Monday, December 31, 2012

First Snowfall, Last Day of 2012

Today is the last day of 2012, and it seems fitting that we finally got our first real snowfall here in Idyllwild last night. It's not much, maybe five or six inches at my house (I'm at 5,000 feet elevation) but it's just enough snow to drape the landscape in loveliness.
I love the icicles that form overnight. Some of them are two feet long!
I have to break them off, though, because if I don't they'll eventually fall with a crash that scares the squirrels! And I might be underneath one when it happens, so I always break them off as a precaution.
This little spindly tree is so beautiful in the summertime, when it's full of lime-green leaves.
Here's the vista just outside my living room window. I have a gorgeous view of the valley from my house, perched on the edge of the National Forest. The panoramic view from my art studio is the same... which can be very distracting. I love it! But I have to turn my back to it while I work, or I'd never get anything done.
Sad to think that all this beauty will have melted away within about 48 hours at most. But that's snow in Idyllwild: always gorgeous, never so much of it that we feel snowbound for any length of time. I wish everyone one last glorious day in 2012 before we step into the future tomorrow. I believe that 2013 will be a wonderful year full of promise and grace. I wish you all the very best!
Sharilyn

Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Classes at Brea Bead Works!

Next Spring, I'll be teaching a couple of new classes at Brea Bead Works, one of the biggest bead stores in southern California and my personal favorite (it's located across the street from the Brea Mall).
I love teaching for storeowners Wendy and Scott, because they take really good care of their customers and they provide spacious, well lit classrooms for teaching. Trust me, not everybody does that! Their workshops are also limited to 10 students, a real value.
We haven't chosen dates yet, but I'll post them as soon as they're set. For now, I know that I'm teaching the above workshops: Worm Bead Bracelet (at the very top of this post) and my brand-new class, the Altered Penny Charm Bracelet.
These classes will take place sometime in February and March, and will cost $95 each plus materials. If you make your jewelry using copper wire, your materials will be very economical. But I must add, these bracelets look stunning in sterling!
I just received an email notification about some classes taking place at a very popular bead show. The classes were typical full-day workshops, with six hours of instruction, the amount of time it takes to make one of my bracelets pictured here. But these classes cost $195 per day, not including materials!
That's about double the cost of taking a class at BBW, and I know from experience that classes at a bead show are HUGE, with up to 25 students in a workshop. Try getting any personal attention from the teacher under those circumstances....
Happy wrapping,
Sharilyn

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas & a Creative New Year!

I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and a new year filled with creativity, productivity, laughter, love, and lots of fun. I hope our paths cross sometime in 2013!
Very best wishes,
Sharilyn

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Handpainted Porcelain Pendants 4 Sale!

I'm really excited to announce that my brand-new, handmade and hand-painted porcelain pendants are finally available for sale! Currently, Monica Gonzales is having a trunk show of my pendants in her store located in Palm Desert, Southern California. If you live in the area, I encourage you to make a quick trip to Monica's Quilt & Bead Creations so you can have first-pick of the pendants currently available!
Each pendant is handmade individually by me, which means that I cut out the shapes, stamp and texture them with various tools, have them high-fired to cone 10 in a professional kiln, and then paint them by hand before sealing them with a protective spray formulated for ceramics. Each pendant is unique; there are no two alike.
My pendants are available in various shapes (such as round, square, oval, heart, and leaf) and in two sizes: approximately 1-1/2 inch square ($10 each) and 2-1/4 inch square ($20 each). These measurements are approximations; due to the handmade quality of each pendant, there are variations to be expected.
What is high-fired porcelain? Porcelain clay is known for its quality, hardness, extremely tight density, and whiteness. High-fire clays like porcelain and stoneware mature in the kiln at high temperatures, usually between cone 8 and cone 11. This type of clay is often used for dinnerware, sculpture, and other items that must stand the test of time and useage.
My porcelain pendants are exceptionally durable and resistant to chipping or breakage. While it's possible to break them deliberately through very rough handling, my pendants are not easily damaged through normal useage. They are high-fired to vitrification, meaning that the glass particles in the clay melt at the high temperature they are cured at, making them very durable.
Because my pendants are heavily textured with stamps and other tools, it was not possible for me to glaze them. Glazes are beautiful, but they create a rather thick layer of color on top of the fired clay which would obscure the textured patterns and designs that I spend so much time creating.
For this reason, I chose to paint my fired pendants with a variety of acrylic-based paints and stains, sealing them all (front and back) afterward with a spray that is specially formulated for use with ceramics.
I do not make custom orders at this time, so it's best to check out my pendants at Monica's store and see if you find some that you like.
These pendants can be used as focal pieces in necklaces, chokers, bracelets or earrings. Early next year I will be teaching my Green Heart of Envy necklace at Monica's (on February 3), so if you'd like to use one of my handmade, hand-painted pendants in the workshop this would be the ideal time to pick one up.
I also made a beautiful necklace for my mother's 80th birthday present, which I'll be posting here soon. It features five of my pendants (one large, four small) and it's now one of my mother's favorite pieces to wear.
I hope you like the samples shown here, and if you visit Monica's store soon you'll be able to choose from almost 200 pendants available in different sizes, shapes, and colors.
Thanks for having a look, and I hope to see you next year in a class or during a retreat in my home in Idyllwild, California!
Monica's store: 77780 Country Club Drive, Suite C-D, Palm Desert CA 92211
Phone: 760-772-2400
Have fun shopping!
Sharilyn 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

