Monday, October 31, 2011

As much as I hate to keep jumping around...

...I am on a deadline.  I'm taking a class in metal inlays and I have a deadline looming.  I have to finish my second inlay piece--not a favorite of my instructor--and get to work on my final, Egyptian themed piece.  And...on top of everything else I have (what else!) a vacation planned right before my final is due, so I really have to hustle!  If interested, my other inlay pieces will be on my Goulash Designs Facebook page soon.  One still needs some spiffin up and the other, hopefully, will be finished this week.  I'll let you know when they're up and there will be a contest involving the latest one--beware--it's R-rated!

Friday, October 28, 2011

2nd Post for Today

It did etch.  Good enough to see how the size will be once it's domed.

OH MY GODDDDDDDDDDDD!!!!!!!!! (And no pictures...) first scarab is hardly etched...but that's the least of my problems!  I remember the first time I etched with Ferric chloride, it was in a class at C.O.D.  I remember Marge telling me she was going to try it at home.  I told her that I'd stick with using it at school.

I should've taken my own advice!  First, my scarab hardly etched, then I'd remembered that I'd thought that I mixed up the lids on my acid container and my neutralizing container one time.  I took what I thought was my acid container and poured baking soda in to neutralize.  It started to foam up (remember the movie, "The Blob"?...)  then, I picked it up and set it on top of MY KILN!!!!!  It continued to grow as I rushed it out the backdoor--fortunately the back door is the back wall of my studio.  It continued to foam onto my back porch.  I picked it all up into a plastic garbage bag and tried to rinse off the porch, so as not to kill my birdies.  (I should invite the squirrels to lunch...)

I hope that I'm really not screwed next time I turn on my kiln, and...
back to the drawing board on my scarab...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

More Scarab and a Ramble...

I've got my bronze scarab cut out and ready to go into the etchant.  The black and grey that you see on it is the resist--the bronze lines are the ones that should be etched, the black and grey raised.  Enlarged you can see the results of my shaky hand.  I may have to have somebody else put the resist on for me.  I've also not done much etching.  The last etching that I did was on nickel silver, which, either is harder to etch, or my solution was too weak.  I am going to try this in the same solution and see how it goes. I think that I read that, as it sits it gets stronger, but I'll check that out before I proceed.  Cut out, the oval also looks smaller than it should in relation to my glass one--remember, it still has to be domed.  Now we put it in solution...and wait.


I've also been thinking more about this blog and realized that I should talk more about my trips and, specifically about the inspiration for my pieces.  On some I will, but some, like this piece specifically, have no more inspiration than Egypt and my idea for a scarab piece.

Many have asked what my favorite trip has been.  For a long while it was China, but all have been amazing!  China always comes back to me because, for what we saw and did it was an incredibly inexpensive trip.  Still much less expensive than many countries to visit.  I was a bit leary about going to China, especially from about two weeks prior to our departure when my husband sent me some stuff from Yahoo which spoke about "squatty potties" and pages and pages of rambles of travellers who described the difficulties (for us women!) and further described the levels of cleanliness of the stalls, their snot-covered walls and so on and so forth.  Turned out to be not so bad.  Maybe because we were there right before the Beijing Olympics but the toilets were clean and rather Americanized.

Now, I sound like a two year old--potty obsessed and all but, in my observation--restrooms the world over were pristine compared to ladies rooms that I've visited in the good old U.S.A.  Except maybe in Tanzania--but that's a third, third world country.  The most unpleasant potty prospect there, for me was the day we went into an area of the Serengetti that's only ladies facility was in the brush, behind a large rock.  Fortunately my bashful bladder was cooperative and I managed to make it back to our tent without having to leave my scent in the jungle.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I'm so excited.....

What do you think--my dap looks perfect with my glass scarab!  I'm thinking, the one that looks exactly the same size will look a bit smaller when domed, and should be just what I need...or I'll try the next smaller one.  Keep your fingers crossed!

Friday, October 21, 2011

OK--So I procrastinate! And--previews of coming attractions.

OK, now you're going to learn two, not so flattering things about me.

1.  I procrastinate.  Not that I haven't been working.  I'm working on my second lentil bead for class, so that I can finish it and get to my final project--my next Egyptian themed major piece.  I told you I may spend a lot of time in Egypt!  As far as progress on my scarab necklace--first, I have to decide if I'm happy with my glass scarab.  I will probably determine that after I get my oval dapping form and see how the size and shape is with the ovals on the block.  I promise that I will order that today!  Also--I bought a cheap rolling mill, so I'll roll my bezel for it tomorrow in class.  Even if I don't use the first glass scarab on the big piece--you may find a single scarab pendant in my Copious Shop!

I have a very rudimentary drawing of my Egyptian inlay piece, although the main, inlaid piece isn't designed yet, any further than it will probably be in a pyramid shape.  Maybe even dimensional.  It will be flanked by two hand painted glass beads--hopefully I'll be able to make those--decorated with lotus blossoms and, finally, will be finished up with faceted blue lapis beads--which I bought some time ago.

2.  The second thing I was going to confess--and I swear that I forgot what it was, until I saw this drawing--was that I have a shaky hand, which is my excuse for many shaky drawings to come!

Then, we're going to leave Egypt and head for Tanzania and a Maasai village, which is really a bit of a whacked out culture!  This also gives you a look at, perhaps, the neatest section in my studio--part of my Inspiration wall.

My version of this will be made of probably sterling silver wire, spaced with rectangular strips of sterling, which separate handmade glass beads strung on the wire.  I'm envisioning this all suspended from a chunky handmade chain. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Egypt--Blue Scarab

Well,  it was easier than I thought.  I made my lapis blue scarab.  I finally, after four or five years feel that I am really getting control of the glass!  Another glitch, though.  I wanted the glass beetle to be slightly larger than the metal ones.  The bronze clay is supposed to shrink by 20%, but it didn't, so, if I continue with the clay, I'll have to make another mold, just a bit smaller.  I think, today, I'll order the oval dap!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Still in Egypt

Continuing with my Scarab Necklace I am posting photos of--in order of the photos:

1.  First scarab mold carved from polymer clay.  I used this as a preliminary mold from which to make:

2.  Scarab mold out of bronze clay.  This will be used to stamp hot glass into a scarab.  A major design flaw of this stamp was making the handle out of the same bronze clay--which conducts heat--quickly!!  Ouch!!  Problem was solved by holding this with a clamp.  Fortunately, the handle that I put on this mold (not shown) was long enough to allow me to do this.

3.  Scarab flexible mold made from two part modelling compound, in which I molded the white bronze scarabs--one of which I will show in the fired state.  The other one I dropped and it broke into many pieces!  Hence, my consideration of switching to sheet metal.

4.  My surviving white bronze scarab.

My glass blobs have been, so far, not big enough to fill the mold and make the scarab in the size that I want.  I'll be back on the torch tomorrow and will try again!