|Circa 1903 Wagner Raoul Diaz enameled gold Opal and Diamond pendant.|
Designed as a leaping fish encircling an oval cabochon opal, with pliqué-à-jour enamel fins and circular-cut diamond set sea spray, to a curb link chain, one diamond deficient.
Friday, July 31, 2015
Thursday, July 30, 2015
|Gold earrings, ancient Greece, 300 year BC, The State Hermitage museum|
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Today I have a fascinating behind-the-scene story for you! Tanja Russita is an illustrator. She is showing here how she has created a custom made book for two kids. She illustrated the process of making the book too! Here is her story:
Hi, I am Tanja Russita and I illustrate books for kids.
Sometimes I make books that people like to give as a gift. Sometimes you cannot take a picture of things that happen in your life. A book of drawings is a great resolution to that! A book like this could be about a long life together or a story of how 2 people met (and given to your parents for their golden jubilee), or it could be a book for a child about his life in his mommy's tummy and his birth.
Today I will show you how I was painting a book about a boy named Kesha and his sister Lesya. His parents wanted to give it to him and his sister Lesya for Christmas.
Kesha's parents sent me all the texts, so I did not need to do any writing, just illustrating. I loved that idea right away! They came up with a ton of "silly" kids' rhymes, that probably every family creates for their babies. We used to have a few of them for our baby too! For example, we had a song "Hey, baby, you are too close to the edge" that we were singing while holding baby who crawled too close to the edge of our sofa and tried to fall down.
So, Kesha's mom sent me that book idea in May of 2013. They were not in a rush and I had all the time I wanted. It took me 13 months to think it over... Until one hot day of the 19th of July, 2014 when I was cooking a breakfast in our weekend cabin and my husband and kids were playing outside... I suddenly made up my mind that I needed to illustrate that book right now!
Then I was busy for the next half a day... we had our breakfast... then my youngest son needed to go have a nap, and he was fighting that... Finally everybody left and I could sit by my computer and look at the kids' pictures. I needed to make Kesha and Lesya recognizable in the book's illustrations.
Of course, social network tried to distract me! An hour and a half later I realized that my free time was about to expire. I took my watercolor album and a pencil and 30 minutes later I had 20 pages of sketches ready, plus a picture for the book cover. Some of them I have even traced with a pen.
Soon after that my family was back for dinner. Then baby finally fell asleep. I took my album and went outside to join my husband and the older daughter.
It was good that I took my pen, paint brush, watercolors and a cup of water with me! I leaned against my husband, talked to him and listened the stories about my daughter's summer school while continued working on the book. I finished tracing the sketch lines with a pen. Than I started coloring pictures with the watercolors. My son kept sleeping and that helped!
Here are a couple of pictures of what I completed at that time:
Just in time before my baby needed to get up! Plus I completed my daughter's portrait that she decided to color herself. The portrait disappeared and I did not know where it was until I saw it on a wall at our friends' place. It was framed too!
Back to my story... Finished pictures needed to get dry, so I placed them on grass all over our backyard and went to wake up my son. Many things happened while he was slowly waking up. We had some tea, then we had some friends over who dropped by and the pictures got dry. I collected them in a pile with the last one (that was still wet) on the top and brought home.
We invited our friends to join us and went to the sea. Here is a picture that shows our relaxed Baltic summer:
We were swimming and laying on the sand. Then came home and made barbecue, talking in the backyard while feeding mosquito, lol
By the time we finished it was almost midnight. The kids were tired and instantly fell asleep. So as our friends who stayed for sleep over! My husband and I went to the kitchen for more tea and talk. I was finishing my drawings by tracing the watercolor lines with a pen (this is my signature style). This part of work is the least creative but the most labor intensive. I completed seven drawings out of eleven.
Then my wrist started to hurt (a usual problem for me!) and unfortunately I had to stop, even though I was not sleepy yet. I had to finish tree drawings the next day..
Here are three more drawings from the book I would like to show you:
I scanned and sent them to the customer. They liked everything and did not request any changes. Then it took us three month to decided if we should go with createspace, lulu or blurb, or maybe make our own one of a kind book with the original drawings. They went for the one of a kind book.
I bought a used book for upcycling and glued all the drawings in it. There were more pages than the drawings there so I included a couple of white pages in it for the kids to add their own pictures! The book was finished and I sent it to my customer.
Now Kesha and Lesya can read a book about themselves!
And they can draw in it:
If you like the idea and wish to have a book like this, please feel free to contact me! As you see it does not take me long to create it and the price is quite affordable with an hourly rate. I might take some time for thinking over, but that does not cost extra ;) Please, contact me through my web-site.
Tanja's web-site: www.tanjarussita.com
Books in English and Russian that Tanja sells on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Tanja-Russita/e/B
Eight books in Russian: http://www.labirint.ru/books/479911/
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Today we have a prize by Katie, Philadelphian crafter, sewer, painter, artist, baker, kitty lover, chocoholic, bad TV watcher and a blogger at http://katiecrafts.com/
Here are just a few samples of what you can find in her Etsy shop:
|Lavender Daisy Earrings|
Adjustable Filigree Base Lotus Flower Ring
Cherry Blossom Button Stud Earrings
This is the prize:
One pair of apricot colored rose cabochon earrings! Stainless steel post with rubber backer. Roses are 10mm in size.
