Saturday, September 15, 2012

Journey of an Anvil

As many of your know or maybe not know, I like tools a lot!   So much that I make them! They are a very important part of what I and the rest of the jewelers out there do and thus begins my journey…

I found this used but beautiful little hand-forged anvil at an antique place here in Mexico.  It is quite small 11 inches to be exact.  I suspect it was originally a Farriers anvil (used for making horse shoes).  Since it originally took the abuse of red-hot steel it will hold up to silver quite nicely, and will make a wonderful jewelers anvil, after it is sanded a little.
The little beauty.
Since I already have one just about this size, which I found a number of years back, I offered to sell it to my friend, Kent, that also does some jewelry work here in San Miguel.  He was quick to snap it up.  I then offered to mount it for him if we could find a good dry hardwood stump.  After a little asking around our friend Zach was generous enough to donate a nice big log of Mesquite wood to the cause, which is more than hard enough… and thus the project had begun, not the least of which was cutting this baby in two! 
That 150 year old hand saw my dad gave me still has an awesome tooth and cuts very straight but even so it still took me 40 minutes to get through it!  

Here I am putting wooden pads with bits of leather for stability of the base.

I have feet!!!

Drilling a hole so I do not have to chisel so much wood.

I chiseled a square for the base of the anvil to sit in.

And Violá...mounted and finished!

Not too shabby, eh?  I enjoyed myself tremendously!

Have a great weekend everyone!


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Cooling Down

I know it has been a while since my last post but I am back!  And let me tell you...I have been VERY busy!!!

It is that time of year again when many places, in the northern hemisphere, where things start to cool down after the long summer heat.  In some places so much that it has started to snow!  I have a few friends that are a little perturbed by that just at the moment over in Europe.  It kind of gets in the way if you are trying to do something like run in the Alps!

Here in San Miguel the temperature is very comfortable because we have had a few months of rainy season so the air is mostly cool and fresh. 
Me working on a buckle.
Like lots of people I had a very busy summer, and especially the last months because along with my professional activities my parents were here and I had a few other friends visiting for a bit as well.  During that time I was working on a group order of different pieces to send north to the states.  My parents make pretty good pack mules for my work that migrates across the border to the states!  Hahaha!  Thanks parents and a big thank you, to all of you, out there that ordered things, your pieces are due to arrive soon!
Wave by Jesse Bert
Along with various pairs of earrings, necklaces, brooches and belt buckles that traveled north I also sent a very fun project back with my other friends to Thomas Mann Gallery I/O in New Orleans… done as a joint project with one of my Mexican friends here in San Miguel; the piece is a Mexican Catrina made out of a stainless steel martini cup!  There are so many things one can make out of a martini cup!  Ha!  I am very honored to be invited to participate in the 3rd annual Triple Martini Show at Thomas Mann Gallery I/O during Art for Arts' Sake. That is where the Catrina is headed.  

For all of you that are there in the New Orleans area, go and enjoy Art for Arts' Sake and visit Ms. Catrina who came from south of the border on October 6th at I/O.
I arrived in New Orleans on the 24th of August and experienced my first hurricane!  I am thankful that we  had minimal damage and I and my neighbors stayed dry.
While my parents were here they had asked me to take them to Mexico City for a few days.  This worked out perfectly because I had to go down to the city to deliver 8 pieces of my work.  I had been contacted a few months ago by the Banamex Foundation which is huge monetary trust set up by the national bank here in Mexico to support the arts.  Every few years they arrange and produce a new major exhibit of artwork by Mexican artists, later followed by a beautiful big coffee table book featuring the artists and their work.  This next exhibition is entitled: Mexican Silver and Design 1880-2012.  After contacting me about submitting pieces for review, they later let me know 8 of my pieces had been accepted!  How exciting!  Just being a part of this exhibition is a major honor, but when I delivered the work I was informed that out of 200 artists who are to participate, I was the only foreign national selected! Wow!  If by some chance you are in Mexico City between September 2012 and April 2013 and have the chance, please go and have a look at the exhibition and my work located in the Palace of Iturbide on the street of Madero.  Oh…and also look at other artists work as well.  Hehehe!
Jasmine by Jesse Bert
Well...that is it for now.  Stay turned for further news from south of the border~ I hope to see some of you here for “Unbuckled” in early November! 

In the meantime try to stay cool and have a great Sunday!


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

End of Summer Sale

Yes...summer is just about over and the days have been beautiful in San Miguel.

A low of 50s and highs of 80 degrees Fahrenheit!  Let me give you a comparison.  In New Orleans it is a low of 80 and a high of just plain HOT!  It is so hot they do not even give you a temperature...they just say HOT on the weather forecast!  hahahaha!  Let me just say it was close to 100 degrees the other day.  Time to head on down south of the border!

$75 off if you sign up before October 1, 2012 for the Unbuckled workshop.

That way you can beat the heat and enjoy the cool mountain weather!

Here is to a great Tuesday!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Back in New Orleans

Jesse will be returning to New Orleans in February 2013 for two, two-day workshops at Thomas Mann studioFLUX!

Last April 2012 he taught a workshop at studioFLUX on how to make Mexican stamping tools.

In February the theme will be...

The Breakfast Set

Go and check it out to see what it is all about here.

Have a great Monday everyone!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Workshop: Unbuckled

Jesse Bert
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
November 9-11, 2012

Join Jesse for a workshop at his private studio in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.  San Miguel has been a mecca for artists and writers since the early 1950's.  Go back in time and visit a town that has changed very little over the last 400 years, with its cobblestone streets and rich architectural detail.  

This year's workshop will focus on the construction of belt buckles.  
Botas by Jesse Bert
As I have mentioned in earlier posts, Mexico has been and still is very close to my heart.  A place where people are friendly and the food is amazing!  So why not plan a workshop and a vacation at the same time!

While working with Jesse in his studio you will be introduced to the ins and outs of belt buckles.  Students will create a dynamic buckle of their own design. This will include making appropriate findings for securely attaching a belt of their desired size and soldering them to the backplate. 
Some of the techniques will cover textured metal and riveting,
torch-fired enamel (oh!)
and the hydraulic die press.  

All at the same time enjoying what San Miguel has to offer.  

At the end of the workshop we will offer an optional one day excursion (for an additional cost) out to the 17th Century Spanish Mining town of Mineral de Pozos which is located one hours distance from San Miguel.

Sounds like fun, yes?
3 day workshop $375 (does not include lodging or airfare)
50% deposit of the total due is required at time of registration.  Full payment is due by October 26, 2012.  Please pay by check or I can arrange for payment using PayPal.

Deposit before 10/29/12

Kalaya Steede
New Orleans, LA 70115

Airfare and lodging is not included.  Please contact me with any questions or concerns that you may have.  

This blog was set up so that we can pass along all the goodies.

Remember...class size is limited.  
Hope to see and meet some of you there!