Friday, September 25, 2009

Bach's "St. John's Passion"

Its called "St. John's Passion". I used an old score from Bach's "St. John's Passion" for the paper. It killed me to use a score, but this was a modern adaption by a former choir director who basically edited it and then printed out the scores at a copy shop. It was a score in progress, so there were still edits being made, so it was okay to destroy it. I used the beginning chorale and the first aria.

A "passion" is a gospel story about the crucifixion of Jesus. There are four all together written by different authors in the New testament and typically used during Lent leading up to Easter. This particular passage comes from the book of John, hence the name, St. John's Passion. Passions were very popular in Bach's time and later because during lent people refrained from going to the opera house and this was a "blblical dramatiztion", so it was acceptable. Bach wrote hundreds of church cantatas and has a little over three years of church cantatas written--one for every week.

These passions are still being performed and they are like sung mini plays. They are not acted out, but there are parts for someone to sing the Narrator often referred to as the Evangelist, Jesus, Judas, and other characters in the story. The piece is largely choral set for a typical church choir interspersed with recitatives and arias. Recitatives are the "spoken-like" sung solo passages with lots of text and the Arias are the solos for characters reflecting on their particular mood. The arias are more melodic.

This piece is a made to complete the Etsy Metal Project Runway Challenge, season 6, episode 5. To read more about out challenges coinciding with the hit show on Lifetime (formerly on Bravo), read the etsymetal team blog.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

EMJC-PR Nostalgia Bone Cuff

My challenge for this project was to create a piece from these parameters: bracelet, bone, and Byzantine/Victorian. I knew right away that I wanted to do the Victorian style.

I did some research and this hinged style of cuff was quite the rage in the Victorian Era. Most of the pieces found were 2 styles: wide band bracelet with hinges or a wide wire with ornamental balls on the end that overlapped in the front. I used the same square wire reinforcements on the edges to add to the strength. It was fun to use my experience with antiques to help guide my work on this piece. As a young girl I helped my father with his antique business. I love the jewelry part the best!

I had Hans (my stone cutter hubby) cut a section fossilized bone for this project. He had to recut a second stone since I broke the original bone. He trimmed down another one to make it work. (Did I say how much I love my digital calipers?)

The clasp is my favorite part. Its a spring pin clasp with a spinel set into to top of the pin. There is a safety chain as well. The side where the pin lives is secured by a wire that is soldered across the tubing and goes through the pin. (I really sweated this one out!!!)

I am so grateful for Vic from Experimetal for all her hard work on this project to help motivate us to reach for higher and higher artistic goals. I've decided that these challenges are just as important to me as commissions. I learn so much from each challenge. For more on our team challenges, please visit the etsy metal blog.

I am also grateful for my sweet Husband and my oldest Alyssa, who are my very best diamond finders! I managed to drop both of these on the floor and they found both of them for me! Everyone in my family is so supportive of my work and I am truly grateful that they lend a hand when I need it. I will have this piece for sale for my local shows. I'm not sure if I will list it on etsy yet.........

Friday, September 11, 2009

I remember.....

September 11 was such a pivital moment for me. It was like an alarm went off in my brain on multiple levels. I was a new mother and was completely content dozing in the late morning when my now ex-husband came in and told me to turn on the TV. I couldn't believe that it was real. It seemed like War of the Worlds in a surreal way. It really took a long time for me to absorb the enormity of the disaster. I was completely in shock--everything seemed to come to a complete halt. Time stopped. I cried everytime I thought of a child who lost their parents. I cried for the wives, the husbands, the mothers, the fathers and the children whose families were ripped apart. One day happy, the next day complete and utter loss. It was then the fabric of my own life began to unravel..... A few days later I first learned of my ex-husband's affairs. It was another year before I left.

forgotten. . . . .

Ever been walking in a garden at the end of summer and spot a neglected corner? You see in the corner the leaf from the vine that bloomed so spectacularly in the summer. Upon closer inspection the leaf is mottled with the characteristic holes left by a caterpillar. Its still beautiful though. Its almost as if the process of feeding the caterpillar has enhanced its beauty. With its missing pieces it is still functioning, it is still breathing, it is still eating. It is a brave survivor who gives a part of itself to another and does not apologize for anything.

Visit my etsy store to see more....

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Custom Cabochons made by Hans Westermark

If you haven't heard yet, my husband is making custom cabochons for me and for his etsy store. You can check out Han's store. He tries to update every few days and show you some new stones. We have nearly 100 pounds of rough and I think that will keep him out of trouble for awhile!

This photo shows some stones from my personal stash. I have set all but the top pinkish one. The bird's eye rhyolite was a housewarming gift to local metalsmith Melissa Manley. (she's amazingly talented and you can check out Melissa's work online). She also shows her work at the The Golden Gallery in the Cotton Exchange in Downtown Wilmington.

You can always go to my etsy store and see the other stones set.

Monday, September 7, 2009

My First Piece of Metalsmithed Jewelry

I made my first piece of metalsmithed jewelry in 2006 out of copper and kyanite. Being able to cut, form, solder, and set a stone was an incredibly freeing experience for me. I still did not understand all the possibilities or limitations of the metal, but was anxious to figure them out. I began to read Tim McCreight's "Complete Metalsmith" and try to absorb what I could.

I have always wanted to do something that would have the permanence of metal. At the time, I didn't even know how to purchase silver wire or sheet. Silver was going for $8 a troy ounce. So, I got some copper sheet from a local junkyard that was originally intended to be used for flashing around the gutters on roofs. I used a kyanite bead in lieu of a proper cabochon. I learned the old fashioned way with trial and error that kyanite is a soft stone! (Note the damage at one end of the stone.) At the time Gary Pack, a local bench jeweler who "refused to teach," would let me keep him company and would answer my questions as I watched him work. I can't even really remember what I used for solder; I think I may have borrowed some silver solder palates from Gary.

I know, the necklace was quite ambitious for a first piece, but I really wanted to set stones and solder from the beginning. I was also surprised to see the bezel on the turquoise ring, because it turned out so nice for my first time setting a stone in silver. I do remember that Gary suggested filing the bezel then sanding it to get it thinner. (He was not impressed with the thick bezel on the kyanite piece). I still like clean designs. I still like working with gemstones, and I still like to mix metals. I still like feeling that there is so much more to learn and get excited knowing that there is a lifetime to perfect this art.

For other blogs on first pieces of metalsmithed jewelry from amazing artists follow the links!
Nina Gibson
Danielle Miller-Gilliam
Beth Cyr
Caitlyn Davey
Laura Crawford
Tamra Gentry
andes cruz -
Cynthia Del Giudice:
libby Rosas
Nina Dinoff
Clare Stoker
kerin rose
Quercus SIlver
Delias Thompson