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Monday, October 26, 2009

I am finished two weeks later then I wanted to finish, but 7 of those days were tied up in very long silversmithing classes. It is so good to be finally done. I'll leave it on the loom for a few days and keep looking for threads and missing lines.
I really enjoy silversmithing-novice that I am. FFP purchased a smith torch so that I can work a little larger, if I want. Putting it into the studio is a big scary step for me. It seems like a really big step. Acetylene torches burn so much hotter the the small torches we have been using. The tank is larger-much larger and has many more pages of stuff one should be aware of and not do. In the culture and age that I grew up in so much of what I am doing now was not in the job description we were taught was the right thing to emulate-like using tools. I was supposed to marry a husband that would take care of that aspect of my life. I am married, but not to a man who can handle tools and or do any of the whole tool thing. So as I stumble on-hopefully- I won't blow up the studio or remove a finger or two in the process of learning. The next step is to buy a Fordham grinder before I wear out my Dremel-another step up. BUT, again as always I am more interested in how I can apply and combine the silver designs with tapestry. I am such a beginner!!! The next snaps are the pieces I have designed in class with Don Norris when he comes to Albany. With the exception of one pennant that is a piece I did on my own that contains a piece of broken china from my favourite set of dishes that I love. It seems the odder the shape the more I love the design. I have never gravitated to or felt the pull of using small oval stones.
In another day, hopefully, I will be ready to start my large format wool piece. I am not sure I can get it done by the deadline at the end of the month. I want it to submit it to the ATA exhibit. The deadline is 5 weeks away from now. I already have a smaller sewing thread piece to submit, but would like to do a wool piece just to see how my small format images will translate to a larger format and scale-again. I seem to be continually testing and focusing on how the images will apply in the two formats. Scale doesn't seem to be an issue. I know that the smaller the scale the more detail I can have in a given area/piece. There is a balance in creating the format size that sometimes has to do with the scale of the rib structure that I find unendingly interesting and fascinating. I have no desire to weave a large format piece in a small scale or a small format piece in large scale.
With the silver I can't seem to design small uncomplicated pieces. Every design I have done so far-not that there have been that many-has felt the need to be larger with more complicated elements not smaller. The opposite of my tapestry weaving with the exception that i keep adding more elements and complexity to the designs. Most of my silver pieces are bearably wearable because of the size of the piece. Too large to be practical in everyday settings. I guess it could be that I am not really wanting to design jewelery that will be worn or adorn the body, but architectural pieces-well-small boxes and reliquaries that can be closed, locked, used for concealment or concealing the tapestry images. Again for the same reasons that I put many of my tapestries in wooden boxes that could/can be locked. The nice thing about doing the boxes in silver is that I will be able to do my own boxes and not have to depend on someone else to do the work on the boxes I design. When I research metal working I find that I am focusing on pieces from the the 3rd century to the 14th century. Most of it is gold. I prefer silver. I wil probably be using some of the same elements, but in silver. Many of favourite are Russian, Viking and Celtic-not- surprisingly-American Indian. Another case of nuture vs. environment.

I am still researching soumack and its various structures that can be used in tapestry. This is a Turkish piece that uses a very interesting vertical and horizontal soumack to create a grid. The background surrounding the soumack is tapestry.

These are shadows from the City of Refuge that I think might make good a good soumack study. I took these while I was in Kona this last summer.
Cheers and all,


K Spoering said...

Congratulations on finishing! Looks like you beat both me and Tommye, too. Your silver jewelry is lovely, and so is the tapestry!

Tommye McClure Scanlin said...

Hey Kathe! Love the piece! Congratulations... I'm still inches away from the top.
I'm interested to see where your silversmithing will take you. These pieces are quite nice.

Kathe Todd-Hooker said...

Hi Tommye and Kathy- Thank you! I am so relieved to be done and getting ready to start my wool tapestry. I ahve a fairly good idea where I want to go with the silver. It takes awhile to learn the skills. I am a little impatiemnt to get on with it at times.

J. Austin - said...

Congratulations on finishing the tapestry, it's gorgeous.

The silver work is very impressive, and I love the one with broken china. I took silversmithing in art school and was so disappointed, I just could NOT do it. Kept melting things, dropping them down the drain, breaking my saw blades. ACK! Much as I adore jewelry (it's like tiny sculpture) I hated working with metal.

Kathe Todd-Hooker said...

Jan- I am so glad to be done with that piece. It was so complicated. The one I am working on now is shaping up to be just as complicated. It's in wool and 10 epi.
I think that whether one is successful is the instructor in Silver smithing. Don Norris is incrediable. He encourages us to melt things. It helps. He was at one time a junior high teacher and it shows. Everything is spelled out in simple easily understood terms. Even how to make mistakes and what will happen and why it's easier not to do somethings. The souldering is held to a miniamal only one type of soulder is used.

He just makes it so understandable. SO far I haven't melted anything important mainly thanks to Dons methods. If he taught old style I don't thing I could do it.