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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.

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Here is my second entry for the Flickr Four a Month group.  The photo above shows my fine silver butterfly.  This butterfly, which could be a moth if you like, was inspired by the way butterfly wings reflect the light when you look at them at just the right angle.  I used a crushed silk textured wallpaper sample to create the wings.  I love the way the wings stand out from the body on this one.  It feels as if the creature is fanning his wings and is about to take off.

Near the end of the year in 2011 sterling silver metal clay was introduced.  I have been working with fine silver metal clay for some time now and love it.  I wondered how the sterling version would behave so I purchased some.  I have made just one piece with sterling PMC.  The photo above shows the new ring “Zen Gazing Disc Ring”.  The design was somewhat inspired by a ring I made a long time ago entitled “Portable Zen Rock Garden”.  The differences between the two rings are vast.  This new ring has a larger focal element.  Sterling is stronger when work hardened than fine silver so I was able to make this ring shank quite thin.  The original ring has a pleasing weighty feel however and there are certainly pros and cons to both fine silver and sterling.  The sterling clay behaved for me the way I hoped it would, a lot like fine silver clay does.  The only challenge I encountered making this ring regards shrinkage of the piece during firing.  The stated shrinkage is higher than that of PMC3 and others have reported that rings lost about 3 sizes.  I made this ring 3 sizes too large for my middle finger.  After firing it does not fit on my middle or ring finger and it measures almost 4 sizes smaller than the dry piece had prior to firing.  I will have to take this into account when I design future rings.

 

On another subject, I have joined a group on Flickr this year entitled Four a Month and it is moderated by the fantastic and creative Lora Hart.  I am posting my first four pieces starting today and continuing over the next few days.  The idea behind the group is that the four pieces we make and post each month will all have a theme or unifying element about them.  Lora has allowed for a great deal of freedom regarding what can qualify as a foursome.  For my first set I chose butterflies.  Below you will find a monarch inspired butterfly in fine silver with a necklace bail in the body of the butterfly.  I have made a couple of other butterflies like it in the last year and they have been extremely warmly received.  I do adore everything butterflies stand for, metamorphosis, grace, beauty, flight, rising above ones limitations to name a few.  One woman told me she believes butterflies are the embodiment of the spirits of our lost loved ones.  All four of the butterflies are made and finished at this point.  I am working with some new photography equipment and software and two of the four will require me to spend more time with this new equipment so that I can produce nice photos.  The next four pieces will be based on the four seasons theme and I have already made those as well.  After those I will be presenting a series of four pieces based on box structures.  I have made three of the four and the remaining piece, a ring with a stone set in it, remains as greenware tidbits on my bench.

Here are two pieces out of many that I have finished recently.  I am busy as a bee getting ready for the Washington Fine Arts Fair this weekend.  Above is a smaller diameter viking knit bracelet I have been developing.  I make quite a number of these in copper due to the very low cost of the copper wire and then when I am certain how many feet of what gauge wire I want to use I make them in silver.  This bracelet has metal clay based caps and toggle clasp.  The hand lampworked glass bead is by Ellen Dooley and includes fine silver dots strung on the surface.  Below is a butterfly pendant I made a couple of weeks ago or so and had not had time to photograph until now.  It came out with a lovely patina very reminiscent of a monarch butterfly and I am so pleased.  A few people have seen it and the response has been very positive.  Butterflies really capture people’s imagination.  I hope to get time to work on more butterfly related projects.  Still on my bench today are a floral and leaf pendant and an Egyptian hieroglyphics pendant entitled Cracked Tablet.  There is a decent chance that both of those could be with me at Washington.  I hope to see many of you there!