Sunday, October 9, 2011

Ken Bova in Wilmywood

So! Ken Bova will be teaching his chopstick hammers (and more) workshop for Cape Fear Community College's Metals Guild on Saturday Nov 5th from 10-5pm. It is open to current metals students and I will have a 5 extra seats for non CFCC students at a nominal fee of $60 for the day. If you are interested email me and I will sign you up. It will be first come first serve so don't wait! Ken is a wonderful teacher and it should be a fantastic day. We will work and then break for lunch and then work some more! Fun will be had by all!

Ken is currently teaching at ECU and you can view his site here.


Sorry for the confusion about the comments with the "Destination Creativity" book giveaway. I have to publish the comments. They come first into my email and sit there until I publish them. I was away all day yesterday doing an enameling demonstration at a festival. When I got home and, finally unpacked the furniture and tools out of the car around 7pm-ish, I was just too pooped to even open the computer. I ate, drank some "Shotgun Betty" hefeweizen(nice bottle cap btw), watched an old Steve McQueen movie ("Tom Horn" it was so-so), and my habitual episode of Star Trek Enterprise and fell asleep. So I have published the comments now and draw the name out of a bowl.

The winner is: JB!

JB email me your address so we can send you your book! Or if you prefer email Ricë Freeman-Zachary on her blog as she will be sending it to you.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Book Give Away!

I have raved about Ricë Freeman-Zachary on my blog before. So, many of you may have visited her blog. I met her over a year ago. It was quite a treat as I have been a fan of her writing and her art since I first saw it in Rubberstamp Madness Magazine back in the day. I always thoroughly enjoy talking with her and treasure the times I have been able to socialize with her and EGE at retreats. Her new book "Destination Creativity: The Life-Altering Journey of the Art Retreat" is a wonderful journey to nine of these UBER inspiring art retreats all over the US. You can follow along from your cozy armchair! Today I will be choosing a winner to receive a copy of Ricë's book. Just comment on this post by midnight on October 8th PST to be entered.
I have a necklace project in Destination Creativity. I thought I'd share a little secret! This tip was brought to my attention by one of my friends Kathy James who joined me in San Diego this summer to make the little charms on this necklace. Kathy found out that her disc cutter will cut the mica perfectly! Now why didn't I think of that! Thanks Kathy if you're reading!

A bit about disc cutters. I now have a Swanstrom disc cutter from Rio Grande (though other folks sell them too) after going through a Harbor Freight one (don't bother!) and a Pepe tools (it's fine if you can ever get one!).

There is a video on the Swanstrom cutter here.
I ADORE my Swanstrom. I would HIGHLY recommend you skip the crappy ones and go right for the top. You will never want for another! Normally you will want to wax the cutting punch but the mica might get all gummy, so I didn't when cutting mica. I also normally use a brass hammer and I hold the punch in place the first two or three taps. This is to prevent the punch from possibly bouncing up and down in the shaft and potentially getting stuck. It's really more of an issue when cutting metal. a colleague of my thinks one should just whack the heck out of the punch, VERY hard so it cuts in one blow. That seems harsh to me but, he's a burly guy... I like firm hard taps until the punch cuts through. With the mica it'll probably cut in one hit. I have not noticed the mica dulling the cutting edge. Also don't forget! Once your punch has cut through, you will feel this, revert to very gentle taps to push it to the bottom of the shaft. Then lift the entire disc cutter up and off the punch which should still be sitting on your table. Don't try to pull the punch backwards out of the shaft. You may jam things up and have a terrible time getting it dislodged. And another thing, I prefer a very hard, firm sub-surface under the cutter for resistance and optimum cutting. In other words no bouncy card tables. In fact, if your work table is not very thick and sturdy put the disc cutter on the floor. It will cut WAY better with a firm surface under it. I use mine on top of my 70lb anvil with a couple of pieces of thick leather under it to protect it, the punches and my anvil's surface.

