29 August 2011

Multi-Tasking is my Middle Name

“A weakness of all human beings is trying to do too many things at once.” ~Henry Ford

I am a multi-tasking momma.

When I have groceries to carry in, I find a way to balance as many things at once and then struggle just to make it into the kitchen in time before it all comes tumbling out of my hands or cuts off the circulation in my fingers.

Why make one trip back and forth when you can plan a trip to hit all the stops you can before making it back home?

And when it comes to designing jewelry, sometimes I find a way to put all my beady eggs in one basket (and make one heckuva omelet!).

For some, I know that they can only focus on one thing at a time. But for me, the most serendipitous things happen when I am trying to keep all the plates spinning. I call that multi-tasking magic.

First up is a review of the book Metalwork Jewlery by Linda Peterson. I picked this up at a rare stop at Barnes & Noble the other day with a gift certificate from my best friend Lynna for my recent birthday (Hi Lynna!). I had been circling this book for months, taking it in and out of my Amazon cart. I am so glad that I got to see this book in person, because otherwise I might have missed a true gem. Sometimes you just have to hold a book in your hands to appreciate it, don't you think?

I love that this book has a wealth of mixed media type projects in it. There are all sorts of things you can do with metal, and especially lesser used metals for jewelry, like aluminum, steel, copper and brass. I am not someone who has relied on sterling silver for my jewelry designs and I am not a materials snob. Anything is fair game for my jewelry designs. I am an equal opportunity metalist (is that even a word? Yes! That's me! Read about it here).

If you have only been using sterling in your designs, I feel for you. The price of sterling is going through the roof. That alone is enough to scare me off. But since I have always sought out mixed metals for my designs, and I am just as fond of using a rusty old washer that I find on a walk as I am with a sterling silver disk, I was happy to find this book to show me some new things to try with metal. This might be the time to try something new. I just picked up some aluminum sheet metal from the scrapbook section of Michaels. I am looking forward to playing with this!

Linda Peterson is not afraid to mess with metal. She torches it, paints it, hammers texture into it. She solders, patinas and resins it. She is fearless with the etching and is just at home with using decopage to add old dictionary pages and wrapping the pieces with fibers and wire. I love it.

Here is where the multi-tasking magic comes in....

I was reading through this book and seeing what bits and pieces I could pull into my own creations. At the same time, I was also gazing at the Art Bead Scene monthly challenge inspiration, an art nouveau bicycle advertising poster, wondering what I could create for this month (did you know I challenged myself to create something each month for this challenge? Often the biggest challenge is just getting it done in time). I was fondling the filigree pieces that Miss Brenda Sue of B'Sue Boutiques had sent me as a test. And I just received the wire that I purchased for the Soft Flex Flex Your Creativity contest (due September 1st!).

And there it was on page 72. The "Dreaming in Flight" necklace.

{Isn't this the greatest use of patinas and metals and found object materials?}
I love the idea of using dainty copper tubes as a frame. A bicycle frame, or maybe handle bars. That is an 'aha' moment!

I had picked up some copper tubing on my last trip to Frank's Hardware along with steel tie wire and a wire pipe clamp (but that is a multi-tasking post for another day!). I used my new pipe cutter (that thing is slick!) to lob off a chunk of the pipe...that I proceeded to hammer a bit too aggressively. Off to cut another chunk.

I pushed and prodded and ultimately shaped the pipe to have a bit of a bend in it (I think my pipe is actually too large for hand forming. Next time: smaller pipe). I hammered the ends flat and rounded them smooth with a file. I punched a large hole and added some copper eyelets I had picked up at a scrapbook store many moons ago (they are not pure copper as they wouldn't patina). Then I rubbed some Novacan black patina on it (way, WAY faster than Liver of Sulfur and nowhere near as stinky!) and then scrubbed it off using some fine sandpaper in a cross hatch pattern.

To enter the Soft Flex contest (still time to enter!), the rules are the you have to use BOTH their soft flex beading wire and craft wire. I have craft wire but none from Soft Flex, so I bought three spools of 20 gauge (what was I thinking? I really needed some 24 or 26 gauge!) in Smoky Quartz (dark brown), Bronze (mid brown) and Brown (coppery rust brown). I liked the contrast of the Brown most of all (which is funny, because I almost didn't order that color!), so that is what I used to wrap randomly around the 'handlebar'. You will have to trust me that I used the Soft Flex beading wire in the one beaded section. Of course you can't see it, but the color is Onyx or black.

