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google reader and bloglines are long gone and i've finally found another blog feed/subscription thing.  in order to claim my blog i have to create a new post with info on it....


jewelry displays

I have been on a jewelry display making spree and having a most fun and challenging time of it.  Challenging because I am still more of a novice than not when it comes to welding.  The hardest part about welding (to me at least) is figuring out HOW to hold things together so I can then weld it.  When you weld the wire and heat pushes the metal and I have a hell of a time getting things to stay put that are 'balanced' such as the horizontal pipe/bars that I use in my necklace and bracelet stands.  I find more often than not I am having to take it apart, clean it up and start all over again until I get it right.  One of those love hate things.  Learning...and seeing how much more there is to stumble upon and realizing how powerful it is to be able to put things together that I couldn't have done with epoxy.

Slowly but surely I am listing my jewelry display pieces on etsy.  Here is my jewelry stand section: jewelry + stands.

I especially like the little ring holders that I am making out of deer shed horns.  Some of the horns look like long fingers and I think its just a cool way to display/store rings.  My odd fascination with nuts and bolts gets a chance to express itself in the jewelry stands/holders.  One minute I think this is so simple and any monkey could do it and then I think holy cow I am making the coolest thing on the planet.  Best to just keep making things and let those thoughts float off and disperse.



i'm finally starting to delve into welding...albeit more 'spot welding' than anything, but none the less, i turn the old machine on and aim the wand and see what happens. above, two new keepsake boxes that have paula shit welds on them.  i have heard oodles of time from oodles of men:  'welding is easy.  i can teachyahow', then they proceed to show me something for a few minutes, have me do it a few minutes and call it quits. 'hand time ya need hand time'.  got it.  i really do.  delve away wondrous artist.  delve away even though in my fantasy world of learnin someone would just stand there and watch me for hours.  days.  they would see the cruddy object i'm trying to weld and help me understand before ruining it what speed to have the wire come out and what temp and why it keeps NOT working or burning holes or looking like small bb guns have attacked the piece instead of a nice fat wad of weld. .i would have a machine that is more powerful and have the balls to spend the money on a tank of argon and use it instead of electricity. but i'm not there yet so do what you can with what you got.

 i'm thinking welding is probably easier if you have pristine metal and great equipment/set up. but then...i got a chance to weld in a machine shop and i still screwed everything up. mmmm.  i find so far i'm completely lost even though i've had a few people show me things here and there.  often i push the lever and the rod comes out and just pushes off of the thing i'm trying to weld. no sparks no weld nothing.  over and over i do it.  mmmm is it weldable metal?  is it galvanized? copper? brass? aluminum?  does the magnet stick to it?  is it clean? do i have my clamp thing that grounds the piece clamped close enough?  IS IT ME???? HAHA  yes its always me except when it comes to art.  then it is about the object and i have to turn everything off inside and listen to it. (probably life is like that too huh)

i have always been rather impatient and hard on myself so i am doubly surprised that for whatever reason i'm not being a pill with this welding thing.  maybe i'm finally wizened up and know the beauty in everything is watching it unfold.  long as i dont blind myself, burn myself, give myself lung cancer burning old paint or burning anything in my studio if the worst thing that happens is i ruin things i'm trying to weld, well so be it.  if you do it long enough you will get it. or not...and move on.

i also welded my first flower yesterday (havent finished it yet so no pic just yet).  welded a thick bolt/rebar together and then welded the delicate tin like material and of course burned holes right thru it. but by god it welded somehow and its beautiful to me!  and so there you have it.  after years of being told i should/could weld...i'm starting it and finally feeling excited about it ~ the desire finally supersedes the obstacles!


about my flowers

i received a convo via etsy a few days ago from a student attending Bishop Grosseteste University in England.  she stated that she was an art student, "doing a project and we have to find research into our work and your flower things that you made are perfect of what im sort of doing so i was wondering if you could email me a bit what you do how you do it and your name so i can put you into my portfolio"

well how fun is that. it has been awhile since anyone asked me about my work and how i do it.  i enjoyed replying:

My name is Paula.  I am a self taught artist currently living in Huntsville, Texas. USA.   My work is focused on what many would call 'junk'.  I am attracted to objects that appear to have lost their function; objects that have been lost, tossed, broken and deemed useless. 

