Archive for January, 2012

Things I Can’t Make: Wire Art by Carol Bellamy + Air Plant Garden Tutorial

Carol Bellamy of Meadow Vista, CA makes very elaborate wire art.  My mother has given me two pieces by Bellamy as gifts-for-no-special-occasion (as I’ve mentioned before, my mom is awesome!).  Each sculpture Bellamy creates is crafted from a single length of wire, ranging in length from 3 feet to 350 feet.  Having worked with wire for jewelry on a much smaller scale, this blows my mind.

I first saw the wire tree while window-shopping at a gallery in Auburn, CA.  I thought it would be perfect for displaying earrings (if you’ve seen my San Francisco apartment, you know I have, one, a ton of earrings and, two, very little space for art that isn’t “functional.”)

Air Plant Garden Tutorial

The first piece of Bellamy’s wire-art my mom gave me was this starfish.  I once told my mom my earliest memory consists of collecting starfish from Pacific tide pools, but I seemed to have blocked out the devastating part where she made me put them back.

air plant garden

So, in the name of functional art, I turned this starfish into an air plant garden.  You’ve probably seen this done recently with driftwood and terrariums.  It’s easy!  You will need:

  • something to showcase your air plants (a stick, a fancy rock, a wire starfish)
  • air plants (I got mine at Hortica in the Castro)
  • a hot glue gun
Arrange your air plants until you are satisfied with their placement.  Put a dab of hot glue where you would like to stick a plant.  Let the glue cool for a few seconds so it’s not too hot (you don’t want to burn yourself or the plants).  Stick your plants to the glue.  Repeat until finished.  Most air plants like to be spritzed with water every day or so.  Don’t forget this part or you will be buying more air plants before you know it.

If you’d like to learn more about Carol Bellamy’s wire art, you can visit her website.


Labradorite Earrings Tutorial

These were inspired by a pair I saw in Sundance.  I like the mix of gold and silver and the iridescence of the labradorite.  To make them, you will need:

  • two labradorite rondelles
  • 2-4 gold disks
  • 2 sterling silver head-pins
  • 2 small sterling silver round beads
  • sterling silver beads
  • 2 gold-filled ear-wires
  • round nose and flat nose jewelry pliers

Start by putting one small silver bead on your head-pin. Follow with the labradorite rondelle and the two gold disks.  Add your silver beads until you reach your desired length, and then bind off the head-pin with a wrapped loop.  Attach to your ear-wire. Repeat for the second earring.

Things I Can’t Make: Ichibana Vase by Don Lawson + Tiny Stencil Tutorial

I’ve recently decided to expand the scope of my blog with a category that features “things I can’t make.”  Since evenings are my favorite time to work on arts & crafts, my work hours often preclude me from creating much during my work week, but I figure that shouldn’t stop me blogging.  The “Things I Can’t Make” feature will share some the interesting pieces of art I buy or am gifted because, frankly, I couldn’t make them myself.  I think it will be a great way to introduce my readers to some awesome artisans I’ve discovered.

I can’t do woodworking, for example.  I recently admired this Japanese-style ikebana vase while window shopping with my mom in Auburn, CA, and on her last trip to San Francisco, she surprised me with it as a gift-for-no-special-occasion (my mom’s the best!).  The vase was crafted from maple wood by Nevada City artist Don Lawson.  The metal dish that rests in the wood is known as a kensan — a component of flower arranging that features densely packed metal spikes that can support individual branches or flowers.  I encourage you to look up ikebana; it’s a very beautiful art form that can be both minimalist and very elaborate.

Tiny Stencil Tutorial

I’ve stenciled a few rocks recently because it’s a very quick and easy craft.  They make nice paperweights, pretty little decorations, or gifts.  You’ll need:

  • contact paper and sharpie
  • x-acto knife
  • spray paint
  • rocks

Draw your tiny design on the contact paper with a fine-point sharpie.  Carefully cut out the design with your x-acto knife and stick it to the rock.  The contact paper will likely only adhere to one side of the rock, so before you spray paint, hold a piece of paper or card stock over any exposed areas so the spray paint will only get on the stencil-design. Spray your design.  After allowing the paint to dry a few minutes, remove the contact paper and enjoy your tiny design.