Monday, March 22, 2010

Red Sez

Red Sez:  It's The Face!  It's The Face!!!
You want me to grow up all big and handsomer.
Don't you???  Okay, then feed me again Nice Face!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Happy Spring !!!

We celebrated the Vernal Equinox yesterday by "working" in the yard.  Appropriately enough it was the second day in a row that hit 70 degrees!  It was gorgeous and we actually got quite a bit done.  It seems like it's been a long Winter for us and we're both a bit out of shape.  So we took it slow and enjoyed the day.

I did cast the next flask cast too.  So while Pat works on production rings today I'll be finishing the other pieces that we need for the order we'll be delivering to Arrocraft Tuesday!

We didn't take any photos yesterday.  So here are a couple from Springs past . . .

"Spring", March 2008

From March 2009, this was our first piece using Laurel Kiewitt's wonderful art glass.

And up to the present "Last Freeze" sold at Arrowcraft just last week!

The art glass pendants have been a lot of Fun for us to work on and we have more planned for this year too!  In the meantime though, it's back to work on our Ridgelines!

Happy Spring!!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Flowers for Terry !

It's a beautiful day here!  It's a sunny sixty degrees and is getting warmer by the minute.  Since Terry asked and is in the midst of blizzard-like conditons and is expecting 10 inches of snow . . .  Here's a reminder that Spring really is coming!!!

Purple Crocus by our steps.
The first of the new Crocus in the long bed.
It's so pretty out that we couldn't resist taking thirty minutes and getting a start on cleaning up the Winter debris.  We took six bins of pine cones out of the wild flower area!  It's a good start.
Inky even came out to soak up some sun and supervize us!
Now we're back to work.  Our hands are all sticky with pine resin!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Synchronicity & Passages

While dinner* is finishing in the oven and Pat is relaxing I thought I'd take a couple of minutes and post the new earring designs that we finished earlier this week.  (These are not good, studio quality, photos but they'll serve for now as a record for us.)

As we were eating lunch in the yarden this afternoon a hawk was calling somewhere in the wooded valley behind us.  Pat reminded me that it was about time for our pair of passage hawks to stop by for a visit.  As soon as she said that I looked up and there one of them was cruising above our street heading to the open air at the end of the knoll that our road ends on!

It got up to 59.4 degrees today.  Finally warm enough to invest the two flasks that I have ready!!!   One is loaded with production earrings and small pendants.  The other one has a special piece for Pat M. and a number of larger pieces that will become new pendants.  It's exciting.  They'll be going into the kiln first thing in the morning.

Talk about small worlds and synchronicity ~ I had been thinking about Nancy L. earlier today.  She called just as I was about to invest!  We'll meet up for lunch next Tuesday when we go to Gatlinburg to deliver Arrowcraft's order.  It's always so nice to see Nancy, and it will be fun to have a chance to just sit down and talk and catch up!

We both have a lot of work to do before then.  But if the forecast is correct and it really does get up to 68 Saturday we'll be outside getting some play time in.  Er, I meant work time tending our neglected yarden!  There's a lot to do and even though I'm planning to burnout and cast again Saturday I suuspect that we'll both be outside regardless of the temperature.

I photographed some of our new crocus before we stopped for lunch today.  I planted these late last Fall.  There are a few hundred more of them to come and quite a few Tulipa kaufmanniana, one of my favorites.  In this area we have a mix of sixty crocus and thirty-six various Tulipa kaufmanniana.

Oh dinner*?  Last night left over killer "chilli" turned into AElvish Macaroni and Cheese tonight . . .  mixed with finely grated double gloucester, mozarella, an increedible Spanish sheep cheese and parmigiano reggiano regiano and rotini pasta.  Since I just pulled it out of the oven Pat's making us a nice little spinich salad and slicing some wonderful bread.  It's time to eat!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

New Work & The Missing Day

Happy Saint Patrick's Day !!!

Here's the 2nd of our Ridgelines' Reflections series inspired by Lichen!

For this pendant we patinated the bronze then re-polished the highlights to emphasize the incredible textures.  Then we sealed the bronze, as we did the river stone.

And, again, here's the first in this series

This is our latest Ridgelines pendant featuring two really nice Blue Topaz.

