At times I almost dream I too have spent a life the sages' way, And tread once more familiar paths. Perchance I perished in an arrogant self-reliance Ages ago; and in that act a prayer For one more chance went up so earnest, so Instinct with better light let in by death, That life was blotted out -- not so completely But scattered wrecks enough of it remain, Dim memories, as now, when once more seems The goal in sight again.
(Excerpt from Paracelsus by Robert Browning)
The original artwork for Where Once I Died will be for sale shortly at Dark Delicacies!
I'm not ready to pull the trigger yet, but the only real obstacle between now and the release of the Autumn collection is carving out an afternoon for photography. It will happen, and anyway, it's still July.
Some of my crown accomplishments in wire aren't in this preview, but this sneak peek has a sampling of some fine silver clay work including the leaf-imprint ring which was posted as an instructional lesson last November; it's the very thing that led my strong interest in picking up metal clay and by Yule I had already gotten books to read up on it. The leaf/vine piece is also a hallmark of syringe work; doing one is almost an initiation into the technique and it's another thing that attracted me to metal clay. Same goes for bezel settings. :)
I also included a snapshot of my new leaves. I've revisited electroplated leaves in various styles over the past five years, ever since I first saw them trending at one of my first gem faires. To my knowledge, the wire embellishments I've added to them this year have not been done in this capacity and I'm really excited about how they turned out. I plan to keep it as a sort of signature to my leaves, with variations of course.
One of my Etsy teams, TeamBPAL, is happy to announce our first-ever team sale, and this one is for a good cause: every item currently at teambpal.etsy.com will benefit the Sea Turtle Restoration Project which is providing aid to the sea turtles affected by the BP oil spill in the Gulf.
I currently have four items available in the mix.
The Sea Turtle Restoration Project fights to protect endangered sea turtles in ways that make cultural and economic sense to the communities that share the beaches and waters with these gentle creatures. With offices in California, Texas, Costa Rica, and Papua New Guinea, STRP is leading international efforts to protect sea turtle populations worldwide. STRP is a project of Turtle Island Restoration Network, a 501c3 organization.
Sea turtles are a window into how we treat our oceans and our environment. The same factors that are causing declines of sea turtles - unsustainable fishing, coastal habitat destruction, pollution, and overconsumption of natural resources - are the same ones contributing to the decline of our oceans.
Protecting sea turtles is more than just about protecting these gentle creatures, it is also about returning to balance with the natural world.
Please help TeamBPAL support this cause while treating yourself to some lovely handmade items!
I put up this small celestial-themed collection just for fun, even though it wasn't slated to go up until later in the month. I've made it no secret that I love the artistry of Gail Kop's glass creations and once again I count myself lucky to have been able to snag these for use in my work. Thank you, Gail!
The following are listed in order: Thebe, Ganymede, Io, Sirona, and Astraia. Oberon and Umbriel are in the shop and also feature some stunning glass buttons by Gail Kops.
Tomorrow, Etsy TeamBPAL will be running a sale of handmade marine-themed items in the team shop to benefit the sea turtles which have been affected by the Gulf oil spill. I will be posting a team Treasury of everyone's creations once they're up, but for now I wanted to share the four items that I came up with for the charity sale.
As many of you know, I've finally been able to tinker with metal clay after having my heart set on it since last autumn. Seawater relic, shown below, features a pendant disc made of fine silver metal clay that was oxidized, polished, and then set into an ornate wire frame. I hand-sculpted it and made my own textures and I'm quite happy with how it turned out. I've included a photo of the greenware piece before it was fired. :)
Seawater Relic When winds that move not its calm surface sweep The azure sea, I love the land no more. (—Moschus)
Kephalopoda A finely detailed squid trails three smooth linked silver rings, all of which are capped by inky dark blue spectrolite.
King of the Seas The Ocean said to me once, "Look! Yonder on the shore Is a woman, weeping. Go you and tell her this— Her lover I have laid In cool green hall. There is wealth of golden sand And pillars, coral-red; Two white fish stand guard at his bier.
Tell her this And more— That the king of the seas Weeps too, old, helpless man. The bustling Fates Heap his hands with corpses until he stands like a child With surplus of toys." (—Stephen Crane)
The Ocean's Secret Far, far below old Ocean's crested wave, Deeper than lies the dark and mouldy grave, Where nought is heard but water's plashing sound, And all is strange dim mystery around; Away, away, in liquid depths beneath, Where none of mortal race could live or breathe, What wondrous earth-like forms are these The startled awe-struck diver sees? (—Bushby)
Elements & Artifacts is holding a guessing contest! The winner will receive a pair of earrings made out of the mystery gemstone.
Which Gemstone Is This? The gemstone I am thinking of is considered to be a major energy-drawing stone and is often worn to boost longevity. Its projective power and energy rivals that of the herkimer diamond, but this mystery stone is not clear or translucent. It comes in up to four colors and is considered rare.
Leave a comment here with your best guess! On Friday, July 16th at 12PM Pacific Time, I will randomize the correct guesses and will announce the winner. Please make sure I have a way to contact you if you don't get comment notifications to this post.
I'm fairly random when it comes to posting photos of custom orders; I tend to share a few here and there. These two were among many from last month. The first is a miniature version of a Thunderclap Crown, and the second is a golden version of Iris.
This blog will be very busy next week, with details about a TeamBPAL charity sale for the Gulf sea turtles, a necklace auction for a women's shelter, an earring contest, and some photos of one of my first metal clay pendants! Until then:
Back when I got my torch for soldering, I acted like it was a fire-breathing dragon that was ready to bite me even though, logically, I knew all the steps and precautions. I am okay with flaming balls of fire swinging just inches from my head when I fire dance, but a little pencil torch terrified me.
It's not as scary now, but I still refer to it as my fire-breathing dragon.
Today's adventure involved my new kiln. Even though I had been plotting and pricing kilns and PMC kits over the past few months, I was still saving $ to buy the supplies needed in one fell swoop. Then husband surprised me with a kiln and, as with any large purchase, I always feel it's prudent to make sure the item works before it's no longer able to be exchanged or returned.
I spent the past week staring at the kiln as if it were going to explode the moment I touched it. ;)
Kiln wash, check. Elements seated, check. Fire-proof surface, check. No overloaded power plug, check. Ventilation, check. Fiber blanket with fully dried PMC pendants, check.
And it worked! And the kiln didn't blow up! And I didn't burn the house down!
I'm really happy with how my "throw-away" test pieces came out, because it turns out they don't have to be thrown away at all. One of them will make an appearance in the next TeamBPAL challenge which will benefit a charity that is helping the animals on the Gulf Coast.
I've also decided that from here on out I will be leaving a signature mark on my metal clay work. I think I'm going to go with "A" for Alicia and a star symbol for stardust. A-star! Whatcha think? XD