Friday, 12 October 2018

The "Before the Rush Show" - New 3D Collection on Display

The last year has been a big transition for me into metalsmithing - lots of new skills to learn, tools to use and a very different creative process to understand.  I have thoroughly enjoyed all of it.

The transition from pierced and cut metal work in jewelry to what I call, 3D MetalScapes, has been an interesting road and I am very pleased with the finished pieces.  All of these will be on display at the Before the Rush Show at The Ivy Restaurant and Coach House, just off the 1000 Islands Parkway in Lansdowne on November 2, 3 and 4, 2018.   Check out Before the Rush

3D Z Fold Metal Sculpture

The first idea I had stemmed from people who create cut paper art and they use a scalpel.  Their cutting process is so delicate - fascinating!  However, I wanted to continue working in metal and so transferred the cut paper idea to cut metal.    This piece is called "A Walk in the Park" (Z fold). A man with his dog, a mother and son, a father and two boys with a football, a couple of joggers all headed up the hill towards the row of pine trees.  The Copper and Brass metals are Pierced and cut using a very fine jeweller's saw and then etched with an acid for added definition.  Colours are then added to trees and foliage. 


Paper luminaries have always been a favourite of mine and so for the second piece I chose to make a metal luminary with each side having a different woodland scene.  Inside is a battery votive candle that changes colour and is much safer and cleaner than a real candle.  

The Rainbow Fleet

Then I began to experiment with plexiglass in layers.  Deciding on the theme of the first piece was easy, as I wanted to do a marine sailing piece for my husband who is an avid sailor.  Here is "The Rainbow Fleet".  The boats are distributed on different levels of the plexiglass to give the scene depth.  When viewed with backlight in front of a window it has a different look through the painted opaque piece of plexiglass at the back.

The Story of The Rainbow

The Rainbow, known everywhere but on Nantucket as a Beetle Cat, has become a well-loved island icon.  The Rainbows first were immortalized rounding Brant Point on a 1930 postcard by H. Marshall Gardiner, but now they are portrayed on all manner of commercial goods representing Nantucket: candy tins, embroidered pillows, plates, jewelry and all types of art. The Rainbow Fleet remains active and races in the harbor every Saturday through the summer, and parades around Brant Point every year prior to the start of the Opera House Cup Regatta.

This pretty little boat with the colorful nickname has an interesting history. The Rainbow is one of a series of catboats that have been active on Nantucket since the 19th century. John Beetle of New Bedford, Mass., designed the 12-foot gaff-rigged, shallow-draft wooden Beetle Cat in 1920 as a safe, fun boat for children to sail. The Nantucket Yacht Club brought it to the island in 1926 to start a racing fleet for young children, and each boat was given a different colored sail so parents could identify where their child was. Hence, the Rainbow Fleet.

Austin Strong, commodore of the Nantucket Yacht Club in 1930, was a great promoter, and he staged the famous photograph of the Rainbow Fleet with Gardiner to promote both the club and Nantucket as a summer resort, according to a 1991 article in the Nantucket Journal by C.S. “Butsy” Lovelace. Writes Lovelace: “If you look closely, the little boats are all tied together. This is not a lucky shot. It was staged for the big reflex camera on its tripod. … I was 9 years old. You can see my little head just above the coaming of the sixth boat. That’s my brother Dick’s boat, North Star [No. 21].”

The Rainbow tradition has continued through generations. “My mother started sailing when she was about 12. I spent my whole life hearing her talk about sailing in the Rainbow, and I’ve always wanted one,” says Mijke Roggeveen, a sailor and the granddaughter of Marshall Gardiner. “Last summer I finally went and bought one with a blue sail — No. 6, just like my mother’s original boat — and surprised her with it. My 80-year-old mother said, ‘It’s a beautiful boat,’ then climbed in, grabbed the tiller and sailed away.”

The Rainbows are loved for their solidness and ease of handling. They can be taken onto the beach for a picnic or sailed around the harbor in a good breeze. “It’s a comfortable, safe boat,” says Roggeveen. “Kids need to be able to mess about in boats and learn, and now my two sons are sailing in the blue Rainbow just like their grandmother used to do.”