Somehow I've changed our camera's settings, so I'll have to post our newest earring designs later.  Tomorrow I'll invest and burnout the two flasks of Ridgelines elements I have ready.  We'll also be placing a large materials order.  Once I have a chance to re-read the camera's instructions I'll photograph all of our latests pieces again.  Until then . . .

Spring Really Is Coming!!!

Oh.  "The Misssing Day"?  That's because I haven't a clue where today went!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Earthlink finally got our email straightened out yesterday.  Which is nice.  While Pat was in Waynesville I de-sprueed A.'s Annivversary Brooch.  It went really well and it was very satisfying to spend some good time in the studio after being sick for so long.  Here's how's it's coming along after desprueing and a quick initial buff.
Of course I forgot to photograph the custom ring for Jeannie before Pat delivered it yesterday!

We have lots of work to do ~ we have some large wholesale orders and some very interesting custom work coming up!  So off to work I go!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Last Night's Castings & No Email . . .

I put both flasks in the pre-heated kiln at 10 yesterday morning.  I expected my burnout cycle to take 7 hours, but ended up pouring just after 9 hours.  The weather turned a little colder and rainy so I had some heat lags to take into account.  It's better to be slow and sure, 'cause you can definitely run a burnout cycle too fast and too hot.

As I was pouring I could hear the first spring peepers calling nearby.  Spring really is coming!

A.'s Anniversary Brooch turned out beautifully!
I'll be spending quite a bit of time de-sprueing with mini-cutoff discs tomorrow.  But all those heavy sprues were worth it.  After I grind and polish Pat will be setting a 2.5 mm AA ruby into each of the 10 petals.  This is going to be a really lovely brooch!

The ring for The Jewelers Workbench turned out well too.

I've already de-sprued and ground it.  It needs a little touching up and a final polish and it will be ready to deliver tomorrow!

For some reason Earthlink's email has been out of whack all weekend.  We can't access our mail at all.  All their support has said since yesterday is, "We are currently experiencing high call volume indicative of an email outage. We are currently investigating further and apologize for the inconvenience. Please continue to check this site for updates."  Jeepers.

Our Dear Friend Greylond called us last night.  He's in the wilds of Mississippi.  He was sitting by his campfire enjoying a glass of wine and thinking of us.  I was having a glass of beer and had just thought of him shortly before he called.  We had a good long talk, about many things.  We each raised a glass, "To absent Friends!"

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Red Sez . . .

My 29 gallon aquarium in the living room only has 9 Harlequin Rasboras and a ton of South East Asian plants in it.  Last weekend when I picked up some dried cat food, I took a look at the male Bettas in the store . . .

One of the Red guys really caught my eye.  He was very attentive and just beautiful.  And he told me that if I rescued him and gave him a new home he'd be beautiful and would protect us from all the "snailzs" in the world.

How could I refuse?  Besides he needed saving!

Red Sez:  See how betta~full I am?!?  Aren't I big and scary?!?
Now, SHHH!  Be Very Very Quiet, I'm hunting snailzs and I'm hiding behind these leaveses so they can't see me.

Friday, March 12, 2010

For L.'s Consideration ~ More Possibilities !

(Photographed on white paper under room lights ~ there's definitely some color drift!)

A new image of some possibilities because I forgot a Carnelain and the gorgeous Starry Jasper!

Clockwise from the top center:  Petrified Bali Coral, three Butterfly Agates, Bird's Eye Jasper, Maramuabe (an Australian Tiger Eye), small glowy Carnelian, Goldshine Obsidian, a pair of Crazy Lace Agates, Tiger Iron, a darker glowy Carnelian, and Starry Jasper.

Sprueing & A Surprise!

This is a custom ring's wax that Pat carved for The Jewelers Workbench
Here's the pattern for A's Anniversary Brooch
Pat pricks the pattern with a pin to transfer the design to the blue carving wax.

I spent a lot of time thinking about how to sprue this piece . . .

There so much time in the carving that I want to ensure it casts perfectly!  I actually began sprueing this wax Wednesday, then decided I wasn't happy with it.  So I stopped and took a break.  These views are after I finished sprueing it Thursday . . .
I used three pieces of 6 gauge and one piece of 8 gauge wax sprueing wire.
Definitely better safe than sorry!

