The Evolution of a Bowl

I thought it might be interesting to show some of the steps in making one of my little bowls.  There’s a lot of steps between beginning and end.  I won’t show all of them but here’s the basics.

I start with a flat copper circle.

copper circle

Then heat and form the piece until I have a shallow form with gently fluted edges.

halfway

 

I further shape the copper until I have a deeper inner bowl and strongly fluted edges – it now has a flower-like shape.

final copper form

I start firing layers of enamel – this is after about 6 firings.

bowl

The finished pieces – several more layers and firings of enamel have produced beautiful shading, colour variations and bubbling.

blue flower

purple flower

 

 

 

1000 Beads

It’s so funny, this is one of the most exciting things to happen for me business wise this year and I forgot to post about it!  I found out on October 31st that one of my big enamel focal beads was chosen to be in Lark Crafts new book “1000 Beads”!

The Lark Crafts books are absolutely gorgeous.  Each page is a full shot of some stunning work, whether rings, glass, enamel, ceramics, etc.  They have quite an extensive series.  I’ve always admired them so when I saw their call for entry I thought I would give it a shot.

The piece that was chosen is called “Lava Flow”.  It’s a very large focal bead I made using plumber’s pipe and a LOT of layers of enamel.  I think this bead went through about 50 firings before I was happy with it.  Because I fire each layer flat it’s hard to realize that each of those firings was an additional layer of enamel, with a  total of about 10 or 12 colours (maybe more, I lost count!).  It also takes a careful burn firing to make the colours blend this way.  And because there is so much enamel I had to keep flipping it each time I fired so the enamel wouldn’t all slump to one end.  So a lot of work for one bead ;)

I’m really looking forward to April when the book comes out and I can see my piece and all the other  wonderful creations by artists from around the world!

Here is my lovely Lava Flow :)

larkfinal lavaflow

Ripley’s Aquarium

I finally made it to the new Ripley’s Aquarium in downtown Toronto this week!  I love aquariums, from the small home version with guppies to the huge Osaka aquarium with it’s whale shark (yes, I was lucky enough to visit that one a long time ago).

The aquarium has very strict guidelines for animal care and is involved in a lot of research and conservation projects, including the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.  They have many educational programs for those visiting and for teachers to share with their classes.

I like the fact that the Toronto aquarium has native species as well as the more exotic and colourful varieties of fish. The tanks are large and beautifully presented.  The Pacific Kelp Exhibit even has a wave maker to simulate the surge conditions of the British Columbia shoreline – it’s mesmerizing to watch the kelp and the fish swaying back and forth!

It’s really hard to pick my favourite part of the aquarium.  It’s amazing watching all the different species of rays in Ray Bay.  There’s such a hypnotic effect to seeing them gliding gracefully past.  But of course Dangerous Lagoon is so amazing too, I swear those sharks are watching me as they swim by!  And the jellyfish!  Oh the jellyfish!  I could stand there all day watching them undulate and change colours with the light.  I think I took about a hundred pictures of them!

Needless to say I enjoyed my visit.  Apparently they have sleepovers in the aquarium too.  I can just imagine going to sleep while watching sharks swim over my head!  Magical :)

If you’re interested in visiting or more information here is their website - http://www.ripleysaquariumofcanada.com/

And here is a little slideshow of some of the pictures I took.  I have some amazing videos too but they’re a bit large to put on line.

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The Pipes Are Calling

I’ve been busy making new things again!  Here is my guest post on the Freedom Clothing Collective blog that tells you all about it!

http://freedomclothingcollective.blogspot.ca/2013/10/made-in-canada-series-pipes-are-calling.html

enamel and concrete vase

New class – copper metal clay!

Copper clay is particles of copper held together with a binder so that it has a clay-like consistency. This allows you to mold it, shape it and make impressions in it to create your designs. Then the binder is fired away with a torch or kiln and the piece becomes solid copper metal. Magic!

In this class you will learn to work with copper clay, and how to fire it with both a torch. You will also learn to make your own mold so that you can reproduce an existing object or make multiples. The techniques used are very similar to those used to fire silver clay (PMC) so this class is a great option for those who have wanted to work with silver clay but were hesitant because of the prohibitive cost of PMC. Copper clay can also be used in enamelling, if you decide to take enamelling in the future you are welcome to bring your clay pieces to work on.

