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….are just a few of the things I’ve been working on lately. These are done in PMC-3, fine silver metal clay with the syringe. The photo makes them look bronze but in person they are shiny silver with a dark antiquing to show the detail.

syringe_birds3

That’s it…. just a few words and a picture ūüėÄ

Copyright © Mary M. Ehlers, Good Muse Designs 2013. All rights reserved.

octoberfest_flyerpic2Where did the month of September go? I’m sure it was August just a minute ago. It still feels like summer in Tucson but there is a hint of fall in the air. I know I’m reaching, okay? So what if it’s only cooler really, really late at night?

At this time of year I always get really homesick for the leaves to¬†change color and the cool wind to whip through my hair. Autumn used to be my favorite season. I guess it still is, but there just isn’t much of one here….yet, <sigh.> Not to worry, I’ve devised a¬†count down list of things I’m going to do in October to make sure that fall doesn’t come and go before I realize it:

10-Get out my fall/Halloween coffee mugs and start using them. One can never have too many coffee cups ūüėČ

9-Pick apples at Apple Annie’s in Wilcox.

8-Bake apple pies.

7-Buy some mums and place them strategically around the patio and front porch (pretend they grew in that way.)

-6 Plant cosmos, snapdragons and pansies (plants get confused here and they think it’s spring.)

5-Get in the studio super early in the morning and open the doors while it’s still cool. Make some fun jewelry and don’t do any cleaning!

4-Put up Halloween decorations and hope the grandkids get to come see them.

3-Visit the Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures (I’ve never been and it will be all decked out in Halloween!)

2-Enjoy an authentic Oktoberfest at Many Hands courtyard (October 5, from 4-10 PM!)

And the #1 Fun thing I’m going to do this October……..

-1 Celebrate Halloween…party with my friends!

Copyright © Mary M. Ehlers, Good Muse Designs 2013. All rights reserved.

 

Christmastree2012comprOnly 118 days until Christmas! Oh sure it sounds like it’s a long way off but trust me, as fast as the first part of the year has flown by, it’s really only the equivalent of¬†about three¬†weeks in actual time. I had better get a move on making more jewelry for the gallery, upcoming craft fairs and the Tucson Open Studio Tour. (I‚Äôll be at the Many Hands Artists Co-op gallery for this year‚Äôs T.O.S.T.)

I should start thinking about a Christmas open house, making lists and checking them twice a dozen times a day, and sending out last year’s Christmas cards. It will take time decorating the house to the hilt, baking, cooking, cleaning, and sending out party invitations.

I‚Äôm already¬†exhausted just thinking about it! Maybe this year I‚Äôll try something new. I‚Äôm still going to make more jewelry, do a show or two, and the open studio tour. This year I may even have a chance to go check out some other artists studios‚Ķ.. and perhaps a ‚Äúcome as it is‚ÄĚ holiday open house/ pot luck? ¬†(This way I can skip the majority of the cooking and cleaning!) mr.ms_santacompr

 

 

Copyright © Mary M. Ehlers, Good Muse Designs 2013. All rights reserved.

Hmmm, the stone doesn't fit!

Hmmm, the stone doesn’t fit!

I love it when a plan comes together! I work for hours and hours on a vision that I have in my mind. I spend the time to¬†sketch it out. I dream about what it will look like when it’s all done.¬†I obsess over it like Gollum does for “my precious” ¬†from¬†J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Finally, I painstakingly put my plan into action. I calculate for¬†ring size and stone size.¬†I execute my design. I refine the delicate filigree,¬†I fuss,¬†it breaks (hey it happens), I fix it and¬†I refine some more (after all the devil is in the details) and then I re-refine again. Only after hours and hours and yes, even more hours, the piece goes into the kiln with a prayer to the kiln gods that it doesn’t collapse in the firing, because syringe filigree can be fragile. I anxiously wait for the kiln and the cool down. I peak into the kiln…. “my precious” is in one piece and looks intact. I breathe a sigh of relief…When I finally take it out of the kiln…………… my heart stops……………. The shrinkage has happened in all the wrong places…..JUST MY LUCK! It’s just like buying a new pair of jeans hoping they will shrink in the waist only to have them shrink in the length. It really wasn’t supposed to be quite this big around and the plan was for the stone to fit at the top of the piece…. <Sigh> How did this happen…. Metal clay shrinks proportoinally! Well, it always has before.

No it wasn't supposed to take up half my hand!

No it wasn’t supposed to take up half my hand!

Does it look horrible? No, but it sure doesn’t look anything like the plan I had in my mind! Am I disappointed? YES! (Understatement) But, there is always plan “B” I’m not exactly sure what that involves, but I’m sure it will be much more complicated than I want it to be…and I really hope that it will also be much more rewarding (ok …. I’m really trying to find the silver lining here…) when I finally have a finished (better than it would have been¬†IF plan “A” had worked out the first time) showpiece ring! I’ll keep you posted on my progress….. It may be a while…don’t hold your breath ;D

The outside of the unpolished ring.

The outside of the unpolished ring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © Mary M. Ehlers, Good Muse Designs 2013. All rights reserved.