I really didn't think that I would have any mustard yellow beads in my prodigious stash. Boy, was I wrong! I found some orphan beads that Julianna of Julsbeads had sent to live at my house. They are finally growing up, Miss Juls! (Note: if you ever have the wherewithal (I just like that word!) to buy the "Own My Skilz Day" that Juls offers, jump at the chance. You won't be disappointed!) That mustard-y bead is wrapped in tiny drops of silver as is that auburn and ivory one and then there is that lovely ribbed bead with the floating russet color. And I used some of my new peanut shaped seed beads (SoftFlex beading wire is under there. Promise!), that give a great texture in this dark olive gunmetal finish. Delish!

{trust me when I say that bead on the left has the perfect sort of auburn waves like the hair in the poster!}

I added some matte faceted glass beads from Bead Trust (Hi Carter!) and some chunky faceted tiger eye beads from who knows where. And at the back is a Vintaj peanut chain that reminded me of getting my pant leg caught in my bike chain as a kid on my trusty banana seat bike with the big U-shaped handlebars. And streamers. I have no doubt there were streamers. ;-)

I wanted to keep the feel of the bicycle and the I love the filigree logo for the Crescent Company. And there were some brass gears from Rings and Things (have you seen the cool new things they have there?!) on my table that I didn't get to patina with my friend Sharon (Hi Sharon!) when we had our Beady Buddy date last Tuesday. For the clasp, I used a Vintaj filigree link and lashed it with the Brown wire. I also embellished the clasp a bit to with some steel spacers and more Brown wire (watch for a tutorial on embellished clasps soon on ABS!). On the other side I layered a brass cog with a Vintaj thingy with a bunch of holes that I scrubbed of most of the black patina and some little random metal thingamabob. It has a tendency to move around a bit, like the gears on my 10-speed that always remained in one gear that I liked. I used a bit of Vintaj filigree to connect that, just folding it over to secure, to reflect the filigree logo.

This is where it gets really fun (are you having fun yet?). B'Sue sent me a sampler of her newest things with my last order. If you have never ordered from B'Sue Boutiques, I have to ask... why not? That girl has some of the most amazing pieces, most from old dies no longer in use. Her pieces were some of my first ordered when I started making jewelry. She just opened a new Etsy shop and closed her eBay shop (where I first found her). I expect to be a regular customer. She has some great new finishes, like Gold Russian Ox and Chocolate Ox. I haven't used all of those new ones she sent me yet, but I will and you will hear all about it!

Okay. Back to the multi-tasking.

One of the pieces that I think she may have thrown in for free (B'Sue is like that, she is so nice!) was this strange little bottle cap setting with these prongs around the outside and a hole in the center. What would that be used for? I had no idea what to do with it when...Oops! In fell a little cog... et voila! I started layering cogs with a lily-ish filigree link and a Russian gold cap and an upturned antique silver filigree cap. But wait! I went back to the book and read about using the Rub 'n' Buff patina to age washers. So I added some aging to one of the cogs I had just layered in. Secured all with a head pin and folded over the prongs. Delightful!

I call this "Free Wheelin' Summer Days."
So, there you have it. A book review for Metalwork Jewelry, a product review for B'Sues Boutique, an ABS challenge creation, and a Soft Flex contest entry. This is one amazing multi-tasking wonder!

{Free Wheelin' Summer Days}

Hop on over to the Art Bead Scene on Wednesday to see all the other entries for this month's challenge and wish me luck that I make the cut in the Soft Flex contest. ;-)

(And in case you are wondering, I am still without a computer. My darling husband allowed me to borrow his work laptop. I don't think that a Mac is in my future, unless I win the lottery, and since I don't play that is highly unlikely. But hopefully I will be able to recover the machine intact with my IT Guy by Wednesday and nothing will be lost like my friend Barbara. (Hi Barbara!) So sad! So...spotty visits and responses from me are expected to continue...)

Your turn...

What is the best thing that you have done with multi-tasking?
Do you think that you are more focused with multi-tasking or more disjointed?
Do tell!


Honey from the Bee said...

aha! LOVE it! I really love the colors and that handlebar is terrific!

Shirley said...

Oh man was that fun! Not only is it over the top beautiful, but I loved getting to walk thru the process with you. Awesome piece, dear lady.

Juli Cannon said...

You are a body full of awesome, Miss Erin. Everything about this necklace is special and I am so honored my beads are included. Thanks for that. :)

Lola said...