Monday, July 27, 2015
Sunday, July 26, 2015
What a sweet light collection of home decoration items curated by Anna we have this week! I love those feathers and the deer... They would be a great addition to a room with lots of white!
Visit our growing collection of the interior design ideas to see the featured shops as well as more home decor ideas.
Saturday, July 25, 2015
Friday, July 24, 2015
|Bracelet by René Lalique (virtual collection of jewellery pictures)|
What would you keep in this bowl? I would use it for jewellery!
|Stunning Colored Lidded Bowl by BellaWoodArt|
Thursday, July 23, 2015
|Ring by Ornella Iannuzzi|
One of my favourite pieces that I made was a carved owl (and still is). Thanks to my blog follower Kate who mentioned a wood carved owl not far from her home I though it was a great idea to look for an inspiration in the wood owl sculptures. This does not mean that I will ever make another owl one day... but maybe! Who knows :)
So, here are my top 10 wood carved owls that I found in Internet:
|Chainsaw carving by Jon Vincent|
|Mick Burns, Chainsaw Sculptor. Flying Owl|
|Artist: Aaron Booker at Bookersbears|
|Tree of Life - Owl|
(Here is some info on how the tree of life was constructed)
|Oak owl bench|
|Barn Owl carving by Josh Brewer|
|four owls by Steve Iredale on the new sculpture trail in Errington Woods near New Marske. Each owl is carved from a separate trunk of one tree, in situ.|
|Chau Pham displayed a $30,000 barn owl wood carving during the recent Calusa Wood Carvers show.|
|Owl Wood Sculpture Attacking Pose Jason Tennant|
|Owl bench by Raymond Wirick|
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
I did not have a pen in my wish list, but I should have had one! It is always a struggle to find a pen in our house (this is not my fault, by the way!). However, if I have a nice one, I can keep it :) I will be using it for years!
So, I got a nice pen from Wendy, the owner of the Expressó-Self A-Latté etsy shop. To be honest, I have never had a nice handmade pen before! Can you imagine how excited I am? I love handmade things! I think I am very lucky! :)
This pen's barrel is made of purple (that is my favorite color!) polymer clay stamped in gold. The metal parts are 24kt gold! The jewels are Swarovski crystals! It also uses a Parker-type refill (this is why I am confident that I will be using it for years!)
Wendy has a good choice of polymer clay jewelry as well as pens. If you had been following my blog you might remember Wendy's giveaway not long time ago. I received a pen as an appreciation gift for hosting that giveaway. This is the second time I am receiving something from my giveaway sponsors. It is always a wonderful surprise, as I do not actually count on it :) Thank you, Wendy!
Beijing cloisonne enamel, or "Lan Jintao" is one of the treasures of traditional Chinese culture. It has always been a sign of wealth and high social status. It could be found in a Chinese emperors' palace or in the temples only due to its high price.
Today we will visit an enamel factory located in the suburbs of Beijing and see how these unique products are being created now.
Cloisonne enamel art originated from ancient Egypt. Later it spreads to Byzantium and the Middle East. The technique came to China from Turkey and got perfected in 1271-1368.
The name "Jintao Lan" translates as "Lazur Jintao" due to the fact that mass production of enameled goods was established during the reign of Jingtang (1450-1456). The main color at that time was blue (lazur).
Beijing enamel technique got the most development as the Beijing Imperial "Forbidden City" was the main venue for the use of these products. Only the emperor family and people from high society could afford the enamel products until the 20th century. China has factories now that make the process cheaper than ever. The enamel goods are still not cheap, but they are a lot more affordable. All pieces are still handmade and unique.
The first stage is to forge a basic shape out of a thin sheet of copper or brass (or silver, or even gold for the most expensive products)
After that, the product passes the initial grinding to remove all burrs.
Then a complicated pattern is being applied.
Then we need to glue very thin walls (cloisonne) following the pattern onto the pieces we are working on. The cloisonne is made of thin copper or brass flat wire with the width from 1 to 3 mm.
Cloisonne is attached by a special mixture of glue and flux.
Each piece has hundreds cloisonne wires attached to it!
Can you imagine how much patience the workers have?
Cloisonne is attached. Now we cover the whole surface with silver solder...
Then we place the piece in a kiln. The adhesive is burned away in the firing process and the solder is uniformly distributed over the surface securely fixing the wires.
Now it is time for coloring. This operation is also done by hand.
Each cell enclosed by cloisonne is filed with enamel (which is powdered glass mixed with various minerals to give it color).
You cannot mix enamels to create a new color. This is achieved by applying different colors to the same cell with firing of each color separately. The more complex the design and the more colors it has, the longer it takes to accomplish the piece. The process of "coloring" may take up to 6-8 hours.
Enamel shrinks during firing, so it needs to be applied a few times until it fills up the cells.
|The craftsman is inspecting the pieces. They are almost ready!|
After the firing is completed we need to polish all items to make them all nice and smooth.
Silicon carbide (SiC) with water is used for the first polishing stage and coal dust mixed with oil for the second stage.
Metal free of enamel is sometimes plated with precious metal (silver or gold).
After the final polishing all the pieces are placed in a factory store.
The most usual ornament of "Jintao Lan" enamel is naturalistic images of animals and birds.
Tourists take many pictures. Nobody can resist buying at least something here!
|This vase is about $15000.00. The Emperor palace quality! :)|
Translated by Natalia Khon