Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Posting Day!

Well... post posting day, but I have soooo much to tell you, it's taken me two days to write! Firstly, I've posted some brand new, GORGEOUS hooks on eBay! (See those two beauties below? Check them out on eBay!)Speaking of... the new fashions for hooks have arrived! My new design series is called "Unexpected Details." Because I use so much color and shape in my work, I often feel like a fashion designer, and love to come up with new things. The "Unexpected Details" series will incorporate tiny details, perhaps even barely noticeable, but which make all the difference in the world. I guess it's my way of adding a "hidden treasure" in plain sight -- but only if you look closely!

In other news, I have returned from the AAW National Symposium in Albuquerque! I had an wondrous time!

I saw many woodturning celebs, and got to attend demos by the best in the field. I learned all kinds of marvelous things, and came back inspired, enchanted, and improved.

The instant gallery was absolutely incredible; the artwork was marvelous! My very favorite piece of the show was "Renaissance" by Cindy Drozda. (Second from left in the picture below).

The picture doesn't even come CLOSE to doing justice to her wonderful artwork -- the shape, the form, the finish, the colors are literally breathtaking! Soooooo beautiful, and unquestionably Perfect. (Yes, "perfect" with a capital "P," or, in other words, Magnificent!)

The walls of the goblet are incredibly thin. You can't see it in the photo, but the bead on the finial mirrors the natural edge finish on the amboyna goblet with tiny scallops. The very tip of the finial also has these carved points, ending in an emerald-green chrome diopside stone! The detail is just extraordinary!!! (I won't even TELL you what's inside!)

I was also privileged to see her demonstrate her ultra-fine turning at the trade show. I spent hours watching... I was utterly captivated by her skill and artistry. She's AMAZING! (Check out her web site). She created fine fine finials, as well as demonstrated her signature Finial Box and her Finial Star Box, using her brand-new line of signature tools! (Check them out at Packard Woodworks) The recess cutter is my absolute FAVORITE! (And the vortex tool is... well, "large grin" may suffice as a description!)

Even as I was watching, she came up with a brand new finial design incorporating what she calls "wave forms," separated by impossibly narrow v-grooves. She continued to demo these throughout the show, astonishing us with her prolific creativity!

In other news, I am glad to be back home! My cats missed me, especially my tiny Arabella. ...And it felt really weird not to be covered in wood chips!

Time to get turning again!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Off to the Symposium!


This week I'm off to the AAW National Symposium in Albuquerque, NM to be inspired by some of the greatest woodturners in the world! Looking forward to meeting up with friends and making new ones, as well as learning new techniques through the prolific demonstrations.

I will also be unveiling a VERY SPECIAL crochet hook in the Instant Gallery... as well as presenting a new design series of hooks.

Since I will be away from Wednesday through Monday, I won't be able to ship items purchased on eBay or Etsy during this time, (or, of course, answer e-mails). Next posting on eBay will be Tuesday, June 30th.

I hope to see you at the Symposium!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Posting Day!

I've posted SIX new hooks on eBay, including another Tori Amos inspired hook. (Hint, she's the one on the left!)

However, before I go further on that topic, I'll tell you about the lovely little gal on the right: I couldn't resist creating a hook with more of my swirling dotted designs, thusly came the ~Winds of Summer~ crochet hook. I happen to think that blue and white go very very well together, and I love to try to create different combinations. Usually, I like to add a band of turquoise gemstones, however, with this hook, I thought I'd do something different.

I was inspired by the lovely summery weather we had a couple days ago, (it's been raining for weeks now!), and so after turning this hook, I thought I'd add some feather-light decorations. I painted the swirl carvings with turquoise and blue-colored metallic acrylics, and they came out to look very jewel-like indeed. The photo doesn't really give a great idea of texture, but it's just beautiful in the hand!

That little gal on the left was inspired by Tori Amos' song "Never Seen Blue," a B-side from her From the Choirgirl Hotel album era. I took some of the lines to heart, obviously, and thought about them a great deal as I was designing this hook. "Some boy you are to wear my color red/wear it very proudly"...

I usually play "Never Seen Blue" with "Beaulah Land" as they are both blue-colored songs to me. However, when I thought about the lyrics above (and those that follow), the meaning changed for me, and I wanted to make a hook that more accurately reflected those new meanings. (It's interesting -- I've been studying her music for about 8 years now, and I STILL hear something new each time I play a song!)

