wired.

>> Saturday, April 23, 2011

there is nothing like going to the post office and picking up a box full of precious metal.  (well, perhaps that is an overstatement - now that i think about it, i can think of a hundred things better than that.)  inside the box were coils of beautiful smooth sterling, golden 14K gold fill, and warm, blushing rose gold wires.  whisper thin, sleek and so, so shiny, i seriously can't resist.  (sometimes i am such a GIRL that it makes me want to throw up.)  so now i'm surrounded by hoop earrings in all sizes - all 20 gauge, slim and sparkling.  obsessed, much?


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art history lesson - richard serra.

richard serra, "torqued ellipses", 1998.  DIA foundation

i've always been more of a two-dimensional "artist".  i never really was able to think depth-width-length (which probably also explains why i am so awful at math) and all the things i made in Sculpture 101 were sadly only viewable from one angle.  i can definitely appreciate an excellent statue (the nike of samothrace, or bernini's ecstacy of st. theresa, for starters) but anything in three dimensions eludes me from a creative standpoint.  maybe it's a brain thing, maybe it's artistic roadblock, or maybe i should just resign myself to the fact that i'm just better working on a flat surface. 

i did not retain much from the extensive art history curriculum i have under my belt, but i did pay careful attention to modern sculpture movements.  one of my absolute favourite artists from that era is the minimalist/process artist Richard Serra.  not only does he create enormous, fantastic, uber-masculine constructions in steel, but he also has a reputation of being a little bit of a jerk.  (of course, just my type.)  urban legend had it that once, one of his multi-ton sculptures had crashed through a gallery ceiling and killed someone.  RS's alleged response?  "it's part of the art.  so what."  while the story is not 100% true - actually, the truth is that a workman was killed while assisting in the removal of a Serra piece from an installation site; and seriously, no good curator worth his/her salt would ever install something that heavy on the second floor of a gallery - it lends an edge of emotional coldness to RS's already steely works.

i've had the pleasure of experiencing one of Serra's works in person - the husband and i had lucked out and stumbled upon an exhibition of his "torqued ellipses" at the DIA foundation in NYC.  forbidding, huge, silent, pitted with the mark of the machinery that made it and streaked with rust, the huge pieces of cor-ten-steel rested firmly on the cement floor of a gigantic warehouse, but yet, as you looked up from within the sculpture, you couldn't help but feel that, at any minute, the huge pieces of steel would slowly tilt and crush you in the process.  i spent a long time just sitting underneath the steel, marvelling at the size, shape and structure, and hoping i wasn't going to be flattened.

i was thinking about what i said about the fidget rings last night and i realized that they are probably the only pieces of "sculpture" that i have made and truly been somewhat interested in.  i am in love with the irregularities, the folds in the metal, the textures.  the unfinished-ness of them and the twist of the copper.  they make me think of sitting within Serra's steel - but being able to hold that same feeling in my hand.  i am definitely NOT putting myself anywhere near the genius that is he, but it's neat to think that maybe, just maybe, i have a little bit of sculptor in me.

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fidget. ring. spin. part two.

>> Friday, April 22, 2011

things have been a little quiet in the world of metalsmithing (read: things have been a little slow on the sales front) so i've been experimenting a little again.  for anyone who is interested in how the whole fidget ring thing is going, here is prototype number 2. i think i was marginally more successful this time around.  i also used a half round copper band instead of the twisted one, in the hopes that it would be a little more aerodynamic and more likely to "spin" around the thicker band.  well, as you can see, the finished product is still quite irregular and rustic, and  i probably still am a little heavy handed with the hammer, but it does have a more smoother appearance than the first one i had made.  there is definitely less buckling, and it has a more put together "look".  i do admit, i think i might like the twisted band better - the contrast in texture with that ring is what i like about it.  the joy of prototype two is that i feel i am getting closer to perfecting this technique - plus it is as equally enthralling as a fidget device.
it is kind of interesting because these rings are taking on a primitive, monolithic kind of look - i'm thinking a little stonehenge mixed with rough hewn rock and just the slightest hint of zen.  hmmm.  i'm going to wander down to the studio and see what else i can come up with.

(L - this one is yours, if you want it!)

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the book of love.

>> Thursday, April 21, 2011



i haven't felt like blogging in the last couple of days - tired, overworked, hungry, overwhelmed, wishing i could be anywhere but where i am right now.  but i thought i'd share this lovely pared down version of one of my favorite songs, 'the book of love'.  you go, nataly dawn.  you make me wish i could sing.

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happy birthday, mini!

>> Wednesday, April 20, 2011

two years ago, on a stormy rainy day like today, my mini was born.  she emerged calm, zen, and funny enough, with one eye winking.  love you, baby.  happy 2nd birthday.  you're the best thing that ever happened to me.  xoxoxoox

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driving across texas.

