Wednesday, February 23, 2011

RAW: Week 7

RAW 7, Copper, 2/22/11

 This piece was so fun to make and I'm really pleased with the transition from paper to metal. It's based on the Japanese art of Kirigami, an offshoot of Origami that combines folding, cutting, and opening paper to create forms. Think paper snowflakes. This piece has been folded and cut but not opened. There are a few things I would like to work out with the construction, especially with the band. Ideally, the band and the flower would both be seamless. Expect more of these Kirigami pieces in the weeks to come and look for similar pieces in my Etsy shop soon!

RAD 354, paper, 2/18/11
RAW 7, Copper, 2/22/11

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

RAW: Week 6

More origami this week. I call this piece "My Little Friend". I just couldn't help myself, these folds were too much like the abdomen of a beetle and when I started browsing images I realized they most resembled cockroaches. Then I started thinking about how some people enjoy having cockroaches as pets. So naturally I imagined holding one of the little guys... probably not a pet choice I'll be making in my future. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

So What's With All the Rings? A RAW blog carnival

 I'm pretty sure a lot of people think I'm crazy by now. After a year of making a ring everyday (still not finished by the way! 7 more days! And yes, the entire collection will be posted on the blog...eventually) why would I want to commit to another 52? I guess I should start with why I decided to join RAD last year: I was stagnant. I wasn't creating regularly and I wasn't moving forward. I'd fallen into the rut that so many seem to find themselves in after leaving college. The support group was gone and no one was holding me to deadlines. At first I loved the freedom, and then I wondered if I would be able to motivate myself to continue working. Working after I got home from my day job, after I got home from my night job (have to work a lot to pay off those student loans), after I had prepared a meal and all I wanted to do was collapse. When I came across the RAD project via Crafthaus I knew it had just what I needed to get myself going: deadlines. That thing which I dreaded, even hated while in school was the thing I knew I could no longer avoid. It was start meeting some deadlines or continue to wonder why I was paying for a degree I wasn't using and continue to stagnate.

What I wasn't prepared for when I joined the RAD group was how quickly I would feel connected to the other artists. A connection based on creating and struggling and meeting deadlines. The support was unbelievable, and the productive atmosphere was just what I needed to get moving again. The year was full of ups and downs, but I worked through it. I experimented, I cursed, and I had a great time. When the topic of starting another "something a day" group came up I was barely hanging on with RAD. There was no way I was going to torture myself for another year no matter what the creative gains. But a ring a week? I could handle a ring a week. I could probably produce some quality work if I had an entire week. I pushed the idea to the back of my mind and let it tumble around for a while. RAD was a struggle even before everyone else was finished. I started only making rings out of paper so that I could watch tv while I worked and pump them out quickly. Was I falling back into that hole or was I just really sick of rings? I wasn't sure.
RAD 39
RAD 23
RAD 27

Then one day while driving to work I was thinking that even though I'd been creating continuously for a year I was all over the place. I would return to the same themes or materials from time to time, but many times I was in a mad dash at the last minute to find something, anything, that I could turn into a ring.  I'm not sure there was any other way to deal with RAD than to go with the flow or go crazy. But what I really wanted to do was work on a cohesive body of work, to begin with something and work it through to the end. And just like that a concept formed. The translation of paper craft in metal. I decided that a significant part of my final RAD rings would be paper and would serve as models for RAW.

Maybe I am a little crazy, but I'm not sure there is much I would trade for my experience with RAD, and I'm really excited about my goal for RAW.

Find out why other people took up the RAW challenge:

Thomasin Durgin -
Amy Nicole -
Janice -
Aleksandra Micic -
Lana Chu -
Evelyn Markasky -
Lorena Angulo-
Kate Jones--
Maria Apostolou-
Rebecca Bogan -
Laura M (Zoeowyn)-
Kimberly (bahamadawn) -
Catherine Witherell -
Michele Grady-
Joan Furilla -
Kathryn Cole-
Marcie Abney -

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

RAW: Week 5

This week I continued working with origami folds but moved away from identifiable objects. I started by making a long strip of pleat folds and then formed the strip into tubing. The pleat fold in copper has a very organic feel which reminds me of the segmentation found in beetles and caterpillars. I love pairing the organic with the industrial, so rivets were a natural choice.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Continuous Creator

I am an every day creator. I think most artists probably are. The things I create each day aren't the most stunning, thought provoking works out there, in fact, they can be downright mundane. No matter how mundane or how stunning, they all have one thing in common: they exist where before there was nothing. The topic of  creativity came up for February's Etsymetal blog carnival* and the following questions were posed:  What other media do you work and play with? How often do you get to create? Does it relate to or inspire your metalworking?

The most common thing I create are lists. Not very artistic I know, but without them I would lose control of most every creative idea I have. Managing time is a huge hurdle for me. I consider myself a somewhat prolific artist and as such my lists often contain quick sketches, reminders to research different techniques, supply orders, and fabrication steps for new pieces, scattered among the bills that need paying, groceries needed for dinner, or the yard work that needs attention. I guess I've come to regard my lists more as stream of consciousness writings than tasks that need to be crossed off. The act in itself serves to organize my thoughts and move me in the right direction.

Sketching is probably the next most common mode of creativity that I engage in. I sketch almost daily, sometimes several times a day. Usually I work on new jewelry designs or refining old designs, but occasionally I create characters or just doodle. Many times the doodles are most productive as far as pulling forms for metal work. I find that in metal, just as in photography, abstraction is my passion.

 My home also provides great creative outlet. I try to spend as much time as possible in the garden when it's not raining. It's in the garden that I move away from geometric forms, line, simplification, abstraction and repetition, and toward a writhing canvas of colors and textures that seem to be barely contained within their borders. It is in the garden, with dirt under my fingernails, sweat trickling down my face, and scratches from the roses and brambles that I find it easiest to relinquish control, find beauty and meaning in the chaos and order of nature, to relax, and be humbled by the strength and persistence of the earth.

On a less regular basis I create for events. Birthdays, holidays, parties... I would much rather create something than purchase it. When my best friend had her first child I went crazy with knitting and sewing. During the winter holidays I often go overboard with gift wrap, sometimes my husband and I go as far as carving our own stamps for tags and paper. And paper ornaments and handmade treats are often our gifts of choice.

Creativity is everywhere in my life, even in the most every day aspects. It's part of the way I relate to and process the world around me. It's how I find meaning.

Find out what creative endeavors other Etsymetal artists are involved in:

*What is Etsymetal and the Etsymetal Blog Carnival? Etsymetal is a group of metal artists from around the world who have come together to support each other as artists and sellers on Etsy.  Each month a new topic is posted that members of the group blog about, providing several unique perspectives and allowing a little bit of insight into the person behind the work. Each blogger then posts links to the other blogs allowing readers to cycle through them all. Have fun!