Friday, March 7, 2014

patina book

I have 2 pieces in the book Patina: 300+ Coloration Effects for Jewelers & Metalsmiths by Matthew Runfola.  My red yen bracelet and  Blue Mountain Ring.  I haven't seen the book yet, but my friend sent me pics of the pages with my work.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

USA trip

Last month I went to the USA from the 14th till the 27th.  It was the first time I had been back to the USA since I left February 29th, 2012.  I mostly spent the trip eating food I can't get in Korea, meeting friends and shopping for clothes.  I also got a new driver's license.  Mine expired over a year ago so I had to take the driving test again, which was silly.  It was good to drive again, I just wish my parents had a more fun car to drive.

I made 2 new lockpicks while I was there, which I just sold last week.  The handles are tulipwood.

I was too busy to make anything else while I was home.  Making these picks felt no different from when I used to make them.  I mean I didn't feel my skill had diminished at all.  Although with something smaller and more precise like stone setting, I'm sure I have lost some of my skill.  I don't know, it's just my guess.  

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

2013 review

2013 was OK.  Mostly a good year.  It went by very fast.  In March I started a job at an elementary school in a different city near Seoul.  This job doesn't allow me all the free time like my last job did, but I get paid overtime, and this city is in a much better location than my previous two cities.  I'll try to stay at this school once more year.

I took two trips this year.  Hong Kong in January, and Indonesia and Singapore in August.  Neither trip turned out to be very good.  Hong Kong because I was really sick the last two days, so being sick is my main memory of the trip.  Indonesia/Singapore because of poor planning on my part.

This year I started thinking more seriously about what will happen when I go back to the US, and trying to prepare for it.  I haven't been to the US since I left in February 2012.  All I miss is food, my studio, and being able to easily find clothes in my size.  If I can stay in Korea one more year I might be back to visit in January or February.

I got back into doing some jewelry work this year to prepare for when I eventually move back.  I started relearning watercolor rendering and was doing more wax carving at the beginning of the year, but slowed down with that when I started my current job in March.  In September I started learning CAD and completely stopped with watercolors and sketching.  I don't have a studio, so of course I didn't make anything new, but I managed to get 1 piece published in a book and 2 pieces in the permanent collection of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art this year.

This was not a very good year for learning Korean.  Because of my busy job and working on jewelry stuff I had less time and energy to study.  I've also been feeling bored with my study.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Rhino and ZBrush

I've been doing pretty well learning Rhino for the past 3 months.  There are still so many things I don't know how to do, so it alternates between fun and frustrating.  I was just reading a post from 2007 about trying to learn Matrix and how it wasn't very interesting to me.  I think my situation now, living in Korea and not having a studio, is really the only way I can learn it.  CAD is only interesting to me now that I no longer have a studio.

I also started learning another program called ZBrush.  I've been using it for about 2 months now.  It's digital sculpting, it's like working with clay on the computer.  I'm using a Wacom tablet and even though that is a pen on a flat surface, using it with ZBrush still gives me enough of a feeling of working with an actual material that  I think a lot of the skills I learned sculpting with real clay and wax have carried over.  It's a lot of fun but still frustrating in its own ways.

This pic is something I've been working on in ZBrush, following a tutorial on  It's about half finished.

The hardest part about learning this software (both Rhino and ZBrush) is being a total beginner at something again.  With metal I have always tried to keep learning new skills, and how to work with different materials but every time I started something new I was already bringing all my previously learned skills to it.  For example, at the time I took some machine shop classes, learning to use machine tools (lathe, vertical and horizontal mills, surface grinder) was very different from all the hand work I had previously done in metal.  But I was able to pick it up quickly because I already had about 10 years as a craftsman.  Working on the computer everything is new.  I said earlier in this post that I felt that the experience I had sculpting with real materials helped me ZBrush, but there's so many other things to think about when using the software that make it complicated.  And with Rhino, nothing I have learned previously helps me with it, except for design considerations.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Starting with Rhino

I had been waiting till I got a monitor to start learning Rhino and I finally got one Tuesday.  I got a used 24 inch monitor pretty cheap.  It's so much better to use CAD software on a big monitor.  So I'm working through basic tutorials now.  I'm going to try to stick with it till I learn it well this time.  I was learning Matrix several years ago, but got bored with it and never learned it that well.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Showcase 500 Art Necklaces

I have a piece in the new book Showcase 500 Art Necklaces.  I haven't seen the book yet, but my parents said they received it in the mail a few days ago.

Here's a picture my friend sent me:

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Last day at my school

Today is the last day at the high school I teach at in Pyeongtaek.  I'm sad, I really liked it here.  Next week I'll start teaching at an elementary school in a different city.