Saturday, May 12, 2012

Octopus, Octopi, but not Octomom

Hello all,

It's been awhile and man o man, do I have lots of things saved up to show you!  A few people have asked me what I use to make my molds, so I thought I'd show you.

I can get it at both Michaels and Hobby Lobby.  It's good stuff.  Easy to work with,

And today class, we're going to be molding these and this

I guess that could be representative of Octomom and her octobabies.  naw, her babies are way cuter.....anyway
This big one was a gift.
  You know you have the most amazing friends when they spend part of their weekend hunting down (and by hunting down I mean shopping.  Settle down Peta members.  It's not even possible to hunt wild octopus in the midwest.) an entire giant (relatively large, that is) octopus for you, then deliver it to your door!  Or maybe they were just sick of me asking if I could purchase a whole octopus everytime we went to any restaurant that served sushi or calamari.  Whichever, I'm giving them credit for being the wonderful friends they are!

And away we go......

Yes, sometimes my kitchen looks like a science lab.  But hey...

I'm thinking I shouldn't have thawed out the octopi before molding them.
I also make molds of things like this.....

Random things that will look cool made of resin.

 Sometimes the mold putty pulls the delicious vintage patina off of some items.  Sad when that happens but we know how to re-patinate, eh?

Doesn't look like much now.

Want to see what a mold of those cool suckers look like?  Huh wanna? Okey dokey....
Yes, I had too much caffiene, what can I say?

That's the big one.  This one won't work for resin but it'll be perfect for putting octopi texture on all sorts of other materials.

The resin would run right out of this one too.  But I love it!

This is the terntacle that I used for that mold.  I love how the suckers graduate in size with those really big ones in the middle.  Most of them didn't look like that. 

These will be perfect for resin!

But not this one.  Ok, you get the idea. 
Moving on....

I added an additional picture to the Patina Recipes post, which I also put in as an update to my last post.  Because I located the picture I told you about-finally.  It's the Prismacolor technique on reticulated copper.  Here it is in case you missed the update.  Which of course you did, cuz why you read my blog twice?

It's an old picture taken with a scanner, so it's not the best quality, but you can see the depth of color that can be built up with colored pencils.  I think it looks really nice with the jasper that's framed in verdigris.

The robins decided the wisteria would be a good place to raise their young.  Hope that I'll get some good baby robin pics to share. 

I actually got a few things listed amongst all the hubbub that is my life right now....

The Clouds Roll By

Why is it that simple earrings don't show up well in photographs?  Cuz in person, these are really pretty.  They have a kind of Grecian ancient vibe.  But in the picture, they have a "meh" vibe. 
Things that make you go hmmmmmm

Rocker Chick Meets Girl Next Door-
Sterling, copper, brass and all fun.

So what have I been up to in my blogging absence?
Tidying up my workspaces which the second most interesting man in the world says are taking over the house!  I beg to differ.  What do you think?

This is what I refer to as my "dirty workroom".
Because this is where the "dirty" things happen.
Not that kind of dirty.
This kind of dirty-
soldering, patinating, sealing, glass cutting, glass grinding, etc.  All quite innocent, I assure you

Notice the very clean table.

my dirty room soldering station for this type of soldering

Didn't plan on putting that picture in so you get the unedited version.
That necklace will eventually be offered as a kit in my etsy shop.

back to the tour....

Small pieces of glass

I know, why do you care?  Oh, you don't?  :( 

Lampworking stuff.

Did you notice how not dirty the "dirty workroom" was?  Now on to the garage workspace........

Up a flight of stairs.... which hopefully makes up for all the time I spend sitting in front of this computer and/or my worktables....
but we all know it doesn't.

My soldering station for the other type of soldering

The kiln-oraptor.  It's very ooooo-l-d.

and behind door #3....

That big vice on the left is my foldforming vice.  That however, is not my foldforming hammer.

The mill who is king of the hill out there.

My little lapidary unit.  Yes, I want a big one with 6 or 7 wheels.  You bet I do!  Am I going to get one?  Highly doubtful.  Although, we do have an anniversary coming up.  Hint hint. 
 Yes, my husband loves it that I always want tools for gifts.

