Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Artisan Clay: Establishing Balance

My life is so strange sometimes.  I guess I should be happy that there's not a lot of drama, but my days just don't seem to be consistent--or balanced.  Yesterday, after a nice run in the morning with all my folks from the office, I ended up with a headache that lasted all day and into the evening.  After making it through the work day with the construction (well, actually destruction) going on outside with a damned jack hammer, I fell asleep at eight.  I didn't wake up until seven.  Eleven hours of sleep?  Seriously?  How do I ever get anything done?  I need to figure out how to do personal task management.  I'm pretty good with tracking projects at work but I'm not good with the things going on here at home...I have a weekend trip to plan, paper boxes to finish, bead soup to work on, dinners to cook, exercising to get in, studying counterinsurgency methods, and so on.  Gotta work on off I go with a balanced design!

The unplanned eleven hours of sleep cut into my planned early morning crafting, but I finally got to it this evening...and here it is:  My Artisan Clay Design Team piece for August...just in the nick of time on the evening of the 31st!
Kristie, the artisan behind Artisan Clay, sent out really cool art deco components to the team this month.  Mine was an arc with three connectors in a rustic bronze-grey finish.  I was honestly stumped for a little while since I didn't really want to string anything boring and I was too lazy to do a lot of wirework.  So, when I saw this rusty washer on my worktable, I finally got a shot of inspiration.  That's how I got my "industrial" spin on art deco.  The washer is an actual piece from the wreckage of the wind tunnels behind my office.  I do regular walks around the perimeter fencing to see if there are any cool found objects that might be interesting to work with later.  I have a little bag in the trunk of my car to collect things.  Don't know where they'll end up...heck, Curt was doing me a favor and cleaning my car a few weeks ago and threw everything away.  Know why I love him?  He went and got it all back out of the trash!  (It was all still on top. :)

I have a ton of these wire chokers in my stash, so in lieu of stringing beads or working with chain, I'm keeping it simple and short.  Some may say its the lazy way out...I call it smart editing.  haaaaaaaaa  Oh, and I probably need to explain that the third connector on the clay component was at the peak of the arc and I cut it off and filed away the rough spots--it was kind of a test to see how that would work and it was just perfect!

Thanks again to Kristie and to the rest of the team.  I'm ready for September!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Art Bead Scene Challenge - Rolling 'Round

I met at least one deadline this month...the August Art Bead Scene challenge!  
AUGABS - Rolling Round Pendant
I've been shopping with Heather at HMB Studios forever, it seems, and I'm never disappointed by her beads.  My favorite are the "chunky" disk designs that she comes up with...the color combinations just sing!  When I studied the artwork inspiration provided by the ABS editors, I loved on the fall colors of rust and yellow and dark green.  When looking around my table for good art beads to feature, the HMB disks were there and considering the "cycle" inspiration the round shapes were perfect!
I found a thin copper bangle bracelet amidst my supplies--it came from a clearance Chico's purchase a while back--that makes for a perfect frame to create my little bead and wire sculpt.  Plus, there was a mixed metal feel to the inspiration with the bicycle so I felt comfortable using silvery steel along with the copper to create an arrangement of the disks that make their color and shape stand out.

I'm still not back in Hampton, yet, so I don't know how my neighborhood fared in Irene, but we're going to drive back tonight.  Work is a "go" tomorrow, so I'm guessing there'll be some cleaning up around the building.  In the meantime, I'm going to spend some time checking out the rest of the ABS challenge entries for this month.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Artisan Clay - Art Deco & Industrial

I'm hanging out in Northern Virginia awaiting a big-ass storm.  I'm normally down in Hampton, Virginia, which is expecting some serious Irene impact, so instead of sitting in my apartment with the cats waiting for the power to go out, I joined up with my husband at his/our house farther north.  As a result of this crazy week, I neglected my Artisan Clay Design Team duties and didn't finish my piece for this month!  Plus, I have to admit, the "last Friday of the month" always seems to come too quickly and I never seem to budget enough time.  Kristie, I promise I'll do better next month!  haaaaaaaaaa

The pieces Kristie came up with this month are least I was really challenged.  She created art-deco-inspired shapes and mine has an industrial bronzish-metalish finish sort of like this one (which is in her Etsy shop at the moment):
Mine has a different tone (less blue) and a different set of connectors, so it's sort of like a puzzle trying to figure out just how to fit it into something very "jenjuddrocks" but still featuring it as a focal.  I don't want it to become "just a finding" along with another focal...I want it to become an actual integral part of a focal "arrangement."  I love the grey-bronzish finish that's a lot like this big pendant:
That's where the "industrial" comes in.  I posted a few days ago about the demolition behind my is really amazing to see this structure come down piece by piece (and will be even more amazing to see how the site looks after 70 mph winds throw all the debris around...nice).  Since this is what I see every day out my window, I want to pay homage and really go industrial with my Artisan Clay design.  The ideas are there, but when I say there, that means Hampton, which is not where I am at the moment.  haaaaaaaaaaa
In lieu of sharing my own design, I'm going to point you to the other Design Team folks and their amazing interpretations!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Happy Anniversary, Honey!

The secret to a successful marriage:  separate households!  haaaaaaaaaaaaa
I can't believe it has already been two years.  
It's gonna be fun to see what happens in the next two...four...six...
Love you,
Jen :)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I Heart Macro: Seattle Sidewalk

These little purple squares are actually windows into the underground tunnels below the sidewalks in Seattle's Pioneer Square neighborhood.
I initially thought they were some kind of shell by the way they were layered and the tone of the purples, but finally got down close and figured out they're glass.

