Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Art of Metal Clay revisited

Sherri's groundbreaking book, The Art of Metal Clay, first came out in 2003 and quickly became a classic. It recently underwent a renovation and emerged with a fresh cover and the most current information about this evolving art. Bead and Button magazine ran a nice review in the February 2011 issue.

Metal clay was a new product when Sherri first started experimenting with it, and since then, it has expanded and new products and techniques have been developed by Sherri and other metal clay artists. New material in the book includes:
  • The new bronze and copper clays, with must-have instructions for successful firing
  • up-to-date, detailed information on firing with stones
  • an improved method for calculating accurate ring sizes
  • two recently developed techniques for etching metal clay
  • new techniques for adding color, including working with pigments and enamels
  • all-new, inspiring galleries of work by prominent metal clay artists
Check Sherri's shop here for more information.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bohemian Earrings

One of the frustrations of writing instructional books is that you want to give exacting instructions so that you are sure readers can follow along easily, but at the same time, you want readers to bring their own style to the project. Often when Sherri writes a first draft of instructions, she’ll put down something generic such as, “string on a bead” when a specific size or shape doesn’t matter, so readers can choose a bead from their own collection or exercise their creativity. Invariably, the draft will come back with a note from the editor that says something like, “please specify size/shape/color of bead.” It’s with mixed feelings that Sherri adds the specifics, understanding that readers may want to duplicate the jewelry piece exactly, and, of course, sometimes very specific instructions and materials are necessary for the project to be successful.

Ideally, a reader can make the jewelry piece as instructed, and then with that experience under his or her belt, run with the design. The best thing about teaching classes all over the country is at the end of the day when Sherri can see all the amazing pieces that class members have created. It’s inspiring when someone uses one of Sherri’s techniques and creates something she never would have dreamed of.

With that in mind, my daughter Brennyn and I decided to make some earrings from Sherri’s Beaded Macrame Jewelry book with the supplies we had on hand. Very little of what we had matched the supply list for the Bohemian earrings; no silk cord, right-size beads or one-half inch jump rings. Instead, we had embroidery floss, a hodgepodge of beads from the bottom of my stash, and large chain links. Of course when you change things up, you can run into problems (many of the beads we wanted to use had holes too small for the floss, and since I’m design-impaired, I started over twice before I was happy), but we went with the flow, and ended up with some pretty cool earrings. I went for a little plainer style and Brennyn went all out with design and color.

The original project is shown above. Here’s what we came up with:

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Buzz about Beading Across America

The editors of Beading Across America chose Sherri to represent Utah in their book which features a project, instructions and an inspirational story from each artist. The focus of the book is seed bead projects. Sherri used metallic seed beads in an innovative bracelet design with macrame, various larger beads and a silver bee focal point made from precious metal clay. Utah is nicknamed "The Beehive State" or "The Deseret State" in reference to the early Mormon settlers who were known for their hard work, and also to commemorate the industry, perseverance and thrift of the early settlers. Sherri's ancestors were some of the first pioneers who, at great sacrifice, traveled across the plains from the east coast to settle the barren desert where Salt Lake City now stands. This bracelet is a stylish representation of that theme. You can find more information on Beading Across America here. If you are interested in more projects that combine beads and macrame, Sherri's book Beaded Macrame Jewelry is a great place to start.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Easter Necklace

For those of us who have, or have used, one of Sherri’s E3 Electroform machines, nothing is safe from the question, “Could I plate this in copper?” We eye commonly plated natural things like leaves and sticks, but nothing escapes the imagination. I have a pink Barbie shoe on my desk that is destined to become a copper charm, and I once briefly considered the ladybug I found on my sweater.

Proof of the quirky things that can become jewelry is this cheap plastic rabbit trinket that Sherri turned into an elegant copper pendant for Easter. She added a wire loop before processing so it could be made into a necklace. If you would like to learn more about the E3 Electroform, check here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Win Sherri's New Book

Sherri's book, Jewelry Upcycled! with Michelle Haab, is hot off the press. Post a comment on this blog for a chance to win a free copy. We'll randomly choose someone who posts a comment (there's an app for that--we won't play favorites) by midnight PST Tuesday, April 12. Be the first to own this awesome book. Click here if you can't wait and want to purchase a copy.

Sherri's New Book - Jewelry Upcycled!

Sherri’s latest book, created with daughter Michelle, is here! Order from the shop, or better yet, check out tomorrow's blog for a chance to win the book.

When I was watching these projects evolve on Sherri’s kitchen table, I picked up a beautiful bracelet that looked like an avant garde crystal piece. Sherri casually remarked that it was made out of a plastic soda bottle. This is what I thought: “!” Seriously. I give Sherri a hard time for using too many exclamation points (New classes! Click here!), but Jewelry Upcycled! deserves its punctuation. You’ll be looking at your recycle bin and junk drawer in a whole new light.

Here’s the synopsis from the publisher, Watson Guptill:

Before you recycle that soda bottle, scrap that old T-shirt, or toss that broken china plate, ask yourself: “Could I use this to make something fabulous?” Impossible? Think again!

In Jewelry Upcycled!, jewelry expert and bestselling author Sherri Haab has teamed up with daughter Michelle Haab to show you how to transform metal, glass, plastic, fabric, and found objects—items you might otherwise recycle or throw away—into fun and exciting jewelry designs.

Explore the creative possibilities of these everyday materials in resourceful and innovative ways: Repurpose plastic bottles into pretty charms, turn broken cassette tapes into braided bracelets, and fashion one-of-a-kind pendants with found objects.

A word about Sherri’s co-author, Michelle: While she was creating projects for this book, she was also creating the uber cute baby Adeline. If you’ve ever been around Michelle or Sherri, you understand the concept of perpetual motion. Non-napping Adeline shares this apparently genetic trait.

Coming soon....Baby Bottle Bangles?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Santa Fe, Hot Chocolate and Ibuprofen

A week after Vegas, it was off to Santa Fe, this time with Rachel, Sherri's daughters. (At the office she goes by "Rach" to avoid confusion with Rachel Wright.) On previous trips to Santa Fe, it was hard to find the local eateries and galleries with the limited time and because all of the adobe-style buildings are modestly obscure to the common tourist. After eating at the usual chains and frustrating drives looking for places to stop, Sherri and Rachel just knew they were missing the real experience of Santa Fe.
All that changed this time with an awesome iphone app called "Urban Spoon." One of the top choices, according to the Spoon, was a small cafe called Pasquals. The Spoon was right one. It was so good they ate there twice, and even took pictures of the food. Pasquals is also a feast for the eyes. The dining room is lined with hand-painted tiles and murals by Mexican painter Leovigildo Martinez, and there is an art gallery on the second floor.

Their other favorite food find was a chocolate shop called Kakawa Chocolates. Sherri said it was the best hot chocolate she's ever had, which is really saying something. Trip Advisor led them to the Sage Inn, and it was a clean, economical place to stay. All three of these locations are on the itinerary again next year.

Of course the reason for the trip was a busy teaching schedule at Interweave's Bead Fest; no room for a spa treatment this time. There were eight big boxes to unpack, made more complicated by the fact that Sherri had injured her thumb on a flight the night before leaving for Santa Fe, and then she added head and back injuries from a fall on slippery tile just hours before getting on the plane to Santa Fe to teach. Luckily, her husband Dan was with her, and since he anticipates such accidents before trips, was ready with ibuprofen. The hot chocolate also went the distance in helping Sherri feel better.

On day one, Sherri and Rachel taught students how to transfer images onto Faux Bone and then set the pieces in fine silver clay. Day two was copper etching and glass enameling was last. This class is especially fun because of the magical effect of the color on metal. The class used shades of pink and red leaded enamel colors.

Sherri was accident-free the rest of the trip, and she and Rachel went home happy with souvenirs and treats for the family filling their suitcases. They brought this home for your truly, because they said when they saw it, they both thought it looked like me:

Hmmm. Only people you love could get away with that!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Las Vegas Art and Soul

The saying "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" usually applies to untoward behavior best forgotten, but we certainly hope what Sherri experienced for the first time during Art and Soul March 1, 2, and 3rd doesn't stay in Vegas. It was this thing called "relaxation." As Sherri and Rachel Wright left for the show, Sherri's daughters reminded Rachel to assert her right for lunch breaks and sleep (Sherri's been known to forget about these things entirely). Rachel did one better--she introduced Sherri to spa treatments, and much to everyone's surprise, Sherri got hooked. Pampering is now admissible as preparation or recovery from an event. Seaweed wrap, anyone?

The energy level at Art and Soul, h
owever, was high from the start. No matter where Art and Soul is held, the students are enthusiastic and excited about learning new things. Sherri’s first class on making metal clay Pandora-style beads was comprised of a small group of women who giggled and recounted Vegas adventures, but also got a lot of work done. They made stunning silver beads in this class, about which a student said, “You get a lot of bang for your buck.” Sherri’s enthusiasm for this particular class is no doubt part of this energy, because as she says, “I would make these beads all day long if I could.”

Then came two more busy days of classes, etching and silver clay with Faux Bone. Sherri, Rachel, and the students worked hard, and it was satisfying to receive positive feedback from students who said they learned valuable new skills. The artistry level was especially high in the Faux Bone class. Take a look at these finished pieces from the class. Every finish
ed piece was gallery worthy. These are even more amazing up close.

If you want to learn this technique, Sherri will be offering this class at Art and Soul in Hampton, Virginia at the end of April, and then
in Philadelphia at the Interweave Beadfest on August 19.