Thursday, April 4, 2013

Toucan do ceramics, one cannot

Hi all!  Has Spring sprung where you are or are you still shoveling out and sliding about? 
Hoping it's the former.  It's definately Spring here.  You'll see proof of that later on.

If you've read my blog for any length of time at all, you're familiar with our lovely Petra of Scorched Earth fame.  My oh my, she's been up to it again!  I just have to share these latest treasures of hers because they are so wonderful.
You'll soon understand the title of this post........even my little bronze lady finds herself deep in contemplation while gazing upon this cool little Toucan.  My camera  doesn't capture the exquisite detail in this little guy.  He's amazing and I am in Toucan love.

we expect nothing less from a ceramicist who makes elephant trunks,
black swans and crocodile tears....
but frog legs?!

Not sure how I'll use them yet, but
I'll have some fun playing with them while I figure it out.

The little pink toes delight me!

You know you wanted another view. 
Thinking a branch perch for him to sit on.
Maybe a palm tree necklace.

Take note of these incredible beadcaps because you'll be seeing more of them in a bit.

Petra, these connectors are fabulous!

They look great paired with your crocodile tears.
Petra, you do all the work for us!
All I have to do is connect these and bwammo!
A fantastic pair of earrings!
And this is exactly why there is a feeding frenzy every time you do a listing!

and now........let's see a fail, shall we?
No, not of Petra's....

I made these little flamingo eating gators years ago.
Now do you get the title of this post?
Toucan do ceramics...
and one of them is good at it!
Ummm that would be the other ceramic making person, Petra.
Now let me start at the beginning.
Many many years ago in a land far far away....
ok, awhile back when I lived in Florida,
I had (and still do have) a wonderful friend, gracious, generous,
full of talent and fun.
Yes, Helen, I'm talking about you!
Anyway, this dear sweet lady invited a few of her friends to join
her for a weekly girls night out at her ceramics studio.
My heart is still filled with warm, joyful memories when
I think about the fun we had.
Thank you so much, Helen for the great times.
Yup, in case you're wondering,
Helen is a blog lurker, reads every one,
but comments privately.
She taught us how to pour molds, clean the greenware,
apply the glazes or underglazes.
And if we didn't want to work with glazes, we could just paint the
pieces and have instant gratification.
She has talent oozing from every pore and is very
accomplished with her ceramic work.
Me?  Not so much.
I've mentioned to Petra that one of these days,
I'll dig out some of these early pieces
 and show her the extent of my ceramic skills.
And why it is I appreciate her work so much.
That day is now.
I found these as I unpacked my studio.
Speaks well of Helen's firing skills, that these pieces have survived
many cross country moves.

Some of these are bisque fired.
Some have been painted with acrylics.
The little winged lady is clear glazed.
The flesh colored pieces are porcelain.
I think I still have the molds for some of these, but haven't found them yet.
Yes, I've had a face, hands, body-part thing going on for years.

Here are some of Petra's non glazed items.
She handforms each and every piece.

The metal hand is one I just popped into this picture.
Though, I have no doubt Petra could sculpt one just like it.

The above pictures are "before" pictures.
BEFORE WHAT?, you ask.....
before I got a wild hair thinking, oh let's see how this stuff looks with
Gilders paste smeared all over it.
Problem being, it's been so long since I used my Gilders paste that almost all of them are dried up.
Time to go to the hardware store and buy some mineral spirits to reconstitute them, eh?
The white one was just as creamy as the day I purchased it. 
The black and verdigris ones too.
The metallics and colors seemed to be the worst.
So use your imagination, please, that these are transformed with rich, deep, opulant colors.

not good, not bad, but not exactly the effect I was going for.

These look a bit better with the Gilder's paste.
The interesting textures are enhanced by the Gilders
unlike the smooth surfaces of my ceramic pieces.
Think about what great effects
Greybirdstudio and Raggedrobyn get when they use combinations of
paint and Gilders.
 Which is what inspired me to give it a go on these
already wonderful, unglazed pieces of Petra's.
Ladies, this is why you are the experts and I am clearly not.

Moving along....

Heart stones found in our local dry riverbeds are
much rougher in shape than those found along the ocean shoreline.
Still quite nice.

Oh you want to see jewelry?
okey dokey, I can do that.....

These reversible glass photo lockets were featured
awhile back in Somerset Memories in a technique article.
When I saw this heart of Petra's I knew in an instant, it would be perfect
hanging from one of these lockets.