Rocks!  Some of the rocks, that is.

so pretty.......
OK, done with the garage.

Now up another flight of stairs to my "clean workroom" which when working feverishly, seldom is.  You all know how that goes, right?

Because this has always been my business name until I opened Anvil Artifacts
Which is officially "Anvil Artifacts by JL3 Jewelry Design".
Guess I should make a new sign. 

That fabulous assemblage piece with the hand and the face is by
I absolutely adore Wendy's work.  You'll see another piece of it in my next post.

hammers, more hammers....

Those two wooden tools are for making wax flowers.  That, sadly is a lost art.
And no, I don't know how to make them......yet.  But I'm all set when I have time to experiment.  Probably similar to making silk flowers, not ribbon ones, but silk, which I do know how to do.  You know where you laboriously cut out each petal, then stabilize it with liquid starchy stuff and let that dry, then you heat each petal with a little iron thingy on these special little tools made specifically for forming the fabric into petals.  What?  You can go buy those flowers at any and every craft store and everywhere else on earth?  Really?!  Who knew!!  Why don't you guys tell me these things?
 Well, I could explain it away due to my semi-obsession with pretty blooming things......

Numinosity, Nadin and vintage headpins.
Yup, a sea urchin hair doo-dad.  Should I list it?

A stuff-stasher

Even those ugly plastic storage things with a gazillion drawers don't look too bad with pretty paper in the front of the drawers.

Look....actual colors that are not Venetian blue, Tiffany blue or light aqua!

A seashell embedded in concrete from that whole batch I did last summer
and a forged Ginko leaf
on a display shelf.

Another view so you can see the bird that my brother carved for me years ago.

Lite reading fare from my imaginary friend, Kathy.

This will eventually become a bracelet. 
I'm picturing it embellished with all sorts of grungy things.

And we're back to where we started!

So then, does it appear to you that my workrooms have taken over the house?  The entire house?

I must say that having all of my work areas all neat and tidy, organized and pretty,
 makes me feel like this

Makes me feel like dancing!

which, btw, have some of you noticed how many times I use the term "dancing" in the titles
of my jewelry pieces? 
Ever wondered why? 
 Let me tell you.... cuz this is Mr. Wonderful's (as Petra likes to call him) life motto

I dance vicariously through my jewelry, cuz I know some of them get to go out dancing!

so, switching gears,  here's what I have ready to list

Baby blue with rhinestones, other assorted pretties on hammered and oxidized sterling.

Tourmalinated quartz with lots of pretty black and white stones, pearls, etc., all wound up with yet more sterling. 

These earrings would look very nice with this

but notice, I am not calling it a set out of respect for those of you who are set-sensitive.

There's also these which I made about a year ago.  
Riveted bangles with free floating glass and metal beads. 

The bangles fit a larger than average wrist.

Also this....but for an average wrist.....

Hope Always

And another bracelet.....

What If

And now...

what does this look like?

Yes, that's what I thought too!
A pod from stillpointworks 

like this one

well, not exactly like this one.  But a beautiful little piece, isn't it?  Which reminds me of those buds.
Do you all see it or am I imagining things?

how about this one?  see it now?

or now?

This is what I see when I look at that bud-laden climbing vine, .... lots of little polymer pods.

Well that's it for now. 
And yes, I already have the next post all lined out because I have 673 pictures ready to go.  But this post, as usual, was getting way too long.
Next time I'll take you on the Grand Tour. 
The Grand Tour of what you ask?
Well of faces, of course!
Of course it will be every bit as exciting as seeing me make molds. 
Try not to get too impatient waiting for it, ok?  That's a hard one, I know. 
In the meantime you can contemplate just how incredible it will be. 
Like this guy......

Oh wait, I think he's contemplating how yummy that insect he just ate was.  Oh he's a vegan?  Then I don't know what he's contemplating.  You maybe from that wizened stare!

Valete (Latin)
Till next time....


  1. Ok, so by the time I got down to the bottom of this post I completely forgot what was at the top. So I had to keep scrolling up. I have to ask, is there any technique or medium you have not tried? Thanks for sharing your octo molds, but you won't catch me touching one of those slimy things. And your various rooms in which you create make me jealous.