People often ask me where I get my ideas for new pieces of jewelry or artwork. I tell them the truth, inspiration is an elusive, mystical connection between me and another realm where fairies, mermaids and elves whisper to me in my sleep…. Now before you think I’m completely crazy, I’m just kidding!!! But sometimes it does seem like the ideas just pop into my mind… you know, like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from the Ghost Buster’s movie. (I loved the part where everyone was ‘not thinking of anything’ and Dan Akroyd’s character says, “I couldn’t help it, it just popped in there!”) So this being the case, where ideas just arrive in my mind, you can imagine my panic when our local metal clay guild asked me to “submit an explanation of how I was motivated to create a piece and why I did what I did” for an upcoming publication. I’m sure¬†I’m somewhat certain that my brain must go through some type of process. It transforms the things that I have seen, heard, read, dreamed in my sleep, etc. into design ideas. However, I don’t believe I want or need to know how it does it. I’ve said on several occasions that I’m not certain I even have a left brain, so I don’t want to dig too deeply into trying to dissect my creative process. I attribute my creativity and imagination to public education….enhanced by all that day dreaming in school when I was supposed to be learning math, history and other things I’ve managed to avoid my entire life. My creativity all boils down to this one simple concept: I expect that ideas will come to me freely and easily, and so they do <grin>! One of my favorite quotes is by Chuck Close, “Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.”

Writers do this all the time. They set aside a number of hours they are going to write each day…sure sometimes they get writers block but eventually the story is told. That’s what happens when you begin to create a work of art…eventually the piece is finished and a story is told….sometimes the surprise endings even surprise me!

Copyright © Mary M. Ehlers, Good Muse Designs 2013. All rights reserved.

One of the advantages of being at the Many Hands Courtyard is that I get to be around a lot of really, really, talented people! If you have been following this blog you’ve seen some of the artwork in the Many Hands Artists Cooperative Gallery. The co-op shares the courtyard with a bunch of other incredible artists and I want to tell you about a real hidden treasure right here in Tucson! I love antique furniture. There is something about a well made piece of old furniture that really connects me to my roots and touches a nostalgic place in my heart. The only problem is that when you bring furniture from a damp climate to Tucson (aka the place that feels like you are living inside a kiln in the summer…. but it’s a dry heat…) the furniture sometimes gets a little dry too. Not to worry, Cindy Haas to the rescue! I’m amazed by the before and after restorations I’ve seen her accomplish. Cindy does repair, painting, upholstery, caning, and about anything else that has to do with furniture.

Do you have furniture that looks like this?

After Cindy does her magic it can look like this!

No she can’t turn an old chair into a gorgeous buffet but you get the idea! If you need any furniture repair or if you are looking to add a beautiful restored piece of furniture to your collection you have got to come see Cindy Haas!

Copyright © Mary M. Ehlers, Good Muse Designs 2013. All rights reserved.

 

Just look for the Dinosaur!Fun stuff!Fun Stuff!

Yes, sometimes my life really is this strange, but this time it’s not as strange as it seems! I am now part of the Many Hands Artist Cooperative art gallery. Right out front we have a this big guy hanging out and pointing the way into the gorgeous courtyard. The gallery is located at 3054 N. 1st Avenue in hot and sunny Tucson, Arizona…. If you are ever in the neighborhood please stop in and check out some cool art! The gallery is having our first year anniversary celebration on June 15, 2013¬†from 5-9 PM and there will be music, art, crafts to make, a food truck…. and my sweetheart Steve Ehlers aka the Arizona Card Expert will be doing magic! I know he’s my husband and I am a little bit biased but he is an awesome close up magician. If you have never seen him perform (or even if you have seen him) you really should stop by, you will be amazed!

Many Hands Courtyard (front)

Fun Stuff!

Copyright © Mary M. Ehlers, Good Muse Designs 2013. All rights reserved.

Once upon a time there were two beautiful women who wanted to have more fun in their lives and try something to stimulate their brains.

Jessica and Sharon

They happened upon the Muse (that would be me…) and¬†were invited¬†to a Fun, Fast, and Fabulous metal clay class at the Blue Raven Art School. Now neither of these women had ever touched metal clay before, they hadn’t read any books or tutorials about metal clay, and they weren’t even sure they could work with it, but the Muse enticed them to give it a try with a special offer and the women took the class and created their very first, fantastic pendants! Great job Jessica and Sharon!

¬†¬†¬†¬† (The Muse sure could use some photography lessons….. really, the pendants look better in person than they do here…. and I’m sure you’ll agree they look great here!)

 

 

The Moral of this story is…. If you take a class with the Muse at Good Muse Designs or at the Blue Raven Art School you can have fun, stimulate your brain and make beautiful jewelry too! Join me for a class this summer!

 

Copyright © Mary M. Ehlers, Good Muse Designs 2013. All rights reserved.

Do you ever feel like you’ve entered a time warp? I’m pretty sure this has been happening to me since the start of 2013…. Now, I’m not exactly sure¬†how this¬†phenomenon transpired, making time actually pass faster in my life, but I’m pretty sure¬†¬†somewhat uncertain, it might¬†be, that¬†when I created this¬†Gaspeite ring I¬†altered¬†the time-space continuum!

Time Travel....it really works!

I named it¬†“Time Travel”¬†but I didn’t realize it would actually work!¬†For the record, I¬†felt it had a futuristic feel to it and the idea of being able to actually travel through time¬†was intriguing……… What I got is definitely not what I expected…… but it must be true because it seems like just last week I wrote a blog post and now here it is an entire month later! (Hey, it could happen….That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!) ;D

Copyright © Mary M. Ehlers, Good Muse Designs 2013. All rights reserved.

I can’t believe that I haven’t posted in such a long time… I’ve been a wee bit busy! First I had some great classes at the gem show not to mention shopping with my friends Angie and Theresa. We had so much fun and shopped until we dropped!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have also been having fun teaching the Living Social, EZ-Artsy earring class that just ended! I met so many wonderful people that really did a fantastic job on their earrings and most of them wore them home. :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And of course I have my metal clay classes. Barbara, Sharon and Dotty are so talented and such a joy to have in class each week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © Mary M. Ehlers, Good Muse Designs 2013- All rights reserved.