Just Like Any Diary...
Yes, just like a diary, the writer loses track, forgets to write, gets lost. That’s the case with me and my blog. Here it is, half-way through 2020, and not a word! I have an excuse or two, but that only covers this year. I have no excuse for the rest of the time from 2018 until March of 2020, when coronavirus shocked us all. I’ll try to make up for the lapse.
I’ve been going through some work, and found the piece that I’m putting up here. It’s made of two thick pieces of flat copper, with shapes cut out from the top piece. The two pieces are then soldered together and treated as one. The process is called champlevee, French for fields and maybe raised areas. I’m not sure. I added tiny pieces of fine silver foil to make the blues stand out. There are a few pieces of gold: the dots in the background and the tiny diamond/squares in the foreground. The pieces measures about 4” wide by 2” high. I hope you like it.
Holidays and Beyond
October and November flew by, with the Under Fire 2 show in Worcester, MA, Thanksgiving and Christmas in one fell swoop! Artists and friends and family made a caravan to Worcester, MA, for the opening of the Under Fire 2 Exhibit; what a good time! What good friends and family!
Since our return, I've been teaching in my studio, working, getting ready for the Foothills show, which was really fun. Lots of people made the Studio Tour, and my inventory is down, as a result. Since then, I've made more work, which is in the Village Artisans Gallery in Boiling Springs. The Silly Ring Collection has been fun to make and experiment with. I love enamels, and the bright, colorful pieces are nice to wear on dreary days. Here's a necklace, and the Silly Rings, that started the whole thing.
There’s not much to say about color, fire and social issues, all rolled into one! They speak for themselves. In this case, it’s my take on the children at the Border. This is Bus to Glory. As you can see, I started with a flat piece of metal, sifted enamels on it, then added fire. After the piece was fired, I folded it at the areas I left without enamel.
Lisa Gohr Harman and I have both been accepted into the Enamels Guild North East show, Under Fire 2, to be held at the Kirkorian Gallery in Worcester, MA. Because we agreed that if we both got in, we'd both go to the opening, so we're going, along with a bunch of other intrepid people! (Worcester is seven hours by car from here, and we're all driving!) Lisa is the only artist showing two pieces; everyone else has one piece each in the show. She deserves this recognition; I'm proud to have been her mentor for her Wilson College MFA studies. Also, she has a new website, http://lisaharmanart.com/. (Lisa's Pasta Bowl and Stitched Bowl are below; my Devil's Table is below them.)
Where to find my work
I've been invited to participate in two shows this Fall. The first, FaerieCon, in Hunt Valley, Maryland, is Friday through Sunday, November 9, 10 & 11. I'm working with several friends who are part of Syntron Studios; we're making lots of things that people might use and wear, whether they're faeries or not. The pieces are so much fun to make, and wear. Possibilities are endless! So far, I've collaborated on faerie wings for sculptures, a fascinator ring, and dangly earrings, made with feathers and sparkly things. I'm putting some working photos up with this post, and will add some as they're finished. Others have fantastic drawings, sculptures, wearables, scents and paper items. Photos (below) show works in progress cork tops, felt earrings, faerie wings, faeries, and their habitats.
The second show, Foothills Artists, which showcases artists in their studios in the Fairfield/Carroll Valley area, west of Gettysburg, is Saturday, November 17 and Sunday, November 18. This is the 12th Annual Studio Tour, and I'm honored to be to be one of four guest artists who have been invited to participate. I've been making new pieces in enamels, Precious Metal Clay and silver. Most of the photos below are representative of what's been done.
My Two-Day Enameling Workshop students were in the studio, where I was demonstrating what copper foil and torch-fired opaque enamels would do. Because of the nature of the process, even though there's an expected continuum, there's also the unknown. In this case, the tiny piece took on a life of its own, and the result was a surprise to all of us. When it cooled from the heat, I looked at it, and said, without thinking, "The Devil's Cup!" A day or so later, the The Devil's Table at the Family Values Restaurant had begun to come to life. This seemed to be the perfect "look" for how I was feeling about the continued mass shootings and the lack of response to them, with the exception of the marches led by students who had survived the latest at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. That there was no clear response to the shootings by way of any serious debate on gun control was uppermost in my mind. The tallies on the Devil's Scorecard on the window in the restaurant continue to grow.
In the past six months, I moved out of the arts council studio and I've rearranged my home studio to accommodate up to three students in jewelry classes. It's really nice, with plenty of space to work, and use the three torches and the PMC kiln, which also works for enameling, and the other tools that are so necessary to a jewelry studio: roller mill, band saw, belt sander and buffer. The sinks make cleanup easy, and I still have room for my own work. My students are really great, and incredibly motivated, which makes the move very easy.