I've paired it with lustrous wire-wrapped white double pearls,
and black agate beads with druzy peaking out.
I love the subtle sparkle of these beads paired with the soft shimmer of the pearls.
An enchanting combination.


I couldn't seem to capture the sparkling druzy in these photos,
without so much glare from the pearls that it looked like a spotlight.
Time to drag out the photocube perhaps.

A soldered teardrop pendant with a faceted amazonite inside, 
paired with white agate, turquoise and aquamarine.
The colors of water and waves.

Of course there's earrings...
there's always earrings.

Eye see you
Connectors and eyebowls from Petra
paired with glass eye headpins from Glasseyesonline
and long glass headpins from Fireforgedstudio.
Love love love.

These should look vaguely familiar.
You've seen the pewter leaves before.
Way back when I first unpacked my hammers after the move.
And the beadcaps by Petra that you saw earlier in this post.
What do you think of this combination?
I love them!  Of course I do...
they were inspired by these beauties made by Pipnmolly...


This is what I did with the gilded hand.
I haven't oxidized this piece yet so it qualifies as a before photo.

A hammered medallion on multi chains

This shot captures the subtle coloring in the medallion a bit better.
The flame painted patina really does look almost translucent.
It's a delicate effect in a bold design.

Believe, Dream, Explore
Those are the bright, hopeful faces of my beloved aunts as young ladies.

A touch of Springtime for your neck.
I've used a bit of a fallen branch to anchor the nest, leaves and flowers.
When I use found branches in my work, 
I treat them to ensure there are no critters living in them.
First, I let them sit unnattended for weeks to give any animals time to find a new abode.
Then I freeze them for a minimum of three days.
After that, I seal them with a matte spray sealer.

Easier to see the branch in this picture.

Am I ready for Spring or what?!
Another nest and bird!
These are paired with a large Vintaj tree stamping.

Swirling brass with leather bracelet

Rustic assemblage.
Elegant coin pearl and filigree combined with rustic beads in a tiered design.

I really enjoyed making these.
Flame painted copper paired with vintage buttons that have been smashed
and paired with dimpled swirls of  copper.
Full of unexpected texture and colors.

Green apples on mottled leaves that have been colored with alcohol inks.
Remember these leaves from my patina recipes post?
Cradling the leaves are foldformed organic copper pieces,
 that I have preserved with their raw natural color
as a balance to the vibrant coloring on the leaves. 

Full disclosure...I didn't get all of these pieces made from start to finish since my last post.
But you already knew that, no doubt.  Because I just don't work that fast.
Some of the jewels I shared with you today are pieces that I've reworked,
combined or altered from existing pieces in my "To Be Reworked?" box. 
Do you guys have one of those?  
Things you need to walk away from, then come back to another day
 to see what you think of them.
 Some of these, like the two nest and bird necklaces are ones that I waited until Springtime to share.
And as I mentioned earlier, it is definately Springtime here.
How do I know that?
You mean besides the fact that tornados are already cropping up in parts of Texas.
Here's why....


No shortage of that here, from what I understand, once Spring rolls around. 
 So even though it's been really cold the last few days,
it's time to roll out the flip flops and swimsuits, right?
hahahahahaha, nope, not quite yet.
Though, I did see my first hummingbird of the season and a few bluebonnets this last week.
Again, I've been remiss in responding personally to your delightful comments, even though I've thoroughly enjoyed reading them!
Thank you all for stopping by and taking the time to share your thoughts. 
Welcome to Shari and Maggie Zee!

I'll leave you with this...
Everytime I see this picture, I think
(Well, maybe it's her alter-ego, if you remember Cyril.) 
After having written almost a whole post about her work,
it's time to close with this picture, don't you think?
Yup, she's amazing as you've seen from all the great things she makes.

Zai ken
(goodbye in Taiwanese)


  1. love the eye earrings. all the yummy blue! xoxo

    1. Thanks so much! Blue is not my go to color, though whenever I use it, I always love the end result

  2. A beautiful post filled with wonderful things, I love your water and waves necklace, and the tiered assemblage earrings, and flame painted copper buttons. Your work never fails to inspire... thank you for sharing your spring with us... hail and all. :) It is nice to see you settled and unpacking all your treasures. Your clay components look great with the gilders paste.

    1. Thank you, Kim! It does feel good to be finding and digging out all of my too-long-hidden bits. Like greeting an old friend. :)

  3. Spring has burst into lovely warm here. Not one bit of shoveling and our northern home should be melted away by the time we get back next month.
    Ah, Petra. we can't get enough of her can we? You forgot to mention her raccoon penis bone dangles too and don't forget the fingers!
    I love your pieces espesh the pewter leaves and the red dangles. Neat to see your old work. You know I just gilderized a bunch of unglazed pieces I had lying around as well as some of my bead caps that were apparently too dull to be bought. Thought I was so inventive, but I guess ya'll ( that's Texas talk) have already figgered that out.

    1. hahaha how could I forget to mention those?! You'll be back to moose babies and northern adventures! It seems like you just got to AZ!
      Whoda thunk to use Gilders on lampworking? Not us Texans or Coloradoans who currently find ourselves in Texas. I quit using my Gilders because the smell knocked me over. Should'ave figured something was up when the smell was oddly bearable. Hope you have a blast experimenting with it.

  4. Another great post. Petra has a wonderful unique sense of fun in her work. Your funky flamingo stuffed gators are right up there though.
    Love the pewter earrings xo

    1. thanks much, Pipn. Yes she does have a sense of fun as Kim just mentioned. :)
      Thank you again for not only sharing some pewter to play with, but also for providing the inspiration with those gorgeous red earrings you made. LOVE THEM!

  5. Another awesome batch! I'm looking forward what piece you'll imagine with the toucan. I've never tried Gilders paste, another thing I can't find here but it looks fun, I may order some! I love the pewter earrings and the copper flame ones, I like the necklace with the gilded hand too. Nice tip about critters in found branch, thanks for sharing!
    Not shoveling but snow is expected today, argh!

    1. Thank you, Lucie! Yes, that toucan needs a special setting. hope you'll be able to get some Gilders. If not, Rub n Buff is essentially the same thing. can you get that there?
      Hopefully you are almost done with snow for this year.

  6. JANET!!!!! Tooo much!!! Thank you SOOOOOO much for such wild, and overwhelming flattery!!! I'm all ablush! I'm with Tracy - those mingo eating gators are wonderful!!! Best thing for a flamingo, if you ask me, considering my recent dalliances with them! I KNEW your ceramic pieces would be wonderful - youuuuuuu, big teaser! Did you make the originals that you made the molds from?
    OHHHH, such gorgeous new pieces - even if they're not technically new! LOVE the soldered teardrop necklace - oh, goodness, and those pewter leaves with my beadcaps, are fabulous! The soldered lockets are such a good idea, OHHH, and your Springtime necklaces are really beautiful. Shame there's hailstones to accompany them! Yep, no shortage of those here either. Nuts! Talking of which - OOOOOOOOOhhhhh, that super squirl!I love him, love him, love him!!! I still miss little Cyril.
    Goodness me, dearest Janet, this is a dizzying post - thank you SO very much.
    Lurve ya xoxoxoxoxo :O) <3

    1. There's no flattery here, my dear. You make it so easy for the rest of us to look good, how can we not give you a shout out from time to time.
      No, I bought those molds. This was years before I knew anything about mold making. And I'm not sure my sculpting skills could turn out anything like that. Well, that's not true. I'm sure I could NOT sculpt anything so attractive.
      Thank you, Petra for all of the wonderful things you make and for the very generous compliments.

  7. VERY funny title. :D

    What a wonderful post! Your new/re-worked work is so very excellent. The frog legs are hilarious and the toucan is amazing!

    Looks like I need to find some Gilders paste.

    1. thanks Lela. I know! Those Petra body parts are a scream! Do you get any big bead shows up your way to find some Gilders? If not, Hobby Lobby and Michaels both carry Rub n Buff last time I looked.

  8. What a fantastic post! I loved seeing all your new pieces, there are some real beauties in there! Your copper work is stunning, my dear :)


    1. Juliette, what a lovely compliment! Thanks so much. Sometimes, the copper takes on the most beautiful colors, doesn't it?

  9. AA - good to see all those pieces being creatively put to use - love the pewter leaves. B

    1. Thank you Barry! My goodness, the leaves you made to take with you to Japan are gorgeous! Very kind of you to compliment these.

  10. I am new to your blog, I started reading it after I bougty a pair of your Turkoman earrings. Thanks for all the inspiration!

    1. Welcome Chris! How nice of you to stop by! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. Good to hear from you. Hope that you're enjoying your earrings.

  11. All so drool worthy, loving the soldered circles, looks very cool. And I completely understand being a Petra fan girl!! Still no Spring here : (

    1. Thanks Marcia! You'll have a gorgeous Spring once it arrives. I love hearing about your flowers. Your garden must be truly amazing.


I love to hear what you have to say. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.