I am SO glad someone else carries their groceries into the house the way I do . . . with the same circulatory consequences! LOVE the necklace! Now that the kids are back in school, I hope to find more time for some mixed media play. And I will definitely have to check out that book . . . =D

SummersStudio said...

Oh, Lordy, this is drop dead gorgeous. Amazing piece of work and I love it. I love it even more that you multi-tasked this and came out with a superb result. Kudos!

rosebud101 said...

That is a beautiful work of wearable art, Erin! Best of luck in the contest. I was going to enter, too, but I just realized that I am out of time! Oh, well, I think you have a winner there!

DVArtist said...

AAAhhhh wowowow I am exhausted yes you can multi mulit task LOL Seriously this is a fantastic post. I love your art and the book
Please stop by my blog for a new review on Steel Wire you might like this one too. Plus I am giving it away.
Have a great evening

Judy said...

ooooohhhh,the book looks awesome! I LOVE the hardware store and using things in unconventional ways. Yes, I have a pipe cutter...how cool am I!
Great necklace..incredible detail!

Off the Beadin' Path said...

Erin! I'm breathless! That is quite the triple-decker sandwich! I'm not really sure what you did, but it was brilliant. I think this piece will sell a lot of Softflex wire! I'm loving those colors you used. And that Novacan black stuff is a must have, that looks so rich and aged, you used it to good advantage on the copper pipe/handlebars. All amazing! Thanks for showing me the Metalwork Jewelry book and the review was a good reminder to order one! To answer your question about multi-tasking.....I USeD to! Now I need to zero in on one thing at a time, but I leave that to do something I just remembered on another project. This is not recommended! Your post is dynamite!

KJ said...

What a great dynamic necklace. Love it!

Lori Bowring Michaud said...

Lovely necklace, Erin. As KJ said, it's dynamic! Great story! I multi-task all day long at work and don't seem to have enough left when I get home to work on my projects. I'm working on it though!

Kaz said...

Hey Erin thanks for stopping by The Craft Portal, great to see you there :D
Fabulous post, that necklace is truly stunning and such a great walk-through on how you created it too.
I have such a busy brain and am constantly multi-tasking and multi-thinking. I think for creative stuff it's cool but business works best being more focused and I really have to push myself to see something through before getting distracted again by something shiny!
I LOVE hardware stores and finding new uses for stuff you've inspired me for today's post in fact :D
Anyway enough waffling from me hehe~ great blog, can't wait to read more!! ~Kaz x

Kaz said...

Oh just wanted to add...
I do love the use of different metals-especially copper- but due to metal sensitivites I only wear sterling silver or titanium earwires and nose studs :) ~K x

Kim Stevens said...

Oooh la la Erin, it's just fabulous!!

As for multi-tasking, well I think I was better at it when I was younger, but it really depends on how many and what kinds of things are going on. Right now I'm not feeling like a good multi-tasker. This booster club thing is just taking way too much of my creative time from me. Spent 3 hours counting money and going through t-shirt orders last night, but as of now I have raised $4000 in just under 3 weeks so I can't complain. Whoo Hoo!! : )

steufel said...

Oh Erin, that is so special and gorgeous. So cool - and I'm once again in awe. You are such a talented and great multitasking woman.

Jo said...

What fantastic multitasking! I've found that I've had to get far better at it since having our second child this year. Even in the dentist's waiting room this morning I was sending my shopping order to Tescos via my iphone and sketching out some rough drafts for a commission!!
I've loved reading about the inspiration of your necklace and about each part of it. It is beautiful!

Jo said...

P.S. Good luck with the competition!

Anonymous said...

Wow! You ARE a multi-tasking momma! Great job!

p.s. Glad you like B'sue too. She's awesome!

Tracy Statler said...

Good luck Erin- this is stunning! I have to tell you I also just got that book and I am chomping at the bit to try some of the techniques. I have so many ideas. I agree it is a great book to have!

GlassBeadArt said...

Wow! I love that necklace!
Wishing you good luck for the competition!!!

Klassy Joolz said...

Erin you are truly amazing!!! And your designs always leave me in awe...this one is no exception...I have to say I love every one of them!

Thank you so much for your wonderful comments on my Blog...It means alot to me and I so appreciate!!!

Smiles, Pam

Tracy said...

A truly stunning design and a perfect match for the art. Love it!

Lynna said...

My vote is in! Awesome piece, Erin! I know it's a winner! And glad I could assist with the book purchase. Yes, I do multitask and I think most women are good at it. Men...not so much! (sorry Paul). Much Love,


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