Well, happy mica punching! And be sure you visit the other artist's blogs who are all participating in this blog hop. Then you may become eligible for a grand prize!
Sunday, October 9th: Deryn Mentock
Monday, October 10th: Jen Cushman
Tuesday, October 11th: Jill Berry
And don't forget to visit Ricë's blog here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


So! I have exciting news... well I think it's exciting! Coming in October I will be participating in a blog hop giveaway. Kind of like a blog progressive dinner. I will let you know more but the prize will be a copy of Ricë Freeman Zachary's

Destination Creativity: The Life-Altering Journey of the Art Retreat.
I have a project in there and I'll be talking about it and a new tip that will help you to make the charms. More info to come, so stay tuned!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Eric Whitacre

I think I can safely say that Eric Whitacre is one of my daughter's idols. My daughter is complex... many 16 year old girls are. She's searching... she's a rocker, she loves loud metal and can rip, she likes paintball and Halo yet loves videos of small cute animals. She's not a prep, not a scholar really, though she's smart and watches stuff like the BBC's Pride & Prejudice series with me over and over again. As a mom you worry ya know? Where's she gonna end up? How will I get her through it all in tact? Well, my daughter found chorus. The chorus teacher at her high school has some sort of magic touch with these kids. Kids from all walks find a common ground and they excel together. Meredith has fallen in with this mottled pack and adores it. I beam with pride when they sing in their black gowns and pearls. She has gone to searching Youtube for "cool, ancient sounding music" She's showed me videos of choirs from all around the world singing Mozart and Bach in grottos, kyrie's in canyons. Through this she has discovered the music of Eric Whitacre. If you haven't seen his Virtual Choir then I strongly recommend that you do. Here's a talk he did with clips of his choir for TED
Hearing his talk about this project always makes me cry. We've come to adore his music in our house. And I dream that my daughter, who wants to be a rock star, will become a composer... or a rock star composer...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Looking for a pick me up this fall? Come take my classes at Journalfest in Port Townsend, WA!
I will be teaching this Roadsign Journal. I'll bring the covers and show you how to attach stuff to it and bind in pages. You bring some pages and some cool stuff to attach, and we'll rock-n-roll. Next I will be teaching how to make this wild little wooden journal

I will supply beautiful maple covers made by woodworker Art Bert in Pennsylvania. We will dye carve and decorate them. Then I will show you how to bind them with a coptic stitch binding that looks complicated but isn't! Fun will be had by all!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Artfest 2012!

So its that time again folks! Decisions, decisions... all the yummy classes! Oh the glorious torture of registering for Artfest! I am teaching three fun classes go check 'em out... BUT I am here touting Ken Bova's classes. Ken will be new to Artfest and you just have to check out his chopstick hammer class! So cool! and Ken is such a great person and fabulous professor. These hammers are the cutest EVER!

It's on it's way!

It seems folks who pre-ordered through Amazon are receiving their books! yahoo!

Monday, July 18, 2011

heART space

Read about my pal Kim Wood Beller's studio called
heART space.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


New etsy pieces! The earrings are made from the beads I blogged about earlier in the year. They are lime and powder blue enamel on copper plated steel. And the shell pendant is a piece that will appear in my book Jewelry Lab coming in September. Both jewelry pieces are available on my etsy site.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Check it

New stuff on my Etsy
just in time for summer!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bookmaking Journey at "heART space"

Wilmington artist Kim Beller and I will be offering a day long "playshop" and Bookmaking Journey at her studio "heART space" in Middle Sound here in Wilmington July 16th, 2011. We will take you through making a personal art journal. You'll learn how to etch a decorative copper plate for your book's cover, carve your own rubber stamp to embellish your book, as well as numerous collage and painting techniques for the inside of your book. You will burst with ideas as we break out paints, stencils, paint mediums, glue, ink, stamps, and collage papers and show you interesting ways to use them all in a nurturing, creative environment. If you are not an artist, or have only just started, this will be the perfect day for you to embrace your creative inner child. If you are a seasoned "art journaler" then join us for a day of playing and sharing.

We recently taught this in Manteo, NC and everyone was begging for more! I personally can't stop working in my art journals.

This day long retreat is $95 -with ALL materials AND lunch included.
All you have to do is show up with an open mind, ready or fun!
Space is limited so contact me for more information or to sign up.

The Shepherdess in San Diego

I will be teaching in San Diego at The Shepherdess
July 8th, 9th & 10th this year:
Hard Candy-torch fired enamel beads
Porthole Washer Charms-making links with mica and copper washers
Loveburst -puffed, torch fired enameled hearts

These washer links were made here in Wilmington by Marcie Abney in the Porthole links class.

Bach in Japanese Forest

A beautiful Japanese commercial for a limited edition wood covered phone. Bach is played on a ginormous xylophone in a Japanese forest.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New Tools!

Check out the new tools in my Ladysmithsupply shop on Etsy!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Architectural Jewelry

Today Beverly Ash Gilbert and I walked along Milwaukee's riverwalk. She showed me these wonderful pieces of GIANT jewelry called "River Gems Urban Jewelry" made by John Ready. I ADORE them!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Chopstick Hammah!

