Sunday, January 31, 2010

Roadrunner

I spent Saturday visiting with a really good artist/friend, Pene Owens, who lives in Indio.
We met at her house first, where I admired her latest art creations (Pene's a very talented quilter and book/paper artist, and she makes amazing jewelry) before we headed out to the polo grounds to see an art exhibit.
Before Saturday I had no idea that Indio hosts grounds for traditional polo matches, but apparently the Empire Polo Club has been around for a while. And have you ever heard of golf-cart polo??? Well, me neither. Until now! But we weren't at this venue for polo of any kind, we came to see art at the Southwest Arts Festival.
It was very pleasant strolling about the green, grassy polo grounds looking at a wide variety of high-end art (paintings, sculptures, expensive jewelry, etc.) and (my favorite part) meeting several artists and talking with them a bit. I had my camera along, but I didn't feel comfortable taking photos at the festival without permission. Some artists can be really touchy about having themselves or their art photographed, even from a distance. So I kept my camera in my pocket, but I collected lots of business cards and brochures as I visited the booths.
My favorite painter by far was Karen Hale from Jackson, California. Her booth was absolutely gorgeous, full of her colorful acrylic abstracts. Check out her web site if you get a chance, but nothing can do justice to the real thing! I guess that's why I like visiting art festivals whenever I have the opportunity. It's wonderful to see the art up-close in natural sunlight, and I enjoy meeting the artists.
Walking around in the hot sun (yes, it was warm for January, this is Palm Springs after all) is thirsty work, so Pene and I headed over to a great restaurant for fish tacos: Fisherman's Market & Grill. I had salmon tacos, mmmm, definitely my favorite!
After lunch, we headed back to Pene's house. What a great day, and it ended with a visitor. I'm sure by now you're wondering about the funny-looking bird at the top of this post. While I was saying goodbye to Pene and sitting in my car in her driveway, a sweet little road runner walked up to us and casually started pecking around the yard for insects. I wasn't in a good position to take a photo, so I handed my camera over to Pene and she took a few snaps. This is her best shot. Great image! I love road runners, they're so funny.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Fun Faux Metals Class!

Thursday's class at Monica's was too much fun!
We spent an entire day making gorgeous "faux metal" charms and assembling them into wire-linked jewelry. Above you see two students working together to shrink their charms. Many thanks to Kit Zimmerman of Lucky Squirrel and the folks at Ranger Ink for providing us with the tools and materials we needed to get started.
More teamwork: Students cutting PolyShrink shapes, stamping, and having fun.
Press that stamp hard! Put your weight into it...
More students, seen concentrating as they dry-brush paint their embossed charms. Thanks to the folks at Jacquard Products who provided us with paints for our project.
Ooooooh! Bronze charms look like real metal!
Multiple layers of colored and metallic paint were used on these beautiful charms.
A necklace almost finished... isn't it gorgeous!
So pretty and chic; so sophisticated! I love this layered chain necklace and earring set.
It never fails to amaze me how talented and creative my students are, how each one uses the same tools and materials yet comes up with such a wide variety of beautiful jewelry pieces. I am in awe of my students!
If you liked this project and have never considered using rubber stamps to make beautiful and sophisticated jewelry, check out my book, Rubber Stamped Jewelry, for more ideas.
Hope to see you in a workshop soon! I teach again at Monica's Quilt & Bead Creations on Feb. 18: the Gem Cuff Bracelet. Looks crocheted, but it's NOT. You'll love this project, it's super easy and addictive as all get-out. (Also featured in my NEW book: Arty Jewelry.)
Happy wrapping,
Sharilyn

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Faux Metals class tomorrow at Monica's

I'm very excited to be teaching one of my favorite classes, Faux Metals, at Monica's Quilt & Bead Creations in Palm Desert (California). The workshop is pretty much full at this point, but I believe there might be one opening.
In this class I use black PolyShrink and Lumiere paints to make beautiful charms for necklaces, earrings and bracelets. Thanks to the folks at Lucky Squirrel, I'm able to provide FREE sheets of PolyShrink to my students. Thank you, Lucky Squirrel! And thanks to the folks at Jacquard, I also provide the paints needed to make our beautiful faux-metal charms. I also bring some terrific rubber stamps from several companies, heat guns (my favorite being the Heat-it craft tool from Ranger), sanding blocks, and additional supplies.
Students just need to bring their tools, wire and small beads to assemble their charms into jewelry. It's a fun class—one of my very favorites—and I'm so looking forward to teaching it.
Hope to see you there!
Happy wrapping,

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Arty Jewelry has arrived!

I was so excited to find two copies of my brand-new book, Arty Jewelry, in my post box yesterday. I ordered one copy in softcover, the other with a hardcover. They are both just terrific, and I'm so happy with the printing and the quality of the paper used by www.blurb.com. The text is large (14pt) and very easy to read, and all the photos look great.
Arty Jewelry is a 120-page, full-color how-to book of wire jewelry projects designed for artists who already have basic skills in jewelry making. It’s a great book for anyone seeking intermediate-level instruction. Learn to make some of my most popular jewelry designs, including the spiral-top fibula, squiggly-wrap bangle, dunce-cap earrings, knotted beads, gem-cuff bracelet, four ring designs, and much more.
Arty Jewelry features 11 projects stepped out in detail with large text and color photos. You’ll learn numerous techniques that can be used interchangeably to make many beautiful jewelry pieces.
See all 11 projects in full color by clicking here.
View a FREE 15-page preview of this book by clicking here.
Retails for $29.95 (paperback) or $44.95 (hardbound). Available for purchase only through www.blurb.com.
Happy wrapping,
Sharilyn

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Snow Day

Several days of snow have turned my backyard into a picture of heaven! The tree above sits on the top of a hill in front of my house. And yes, the sky really is that blue. I took these shots about five minutes ago.
Here's the view out my living room window. In fact, you can see some of the glare from the window glass on the photo. Still and all, it's gorgeous out there!
This photo shows how deep our snow is this morning. We're fortunate in Idyllwild that "deep snow" means anything over one foot. In most parts of the country, they would laugh at our idea of deep snow. But for us, it's quite unusual. And it's already starting to melt away...
Cheers,
Sharilyn

Sunday, January 17, 2010

New Book on www.blurb.com!

