Murrine and Silver Jewelry

After a fun weekend with friends at the end of last month I’m back to the writing thing. I’ve spent months agonizing over editing the first draft and rewriting. No matter how much I learn about the ego and the human psyche, they are still bitches and I continually need to sit down with them and tell them to shut the eff up! I am so grateful to the handful of people who have been so encouraging, and to those from whom I am learning by their example. I have lots to say on the writing front but I wanted to share today what I’ve been up to studio-wise.

I’ve joined the ranks of murrine collector. Maybe not a huge collector, but enough to know what I like and buy it just to look at. Here are some of my favorites:

By Greg Chase.

lg150618a1 lg150618a2 lg150618a3



By Ryan McCluer.


One of them I made into a ring, which caused me to buy more cane so I can make more rings. You can never have enough skulls.


Decompressing and Sitting with it.

Disclaimer: This post may sound like I’m really hard on myself, and I suppose I am. I am trying to be gentle with myself and look for the good in what I create and put out there. I am not fishing for compliments, rather, sharing my process, in AND outside my head. It’s what makes me tick. It’s what makes me strive to refine my technique. It’s who I am and, while it can be painful sometimes (what artist doesn’t experience that??) it’s how I roll and I’m good with that. If I weren’t, I’d quit or find a way to change it.

I am working through my thoughts about the process and outcome of my most recent murrine. LeeLoo from the movie the 5th Element.

LeeLoo Murrine from Fifth Element Movie

This is my first attempt at a portrait murrine and I’m not sure how I feel about it. It just came out of the kiln this morning. 50 hours of time mixing and pulling color, and placing the design. 17 hours in the kiln. I want to point out all the things that bug me but, who wants to hear that? I feel like I need to get on to the next project so I can redeem my shortcomings in this one. So I can say, “See! I really DO know how to do this!” I am not satisfied with not knowing how to do it. Note to self: I understand now why my 13yo might not want to always jump in and try things…what if he doesn’t do it right the first time? He might be left with this same icky feeling in his gut as I get in mine.

Things I learned from this go-round (my fourth color murrine):

1. Working larger is easier. Duh.
2. Adding ‘dots’ of saturated darker color in with your lighter color does not give the effect of a darker color. It overpowers. Do not do this ever again! If I want a darker color, I need to mix a darker color! No shortcuts.
3. Dark colors dominate. Use sparingly.
4. Using clear glass as a layer in any color makes that color SIGNIFICANTLY darker. The theory was that the clear will let the light color reflect through the clear and look even lighter. It doesn’t work that way.
5. Two light colors next to each other really blend. Use some type of darker color on the edge if you want more definition (like between the eye color and the white).
6. A dark and a light color form a line. Be careful.
7. Orange and periwinkle next to each other make my head want to explode. I don’t even like periwinkle…why did I use it?
8. Brown has a purpose somewhere but so far it has not been my friend.
9. Make sure your kiln paper goes all the way to the bottom of your tube!! Dammit.

I have to remember that my first eyeball looked like this:

first color murrine

The stringers were fat and the image was highly pixellated because I used solid color mixes. I learned that I didn’t like the pixellation and went to wrapping bands of color to mix, and made the stringers thinner. This is the much improved second version:
second eye murrineThat was kind of cool. The brown areas that were supposed to be more subtle kind of irked me but I liked this one much better than the last. Then there was the mouth:

mouth murrine

This one taught me that the stringer needed to get even thinner and started to teach me that my theories about using clear glass sometimes work, and sometimes don’t.

That’s about all I have processed right now. I’m glad I went through this exercise of comparing them all side by side. It’s also helpful to see them displayed all together.

all my color murrine

Damn that periwinkle!!!!

Cats in Hats, by Sara Thomas

lg150325a1Another cutie-pie project book that I was fortunate enough to receive for review from Running Press, Cats in Hats, 30 knit and crochet patterns for your kitty. Don’t tell anyone but my 13 year old loves kittens and this book had him squee-ing as we turned the pages. The poor kid is very allergic so he has to settle for Youtube videos for his doses of cuteness. Cats in Hats gave us a little time together to see all the cute kitties and their equally as adorable head gear.

The hat projects are just as adorable as the cats and I can’t wait to try my hand at crocheting them. We have plenty of friends we can give them to, if the kids don’t keep them for their stuffed animals. I might want to try and adapt a design or two for a kid-sized hat.

The book is beautiful and the directions are easy to follow with print that is easy to read. Thirty fun patterns from Santa to one with a heart that hovers overhead like an antenna. Our favorite is the shark fin. Perfect for if we did have a cat so it could watch our Beta fish in the tank.

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