Metal Clay & Color Will Be Out Soon!

I must say I was excited to be asked to contribute to this book, 2 chapters no less!
PPPs (photopolymer plates) of course :) and another one, using a material you don’t see many people working with.

the reason for using this stuff was by necessity, all the other color chapters were taken already! Enamelling, coloured pencil etc. So I had to dig deep to find a colourful material that I was pretty sure I could qualify for:)

Thanks to Lorrene Baum-Davis for getting me this gig!

….and here are the earrings I made for my project!

Available for preorder now:)

12 Small Squares – Drawing at the Beach

I love to just sit somewhere and draw little snippets of whatever is around, or I might go for a walk, pick things up and bring them back to the studio.

While my husband watches TV I get my small sketchbook out and draw some 1″ squares.
Then I take one of my finds and draw a few of the things that catch my interest, not the whole thing, just a little area of interest.

I did this last year when we went to one of our favourite beaches at Byron Bay (in Northern NSW, Australia) Peter went for a walk and I just sat and ‘did my squares’


I’m surprised how these little squares have stuck in my brain! I’ve used them for a few designs, but the more I do the more I want to use them!

It’s amazing how versatile a simple line drawing can be, the different techniques and materials you can use them for!

    Scraffito a Cloisonné & Champlevé Enamels
    Pierced designs, as they are or sweat soldered to a background
    PMC – PPP ……. The list goes on!

So I was just thinking to make it into a more ‘formal’ project, see what I can do with my Squares and post the results here, sound a like a fun thing to do! I’ll keep you posted:)


Textures for Metal Clay Workshop was Great Fun!

Textures for Moulding

Great textures waiting to be moulded!

Making Textures Workshop for Metalclay or Resin

Hard working students hand carving textures

Making Textures Workshop for Metalclay or Resin

Even if you’re on crutches after a nasty fall, you can still have a lot of fun making Photopolymer plates!

Making Textures Workshop for Metalclay or Resin

Using the moulding rubber was the best fun, some fantastic materials were brought in by students.
They freely shared their treasures, a great bunch of people making some lovely work!
Can’t wait to see what they’ll be making, either in PMC or Resin!

Mum & Me Bracelet Finished

Well it’s about time, lots of things interfered but now it’s finished!

Read how this bracelet was conceived here. There were a few challenges along the way…… The little sections of the embroidery were not easy to fit, especially because the bracelet is double-sided. In the end I cut a special die for the little extruder and made a channel section that could take both sides and some firm material in between to keep everything from collapsing.

I left the embroidery exposed, still haven’t made up my mind what I can use to protect it without changing the look of the fabric. I have used some of Mom’s writing on a couple of the pieces, it was from a note she packed when she sent me the finished embroidery.

On the back of the clasp I used the 3 letter symbol Mom ‘signed’ her work with, the front holds my Mom’s thumbprint, symbolising how she holds the family together, even now at 92! You knew that your children will never grow up, didn’t you? Just ask my Mom, she’ll tell you:)

It is always nice to know she’s there,  even though we are far apart and never mind our ages, she’s always ready to help with some wisdom, or the odd home remedy for whatever is wrong:)

Mum & Me Bracelet - Front

Mum & Me Bracelet - Front

Mum & Me Bracelet - Back

Mum & Me Bracelet - Back

iPhone Fun – SketchMee

Got a new app! I think I’m a sad case! I love playing around with my photos:)

This one is called SketchMee and it makes a photo into a drawing. This is me today
I’ve used it for some jewellery pieces and it does a nice job of them!

iPhone app - sketchmee - pencil sketch

I think I like the plain pencil one best

SketchMee iPhone app - Colored pencil

Colored pencil on a balanced setting

SketchMee iPhone app - color combo set to crazy

Color combo - set to crazy

Okay, that’s enough of me:) Here’s Peter………



Something to do on a Sunday afternoon………..
Time for a movie, some wine and nibblies I think:)

Repurpose – Recycle

Silver & Bead Pod Earrings

The original earrings

This week I came across some of my left-over earrings from the 1st level of the Metalclay Masters program, for which I was one of the advisers.
About half of them were sold, the rest got ‘lost’ in the big move last year!
It was a nice surprise to find them back!

Silver Long Pod Earrings

I decided I needed another long pair of earrings (rule #1 – You can’t have enough earrings!)
So I took them apart and used the PMC pods, wired them onto a bit of sterling silver chain, applied the patina and voilà……. ready to go out on the town!

Mum & Me – New Metalclay Mixed Media Bracelet

I made my first drawing for this bracelet over 18 months ago, but as is often the case, life got in the way and nothing was done until now.

I found all the materials I want to incorporate and I have the template done, great start, all I need now is some studio time!
My sister has been charged with getting Mum’s fingerprint, I have samples of her writing and the bits and pieces of the embroidery that is the theme of this bracelet.

All this is about a period in our lives when things were very happy and we had a lot of fun with it for about 12 months.
It was a  time when I felt I could do something really special for my Mum, the woman who has everything, how can you ever find something to make her very happy.. Pig in Mud happy!

