Saturday, November 4, 2017

Fall Colors in the Yard ~

 Sometimes the colors are the brightest and best in your own back yard. Yesterday we traveled along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Afton Mountain near Waynesboro. The sun was shining and the colors were about the same a here...a little bit more yellow.
  A very small flower has continued to bloom through snow and freezing weather.
 The red leaf maple has been in the yard for about nine years. This year it is the most vibrant red it has ever been.
 Trees in the back yard next to the woods at the spot where the deer come out to enjoy our gardens.
                           The little maple tree in our mountain yard. It has a natural slope to it.
 So many leaves have dropped from the tulip poplars that you can see the colors of the mountains.

 Next to the studio, petals falling as the wind blows. A small insect inside the only blooming Japanese anemone.
               A milkweed plant grown from seed that took its own time in coming to flower.
                                    A few asters are still purple and shielded by the butterfly bush.
                                                                Into the woods...

Friday, October 20, 2017

Fall Flowers ~

The end of October and we have yet to have a heavy frost. The yard still has green tomatoes on the vine and several sweet green peppers/ The lemon grass and lemon verbena are huge! They also smell so nice. Thyme is spreading nicely down the hillside and between the stones. Lavender from seed is safely tucked into the greenhouse growing nicely.
 There are still several butterflies flitting about the flowers. It takes patience and lots of tries to have a butterfly with its wings outstretched. This one didn't mind me being around.
 A purple hyacinth bean grown from seeds purchased at Spring Creek Gardens in Fort Collins, Colorado. The deer ate the scarlett runner beans as they flowered but seemed to leave these alone. I am drying the bean pods for seeds for next year.
                                                 They do look like sweet peas, don't they?
 Can you find all the bugs on this flower? We use no chemicals in the gardens. All the flowers are grown from seed collected from the previous year or purchased.
                  These had a late start, but they are enjoying the sunshine and spreading.
 There are many varieties of rudebeckia or Black Eyed Susans in the gardens. This variety has ruffled leaves and is quite large. Pockets of the smaller varieties are scattered all over.

 A fall aster that grows over six feet tall. It started with one plant and has spread by root runners.
                                                      This aster is native to the mountains.
 A beautiful flower, but the Japanese anemone spreads once it finds a place it likes. If you live close by and want some, come by in the spring and take home bags of this plant.
 This is the bud and you can see the flower in the background. They are all part of the same plant.
What a joy to see the milkweed pod open and the seeds caught by the wind. Each year, I find more and more of these plants volunteering in the gardens. Lots of different varieties of milkweed in the gardens. And there are monarchs....Fall in the gardens is filled with intense colors. The zinnias are doing very well.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Enameling ~

Enameling in the studio requires a few tools. There is the small kiln and just as important are the gloves. Mine have several burn spots on them. The steel tray to put the trivet on and then the large tool to take out the tray.

This is a trivet with a copper piece layered with white enamel. It is sitting on top of the kiln before it goes into a kiln. The kiln will heat up to 1450 before I remove the piece. If you are making earrings or jewelry, always remember to leave a clean hole.
 These are two pieces out of the kiln. They were yellow and I added blue and red in separate firings. When I use enamel powders, I sift the powder on top of New Yorker magazine pages. I throw out the page after it is used...well sometimes I turn it over and use the other side. This keeps the colors from contaminating.
 Some earrings without the sterling silver ear wires. These were lime green and I added a layer of red enameling powder. I really like the result. Will be sharing more enameling processes.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Creating Glass Jewelry ~
 While at William Holland School of Lapidary Arts, I sold the necklace I was wearing. It was blue dichroic glass with a dragonfly. I decided to create a new pendant. Cut out dichroic glass. Cut out clear glass a little bit bigger than the dichroic glass.

 This is the glass cutter I use in the studio. Ray uses the same cutter in a different color. We do not use oil in the cutter.
 I use a sheet of copper that is made for fusing in glass. I punch out the dragonflies from the copper.
 Using just a little glastac gel, I glue the dragonfly to the glass. I also use the gel to glue the clear glass to the dichroic glass. I let them sit for a bit.
 Our grandson Ingram happened to be in the studio. He created his own pieces of glass using glass scraps. He has decided that he will make pendants out of his pieces.

                          The kiln is heating up. The pieces will be ready tomorrow to create jewelry.