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Gordon K. Uyehara at Bead&Button

Gordon K. Uyehara is a fabulous artist working in metal clay. He teaches, creates, interacts with the metal-clay community online, and inspires with his beautiful, elegant designs. He is the author of Metal Clay Fusion: Diverse Clays, Detailed Techniques, Artful Projects. Learn more about Gordon at his website www.honudream.com.

 

Why metal clay, Gordon? How did you discover this medium, and why is it such a good fit for you?

There was just something about it that set my imagination off. I could spend hours working with it and then when I wasn’t, my mind was still engaged to the point of obsession.

 

How do you describe your work and your aesthetic sensibility?

I’d describe my work as organic and nature-inspired, with sculpted features, in restrained refinement.

Artistically, it’s an ongoing process about observing the world around you and learning how to express yourself in every aspect of living.

 

Poison Pill Ring from Metal Clay Fusion

What are your hopes for the book Metal Clay Fusion? What do you want your readers to receive in practical and artistic terms?

I would like the book to inspire as many people as possible. I hope readers will try different techniques and that the book will help them discover their own artistic voice. And I always hope artists are thoughtful as they create.

 

What most impresses you about how metal clay is maturing as a medium today? And in which areas do you think growth is still most obviously needed?

I think the amount of experimentation people are willing to undertake is impressive.

Growth is needed in all areas. Having said that, it is proceeding just fine, under its own momentum.

 

Bronze, Silver & Pearl Pendant from Metal Clay Fusion

I’m not going to make you name your favorite metal clay artists, but would you name a few who you think are doing exciting new things, and say what it is about each that you find exceptional?

There are a lot of artists doing terrific work. As far as exciting new things, a few people come to mind:

Wanaree Tanner: youthful exuberance with a willingness to experiment, coupled with a keen aesthetic sense and natural talent

Hadar Jacobson: tireless innovator with super accessible projects

Samantha Braund: wild and beautiful shell-scapes (as they look to me) combined with wire-wrapping and stone setting

Lisa Lynn Barth: outstanding metal clay and leatherwork/knotting combinations

 

Speak to someone who has worked with other materials but not with metal clay: Please explain what you find most appealing about the medium.

I like that it is pliable and picks up deep texture effortlessly. Plus, it is easily sculpted. The entire transformative process is fun. It can be used in a myriad of ways.

 

Bronze Clay Mask Pendant from Metal Clay Fusion

Do you feel a community has developed in metal clay, with artists really knowing one another and the work intimately, offering ideas, feedback, and support? Or is that still nascent?

There is definitely a real community where ideas are shared freely. But it is also still very young. So it is both.

 

What do you do for fun, Gordon? And what are a few things that might surprise people about you?

Other than playing with clay, I like to relax outside in the sun, play guitar, and watch movies. It might surprise people that I have a mischievous side that I struggle to keep under wraps.

 

In what ways does your home state of Hawaii influence your work?

The flora and fauna definitely play a part—to what extent I do not know.

 

Bronze Asian Bell from Metal Clay Fusion

What’s next? Where do you see yourself going from here professionally? What are your biggest ambitions that you’re willing to share?

I’m not sure. The possibilities are endless, and you never know where you’ll end up. I’m just going to keep creating and see what life presents before me.

 

Thank you, Gordon!

Mahalo!

 
 
 
 
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Free Project : Make a Mini Flipbook

July 31, 2012, 09:00 am  Posted by Lark
 

Question: what’s smaller than a smartphone, just as portable, and can capture phone numbers, your thoughts, and pretty much anything else—but doesn’t have a battery? Hint: think old skool.  Answer: these fun little flipbooks.

 

 

Only three materials (a small piece of leather, some paper, and upholstery thread) and a handful of tools (many of which you most likely already have) are needed to make one of these little guys. The flipbooks were created by Michelle Chen and you can download instructions on how to make them here. Michelle is just one of the 22 designers who contributed project ideas and tips for making 34 tiny books designs that you can find in Making Mini Books.

 
 
 
 
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Crocheted Jewelry with Suzann Thompson

July 27, 2012, 15:16 pm  Posted by guestblogger
 

This week, author Suzann Thompson shares some ideas for how to turn crocheted motifs from her books into simple, wearable jewelry.

