Stay obsessed by what you love...........

______Days are full and as much as I try to keep order, I find less time to write about it. The seasons change and sounds of the birds in early morning make me long to show through my work how this makes me feel. I hope that my design work will bring some of that to the fore. Someone said, "Do what you know, do what you love".
I only wish.
There are many ways to put nature in the work we all do. That is my guiding inspiration and a way to leave a part of myself in this beautiful world.______

Monday, August 03, 2009

Ridgway Colorado......

I am here in Colorado for the next 2 1/2 months. It is a blessing to have this special place and as much as I know that, I still have trouble being away from my girls. Two daughters and one grandchild....each amazing in their own way.
I try to take this time to work and it always takes me a couple weeks to settle in. Now that my kiln seems to be working I will get going. I wish I had brought my polymer things with me since my oven always works! I could have fit a few other things in since we drove. I wonder why I brought the Tupelo honey???? .... there is wonderful honey here. Things like that make me shake my head in disbelief at myself.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

just plain annoyed at myself ........

Under the best of circumstances kilns are the workhorse of my kind of creativity. When things go wrong, all you can do is start over and think of all the work you did as practice.
With 4 sculpted and refined silver clay pieces ready to go, I made the mistake of not test firing after traveling with my kiln. We cannot actually figure out what happened...perhaps a wire came loose, but it seems fine now. Of course the 4 pieces are blobs of CZ's and vermiculite and fine silver. Paragon and Laura Miller, one of their gurus, and Arnold, himself, were immediately helpful. They had me test and open and check. Thanks to them, I still have confidence in my SC2. I don't believe I would have received this kind of attention from ANYONE other than Don Mckinney, who personally, by hand, made my bead kiln. Thank you!
It was very strange because I had a brief feeling to only fire one piece....and I even thought to do a test fire....but I did not follow my instincts. That is very unwise.
This is what one piece would have been similar to. Too bad for me! Plus everything else was new and different. Practice. Another big thank you to Paragon!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

preparation .....

I like this theme so far. In fact I love this theme. Smooth untextured areas with something added. I used no patina on this, and have not decided whether to keep it or not ..and the way to keep it is an entirely different story. Several choices there. Size is 1 3/4 x 3/4 inch.

The world is still in an uproar and it feels a little strange. Perhaps I need to get out a little more. Of course, I say that and tomorrow I will be out all day and all evening so I will be so ready for my studio on Thursday. Girls night...going to Stevie Wonder...and dinner. I am actually going to a painting group tomorrow morning also so ... new things! Taking my pastels instead of watercolor.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Trying to work and keep abreast of the news.
Very sad that so many people seem to believe the Iranians are not like us. Only some of us have empathy in this situation. I feel so frightened for the people who have spirit enough to fight for their rights.
Even my dreams are restless and full of frustration.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

working ...

I am taking a break to jot a few things down and show what I made for my friend Jeannie's  birthday. Our birthdays are the same and I am lucky it makes it easy to remember. Actually, I'm just very lucky she is such a close friend. You know, a special person. 
I did get this idea from a project in a book and although I feel very iffy about constructing other's ideas I also know that until I put my own spin on this I would not sell them and I always say they are Sherri Haab's design. The artichoke is special to us because I am not only set back in time to my family making the most incredible Italian style artichokes but I was privileged to be included when Jeannie's  father in law made the most delicious ones many years ago, at a very special get together that was so much fun. I wish for everyone that they have a friend that is always there and makes them laugh. We laugh when we hear each other's voice on the phone. How great is that!   I think she will be thrilled by this little gift. 

I am constantly ordering more metal clay so I finally ordered two large packages and hope it lasts for a while. I love this process still and I am making beads again and incorporating them into my work so I am busy and happy.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

design...and decisions

Earlier I posted a fine silver pendant that I finished this week and then I thought...ok, it is a great shape, let's try it with a beautiful glass bead with a long silhouette and also make it young and current looking instead of just pretty. This is what I came up with and those of you who help me so much with your opinions, please feel free to do so. I am designing more things of this type and I really believe they add a little of the mixed look that I have always loved and is becoming well loved by all.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Through the viewfinder photography .....

It's so very, very nice when you are noticed and I was very happy to have Spearmint Baby ask me about my Children's Room series of TTV's. Shari Engleson ' site is a wonderful source for all things special for baby. Take a look.
Here is that series Children's Rooms and they are available in my Etsy store  . Just convo me.
I should expound on that series because i love the old fashioned look when it involves toys and the joys of childhood. The most fun of all to create.
This is my favorite one but not most people's. I don't even know why I love it so except it sets me back in time.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

it's all about the finish.....

One thing is for sure. Until you actually work with metal clay it is very difficult to know exactly how you are doing as far as finishing and designing work. The few pieces I did last week have become guinea pigs and that is good because now they are much better. I have resanded, refired and worked on them the hard way.....after firing them. Believe me ...not the way to accomplish the best in a decent amount of time.  Also, because of them,  the pendant I just finished is much better in every way. The photos are of the front and back, 1 1/4 x 3/4's of an inch. Almost all the work was done in the greenware state so that I only had to soft burnish with my brass brush after firing. What a difference it made! I think reading Barbara Becker Simons book more and more has made me very aware of how important "the eagle eye", as Barbara puts it, really is,  for a great finish.
I also refinished my hinged pendant and it is much better but it took forever and will never be perfect.  The door is gold leaf on  polmer clay. I'm not sure if I like it better without the colored door??

Friday, May 08, 2009

This week has flown by.......