In class you will have a small chunk of clay to work with. You will make a minimum of two pieces – or more if you prefer to make very small items. You will also make a mold that you can take home with you.

See the Classes page for dates.  11am to 2pm. $75.00 all inclusive.
A $20 deposit is required to register. Please contact me at torchedstudio@hotmail.com to register.

copper clay

Galaxy

Of all the things I make I must admit my enamel bowls are my favourite.  So I’m very, very excited to be making a special collection of art bowls for my very first solo exhibition.  It will be held at Freedom Clothing Collective from June 7th to July 3rd.

My work has always had a certain elemental quality in the swirl of  multiple layers of enamel and in these pieces I’ve taken it to the extreme in a “big bang” of colour.   I love the random beauty of nature and these bowls are my romanticized view of the far flung objects in the night sky.  Each piece represents a celestial body but on a much smaller and more imaginative scale.

The opening reception is Friday June 7th at Freedom Clothing Collective, 939 Bloor Street West, Toronto from 6pm to 8pm.

Here’s a sneak peek of just a few of the pieces that will be in the exhibition.

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Fire and Fusion

There are a tonne of events happening in Toronto in May for TIJF – the Toronto International Jewellery Festival – and for the big SNAG – Society of North American Goldsmiths – conference.  But the one I’m most excited about is Fire and Fusion: a TIJF Enamelling Exhibition!

I’m super excited because my Tide Pool enamel bowl has been accepted for the exhibition, whoo hoo!  And I’m also excited because I will get to see the work of 30 other enamel artists from across Canada.  Enamelling isn’t an incredibly common skill, so sometimes it feels a little lonely in front of that kiln, and it will be wonderful to see what other people create with enamel.  The best thing for me about enamel is that it is so versatile, you can do a different technique every day and never run out of ideas.  So I’m sure there will be a lot of variety in the art that is presented.

The exhibition will be on from May 1st to 30th at the Rainbow Gallery, 80 Front St. East in Toronto.  The opening reception is May 1st from 12:30 to 2pm.

Here is a video of the artists involved.  If you know anything about enamelling you will realize the crazy amount of work that went into some of these pieces!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5EOrRmvAZE

Here is the Facebook link for the Fire and Fusion exhibition –  https://www.facebook.com/FireAndFusion?fref=ts

And the website - http://fireandfusion.wordpress.com/

And the TIJF website - http://tijf.info/

And the SNAG website - http://www.snagmetalsmith.org/events/conferences/

And of course, here is my bowl :)  I hope you make it to the exhibition to see it in person!!!

Tide Pool Bowl

Classes

Oh, I am soooo bad at keeping up to date on blog posts! Anyhow, here is a very quick one for your viewing enjoyment :)

The women who own Freedom Clothing Collective, one of the stores that carry my work,  love my jewellery and were fascinated to know just how the enamelling process works.  So they decided to take one of my classes. They had lots of fun, made some super funky pieces and wrote a little blog post about it. So here’s THEIR blog post (I know, I’m cheating, lol) about their experience in the beginner enamelling class.

http://freedomclothingcollective.blogspot.ca/2013/04/workshop-torched-studio.html

And here’s a couple of closer pics of their awesome pieces!

Freedom Clothing Collective

Freedom

HOME

My lovely little enamel art panels will be getting a little exposure this holiday season.  They’re part of an art exhibition at Elephant Shoes, a store/gallery that also carries my enamel jewellery.  All of the everyday items (including my jewellery) will be put away so that owner Cheryl Lim can turn the space into an art gallery.

It’s a group exhibition and will feature the work of Madelaine Lyons Cooper,
Laura Stitzel, Dara Gold, Doris Purchase, Michael Mackid, Amanda Lee,
Xenia Vakova and of course, me!

The exhibition goes up on December 1st and continues until December 9th.  The official reception will be on December 7th from 7pm to 10pm and all are welcome!  You can visit the exhibition during regular store hours which are listed on the Elephant Shoes website - www.elephantshoes.ca  It’s located at 1342 Bloor Street West, Toronto, which is just west of the Lansdowne subway station.

Here’s one of my art panels that will be featured in the show.

Photo shoot

I finally had a little photo shoot with some of my pieces on a model.  My friend Amy was gracious enough to help me out by posing in several pieces from my various collections.  And I must say they certainly do look stunning on her!

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