03 May 2012

fur & whiskers

the Spanish lady: one of my neighbour's cats who's decided to live at my place - this is a
temporary solution because she doesn't play well with other cats and I don't have enough space.
She deserves a good home! Do you know someone who wants a feline companion?

Assepoes is just fur and whiskers...

Yin grooms herself

Isaura's ear - I may have posted a similar photo once but she has such photogenic ears! :-D

So with the exams and deadlines of papers approaching again, things are getting pretty stressful. I really don't like it. But my cats do -I'm spending more time at home, and studying in the sleeping room means they can just make a big kitty pile on the bed while I lecture them about -well, this semester it's Eastern cultural history (topics from Islam, Buddhist art, China's Great Walls, the Tower of Babel and Japanese swordmaking), Ritual aspects of Theatre (Ancient Greek roots of theatre and remnants of ritual elements in contemporary theatre), Art & psychoanalysis...

Well, at least my cats are getting a pretty great education! ;-)

ETA: this is the kittypile.

15 April 2012

Touareg silver smithing techniques

workshop zilversmeden

So this is what I did in the Easter holiday...instead of studying for college! Mais je ne regrette rien. I still have plenty of time to panic for the exams. ;-)

As a part of a late Christmas/Birthday present Mom gave me this course from Iron & fire: 5 days of traditional techniques by Sidi Hamed, Touareg silversmith from Niger (but living in Belgium). It was awesome.

workshop zilversmeden

It was an introductory course in which we'd see basic techniques, but at the end we had seen and practised forging, stamping and engraving and Sidi demonstrated the lost wax process.

So...Here are a few impressions.
workshop zilversmeden
The set-up:
our sandbox :-D  coal, bellows, some bricks as worktables,
little clay cups for melting silver, a long "gutter" to pour the molten silver in

We started the first day with this ring exercise:
workshop zilversmeden
bottom: the silver bit we started out with
middle: along the process of hammering, hammering, hammering...
top: Sidi's model of a stamped an polished ring

I don't have many photos of my own projects -the bracelet and the pendant- because I was mainly working myself! But here is a series of photos of Sidi's lost wax casting demonstration of a Touareg cross:
workshop zilversmeden
each tribe of the nomadic Touareg has their own cross
-from this inspiring book: Fastueuse Afrique by A. Fisher-

workshop zilversmeden
wax model

workshop zilversmeden
the wax model encapsuled in a clay mould

workshop zilversmeden
when the clay mould had dried it was fired...

workshop zilversmeden
...and the melting wax dripped away!

workshop zilversmeden
pouring molten silver into the mould...

workshop zilversmeden
...there. All done!

workshop zilversmeden
after the mould had cooled and was removed, this was the result in silver;
a base form that with lots of hammering, filing, stamping and engraving
would look as intricate as one of the crosses from the book!
I'm so glad I've been able to do this course -Sidi was a patient teacher (with 7 women to coach, no small feat! :-D ) and I've learned a lot from him. I've tried engraving for the first time, and different forging techniques. It was complementary to the jeweler's training I've received at Syntra and it taught me a lot of respect for artists like Sidi who creates such fine jewelry with just a very basic setup. Now I want a sand box to continue playing! ;-)
workshop zilversmeden
I added the chain of "sticks" afterwards in the studio.
So much work has gone in this pendant, forming it by hammering
-lots of it-
filing, polishing
and then engraving...
I love the result. A wonderful memory!

31 March 2012

april desktop calendar

april desktop calendar: click to download
Cheerful and minimalistic: a wiggly line of glass marbles! Enjoy!

18 March 2012

square ring continued:

square ring with asymmetric bezel setting (glass murrine)
a clearer view of the murrina (and my weird fingers...)

for once I managed to get the "925" sterling silver stamp level. I have a knack for messing it up, but not this time!
2nd square ring in the making, still smudgy and firescaled after soldering
you'd have to try it on to know how comfortable it wears!

05 March 2012

it's hip to be square

work in progress:

square ring
In between my busy college schedule I found some time to play with the square ring mandrel. I love working with the amorphous pebble shapes but I also like the orderliness of a (rounded) square. 
It's also very comfortable to wear, because it follows the shape of your finger knuckles more naturally than a round ring.

To be continued!

29 February 2012

31 January 2012

desktop calendar for February

Your eye candy for February: Blooming scars (2009) in lampwork glass and found wood.

Desktop calendar for February: click to download!

Glass stems sprouting from cracks in a piece of salvaged wood. It's the same piece you can see on my avatar (here and here).

In the meantime it has been remodeled by two other artists with long whiskers, so this is one of the few photos that remains...

yin & yang
Yin & Yang were once upon a time this cute and innocent...

yin & yang
Artwork Remodelers, who, us?

15 January 2012

Lolly Pop-up!

In less than a week aarghh is coming back to Antwerp for the Lolly Pop-up! I'm showing pins and note cards and earrings, but there's so much more -all wonderful Belgian Etsy designers and creators.

I've got to get back to my rendez-vous with Mr Schopenhauer *sigh* but I'll try to be there on the 21st. See you then! ;-)

Here's a litte sneak preview:
it IS almost Valentine, after all.

red blood cells on a blue china dish

a new release! what could it be...? dot dot dot...

notecards glass garden
note cards!