  2. Hey Alice,
    yes, there's lots. But the one that comes readily to mind is glass-blowing. And I really want to make little glass blown bubbles. Oh that was rhetorical? Nevermind..... :)

  3. Thanks for showing us your work spaces and all of the lovely jewels! They look very beautiful. I'm lusting after your king of the hill mill.
    Wendy A

    1. Hey Wendy A.
      Thank you! Your beautiful assemblage piece is the crown jewel in my "clean workroom". Well, that along with your other assemblage piece which I shall unveil next time! Looking forward to seeing those goodies that you're working on now.

    2. You slay me with your octopi. What don't you do? Your blogs are awesome and then some. You better have a huge house waiting for you in Texas! Love love your tool vases...and the pins in the salt shaker. I need more time to absorb.
      I'm in love with the sea urchin hair doodad and prismacolor necklace. Looking forward to your southern biscuit bracelet and I'm not sure I'd want to know what that snowball gorilla is thinking.

    3. Thank you thank you, Pipn. I think we'll be ok as long as the workroom is BIG. :) A small house is ok with me. Spoken like a true tool-hound, eh?

  4. I didn't know I could find that molding stuff at HL. I've ordered a little from Rio. Molding is so addictive! But um I highly doubt I could mold Octopi. ;) But your molds turned out fantastic!

    I do love what you do with prismacolors. I looked at them just a couple days ago. I really want to try that. Guess I'll use the old standby 40% off coupon.

    Thanks for the working space tour. Obviously you haven't taken over the whole house...why not even close! I've got a chemical station in my garage too...and I'm wondering if you use any sort of exhaust for soldering..?? I'm currently doing it in my indoor studio room, but maybe I'm poisoning myself.

    But how do you see what's in all those drawers with that pretty paper covering the front?!
    That eyeball freaks me out, but I do love all the pods! :)

    1. Hey Lela, I am so showing your comment to the husband. Especially "the not even close" part! THANK YOU!
      I use windows and a fan, but would love to have an actual exhaust system. That's my plan for the next place. I wouldn't solder too much indoors without cross ventilation. And from what I understand, the only torches that are really rated for indoor use without an exhaust system would be the butane torches.
      Remember that childhood game where you would turn all of the cards face down and then try to match pairs by remembering where each card was? That's how I do it. Open 50 drawers till I find what I'm looking for. When I organize, I can't fine anything!

  5. Love the headpins in the salt shaker! And the title of that book: 'every woman should have a blowtorch'...
    Your posts are hilarious. Keep it up. And your skill set mind blowing.

    1. Thanks so much, Stregata! Kathy has a wicked sense of humor and finds the best stuff. And bless her sweet self, shares it with me. I get no credit at all for having that great book.

  6. Replies
    1. hmmmm, sorry about that. Maybe you can sneak over and take a nap on your neighbor's delicious patio. Or under your wisteria. Or any other number of gorgeous spots I've seen on your blog. :)

  7. Wow! That's a copious post! Argh! those tentacles are ... giving me creeps! I love the urchin doodad, you should list it in your shop :D All those tools and possibilities....I hope you're going to have a huge studio in Texas!..and I love the ceramic pods! gorgeous! many exclamation points today (again) haha

    1. hahahaha, Sorry to creep you out. Followed your suggestion and got that urchin listed. Thank you, Lucie. oooo I hope I get a huge studio there too. With lots of windows. A girl can dream, eh? Which makes me wonder about your studio. Is it as lovely as your garden?

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. As usual slay me! Not only do I love your latest creations but I am in work space envy. OMG..... First of all, living in the sunshine state, I miss the area formerly known as our basement. I thought my former guest room turned wicked cool studio was the bomb BUT then i drooled over the pics of your areas. AND the items you use for storage, vases, urns, industrial stuff are right up my alley. I used to find cool vessels and patined, well loved tool boxes at GW, SA, flea markets, the yard you pass on an old back road and become friendly with the pack rat once he realizes you're not insane and other undiscovered thrift places but not lately. I will now live through you as I do fanci!

