autoimmune blood disease. 

The Bad
The week we lost Gidgee, my husband was diagnosed with Parkinson's. This kind of diagnosis is not something anyone wants to hear, but at least now he knows why he has these puzzling symptoms. Has been on meds for just over a month and the difference is noticable. Not up to full dose strength yet, but we are hopeful for a much more significant improvement.

and Marsala 

In my roaring days I recall drinking Marsala. I remember the cloying sweetness of the wine and I remember this sweetness being tempered by the addition of beer. That's right in the same glass! 
I do not recall however, the headache that must have ensued.
Ahhhhh the Perfume of Delirium!

Time Slips Away . . .

The New Year has come winging in from the Universe, the hunting tip on Time's Arrow, and we all begin the one directional journey into 2015.
And true to it's nature time has slipped away and it is the end of January. The weather has been hot, hot, hot, peppered with very enthusiastic thunderstorms. Not a lot of creativity happens when the temperature and humidity insidiously sucks any enthusiasm that can be mustered, totally away. 
I long for cool.

Don't do the New Year Resolutions thing - get thin, get fit, eat healthy, give up the booze, blah blah blah. But I do need to upgrade lots of skills for what I wish to accomplish this year. 
This is not so easy when you live buried in the bush as there are NO workshops available close by and to take on line ones is frustrating given the dodgy Optus mobile connection. 
Looked into courses further afield hoping to find perhaps a weekend or longer one. The only one available within 4 hours drive runs 1 day a week for 8 weeks. *grumble grumble* So gonna have to do it muhself muhway!(as usual)

Metal cutting:- have been hacking up stuff with the metal shears and the big-ass Weiss cutter. Quick, effective but not exactly subtle. 
Now the thing is, have had a jeweler's saw and blades lurking in the drawer for over 12 months and now that I have made my down-n-dirty-quick-assemble-bench-pin system and have a chair that drops low enough, took the bull by the horns and actually sawed a piece of metal without breaking the blade! Well that wasn't so hard, mind you it was only a straight bit, curly bits I feel, will be a kangaroo of a different colour.

To prove that the sucky solder I did on the last post is, in fact, a technique, ie. able to be reproduced at will, made a couple of earring mates to match.

I will return to the gladiator's arena of battling soldering irons at a later date, after all how hard can it really be?
Torch soldering is next on the list. Just waiting for some copper wire solder and 3 flavours of silver solder to arrive and let the practice begin!

My sister bought me this for Christmas. Onya Sis!

Ya gotta love a another woman who understands the need for big arse tools and buys them for you.
Now I can hold stuff tightly! 
With the new tool and a strip of freshly sawed metal decided to have a go at something I have been thinking about for a while - a ring.
But wait, I have no ring mandrel.
Wandered down to the Man Shed, my go-to place for items I may be able to use came back with my 2 purloined tube sockets

Roughly a size 8 and 9 ring (Q & S in Aussie ring sizing)

Started forming the ring by slipping the tube socket over the thin side of a pair of bail pliers and bent the metal around the socket.

Then transfer socket to the vise to finish forming the ring, however, a proper ring mandrel is what I need, especially as I intend to make specific sized rings.
Made the first batch with adjustable bands.

 Red Coral and copper

Simple copper wire with wire wrapped blue magnetite

Copper and varicite (hocus pocus out of focus the victim failing batteries)

A soldered 1 cent bronze coin featuring a feather tailed glider. (In life they are about the size of a mouse and we have them here where we live)

 Amethyst and gold/copper leaf. My camera shrieked in agony trying to focus on the blingy surface

 Finally, some fold forming and Koroit bolder opal chips set in resin.

  Cold connections:-
I intend to learn to make my own cold connections. A good adjunct. When soldering fails rivets prevail!

Proper settings:-
I intend to learn how to set stones and cabochons in the proper traditional way. (This is only until I can rip up the rules and set in improper outlandish ways).
Labradorite Cabochon , Glod Green Flash, ,Semiprecious Jewelry , Q-Stone,Small, 30x14x5mmSome of the victims waiting my not too tender and probably hamfisted bezel attempts.

On a more personal note it was my Birthday in early January. I turned 70.

Not quite sure how I feel about this.

On one hand, I am chuffed to have survived all that has been thrown at me and made it this far. 
Had I been born in the distant past, long before the cult of youth came into being, I would have been hailed as a Crone, the third stage in my journey as a Triple Crowned Goddess. 
Lauded as a repository of wisdom and knowledge, keeper of the mysteries. I would have had a pagan ceremony conducted in my honour with chanting, drumming, sacred smoke, capes of skin, woad, deer antlers and feasting long into the night.

On the other hand, I now have more time behind me than before me.

So what will change?

If you are expecting my jewelry to suddenly morph into tiny and discrete, lavender and lace, matching and what everyone thinks old women should wear 


The rustic, crusty, edgy, shabby, gritty and unhinged-ness will continue unchecked 'cos I ain't ready to roll over yet!