The Nantucket Rainbow Fleet almost died in the 1970s, when many of the boats were disintegrating in people’s garages or back yards, and children were racing faster, more exciting fiberglass boats.  Local sailor Alan Newhouse, who had started sailing in a Rainbow in 1927, decided to get the fleet going again.

“I went around and found several boats in back yards, put them back together and fiberglassed the hulls to hold them together and keep afloat,” says Newhouse. “I got 12 or 15 Rainbows sailing again and sold or gave them to people if they promised to race.” Newhouse’s efforts got the Rainbow Fleet going again, and this time it was the adults instead of the children who were racing them.

There are now around 70 Rainbows on Nantucket, although not all of them are in the water. Anne and Dennis Cross were fleet captains for the Rainbow Class for several years and did much to get the sailboats out of back yards and into the water. This summer marks the 11th Annual Rainbow Parade around Brant Point on the morning of the Opera House Cup Regatta, and there likely will be hundreds of spectators cheering from the beach. Anne Cross initiated the event to get the Rainbows out on the water, distributing flyers weighted down with pebbles to all the Rainbows in the harbor and ensuring that there were plenty of sails of different colors.

Today, every Rainbow has a colored sail, but not all are solid colors. There are sails with stripes, stars, a cloud, even an American flag. While there are other Beetle Cat fleets, the Nantucket fleet is unique in that it’s the only fleet with rainbow-hue sails.

The Rainbow is still being built today to the same specs as the original — framed in oak, with cedar planking and Douglas fir spars.

This article is from Soundings Online.

Then came "Bubble Boy" with his cats enjoying the streams of bubbles he loves to blow.  The layers of plexiglass allow shadows to be cast from the image on the front layers.  Interesting effect!

"Fun in the Garden" - a little girl playing ball with her dogs.  One dog is joining in, but the other one is fixated on a bird sitting on the bird feeder in the tree.

The next piece was an inspiration from an old friend I had worked with as Executive Assistant for a number of years and he was passionate about hockey.  So, I went to the internet to do some research and was amazed at the huge tournaments that are out there on frozen lakes divided into rinks. But I wanted something more intimate and informal and soon found some information and photos of children playing on a small frozen pond.  That was the light bulb moment and so I present (with thanks to my friend, Steve) "Pond Hockey".

All the above pieces evolved over a number of months and during September, I realized I could only complete maybe two more pieces before the show in November.  I wanted to include something that went back to my beginning in jewelry making and so it had to be a dragon.  I was a great fan of Ann McCaffrey, the author of a wonderful series of novels called The Dragonriders of Pern.  I began sculpting dragons in polymer clay as pendants many years ago and one of my favourites is "Rylar - The Music Dragon".  All my dragons came with a name and a little story.  Here he is and I still have him - he is mine!

Not only is Rylar an extremely handsome dragon, but he can compose and play the most beautiful music on any instrument he chooses.  Rylar learnt at a very young age that music calms the troubled breast and his natural talent allows him to enthrall any who hear him perform.

Today, Rylar has invited his young friend, Katie, to learn to sing his very latest composition.  In just a few days Katie and Rylar will perform this piece at a Celebration of Music in the Great Dragon Hall in the White Mountains.  Katie has a clear, haunting voice which will be perfect for this piece called "Butterflies Come Dancing".

Here are the lyrics for the first verse:

Summer has brought warm breezes that waft 

Through the flowers, their colours entrancing.

Without a sound, their wings so soft,

The butterflies come dancing.

To continue with the magical and mythical theme, here is "Woodland Fairies".

As the summer comes to an end, our Woodland Fairies have a lot of work to do.  All of the leaves on the trees have to be painted with red or yellow and many colours in between. Each year we enjoy the glorious beauty of Fall that they create. 

This year Ria has chosen to paint the yellow shades and Kyla is painting the reds. 
They have some help today, as Peapod (the rabbit) and Jumper (the Squirrel) have offered to hold the big bell flowers which contain the magical paint the fairies use and they are trying very hard not to spill too much, as they balance on top of the huge toadstools.  