New Workshop: Altered Penny Charm Bracelet

I have a new workshop project to offer students, the Altered Penny Charm Bracelet!
Use ordinary pennies or other coins to make distressed metal charms for bracelets, necklaces, and earrings. Learn to use texturing hammers, punches, metal stamps, chasing tools, dimpling pliers, and wire to convert your coins into treasures. We also twist heavy-gauge wire to make twisted wire jump rings, figure-8 links, and a handmade hook clasp to complete the class sample.
Other options include using foreign coins as-is in your designs, and adding beads, pearls, charms, and found objects in your bracelet or necklace. Time permitting, we'll use liver of sulfur to artificially age our jewelry and polish it for a final finish.
Sound like fun? I teach this workshop during my Wild Wire Women retreats and I'm also scheduled to teach it next year at Monica's Quilt & Bead Creations, on January 17 and March 14. Day-classes run from 10 am to 4 pm (approximately) and you will leave class with a finished creation.
To sign up for a class at Monica's store, call 760-772-2400.
I hope to see YOU there!
Sharilyn

Monday, December 3, 2012

Earrings Class on Saturday!

This post is just a reminder that my first workshop of the winter season at Monica's Quilt & Bead Creations will take place this Saturday, December 8. The class runs from 10 am to about 4 pm (or longer if necessary to finish the earrings!) and it's going to be lots of fun and informative, too.
My "Cleopatra's Earrings" design pictured above takes about three hours to make, believe it or not. It's a fun design but there's a lot to it, and students will learn how to make a handmade wire-link chain, bead dangles on double-wrapped eye-pin loops, and more. I'll also show you how to make your own ear wires. This design is also featured in Arty Jewelry III.
The second earring design is easier and is also lots of fun. "Squiggly-Wrap" earrings are not difficult to make, even for beginners, and you'll love making them for yourself, family and friends. They make great gifts because they're easily customizable depending on the colors of beads and pearls you use for the dangles. Fun, easy, giftable!
And finally, my Winged Things earrings (a tutorial on these is found in Arty Jewelry IV) which can be made with or without antennae, with big or small wings, or with bead dangles instead of ending on big spirals—it's up to you. I love wearing mine, and they certainly attract a lot of attention.
If you'd like to attend this fun workshop at Monica's store in Palm Desert, in Southern California, contact them at:
760-772-2400
Hope to see YOU there!
Sharilyn

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Save $10 On My Blurb Books!

From now through 12-12-12, Use the code 10SAVE to save $10 on my self-published books on www.blurb.com!
I have four "Arty Jewelry" books on blurb.com, each one printed in full color on beautiful quality paper, with detailed instructions and step-by-step photos for numerous jewelry making tutorials. My fifth self-published book, 100 Art Jewelry Inspirations, features over 100 full-color images of the jewelry I designed between 2001 and 2009.
For more information on my Arty Jewelry books, visit www.SharilynMiller.com
Happy wrapping,
Sharilyn