It all started when I was 18 years old and had a bad fall from a motorbike, I broke my ankle in 7 places and was bed ridden for weeks. Mum decided that now was as good a time as any to teach me cross stitch embroidery, something I had been able to avoid until that time:)
But to my surprise I loved it, the charts she picked for me were interesting, I had just become engaged to peter and was working on my ‘Trousseau’, well, some placemats…..

Over the years we had some special times together, Mum

, my sister and me, obsessive cross stitching to all hours “just one more thread, I want to see how this is going to look!” kept us stitching away sometimes until 2 am!

I stopped embroidery when I got  busy with art school etc. but Mum kept going and was unbelievably good at it!

It became a problem to find challenging patterns for her, I found some on the net that kept her happy for a few years, but when she had exhausted all her favourite designers’ collections, she got quiet depressed.

Cross Stitch Maddonna

Cross Stitch sample and finished Petit Point Madonna

In our family all the girls get a church ceremony when they are Christened and are dedicated to the Madonna, represented  by a particular Byzantine Icon titled  ‘Our Mother of Perpetual Succour’ There are many representations of this icon to be found, but she made it very clear there was only one that would do it for her!

She phoned overseas and tried to find a pattern for it for years, but there was always something wrong, not enough detail (usually) the wrong colours (too bright) and the list went on! One day when I phoned her she was feeling ver=y down in the dumps and said she would die without ever having made the embroidery that mattered most! Poooor Mum!

The next day I decided to design one for her………. OMG did I know what I let myself in for??? I tried a few different ways, but this was just too complex!
After much trial & error I finally bought  a cross stitch design program for the computer, now all I needed was the icon, all Mum had was a very small prayer picture, people used to have lots of them in their prayer books. A bit like baseball cards, but with your favourite saints instead! LOL

So I scanned it in and got started…… Even with the program it took me over 6 months of designing, testing colours in cross stitch samples, redoing the chart, it went on and on!

But it was all worth it in the end, when I finally send Mum the pattern she was overjoyed, she’d been ‘encouraging’ me from afar and had to be very patient before I was satisfied with the design:)

Of course Mum didn’t do Cross stitch anymore by then, everything got done in Petit Point, which she did on the finest linen available! The result was so fine it looks like it is painted!

This pattern kept her busy for years, she made on for herself, one for me, one for her sister who is a nun and one for my brother, who seems to have the complete works, all framed, hanging at his place!

I can’t imagine this sort of patience! Each one would have taken her 4-5 months full-time, from breakfast to bed time, only toilet breaks and maybe a quick meal in between! Nothing would get between her and her stitching! Obsessive??? You think????

Anyway, it marks a very happy time in both our lives, I would keep her updated on the progress of my designing, and later she would keep me posted how things were going at her end!

Last week I found all the test pieces I did and other things that could be used, also some of her writing about the icon before I started, and some of my own writing to her, black & white charts can be made into photopolymer plates. I think the hardest thing will be deciding what to include and what to leave out!

More later…….

Byron Rocks!

Had a great day at the beach a few weeks ago (before all this rain!) Peter went for a long walk and I drew bits of this rock…..

Byron Bay Rock

Byron Rocks!

There’s way too much stuff happening in the surface of this rock to draw it all, although the obsessive part of me is always tempted…. I decided to just grab a small portion and develop that further……….

drawing rock holes

I like the graphic quality of these holes and of the resulting drawing! The good thing about these kind of subjects is that they can’t be wrong! Who would know if those holes were just like I have them here???!!! It doesn’t matter, all I wanted was to get the underlying structure into my brain, it will come out when I need it, and if not, I’ll have the reference drawing to use for whatever I want.

Pierced silver & titanium pendant

'Byron Rocks' (it does you know)

This time it was going to be a pendant, I needed to show my students that you don’t have to have a pretty design, any number of ‘odd’ holes would work well if it was designed well. I decided to use titanium domed at the back, then rivet the silver element on top.

I’m happy with the result, the pendant is striking,  the shape is very simple, not competing with the design at all. The photography was a problem, all the angles on it pick up reflections everywhere, a cloud dome would have come in handy here. I think I might have to look into something like that, small & portable.

A Kaleidoscope Made From A Drawing

This morning I came across some images I liked at Flickr, these were by Dutch artist Birgit Doesborg. Take a look at her PlantAliens.

I felt the urge to try this with a few of my own images, so I set up some Actions in Photoshop to see how that would go. I liked the results, then did it again, this time with one of my Kelp Roots line drawings. Look what came out of that:)

Kelp Root Line Drawing 2

Doubled up twice

I did a few more but they became too much like wallpaper. I had a nice time to play with Photoshop for a while! I think I will call it Work Time, that way I didn’t ‘waste’ any time at all!
Playtime is essential, things get very stale and humdrum if you don’t take time to play. Great to see I take my own advice for a change:)

I’m going to try and do some colour drawings soon, they should be interesting to try this on.

Kelp root drawing doubled up again

Doubled up again

Another Step in the Right Direction:)

Here’s a quick update………. Bench top colour is on:)

Studio Make-over

Bench colour selected - Pebbles not glued in yet

Now I’ve got my thinking cap on for the draw fronts – I think I’ll keep it very simple – maybe with some special handles.

Any ideas? Suggestions?