    Bond girl :)

    1. hey bond girl.....ok, now you have to share pictures of your studio. got my curiosity up. you didn't recognize my workroom (the clean one) as a small former bedroom? hahaha. Oh that's cuz I only showed close ups. Wouldn't it be awesome to have a studio in an old converted greenhouse? Like the one at Leu Gardens?
      There was a fabulous thrift in College Park. ack! can't remember the name. Or Renniger's or Webster. I'll live through you and wish we were at Rennigers right now! Then at Gatorland for some gator bites later. Then treasure hunting at the beach. Then...... :)

  10. Not only do you do everything, but you do it all so well! Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos. Your studio is so beautiful! Mine really does look like an art gallery and a barn hit a toy factory. Really. So... when do we get to see your lampwork... or have you been showing us all along, and just not taking credit for the work?

    1. hahaha so you're going to show all of us your fascinating sounding studio on your next blog, right? Right? I didn't say I was good at lampworking. In fact, what makes you think I don't just use those rods for decorating purposes? :)

  11. Wow, you are just a busy beaver. Heck, I have one room that is my "workspace" and the deck when I use my little baby torch! I must say your flair extends to your workspaces too. Beautiful containers and wow what a stash you have!

    When you no longer have kids at home, you are allowed to use up the space that was once occupied by them.

    Octopus, mmmmm, I have eaten octopus, but have never used it as a vehicle for art. ;) Something else to add to the list of "oh, yeah baby, gotta try that."

    You do good stuff!

    2 cups and counting

    1. Hey Coffee, yes, that's exactly right. Once the kids are gone, tools are supposed to take over. and pretty baubles and grungy metal and ........
      a whole pot and still slogging. :)

  12. Wheeeee-hoooo!!I see pictures!! Lots and lots of very pretty pictures!!! What amazing work spaces you've created!! I really hope you're going to find yourself a home worthy of holding all your treasures. So many wonderful things to play with in there! All that stuff, and all that knowledge and skill - it's a winning combination! It's making me feel really quite deprived, looking over at my filthy work table here! It looks like a game of Ker-Plunk!!
    Thank you for sharing those luscious pics of Claire's pods - i doooo love her work. I'm really looking forward to seeing what you do with those octo-molds - something devilishly clever, no doubt.
    I reckon that snowy dude is having all manner of wicked thoughts - what a great face!!!
    Aaaahhh - wonderful post again. Thank you xoxoxoxoox;0)

    1. you saw the pictures?! The first try? a day to celebrate for sure. Thank you, Petra's computer for cooperating for a change. :)
      Ker-Plunk? hahaha you're too funny. Thank you for the kind words.

  13. I have studio envy now. And tools envy. And octopi envy!

    How did you learn to make silk flowers? I've been eyeing a millinery set for a while now but haven't been able to justify the expense.


    1. Hi crankypants, (c'mon, you gotta share how you picked that name)
      Octopi envy? Love that!
      The silk flowers? Like everything else, self taught. Guess you already know about Lacis, eh? What's fabulous about the patterns and construction techniques for milinary flowers, is that they can be tweaked for use in metalwork. I hope you'll get to give it a try. So much fun!

  14. You never cease to amaze me. You have accomplished so much in such a short time! Your imagination takes you places I would never have considered. I agree--the simple things aren't given justice in photos. Love the way you background the picture with printed copy. It helps set it off.
    Despite my own total lack of creativity, I really love the tentacles and eyeballs. Who does that??? The molds for the octupi turned out great. And I say, carry on asking for any and all seafood at restaurants. They can only say "no," right?

    1. Welcome Lisa, Thank you for visiting and leaving such a nice comment. I'm going to out you. It was Lisa's husband and son who brought me the great big octopus. THANK YOU GUYS!! And yes, they can only say no, which you heard for yourself, what- half a dozen times? hahahahah

  15. AND *love* your bracelets! :)

  16. Hey. I finally caught back up to this blog, I think I was reading it at the farmers market on my ipad and then the customers started to show up.
    Holy Octomold indeed! You have the most amazing array of skill and talent. So pleased to be a recipient of your abundant sharing. i love getting the grand tour of the studios. I need to do an upstairs downstairs post one day.
    Great that you're still finding some time to make some things AND blog about it too.
    You knock me out!
    xoxo Kim

