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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Adventures in Electroforming: The Journey Begins

The carpal tunnel surgery was a success!  I have been back at work for a couple weeks now and have started arting in my spare time again.  There is still a little bit of flexibility issues in my palm and a tiny bit of pain here and there but both are getting better every day.  Being out of pain is amazing.  It is hard to describe what it is like to be in constant pain and then suddenly not.  I feel an intangible mental lightness.

The procedure and the recovery were a LOT more than I bargained for.  I thought I would be able to be on the computer gaming or doing art a couple days after the surgery with a little boo-boo.  Let's just say I am dumb as rocks and realized after the fact that I had talked myself out of pre-procedure anxiety by convincing myself this was no biggie.  Because I was stuck watching Netflix and YouTube for 3 weeks straight, I stumbled onto something new to take up my time, creative energy, and money.  Hint: read the title of this post.

For the next little while, I am going to be using this blog to write about and chart my growth in learning how to electroform and make metal jewelry.  I hope doing so will help other noobs to this artform out there find their footing.  YouTube is entirely teaching me how to do this.  The results are just starting to look positive - I am wearing my first pendant right now (and I'll post the first couple of weeks worth of atrocities in the next post or two)!  I am also having to learn how to do very minor metalsmithing so that content will also likely find itself here.

Before I write my first post with some actual meat in it, I want to shout out to the four YouTubers that influenced my decision to go down this path.

The CrafsMan SteadyCraftin: Just go subscribe to him right now.  He is amazing and every time he uploads, my husband and I get really excited to watch his show.  He makes all sorts of things, has a great personality, and is just the most wholesome thing on the internet.  He does not do electroforming, but his video on copper patinas that he made back in Jan 2019 made me fall in love with the idea of doing stuff in copper.

Yvonne Williams : I have been subbed to her for quite some time.  She is the most calming crafter and does a lot of cosplay related crafts.  While I was laid up, she did an electroforming in copper video and I became immediately obsessed!

Nick Martinelli : His was the first video that came up when I searched for electroforming.  This was the best intro video I could have hoped for because it has everything I needed to know on a basic level to help me decide if I was going to push forward or not.  I wish he had made more videos!

Jason Welsh : Put a big bold asterisk and 73 exclamation points next to this one.  Jason is amazeballs.  He has shared so many of his techniques, processes, hints, and tips and almost all of it is freely available on YouTube.  If you have even the slightest inclination to get into this, go visit his site.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019



One of the big reasons that I have not been making stuff lately is that the carpal tunnel syndrome I have been battling for 10 years has finally gotten the best of me.

I have not been able to sleep through the night in a couple of years due to waking up with my hand(s) in pain with a mixture of fire and intense pins and needles.  My particular case expresses itself with lightning hot jabs of pain that periodically spark through my index and middle fingers, a sharp pain at the base of my hand, pins and needles that are on white-hot fire in the middle of the night, and painful numbness and tingling (at the same time; how does that even happen?) when I do any task that requires fine motor skills - like holding a needle or sculpting tools.

Working on embroidery has been such a fight:  I take a couple of stitches,  then have to lower my hand to fight off the painful tingles that flood my entire hand, couple more stitches... you get the picture.   When working in polymer, it gets bad when I am holding the tools and when I have to knead it for malleability. 

I think the pain and frustration has just made me feel an overall blah that does not lead to any sort of creativity.  I always get sad when my creativity bug flies out the window, and this time it has been gone for nearly 4 months, but it has always come back.

Tomorrow I have surgery on my right hand.  For now, I am leaving the left alone but have been advised I would likely need surgery on that one eventually as well.   I am so excited to be able to use my hands again, but more importantly, to be able to get a full nights sleep.  I can't remember the last time I had one.  Fingers crossed that the bug comes back.  I actually do have a notebook half-filled  with ideas and two half-finished projects on my work table that I started last weekend before I lost my oomph.

But, on that note, I did finally finish the project I was working on that I mentioned in my last post. This  took forever... because of the hand pain of course.  This was a house-warming/Christmas gift for my brother and his family who recently moved into a gorgeous piece of property down in the hills of Ojai.  There is a cactus on the land that must be over 100 years old judging from the size, which is what inspired the design of the polymer clay frame.  My sis-in-law loves hearts, and they have dubbed their new home Five Hearts Ranch, one for each of them and their 3 children.

Crossing fingers that all goes well tomorrow!

Monday, December 3, 2018

I am so behind!

The holidays roll into town and everything seems to fall to the wayside, not the least of which is posting here all the things I making for the holiday craft fairs.