Flower jewelry is all the rage, from pretty and inexpensive floral bib necklaces in the mall, to the stunning three-dimensional rose jewelry by Prada in the pages of fashion magazines. But you don’t need to buy flower jewelry. You can make your own!

Start with a simple pendant necklace, like this one made from Grandma’s Windmill Flower on pages 114-115 of Crochet Garden. I crocheted the flower using No. 10 crochet cotton (see details below),blocked the flower, then added a chain as follows:

Make a chain of ch st, at least 10″/26cm long.
Sl st into the point of one petal of the flower.
Continue ch st to match the length of the first chain (at least 10″/26cm long) PLUS 2 sts, turn.
Sc in 2nd ch from hook, sl st in each ch, stopping one st short of the sl st which attaches the chain to the flower.
Sk the ch before the sl st, sk the sl st, sk the ch after the sl st.
Sl st in each ch, until 1 ch remains. Sc in last ch. Fasten off.
Weave in ends. Tie the necklace around your neck and enjoy!

The double Mexican Hat (pages 24-26 of Crochet Garden) makes a lovely brooch. Once again, I used No. 10 crochet cotton to make the flower (details below). Safety-pin the flower from the inside of your garment (pin closes on the inside, flower on the outside).

I hope these ideas will get you started making flower jewelry. You can go on to try different flowers, explore the possibilities of making earrings, and maybe even use flower cloth technique to make one of those cute bib necklaces. The sky’s the limit!

Details for flowers shown here:
Both are made with Aunt Lydia’s Crochet Thread, Classic 10 cotton thread.
For the Grandma’s Windmill Flower pendant necklace, using crochet hook 3.50mm (size 00 steel U.S.), or size to obtain a relaxed gauge:
Golden Yellow #422
Aqua #450
River Blue #820
Peacock #856
For the Mexican Hat pin, using crochet hook 2.00mm (size 4 steel U.S.), or size to obtain a firm gauge:
Fudge Brown #131
Victory Red #494
Goldenrod #421
Wasabi #397

 
 
 
 
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The brand new shrink plastic jewelry book Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk! has loads of how-to information to get you comfortable working with shrink plastic, followed by step-by-step instructions for more than 30 projects made by many top Etsy jewelry designers.

Making this jewelry feels like playing: There’s something magical about taking a very thin, flexible sheet of plastic, cutting and decorating it, popping it in the oven, and then watching it transform into something about a third of its original size and nine times as thick.

Shrink plastic is sold by the sheet in packages, and you can find it easily in most craft chains, in many art supply stores, and online, including at shrinkydinks.com.

The book is now available online at BN.com (including as a digital Nook book) and Amazon.com or ask for it at your local bookstore or bead shop!

Download a PDF of the book’s Origami Plane Earrings project by clicking right here. and see a few more images of the book’s projects below. You can check out more of designer Tonia Mo’s shrink plastic jewelry at greenmot.etsy.com. And join Lark Jewelry & Beading on Facebook for daily pics of great jewelry and beadwork, craft and jewelry community news, and alerts to free projects and giveaways. EXCITING UPDATE: You can now download THREE more projects in the book (Cat and Milk Brooch by Kathy Sheldon, Not-Your-Grandmother’s Cameos by Tamara Berg, and Paper Plane Ride Necklace by Stasia Burrington) by clicking right here.

Origami Plane Earrings from Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk!

 

Tiger Lily Earrings from Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk!

 

Russian Doll Set from Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk!

Birds-on-a-Wire Necklace & Earrings from Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk!

 

 
 
 
 
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Gold Medal Crafting

July 20, 2012, 15:30 pm  Posted by Craft Your Life Team
 

After the “Ravelympics” debacle, we weren’t sure what, if anything, we could post when it came to summer-games-inspired crafts. But we think we’ve found at least one way to celebrate.

Rejendran R. works on the largest painting created by mouth (600 square feet). Image is a still capture from the video found at RecordSetter (link below).

One of our friends recently joined up with RecordSetter, an online database of all sorts of fun, crazy, and impressive world records. So we scoured their site to see what crafting records have already been claimed in the hopes that it would inspire some of our readers to go for the gold this summer. I don’t know if I could stake a claim to largest pot ever thrown, but I could probably throw the largest pot for an iguana to drink out of while in a Prius. Think I’m crazy? You haven’t seen some of these records.

The Largest Doily Crocheted in One Hour

The Fastest Time to Cast-on 15 Stitches While Dressed as a French Girl

The Most Handcrafted Items Made in One Year

The Fastest Time to Fold a Paper Crane Using an NYC Subway Map

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Blocking Party with Suzann Thompson!

July 20, 2012, 10:22 am  Posted by Lark
 

This week, author Suzann Thompson shares her favorite techniques for blocking crocheted flowers, leaves, and other motifs: a blocking party!

When I finish crocheting a flower or leaf, it usually looks curled up and wilted.  How can these poor, sad little crocheted pieces be freshened up again?  By adding water! What else would you do for wilted flowers?

Water or steam will relax the yarn and stitches of your crochet creations, flattening them and making them easier to work with.  The process is called “blocking.”   Here’s how:

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Flirtation Bracelet from Jill Wiseman's Beautiful Beaded Ropes

For beaders, at least, and other people of discerning wit and wisdom, Jill Wiseman’s Beautiful Beaded Ropes has been one of 2012′s most anticipated book releases. And now the book has released!

Jill is an immensely popular designer, teacher, and social media gadfly; the in-crowd follows her Tapestry Beads website and blog. Jill’s book, the newest release in the Beadweaving Master Class series, presents 24 sumptuous beaded jewelry rope projects that utilize a variety of beading stitches. So the book is organized by stitch: spiral ropes, peyote ropes, netted ropes, herringbone ropes, right angle weave ropes, and ropes using other stitches, including Oglala, chevron, and brick. Jill’s designs — necklaces, bracelets, earrings, lariats, and even a ring project — are fun to make, completely wearable, and, frankly, dazzling. And her instructions are clear and precise.

Bohemian Earrings from Jill Wiseman's Beautiful Beaded Ropes

We’re pleased to present two projects from the book for you to download as PDFs, so you can get a good sampling of what’s in store for you and all your beady friends:

Flirtation Bracelet

Bohemian Earrings

Please let us (and Jill!) know what you think. Ask for Jill Wiseman’s Beautiful Beaded Ropes at your local bead store or bookstore — which deserve all our wholehearted support! — and you can also order the book online via these links on BN.com and Amazon.com. “Like” the Lark Jewelry & Beading page on Facebook, too, for more free projects, giveaways, varied pics of beading and jewelry, and much more.

Jill Wiseman

 
 
 
 
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Summer Sale! 50% Off Lark books!

July 17, 2012, 14:14 pm  Posted by Lark
 

50% Off Sale of Lark books at BN.com

Say hello to our Summer Sale!

From July 10th through the 17th, an array of Lark titles will be 50% off at www.BN.com.

Yes, 50% off select Lark books!

From gorgeous gallery books to inspiring how-to technique explorations, the talent and inspiration featured in this collection is incredible.

Now’s the perfect time to augment your summer reading with those titles on your wish list, as well as gifts for friends, family, and a jump start into the holidays. Plus, you get free shipping when you place an order of $25 or more (details on BN.com).

Visit the Summer Sale page on www.bn.com to learn more about the bounty of Lark titles available, along with beautiful books by other publishers, too.

 
 
 
 
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Have you ever opened your cabinet only to be faced with unmarked packages of bulk from the grocery store? Small bags of oats, large bags of brown rice, and assorted dried fruits are all common sights. True, there’s plastic containers. But what fun is that?

One of the many projects in Stencil Me In has just the thing: custom mason jars! With contact paper and spray paint, you can create any design or marking you want. Or, if you want to make the ones with the symbols shown here, you can do that, too. Do the symbols really mean “rice” and “oats?” They do if you want them to!

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Free Project: Button-Down Apron from Sewn by Hand

July 14, 2012, 09:44 am  Posted by Lark
 

Picture the perfect summer sewing project in your mind…. for me, it’s got to involve a bit of repurposing (from all those summertime thrift-store outings), it’s got to be portable (hello, vacation!), and extra points if it’s something I can use and show off when friends stop by. Well, we may have found a winner! This Button-Down Apron from Susan Wasinger’s Sewn by Hand really does combine the best of these worlds.

Simply grab a few worn-out men’s shirts and download the project instructions here: Button-Down Apron

Like what you see?  Sewn by Hand is on sale 50% off now through July 17th on BN.com (along with lots of other great summer sewing titles).