Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I'm Published!! Thanks, Art Jewelry!!

What does Art Jewelry magazine, snakeskin and tutorials have in common?  My step by step article on how to imprint snakeskin onto silver and copper sheet to make a delicate texture for wire framed earrings. 

If you click on the link provided here you can see a short video of all the interesting projects in the November issue of Art Jewelry, including my Snake Skin Earring tutorial. 
November 2012 Art Jewelry Magazine Video Preview

So how did that come to fruition?  About five years ago a master seed bead artist encouraged me to send my wire wrapping ideas into a magazine or enter a contest.  I looked at her like she had grown a second head and placed a hand on my chest, looked around the room and said to her, "Who me?"  She told me that it would never happen if I didn't try.  I thought that the idea was overwhelming and yet her voice kept returning to me each time I would finish a project.  I would ask myself if the finished project was worthy of entering it into a juried art exhibit, a magazine or a contest.  Honestly, it is challenging to be objective about your work after finishing it, as so much tender love, resources and time goes into many of the wire wrapping pieces that I complete.  It seems that with each necklace, earring, ring or bracelet that I finish that I appreciated it more than the others.  Still, I knew that bells would ring and songs would permeate my surrounding when I had that hit.  That happened a year ago when my uncle's wife asked me to make and donate a snake head necklace (see my post banner snake head) for a fundraiser to research the Western Diamondback rattlesnake.  The necklace sold to the highest bidder in a silent auction and subsequently 1,000 dollars went towards tracking devices for our reptilian friends. 

It all started with a sketch of the snake head

After the snake head was finished and photographed I sent a photo into Art Jewelry.  They asked me to fill out a submission form and send them the snake head necklace to their office in Wisconsin.  I not only sent them the necklace, but the matching earrings that I made out of the snake skin rolled against silver in my rolling mill.  They photographed the snake head and put that photo into the Art Jewelry Gallery and asked me if I would do a step by step article for the earrings.  After I danced a small jig I wrote them back telling them that I would be glad to write a step by step article. 

Writing an article for a magazine is different from writing one for your own use.  I tend to write my step by step tutorials with nearly a hundred photos or more.  To do that for a magazine would take many pages.  It was my job to condense the ideas and photos that I had to convey the process thoroughly.  After submission to the magazine the editors proofed my completed submission and sent back some changes, including a couple of illustrations that offered even more visual enlightenment to the process.  Their assistance was gold!!  It was wonderful to work with such a professional editing staff.

So, check out the Snake Skin Earrings, as well as other projects that use interesting components in the November 2012 issue of Art Jewelry.  I have also provided links to my tutorials.  One is a free tutorial on how to use the Economy Compact rolling mill and the other is on patterning metals without a rolling mill.
Patterned Metals Without Rolling Mill

Free Rolling Mill Tutorial

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First Lesson for a Budding Artist

Where does the person start who knows little to nothing about jewelry or metal fabrication?  Do they start with beads?  Metals?  Wire wrapping?  Why not all three?  Last week we had some out of town company visit with us from Ohio.  This was my husband’s college roommate and his wife, Trish, who is a nurse.  The wife asked me if she could watch me work in my studio and I asked her if she would consider working with me.  She was game.  She had not dabbled in jewelry arts and was graciously willing to allow me to show her some of the tools.  

Since Trish is a new grandmother she was interested in making a necklace with her granddaughter’s name on it.  I felt that her experience would be dimensional if she could dabble in many of the tools offered to create such a necklace.  This meant bringing out the torch, rolling mill, hammers, dapping blocks, metal stamps, disc cutter and jewelry tools.  

Here you can see Trish using a drill press for the first time.  

What was so amazing is Trish’s steady hand while stamping metal.  This stamping she did was her first attempt.  She nailed it!!  It was awesome to see Trish work all of the metal fabricating tools with great confidence and precision.  Her finished necklace looks great.  Don’t you think?  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Art as a Personal Journey

What does art mean to you?  How does it resonate with your soul?  How would you describe art if you were asked?  These are all questions that I asked myself this morning. 

I had not intended to feel philosophical about my artistic feelings, but outside forces shifted my focus to look at this glaringly today.  I am thankful that this opportunity arose early this morning as I was walking around our neighborhood lake. 

I was challenged this morning to think of art as a personal journey when someone close to me noticed my OM tattoo for the first time.  This person mentioned to me, “Art should be viewed on a wall, not on the skin.”  I am human and my first feeling was one of defensiveness, but that gave way to introspective thoughts about what art meant to me and how others perceive my art or how I perceive the art of others. 

As long as no living thing was harmed art is neither wrong nor right.  A gamut of emotions can follow when viewing art.  Take the tattoo, for example, the reaction of the person viewing it was one of unpleasantness.  I can think of a host of reasons why body art doesn’t appeal to some.  So, in a sense, the art of a tattoo can elicit a response that can be visceral, entertaining or even spiritual.  That is art. 

Artwork is something that is visualized or experienced and evokes a response.  Just because the response isn’t always favorable doesn’t make it true art.  In fact, some great artists attempt to challenge the person experiencing the art to feel something other than pleasantness. 

I thought about the saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder.”  If I am a beginning artist and I artistically create something that brings me great joy, then I am happy.  If I am a seasoned artist and something I make doesn’t seem finished then, I am not happy.  So who wins?  I guess it would be the person who connected spiritually to the experience.  You could line up ten people from different artistic strata and ask them to critique the work of a young artist and they might change the vantage point of that artist, but nothing can take away that feeling of actually creating something for the first time.  That critiquing is where the great conflict emerges.  

So, I challenge you to create.  Find your artist within.  Ask no one if what you design is good enough.  If it connects with you spiritually and gives you a sense of fulfillment, then you have released the artist you know is evolving.  I use the word “evolving” because artistry work is a process of constant evolution.  The more we think and work like an artist the more we feel the role.  

My OM Tattoo

Seed=design idea
Bud=playing with the design
Blossom=feeling the design ignite your spirituality 
Release the fragrant nature=feeling fulfilled with the design
Reseeding=sprouting new design ideas from the original seed
~Susan Barzacchini

Feel the shift within by creating your own bouquet that makes you feel accomplished. 
Namaste, Susan