Thursday, June 21, 2012

I like crows

I like crows because they are a bit crazy like most fun people.
I like crows because they are loud and obnoxious like me sometimes.
I like crows because they are social birds.
I like crows because they are practical.
I feed the crows around my house.  
I put the old cat food that my cats leave behind, and peanuts out for them.
One or two will be there and they call to all their friends.
Hey - Hey - Hey  - the guy is putting out food for us - come and get it.
Before long there are a bunch of crows on my patio eating lunch.
I drive up the street towards my house.
There’s a crow in the road.
Does he fly away.
No - he hops and walks out of the way.
Flying would be too much effort.
My cats - Ding and Kodi both stalk crows. 
They chatter with desire to catch a crow - but they never will.
They catch other birds however - they are cats after all.
The crows caw and caw when they see cats catch a fellow bird.
I have seen crows swoop at my cats when they have a bird in mouth.
I have seen my cats turn loose a captured bird because of heckling and diving crows.
The freed bird flies away and the crows laugh.
I walk in the hills by my house - there are many undeveloped acres near me.
The crows see me and they call to me - Hey - Hey Hey.
They know who I am. The guy with the peanuts.
I like crows.
I have decided to make some crow jewelry.
Just in the thought process now but I have ideas.
I will design some projects for classes with crow designs.
Flying crows.
Walking crows.
Talking crows.
Some people don’t like crows.
But I do.
I like crows.

For what it's worth,

Monday, June 18, 2012

Projects For Summer Class

I am working on project samples for summer classes here in SB.
I will have a casting class where students will cast a hollow bead using  sculpted wax formed over water soluble wax. The water soluble is dissolved in water (hence the water soluble label) after the outer sculpting is finished. This allows one to cast a hollow piece. In the fall I will teach students to make a cast locket with a hinge and catch. This will be a great project that has unlimited potential as far as sculptural design goes.
I the fall I will also teach a class where students will learn to fabricate a locket from sheet and wire. This will also have a hinge and catch. The halves of the locket will be roller printed with a custom die and formed with the Hydraulic Press using Matrix Dies. There will also be some enamel on the locket front and back. This will be a fancy complex project with many techniques. Keep an eye open on my website for schedule details. I encourage people to take advantage of these classes through SBCC even if you are out of the area. They are an amazing deal with amazing projects created over 10 weeks during the regular year and 6 or 8 weeks during Summer. I have people that travel from LA and Arroyo Grande to take these weekly classes. If you are looking for jewelry classes with amazing project this is the place. Also check out Farrin O'Connor Design Studio in Pasadena. I teach one day classes there all year round.
Feel free to ask questions and post comments.
I hope to hear from you.
For What It's Worth - Carl

Friday, June 8, 2012

I never did read so well.

When I was a kid it took me longer than anyone else to learn to read.

I had a friend - younger than me - teach me how to read outside of school. He did it because he liked me and he was my friend. I think of him a lot. I an a way, in a sense he saved my life - I no longer know him - I haven’t known him for decades.

I remember a strange event in my life that I tell people about- it freaks them out because it is bizarre and it makes no sense.

I think I was in 5th grade in about 1965. I was in my class, a usual 5th grade class in southern California with about  25 students and a teacher we all loved. We were all friends, or at least we all knew each other.

I was sent to a special class. This was in the middle of my regular class you need to know. It’s like I was whisked away suddenly. I was abducted by some other teacher - taken from my room with no real explanation other than they were there to take me, and one other student away. I was in the moment as usual - so therefore clueless.

 Anyway there I was. In this other room. Away from my regular class. This is cool something is going on. 
Something’s happing here but I don’t know what it is.

I was sat on the floor with a couple of other guys that I knew.
One from my class and the others from other grades.
We were told to take our shoes and socks off.

There were other kids in the room standing - being told to wait for some other test.

This man - nobody I have ever seen before - tied several towels (the kind used in gym class) into a single knot. 