As Summer quietly slips away and it's breezes they turn cold,

Fairies fly around the wood painting green leaves red and gold.

The trees in all their glory are a very beautiful sight

And we will enjoy them all, before our world turns white.

And so the 3D Collection is complete for 2018.  I do hope that you have found this interesting and that, if you are in this area, you will come to visit all the artists at Before the Rush 2018.

Thank you for your interest.

The Artful Dragon Studio


Friday, 6 April 2018

New Addition to the Cobraal Collection for 2018 - Wire Weaving

It is always a bit of a struggle to come up with a new line for the coming year and usually January arrives and my mind is blank.  The harder I try to find an idea the less arrive.  However, this year it just came to me, after some research on the web.  I had done some wire wrapping the past, but never attempted wire weaving.

My first few pieces came out quite well and so I decided to order some special Copper wire than can be oxidized (antiqued) with Liver of Sulphur.  The wire arrived and I went into overdrive for a few weeks.  Needless to say, my joints were not impressed, but I am very pleased with the results so far.

Here are a couple of the new pieces and there will be more to come.

The Artful Dragon will participate in the following shows during 2018

October 25, 2018 - 10 am to 3 pm - Brockville General Hospital Christmas in October.

November 2, 3, 4, 2018 - Friday November 2, from 6 pm to 9 pm.  Saturday, Sunday 10 am to 4 pm. 
Before the Rush at The Ivy Restaurant and Coach House, Shipman's Lane, Lansdowne, ON.

November 18, 2018 - 10 am to 4 pm - Fulford Place Museum - Victorian Christmas.

December 7, 2018 - 10 am to 3 pm - Brockville General Hospital Christmas Luncheon and Vendor Hall.

Friday, 23 February 2018

If you would like to see more of The Artful Dragon Studio collections, please click here.

Also there is more information on my Artful Dragon Facebook page here.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Fate Takes a Hand...

Note:  This was originally written just before my Before the Rush Show.

May I suggest that if you have not already read my last post entitled "A New Harp Journey" that you read that before reading this one - it might make more sense that way!

So, here I was with my Marion 34 Double Strung harp newly repaired, renovated and ready to be played (apart from some strings that were broken and we had ordered).  Last Monday Phil told me that he had found a double strung Eve 22 harp in Ontario within easy reach.  We had originally talked about buying an Eve harp kit and he would build this over the winter.  This one was only five months old and had a padded case and Truitt levers on F strings and one on the G above middle C.

It's amazing how there are none anywhere and when you least expect it, up pops exactly what you are looking for!

Early Tuesday morning Phil hit the road and late afternoon arrived home with the new addition to our harp family - Eve.  What a beautiful little harp she is and also has a very lovely voice for such a small harp.  Here is Carolyn Deal playing an identical Eve - click here.

I have not had much time to play Eve yet as we have been working hard preparing for my biggest Artisan Show of the year starting Friday October 27, 2017 for three days - "Before the Rush" at The Ivy Resort in Ivy Lea.  However, when we set up this morning, I included Eve as a part of my display alongside our CDs we have for sale.

Now I have two double strung harps and will embark on learning how to play them both over the winter months, when there are no shows and the snow lays deep on the ground.  

Wish me luck!!

Sunday, 15 October 2017

A New Harp Journey

I was quite happy downsizing my harp collection to four this year and really, (honestly) had no intention of buying anything else.  I have two Triplett Lever Harps, a 46 string pedal harp and a brass wire strung lap harp (clarsach).  Plenty of harps here for me to play.

Now, I often go on the web looking for new music to play and I was doing this a few days ago.  I must have put in a search for music to do with "water" because it brought up a tutorial by Carolyn Deal on her own composition called "Water Fairies".  So, I listened and watched, but although the tune was absolutely lovely, it was the harp I was looking at.  A double strung harp, 29 strings on one side and 29 on the other.  I had heard of double strung, but had never seen one and really did not know how it was played.

