Sculpted margins of oak leaves; the way one bubble distorts the outline of the next when they cluster together and become foam; rhythmic ripples on a shell, the artifacts of growing - a good year, a hard year, the year everything went crazy. Wild beauty mirrors our souls.
Last summer, after months without rain, the oaks dropped their leaves. When the rains did come, the trees flushed a whole new set of exquisite leaves. I spent hours collecting these, so reminiscent of art nouveau. Then, using metal 'clay' (powdered metal fused in the kiln), preserved their forms in silver and gold. These, along with some of my most favourite Vancouver Island seashells, inspired this necklace.
Moonsnail Goddess Earrings
One of my neighbours found the remarkable moonsnail that inspired these. Barnacles cling to the arc of the spiral, and dark pearls are capped with diffused gold.
22k gold, fused to half the leaf, highlights the architecture of veins and reminds me of the way these leaves flutter in a breeze.
With smooth berries of antique cherry amber and leaves of silver accented with vitreous enamel.
Garry Oak Bracelet with dark patina
Yes, the leaf here is silver, heavily patinated for effect. Pearls, turquoise, amber and jade form the bodies of the acorns, and faceted spinel links them all.
Another Garry Oak bracelet
There's something about Garry Oaks that is so golden in spirit. Here, with inset sapphire, pearls, jade and facetted amber.
Sometimes a single shell is all you need, to keep you in touch with your own wild nature.
Soft ripples, rough bark, deep veins, shiny wavelets ...
Exquisite textures of the world, recreated in metal and more; wrap them around your fingers, wear them on your heart.
Sea Urchin Rings
An unbroken sea urchin shell washed up on Topaltis Beach provided the texture for these rings.
photo by Ariel Rubin
This was a commission, combining shell textures with moonstones.
Discovering that yeast will grow on the surface of wet metal clay and create these wild textures, I constructed this particular 'bicone' form to explore how the yeast colonies would respond to curves and sharp edges.
How we make our tools affects the work we do with them. I made this paintbrush with bristles of cedar bark, wrapped in a weave of silver, on a stem of cedar twig carved as if to make kindling.
Soft, soft folds in hard metal! Texture and form speak straight to the heart.
Experimental - exploring the nature of materials
One of my teachers, enamelist Deb Lozier, says "A happy accident that you can repeat becomes a technique." Here are some of my favourite discoveries ...
Extrusion of powdered metal slurries (aka metal clay) over intruded tubing generated all of these different forms, reminding me of feathers and sea pens, undulating in the deep sea.
More forms developed by manipulating extruded metal clay. Sometimes the simple ones are the most expressive.
Spiral Galaxy Earring (single)
I fell hard for fold forming (metal techniques developed by Canadian Charles Lewton Brain) but all that hammering was too much for me. Instead, I began making fold forms with wax sheet. Here, using the wax spiral as a 3D mild, I have applied several layers of metal clay slip, removed the wax, and sintered the silver. It reminded me so much of a spiral galaxy that I added flakes of gold for stars.
Though this large bead is 100% silver, the surface texture was created using live yeast! Scroll down to see what it looked like before firing ...
Here's the same piece, prior to firing. Yeast was grown on the wetted metal 'clay'. After drying, 'clay' was selectively removed to emphasize the yeast effects.
Heat Patina sampler
Keeping track of effects for future reference is part of the fun of metalwork.