Anyway, I carved some wonderful textural flame-like designs on both sides of the hook, which wrap all the way around. I added a 3mm brilliant-cut Cubic Zirconia, (a real CZ, not a crystal), set in Argentium(R) Sterling Silver. (See the June 11th post below for info about Argentium (R) Sterling.) It sparkles sooooooo beautifully! The sparkly-ness is REALLY difficult to capture in a photograph. No matter what camera angle I tried, the light reflected off the top facet, making it look white.

I guess I'm going to have to ask for help on the photographs! Actually, there are some pretty good tutorials out there on photographing jewelery, so I hope to have a better photo for the next hook.

Well, back to work... I've got to get ready for the AAW Symposium next week!!!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Estes Wool Market

I ventured out of Cheyenne today... it was Wool Market Day!!! Yes, even though thunderstorms were favored by the weather service, I decided to brave it and take a trip to Estes Park, CO.

Well, the first part of the trip is truly a test of courage. I am more than slightly claustrophobic, so the drive is no insignificant matter... (see photo below, click to zoom).

Yes, those walls are made of solid rock, and they go alllllllllll the way up! ...which inspires thoughts like... "how much do I really want the wool???"

Wooly thoughts prevailed, however, and even though I felt horribly squished, thank goodness the canyon widens out a little for the rest of the 45 minutes of that part of the drive. (All together, for me, it's about 2 hours each way.... yes, I LOVE wool... THAT MUCH! :-)

(Living in the country, I'm used to more than 180' unfettered skyline, so 15' is insufficient at best).

Soon enough I arrived in lovely Estes Park, and the sun was shining! Hooray! I immediately went to the fairgrounds, and the first sight to greet me was this gorgeous llama:

Her coat was extraordinarily soooooooft... I found out that she (and the llama behind her, to the left), are both very "girly" llamas, and I had such fun talking to their keepers that I forgot to ask their names! (Please forgive this breach of etiquette on my part!) Anyway, they had just been shown, and their owners were escorting them back to their pens.

All sorts of creatures great and small were at the festival, including no lack of sheep, angora rabbits, angora goats, paco vicunas, alpacas, llamas, cashmere goats, and... some very unusual visitors: YAKS!

There were three lovely yaks being shown outside, and there was fibre and yarn to be found inside!

Yes, the shopping... I'm afraid I went just slightly overboard. Well... I really couldn't help myself. I intended to get a couple of hand-dyed batts for spinning... and before you know it, I had a PROJECT come to mind, and I was fluttering around the place, buying all kinds of natural and dyed batts and rovings, angelina fibre, and similarly sparkly nylon to add into my soon-to-become-yarns.

Among the interesting people I met was a production woodturner from Colorado who makes lovely niddy nodddies, (large) needle boxes, and drop spindles. He's been at the show for several years in a row now, and since my mum couldn't go, she requested that I buy one of his boxes for her, so I did: a tall cherry box which has a very streamlined shape to it: so lovely and smooth.

I also got to spend a few minutes watching a spinner demo the navajo spindle. WooHoo! Now mine doesn't have to sit in the corner anymore as "decoration"! I can put it to work! (Amazing how 5 minutes can change your life! :-)

I saw all manner of creation at the show -- beautiful knitted and needlefelted art dolls, a giraffe hobby-horse, wet-felted flowers, nubbly yarns, smooth yarns, sparkly ones too! Lots of mini-looms for sale, as well as fibre beyond compare! Colors! Colors! Colors to the delight the eyes! and softness to delight the fingertips! and the chattering of hundreds of critters outside to spur you on!

Well, I'm so glad I didn't trust the weather service... and didn't chicken out on the drive... and wore my sturdy tennis shoes! I had a great time! Actually, it's my fourth year to go -- I've gone every year that I've lived in Wyoming, and look forward to next year!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Posting Day!

Hooray! Hooray! It's Posting Day! Annnnnddddd, I've got some fantastic new designs for you! (Before I get ahead of myself, let me just tell you that I posted seven new hooks on eBay today. I also added the nifty little box on the right ---->, showing some items from my Etsy store, AND also a list of links to all the places you can find my work.)

Now down to business.... ("serious mode" engaged)...

I had an absolutely GLORIOUS time making this hook:

It is a wonderful thing to be inspired by a person, or their creation, so I like to try and give back some of that inspired thought with a direct link of some sort.

Inspired from Tori Amos' "Carbon" from her Scarlet's Walk album, I thought about what makes the song so very special -- the lines she sings, the meanings that come. "Carbon made only wants to be unmade" ... "crystalline irises" ... "shred in ribbons of lithium" ... "keep your eyes on her/on her eyes on her horizon"

In doing this, and figuring out how I could translate this into a piece of artwork, I discovered new meanings in the song. For example, I always, always thought of "crystalline irises" as eye irises, never even occurred to me that they might refer to the flowers. However, when I was searching for the right color to add to the hook, the images of those purple flowers in my own garden jumped to the forefront of my attention, and I knew it was right.

