Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.
Last weeks winner is Alice at BlissGuild! Congratulations! You have won an urchin bead from Heather Powers at Humblebeads, you're the very lucky one! Click on the photo of the Suggestion Box in the left sidebar of the blog to send us an e-mail with your contact information, most importantly your mailing address, and we will get it right out to you.
This week we're peeking into the studio of Lynn Davis, where metal has taken over the studio in a big new way.
Hi! Welcome to my studio, where I'm embarking on a long-held so dear wish to work with metal, my dream is finally coming true! I've always wanted to work in cast pewter, but didn't have the experience, supplies or equipment. Slowly I gathered them! Now the research and development phase is going on and the results are being tested, but I'm so excited about working with hand cast pewter! I want to show you some of the newest pieces.
Several years ago I traveled to Ireland and saw such beautiful celtic crosses and other iconic designs that I loved. I went in serious search of antique metal jewelry, medallions and medals, but had no luck finding the genuine old ones. I found some Italian style religious medals that I brought back as keepsakes, but I was sad that I didn't find the ones I truly wanted. I had the images in my mind, but I couldn't lay my hands on them then.
I've been studying, researching, testing and playing with casting the pewter, and now finally I'm able to create my own faux replica antiques in beautiful, soft metal with that old, worn look. To my eye some look french or possibly german, but they all have that sweet, old-fashioned feeling and a rustic patina that makes them feel very ancient.
I'm so very, very happy! I can also combine the metal designs with the other faux-tiques I make and get closer to that antique, worn and well-loved look I've been wanting. It's great, and I'm enjoying it so very much. I want to make hair gems, and belt buckles, clasps, ornaments and many more things right away!
Answer this question by posting a comment here, you may be the one chosen to win one of my new cast pewter bead components!
Do you have a technique or material you've been longing to try, something you want to learn? Have you started yet, are you waiting still? Or did you master something that you've had a long-time interest in learning - How do you know when you've found "that one thing" that you love to do and how did you find it?
Post your comments here, do tell, I'm so anxious to hear all your stories!
Posted by dainty metalcaster Lynn Davis who looks oh-so-quaint in her closed-toe shoes, heavy leather apron, long insulated gloves, respirator, safety goggles and headscarf! SCARY CUTE!
I have been wanting to try lampworking for a while, and finally found the time to go on a bead making course over Easter. I've now set up my own mini studio at home, and I'm producing my own beads. I got my dad to help set up the studio in the garage, and he was so intrigued, I've been giving him lessons! Apparently, he has a go when I'm not there now.
I've been wanting to learn to rivet. I have started, making somewhat crude looking rivets on copper for practice. It's just hard to find as much time as I'd like to work on it, though. I hope I eventually find time. I have so many ideas once I finally master the technique...
Several years ago I tried my hand at bead embroidery and fell in love. I joined Robin Atkins' Bead Journal Project and continued my journey. One of my favorite things is trying to use unusual objects as focal beads. I try to find lampwork beads and other art beads which will adapt to bead embroidery. It has made me look at beads differently than before. While I enjoy other types of beading and wirework, bead embroidery will always be my favorite.
I think it's just great that you are now casting! My next new medium to work with is going to be PMC. I've been studying, watching and learning for a good while now. Materials are slowing me down-it cost right much,(as you well know), to get everything you need to start a new endeavor, so I am taking my time and gathering the items that I need. But I'll get there...and it will be great!
Lynn, I would love to see you in your scary cute metal casting gear. The head scarf image alone is intriguing. I've always wanted to work in bronze, but casting was just out of my league and bank account. When the bronze clay was introduced last year I was over the moon. So I've recently been starting a bit of R&D with it. It's a demanding firing schedule and I've just upgraded my littlest kiln to meet that challenge.
How did I know? First, it has to feel right in my hands. I'm tactile. But more importantly it has to sit well with my other work and cross pollinate with that work. The ideas of how to use the porcelain pieces with the bronze fell into place. I'm even seeing ways to use it with my larger pottery pieces. So when it all clicks and becomes part of a body of work, then I know it's the right thing to be working with.
Fabulous article! Thank you for all the info. I too have wanted to get crosses in different styles, more Celtic looking. They are hard to find. Maybe I need to looking into casting.
I have wanted to try pewter, the other white meat, since I had seen people taking a class in it, while I was taking a lampworking class. They were making molds out of illustration board because the melting point was so low. Thought it would work well with my plaster molds I already use for my buttons and would be a good transition into another medium. That was about 5 years ago and I still haven't found a supplier for pewter or read up on technique and equipment.
Can I go against the grain here and talk about something that isn't a beading technique, but that beads allowed me to do?
When I was a teenager, I went to a Renaissance Festival, and there were several troupes of belly dancers there. One of the dancers had a beautiful costume with beaded trim on some of the tiers of her long, full skirt. I wanted to be able to dress like that, but I felt like I'd have to learn to dance first!
Years passed by. My parents gave me a couple of how-to DVDs for a birthday once, but when I had trouble finding the muscles the DVD was telling me to use, I gave up.