He threw the towels at our outstretched feet and told us to untie them with our toes. Then he turned around and began to walk away.

In a heartbeat before I even knew what had happened, I had the towel untied with my toes - in a second or three. Done I cried as he walked away. 

He turned around as quick as he could for a man of thirty five. He glared at me with his eye. 
Not trusting me for my youth.

You used your hands he said.

No - I used my toes as you asked.

He glared harder as he picked up the towel. He tied it into another knot. This time he pulled harder and  made it as tight as he could. 

For some reason I looked at him as if he  were a fool, keeping it to myself.

He threw the towel at my feet again and said let’s see yo untie that.

I grasped it with my toes.

I had, and always have had long finger-like toes and strong feet.
Before his eyes and the eyes of all the others, I untied the towel with my toes, with no more effort than untying it with my hands, i flung it open like a little monkey.

I sat there as he glared at me.

What are you doing here? Get back to your class he barked.

I left the room after putting on my socks and shoes. 

I returned to my regular class.

No notice - no explanation - no note to my parents - no mention - no nothing.

And I still could not read well.

My friend and neighbor.
A kid about a year and a half younger than me. 
A kid that lived in my apartment building. 
A kid who’s mom paid me to watch him after school for an hour and a half before she got home from work (because I was older).

This kid - Kevin.

He taught me to read.(thank you Kevin)

I was dyslexic.

I am dyslexic.

My parents never knew.

I never knew.

I still don’t read well.

Words have always been a struggle for me.
Letters jump around and play tricks on me.

School failed me in that sense but I survived.

I pay my taxes.

My parents love me.

My wife loves me like nobody I have ever known.

I love my wife like nobody I have ever known.

I am alive and well - living the life.

And I teach people to make jewelry.

For what it’s worth -

Fake Tattoo in Kauai

Living The Life

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I am in the middle of a two day class where we are making a pendant that has three elements with torch fired enamel. The main element has under fired enamel frit that looks like druzy stone. I like enameling with the torch because of the immediate and visual satisfaction. It is also an easier method when there are several students and there is limited kiln space that would cause students to wait in line to fire. Farrin O’Connor Design Studio (where I am teaching) has 5 solder stations with natural gas  & oxygen torches that work well for torch firing enamel on silver and copper. F.O.D.S. is a great place to teach and a great place to take classes. This class - being two days has a  more relaxed atmosphere than the one day classes I often teach. There is pressure in one day classes to finish projects and seldom enough time. But I get a lot of students in my one day classes because even though the project may not get finished there is plenty to learn in my classes. I feel that learning techniques and building skills is more important than finishing a project. But I understand that students like to finish projects.
Where I teach in S.B. we have an 8 week quarter and there is more time to do more complex projects like lockets and fancy pendants.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Here’s a little something I would like to relate -
I teach jewelry making classes.
The classes I teach are project based.
The project is a vehicle to teach a series of techniques and skills.
When I teach a class I give the project away in a sense and it makes no sense to me to restrict a student from making the project as I have taught it.
However I think it is a bit strange when I see a student’s web page, etsy page, or online gallery page with a piece that is my design and or project copied directly and presented as their own work without any credit or explanation as to where the design came from. And in some cases I have seen the student take complete credit for the design and offer personal inspiration that manifested the design idea.
As I said I give the project away. But I do think that an artist should take the techniques and skills learned in the project and make it their own before they present it as their own.
I know this is a subject of wide debate and everyone has their opinion and as teachers of art we open ourselves up to this sort of thing. But if one wants to be taken seriously - I feel it is important to be serious and do the work to make ones work your own.
I am flattered when I am copied and given credit. I am offended when copied and no credit is offered. 
In this year 2012 most if not all things have been seen and done and as they say (whoever they are) “There is nothing new under the sun”. We are all influenced by others, there is no getting away from that. I see art, I see jewelry that blows my mind and I go into my studio to make a piece and I am influenced by what I have seen. But I do not copy other peoples work. At least not deliberately and without credit. I seek my own vision and I hope I always will. I am a teacher, I am a student, I am a human.
For what it’s worth -

