Monday, September 17, 2012

Halellujah! It Is Beginning To Look A Lot Like Autumn in the South

I love the South and wouldn't live anywhere else, but I am not a fan of our Summer humidity.   I walk around feeling like a piece of wilted lettuce until 10:00 at night, so I was happy to see some cooler, crisp football weather this past weekend.  

I was so inspired by the weather, I went back into the studio to do some more experimenting, this time mixing Pardo and Premo with alcohol inks and acrylic paint and to see how far I could take the baking temps on the Premo. 

Turns out Premo is best left to bake at 275 degrees for 30 minutes.   I burned, no charred would be a better description, several beads set at 300 for 30 minutes, and several I set on 275 for 50 minutes.  

I went back to the manufacturer's suggested temp for Premo and baked the blended Pardo pieces at that, with good results.   I didn't get the glasslike clarity with the Pardo at 275, but the surface of these pieces is VERY strong.   It took twice as long to sand these pieces, but I won't complain because the finishes are absolutely flawless, which really makes my OCD self very happy.

These luscious "Black Ice" pieces are Premo Gray Granite and Pardo Translucent tinted with a generous saturation of Ranger Pitch Black Alcohol Ink.  There wasn't any color shift in the baking that could be seen under the Tungsten lights of my studio, but when I took them outside, there is a slight aubergine cast to them.  I was very tempted not to buff these after sanding.  The matte black look is so attractive, but the OCD took over again, as usual, and I buffed them anyway.  

These blueberry/dark denim pieces were made with Premo Gray Granite, Pardo Translucent, and Ranger and Pinata alcohol inks, a bit of this color and a bit of that.  

I didn't write down the formula, however, so can't tell you exactly how much of any, but the colors were Ranger Denim, Mushroom and Pinata Sapphire.  

These are really rich looking, and the perfect color to accessorize a pair of your favorite blue jeans, particularly the Denim Blue Birds earrings on the left.  I was going to name them "My Little Blue Chicadees" but didn't want to run afoul (I am SO funny) of any copyright law. 

One of my local customers has been after me to create a faux abalone bead to match a piece that is missing from a necklace she owns, but I could never get it quite right.  Yesterday, in a total bit of unplanned luck, the last piece from an experiment with Premo translucent, alcohol ink and acrylic paints (see those pieces in my flickr photostream if you like) was exactly what she wanted.  I called her right away.  

I spent the rest of Saturday with the manual for my camera, trying to figure out how to photograph some "green turquoise" pieces that photographed a very bright, almost neon turquoise blue.  The only way I could make the photos come out anywhere near the actual color was to set the camera for inside under flourescent lighting.   I made a gorgeous pair of purple earrings, too, but they photographed cobalt blue!   Oh, well.  All in all, it was a very productive weekend.

Before I sign off, I also wanted to express my thanks to everyone who read my post about losing my job of 20 years and the scary and exciting next step of becoming a full time artist.  I didn't know I had so many friends, although several of you who emailed me or responded to that post don't even know me; but you are friends now.  All of you offered encouragement and support.  I am truly blessed to have you all, and you have given me a huge boost to my confidence.

Thank you so much!


Ginger Davis Allman (The Blue Bottle Tree) said...

Again, you have created beauty beyond measure. I once again stand in awe of what your hands create with the same materials I use with an entirely different result! I'm sorry the Pardo experiments went so awry, it makes me wonder about your oven's temperature control? After all, we went up to 325 for some of them and didn't have any burning. But then I haven't checked mine with a thermometer for a long time, maybe mine's under temp. More experimentation is needed! Because I'm not giving up on that lovely cobalt. Not me. Nuh-uh.

Sorry you're having trouble with the white balance. I had fits with mine last night too. Even when you're doing everything perfectly, some colors just won't photograph well. One set of beads I photographed last night had to be increased 2 full stops to expose properly. Today I had to spend time in photoshop to fix it all...never my favorite part of this process!

I'm glad you're feeling better about the change in career and that you're getting support. Isn't it great we have this wonderful internet to meet new friends? Speaking of which, I owe you an email. Well anyway, thanks for sharing your latest creations. I love seeing your work and hearing the stories behind them!

John(SC) said...