I made a piece, The Devil's Breakfast at the Family Values Restaurant, (above) which was photographed by Joseph Hyde in Baltimore (my go-to guy) and I've made applications to two venues. The first is the Enamel Guild North East, which is sponsoring a show in Worcester, MA. Lisa Harman went with me to have Joseph photograph some of her awesome pieces and applied for the same show. We agreed if we both get in, we'll take a road trip to Massachusetts! She's been such a great student/mentee. Her show in May at the arts council was terrific: a collection of all of her enamel pieces, paintings, and constructions as part of her requirements for her Masters from Wilson. I loved being her mentor: I'd show her a process and she'd run with it! Incredible. Plus, she's really nice.
So, whether I get into a show or not-- the second one is in St Louis, where I showed my Ladies in Purdah Tea Ring years ago-- I'm moving on to my next work, which might have something to do with the children from the border crossing fiasco at the Mexican/Texan border. My best work seems to be rooted in social comment, so I'll continue the journey.
The top photo is the overview of The Devil's Breakfast at the Family Values Restaurant. The small boxcar graffiti-- MARCH-- is one of three brooches inspired by the young people from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The Names, below, are names of places and number of people killed there, and acts as the Devil's scorecard, scratched in the window of the restaurant.
All photos by Joseph Hyde
The first class at my new Studio 204 was a workshop on PMC with very talented participants. I’ve posted their beautiful work here and on Facebook. They set the bar high and I’m delighted.
The January class, Intro to Jewelry Making, has begun with basic sawing, filing and sanding. Sterling earrings should be finished shortly! A fibula—and early form of brooch, usually of wire will be next. They’re fun to make, and the possibilities are endless. The third project in the intro class is a forged bracelet, and the fourth project uses found objects and rivets.
On Wednesday, January 17, I'll have what I'm planning to be monthly Wednesday Workshops; this week it'll be Ear Wires, Catches, Jump Rings and Rivets, from 10am until 5-ish. All materials included for $50. 3 students.
A 4-week, Layers with Rivets project will follow, beginning on either Tuesday, February 13 or Thursday, February 15. This is a project I've been thinking about for a while: it's based on graffiti on boxcars, using metal, acrylic and other color-filled items. I think it’ll be fun. And that’s what it’s really about: fun. Fun learning new stuff, fun making things and fun meeting artists!
Food for thought: do graffiti artists hang out on railroad sidings and hope for a long side-track, or do they know where their cars are going, and try to catch up with them in a week or so? Or do they get their work finished in just the shortest amount of time? Do they work together?
Precious Metal Clay
Precious Metal Clay is amazing. It’s fine silver granules suspended in a clay-like binder that burns off when it’s fired at high temps. It’s easily manipulated, takes texture really well, and does things that are really difficult in regular fabricating. Three dimensional objects can be made and fired in a very short amount of time; for those of us (ahem) who might be a little short on patience, this is the perfect medium. It can be soldered and patinaed. Take a look at the pieces that I made with 20 grams of clay. I wanted to limit the amount to see how many pieces could be made with a small amount of the clay. Here are the results.
Beginning in January, I'll be offering lessons to people who would like to either learn about making jewelry -- or would like to improve their skills-- at Adams County Arts Council, 125 South Washington Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325. The three-hour classes are for one or two persons per class, and meet once a week, either an afternoon or an evening. The arts council studios are large, well-lit and easy to access.
Introductory class introduces the student to the tools and materials needed to make wearable art. Materials will include traditional metals, plastics, rubber, found objects and more. Findings such as S-hook catches and ear wires will be covered. Students should expect to work outside of class, that way making a piece of wearable art every week.
Intermediate class is designed for the student who has taken an intro class or is able to use basic hand and mechanized tools easily. The student in this class will build on skills learned in intro, and will learn to solder, make hollow forms and learn to make hinges for boxes and pendants. Findings such as a box clasp and toggles will be made as needed. Simple stone setting will be introduced.
Enameling class will be offered, with no previous metals experience necessary. Cloisonee pieces with transparent enamels, wall pieces using a variety of enamel techniques, and enamel paints on copper will be explored. All enameling will be done with a torch.
Advanced Fabrication will be offered as the classes progress, a class which will include difficult/advanced soldering, more hollow forms, stone setting as needed, will be some of the many options available.
Contact me via email or FaceBook Messenger for details.
Articles by Judith Pyle