>> Tuesday, April 19, 2011


once, what feels like a lifetime ago, i picked up, left my life, and flew to the most southern tip of texas.  probably one of the most impulsive things i've ever done, but i needed to go.  i stayed with my lovely friend Y and her wonderful family and got a wallop of that famous texas hospitality.  i was definitely leaving with a taste for authentic tex-mex cuisine (to die for), new country music, radiant texas sunshine that permated right down to your bones, fresh salsa and exquisite mexican tequila, that no matter how much you drink, just floats into your blood and doesn't make you more than tipsy.

when it was time to go home, Y was to drive with me to houston, where i was flying out.  however, i couldn't make her do the 8 hour drive again (she had come to pick me up) so i rented a big red truck (of course i had to have a truck - it was TEXAS - go big or go home), packed up my one little bag, and tossed a handful of CDs onto the passenger seat.  definitely one of the highlights - probably of my life. 

the texas landscape is much prettier and varied than the flatlands of the prairie provinces - we've done the drive out there and it is quite boring. along the highway, there are huge, rambling longhorn ranches with great big farmhouses, fields of flowers, orchards and tiny little towns.  because i chose to take Route 77, i also caught glimpses of the gulf of mexico.  i watched a brilliant sunset from the side of the road and enjoyed the texas twilight.  i passed by the cutoff for waco and tried to take a photo but it was too dark.  i got stopped at one of those famous highway patrol stations where a drug-sniffing german shepherd took stock of my truck and a silent state trooper with a rifle waved me on my way.  i was actually sorry when i pulled into the bright houston airport and had to relinquish the truck.

lately, i find myself thinking about that long drive and how the solitude surrounded me.  i'm not much of a traveller, but i love long drives.  i probably should have driven all the way to texas and back, now that i think about it. 

i guess the idea of leaving everything behind, being somewhere else, just for a brief moment, is a little appealing right now.

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monday. everlong.

>> Monday, April 18, 2011


because it's monday. because it is going to be a long day. because it's acoustic. because it's dave grohl.

"The only thing I'll ever ask of you
You've got to promise not to stop when I say when"


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my hero.

>> Sunday, April 17, 2011

so i'm sitting in the basement watching "the other guys", and laughing by myself.  fittingly, they've used the foo fighters as part of the soundtrack.  not that the movie is really fantastic or anything, but this song totally is.  you go, dave grohl.  (will you marry me?)

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fidget. ring. spin.

the spinner ring (also known as a worry ring) is an ancient design, like the puzzle ring.  and by now, you probably know that i have a thing for wearing and making rings. the basic design is a stationary band with a separate, thinner band that spins around the stationary band.  some more elaborate designs have more than one "spinner" band, and some sport more detailed textures and finishes.  some ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) experts suggest using a spinner ring as a fidget device for some patients.

i have been mulling over both figuring out the mechanical logistics of the spinner ring, because i have been dying to make them myself - both for me to wear and to put in my shop.  seeing as that i am largely self-taught and pretty stubborn in regards to doing things myself, it's taken me a while.  but i wanted to share the story of my prototype (see above) with you. 

i definitely was a little smarter in that i used copper instead of wasting sterling silver - believe me, i went through a LOT of metal in figuring this out and the price of sterling is brutally astronomical these days.  and i still don't have the design down properly.  the large copper band is not flared on both ends like it should be - one side is actually buckled, because i smashed it a little too hard (yeah, out of frustration).  the twisted middle band is probably too textured to "spin" and also slightly too small around the larger band, so it doesn't move very much.  while the flat band is even and, surprisingly, smooth and lovely (thank you, metalsmithing class!), i am sure that the rustic, unfinished quality of the twisted band also impedes it's movement.  polished up, however, i quite love it.

i wore it to work on thursday (thursday being the day from h*ll - team meeting day) in the hopes that it would help me concentrate and not get in trouble for texting.  while it isn't a "spinner ring" exactly, it definitely is a fidget ring in it's own right.  perfectly sized, it fits on my index finger and sits comfortably against my skin.  it's easily accessible, and the play in texture between smooth and twisted is fabulous.  i found myself spinning the actual ring between my fingers all morning instead of grabbing my BlackBerry.  and i could fidget with it while doing meeting minutes!  funny enough, whenever i put it down, someone else would pick it up and fidget with it as well.  and the copper, being the conductor that it, picked up the heat of the wearer.  (i've learned that my hands aren't very hot, while M's are extremely warm and K's are quite cool.)

so while i'm still trying to perfect the art of the spinning ring, i'm pretty happy with the "fidget ring" that i ended up with.  stay tuned for more.  (as long as i can put it down long enough to do some work.)

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