For this special dedication, a very special hook was in order, so I used techniques that I was inspired to learn at the Utah Woodturning Syposium: the textural design, plus a wonderful secret from world-renowned woodturner Cindy Drozda (web site / blog) -- the setting of precious gemstones and adding them to my woodworking. (She adds them under the lids of her boxes, which creates a marvelously special effect whenever you open one! You'd never mistake a Cindy Drozda original artwork with anyone else's!)

For this piece, I added a 3mm amethyst set in Argentium(R) Sterling Silver. (In case you're wondering, Argentium (R) Sterling is made with germanium, which severely inhibits tarnishing, yet is never less than 93% silver, like traditional sterling. You can read more about it here (PDF)).

Combining all of these techniques together was a delightful challenge, and I enjoyed every minute of it! I will be posting more artist-inspired (Tori) hooks in the coming weeks. Only my very favorite songs will be translated into crochet hooks, and I'm happy to say that I've got a few of them planned already.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Posting Day!

Five new nosties on Etsy today, and six new needlecases on eBay!

My favorites of the needle cases (which are also multiply handy for carrying toothpicks), are these two guys:

The top one is one of my custom colors of Dymondwood, and I inlaid it with abalone shell. It's so difficult to capture the sparkles of the shell -- they look almost rainbowy, and reflect greens and pinks and blues in the light. Actually this is one of my favorite combinations of Dyed Hardwood + natural material (i.e. shell/stone).

A new favorite combo I just created is the second case down -- "Flying" Dyed Hardwood + Chrysocolla gemstones. I looooooooove the blueness of the stones -- they look sumtuously gorgeous! (I think it's even prettier in the hand than on the photograph).

(Both of the above have 24k gold plated findings)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Shop Tour

I had a GREAT time at Anthony Prough's shop tour at Milliken Middle School on Saturday. Several of his students were there to demonstrate their turning skills and show us around the shop. I was thrilled to see that quite a few members of the Rocky Mountain Woodturner's club came down to visit. World-renowned artist David Nittmann also came by, sharing turning techniques with the students.

Thank you for sharing your shop with us!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Spring has come!

Spring has finally decided to arrive in Cheyenne... a welcome respite from the snows of winter... (Well, sort of... I do actually prefer the cooler weather -- it makes working in the shop a LOT more comfortable).

It's been raining like crazy all week, but today, finally, the sun has arrived, complete with golden rays, beams, and all manner of pouring down gorgeous golden light! I missed the sun. Wyoming has two things in abundance: grass and sky. And the sky is literally cloudless 90% of the time... the other 9% has tiny bitty clouds. Only 1% gets reserved for the overcast rainy days that dampen the ground and the spirits. (Thus, a week without sun is merciless punishment for sun-loving artists!!!)

Our irises appreciate both the rain and the sunshine: they're finally in bloom, and their lovely purple faces greet us as we walk outside:

Yes, a LOT of us are late-bloomers, but who cares? There's plenty of time in life to live :-)

Back to creation! K

P.S. Oh yeah, almost forgot to mention: as the Vice President of the Rocky Mountain Woodturners, I'd like to invite you to our monthly meeting held today at WoodCraft in Loveland, 6:30 sharp. Dennis Liggett will be presenting twistwork. (Which is a REALLY neat technique!) Join us!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Posting Day!

Monday! It's posting time! (Or, actually, post posting time, since I've already posted what I needed to post!)

I've just put 10 new hooks on eBay, and they're all a treat! Gorgeous, every one of them!

There are two up there that showcase designs that I was inspired to do after visiting the Utah Woodturning Symposium, and here's a little teaser for you...

I've been carving the surface to create a very delicate texture, then painting the carved area with metallic acrylics. They shine sooo beautifully in the light! The texturing is much more substantial in the hand -- if only I could find a way to photograph it better!

In any case, I find I really enjoy this kind of decoration -- it reminds me of when I was a child, (eons ago), and I painted swirls and swirls all over the pages. Rather like a form of pointillism, I suppose -- using these lines of color to create basic shapes, (like flowers, trees, hills, etc.).

This evening, I also posted some wonderful eye-candy in the form of needle cases! (These can also be used as toothpick holders). I added a total of six tonight, all in the brightly beautiful Dyed Hardwoods with 24k gold plated findings. Here are three of them:

Well, back to the shop! See you soon!