Something New for Me

Wrangler_award

Blame it on my being a Gemini! I just can't stick with one métier, although I HAVE been married for 45 years :)

A year ago I began taking abstract/mixed media painting lessons from Jennifer Duncan at Great Falls School of Art, the nonprofit foundation arm of Great Falls Studios.  I have long admired Jennifer's painting style and have one of her pieces on our family room wall.

Painting has been a struggle for me in a much different way than making jewelry.  First, I can't draw worth a plug nickel.  

And while I love working with all the colors and mixed media materials, I find myself sitting in front of a blank canvas confounded:  WHERE TO BEGIN?

Jennifer has been very good with exercises to help us overcome this painter's bloc.

One exercise was to bring a favorite item to class and make a stencil of it to use in our design.  The item I chose was a cowboy boot, a Christmas prezzie from my Husband in 2013.  And thus "Wrangler" was born.

Many many steps were involved in the creation of Wrangler creation.  In the end I was pleased with the results.  The ultimate validation of my new venture, however, was winning second place last Friday at the Great Falls School of Art student competition. You can see how surprised I was!

And here is the second (and probably last) boot collage which I call Bad Girl. I've incorporated 100 year-old sheet music in the boot's decorative swirls.

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The moral of this story:  I guess you CAN teach an old dog new tricks.  So, the painting continues. But I still can't draw.


Ready, Set, Shop!

New additions from my jeweler's bench, just in time for the holidays.  Everyone needs some bling and there's no better bling than when it's hand made.

I am happy to trade-in/exchange if "his" choice is not yours.  You are also welcome to come to my studio to have a look-see.  Just send me an email and we will set up a mutually convenient time. Donna@donnabarnako.com

Here's are some of the pieces I've just finished.  You can see larger versions of each bracelet by clicking on its image.

Burnt Out Agate 

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I've had this beautiful stone for at least a half dozen years, uncertain of the best possible use for it.  It is solid agate that has undergone a special process to burn and remove layers and reveal the depth of its colors beneath.  I've attached it to three layers of copper.  I embossed the middle layer with a design of music.  The bottom layer has been torched to a beautiful patina.  Wire working surrounds the stone itself.  This is not a cuff for a petite woman!  It is adjustable and should fit firmly on the wrist.  $275

Have Ruffles, Will Travel

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This cuff has a Sterling Silver base with a secondary layer of copper with two etched Sterling Silver accents riveted to it.  I had mucho fun hammering the creases into the copper and then creating the ruffles.  When I assembled it, I thought the silver just looked too plain next to the copper, so I ruffled it too!  $275

Que Sera

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Embossed Sterling Silver on brass.  This lovely piece is a do-over.  I had it completely finished but was not happy with the results, feeling that the wire which I had wrapped and curled all around was not study enough for frequent wearing.   So I had to rip it apart, not an easy thing as each piece is so solidly made.  My basic problem was that the hole through the gorgeous stone (Mexican fire agate) was not large enough for a thicker gauge of wire to pass through the required four times.  Making the hole larger would have surely broken the stone.  I ended up using only one thicker wire which worked and gave this embellishment a more scroll like look.  $275.

Gloriana

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I started this cuff thinking I would design one similar to Que Sera above, but when I had completed the striped matte and glossy piece, I thought it too striking to cover with a second piece of metal.  So I looked through my vast collection of goodies and found this vintage enamel with topaz and citrine glass stones.  I had to separate it into three pieces and rivet each one to the cuff.  Added another diagonal accent for more visual interest. $250.


How I work

It all starts like this:  a large flat piece of brass, bronze, copper or Sterling metal.

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First, I clean it.  Then I etch or torch it top give it texture and color. Clean again, cut, file, smooth and then begin my design process.  

Below are some new examples of what I wind up with.

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These pieces also showcase my special collection of vintage military medals, repurposed and now worn with pride.

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You can see them this weekend as you explore the Great Falls Studios Art Tour.  50 artists are opening up their workspaces all weekend, for all. Visit Great Falls, see the creatives and enjoy the Fall foliage.  The Weather Channel says the sun will be out!

AND Come see me (!!!!)  at 1144 Walker Road, #19 on the Tour Map, first floor.  I will be there from 10am to 5pm each day, Friday, Saturday and Sunday (October 17-18-19).  Please stop by and say Hi!


Bracelet Envy

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My only class this Fall!

Saturday, November 1, 10am to 4pm. A fun class which explores many techniques in metalworking and cold connections using rivets, wire and microscrews to affix components.

We will be doing metal etching, cutting, cleaning, torching, oxidizing and assembling a crowd-stopping bracelet that you will be proud of. The class is $65 and a $30 materials fee for all the necessities.

Please call (703)938-7018 to reserve your place. The class will be at Star's Beads, 139A Church Street in Vienna, Va.