I used to be attracted solely to rusty metal but three years ago I started making found object flowers and I found myself seeking out little colorful bits of plastic to add to the center of my flowers. (the body of the flower usually being faucet handles, scrap auto parts, discarded tool parts and large plastic objects)  Attracted to the sort of debris that one can easily find while taking a stroll or bike ride around town; objects that in reality really are trash...objects that I sometimes hesitate to grab but have learned not to pass up as they always come in handy for the right flower. 

To date I have used metal and plastic strapping, rebar, cotton gin bale wire and aluminum appliance coils as my flower stems.  I am open to using anything really, but I like the look of bent up old rebar or the delicate thin stemmed, bendable cotton wire the most.  Also, this material is the most readily available where I live and also makes for a nice 'bouquet' when the stems are cohesive.

When I set out to make a flower I go to my 'flower pile' and pick up what I intend to be the body of the flower and then set about looking for smaller objects to fit into it.  I have crates set aside with such objects and smaller containers filled with what I deem 'flower interiors' which are the smaller pieces that fill the center of the flower up...all those little trashy bits of nothing I find on my walks.  Then I choose the stem and set about putting it together.

To fashion a flower I usually use a dremel, drill press, bolt cutters, bench grinder and angle grinder to clean/score and ready the materials to be affixed.  Depending on the materials of said flower I rely on epoxy, tap and die method or nuts and bolts.  I am teaching myself how to weld but that wouldn't behoove me too often as I work with aluminum/brass, copper and plastic. Mostly I like the objects to 'fit' together on their own and use whatever means necessary to make sure they stay that way. 

What I love about making my flowers is the energy that wafts from the materials.  I usually do not know or care what the pieces are/were...I just know what pleases me. The bent up rebar with a personality that I couldn't imbue upon it myself.  The flower body objects ~ beaten up by man and machine.  The patina of the metal, unique to the life and circumstances of which it has experienced.  It's all right there.  Like exotic herbs and spices one has never seen or tasted, only the imagination holds one back from using it.



a gift from a friend!

how my work table always looks

studio is actually tidy (yes THIS is tidy)
in december i was given an electric welder.  i got to play with welding two times at a friends a few months ago and he gave me his old welder. AWESOMENESS!!!!  he also gave me one of his first metal tables he made years ago so i would have a grounded surface to work on.  this was and is exciting but it also meant i had to get this hurricane of a studio organized.  when he looked my workspace he made a comment about how i needed shelves which set me into motion to make shelves and finally get organized.  (sometimes all it takes is anothers' eyes to wake you up to your own blindness)

as you can see ~ my studio in the above photos is a disaster.  i lay things out when i work on them, if everything is put away i can't play around and see how 'this looks with that'. but the problem is i had nowhere to put anything away so it just started piling up.  winter is the time i do not work much because its too cold outside to work with metal and too cold inside because i'm too cheap/poor to use heat, i decided to at least organize things to be ready for spring. my shelves SUCK but by god i have em now albeit lopsided and hastily made because i dont know how to make shelves and i dont like working with wood unless its in my own Dionysian way.  i didnt think about them in advance. i made them with a frenetic hatred.  a friend gave me some wood to use and suggested how to put them together.  the first shelf was horrid and i wanted to cry thinking about making another.  by the 3rd shelf my back went out and i was a raving lunatic.  i didnt even take time to think about how tall they should be or how much space should be in between each shelf;  in fact, i was seething with anger the entire time (lots of swearing going on) cuz it was cold out and i was freezing and just wanted them damn things done.   they amuse me in that they lean and the individual shelves themselves slant.  all i know is they hold my shit and i lucked out because my little hardware drawer things (i dont even know what those are called) fit into them even though i never even harbored the thought of putting them on the shelves.

new old metal table to weld on
i'm almost done....i have just a little bit of stuff left to organize and then i'm gonna tackle welding.  which is funny when i think about it because i know i will probably just do spot welding more than anything.  a lot of the things i make can't be welded with this machine anyhow.  i mean...i work with aluminum and copper and other metals besides steel.   if the metal is too thin i wont want the burn marks that welding seems to give.  no matter. but then, how do i know what i'm going to do?  i dont :)  anything can happen.  i gots me a welder, a helmet, AND someone angelically/anonymously gave me another helmet so i can have a welder dude come by and give me pointers.  its actually unbelievable the support i get on a weekly basis from people.  so....LET THE SUN SHINE!