My friend Cat came over on Saturday for a play date. Thanks for coming out to play, Cat! She brought the mixed media wall art that I got from her shop along with a soldered pendant that I had admired. I love this heart because: (1) it’s pink, (2) it’s says ‘dream,’ which means a lot to me because of this artistic journey that I’m on, (3) it has wings, which goes along with number 2, (4) the key–unlock your dreams–, and (5) Cat made it.
I love this pendant because: (1) it’s pink, (2) the Hope tag (my cat’s name and see numbers 2 and 3 above), (3) the sweet face, and (4) Cat made it. Well, I found out that this pendant was even more special than I thought. Cat remade the pendant and added a surprise! Look at the back! She personalized it for me. She’s too much! She has a generous soul and goes above and beyond what’s expected. My photos do not do justice to this pendant. Once I’ve made a necklace using this pendant, I’ll share the photos with you. Aren’t these just the most awesome pieces that you’ve seen? Cat has such an imagination and is quite the talented artist. And she brought breakfast from Panera Bread. Yummy!
After gabbing for a couple of hours (wow, were did the time go?!), we got down to business. We wanted to try enameled headpins since the enameling flux powder that I ordered from Painting with Fire Artwire had arrived. Cat and I are both new to making balled headpins and it’s fun to explore new techniques together. Barbara Lewis says that the flux is crucial to prevent the enamel from chipping off of the headpins. The other thing that’s crucial for enameling headpins is to let the headpins cool slowly by placing them in heated vermiculite. Normally, a small crockpot is handy for this but I don’t have one so I just dumped the vermiculite in a bowl and heated it in the microwave.
I was enameling headpins for a while when I spied something in the vermiculite that looked like an enameled piece. Hmmmm, buried treasure! Now, I had only done headpins on Saturday so I wondered what it was that was left from my previous enameling session. I pulled out the piece and it was a bee. But it wasn’t MY bee! See my bee in this post. Thankfully, there wasn’t an explosion while heating the vermiculite in the microwave. Whew!
I got the vermiculite at my first torch-fire enamel workshop. Now, it stands to reason that after a workshop, the vermiculite from all of the student work stations is just dumped back into the larger bag. And then when I bought my kit, the vermiculite was scooped right back out of that larger bag. Well, someone in an enameling workshop somewhere is missing a bee. Might have been someone at the workshop I took or it might be from one of the others that Barbara has taught. No matter. It’s mine now! And it’s a sweet little thing, too.
Seriously though, I would gladly return the bee to its rightful owner. After all, I know what it’s like to leave some of your pieces behind in the vermiculite. It happened to me at the first workshop but someone (I think it was Barbara herself) went back to the workshop location (a couple of blocks away) to retrieve the two gears that I enameled. Which I was so thankful for because they turned out great and I have a plan to use them in earrings.
The balled headpins are a little tricky but I think we made good progress. I definitely need to work on drawing the bead (that’s what it’s called when heating the wire to make the end ball up). Too little time and heat and the bead is too small. Too much time and heat and the bead falls off the end. Note to self: a bowl of water below the torch will catch the beads if they fall off so they don’t fall on the floor but don’t use a plastic bowl. Water everywhere after a hole melted in the bottom! Cat has already put some headpins up for sale in her shop. Me, I’m going to be making jewelry with mine. After Cat left I continued making beads until the tank ran dry.
Like I said in my reader spotlight at brandigirlblog in response to this question:
What would be a perfect day?
A perfect day would be one that involves some creative time along with spending some time with someone who shares the same interest and passion in creating. Put the two together and it’s a play date with another artist, like when my friend Cat came over. Or a road trip to take Barbara Lewis’ torch-fired enamel workshop. Lots of fun and exploration of new skills and techniques.