Sunday, August 30, 2009

More etching

Here's my latest piece made from an etched brass plate. I did this one so the spider web is raised. I wasn't sure if it would turn out, but once again etching didn't let me down!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Hello Romania!

There is a cool little widget over on the right side which shows where in the world visitors to my blog are coming from. I've been noticing a fairly steady stream of visitors from Romania lately, including someone in Timosoara, which is not far from the town of Triebswetter, where both my grandparents on my Mom's side are from. When they lived there (before WW2) it was still Austria-Hungary, buy my family is German speaking and we consider ourselves German.

I was really fortunate in that I got to visit Triebswetter in 1984 with my grandparents. It's a very small farming town, and at that time not all that much had changed from when my grandparents lived there. My great grandmother was still alive, and we had many relatives there, most of whom are now in Germany. This was during the Ceau┼čescu era, so I got to experience a bit of his brand of Communism first hand. I would love to go back sometime and see what has changed.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New owl piece

I've been wanting to do an all silver version of my little owl in a tree and finally got to it this week. I drew the wood grain texture in Illustrator and made a brass etching of it. The texture is on the sides and back too. He's now available in my etsy shop.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The view from Fort Baker

I had a lovely meal with my old pal Terry tonight at Murray Circle, which is in part of the old Fort Baker on the Marin side of the Golden Gate bridge. I've never been here before, you take a winding road down the hill right before you get to the bridge. It's all very hidden away and quite nice. My favorite part of the meal? The grilled corn creme brulee' with corn waffle and brown butter ice cream. Yes, you read that right. Brown butter ice cream.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Shar Peis love blue Octopus

Lulu Bug and Lily Belle (especially Lily) love this blue octupus enough that whenever we see one at Western Farm Center we have to get it. There used to be tiny pink ones too, but they don't last long.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tiny leaves

Here are some new tiny leaves I just finished. They are all available now at my Etsy shop!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A blast from the past

Our graduation show opening, May 1987, me and Terry Green

I just heard from my old friend, Terry Green. We went to art school together 22 years ago (!) He was a grad student while I was an undergrad, and we became friends while learning about the amazing world of computer graphics, which was in it's dinosaur stage back then. Your choice of 256 colors! 8.5" floppies! Color output to 35mm or 4"x5" film only! The wonder of it all. We were dazzled anyways, having no idea what was yet to come. Anyhoooo, Terry went on into motion graphics and founded twenty2product with his partner Nori. I just found out that they designed these postage stamps which were just released:

How amazing is that? You can read more about it here:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Why I love etching

I've been doing lots of tiny pieces lately (more coming soon!) so I need a smaller hallmark. I have an etched brass plate with a bunch of hallmarks that I use to make the little tags I put on the back of my work, but they are too big for much of my new stuff, so it was time to see how small I can get. I get asked about how I get my art work on to my pieces quite regularly, so I thought I'd share a bit of the process here.

I etch on brass with ferric chloride (which is available in the US at electronic supply houses, since it is commonly used to etch PCB boards). The big trick is using Press n Peel blue transfer paper (also known as PNP) to transfer art to the brass for the resist. I do most of my artwork in Photoshop and Illustrator, and print it right onto the transfer paper in my toner based laser printer. You can also use a toner based copier with the PNP. You can google "copper etching" and get lots of info about it, or you can go to Art Jewelry magazine's website here:
and download the etching project. I hadn't etched in years and this refreshed my memory and introduced me to the PNP paper. I highly recommend it.

I did the art for the hallmark in Illustrator, so I have a nice vector file which can be resized without losing any image quality. I made it smaller - the line thickness of Lulu Bug is .35 PT, which is really fine! Once I got a little gang of them laid out, I printed it on to the PNP paper, cleaned my brass sheet and used an iron to transfer the image to the brass. I use a meat thermometer to check the iron temp - 275F seems to be optimal. Too hot or not hot enough and the image won't transfer. Once the image was transferred, I put tape on the back of the brass (to act as a resist and prevent the back from etching) and suspended the brass face down in a bath of ferric chloride. 45 minutes later I had my new tiny hallmark! The photo shows my original and the new one - 5/16" wide. I keep meaning to try photo polymer plates as an alternative to etching, but with the detail and fine lines I can get this way I probably won't get to it anytime soon.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New work

Despite the recent arrival of something resembling summer, I'm designing for my favorite season, fall. I've been wearing one of these little silver and concrete mushrooms for about a week now and I quite like it! After seeing all the amazing sculptural work my friend Ruth does over at Birdland Creations (be sure to check it out!) I decided to try some things that are more sculptural myself. There are silver and concrete acorns coming too!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Finally - summer is here!

I live in Santa Rosa, California, about 1 hour north of San Francisco. We're close enough to the coast that we enjoy sunny warm days and cool nights thanks to the coastal fog that is usually hanging around. This summer has been unusually cool though, with the fog coming in and staying through much of July, not that I'm complaining! We've had some hot weather as of late, and the tomatoes are finally starting to ripen - yay! Of course my brain has already moved on to fall, but I will enjoy the tomatoes. I had a little fun in Photoshop with the image.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Custom orchid

I've been doing a lot of custom work lately, but I've been forgetting to take photos. I remembered with this piece though! I will probably do some of these for my regular line next spring - I'm in fall mode right now (more about that coming soon!)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Budgies and Bats

I was taking photos of some new stuff and noticed that the budgies were all lined up and posing nicely. From left to right they are Greg, who is actually a girl, Nigel, who is an English budgie, Jeff, who was an escapee that we found outside and Wendy, the youngest of the bunch.

Here's one of the new pieces I was photographing: