Well let's get my project out of the way first, and then to the exciting news.

Texture really is my thing.  Lately I've been playing a lot with metal corrugation, especially mixed with foldforming.  These copper earrings are corrugated and then folded/compressed up the middle.  They are about 1.75" long, and super light (about half the weight of a penny) but also rigid and strong because of the folds.  
And now for the news.
I know some of you are fellow metalsmiths, so time out for a little shop talk.  The following notice is posted for my good friend Rhoda Weber Mack of Center for Metal Arts in Florida, NY. 
The Lewton-Brain Foldform Award 
CALL FOR ENTRIES: The Lewton-Brain Foldform Award

The inaugural juried competition with 3 awards and some fine prizes. 
DEADLINE! June 30! No exceptions! Take your pics now!

What to send: 
1. Send images of up to three entries of foldform pieces in jpg format, maximum 300 dpi to lewtonbrainfoldformaward@gmail.com
2. You may include up to two jpg images of each piece so the judges can see more than one view. 
3. Title your image files with the name of the piece (i.e. Birdsnest 1, Birdsnest 2) but do not include your name anywhere in these files.
4. Attach IN THE SAME EMAIL a word file with your name, email, phone, address, the photo file names, and a sentence or two about the piece. Send as a word doc file. No docx, or pdf, sorry.

Judging Criteria:
1. The piece must be your own work (although other materials, i.e. findings etc may be incorporated into the piece). The foldform may incorporate found objects and purchased objects, if they further develop the folded form.
2. Judging will be based on excellence in execution, originality, and/or innovative development of a foldform family. These are awards for the well-executed work, the beautiful form, or the fresh idea that earns an appreciative nod of “Well-done work”.
3. Winners to be named on August 6, 2012 at the Fifth Annual Charles Lewton-Brain Conference, Center for Metal Arts in Florida NY, and online at http://www.centerformetalarts.com/blog and Facebook/Center for Metal Arts.
4. The entry may be either a folded form or a fully finished work, although a fully realized piece may have more wow power. Your call.

Prizes:
To be announced, but we think you’ll like them. A lot.
------------------------------------------
http://centerformetalarts.com/ (click Upcoming Seminars and scroll down) 
 
 
After bragging last week about my incredibly organized studio, it's only fair for me to share the first piece I made afterwards... especially since it demonstrates that I will never be completely organized!

This is a large copper foldform pendant using a technique called "chased on air" on one side, with texturing and a small sterling silver flower soldered on the other side.  At least that was the plan.  
After the piece was all assembled, I began cleaning it up with the usual light sanding and polishing.  Can't seem to bring up the silver in that darn flower.  Can't figure out why it's so yellow, even with all the buffing.

Yellow.

Yellow.

OMG.  I suddenly remember making a tiny 14k yellow gold flower and setting it on my workbench a few weeks ago.  This isn't a sterling silver accent... it's 14k gold. On copper.

I'm all about mixed metals but I'm not ready for gold on copper when gold is $1550+ an ounce.  The colors aren't even dramatically different enough to justify it artistically.  So you can bet that little flower is coming off.  Its true destiny? An accent on a yet-to-be-dreamed-up fine silver pendant where the color contrast will be soooo much nicer.

For some reason I think it's fun to share mistakes...  When I make a mistake I get mad, but when I share a mistake it makes me laugh...   Anyway, a little more organization is obviously still needed in my studio :-P
 
 
Don't laugh but I'm a little afraid to work in my studio today.  Have you ever organized something to the point where you're afraid to move or even breath?

My studio is CRAZY organized right now.  I was watching Restaurant Impossible last week (for some reason we're hooked on that and Chopped in my house.)  They go into failing restaurants, fix the problems, and re-open.  One of the issues they're always fixing is poor kitchen layout.  It finally hit me that I needed to launch a Studio Impossible project because my layout was a disaster.