    1. thanks so much, Kim. Coming from someone who is uber talented in so many mediums and techniques herself, that is high praise indeed.
      that would be awesome to see your Alaska studio. Up and down, inside and outside, the view from your window......... :)

  17. Great fun! So much to see and explore here on your blog. Just noticed it is completely coincidental that I happened onto you blog today, while checking in with some of my 'favorite peeps' on etsy...I still love 'your earrings' that are happily here with me-- the 'white shield with the black drops' (you have them pictured up here)...and I enjoy wearing them often...they just go with Everything! Peoples' eyes follow the earrings, its really something to see how people observe the earrings while I am wearing them, and what wonderful comments are elicited!

    It's great fun to see photos of your work spaces, shop and tools. I really like tools, too. Your work spaces are so clean and organized!

    Wow. Thanks for all the inspiration and sharing!
    All the best,

    1. hey Rosalie,
      Great to hear from you! So glad to know that you're enjoying your earrings. They are still one of my all time favs. Thank you for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment. I really appreciate it. You notice that I didn't share 'before' photos of my clean and organized work spaces, right? Although, maybe the uber organization would seem more impressive if I had! hahahah.

  18. You do have a lot a tools, I am deeply envious. Have you tried electroforming? I'd love to give it a go. Kate

    1. Hey Kate, You have tool envy? What would Freud say about that?! hahahaha. The short answer is not yet. Electroforming was my plan for as soon as it warmed up. Which it now has. Guess you know what has taken precedence as of late, though, eh? Hope you'll get to try it soon. Please share some pics when you do. Would love to see what you make.

  19. You have a new silly...and I am sooooo happy I found you,best bud,heehee.I will openly admit that it takes a lot for me to go...oh wow..I love that...but you had me on the molded squid!!Love your art,space and especially the way your brain works!!
    Warmest Regards,Cat

    1. Welcome Cat, Thank you for stopping by and for the really nice comment! I love making new friends, especially the type that appreciates a good molded squid! :) What a dreamy and romantic moniker you have-love it!

  20. that's how you do so much of everything- by taking over so many rooms! you already knew i have mill-envy of you, right? now i have various-workrooms-and-tools envy as well.
    but what i really wanted to say was- what happened with the molds!!!??? how did the octo-resins turn out? make some and lemme see lemme see! im dying to see what in the world you're gonna do with them.

  21. welcome back, fanci. :) hahaha nothing happened with the octomolds. not yet. they are safely packed away keeping my clean workroom clean. which is really annoying. today I wanted to make enameled head-pins, but guess what? couldn't find my enamels. cuz they're all put away nicely. that's why work rooms are supposed to be messy. very very messy. so we can find stuff. and do stuff. like make octo-resins. :/

    1. oooo, on second thought, I should have said I was waiting till you got back to make octo-resins. now that you're back,..........

  22. The idea with the paper in the plastic drawers is just BRILLIANT!!! I have quite a few of them in my work room. Guess what I am going to do next week...
    LOVED this post... although I have already forgotten how it started. So many stuff to read. Thank you for sharing! Janna

    1. Welcome Janna. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment! :)

      Really appreciate your kind words.

  23. Late to the party but I still made it! Ok this is one of my favorite posts because I love the octopus and the tentacles and seeing the extraordinary molds that you sent me from them. They are so completely treasured! Wow your tools are amazing... so many neat things you've got in your studio. I want to see you tumble rocks! :) Much love Janet.. you astound and motivate me as always.

    1. hahaha thank you Flotsam, Salome. Yup, us tentacle types hafta stick together! You're a sweetheart!

  24. I can't tell you how excited I got when I recognized the copper face in the background of the picture of your garage workshop! I will never forget that copper smithing class we took together! I had so much fun and I hope we can do it again soon.


    1. welcome Z! a welcome sight to see your name on here, my friend! Yes, that class was a blast! Mostly because we did it together. I know! I would love to take a welding class with you, but you're already light years ahead of me on that one , eh? and blacksmithing....and......ack! you already do everything I want to learn and you do it perfectly!
      I think you should email me some pics of your astounding work so I can share em on my blog. What do you think of that idea? c'mon...... pretty please. :)


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