Friday, February 19, 2010

Now and Back Then, Art Evolution

This new series has been dubbed "Made With Silk" and over the next couple of days, many new pieces will be listed in my Etsy Shop. This one, in particular, is a sort of pastel rainbow.


A craft technique called "Copper Enameling" was widely taught in junior high and high school art classes back in the '60's. This is a pin I made in the 7th grade using this process.

Another pendant, made at about the same time, also with "Copper Enameling." A bit worse for wear as the layer of glass that was fired onto the copper base has gotten a bit battered and chipped over the years.

Later, in high school, I spent 4 years with my art teacher Mr. Pearson. He was an amazing teacher and we tried a lot of different media and projects over all those years. Another old jewelry piece that survived from that time, probably about sophomore year: lost wax casting. With this process, a wax model is made, invested in plaster, fired to remove the wax and then molten silver is injected into that cavity to reproduce the wax model in silver. This was my attempt at a hair barrette. It actually didn't work too well because it was pretty heavy and I didn't have a good clasp for the back. But I really loved this design.


I really enjoyed reading Amy's childhood reminiscence about camp and making jewelry back in her teen and pre-teen years the other day. Amy went on from these years and projects to pursue a career in fine art including making original jewelry, pursuing photography and other creative endeavors. (Amy Lilley Designs)

For me, it was a wonderful flashback because I remembered that I also did some of those projects in junior high and high school art classes, and I had forgotten all about it! I couldn't find this really "strange" pair of earrings I made for my Mom, but did find 2 pins and a barrette.

So as is evident in both a very recent pearl and silk piece and in a pin made in junior high school, organizing colors has been a favorite activity since I can remember. I was one of those kids who dumped out the whole box of crayons or colored pencils in order to organize them by color, like a rainbow. I used to get so excited by the way a box of watercolor pans was organized and when I set up my palette for oil painting, I really did organize my blobs of paint sort of like is shown on this pin.

The palette pin was made by me in 7th grade. That was a year when I also began to take special lessons in oil painting after school. My teacher at the time, Mrs. Hiltey, chose me and about 3 or 4 other kids for this special opportunity. And I continued to paint, and then to study painting all the way into the 2nd year of college! Discovering sculpture and printmaking about then helped me grow in different artistic directions, but I still do water color paintings for myself when the mood strikes me.

And in the present day, working with silver, although not with "lost wax casting," has truly become something I have rediscovered with much joy! At this point in my career, working in metal is a whole new frontier.

Thanks for dropping by and have a great weekend!!

10 comments:

Duni said...

Those pieces are great, especially the pendant with the Japanese inspired motif! It's nice you still have them.

Ann said...

Even back then you made some really cool stuff. The only thing I can remember doing in art class was a really awful looking paper mache bear and those drawings where you take a picture of a face, tear it in half and then have to draw the other half. I was bad at that one...lol

Sheila Sultani said...

Kids who have great art teachers are very lucky. My kids have a crazy guy who is a pretty good artist but likes to yell and criticize the kids too much, finally they are just scared of going to art class - it really sucks for them.

I love the barrette - it's so pretty you should see about adding a better clasp so you can wear it.

Marg said...

That is great stuff and it is fun to see what was made back when. Great pictures. And you have a great week end too.

Amy Lilley Designs said...

Karen,I love your enamel pieces...you would have fit right in to our Arts & Crafts room @ camp...how fun that you too, have held onto such precious pieces from your childhood...the necklace, the gentle hues of the rainbow is simply gorgeous...like I said on my post, who knew???...fun....:)))..and thank you for the shout out...:)))

Grace said...

Obviously you were born very talented - I admire your work and your talent - I can't even draw a straight line with a ruler!

Lin said...

And this is why I get mad when the first cuts at schools is for the arts!! ARggh. Look at how you got interested in jewelry and art back in school. Imagine if you didn't have that at an early age!!! I like your pieces from when you were young--very talented early on!!

Sharkbytes said...

I did a bunch of the copper enameling... wonder where they all went? But I never tried any of the other stuff. Very cool!

Poetic Shutterbug said...

Wow, I love the silk piece, I'll have to check them out. I don't remember doing anything quite like that in art class. I think we did watercolors. Fantastic stuff Karen.

Ruthie said...

What fun to be able to look back on what you were doing in high school :)

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