Thursday, October 20, 2016

We're All Ears :: October Reveal

I took a meteorology class in college because I thought it would be an easy and entertaining way to satisfy my science credit. WRONG! Meteorology = Math, and I am not great at that.

What I did love learning about were weather patterns and cloud formations. I find clouds fascinating. So this month I have been stopping and noticing clouds on my daily commute and find that I frequently take pictures of striking clouds.  

I also love weather maps. You know the ones that show what look like ripples in a pond radiating out? I can recall having to take a photocopy of the US map gathering some weather data and plotting all the wind patterns and isobars on there and then coloring it for temperature variations.  My professor couldn't understand why my wind patterns were always screwed up. But my colors were always perfect! I just love the color coding. Like the maps you find on the back of the USA Today newspaper when you stay at a hotel.

This map in motion from December 25, 2013 is from the Star Tribune website out of Minneapolis posted by meteorologist Paul Douglas. Isn't it fascinating to watch it morph and change? Looks like Christmas was chilly that year!

The colors that are assigned are based on temperature changes of 10 degrees. Red is the hottest, while blue and white are the coldest. These types of maps are called Isotherms.

  1. a line on a map connecting points having the same temperature at a given time or on average over a given period.
      a curve on a diagram joining points representing states or conditions of equal temperature.

Since there were so many options with weather (precipitation, wind, clouds) I just couldn't settle on one thing for my own challenge. But then I came upon these maps and the lightbulb went on....  I could make my own isotherm patterns in clay! Eureka! (At this point I should tell you that it was about 9:38pm...)

I set out doing some mokume gane and blended colors from fuschia and magenta, indigo and cerulean, leaf and wasabi, sunflower and pumpkin ending in blood red. I threw in a few layers of translucent mixed with opal and then some variegated gold leaf just for good measure. Then I impressed away with all sorts of tools to make marks. It always looks like a mess at this point. 

You don't know the magic of mokume gane until you make that first slice. They are always destined for the scrap heap, but not this time. I will make so many things from this amazing stack (and just in time for the onslaught of holiday shows right around the corner!)

From there it was just finding the right bezel in my stash. I sliced away, selecting contiguous pairs, covered them with resin. I found the perfect little heart charms for the bottom because I love weather! I think I will see what other bezels I have that might work with these slices... like long thin pendants in my favorite bezel might be awesome!

I call these earrings Isothermic for the variations in color temperature and the fact that they look like impending storms are brewing! Here's wishing you beautiful skies wherever you are!

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  1. These earrings are so rich and vibrant and I would have never thought of using an isothermic map this way as a source of inspiration. I am in the process of making some earrings and hopefully should have the post up tomorrow

  2. Great earrings! They are perfect for your inspiration.

  3. Brilliant idea and just beautiful! Mokume is one of my favorite techniques!!

  4. Wow for a person as me who does not much understand color blends so well this is whole new awesome word to find color pallet.. Thanks for sharing

  5. Erin, you are one of the most creative individuals I know. The colorful weather map is an amazing idea. And you've also sparked my curiosity. I of course have heard of mokume gane but never thought too much about it, and somehow I thought it was a metal technique, an old Japanese metal technique. So I'll have to find out what it's all about. Thanks for such a wonderful post. The earrings are beautiful! And the uses for that clay are endless. The whole process simply boggles my mind. It seems like such a huge undertaking. Love it!

    1. It is a Japanese metalsmithing technique. But polymer clay artists are a clever bunch and they can literally turn anything into a device for clay. I have been doing the mokume gane technique for about a year now and every time it is completely unique and different. This summer I made some night sky inspired mokume gane that really looked like swirling galaxies. I also have made old crumbling wall looks for a study of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. I was at a loss as to what to do when I pulled up a bunch of gifs of weather maps. I love weather maps in motion as well. This got me thinking that I could replicate it and it worked! The colors are quite saturated, not what I would normally use, but they are fun! I have since today been using slices from the SIDE of the stack (instead of slices from the top) for a striped geode effect. It is fascinating. You should try it!

  6. I have to admit that when I saw your mokume block I had to agree with your comment about looking like a mess. I couldn't figure out what you were going to get out of that

    Then I saw the earrings and WOW! Absolutely beautiful
    Love them

    1. The colors are way more than I would ever usually do, but suited the weather maps so perfectly. Looks like radar to me!

  7. The earrings look amazing! I didn't know that the clay can be so versatile. Perfect for the challenge!

  8. Wow! Those are super cool! I have a hard time wrapping my head around how your process for this works! So many layers from the side that you don't see from the top... I would love to watch you create one of these to see the magic in action! Maybe then my brain would get it! Great work on your earrings... they are lovely!

  9. I, too, took meteorology in college to satisfy a science credit and lo and behold, I ended with a professor who was an expert in cloud formations--Ha! How I eeked out an A in that class is beyond me, but the cloud talks were amazing. I have always loved weather as my family seemed obsessed with the daily weather report. I, too, like those radar maps with the undulating color swaths. Great read. Thank you.

  10. These are so unique! I love them. I truly enjoy seeing such basic things as the news or a class become the main element of a person's creation!