On that note, this is my last year in attending holiday 'craft' fairs and will instead start to focus my time and energy in getting involved in local art fairs.  This is a conclusion that has been long in the making and I should have gotten here years ago.  I have learned a lot along the way, and gained some confidence in my work that I very desperately needed. I am excited to see what the new year will bring!

Here is what I made this year:
Local Flora Impressed Star Ornaments
The stars sold out completely at the first fair I did and I have none left for the second one.  Not too shabby!

Unicorn Poop & Flying Reindeer Poop
I sold half of the poop more or less.  The kids LOVED them as did the cooler adults.  I had one granny come by and looks so offended as she made a nasty little comment to the friend she was with (whom thought they were great) loud enough to be sure I could hear it.  Eat a ween, grandma!

The Sea Witches Ornaments
I called these ornaments,  which was a mistake.  They are more like wall hangings and should be hung in a group somewhere and will likely end up in my house somewheres since not a one sold, yet every person that came by picked them up and told me they were gorgeous!  They will go up on Etsy for sure this weekend, but I will enjoy them on my wall while I can.

Some hanging jellyfish sculptures.  This big beautiful blue one sold (of course) and the rest are just languishing away.  I'll hang them in my art room with the rest of the jellies I have collected over the year.  They will also be added to Etsy over the weekend probably.

You otter have an otter...

2 oz jars
I wanted to make some small pretty, but more monetarily accessible jars, but nobody was interested.  Sad!  They might end up being gifted.

And finally, a beaut I made for me.  Of course, I didn't set out for it to be for me, but it came out so cute, I am nevergonna give her up!  (No, I did not just meant to Rick-roll you, but it happens...)

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Mixed Media Madness

The last time my good friends came over to my house before they vacated the Bay Area for Portland, they caught sight of my naughty bathroom x-stitch I made many years ago.  I have never seen Diane laugh that hard and I promised her I'd make her one for her bathroom as a house warming present.  Fast forward 1 year and 1 month, and we were on our way to PDX for the grand tour and I had to actually produce one for her.  Admittedly, I had literally started this project 3 different times and then gave up because nothing was feeling right.  I did finally settle on a design and just went for it.  What had been dragging me down and taking me months to accomplish with all the false starts, I was able to complete,  concept-to-finish,  in two weekends because when it is right, it is right:

The words are done in a wrapped stem stitch with some french knots thrown in where the font I used called for dots.  It is not the neatest of embroidery jobs, but I still left the back open so that it can be viewed if wanted:

I did my typical flowers, leaves and tendrils on the frame in polymer clay, and threw in little beetles of course because apparently I can't make anything without insects on it.  I brought a couple of the beetles from the frame onto the stitched portion.  I feel like they brought the piece together.

The most serendipitous part of this: she has her new house decorated with this exact color turquoise as the highlight color, and there is insect decor everywhere.   I had had no idea.  The universe just spoke to me and I'm so happy I listened!

While in PDX  I was extremely fairy inspired (anyone who has been to Portland will tell you how magical it is there) so on this, the first weekend since I am back, I decided to figure out how to make fairy wings.  There are tons of tutorials online, so I watched and read a good half dozen or so, and then started playing around with techniques until I figured out worked best for me and followed my own path.  I think they came out fantastic!  I just need to figure out wtf I should make with them.


I also discovered Instagram stories (three years too late, hoo-boy) but this story was pretty indicative of my day yesterday:

I also finished my cicada necklace some time ago and never posted.  I see that I had posted the wings whilst in progress, but failed to post final project.  Whoopsies doodles.  Here she is:

Monday, August 20, 2018

New 2 oz jars!

I recently re-organized my craft room.   It took three months of the whole room being torn up as there were some interim issues I had to work through before finishing the project.   I think I might take a little video and post it here if there is any interest.

I made myself a 'gallery' corner where I display all the art I have made.  It feels so good to just be able to stand there and look at all my stuff in one spot.  I highly encourage you to give yourself a gloating spot, too!

I barely did any artsy stuff while the room was out of order.  As it turns out, when your art space looks like a pile of junk shoved in a spare room,  the will to do anything goes out the window.  I did work on an embroidered gift for a family member, but that is still a work in progress.

As soon as the room situation was settled, I made some new jars in a 2 oz size.  I had actually bought the jars before the room disaster so they have just been sitting here calling to me.  OBSERVE:

Props to Christi Friesen who taught a class in the stained glass look where I learned how to sculpt in this style.

And a doodle jar.  I've only used this style on Christmas ornaments in the past. Seems to work on jars too.