Ken Bova was recently here in North Carolina and did workshop at Pullen Art Center in Raleigh. He taught how to make these adorable little homemade riveting hammers with a nail and chopstick. This is one I made. I'm currently pestering Ken to teach this more! Especially at Adorn Me, or Artfest or Bead & Button. I KNOW you folks would eat these up! And Ken is a fabulous instructor and generous, kind person... a metals rocks star!

Monday, May 23, 2011


yep, pretty cool.....
(someone is brilliant! wish I could say it was me!)

Friday, May 13, 2011


So I'm driving Meredith around... traffic jam, gridlock we can't see what the problem is. I'm about out of gas so I make a U turn and we go a different direction, clear the other end of the county... she's slightly late to her end of year party... I have to drive home and then turn right around and come right back to get her. I have things to do! a workshop tomorrow... stressssss! Then at the next stop light I am roasting in the baking 6 o'clock NC sun, soI roll down my window. Suddenly to my left in the other lane there's a man 50's I guess? graying hair, in a beat up older elantra... he's singing. I mean really singing! as in belting out opera!
...nice, mellow, tenor voice drifting out of his rolled down windows.
traffic what traffic?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Manteo, NC!

Imagine yourself on the waterfront in Manteo, NC making art with me and my artist/metalsmith pal Kim Beller.... well make it a reality!
Join Kim and I, June 18th for a day long Book Making Journey at "Good For You" in Manteo, NC. "Good For You" is a sanctuary of calm, a yoga & massage studio and emporium of unique gifts on Sir Walter Raleigh Street. Beginning at 9 that morning, Kim and I will guide you through carving a stamp all your own and etching your stamp's design onto a copper bookplate to adorn you book. We will then delve into the delights of art journalling. We'll show you a plethora of techniques for painting, collage-ing, decorating and embellishing your own special art journal unlike any other. You will walk away with knowledge, a stamp to use over and over, memories and a fabulous keepsake book that you will enjoy for years to come. And here's the icing- you get to do all that in Manteo, NC! Walk the waterfront, visit the Elizabethan gardens, explore Sir Walter Raleigh Antiques next door, rent a bike or kayak the next day, walk the quaint streets, enjoy the brewery cafe down the street... What a weekend!
The Saturday workshop is $125.00 and includes materials and supplies, lunch, goodies to take home and an unforgettable journey!

pre-registration required (contact me for more information)
cash or checks accepted

*please bring anything personal you would like to use in your journal….
(old photos or copies, fabric, yarns, ribbons, cord, love notes, post cards, stamps, etc) the sky is the limit!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Home Stretch

So, I got back from Art & Soul Hampton Tuesday night and had to hit the ground running Wednesday as it was the last day for my Metals 1 and Metals 2 M/W/F classes. All their grades and attendance needed logging in and final submissions were due to the college. Today is the last day for the two Metals 1 T/TH classes. *sigh* ah.... it's almost over. While I love my students (and WAIT til you see what my Metals 2er's made for me while I was in VA!!!! more on that later!) I just desperately need a break.
I awoke to soft cool temperatures... what a blessing... and this! I have to share what my fabulously clever colleague Ben Billingsley so humorously wrote this morning:

"Captain's log - stardate 05052011... By 9:30 a.m. grades will close for 3 classes, by 12:15 p.m. 2 more - last one by 1:45. Final grades and online attendance - from hell's heart I stab at thee!"

I agree..... from hell's heart......
well, maybe you had to be there but I thought it HILARIOUS!

Mica Mania

I will be teaching a day workshop, or as my friend Kim Beller says "playshop", at A Place To Bead here in Wilmington, NC.

Join us on Saturday, May 14th.

I will show you how to work with sheets of mica, a natural mineral that forms right here in the mountains of NC. We will use the mica to make little window panes over tiny images with copper washers, like little portholes. I will show you how to texture, drill, and rivet. This will be a fun day making charms for beginners and veteran metalsmiths alike. Bring your own little images or use some of mine. Learn to connect your window charms to chain or earwires and have a blast browsing A Place To Bead's extensive collection to add to your jewelry.

If you'd like to see the charm samples in person, go by A Place To Bead on College Rd. next to Dick's Sporting Goods.

For more information and/or to sign up, contact A Place To Bead at 910-799-2928.

Monday, April 25, 2011


I'm reaching limits.
...becoming unglued.
...Too many obligations, too much to try to keep together. It is SO true that if you do too many things you do none of them well. A Chinese proverbs says that if you chase two rabbits you catch neither of them.
So what to do? What spinning plate do I drop?
Thankfully the long weekend offered some respite.