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I have been doing some copper etching recently.  A few of my results are shown in this photo.  I used nail polish as a resist and scratched it off where I wanted etching using a scribe.  This method is giving me nice crisp edges to the etched areas.  I am able to etch as deeply as I like because the nail polish is not beginning to loosen anywhere during the process like the paint pens and other ink resists I had tried before.  Mistakes are easy to repair before etching as well.  I love how easy it is to remove the nail polish afterwards too.  The etching bath I used for these is peroxide/muriatic acid.  I love how fast it works.

Tomorrow I will be bringing these earrings and all of my fine silver jewelry to Mackinaw Valley Winery for their Art & Wine Festival Sunday,July 21st , Noon to 6pm, FREE admission.  The winery is at Mackinaw Valley Vineyard and Winery | 33633 State Route 9 | Mackinaw | IL | 61755

25 artist’s booths will be in the new pavilion and the festival will be held rain or shine.
Local car clubs have been invited to display their vehicles.
Wine tasting will be available all day.
The Catering Company will provide food concessions
Ropp Cheese will be serving samples and selling.
Greg Williams will be performing throughout the day.
There will be the sidewalk chalk drawing area for kids and free face painting too.



I have a couple of truly unbelievable items in my kiln right now and since it is hard to photograph things that are glowing hot I thought I would show you these earrings inspired by ocean waves lapping the beach.  They are fine silver box earrings with argentium sterling silver wires and cultured pearls.  You can see them in person at the Art on the Promenade this weekend in East Peoria.  The fair is a new one and is being held from 10 to 5 both days at the new Target complex.  I believe there will be about 40 artists there and I feel honored to be among such fantastic company so come check the fair out and see all of the new stuff going on in that part of East Peoria.  The new clock tower building looks almost finished.

Saturday the 8th (that is today) I will be at 1700 Moss Avenue for the Moss Avenue Sale. Come by and check it out. I am quite near one of the stages with live music. This seems to be near the opposite end of the sale that I was set up at for last year’s event. I have lots of new goodies. These lovelies are so new I have not gotten to photograph them yet. Please stop by!


This weekend is Mother’s Day weekend.  As usual, the Peoria Heights Art Fair is on Saturday along with Race for the Cure.  I hope to see all of you local folks there!  I have some lovely goodies I am in the process of photographing so check back over the next couple of days for that also!

earinenvelopeI will be displaying my work at Ear in the Envelope Friday May 3rd from 6pm to 9pm.  Ear in the Envelope is located at 820 SW Adams St, Peoria 61602, Enter through the Alley from Adams to Oak St to May St.  Liz Barnes, owner of Ear in the Envelope, has invited a number of jewelry artists for this First Friday event.  There will be nibblies and live music as well.  Come join us for a lovely evening!  I have quite a number of new items to show you when you stop by!

Many of you have seen and admired the butterflies I have been making.  A customer wondered if I could make a dragonfly and certainly they are beautiful insects that capture our imagination.  I have made three so far.  The photo above is the largest of the three.  I am very pleased with the result.  This is a super busy time for me what with my son being home for the summer and art fair season being in full swing.  I have made so many pieces that have sold before I had a moment to photograph them!  I took a few shots this morning.  Below is another butterfly with a sleek body and head.


I just got back from the Moss Avenue Sale.  Actually I already unpacked the car and had a lovely dinner at a buffet with my family!  It was so lovely to be out in the perfect weather under the shade of lovely old trees.  It was fun to see old friends and meet lots of new people too.

I updated my gallery and upcoming events pages.  Lakeview Museum Store is currently relinquishing all local artist holdings in preparation of its big move to the Riverfront location.  I will renew this relationship when they reopen in the fall.

I will be at the Moss Avenue Sale on Saturday from 8am to 3pm.  I have been exploring some new techniques recently and am working furiously to finish up a number of pieces in time for this event.  I have been etching hand drawn patterns on copper.  Also, I have made a number of bimetal pieces with steel and bronze.  I am very excited to work on new processes and hope to show you pictures very soon!

I have spent some time this week making samples of various patinas on copper.  Above you see three samples of the same patina which goes by the Japanese name of Su-tanpan.  This is a traditional and ancient way to color the surface of copper and its alloys and is often used as a base for other coloration.  In the picture, you will notice there is quite a variation of color.  The left hand square has been lacquered so that I could see the difference it made to the color.  Below are some samples of two different patinas layered over the above.  The greenish one goes by the Japanese name of Enka, the blue one by the name Ryusan-do.  I found the recipes for all three patina solutions in a lovely book entitled Japanese Patinas by Eitoku Sugimori. I am including two versions of the Enka patina sample because they came out very differently.  You can see that the square with less green also has a very intensely red area that did not seem to take the green color at all.

The next step for me is to destructively test areas on these squares to see what does and does not remove the colors, what they look like with lacquer or wax over them and how they change over time.  I am also planning to prepare another set of squares using a second base patina and at least one more layered patina.  I will be making a post soon about other experiments I have been doing involving etching designs on copper.  All of this is going to come together in some pieces with etched designs that have some layered patinas!  Needless to say, I am quite excited about trying new techniques.

I recently had some photos taken by a professional photographer, Kevin May, who lives here in Peoria.  I was overawed at his setup and enjoyed a chance to see how he went about everything. Hopefully I can use some of what I learned to take better photos for this blog.

This ring is fine silver with a purple CZ set in a tube.  I learned quite a bit from creating the tube setting from metal clay.  The stone sits ever so slightly off from level post firing.  I do not believe the angle of the stone is all that noticeable but I am after all a perfectionist.  I have no good ideas about how to prevent another stone from shifting during firing.  The setting involves two metal clay tubes of different diameter.  After both tubes were perfected I sanded the bottom edges into a slight curve so that they would sit nicely onto the curved ring band.  The inner tube acts as a seat for the stone and the outer stone captures the stone.  I sanded the top edge of the outer tube to bevel it so that after firing I could press it down a bit to create a neat look.

The ring size shrank quite a bit so I sanded out the edges of the box to make them flush with the inner band, which is a design change and which gained the ring over a whole size.  I was shooting for size 7 so I had cut the sides as a size 9 and then after drying and sanding smooth they were about a size 9.25 so I was very happy with this but post firing they fitted my sizing mandrel as a size 5.  Metal clay shrinks in strange ways sometimes when you build boxes.  After sanding flush the ring is a 6.  The shape of the ring would make it difficult to beat on a mandrel to make it any larger but in theory the ring could be stretched but I do not plan to try.  I am thinking about using ring plugs more often since I have had several rings shrink well past the size I had planned.

This photo is also taken by Kevin May.  I have created a series of 4 pieces with a seasonal theme.  This piece is winter and depicts a naked tree in a stark winter nighttime landscape.  I applied patina to the night sky and some of the solution may have crept under the stones which makes them look cloudy.  I am not sure how to remove the residue without damaging the patina.  So this piece is not ready for sale until I work out how the stones can look sparkly and the background can look dark at the same time.

I have many more photos to work with now and am quite excited to post them over the coming weeks.  If any of you are interested in Kevin’s photography here is his blog.  He is quite well rounded, having done a lot of work for Caterpillar and also landscapes and macro photography.