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 prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard and tell us what you think. The following week a winner is chosen at random from all eligible entries.
Congratulations to Deb Stewart! Yeah!! You've won a $25.00 gift certificate from Humblebeads.com. Please send Heather your address and she will get your prize right out to you.
Welcome to the studio of Mary Harding Jewelry. I am so happy to have you visit today. I have begun with a photo of some new pieces in my Etsy shop since that has been one of my projects for the last two weeks. We have had such wonderful warm summery weather lately that I have been very distracted by the pull of the river for swimming and the deck and chaise for reading, that my inventory has sunk quite low. Gradually I am building it up. Above are a few of the new pieces in my shop.
I have been working on making more of my hollow two sided beads like the one of the Maple Seed Wings in the lower left hand corner in the collage above. I love making these although they are very time consuming. I am indebted to Claire Maunsell for teaching me the technique in polymer clay, which I have adapted to ceramic clay. If you are not familiar with Claire's work I suggest you visit her Flickr stream!! The beauty of these beads is that they have images on both sides. I try to make the images related. One of these beads is published in the current issue of Jewelry Stringng Magazine-in their Ultimate Shopping Guide.
Two sided hollow bead by MaryHardingJewelry side 1
Two sided hollow bead by MaryHardingJewelry side2
To move on, the bead in the upper right hand corner is a new plant for me. I love its puffy succulent leaves and how gracefully they fall. It is a common weed which you may know of, called Purslane.
Purslane Pendant MaryHardingJewelry
It is everywhere in every one's gardens and surprisingly it is very nutritious and good in salads in the early Spring. I will be working on more pieces with it in the future.
The buttons and the clover are old standbys that I have added due to requests. I am happy to have a good image of the clover since for some time I had difficulty painting that one. Not quite sure why, but this one came out well, I think.
Cobalt wash on some disk beads before glazing and firing in the kiln
In addition to stocking my shop, I have also been having a wonderful time experimenting with cobalt wash. I have used it in the past but am finding new ways of working with it that are exciting. The picture above shows some pieces with the wash on them. It is a kind of sick pink color out out the jar which needs to be diluted with distilled water. Like many things in ceramics, what you see is not what you get!!! Depending on how much you apply to the clay and what colors are already on the clay, you get different shades of Cobalt Blue. Some shades are very dark, some are like denim and some are like Delft pottery from Holland. All are beautiful!! Reportedly VanGogh told his brother Theo that
‘Cobalt [blue] is a divine colour and there is nothing so beautiful for putting atmosphere around things…"
Collage of several pieces I have made using Cobalt Wash by MaryHardingJewelry
I began by telling you how distracted I have been by the unusually sunny and warm weather here in the
Northeast. But I have also put my distraction to good use. I have been storing up the warmth and color to nourish me for the long winter ahead. It seems that the end of summer, early fall is a great time for keeping ones eyes peeled to the plants and leaves as they make seed pods and turn amazing colors. This year has been especially beautiful and has been a color inspiration everywhere I look.
Rosa Rugosa Rose Hips
Which brings me to my question: How have you and your art been spending these dog days of summer and early autumn? I would love to hear. Please leave a comment below and you will be automatically entered to win a $20.00 gift certificate to my Etsy shop.
Thanks so much for stopping by.