I didn't take "before" photos.  Not that I didn't think of it; I just couldn't bear to preserve that nightmare.  But I have some "after" photos for you.

The first photo shows an older workbench that I made myself.  Don't be too impressed because my husband Kevin had to reinforce it later.  It's kind of a semi-dedicated flexshaft station now rather than a free-for-all.  (A flexshaft is a power tool with a gazillion uses and attachments.)  

Notice all the open floor space.  Take my word for it; that's new.
The main problem was the mix of tools with paperwork, photography, and laptop all in the same room.  I decided to move everything OUT that isn't specifically used for art creation.  Because three of my four girls are grown up and out of the house, I had another under-utilized bedroom.  I moved anything related to office, business, photography, or show/display to that room, where it fits nicely (sorry, guests, it's going to be a bit cramped in there.)

Then I bought a sweet 6' wooden work bench from Harbor Freight.  Thanks Sam, Kathy, and Kevin for helping me put that together.  If you need a bench, look at this one  http://www.harborfreight.com/60-inch-workbench-93454.html .  It would be a steal for its regular $229 price but I had a coupon to make it $149.  It's so gorgeous I almost hate to hammer on it and scuff it up.   
My daughter Lindsay should note the presence of a new grease board to track my projects, as per her advice -- empty right now because I forgot to buy markers, but soon it will help preserve my sanity.  Lindsay, by the way, has always been my organizer when things got crazy.  She will be so proud of me :-)
I do have before and after photos of a broken lamp because it was a stroke of genius ;-)  
This black lamp was about to go in the trash.  It's supposed to clamp onto a table but the connectors were cheap plastic and broke almost right away.  Actually I had two of these lamps and they both broke.  Whatever happened to metal parts, people?   
Then it hit me.   The new bench has holes in the top (so tools etc. can be attached) and the lamp has a rod at the bottom!  Into the hole it goes, and now I have the perfect bench light.  I would seriously buy this lamp just to break it and use it here.
A couple more messes-turned-organized...
 All my silver is filed away in a portable file, organized by type, gauge, and shape... along with the various sandpapers used to get that nice finish on the metal.
All of my spikey tools (files, burnishers, dividers, bezel pushers) are stuck in an 8" Styrofoam  cube covered in white felt... instead of haphazardly thrown in a container.  Pliers, wire cutters, sanding sticks, and rulers are in a divided box I found at a thrift store.
A ton of other tiny stuff is all filed away in small drawers.
Forming, cutting, measuring, and stamping /texturing tools are corralled in the work bench drawers.
So now the question is when will I bring myself to disturb this little haven of organization?  And even more to the point, will I put my tools away?
 
 
April 26th was "Take your child to work" day here.  My 11-year-old daughter Kara didn't have far to go.  She spent the day with me in my home studio and we had a blast.  At first she was going to make a boat, but halfway through Kara decided it would make a perfect sushi plate.  This is a photo with the heat patina still on it-- so rustic and pretty at this stage. We did remove the patina and shine up the copper so that it could be used for food.
The original copper was a flat 4x10 factory cut sheet, so the only cutting necessary was to round the four corners.  I did the cutting and annealing (torch work) but Kara did 99% of all the hammering (shaping, texturing) and finishing (filing, sanding, burnishing.)  Not bad, I think!!

Last year was Kara's first "take your child to work day" in my studio and that was equally fun.  She made this copper and gemstone necklace.
For the necklace, the jump rings were already cut but the connectors holding the beads were not.  Kara cut the wires, loaded the beads, and learned to loop the wires / connect the chain.  By the end of the day Kara was a pro and all I needed to do was go through and tighten up some of the pieces.  Kara also cut the circle, dapped it (made it concave) and stamped it.  

It's funny, she is really into metal work on these school scheduled days -- really had fun -- but during the year it's not on her A-list.  So it's doubtful she'll be following in my footsteps, but I know we'll both look back on these days as some of our best times together.
 

UA-21854830-1