Hi Lynda,
If the recent pieces are any indication of your new/extended career, then you have nothing to worry about. These are are out of this world and so is your imagination. Just follow your heart seems to be working for you big time.
I agree with Ginger about checking your oven temp. I baked Pardo/Premo,50/50 at 300 for 1hr with no scorch or burn. I've also baked Premo at 300 for 1hr with same results. I do bake them suspended in a foil loaf pan covered with another foil pan. This, I sit on a tile in a metal tray. The bottom of my oven(toaster) is lined with tiles also. The one piece of Pardo I thought burned, didnt.It just got very dark blue and then turned to midnight blue after 7 grades of sanding and then polishing. I actually put to much ink in the Pardo. It really changes when baked. I added some more Pardo trans on the next bead and it was lighter. Still dark, but much lighter than the first.

Keep up the GREAT work.

PS Guess you won't need that shampoo and Ramin noodles now?

Diva Designs Jewelry said...

I can't thank you both enough. Ginger, your bottle blue tree avatar is what set me on this Pardo journey in the first place, and I am so happy to know our mutual experiments are helping you, too. The straight Pardo by itself poses no problems baking at the higher levels, but mixing Premo into the batch is what burned, and there may have been more Premo than Pardo in it, truth be told.

I think it is amazing what two different people can see in a lump of clay! It is awesome, and there is no wrong way to create art, right? So everything I see that you and all my other friends create is inspirational. Just happy to see what I make is pleasing to you, too. :)

John, thank you, too. I have to confess that when I am experimenting, it is often with you in mind. You have been one of my biggest supporters, and I can't thank you enough. I am very close to a beautiful amber color that is unlike what you have seen elsewhere, and you will be the first to see it when it is just right, too. I confess that I do not use a thermometer either, never have. My NESCO is so consistent, I have always felt comfortable not using one, but I may use a covered baking dish and see what happens from your great advice. THANK YOU!

My friend Claire Maunsell mailed me two bricks of the PAC Pardo, so I am back in business again. Thank you so much, Claire. I was so happy when I saw your package yesterday from Canada, that I did a happy dance right there in the post office! I can't wait to try the Cernit, too. You are the best!

The Crazier Sister said...

Wow! Loving what you're doing. I haven't been brave enough to experiment with any of my clays, yet, let alone the inks, but I just may after seeing these! Lovely!
As for the white balance, I'm still learning with my camera, too, and reading a lot of Digital Photography magazines. One suggestion is to have a "Gray Card" (not too dark a shade, more a light gray) or even a "White Card" a few inches from your piece (so it's not in the shot). Focus first on the card and press the shutter button 1/2 way, then move to what you're photographing (still holding at the 1/2 way mark), pause a sec to let the camera refocus if necessary, then finish pressing the shutter button. Sometimes this is all that's needed to get a better white balance (so they say). I'm planning some experiments of my own with that! Best of luck, and keep experimenting (and inspiring) with your clay!

SueBeads said...

Gorgeous! I love your experimentations! The abalone looks real!

Diva Designs Jewelry said...

Crazier, thanks very much for the camera tip, I am going to try it this weekend! And as for that clay you've got just lying there, JUST JUMP IN, girl! Don't put any pressure on yourself, just have some fun and let the clay speak to you. There is no wrong way to create. Everything you do is uniquely you!

Thank you, Miss Sue! I've been looking at your newest enameled beads, LOVE the flowers!

Diva Designs Jewelry said...

CrazierSister (hey, I have one of those!), thanks very much for the camera tip, I am going to try it this weekend! And as for that clay you've got just lying there, JUST JUMP IN, girl! Don't put any pressure on yourself, just have some fun and let the clay speak to you. There is no wrong way to create. Everything you do is uniquely you!

Thank you, Miss Sue! I've been looking at your newest enameled beads, LOVE the flowers!

Suzanne said...

Hi Lynda,

As you know I am a big fan of your work and tutorials....I haven't read your blog in a bit and had to go back and reread everything. I don't think you have anything at all to worry about except producing enough to meet your orders!!! You are so talented and I love the way you push the envelope and experiment and learn -and then pass on that knowledge to others. You truly have the heart of an artist.

I wish you the best in this progression and I am sure you will be very successful.

Kind regards, Suzanne

Diva Designs Jewelry said...

Thank you, Suzanne. I appreciate the support and encouragement, so much!

Polyanya said...

Lovely as always. Surely this now means you have tons of time to make more gorgeous mixes? :) All the best for your future.

Diva Designs Jewelry said...

Thank you, Poly! You wonderful people are the best!