Tag Archives: why aren’t any of the link to images working…

A Few Features

Shannon of Abstract Lucidity very kindly nominated me for a creative blogger award. While honored, I’m not sure how that sort of thing works so far as the tagging others or who to tell, etc. So instead of nabbing others, I’m just going to use it as an excuse to mention a few favorite crafty blogs. I also have to apologize, I’ve been having trouble getting links to work and while they’re back I’m still having issues getting images to show. Sorry, you’ll have to click the links, but they’re worth it, promise! Just beware, you might get sucked in for hours…

 

I’m not supper active in blogging, and some of these people aren’t either, so they might not be updated as often as you hope. But they’re all worth a visit when you want some inspiration.

 

Deri made the fantastic Tut I showed off last week. She has a way with tiny details (and I mean *tiny*) and distilling intense historical research into a deceptive simplicity. She seems utterly fearless about tackling difficult places and times for inspiration. She’s probably best known for her brilliant, mad, and sometimes morbid series of Tudor dolls. (Deri’s also a lot of fun to mess with when it comes to giving her more doll ideas than she can sanely cope with…)

 

Rhissana is always so nice, patiently sharing and explaining doll and general crafting tips. She’s recently got me looking at too many cheap things to play with on ebay… (fair warning, they might start showing up on here…) Her dolls have amazing, delicate details both in their bodies and costuming. She’s also upcycling royalty-Queen of the dollar store steampunk and Duchess of Kitchen Drawer (and everything but the Sink) magic. Beware, if you click, you’ll never look at yard sales or spray paint the same way ever again. And you’ll want to try everything.

 

The first doll artist I started watching was Cynthia. Like the others, I first found her on deviantart and she is wonderful about sharing her knowledge and joy of dollmaking. One of my first entries showcases two of her autumn themed dolls and their fantastic photosessions. She always gives them the best props to play with. It makes me wonder, do you need the right garden and library before you can adopt them? I love the gentleness in her doll’s faces and the delicacy of their wings. (Okay, and envy it too. Those wings, *sigh*) She’s done some wonderful character adaptations.

 

One funny thing, I hadn’t thought about it until I was typing this up, both Cynthia and Rhissana have done variants on Alice in Wonderland. Both adorable and such different takes. So here’s Tea Party Alice and Miss R. White and her Alice Doll! For another set of contrasts The Little Prince has been ‘translated’ by both Cynthia and Deri. So it seems like I’ve a bit of a theme of artists who like to play with cultural touchstones! 

 

Chris is a polymer clay artist with an ancient (scavenger’s) soul…. Her works have the most amazing textures I’ve seen in clay-you want to pet them through the screen. And I love how she uses upcycled elements and turns them into treasures. It’ll make you want to run to the craft store and clear out the shelves. Her work has such a natural growth feel that makes it look so easy. If only!

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Turkish Blue

Tree of turquoise chips with sterling silver and copper.

Tree of turquoise chips with sterling silver and copper.

Turquoise is one of December’s traditional birthstones. (As designated by the American Gem Society. The other two are zircon and tanzanite.)

 

To me it’s such a summery color. I guess on the right winter day you can have a turquoise sky brilliant against the snow and bare trees.

 

Turquoise supposedly gets its name from the middle French for Turkey, since the trade routes that first brought turquoise to Europe came through that country.

 

It’s an opaque stone with a texture somewhere between waxy and glassy. It takes polishing well but is relatively soft. (Mohs 5-6) The color can change with exposure to cosmetics, oil, sweat and detergents as well as bright light. Turquoise seems to be another of those stones that is popular for rings but probably shouldn’t be used for them! At least take them off before washing your hands.

 

Turquoise is a secondary mineral; it forms when acid solutions leech elements from other minerals. It doesn’t have a crystal shape, so tends to form clusters or nodules in veins and often grows with other copper related minerals. (For example, chrysocolla or malachite. Great color combinations.) The blue in turquoise comes from the copper, and the green hints from iron and chromium.

 

Turquoise is one of the most ancient gemstones; it has been mined for at least 5000 years. The mines in the Sinai were already worked out by 2000 BCE! (And people have been making imitations almost as long. The Egyptians had faience, a type of pottery glazed in a turquoise color.)

 

In the states we tend to associate turquoise with the Southwest. In a lot of places it’s a lucrative secondary to copper mining. Apparently the classic Southwestern silver and turquoise jewelry is a fairly modern phenomenon. Supposedly the concept was pushed by traders in the 1880s. Before then Native Americans used turquoise in solid beads, mosaics and carving rather than settings.

 

Some of the turquoise minded in the southwest is still gem quality (especially the Sleeping Beauty and Kingman mines), but a lot of it is treated to get it stable enough to use.

 

It’s kind of frustrating, because it is hard to tell if material sold has been dyed or stabilized with plastics or epoxy. On the plus side, it has also led more recently to a type of stabilizing/reconstituting that adds brass or copper veining through the stone. It doesn’t make any pretense at being natural and is a lot of fun to work with!

 

The best imitation is called Gilson turquoise. It has both uniform color and veined variants. The most common way to fake turquoise is to dye naturally white stones that possess similar textures (and veining patterns).

 

Value for turquoise seems to be very much in the eye of the beholder. Some hold out for the most turquoise of the turquoises with very uniform color-the best quality of this type comes from Iran and is the most desirable in the middle east and much western jewelry.

 

Others prefer the stone to have a cob webbing of matrix when the pattern and color is complimentary, emphasizing the richness of the color. This is the type generally preferred by artists in the Far East as well as by many Southwestern artists.

 

Oh, and apparently there’s a Turquoise Museum in Albuquerque, NM. Who Knew?

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