Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hadar’s Steel Clay

This weekend I had a private class with a talented student, Sarah who wanted to try Hadar Jacobson’s new Pearl Grey Steel Clay.
Hadar’s Steel Jewellery
Hadar Jacobson is an artist/teacher extraordinaire who specialises in the design & production of jewellery from metal clay. Hadar is based in Berkeley, California and is the self published author of four outstanding metal clay books (two of which contain photographs of my work). Hadar has developed her own brand of metal clay powders. Metal Clay Australasia Pty Ltd offers a range of Hadar’s powered clays. The powder is already mixed with a binder and only distilled water needs to be added.
Sarah and I followed the instruction manual very precisely.
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After shaking the clay package pour the amount you need into a bowl, add distilled water,mix, then roll under plastic.
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Sarah wanted to make a ring and a pendant. She rolled out the clay and formed the ring on a mandrel. The clay is then dried, so the water evaporates and the ring is sanded.
The steel clay has two stages of firing, the first firing burns away the binder. The second firing sinters the steel particles together to form the metal. The clay has to be fired in an oxygen free environment, so the items are buried in activated carbon.
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Sarah is pouring the carbon granules into a stainless steel pan.
After the first stage, more carbon is added and the clay is fired at a higher temperature for two hours.
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Sarah ‘s ring unfortunately broke. The decorative scored lines where probably too deep. The pendant was intact.
Tomorrow I will teach Sarah how to use Hadar’s Copper Clay.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Two Rocks Marine Rescue search for missing diver

I had a call out to go as crew on one of the recue boats to search for a diver missing off the coast. We the distress call from the diver’s friend, after the diver failed to surface and make it back to the boat. Water police helicopters and two boats were sent out to search.
I was on look out on the fly bridge of one of our vessel’s Sea Guardian II. The seas were rough with about two and a half metre swells and strong winds. We searched for over two hours then were informed that the diver had miraculously made it back to shore north of Two Rocks. This is the account of the diver ‘s experience from the West Australian newspaper.
“A diver who swam 8km to shore in rough seas after losing contact with his boat off Two Rocks yesterday fought severe leg cramps and vomiting to make it to safety.
Father-of-two Darrin Wells was fishing with a friend when he decided to go scuba diving to search for more fish.
When he surfaced almost an hour later, the 47-year-old knew he was in trouble.
The calm waters he dove into had been whipped up by a strong wind and in the choppy seas he had difficulty seeing his anchored boat.
The 47-year-old said he was only about 200m from the 6m vessel but it took him about 10 minutes to see it.
“Eventually I spotted the boat and tried to swim towards it but I realised I was actually just getting blown away,” he said.
When he had not returned to the boat by the time agreed, his friend Richard radioed from the boat for help and the sea rescue volunteers and water police and helicopters began a search.
An experienced diver and member of the Whitfords Volunteer Sea Rescue Group, Mr Wells knew he should stay where he was and wait for help.
But he feared his chance of being rescued before nightfall was small because searchers would be looking out into the sun and he would be difficult to see in his black scuba gear and rough seas.
“I thought if I stay where I am and I wait for searchers to find me, they have about 3.5 hours before it gets dark,” he recounted.
“If they don’t find me before it gets dark, things are going to change dramatically.”
Mr Wells decided to start swimming to shore.
“I tried to swim towards the boat but I was actually just swallowing a lot of water and I was getting really worn out and I wasn’t getting anywhere,” he said. “I knew the shore was about 8km away and I thought I’m a strong swimmer I’m going to have to go for the shore.”
He started kicking on his back but after about 20 minutes he ditched his scuba gear and started doing freestyle.
“I could see the helicopters and I tried stopping and holding my orange flippers up and waving it at them but I would have been on the sun side and looking into the sun you can’t see anything,” he said.
Mr Wells said he was a strong swimmer but became worried he might not make it when he started being sick about 3km from shore.
“I’d swallowed so much sea water that I got violently ill and I got cramps,” he said. “That was something that I couldn’t control and I was now thinking, I didn’t know if it was going to stop.”
He managed to keep swimming but his ordeal did not end when he reached shore.
The father of two was almost 5km north of Two Rocks and started an agonising run to the volunteer sea rescue base to let everyone know he was safe.
Mr Wells, who said he always logged his boating trips with the sea rescue volunteers, said he could not thank them and the water police enough for their efforts.
“The effort they put in and the dedication and the response from the water police was just beyond comprehension,” he said.
Sore and tired, Mr Wells had to return to work to Newman today but he said he was recovering and planned to keep diving.”

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Millifiori – a thousand flowers, a Polymer Clay class for mothers & daughters

Today I ran a polymer clay class using the millifiori technique. Millifiori means “thousand flowers”and stems from the Italian glass makers.
A web definition of millifiori, a type of Murano glass that has been incorporated with various layers of colors to create beautiful flower-like patterns. Millefiori, which literally means “a thousand flowers”, is the denomination of a type of cylindrical, long glass rod which contains a specific pattern along its entire length, so that when cut into slices from one end, the particular pattern will be revealed.
The same technique of making rods (called “Canes” in polymer clay) are made in bright colours and as the pattern goes through the whole length of the cane, slices can be cut off and appliqued to a core bead.
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Friday, March 16, 2012

Breakdown Printing Course

The Lancelin TAFE students on my printing course are doing really well. They have made a screen from a wooden picture frame and covered with nylon curtain netting. This inexpensive screen will give some good results on fabric. The technique that we are using is called ‘Deconstructive or Breakdown Screen Printing’. Artists Kerr Grabowski and Jane Dunnewold have been teaching this method for a few years now.  I learnt with Jane Dunnewold from Art Cloth Studio in San Antonio, Texas, US.
 Linda Stokes a well known textile artist from Perth explains the technique “ Sometimes called breakdown printing, it uses thickened Procion dyes which can be painted, dripped, applied with a syringe onto the silkscreen or squeegeed over the screen with textured items underneath the mesh. The dye is then left to dry on the silkscreen. To print with the prepared screen, clear alginate print paste or a contrasting coloured thickened dye is used. It usually requires several pulls with the squeegee to start breaking down the dried dye in the screen. As it breaks down you get wonderful organic marks which change with each print as the dried dye breaks down further. You can continue printing until almost none of the dried dye is left on the screen. “
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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mango Season

I just love mangoes! So when they are in season here I can’t resist buying plenty to eat, and to dry in the dehydrator. The drying concentrates the flavour and they are a snack that will last a few months.
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I first tried dried mango at Trader Joe’s in California. They had no preservatives or added sugar and were delicious. I looked from them here back in OZ but couldn’t find any without preservatives. So, decided to try drying my own.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Yanchep Shark Feeding Frenzy

Plenty of excitement at the beach this morning. A school of tuna caught the attention of numerous sharks which developed into a feeding frenzy.

Lagoon beach was closed this morning as a school of about 50 sharks, some as big as 2.5 metres, took part in a feeding frenzy just 700m off shore. The beach was closed after pilots on board the Westpac Life Saver Rescue helicopter spotted the sharks feeding on a school of fish.
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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Yanchep Capricorn Festival

In temperatures of 39 degrees, Merryl and I set up our jewellery at the Yanchep Capricorn Festival. It was again a well organised event with plenty to do for families with children.
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Monday, March 05, 2012

Horses take a swim at Two Rocks

It was unusual to see horses taking a swim at the Leeman’s Landing beach, Two Rocks. These two horses and their owners enjoyed a dip in the ocean.
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