It's been a busy fall. While I've discovered I'm not an active blogger - duh! - I've been keeping tabs on the website. Classes are going well, work is biz-zy, I'm being social on social media and have been making a lot of baubles as well as Zentangle inspired art.

Speaking of the baubles, I've finally come up with a written description:

Baubles are miniature works of original art set under glass. Starting with artist palette papers, book pages, music sheets, newsprint, junk mail -- basically any paper that accepts paint or ink -- each bauble is handcrafted to be water resistant and then finished in a nickel-, lead- and toxin-free setting.

It was challenging to arrive at a succinct statement that captures what goes into each piece. I actually slap paint on a piece of paper until it's rich with layers of color. Iridescent or sparkling paint helps accentuate some of the layers. Sometimes I start with palette papers -- the papers that artists use to clean their brushes while working -- and add more paint to those. Whatever the base layer, it always gets more paint before progressing to step two.  

This is a pile of hand painted papers on my work table: 

Once the paint is dry, I affix a glass cabochon to a section of the paper. I look for places that have a unique mixture of paint that will be highlighted by the curve of the glass. Often they are brilliant colors that dance together in an inch or inch-and-a-half space. Some papers work really well while others get moved to the bottom of the pile and wait for more paint. Some papers have only a couple places that get a cabochon and others are dotted all over.

In the photo above you can see I started with a piece of artist tissue paper and then applied various colors and paint techniques. The plain glass cabochons are affixed to the paper and look like big bubbles at this point. Once they are dry enough to not slide off the paper I'll cut them out.

Once the cabochons are cut out they need to dry for a few hours. I usually let them sit overnight to make sure they are good and dry. See how all the glue puddles around the edges? That's actually a good thing because it means the papers will stick to the sides, helping to make the finished piece water resistant. 

The baubles above have dried overnight and had the paper carefully trimmed from the edges. See how the glass dome highlights the paint underneath? They really do become miniature works of original art at this point.

The next step is the most time consuming and least fun of the process: sanding and sealing. (Technically it's two steps but I just lump it all together.) Each bauble is carefully hand sanded to make the sides super smooth. After a quick wipe with a cheesecloth, another layer of glue/sealant is applied to the back. The sanding process can be 5 minutes or 20 minutes per piece, depending on how much glue pooled around the edges; but the sealant on the back needs to dry overnight, making each bauble a multi-day process.

Here are a handful of finished baubles. Each one is unique. They will eventually be set in a bezel and can be worn as a necklace, charm or a ring, set in a key chain, purse charm, or even used as an ornament. I like to keep most of them like this and let the new owner choose the setting. Will it be a silver, bronze, black or antique gold setting? And how long will the necklace be? All of this can be customized, making these truly one-of-a kind wearable art.

Making the baubles is definitely a process, but the finished results are so worth it.