Monday, December 26, 2011

Jules Verne Bead

Jules Verne Bead by Roberta Warshaw
Jules Verne Bead, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.

As soon as I made this bead, I was reminded of going to the movies to see "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea" in 1954 starring Kirk Douglas and James Mason.
It reminds me of the helmet they used to go deep sea diving.....

Which leads me to my newest Steampunk phase. I keep trying new things. That is the fun of polymer clay I think. All the different directions you can go in.

I hope everyone had a good holiday. We rested all weekend. I had a grueling week with my mom. She was hospitalized for severe anemia and we thought we were losing her. But my mom is a trooper. She is the energizer bunny! She is home now but we are not sure for how long. We are waiting for a biopsy to come back which is never fun and then we will see how to proceed.

So I am trying to rest up to see what we must endure. Luckily I don't have my grandson this week as he is on school vacation. I will work in my studio when I can and on Wednesday I have to go pick up what remains of my jewelry from the show I did a couple of weeks ago.

I hope all my blogger friends have a happy new year! Hard to believe it is going to be 2012..........

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

On being a Jew at Christmas......

Holiday ornament by Roberta Warshaw
Holiday ornament, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.
Being a Jew at Christmas has never been easy for me. When I was small I would try in vain to hang evergreen boughs and tinsel in the house only to have my mother tear it down furiously and tell me “We are Jews and we DO NOT celebrate Christmas!” Period.

I wanted to have Christmas so much that when I met and married my non-Jewish husband I went full on overboard. We had a tree. I decorated the house. I made all my own ornaments. I laid tinsel on one piece at a time just like you are supposed to. And got caught up in the shopping mania like everyone else. I was in heaven!

Of course, I still had a menorah on the table but it was surrounded by a holly bough and ribbons. I wasn’t kidding around!

For Christmas my kids received tons of gifts. We still lit the candles for Chanukah but it was really all about Christmas for gift giving.

After my divorce in the early 90’s I met my current husband who is a Jew and like my mother a firm believer that Jews do not celebrate Christmas. So I stopped. And I was fine with it. All of a sudden I didn’t have to shop. And I liked it. The pressure was off, just like that. Well, sort of.

Unfortunately my kids, of course, did not stop celebrating Christmas. How could I expect them to when they grew up with it. My daughter gets a huge tree every year and fills it with gifts and decorations for my grandson. She even has a nativity set. Ouch.

So this year, since I am not working and cannot afford to go crazy with gifts for my grandson, I decided to, yes that is correct, make an ornament. The other night I was perusing the internet to get ideas for making an ornament in polymer clay. Most of them looked pretty hokey though until I found this woman, Lynn Reno. She inspired me to make a steam punk ornament. I think my grandson will like it, don’t you?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Great New Photography Book!

A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from Interweave to pre-order a book from them on photographing your work for art shows and online sales etc.  The book is called "The Crafter's Guide to Taking Great Photos."by Heidi Adnum. Many of you already know that I am a bit of a book-aholic. This combined with a serious  need to learn the best way to photograph my jewelry, compelled me to order the book right away!  I am happy to report that I got the book today, a bit earlier than the scheduled release on January 10th, and it is fantastic!

The book is written especially for people like me who have very little experience with product photography. Even though I am still learning it has been a long, slow road. My photos need help!

The photos in the book are all wonderful examples of good product photography. Underneath each photo the caption tells you exactly what type of camera was used to take the photos as well as the aperture settings, the f-stops, and ISO speed. In some cases even the time of day the shot was taken. I don't know of any other photography book (and I own quite a few)  that explains it so well.

Each chapter deals with a particular type of artwork or craft. There are ideas for when to use props and when not to as well as how to light your work to its best advantage. There is a ton of information packed into this book about how to make your own seamless as well as what time of day and where to take your photos. Inside or outside, neutral backdrops or colored. I did learn from reading the book that a big window is a great place to take your product photos. I do have a perfect window in my bedroom so I am going to get out my tripod and get busy!

There are also some great interviews with the artists whose work is used to illustrate the techniques as well. If you are in need of more information on how to improve your photos I really recommend this book.

I do still have a photography class coming up at Metalwerx in January that I am really looking forward to as well. Between this book and that class I am hoping to improve my photos, which in turn can hopefully help my sales.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mandala Neck Piece

Mandala Neck piece by Roberta Warshaw
Mandala Neck piece, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.
Well, the show is over. I won't find out what was sold for a little while yet. The Art Center needs to tally up their receipts. I do know I sold some pieces as there were some blank spots on my section.

I had a great time at the show and met lots of interesting people. I even met a woman who was wearing a genuine Ford and Forlano neck piece. I had all I could do from asking her if I could touch it but I was restrained and just oogled it! I hope she didn't think I was nuts but it was the first time I had ever seen one up close and personal!

So now back to work. I am currently working on a round series of pendants. I call this my Mandala Series. Many years ago Mandalas were all the rage. This piece is a combination Zentangle/Mandala. I really like it. I have been trying to get the channel to work and have had many failures but I think I finally have it figured out. My channels were always a tiny bit too small for the cord. This time I used the thickest setting on my pasta machine for the inner channel and it was perfect. It gives more solidity to the piece as well.

I don't like flimsy pieces and so here I have used the thickest setting on the pasta machine both for the top and the center and the second thickest setting for the back piece.

Every time I try something new it takes me 5 or 6 times to get it just right. I am also experimenting with brass wire coils as beads. I really like the warmth of brass with polymer. Of course gold would be nicer but that is quite out of the question.

Thursday, December 8, 2011