Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Night Circus - August's offering for the Inspired By Reading Book Club

Le Cirque des Reves, The Circus Of Dreams, lives in Erin Morgenstern's imagination and on the pages of her novel, The Night Circus. This is a circus like no other. It arrives overnight without notice and disappears the same way. It is only open after dark.

I listened to the book back in June during my 10 hour drive north to the Hamptons. Since it was a while ago and I am not feeling super intellectual at the moment, I'll quote the blurb from the back of the book...

...behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game only one can be left standing...
... Celia and Marco soon fall in love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, leaving the lives of everyone ... hanging in the balance.

I loved the myriad of unusual characters, the plot twists, magical elements, and, of course, the love story.

I was drawn to the description of the lighting of the bonfire each time the circus opened in a venue. I wanted to replicate that effect some way in a piece of jewelry. I had some torch issues, so it didn't come out quite the way I wanted it to. If you squint, you might see flames.

The crystals represent the shift of flame colors  as twelve archers light the fire...

First yellow, then clear sky blue, warm bright pink, ripe pumpkin, sparkling crimson, incandescent wine, shimmering violet, indigo, midnight blue, black, and, finally, blinding white.
As I write, I realize I have forgotten the black and blinding white crystals. I also plan to use a shorter connector.

This next piece came about quite by accident. The last time I was in NYC I picked up a gorgeous strand of red coral at Wonder Sources on 38th St. I love the contrast of the rectangular ceramic beads from Golem Studio. I purchased those (and more) directly from Vladislav, the artist, in Tucson last February.

As I tied knots in the silk cord, I remembered that the circus tents were striped white and black, with no other color. I also recalled the "Revelers", a society of folk (groupies) who followed the circus, wore black and white with a splash of red to distinguish themselves from other circus patrons.

So - back to my stash for a bumpy black and white lampwork bead by Jason Powers. I repurposed a black Chinese crystal necklace that hasn't sold in a few years and a splash of red - more ceramic from Golem.

I love the results!

Thanks for visiting!
Please visit our book club leader, Andrew Thornton's blog to learn about the next book and links to see creations by the other participants.   click here!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Earring Monday ~ again

When I began this challenge back in January, I had every intention of keeping up with it. I really do want more exposure for my blog.
I have to say I am impressed that Sarajo is able to keep up with posting, even with her travels.
So after a few months hiatus, I'm ready to give it a try again.

Recently, I've been experimenting with enamels and hotter torches. I found my trusty butane torch doesn't work that great with larger pieces or multiple firings.
I raided my husband's tool box and pulled out his "plumber's" torches - with his blessings, of course.
He had both mapp and propane hidden in there!

For this batch, I used the mapp torch. I definitely need to get used to the heat because there are a few "crispy" edges.

These first two actually have  the same color enamel - transparent copper green.  The teardrop has a white base, while the oval was enameled on bare copper. I love the color variations!
Hover, you can see where there was too much heat on the first pair - that brown is not supposed to be there. And if I didn't tell you, some of you would have thought I did it on purpose.
There I go giving away trade secrets again.

stump gray

love this color - aquamarine green
It's tricky because different amounts of heat will change the color

This last pair was my test run for the buzzard pendant I created in response to Swamplandia. It took three firings with several differnt colors.
You can check out that post here.

In case you're wondering, I used Kevin Potter's pancaked dies to cut my shapes. Then I added dimension with my oval, wood dapping block from Contenti.

Don't forget to  Sarajo Wentling's blog to see who else is playing along this week.

I'll do my best to be back in two weeks with more earrings !

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Swamplandia – another edition of the Inspired By Reading Book Club

I was disappointed to miss last month. I was traveling once again ~ busy on Long Island attending retirement parties, family events and participating in the Sag Harbor Arts and Crafts Fair. In case you’re wondering (and even if you’re not), in spite of the pouring rain, I had a good show, with follow up opportunities.

I enjoyed Swamplandia, by Karen Russell. The story follows a family of alligator wrestlers who run an ailing tourist attraction in the Florida Everglades. Chief Big Tree and his children struggle to keep Swamplandia open after their mother, the main attraction, succumbs to cancer. They also have to contend with competition from “The World of Darkness”, the new high tech amusement park on the mainland.

It wouldn’t be a book club selection if there wasn’t a bit of the supernatural or weirdness involved in the story.  Sixteen year old Ossie considers herself to be a spiritualist and believes that she has relationships with ghosts. After finding a ghost ship (really a dredge from the 1930’s), Ossie imagines herself in love with a young man who perished in an explosion and decides to run off and marry him.

The obvious inspiration for this book would be alligators. So, as I read, I checked my stash and a few suppliers – no alligators. Then Ossie and Ava stumble upon the decrepit ship with a swarm of buzzards overhead. There was my inspiration! Somehow, someway, I was determined to create a buzzard. Luckily, Kevin Potter has a great bird pancake die and it was on sale when I wanted it. I headed out to the hydraulic press with some 20 gauge sheet copper. The next challenge was how to make it look like a buzzard…

After an internet search for buzzard images, a trip to Ornamentea in Raleigh for Thomson enamels, and four torch firings of different layers and colors, I’m pretty excited with the result.

I don't always counter-enamel, but felt this piece needed it  

I've added a bail and chain, maybe I'll add some beads, but haven’t decided if I prefer copper or silver chain. 
What do you think?

Please visit book club leader, Andrew Thornton's blog here to learn more about our group

and visit other participants listed below...