What's Happening at White Rabbit Designs
June 5, 2017—Oh my, has it been that long since I've made a blog entry. I have been busy in my studio--sometimes. But I've also been traveling, working in my yard, and making an outfit for my granddaughter. And you know how time flies, more and more as we age.
Earlier this year I was really tickled to have a new bracelet accepted in a juried exhibition at the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF) near me in Watkinsville,
Georgia. I put a lot of hours into designing and fabricating a Gingko Leaf Cuff bracelet
with a large central citrine. I roller printed the gingko leaves for this cuff
from real, dried gingko leaves as I have done in earlier jewelry described below. Finding that the veins in the gingko leaves are too delicate to transfer well, I had to scribe visible ones.
I then went to to fashion matching earrings that are "nearly matching." See what you think of my finished pieces.
January 12, 2016—I just finished this necklace which I began (how many?) years ago. The pendant is a beau
time” links don’t bear close scrutiny, they’re OK from a distance—and a very good learning experience. I now want to tak
e a chain class.
January 10, 2016—My latest group of jewelry involves rollerprinting real leaves that I have dried (Yes, the old-fashioned way between wax paper in a heavy book for two weeks). It’s amazing that something so fragile can actually make an imprint on copper and sterling. These copper leaves I have patinated to give them a greenish color—a little more like the real thing. I like the contrast of the green against the polished copper edges and the copper bail on the pendant.
These on the right were rollerprinted on sterling and oxidized to bring out veining of the leaves.
November 5, 2015—Athens Metal Arts Guild Exhibition (AMAG) at Aiken Center for the Arts: I am a founding member ofAMAG which will
begin its fourth year in 2016. Today our guild opened a show at the Aiken Center for the Arts in South Carolina. This is a
wonderful town, very horse-centric, that has its arts center in the heart of its lovely downtown area. While we were sett
ing up the show, a steady stream of people walked through admiring the artwork. The city planners there must be wonderful. There is free parking on the diagonal; U-turn lanes are set up so that one can change course without going out in traffic. A brochure of local historical sites and other places of interest listed nearly 100. As AMAG's chief coordinator for our show there, I had time for only a quick glance at a few. I hope to see more very soon.
It was evident at the well-attended opening (the Center opens several new shows every 4-6 weeks) that there is a lot of support for the Center. Six of our members
were able to come to the opening, two with their spouses. We basked in the glow of the marked interest in our works. It was evident that the Aiken Center for the Arts had not had an exhibition quite like ours in the past. More than 20 of AMAG's members submitted nearly 100 works. The range of talent in our group was heart-warming: from a 8-foot-high sculpture by Duane Paxson to lamps and bowls by Jim Norton, a candalabra and wine rack by Dietrich Hoecht, and Barbara Mann's exquisite and fanciful Phenakistoscope. The Maple Leaf Earrings and Bracelet included in previous entries were among my submissions. Another was my forged choker which I names "Spiraling into Control." Here is a picture of that.
July 7, 2015—New Birthstone Jewelry: Just off the bench, "Patter of Little Feet" Necklace. A little pair of bare feet grace the front and back--on set in relief, the other in 24K gold. The side that is in relief was roller printed in the same way as the maple leaves in the previous two posts. One side of the pendant is framed. I made little charms to commemorate the birth month. This would be a wonderful gift for a new mother or grandmother.
May 1, 2015—Maple Leaf Bracelet in production : Matches earrings in the February blog. This stunning sterling and copper bracelet is produced in a similar way to the earrings. Four hand pierced maple leaves adorn a substantial sterling cuff and sport sterling stems. It's a real show-stopper. The model shown is the prototype which I wear and get compliments galore. I am in the process of creating one for sale. Stay tuned.
February 20, 2015: I’m really excited about my latest work with roller-printing on metal with paper. Little did I know until recently that it is also a new craze among metalsmiths. A metal rolling mill looks a little like your grandmother’s (or great-grandmother’s) wringer washing machine ringers—except that it is a very finely engineered piece of equipment that is carefully calibrated to thin gold, silver, and copper and to decrease the diameter of metal wire. It can also be used to imprint patterns or images on metal. A textured brass sheet is one way to imprint patterns. (Brass is harder than gold, silver or copper, but softer than the steel rollers and therefore won’t damage them.) However, it’s possible to use a variety of flat materials to imprint textures—fabric, corn husks, and paper in various weights (even toilet paper) are all possibilities. I used heavily textured pastel painting paper to make the textures on the earrings below. I cut the maple shapes from the paper with an Exacto knife. I’m investigating a machine called a Silhouette that allows you to bypass the tedious process with the Exacto knife.
Here is the first finished jewelry—my Autumn Dew earrings. I have used the wonderful capability of copper to take on a beautiful, iridescent patina to enhance my hand cut maple leaves.
January 24, 2015: A few months ago I embarked on a project to create an entry for the Athens Metal Arts Guild (AMAG) joint exhibition with the Athens-based company, The Pearl Girls. It was an adventure that I'd like to repeat many times. It was both rewarding and frustrating. Rewarding because I have a finished piece that I like. Frustrating, because I could not fully execute my original ideas because it would produce a piece that was not usable. My original thought was to incorporate both freshwater coin pearls and stick pearls (sometimes referred to a Biwa pearls because they originated in a particular lake in Japan) into a daisy sculpture/pin.
As with any new design on which there is a significant amount of experimenting with design and technique, I have learned that it's best to execute it first in copper. Thus, the outlay, should I make a mistake is not so great. It also allows me to change the design as I discover something different I would like to do in the process.
Here is my copper prototype:
It looks reasonably good. However my original idea of how to incorporate the stick pearls did not work out.
Next I embarked on the sterling pin. Oops! I forgot how high heat and too-fast cooling could crack metal. There went one of my petals. But enough work had been done so far, that I hated to scrap it and decided to use it as another practice piece. I determined a way that I could use partial bezels to secure the stick pearls. And I painstakingly made seven little sterling bezels, only to determine that they would result in a heavy, clumsy look. Back to the drawing board.
I figured a third way to attach the pearls and it worked! Here is the result. Pretty, huh? I really liked it. However, I knew that it would not take the wear and tear of being used as a pin. So I have a pretty sculpture, that happens also to be a pin. Back to the drawing board. I'll just have to content myself with a simple pin with no stick pearls. In the process, I decided to etch some details into the leaves as well as roller print the face of the daisy to give it some very subtle texture. I had done that with the Daisy Face at right and liked the effect.
So on to the finished piece. This was becoming a real labor of love—and an amazing learning process. I was truly my own apprentice on a piece that was difficult for me and with no one to bounce ideas off of or to ask for advice. The finished result as it is appearing in The Pearl Girls exhibition.
And here is the back of the pin.
End of this portion of my ongoing adventure in metal arts.