Honey and Oak

I Can’t Draw A Straight Line!

I Can’t Draw A Straight Line!

This is probably the #1 statement made by people who do not believe themselves to be creative.  While it IS true that each of us may excel in one expression of joy, beauty and creativity more than another, I believe that everyone has the talent, ability and skill necessary to create something wonderful, individual and exuberant. 

What this statement usually means is I can’t draw something that looks recognizable or identifiable or sophisticated, not childlike…yet it is letting our free, uninhibited self, the shy little smile inside of us, out for a session of free expression that can produce something wildly beautiful, new and innovative.  Art pieces are about opening our own voice, not listening to the needling voice that says “I can’t”, “I’m really no good at this” or “Whomever told me I could create something worthwhile?”

It might be important to ‘draw straight lines’ if you were creating a painting of geometric shapes and figures, layerings of bands, or rectangular shapes, but a lot of exquisite art work and handmade objects have nothing to do with straight lines and that kind of precision.  Sometimes it is exactly the opposite…that the fingerprints, drips and juxtapositions of unexpected colors tell us about the individuality, the beauty of the maker and her expression…her soul if you will.

Most of us as children are taught the ‘proper’ way to draw a person or a house.  We are taught to color inside the lines.  Of course, manual dexterity and small muscle coordination are important skills to learn…but somehow in this process, we often close down the most beautiful expressions of who we are.  A child may bring home a ‘color the frog green’ class project but within the frog lines add layer upon layer of colored greens in free-wheeling spirals, showing that the child still has a sense of artistic self worth. 

A young adult may be asked to create a color chart by mixing red, blue and yellow…while many of the students very precisely and carefully paint each shade or tint into nicely defined little boxes, another will gradate the color spectrum using lovely free brushstrokes, and swiping little swishes of paint, letting her/his inner painter show through. 

Though you might think that an abstract painter paints in a free, or even sloppy way, because they cannot control the brush, pen or pencil. The truth is they are usually extremely gifted and skilled draftsmen who could ‘draw it correctly’, but who choose huge swashes of color and imaginative shapes and pairings, because then, the painting precisely emotes the feelings, thoughts, memories for the artist.  What appears to be free wheeling abandon, is actually days and hours of action paired with contemplative and almost meditative reflection to create the story of their choice…the piece that will evoke viewers to explore new ways of viewing the world!!

 

If you are just venturing into the visual creative world, I encourage you to embrace a playful approach to your creative ventures, to listen to your inner yearnings, heart and to approach artistic challenges with the robust energy you might have had as a child.  Let the individual out for expression and acknowledge the creative artist in you that cannot be denied.  Sure you can ‘follow the rules’, but just for once, when no one is watching, swipe your fingers through the wet paint, or smoosh the side of your ceramic pot…but at least do something that shows ‘the mark of the maker’, the beauty, exuberance and joy that only you can create!!! 

And if you find it hard to face a blank white canvas on your own, take yourself to the many workshops where you can learn to release, let go and flower.  I took an exquisite workshop from Flora Bowley in Portland, Oregon and grew immensely in 4 days!!  florabowley.com

Explore!! And ponder on this!!

With joy,

Birdie
 
Lost Wax. What?!

Lost Wax. What?!

LOST WAX :

Created one at a time…a tiny wax sculpture is ‘lost’ and becomes a treasure in antique bronze or silver.

It’s like magic!!  It IS magic…to me!

Lost wax.  What?  Those words, at first glance don’t seem to belong together…but they describe an intriguing process that I use to create my silver and vermeil jewelry.

I’ve always been intrigued with wax and its magical qualities…reminders of home, the fragrance of vanilla candles, my fingerprints recorded in soft wax, the sand castle like drips on our Thanksgiving tapers, and the mini hexagonal architectures created by bees…wax has always captured my imagination.

So ’playing’ and creating with wax became a natural art media for me.  I have loved creating tiny sculptures out of wax which become a wee bird’s nest ring, a miniature daffodil, or a flappy butterfly that glides on a neckpiece. 

 

I create this miniature world using a process the French call ‘cire perdue’ also known as lost wax casting.  It is a magical technique by which a metal sculpture (often silver, gold, brass or bronze) is created from an original in wax.  But just HOW does a wax piece become a cast silver or vermeil ring you might ask.

 

 

I cut and texture tiny shapes from sheet wax or wax rods.  Using an ‘additive’ process, I build up bits and pieces of soft wax to create a small sculpture.  Other artists use a ‘subtractive’ process, filing hard wax away until only their desired three-dimensional piece is left. 

The original tiny wax sculpture is then added to a ‘sprue’, a tiny rod of wax and attached along with other originals, to a ‘tree’, a wax tree.  A plaster of Paris-like substance, called ‘investment’, is poured around the tree, filling up the space between the original and a cylindrical metal flask.  When the investment is hard and dry,  it is put into a kiln and heated until the original wax sculpture melts out and leaves behind, a space for the molten silver or bronze to flow. 

 

That’s why its called ‘lost wax’, the wax is melted away leaving space for the molten metal that replaces it.   Formless molten metal is poured into the mold to create a permanent replica of the original wax sculpture!  Because my designs are 3D complex, a vacuum casting process is required to ensure that the molten metal reaches each tiny petal.  I direct cast other pieces in my studio, but collaborate with artisan Isamael Laredo at That Casting Place to ensure that the elaborate and precise casting produces perfection rings!!

 

(Photo: Isamael Laredo.  That Casting Place.  Pasadena,  CA.)

 

Most jewelry is reproduced using molds, so that objects can be duplicated hundreds of times.  I’ll share that process in another post.  But my tiny wax sculptures are too complicated three-dimensionally to be molded, so they are created one at a time…I create a wax sculpture, and then ‘lose’ it.  Poof. Like Magic...to me!

 

So, what will it be today…a butterfly, a cuttlefish or twists and ruffles like a flowing stream?  I have ideas but until I get out the wax, my shaping tools and light the candle I won’t know…it will just whisper what it wants to be!

Birdie

Artist and Collaborator for Honey and Oak 

See Whimsical Adornment in our Shop for other creations. 

 

 

Squam Scholarship 2017::

Squam Scholarship 2017::

Good Morning. This morning we announced the winner of the Squam 2017 Scholarship over on Instagram.  We had an abundant and beautiful response.  Our decision panel read each and every one.  They laughed aloud, got teary eyed, had deep thoughts and were touched by what the applicants shared. 

The choice for our panel was a difficult one.  Each story captivating, authentic, thoughtful and deserving.  For some of you, it meant a reprieve from your busy life of serving others; for some it meant getting back to a creative self you’d put aside for a while; for others it was a desire to work collectively with your ‘tribe’; and for others it was to reconnect with nature and art in a soulful way. All beautiful. All worthy. All wonderful. 

At Honey and Oak, we have come to realize, more each day, that it is essential to commit to handmade.  To honor the artist living inside us. To share the beauty of creativity. To embrace joy and beauty in the world and create new ways to share this.  We support each and everyone of you to do the same. Thank you for sharing such beauty with our panel. They are forever changed. 

Thank you Elizabeth for allowing us the opportunity to contribute to "Creativity as a Way of Life". We are so humbled to be part of this experience. 

 

With love,

Kellen, Birdie and Valerie Quin