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Tag Archives: jewelry photography

Those of you who have visited my booth at shows know that I often make dogwood flower items.  There is a personal connection with my mother.  It was her favorite flower.  There is a personal connection with my childhood.  We used to live in New Jersey when I was quite young and there were several dogwoods in our back yard.  They were lovely when they bloomed.  When I was in college, the campus had two ancient dogwoods.  One of the trees was a pink, the other a white and they were growing up together entwined.  My Mother-in-law takes these photos of flowers, she arranges them facing the bed of her scanner, so they are upside down to her, and then she scans them.  One of her best photos, in my opinion, is of a group of dogwood flowers.  Maybe I like that one best because of all those other connections with dogwoods but it is one of her best sellers at art fairs.

 

Metal clay lends itself so well to hand sculpted pieces like this.  Each petal is cut from damp clay, slightly reshaped and hand attached to the base. The flower is completed by adding an element to simulate the center.  You can just make out my fingerprints as waves in some places.  It turned out to be a challenge for me as a sort of amateur jewelry photographer to get a nice shot of this due to the brushed finish which scatters light all over.  I am happy with this shot although I do believe this is a case in which the real article is more beautiful than the photograph.

 

This ring is my tenth for the flickr ring a week challenge.  You can find the whole group here, and my photostream here.

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Ring 7 for the Ring a Week flickr group is shown above.  The idea was to learn to set a stone in wet metal clay, include it in a fairly simple ring and fire it in place.  I wanted a stone that was inexpensive, natural and able to stand my preferred firing conditions for best strength of the ring.  Rings take abuse so it is best if the metal clay is fired a long time.  I chose hematite because it can take a 2 hour firing at 1650 with no problem.  I also like the way it looks with silver.  The photo above is great if you are only looking at the silver.  I realize you can see the camera and tripod reflected in the stone.  My current setup does not allow a way to exclude that because the camera is about an inch from the stone.   I have been playing around with white cards and a shear piece of white material to drape in certain ways and the result is much more even coloration of the side of the ring that would be in shadow without lose of texture.  I light predominantly from one side because this really helps show off the texture but I was having problems with areas being too dark and I think that problem is largely solved now.

 

This ring was an interesting challenge to make and finish.  The shank is actually from my rejects pile of dried metal clay pieces.  It was too thin and warped for my original project and I had made another.  I covered the thin shank with the dots texture you see and while the laminated band was damp I attempted to unwarp it.  It worked to some degree, enough that I could attach the oval and circle central element securely.  I recently purchased these little ceramic plugs to put inside the shank during firing to avoid the problems I have been having with previous rings.  I never cared so much when the bands came out not round but I was concerned about lack of reproducibility on the shrinkage.  I add about 2 sizes and the result can be anywhere from slightly larger than I was hoping for to quite a bit smaller than hoped.  Shrinkage can happen in any dimension, not always the way you are hoping.  So placing a plug inside limits how far it can shrink in the ring size.  Because this shank had a slight warp it seems to have tipped over sideways on the plug during firing.  The result was a slightly oval, still warped shank.  I beat it from a number of directions and now it is nicely round and no longer warped.  Lots of lessons learned and I am quite happy with the result.

I have updated my upcoming shows page.  I added the 4th Fridays event on the boardwalk at the Junction City Mall.  This year the event will be 4 months long instead of 3.  I understand the event will be bigger in pretty much every way.  There will be artists on all sides of the mall this time and all 4 months will have a car show event tied to it.  I also found out that a photo I submitted has been chosen for use in the advertising of the event!  This is a first for me and I am quite excited.

This ring was meant to be ring number 6 but it came together faster than the ring that was started before it.  The idea was to build a small box as a focal with a textured band to match the sides of the box.  This ring has taught me that PMC shrinks unpredictably.  I made the shank two sizes larger than I wanted and the finished ring is about 3 and a half sizes smaller than the original shank as greenware.  On the practical side this means I cannot quite get it on my pinky even after annealing it and beating it down on a mandrel three times.  It also means I lost some of the texture on the inside of the shank during resizing.  I am finding that the conditions that yeild a great photo of surface patina are flaky at best.  I will likely take a whole second batch of pictures of this later on in the day to see if I can capture the patina in the deep swirls on the top of the box.  For whatever reason it looks washed out here.  You can see the brilliant colors really well on the shank though.

