Cowboys, rings and things...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

OMG, so sorry that a week has passed since my last post.  This week was one of those busy, busy ones.  I try to delve into my art as much as possible, but I also take care of an elderly parent, and try to fit in some of  those domestic duties that are a must; you know, laundry, paying bills (yuk), etc.

First, I wanted to share a picture of our booth at the chili cook-off I talked about in my last post.  Here is my DH, ready to serve.  He had a sirloin/pork chili that tied for first place and a vegetarian chili for those who didn't want to partake of meat.  It was a really fun night.  Here is a shot of our pastor in his chili cook-off garb (he's a Pittsburg Steelers fan - can you tell?) - everyone had a really good time.

I sure appreciate the comments on my first try at a digital challenge.  If I have time, I will try it again this week and post my creation.  Your comments are very encouraging - thank you!

I thought I would show you guys a couple of pix of a  trail ride that always passes down the small highway close to my house this time of year.  There are many trail riders that make their way to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo from outlying areas and towns here in south Texas; including all the way from the Rio Grande Valley.  This is the Southwest Trail Ride and they represent the black cowboy.  It was established in 1972, but the oldest Trail Ride (The SaltGrass) was established in 1952.  Whatever the weather, they always make the ride in to the rodeo, eating and sleeping as the cowboys did in the old west.  I believe the only modern convenience are port-o-potties that accompany them now days.


Two days this week I was in a Silvermithing Class with Don Norris, a master silversmither.  We worked from 9 AM until 7PM for those two straight days without a break - even eating lunch at the table - it was pretty intense.  I learned to overcome my fear of the "torch" , how to handle solders of different kinds and created a beautiful ring; that I must say, amazes even me.  Of course, he was right there every step of the way, but it is SOOO cool that I made a silver ring!  Here is a pic of my creation.  From what I understand the stone I picked out to use is some type of African Jasper. The leaves on the top left and the squash blossom were wax cast silver findings he provided for us to solder into our design, but the rest I made.  I even learned how to create the bezel and set the stone and solder all the elements together on silver sheet metal, create the bands and solder them into place.  We applied a chemical to add a bit of oxidation (the black color you see) that would add some depth to the piece and then polished the rest. 
side view
front view

I guess I really like to stay busy because I also signed up this week (a week late) for the online jewelry class that Deryn Mentock has started called The Build Zone.  From what I have seen so far, it is an excellent instructional video class on the basics of jewelry making.  I just ordered my supplies and will have a bit of catching up to do when they arrive.  I want to be able to make some jewelry, but also want to learn to make 3-d elements to add to collage and other projects.  Below is a snap of the only other jewelry I have made.  This is a silver charm bracelet and boy was it fun to put together; wire wraps, charms, beads, broken jewelry pieces, etc.  I couldn't stop so that is why it is so loaded!

And, I have been working on my altered fabric book at little bit in the background and have changed things up (of course)...that is what we do right?   Anyway, here is a look at the cover and a couple of signatures in progress as I audition fabrics and elements.  I tried my hand at making some small quilted elements - the heart, bird and cross and then free-motion stitched the word holy on the heart. Kind of fun...just playing and learning.  When I was a bit tired one evening, I sat making some gathered fabric flowers to be used in either this project or some collage that is in my future.  They are in the front of the tray.   I used cotton, silk, and even cheesecloth (which I really liked).  BTW - I ordered some hard plastic meal trays from a cafeteria supplier online and I just love them.  I keep little projects or parts of projects on them so I can carry them or move them easily when needed.  I also keep supplies on some on my work table (jars of buttons, beads, etc.) it kind of organizes them and again, I can easily clear a space when needed by just moving the tray.  They are really useful as a work surface for painting and other messy jobs as well.  One other studio tip I have found helps me, especially when doing fabric collaging or fabric journalling is to use a laundry bin.  You know those cloth laundry bins that are on a rolling frame and have three separate compartments.  I have put laces and fabrics in one and I can roll it to either the work table or the sewing machine as needed and dig through it.  Saves quite a bit of time and space.

I hope you  have all had time to nurture your soul with your creativity and enjoy your playful side.  I want to leave you with the following video and song by Lighthouse.  The words are so touching and real.  We can all relate to them.  In times of stormy challenges, if we can just fix our eyes on God, we can make it through.

Till next time - may God keep you in His tender mercies.


Barbara said...

WOW Julie - that is one magnificent ring and an absolute work of art. You have way too much talent for just one person!! With such outstanding results you must be extremely pleased with the class.

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