Friday, March 30, 2012

Get Out of Hand with Us!

A limited number of tickets remain—order yours online or call 412.261.7003 today!  

Kat Cole, Tin Brooch/Steel Converter Necklace. In this year's silent auction!

SCC’s annual fundraiser celebrates all things handmade with hands-on art-making, a top-quality silent auction filled with artist-made objects as well as art-related packages handpicked for this event, time to watch amazing artists demonstrate their craft, delicious specialty fare provided courtesy of Pittsburgh restaurants and food purveyors, live music and other entertainment.

Guests getting hands-on! Photo: Nerds Behind the Lens

The night is going to heat up fast with LIVE blacksmithing, raku pottery, and open-flame glass bead-making demonstrations with artists Robert Burns, Dan Kuhn and Darlene Durrwachter-Rushing. As the sun drops below the riverbank, grab a drink and sample the tastes of the Strip District while taking stock of more than 100 silent auction items, such as Jason Forck’s piece On the Surface—a stunning textured glass sculpture that mimics the intricate pattern of tree bark—or jeweler Kat Cole’s stunning and convertible Tin Brooch/Steel Converter Necklace. Before the evening is over, try your own hand at making with SCC artists at one of our 7 hands-on stations. 

Roger Barbour Jazz Trio. Photo: Nerds Behind the Lens

Saturday, April 14, 6:3010 pm
SCC, 21st & Smallman streets
$185 per person/$325 for VIP Patrons
Please R.S.V.P. by March 30

A guest trying her hand at wood turning. Photo: Nerds Behind the Lens
Bo Bedilion, Covered Jar - In this years silent auction!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

UK artist Alex Raphael comes to SCC!

Exhibition of Enamel Jewelry: March 30-June 30, 2012
Free Artist Talk: Friday, March 30, 6 pm (Reception: 5:30-7:30 pm)

Join us for this special opportunity to meet and hear from Alexandra (Alex) Raphael, a gifted artist who has perfected the ancient craft of enameling over many years. Largely self-taught, she specializes in plique-à-jour (backless enamel) and cloisonné jewelry. 

Alex's talk will reflect on the experience of growing up with SCC Founder Elizabeth R. Raphael as her mother and how this influenced her artwork. She will also speak about her new "Celestial Dream Series," which showcases the delicate ethereal images in rich colors reflected within gold and silver that can be achieved with the challenging plique-à-jour technique.

Necklace for my Mother, Gold and silver cloisonné enamel with tourmaline on lapis and silver beads
The depth and meaning of images in Alex's jewelry are often personalized for the wearer. This necklace, created in memory of the artist's mother, depicts: "eclipse of the sun with date of my birth, windows (from our first house), zodiac signs, acorn (representing our community of Oakmont), bee representing Mother - always busy as a bee and her initial, the letter "B", water, the word "STAY", phases of the moon, stars, and my hand holding a drop of blood."

Alexandra's latest collection of gold and silver cloisonné jewelry reflects the individual style for which she is well known. From ancient times, the mystical properties of stones are held as precious talismans. In her new three-dimensional "Within the Stone" series, she entices you into the magic and powers of the jewel. Looking through the stones there are delicate pictures drawn in gold and silver cloisonné, with the stones’ facets changing the reflective image.

Silver and gold cloisonné earrings with foils and natural pearl drop. 1"x 3" long. Photo by Richard Valence.

In her new "Study in Grey" series, her imaginative use of reflective gold and silver foils change her colors as they flow across the surface with warmth of the gold and the cold of the silver.

Alexandra's amazing enamels have won her numerous prizes worldwide, and are in the permanent collections of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths as well as the Musée Municipal de l'Évêché (Limoges, France), Musee de l’Horlogerie (Geneva), and the All- Russian Decorative-Applied and Folk Art Museum (Moscow).

The exhibition of Alexandra Raphael's work and her March 30 talk are signature events of SCC's 40th anniversary year. The talk is free of charge, but we ask that you R.S.V.P. in advance to 412.261.7003, x12, or

Monday, March 12, 2012

Keep your pants up!

This weekend I had the pleasure of taking a Belt Buckle making class with instructor Sharon Massey of Jewelry N'at at SCC.

After some confusion involving not knowing that Day Light Savings time occurred, I managed to get to SCC just in time for the 8 hour workshop. I've taken a class with Sharon before and loved her teaching style - flexible, accessible, and extremely knowledgeable - so I was looking forward to spending the day gabbing and sawing.

Sharon Massey's Belt buckle entry for the World Championship Belt buckle Competition!

In 8 hours our small group designed, constructed and finished our very own belt buckles. It has been 8+ years since I did any small metals constructing, so I found all of the cutting challenging. I think I broke a record number of saw blades, but I am very happy with how it turned out in the end. The pieces we made were fabricated from brass and copper, primarily, with some nickel and found tin. We also used a liver of sulphur concoction to patina the copper a deep black, which added a nice contrast. To secure all of the layers we used both a sweat soldering technique as well as a variety of riveting techniques.

This one is mine. I was thinking old western meets modern city = Urban Pioneer. 

What was especially nice about this class was the small size, which allowed us each to work one-on-one with the instructor when we needed to, keep our own pace, and kept us from having to fight for tools or wait in line to solder. All in all I can't think of a better way to have spent my Sunday.

One of the other students brought in her own Dale's Pale Ale can to use. It turned out great!