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Only one week until our Great Falls Studios Art Tour, October 17-18-19 (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), 10-5pm each day.  

Come see me (and 15 other artists) at 1144 Walker Road where I will be showing and demonstrating many of my jewelry making techniques like these fold formed earrings, in bronze, silver and gold.  $100.  

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They took me three hours, not counting all the prep work like etching, sawing and buffing.

Sign up at the Great Falls Library on Saturday, October 18 for a chance to win a $50 Artbuck.  We are giving 20 away, good towards purchasing any art on the tour.  Pick up the tour brochure and map there or at many of the businesses in town like Great Dogs and the Brogue.

This will be my only show this year, so I do hope you'll stop by and say hello.

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Cover Girl!

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Just returned from my magical two weeks in France where I learned many new techniques to incorporate into my jewelry construction.

 

2014-09-24 at 10-54-17Thanks to master instructor Keith Lo Bue, who traveled from Sydney, Australia to the tiny town of Durfort, in the south of France, very close to the border with Spain.  From Keith, I gained a new perspective on found objects, treasures from the past which I adore, and how to deconstruct them and incorporate them into my work.


Mag

In sorting through my mail today, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but Viva Tysons magazine with my necklace, Sonoran, prominently displayed on the front cover, lower right side.

Inside is a very nice article about our upcoming Great Falls Studio Art Tour on October 17-18-19, 10-5 each day. You will find me at 1144 Walker Road, first floor (same shopping center as Dante's restaurant).  There are 14 artists in the building demonstrating and talking about their art.

Please stop by and see me.  I will be showing many new pieces and demonstrating some of my jewelry making techniques.

See you then!


Bonjour from Durfort, France!

I'm in the middle of a two-week adventure in the south of France taking a metal jewelry making class with Keith Lo Bue.  He is a very talented, kooky guy from Connecticut who moved to Australia about 20 years ago. 

There are twelve of us taking the class. We’re from all over the world.

We are  staying in a 17th century restored village town home.  Our studio is at the top of the house with lovely beams and skylights, but never enough work space!

One assignment was to make an object, jewelry or otherwise, that was autobiographical.  

This first photo is of my workspace.

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Almost all of the materials and tools were brought from home! (50 lbs. in my one piece of checked luggage).  There is a lot more on the floor, too!

I decided to make a "doll" that would be me.

   
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The photo shows the doll:  body from a small oil can, legs that are meant to be a battery tester, and a bald doll head.  All of these were found at French flea markets We’ve been to five. So far. :)

Here are a few smaller things I've made here.

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You can see these pieces, and others I’ve done in this class, next month (Oct. 17-19) at the Great Falls Studio Tour at 1144 Walker Road.


Faux Chanel

Nothing “faux” about the fact that the summer is ending, here in Maine and back home in Virginia.

Had a lovely lunch this afternoon at the Osprey restaurant, overlooking the Robin Hood marina.  The sky was clear and blue and the sunlight so bright you HAD to wear sunglasses.  Is it less air pollution? I don’t know, but the brightness is startling.

Even though we’re hundreds of miles away from the east coast media meccas, we do get The New York Times.  And when I saw a woman's Chanel purse advertised for $8,000 in the paper, I knew I could copy it.  

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My version is a brooch in copper and bronze, textured, torched, etched and enameled and much less than $8,000.  

It's available at $150. Unless someone snaps it up before, it will also be available at the Studio Tour next month, Oct. 17-19. I'll be exhibiting at 1144 Walker Road, First Floor in the Great Falls Foundation for the Arts (GFFFTA) classroom

Hope to see you there!


If I had Wings

Isn't this gorgeous?  My newest: "If I had Wings".

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As the days dwindle for our summertime stay in Maine, I'm still inspired by the wonderful weather, the people, and the bounty of fresh vegetables and seafood that are available to us every day.

This is one of my collection of Victorian Sterling and rhinestone stick pins (who knows, maybe they're diamonds!) in which I figured a way to retain the pin mechanism itself.  The purple and white bead is handmade glass from California. 

I held my breath and threaded the pin thru the bead.  It worked! 

The whole shebang is mounted on a lovely antiqued silver backplate with a hidden bail to keep he look clean.  Pendant is on a silver chain with Sterling silver toggle clasp.

Available for $200.00


Three for the show

In my never ending effort to destash and use up the collection of goodies I have accumulated over the years, I made these three fun bracelets.

The first, top center, features real turquoise, Sterling and artisan glass with a Sterling horse charm.

The second, lower right, includes copper and a matte-polished Red Creek Jasper stone with a Lady Bug charm for luck.

The last, lower left, is real artisan glass with ceramic beads and a Sterling "Paris" perfume bottle charm.