It is Friday night and I have been in my studio all week except for two shopping trips (my least favorite thing) and this is what I have to show for it.
First of all I decided the earrings I made were boring so I covered the fired pieces with paste type and used the syringe for some very loose squiggles. I think what I came up with is younger and they are a great  mother's day gift for my daughter from her daughter. Fine silver and pearls. Then,
 after watching Hadar Jacobson, so generously,  on her video do a hinged pendant I was determined to do something similar in type so I have these... 

Eventually, there will be a colored and gold toned door in the front of the pendant and I am thrilled with how they came out. I do not have my finishing down yet but now that I see how
 every little mark shows I will work on that. 
I am amazed at the generosity of the metal clay community. They have made so much information so very easy to find and that makes it possible to learn and practice a lot on your own. 
Tomorrow King Tut exhibit and then,  on Sunday, some weekend fun with my girls, tea at the Botanical Gardens..daughters and grandchild. A nice, actually perfect, Mother's Day!
I also had to change the little charms...The Sakura opaque pens work beautifully on fine silver and I smudged the star a little with alcohol. Happy with those now.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

metal clay....moving into it.

I remember when I first received my Hothead torch and my kiln in 1998. That is the year I started to make glass beads. I was terrified. I just knew that whatever I attempted would never work out and I was afraid of the torch but too excited to wait so I just lit it.  Then,  I moved on and went from a minor to a bobcat and an oxygen concentrator or two it got easier and easier.
 Why, I ask myself, is metal clay making me so nervous? There is no tank of propane, no oxygen ...I had to finally admit that I was simply afraid of failure and the only thing to do would be to jump right in....preferably head first. So, I spent a week or so very slowly ordering things....very slowly. I was crazed. I spent a week moving my kiln around to different places in my studio....I ordered a few other things and on Monday I said...Damn it,  Ann, sit down, stop running around, stop moving the kiln, stop reading the 13 books on metal clay that you have. Get to work. This is my first little piece and then I did a pair of earrings and now I will
 attempt to do things better because I have an idea of what I am doing. Thank God I got started. The process is so full of varied creativity and I love it!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Watercolor Inn boat dock

.glass cat tails, originally uploaded by AU_Leslie.

special glass......

More Watercolor 2008 031, originally uploaded by AU_Leslie.

trying to post a few uses of glass as knobs are a some

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

kiln arrival

I have to admit I already have two great kilns, bead annealing kilns, that I love, but as I made less and less beads and began to work more with clays and various mixed media I found metal clay. I now have a third kiln, a hotter kiln,  and I can do the magic. This magic consists of changing clay into fine silver, gold, copper and bronze. I am amazed and delighted.

Metal clay is something else again. I am in love with the process and in love with the look of the finished art. I really should say the look of the many, many different finished creations that one can achieve. The process seems to me to be beautifully solitary and deep. I love that.

I do have most books that have been written about metal clay but my newest is from Barbara Becker Simon, and it, along with books by Tim Mccreight, have inspired me to the point where I am almost panicked to begin, I don't want to disappoint myself. I will start slowly and take more classes as needed.
Here is my first piece, from a class with Barbara McGuire. I'm sure I posted this when I made it,  but now that I have all the equipment and I'm about to work, it seemed a good time to look at it again.
A beautiful spring day to everyone tomorrow!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Pansy Time .....

It's been a very busy weekend. I am happy to see Monday morning and very happy that spring is here and clean up and planting has begun. Although I have to isn't me who does a lot of the planting any longer.... there are too many other things to learn and I learned more about planting in the last 60 years than I could use in a lifetime. I still remember putting the pansies in the ground with my mom when I was 3 or 4, even how they smelled and what the earth was like in Buffalo New York, and so,  that I still do every fall and then every spring I add a few more. Can't help myself...I need that little touchstone.
Now I will say that I have tried to make wonderful pansies in glass for years and mine always are a little loose...they end up like my watercolors...too artsy for people who want pansies in their glass beads so if you want wonderful ones...Harriet Harrison does them perfectly and exquisitely. I'll look for a photo of some of hers and add it later. They are beautiful....and here they are. Her beads are available on
On with the day!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

another day in paradise...... the weather is perfect but I have been tryng to get a rental car for two days and everyone is out.  Don't wreck your car in the spring! 
Out late last week for the full moon ....what a beautiful evening.
In my obsession with metal clay I have also been working with polymer and I love repurposing these lockets...they are so old fashioned looking and yet my daughters love them nice! Then there are just the plain new pendants....

So sad about Natasha Richardson. It is affecting me more than the deaths of most celebrities. I think, perhaps,  because she was such a good mother and her smile just glowed. Special person.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

trying to work bigger....

It is 80 degrees in Atlanta......makes one think of white shirts and summer and I sat and made some weird little  and bigger beads to pull my summer uniform together. Polymer can be this long and bold and still be light. Thank goodness. 

Monday, March 09, 2009

Get moving on that..........

Just knowing you must create something is often enough to get a person motivated enough to start a big project or finish up on something that has been sitting for a while. Don't be afraid of that big success that you may have. You can take it as far as you'd like or stop it in it's tracks. Just do what you want and what is good for your creativity and your soul.

There are times when I just want to pick up an old piece and renew it. This old locket was found in a shop in Ridgway Colorado with no center stone and polymer seemed destined to fill it. It was a good way to start a day of work, have something finished early,  and still have a lot of time left for projects that I am working on that are original. 

Thursday, February 26, 2009

filling up my shop....

I finally have a pretty full etsy shop and even more things to add. I love the way the ttv's turn out on the Kodak Endura Metallic paper. This paper has a glow that I am really surprised by and it is beautiful.  I, also,  have been at work in my studio on a simple kind of earring that is very reasonable in price for these times. 
So, take a look...... etsy