Gold Slip Fusion Pendant 2006

Sunday, June 3, 2012

I recently figured out a cool thing I can do with my iPhone. I was assembling a project to be fused together the other day in a class. The design was rather complex, silver wires on silver sheet. I was cutting and laying wires in a pattern. Then I had to take it all apart to flux the sheet so I could fuse the design. So I used my iPhone to take a camera shot. Then I used the photo as reference to reassemble the design just as I had laid it out the first time. It worked perfect. Maybe is is old hat to some but it was a discovery to me.
For what it's worth -
Hello my friends and students.
Sorry I have been away for so long. This is my second post. I started this blog two years ago and have been unable to access it ever since.

Anyway I finally got time to figure it out and here I am again.
I have been busy teaching and making jewelry over the past two years. I also completely remodeled my bathroom at home from the studs up. In fact I just got it finished. It took a long time. I did all the work myself - but it turned out great. My wife is very pleased to be able to shower inside again. I rigged an outdoor shower that was supposed to be used for just a couple of weeks but ended up being 5 months.

So now I want to get back to this blog business.
This is all new to me.
As I said before I want to talk about jewelry making and teaching and students and design and and and all things related.

First of all I love to teach people to use their hands to make things - I think because I love to make things with my hands. My dad was always making things and using tools and he taught me how to use and respect tools and how to make things with my hands. We made presents and printed our own cards when I was a kid. My brothers, sister and I always had the coolest toys that we made ourselves or our dad made for us.
We used wood, paint, discarded things, papier-mâché, glue and stones.
So that is where I got my love for making things. I am happy I am able to make a living making things and teaching people to make things. In a way it's a dream come true.
I first started making jewelry in 1972. I was in metal shop in high school. We had a assignment to do a sand casting. The molds we had were form the 50's or even 40's. They were trays for candy and ashtrays believe it or not. My stepdad was a smoker and I did not want to cast an ashtray so I asked if there was something else I could make. Mr Lanning - my shop teacher told me to make it a candy tray. I still wanted something else.
There was an odd looking bench in the corner of the shop. I asked him what it was for and he said that's a jeweler's bench. Can I do a jewelry casting? I asked him. I bugged him all week about it. On Friday he finally broke down and handed me an old chunk of carving wax and a book on lost wax casting that had been gathering dust in his office. Here - read up in this book and carve something to cast from this wax.
A good friend of mine had gotten a Sears Gem Cutter for his birthday. I went to him and with his help cut a calif. jade cab. I used a sharpened screwdriver, some old files in the garage, an old kitchen knife and some coat hanger wire to carve a wax ring model over the weekend. I brought these in to class on Monday. I showed them to Mr Lanning. He was impressed. He showed me and the rest of the class how to cast the ring - I had some scrap silver from my mom. After that he taught me how to solder and told me I could just work at the jeweler's bench all semester long. I was hooked.
For what it's worth -

Sunday, February 21, 2010

First Post - For what it's worth

Hello - this is my first post on my new blog. I have no idea what I am doing so please bear with me. I plan to use this blog to rant about my life as a jewelry artist and teacher. I hope to express ideas and views that will be of interest to all you jewelry makers out there - and perhaps stir up a little dirt or at least some dust. I have strong opinions, strong likes and dislikes and they will be expressed here. I plan to be friendly, funny and kind - However if something gets my goat I will be the first to let you know. I mean no harm. I love working with metal, stones and other materials to create jewelry and art objects. I also love to teach - and I do teach as much as possible. So that will be the main line of discussion on this blog. But - as those of you that already know me know. I can get off track once in a while. I hope to entertain and educate you and myself in the process of writing this blog. After all life is about fun.
Anyway that's it for now - For what it's worth.