 

I have several ideas for how to improve on this design in order to get the ring size I am aiming for instead of some random size.  I think making more small boxes is definitely a great idea as I love the look of this one.  It also fits in well with my box pendant series.

I have decided to embark on making one ring a week for the entire year of 2011.  There is a flickr group devoted to the Ring a Week project.  If you are not familiar with this idea, last year a group of jewelers committed to making one ring a day all year.  This group was called Ring a Day (or RAD for short) and has gained quite a bit of notice, Lark is publishing a book highlighting the works and the SNAG conference is (or already did I am not sure) having an exhibit of some of the rings from this project.  I felt this was way more than I could do last year but one a week seems doable.  I have only a little experience making rings so the challenge will be an avenue for growth, both as an artist and as inspiration for other work.  Not to mention how much inspiration one can derive from looking at all the rings other people post.  I posted my first piece to the group and already there are three pages on flickr of rings people have made this week!

Santa rewarded me with a new camera and I have spent the last few days learning about using it.  I have spent some time researching macro photography and product photography as my first photos were not acceptable.  I feel sure I have so much more to learn but here is my first photo using the new camera.  The ring below is posted on flickr and is fine silver.  The shank was made using wire on a finger shaped mandrel.  I adore this shape for a ring shank.  It is sort of like a cushioned square with one side being slightly narrower than the opposite side.  The effect is that it is easier to put on, more comfortable to wear and has less tendency to slide sideways.

 

I took a little time off to regroup, do paperwork and begin researching new fairs. I have decided to add two fairs to next year for sure. I will be applying for Sugar Creek and Spring Bloom, both are run by the McLean County Art Center folks. I am also spending a bit of time researching cameras as I feel crippled without a working camera. The one I bought in early spring works just fine for random portrait shots but it is marginal to crappy for jewelry photography. Hopefully I can settle on a good camera soon. I have a hard time blogging with no eye candy! Today I went to the Fine Art Fair in downtown Peoria. I got a ton of display ideas to improve my booth for next year. I also enjoyed talking to some artist friends and meeting some new folks. I highly recommend this fair to any of you that are here in Peoria. It goes on tomorrow as well.

I spent a little time playing with the new camera we just bought.  I took this terrific shot of a pair of earrings I made for a client who purchased a similar necklace.  The new camera is a huge improvement over the old one in just about every way.  It takes much better photos, it boots up in a flash, it has an amazingly easy set of menus that you can navigate with a stylus or your finger on the touch screen you also use to view with during picture taking.  I am in love with this little camera!

The Montessori Children’s House of Peoria is having its annual Spring Bazaar this Saturday starting at 11am and in preparation for that I have been photographing some of my new pieces.  These earrings swing on a U shaped wire that has balls on both ends.  I like the unusual way they move.  I should mention that 25% of the money I take in the day of the Bazaar will be going to the school.  They are raising funds to send the 3rd graders their big trip to St. Louis.

I should be able to provide more eye candy here over the next few days.  I have several more pairs of earrings and a very nice box pendant that I am working with right now and all of it should be ready in time for Saturday’s festivities.

I submitted my application for the Junction City Art Fair last night.  I am a bit conflicted about many aspects of the application and the fair itself but wanting to try my hand at a juried fair.  This fair is conveniently here in town and limited to artists within 150 miles of Peoria.  But on the down side, the date for the fair is the day my niece gets married.   Also, I am still new enough to photography that I am quite unsure about my photos.  The 5 photos submitted are the best I have done but I have no feel for how they face up to the crowd of other artists’ photos.  Can’t do anything else with it until I hear yes or no on April 1st.  I have posted for you one of the rejects from my many photo shoots.  The problem with this one is the background.  When this photo is viewed at high resolution it takes on this annoying repeating pattern.  Unacceptable photo for that reason but the jewelry came out well.  You can just make out the pattern I am talking about in this size.

I am somehow very tired right now but also blissful which is the nicest way to be tired.  Last night’s Elemental Divas party was a wonderful experience.  I met so many great people and spent time with some great friends as well.  Reminds me of the girl scout song…  “make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold”  We definitely want to do another party in the near future.  Yesterday I picked up my jewelry from the Peoria Art Guild Gallery Store.  It felt sad to me to think that lovely space is closing soon.  This gives me a chance to take some better pictures of those pieces though so that is the bright side.  I am preparing to submit pictures for my first juried art show and so I need to take loads of shots.  Expect plenty of eye candy over the next week!