Thursday's high was only 52 degress; too cold to invest.  So I invested both flasks late this afternoon so they'd be ready to go in the kiln first thing in the morning!

I had to run to The Home Depot to pick up an extra bottle of oxygen.  Hmmm ~ gorgeous yellow primroses at the checkout for only $1.46.  They're such beautiful plants that I couldn't resist getting us one.  We may just have to go back for more!

Since I was out I swung by Ingles to pick up some ingrediants for dinner tonight (mussels fresh in from Maine with pasta).  For some reason as I strolled past the magazine section one caught my eye . . .  The April issue of Blue Ridge Country is out.  It's a special issue celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

I picked it up thinking about recommending it to our writer Friend Tim W..  When I leafed through it I found the Guild's ad on page 15 . . .  And there was our first Ancient Seas pendant!!!

What a Fun Surprise!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Reflections and the Perfect Rissotto!

Because of the rock slide on I-40 we made the trip to Gatlinburg yesterday by the old 25-70 route.  It was a beautiful drive and only took us about an extra thirty minutes.  As always it was wonderful to have a chance to talk with Craig and Emily and Laurel.  And to get Laurel's reaction to our new Reflections pendant!

This Reflections pendant features an oval Ridgelines cast in Sterling Silver and oxidized.  The stream pebble is coated so that it will always be shiny-wet looking, then it is set in Sterling step-bezel.  The lichen was windfall gathered from our yard.  We both have always loved and admired the wonderful textures and shapes of the lichens in our mountains.  Tom was so inspired by the special pieces that had been falling at his feet that he developed a new technique that allows him to cast them perfectly.  (If he hadn't they would end up mulched by the city of Asheville!)  The Pearl adds the perfect compliment to the colors of the pendant.

When we left Arrowcraft we stopped at Greenbriar, an amazing part of the Great Smokies National Park, right outside of Gatlinburg.  We had a picnic and a wonderful walk through the faery land beside the river.  For once our trilliums are up first!  We were so overwhelmed that we didn't take any photos.  But here is one from a visit there last April.

On our way back home that last night we stopped in Marshall . . .  It's been years since either of us had been to Marshall.  It was amazing!  The town has stayed small, but it looks to be thriving.  We were lucky enough to discover the Bacchus Bistro.

The Chicken Marsala came with the best Risotto Parmigiano we've ever had.  It was stunning.  It was also the perfect ending for a perfect day!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

More Snow and Work

We had a couple of inches of snow again Tuesday . . .

Last week was busy for both of us.  I surprised Pat by casting the two bronze flasks Monday.  I was actually cleaning the sprues off in the quench bucket when she came home!  I had meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday.  When I got home Tuesday she had finished coating our river pebbles and had formed and soldered the step-bezels for five of them!

(They're on a sheet of white paper!  Color drift because I didn't set my lights up.)

We both took the weekend off.  Which was good, because by Sunday I was coming down with something!  So Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I was pretty lazy ~ following Doctor Pat's orders!  I'm much better today and raring to get everything caught back up!

So here's where we are right now . . .

Both flasks I cast last week turned out.  But the ferns arent going to be usable; I had some porosity in each one . . .  But I do know why and what to do about it!  Which is really exciting to both of us.  (As soon as I compared the castings to the photos I had taken as I was working on them the causes were immediately obvious!)

The lichen flask worked beautifully and Pat is in the studio cleaning them up right now!  The technique I developed for them worked perfectly on my first try.  And yes, maybe I am crowing a little bit.  But hey, I think I've earned it!  The textures and shapes are amazing.  I'm really looking forward to these pendants becoming real.

And yes, I have to cast more ferns as soon as the weather warms up enough for me to do so!  I also have a custom ring's wax waiting to be cast.  (It was being approved when I cast last Monday, and it's been freezing ever since.)

Pat finished the wax for A.'s Anniversary Brooch today!  Here's the original design he choose

Here's the finished wax for A.'s Anniversary Brooch

If the forecast is right we might just get up into the 50s this weekend.  If it does warm up that much I'll have at least two custom pieces to invest and cast.  If tomorrow goes well I just might have some ferns ready for Pat too!