After watching another of Carolyn's tutorials, I was fascinated.  So, I watched another and another and another.  The videos are really well done and Carolyn includes a piece of music, photo view of where she lives in the mountains of North Carolina and photos of her beautiful young granddaughter at the beginning of each video.  I emailed Carolyn to ask for a full list of her tutorials in the right order and she came back with a mine of information, which was great for a newbie to double strung harps like me.  Carolyn plays Stoney End Double Strung harps and is also a distributor for them.  You can find demos of these harps on Carolyn's videos on Utube.  Click here   I showed my husband, Phil, a couple of the tutorials and he found them fascinating as well.

Anya arrived like this!

Now Phil is what I call "A Finder".  He has found all of the harps I have owned over the years. 

All bandaged up!
Anya finished

Take Anya for instance - 
a Selena 46 string pedal harp.  
Totally wrecked during a aircraft flight.

Piece broken right off.  But Phil found a way to join these pieces and then bandaged her up.  Then we waited for everything to dry.  But it was definitely worth the wait.

 Anya turned out beautifully.

Then there was Fiona, who was run over by a fork lift truck in transit.  Phil had a friend carve a swan's head to replace the piece broken off.  Then he put it back together, restrung her and replaced the broken levers with Truitt levers.  Phil also repairs other stringed instruments like guitars, cellos and violins.

I was so interested in the double strung harp that Phil decided to look for a secondhand one, but had no luck.  Then one evening he found a damaged one on the web.  No photo and very little information.  Phil called the seller a couple of times but no reply.  Finally he managed to make contact and made arrangements to collect it.  Now I have to mention here that the harp was 6 hours down into the United States and we hadn't even seen a photo and knew very little about it.  But Phil had a feeling?!?  Off he went at 4.30 am the next morning, returning at 6.30 pm that evening with the harp.

What a mess it was in.  A huge split down the right side and it was covered in grime, dust and candle wax (don't ask!).  After dinner Phil did some research and it turns out it is a Stoney End Marion 34 Double Strung (that makes 68 strings total!!!!).  

With the help of multiple clamps and a really good glue, Phil bound it up and we began the wait to see if it would hold.

Finally the clamps came off and the scraping and sanding began.  Then the painting to make it look like the rest of the harp.  It turned out great and I have been tuning for a couple of days and the strings are holding pitch.  We need to replace a number of the lower register strings, but she is saved.

Phil decided to call Stoney End Harps to purchase the missing strings.  Gary Stone of Stoney End explained that this harp was one of only two in existence and he was happy that we were going to restore her to her former glory.  Harpist, Joy Hoffman owns the other one. 

Little did I realize when I discovered Carolyn's tutorials that within 2 days I would own a double strung harp.  Fate has a strange way of intervening.  Now it is all down to me.  I have decided to follow Carolyn's tutorials and really learn how to use this harp to the best of my ability.  I can see from her very understandable and fun lessons that it will be a great instrument for improvisation, which is a skill I have never been able to master, but hope to do so in the future.  

Thank you, Carolyn, for pointing me in the direction of my new harp journey.

Wish me luck, everyone and stay tuned for my progress.

Here is my Stoney End Marion 34 Double Strung harp.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Harvest Moon Festival

The Harvest Moon Festival is a magical outdoor festival dedicated to bringing people together in celebration of nature and spiritual wellness.  There was also music and food for all to enjoy.

It is held outside at a property on Lamb's Pond just north of Brockville.  The workshops available included yoga, drumming circle, massage, Reiki to name but a few.   The owners of the property also host weddings and other events to encourage  people to enjoy the scenery.

This year I was invited to take part as a vendor with my Artful Dragon Studio jewelry.  But I thought it might be good to add a little something and so took three of my harps along for people to try.  

Phil and I often hear people comment at our musical gigs that it is the first time they have seen a harp in real life.  So here was their opportunity - and a lot of people took advantage of the offer.

It was a great day and the funny moment was, that there was a yoga class going on behind my tent and so while that was in progress I thought I would just noodle quietly on the harp so as not to disturb anyone.  Well, after the class ended, two ladies came over and thanked me for the perfect music to go with their class.  I hadn't a clue they could hear me!!!

Congratulations to the organizers and the owner's of Lamb's Pond - it was outstanding.