Here's my brand-new book, Arty Jewelry, which I just published today on www.blurb.com!
Arty Jewelry includes 120 pages of detailed instructions and full-color photos printed on premium paper. It is small: 7x7 inches, but each photo of a finished project measures 5x5 inches and the step-by-step photos are quite large enough to see all the details clearly. There are 216 photos in all.
I offer numerous techniques for wire-art jewelry enthusiasts, but some basics are assumed; i.e. that the reader already knows how to make wrapped eye-pin loops, spirals, jump rings, and the like. You would not believe how much space it takes (text and photos) to go over these basics, and since I have already addressed them thoroughly in Bead on a Wire and Wire Art Jewelry, I thought I'd skip it in Arty Jewelry!
Also, no real discussion of tools in my new book. Again, takes up too much space that I prefer to use describing and demonstrating actual jewelry projects.
To see a free preview of the first 15 pages, click here.
I hope you like it!
Happy wrapping,

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I'm in the March 2010 issue of Art Jewelry mag!

I'm very excited to have a new how-to article on my coil-wrapped easy-link bracelet in the March issue of Art Jewelry magazine!
This issue is on newsstands by Feb. 2, so keep your eye out for it. Looks like they also have a terrific cover article on Shibuichi, an alloy of silver and copper... can't wait to read all about it!
Happy wrapping,
Sharilyn

Saturday, January 9, 2010

We have Grateful Hearts!

We have Grateful Heart (necklaces)!
After a very full, somewhat grueling day (but fun as well), my talented students have produced lovely Grateful Heart necklaces in our class at Monica's in Palm Desert.

Here are some smiling students, very happy to have made progress on their necklaces. The Grateful Heart is a challenge because we fashion a heavy-gauge wire heart first, and then put it on a complex necklaces of Celtic knots and coil-wrapped beads, finishing with a handmade hook class. Definitely an intermediate-level workshop! But my students were up for it, I'm proud to say.
Not everyone finished in class; that would be much too much to expect. but everyone made a pendant plus at least half the necklace part and a clasp. I'm really happy with their efforts and looking forward to seeing the finished results when I return to Monica's on the 19th of January to teach the Snake Vertebra bracelet class.
The bracelet and the Grateful Heart necklace workshop are both stepped out in detail in my brand-new book, Wire Art Jewelry. I'd love to see you in class, but if this isn't possible it's good to know that you can still learn all the techniques at home.
Happy wrapping,
Sharilyn

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Grateful Heart workshop tomorrow

I'm offering a full-day workshop on the "Grateful Heart Necklace" tomorrow at Monica's Quilt & Bead Creations in Palm Desert, California. This is a terrific class if you're looking for a challenge!
We start with the big heart pendant made with either 10ga or 12ga wire, and then wrap the pendant with finer gauges of wire and add a variety of bead dangles on handmade headpins. We also make a beautiful chain of Celtic knot links and coil-wrapped beads, finishing the necklace with a handmade hook clasp.
This necklace is a featured project in my brand-new instructional book, Wire Art Jewelry, and you can see it in full color in my artist portfolio, 100 Art-Jewelry Inspirations.
The workshop fee is $75 and does NOT include materials; you can easily make the necklace in copper wire for about $25 in supplies, but to make it in silver (as shown above) will cost about $100. Silver is just incredibly expensive these days!
But what a showpiece necklace... perfect as a gift for Valentine's or even Mother's Day. Think about it... I'd love to see you in class!
To register, call 760-772-2400.
Happy wrapping,
Sharilyn

Monday, January 4, 2010

Wild Wire Women Retreats filling up!

We don't have snow in Idyllwild today; alas, the photo above was taken a few weeks ago. I just had to post it to remind myself of what it should look like around here in January! Instead, we're having beautifully spring-like weather, with temps in the high 60s and a bright blue sky. Tons of birds, lots of squirrel activity, but what happened to winter?
Anyway, the latest news is that my Wild Wire Women retreat schedule for 2010 is filling up fast. I have filled my first retreat to be held March 25-29, so that one is now closed to new registration. Several of you have written to ask about dates in the late fall of this year, so I suspect that dates in Oct-Dec will fill quickly as well. If you're interested, be sure to contact me soon.
Meanwhile, I do have several openings in the late spring and summer. If you'd like to get away from the stress of everyday city life, come out to Idyllwild for an intensive wire-art workout and retreat in the mountains! I offer three full days of instruction, four breakfasts, three lunches, a welcome dinner with wine, and four nights shared accommodation. You'll have the use of my studio tools while you're here, so all you really need to bring is wire, beads, and personal belongings.
Here's the schedule:
March 25-29 (FULL)
April 15-19
May 6-10
May 27-31
June 10-14
July 22-26
July 29-August 2
September 30-October 4
October 14-18
October 28-November 1
November 11-15
During our retreat, we have time for three full days of instruction plus extras like using a small torch for little jobs, artificially aging jewelry in liver of sulfur, and jewelry photography tips with the EZ Cube system that I use. It's lots of fun, and much more economical than taking classes at a bead show or convention.
I hope to see some of you in a retreat soon! For information, email me at sharilynmiller@mac.com.
Happy wrapping,