Friday, October 8, 2010

Seasons are changing (and so should we) Challenge….

So, we’re the Aspiring Metal Smiths, right? So why does so much of our work look like we should be the Aspiring Jewelers? This challenge is designed to force us into the fullness of our team name, no matter what our main focuses are.

I’m sitting here in Minnesota…watching the leaves change and fall to the ground…watching the landscape evolve…just waiting for the weather to change so I can curl up in my little nest next to my fire for the winter. I know our friends in the southern hemisphere are getting ready to break out of their shells and enjoy the summer. The seasons are a’changing! And it’s time for all of us to take a leap and change with them! I want everyone of you to look beyond personal adornment this round, and look toward ornamenting our spaces, both home and garden.

So your mission, if you choose to accept it (and I really hope you all do) is to make something for the home or garden….Think BIG people…or at lease bigger than a piece of jewelry. You can use all the skills you already have, just supersize them. If you don’t have a big torch, think about cold connections and how many wonderful things you can do with them. There’s also not a demand to spend too much money on this one… remember both of my sculptures that have won this thing were mostly made out of copper sheet. So check out the hardware stores, the plumbing departments in particular hold tons of useful materials. Even the roofing department has flashing that you can cold connect (it won’t soldier.)

And to make it a bit more interesting for those of us that have made things for the home…you MUST include a found object…..I don’t care what it is…a chunk of broken windshield prong set for some sparkle… some doodad found in the bottom of a junk drawer….some leaves and acorns to put in a bowl you forge.

Here are some of the ideas I came up with really quickly… candle holders, soap dishes, spoon rests, bottle openers, wine stoppers, jewelry trees, coat hooks for the wall, curtain rod ends, a rain gauge with a big copper flower that won’t stop blooming in a drought, a pretty picture frame…..see, the possibilities are endless! If you need more ideas, go into “house wears” category and search for “metal”…you’ll see some neat stuff there to get the creative juices flowing.

RULES: *Make one object, bigger than jewelry, for the home or garden.
*Incorporate at least one found object
*Get the photos up on the Flickr stream labeled “seasons challenge” by…NOVEMBER 19, midnight Westcoast time!!!

And the Winner is..... ASA PEARSON!

Voting has ended on this month's challenge and ASA of Asa Pearson Designs is our winner. Asa blew us all out of the water with her brilliant entry that masterfully executed a unique point of view.

Asa has done something incredible in several of our challenges, something that clearly pushed her limits and broke new ground. I'm proud to have her as a teammate and it's a pleasure to watch her grow.

In metalsmithing, each new skill is like a treasure in your mental pocket that no one can take away. The stated purpose of this team is to grow our skills in a supportive group of like minds. I'd like to ask each one of you:

Have you grown this month?

Have you failed at anything lately?

Really struggled to get it right?

If you're not failing you're not aiming high enough.

If you're not pushing your limits, trying new things

It's all comfort and complacency,

Conserving materials and building inventory

Until it's just another job instead of the absolute ride of your life.

Have you made anything lately without your customer in mind?

bottom lines all put behind

created just for the joy of learning the craft?

If not then you ought to,

because your teammates sure are,

and I promise that one day we'll watch them go far.

Asa will be posting the details of our next months challenge shortly, and I sincerely hope to see an entry from each and every one of us. I promise you will never regret it. As always, thanks for playing, you make my world a richer place.

Monday, October 4, 2010

September Challenge Entries- Inspired by Poe

This month's challenge was brought to us by Esmeralda of Silver Blueberry who chose the theme 'Inspired by Edgar Allen Poe' in honor of Halloween and all things spooky. Since we decided to stick with the deadline this month we have less entries than usual, but no shortage of beautiful work upon which to feast your eyes.

The ever-so-talented Asa of Asa Pearson Designs created this incredible copper sculpture for our viewing pleasure, inspired by the E. A. Poe story "A Descent into the Maelstrom." Asa I think you've found your calling as a sculptor!

Clarity of Scrollwork Designs created 'Lenore', a neck torque/ lariat necklace inspired by Poe's famous poem The Raven.

Autumn of Autumn Bradley was also thinking of ravens when she made this dramatic pendant.

And last but not least, Claire of Brightstar 109 entered this lovely ring featuring a twisted tree and a lone wolf howling at a gemstone moon.