This isn't my picture, but it's a view of the lights from below in the tunnels:
Seattle Underground

That's about all I can muster on this lazy Sunday morning.  haaaaaaaaa 

Friday, August 19, 2011

10 Days

I can't believe it has been 10 days since I made an update here...lots going on, I guess, out here in the real world.  
I was out of town for a few days in Gig Harbor, Washington, for a lovely wedding.  My friend, Alicia, and her love, Brad, were married in a gorgeous garden setting on a perfect Sunday afternoon.  I caught this shot of love and adoration and played around with it a little.  Who says cavalry guys don't cry?  haaaaaaaa
I got to wander around Gig Harbor and Port Orchard, thinking back to when I lived out in that neck of the woods when I was a young enlisted chick.'s approximately an eternity ago!  It was before cell phone and handheld GPS so I never ventured far from the beaten path.  Plus, I was so busy with college and work that I didn't have time for many adventures.  It was nice to experience the area again.

and here is a final shot for this Friday night...some lavender shot against the backdrop of a really cool street in Tacoma.  I have lots more Tacoma shots to share, but a.) I want to do some work on them and see if I can come up with some cool jewelry design inspirations and b.) Curt just got here!!!  I haven't seen him in two weeks!!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Room with a View of Destruction

I actually have a really nice office.  Most of my Air Force friends would be jealous because cubicles are generally considered the norm for an office setup.  So, to have an actual office--a corner one with three windows--is pretty rare.  I can't complain about how it gets hot in the summer from the sunshine or cold in the winter from the old windows because I know how lucky I am to actually have that discomfort.  Lately, though, I've had a bonus because the really, really old wind tunnel building that's right outside the corner of  our building is being destroyed.  There are huge machines and extremely talented machine operators out there tearing it apart piece by piece.  I get to watch it out my window and have found myself distracted for a few minutes at a time just marveling at this giant building coming apart in little chunks that are gathered up in big piles on the ground.  I've been carrying around my camera a lot lately trying to practice my manual shots so I finally took a little time to get some shots.

While you can't see the talented man with the torch, you can see the spraying fire as he slices through this giant steel tube.  I wish I had taken a before picture so you could see that this big giant tube actually used to be covered with concrete (like the picture above) and once all that was removed they started cutting it apart into more manageable chunks.
Here's a series of the big giant claw/hand that is grabbing bits of steel and concrete.  It is absolutely amazing how agile this grabber, or whatever you want to call it, actually is!  It can actually grasp one little strand of steel that in the giant pile of scrap looks like a toothpick and gingerly place it on another pile.  It can also drop big ass pieces of concrete onto the pile in a thunderous dusty cloud. 
Hands-on Destruction
It's a beautiful pile of wreckage and rubble and when they drop a really big piece it makes a loud noise and then I realize that I've been staring at my computer for too long and I need to take a break and go back outside to watch some more.  :)
I just spent a good hour googling to find a "before" picture and get some history of the facility.  I can't find much so I may contact the historian and see what I can dig up.  I'll be more diligent about taking pics as the process goes along.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

New Beads Listed

Wow...I've never had a post title like that before!  I just created the first listings in my Etsy shop for beads that I made with my own two hands.  It's kind of a laborious process, but I'm really thrilled with how they came out and hope that someone else out there will love some of them, too.  :)

I started out with some India ink that has bright vibrant colors and then started painting my heart out with a big fat brush to cover entire sheets of thick white paper.  Then I measured and cut long, lean triangles so I could actually create uniform bead shapes.  Thank goodness I still have a big paper cutter from back in my scrapping days--it helped a lot.  I have to say, though, that I didn't figure that shortcut out for the first few sets and tried my darnedest to cut straight lines over and over with scissors.  Nice.  I had a good laugh at my own expense when I realized how much easier it would be to use that little sliding cutter.
I love the bright colors of these sets...the orange is my natural favorite but i was able to actually create a whole set of blue & purple that have a similar pattern--blue in the middle and purple on the end--without actually setting out to do it when I first started painting that piece.
I haven't been out here in blog world for a little bit and I miss it, but I have been trying to spend more time away from the computer and off the couch.  It's actually a good thing because then I go to the gym or catch up with friends or cook dinner or work late because I want to (not because I have to).  So, while my blogging is getting a little sparse, it's because I'm attempting to keep my life full.  :)
This computer time has been super-productive for me this evening...listings on Etsy is only one thing, I also did research into graphic design classes and edited a TON of old family photos that I finally got scanned in.  I'm researching design stuff because I'm at the point in life where I want to figure out my next career and that's a field that really interests me.  ITT Tech...who would've thought?   As for the family photos, my mom will pass out when she reads this and discovers that the albums I've had on my desk for over a year have finally been completely scanned and there is actually potential for projects to be completed by Christmas.  Whoo hooo!  On that note, I'm off to get some beauty rest before another hot and busy week.  :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Hip in DC

I stayed at the office too late but I'm still in the mood to share a little bit so here are some Hipstamatic photos that I just downloaded from my camera.  I absolutely love how retro they makes me want to dig through the photo albums at my parents' house and reminisce.
I used the "shake" feature of the app...if you shake the phone it will mix up the film style and lens to come up with a random combination so you don't really know what you might get. 
I could sit and play with my phone for hours...if only I wasn't sitting at my office so much!!  Tomorrow I'm leaving on time so I can play! 


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About Me

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Bedford, PA, United States
I'm a retiree/artist/student who makes things. It's a nice kind of lifestyle!

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