Then I took a writing class, and one of the students mentioned how she had done a little beading and wanted to learn more... and she was a belly dancer. She and I ended up coming up with the same idea at the same time -- I should teach her how to bead, and she should teach me how to dance.
I fell in love! Dancing was such a different experience from anything I'd ever done before. Once I learned how to let go and relax into the music, it became an almost spiritual experience.
And that's how two things that I love (beading and writing!) lead to that "one thing" that I feel I was meant to do!
(Of course, I still have to bead so I can make beautiful things to wear!)
I won? I won! I can't tell you how excited I am to have won Heather's urchin bead!
Lynn, your cast pewter bead components are beautiful! I am amazed that this can even be done, and your work is truly an inspiration!
I've always wanted to try metal smithing, but being located in a small rural community there are no resources near by.
I know I need to do this to take my jewelry to the next level, so I'm saving money in hopes that maybe by the end of the year I can find a suitable class.
I had always admired bead embroidery, the beautiful collars and elaborate cuffs were amazing, but I thought that it was something that I could never do, until I picked up The Art of Bead Embroidery by Sherry Serafini and Heide Kummli. I realized that the elaborate collars and bracelets were based on stitches that I was already familiar with thanks to beadweaving. I finished my first piece about a month ago, and am currently working on my second. It is so much fun, and I'm so glad that I didn't let the feeling of intimidation stop me.
Lynn, those are so awesome! I will be checking on your progress...
I took three classes at Bead & Button show that is exactly for that purpose...to test out things that I have wanted to try. Some I loved and others not so much. And one took me so little time I could have just bought the kit and taught myself! I will be blogging about that all soon, here there and everywhere! Enjoy the day!
I've been dying to try new things. I'd love to try pmc and lampwork beadmaking. I can't get to it just now, but maybe in the near future . . . .
I'm fascinated by metal working too! My interests lean more towards the forging, almost 'blacksmith' side of it. I love just banging things with hammers i guess ahahahha. However, the closest thing i have to training is a couple jewelry making books, and watching videos online. Getting all the supplies together or going to a workshop is difficult for me as i am currently living in Seoul, korea. (Not only do i not even know where to start looking for this type of thing, and not only is it a rather unusual interest, i don't speak the language.)
However, i finally managed to find a blowtorch just yesterday. I tried drawing beads on wires yesterday, with varying success. Given time, i'll be getting better at this. My next supply goal is to get more copper wire.
Lynn, your experiments look wonderful...I've been toying with the idea of pewter casting myself! With the prices of silver on the rise again and I would like to find alternatives.
I have two things I would love to learn, oh wait just thought of a third, One is clay, any type of clay I would love to learn to make beads and things with... Second I would love to learn glass and make glass beads and then there is metal especially silver, I would love to learn to make things with silver and make my own molds and just have total creativity... some day I hope to learn all three or at least to be able to take some classes or workshops...
I had been longing to try copper etching - I did finally try it a few months ago and I loved it. Now it's just a matter of finding time to play with it again!
I have been wanting to be a perfectionist at wire wrapping of all kinds. I want to be able to make anything with wire and have it look perfessional down to the last wrap.
I am on my way. I have been teaching myself wire wrapping for about 2 or 3 years now off and on.
I now have a jeweler who has asked me to work for him doing nothing but wire wrapping. He says that he has been looking for someone who can wire wrap like I do. He has 3 pieces of my wire wrapping work in his store for sale as we speak now.
He thinks I am great at wire wrapping. I think I need more practice, A lot more practice. I have been told that we are are own best critic. That is true to a certain extent. I feel that we are always learning and can always improve on whatever we are working on--be it wirewrapping, bead weaving, or PMC etc. When we start to think that we know our craft inside and out--we cut ourselves off from learning new ways of doing things.
I am now making bracelets and rings with gem stone's also some necklace's. All with wire wrapping. Now that I work in a Jewelry shop doing what I do best which is wire wrapping--I am the happiest girl in the world. Bar none.
Well, Lynn, you know how in love I am with these cast elements of yours!
Hmmm Today Lynn,
I'm really enjoying working with wire wrapping and mix-media jewelry making :) But gads I'm 53 years and there is so many things to learn, play with and experience. I don't want to get to the end of my life with a whole bunch of "I wish I hadas"!!
Wonderful post Lynn and all the comments are so great. Your pewter pieces are wonderful and so creative. I have been wanting to learn to rivet and have been making some pieces with copper. I hope to incorporate some other materials as I get better. I learned from Susan Lenart Kazmer's DVD Metalwork: Making Cold Connections with Rivets, which I highly recommend.
Hi Lynn! Lately I've become interested in beaded beads. I can make the simple ones, and I bought some books for the more complicated ones. I think I need to take a hands-on class, though. I can't understand the stitches quite yet!
Hi, ya'll, such great stories and comments, I LOVE 'EM, it's good to hear what's inspiring and challenging all of you. And one of you will win one of my new pewter pieces, I'm excited to share them!
I really want to try designing with a loom. But par for the course, I don't want to start small. I want to make tapestries rather then bracelets so I am saving up for a larger loom.
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