Recently one of our favourite jewellery supply companies announced the finalists for in their annual design contest. The 15th Annual Saul Bell Design award, sponsored by Rio Grande, is named after the father of one of the owners of the company. If you are not familiar with the contest or Saul Bell, here is a lovely video explaining the history of the contest and a short biography of its namesake.
The mandate of the contest is clear, “We’re looking for an original vision, a fresh take on traditional methods and materials and a mastery of your craft. We want you to stretch the boundaries of your capabilities as a designer and as a jeweler.” (For more information about the contest and the judging please see their website.) Every year fellow artists enjoy seeing the finalists and guessing as to who is the winner. This year is no different, and so over the next few days we’ll present a brief selection of Q&A’s to the finalists in the metal clay category along with an image of their piece.
First up, we interview two time winner, Ivy Solomon. Yes that’s right–she has won twice in the metal clay category.
Editor’s note: Ann Robinson Davis is the author of one of our most popular articles. “Clean your Studio Heal your Artself!” (From Metal Clay Artist Magazine Winter 2012) We received the most interesting notes from readers about this article…including a letter from one person who credits this article for having saved her life! The article dealt with letting go and cleaning up our studios. We are pleased to share another article by this author. This time it is a “HOT TOPIC” among artists!
There has always been a fierce debate in the art community (all the arts) about whether to name or not to name your work.
In school, back in the 60’s I was never taught to name anything. If I produced a crazy lace agate ring, well that was what it was called, with the added place it came from, such as Mexican Crazy Lace Agate Ring. As I matured as an artist I began having specific ideas about my work and how I wanted to express an idea. The urge to create was subjugated to the urge to have meaning. Continue reading…
After a long, cold winter (at least for me here in Eastern Canada) I have been eagerly waiting for signs of Spring. We’ve had some sunny days, but the snow was hanging around at Easter. Believe it or not…it is snowing outside right now as I type this. It’s April 23! But I have faith that the better weather is coming.
A sure sign of Spring is when Rio Grande announces the Saul Bell Design Award finalists. As if timed with the blooms of the crocus flowers, slowly people are showing off their work and revealing that they are finalists. I’m working on our annual article that profiles the artists and their work, please look for it soon. In the meantime…I have a “Throw Back Thursday” item to share from the Metal Clay Artist Magazine (MCAM) archives. A few years ago Wanaree Tanner won the Saul Bell Award in the metal clay category. Being infinitely talented, she also made MCAM a video showing HOW she made her fantastic bracelet. Thank you Wanaree for sharing and best wishes to this years finalists! (Click on the image below to go directly to the video for the cover story)
Looking for inspiration? Check out the beautiful jewellery from artists all over the world in our gallery. It is quite fitting to publish part two of the auction gallery this week, as my husband and I secured our mortgage just days ago. The lien on our home was erased by our readers and advertisers. (If you are not familiar with the background to the auctions, you can read about it here.)
I would like to thank Jeanne Pring for being our first guest author and for sharing her experience at her first exhibition! I met Jeanne through the MCAM auction site set up on Facebook. I was not familiar with her work before seeing her name pop up on the auction page, but now I feel like old friends. Jeanne is quick to share her story, images of her work and lesson’s learned. Jeanne’s article will be the first to appear in the category of “In Business”. Our goal with this section of articles is to create a place for artists to share their experiences selling their work and to create a dialogue that will benefit all metal clay artists all over the world.
~Jeannette Froese LeBlanc editor cre8tivefire.com.
In Business with Jeanne Pring ~United Kingdom:
Firstly, let me introduce myself. My name is Jeanne Pring of Jkhoo Designs. I started making jewellery when I was not able to find anything suitable to accompany my dress for my wedding … and certainly not to my budget. I therefore decided to teach myself how to make my own jewellery for my special day. I received so many positive comments on the pieces I made that I decided to teach myself more and start a business.
Makingchainrequirespatiencebecauseittakestimetomakeall theindividuallinks.Butthesenseofsatisfactionyouwillfeelonceyouareholdingyourfinishedhandmadechainwillbewonderful andwillmakealltheeffortworthwhile. Thischainislinkedinthegreenwarestageandfired fullyassembledwitha decorative clasp worn at the front. It has a sinuous, slinky feel, plus the stones add a nice bit of bling.
Level: Advanced Project by: Joy Funnell Edited by: Jeannette Froese LeBlanc and Margaret Schindel
Goldie BronzeTM is a beautiful material. When constructing a bezel for a cabochon gem we need to treat the bronze clay differently than silver clay. A common method used with silver clay is to make a plug from jeweler’s investment to stop the metal clay bezel from shrinking smaller than the size of the stone. However, jeweler’s investment creates a nasty crusty black layer on fired bronze clay that can be impossible to remove. This dilemma led me on a quest to find a repeatable process for making bronze bezels. After months of experimentation and a box of failures I now have a reliable method that works every time!
Photographing our work is just one of the many hats we must wear as artists.Getting decent photos for online sites, show applications and to submit for media coverage…is very important. How your work looks says a lot about you. A jewellery maker friend of mine, Kathleen Nowak Tucci, always, always has wonderful photos of her work. Even the on scene shots are wonderful. One teacher I took a class from, (Rona Sarvas Weltman) told us that she never puts out any images of her work unless they are professional shots.
Excellent advice from a guru of jewellery making! And advice I will follow once my work is “at that level”. Until then, I will look for ways to improve my own photo-taking skills so that my shots look less “homemade”.
A few years ago, Hadar Jacobson posted a how-to take better photos using a semi-transparent garbage can as the light box. I have been meaning to try that idea, and was reminded of it when I saw this blog post: turn a plastic bin into a light box from www.quirkyoak.wordpress.com.
Torch firing is a great way for beginners to get started in metal clay, but it can be tricky if you don’t follow some basic rules. Learn how to torch-fire like a pro from CreativeFire editor Jeannette Froese LeBlanc.