Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I'm going to Palmetto Tat Days!

I have recently decided that I AM going to Palmetto Tat Days this coming Sept 5-6th!!
My 1999 Moto Guzzi motorcycle with a button picture of a motorcycle that I just couldn't resist buying

Me and my beloved Moto Guzzi motorcycle will be zig-zagging our way through the secondary roads of America heading to Toccoa, Georgia.

I am busy prepping my motorcycle & camping gear for the journey.

I have created more Glass-Enameled Copper Tatting Shuttles. The enameled shuttles were actually the impetus/excuse to make the trip.

I invited my husband along to make the trip with me, but he its just me.

I plan to take a week to get there and a week to get home. My MO is to take secondary highways (no interstates!) and to camp (tent-out) as many nights as I can. I 'feel' safe(r) when traveling secondary highways and going through smaller towns. I'm fairly careful when traveling but do feel a hightened sense of insecurity when around big cities and interstate highways--they 'creep' me out---everything is so impersonal.

I leave Saturday and am planning to be in Toccoa, Georgia on Thursday. Google maps says the distance should be 1075 miles but the way I travel, it will be more. Who knows what I will see and the people I will get to talk to on my way there and back!!!! I'm a slight Extrovert (according to Myers-Briggs Test). I really am 'my father's daughter' in that I love to talk to people. My favorite thing is to eat in local diners, sitting at the counter. Eventually the 'old guys' will start up a conversation with me and I learn stuff.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

What is Copper Enameling--An Introduction

“Enamel? You mean you painted this with Nail polish? Bathroom paint? Resin?”

“No. I painted it with fire.”

The simplest definition of Copper ENAMELING is:   The fusion of glass powders onto a base of copper metal. 

The base metal has a higher melting point than the glass enamel so that the glass will fuse to the metal surface before the metal gets to the temperature in which it will melt.

The product of Copper Enameling is GLASS on a base of metal.

It is a way to decorate a metal base product (in my case tatting shuttles) with colors & patterns.  The end product is more 'Glass' than 'Metal'.  It actually 'tinks/sounds' like glass.....and the glass surface will break if the shuttle is dropped to a hard surface!

The major manufacturer of enamel powders (Thompson Enamels) offer 169 different colors of enamel.  There are two main categories of enamels:  opaque and transparent as well as other types such as metallic and opalescent.

Combine all those colors & types with various ways to 'decorate' or to customize the surface and you will find that the technique of enameling offers infinite possibilities. 

However, the caveat of that statement is also that enameling often offers unexpected results.  Some of these results can be 'good' surprises and occasionally there can be 'bad' results.  In 60+ shuttles that I have made, only one was a true and utter disaster. 

The enamel powder (finely ground glass with pigments and minerals) is applied to the metal base (copper usually--as it is cheapest--why use precious/expensive metals such as gold or pure silver when you are going to cover the surface with glass?) by various ways such as sprinkling, painting.  The the enamel poweder is 'fused' (you can read 'melted') by heating the metal and enamel powder unit to 1450 degrees Fahrenheit (red hot!) with either a torch or in a kiln.  I use a handheld torch with MAP gas.  This is why it is termed "Painting with Fire".  I can use the 169 colors to mix and match the powders together to create individual works of art. 

There is a large element of unpredictability involved.  The different colors of enamels each have their own physical characteristics as they are 'fired' to fuse/melt to the metal.  Enameling is an artform of which  it is said:  "Success may come early to the beginner, but then the enamelist spends a lifetime learning the intricacies".  I have found this sooooo true!  I achieved almost instant success in learning to enamel, but I have had some results that I didn't expect and weren't what I had hoped for.  I have found that enameling is a truly addicting artform....there are so many variations to try:  color combinations, many surface embellishing techniques.   Each piece of enamel art becomes it’s own experiment.  However, the process is forgiving in that the artist can build the piece in layers through multiple firings, adding, correcting, and modifying the work.

The ShuttleSmith Glass-Enameled Copper Tatting Shuttles are decorated on one side with glass-enamel that is colorful.  The backside is 'finished' with a layer of semi-opaque glass enamel.   The picture below is the backside of 5 randomly chosen shuttles to show the finish work.  Unfortunately, they are not as 'pretty' as I would like them to me due to the process that the piece undergoes in the enameling process.  But the shuttle backsides are covered and smooth--they will not oxidize (tarnish). 
Backside of 5 randomly chosen shuttles

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dresser Lace 4

This is the final posting about how I 'use' lace as a decoration in my bedroom.  My dresser and nightstand are dark wood that are great contrasts to white/ecru lace.  So I had glass tops custom cut  to sandwich my lace and keep it clean.   Now I have a usable surface that I can spill make-up and place my coffee cup on and still enjoy the lace without hurting it.
Shown here are 2 and a half pieces of Romanian Point Lace,  3 small tatted snowflakes (made by me), a piece of Teneriffe Lace and half a piece of Carrickmacross Lace (made by me).

Friday, August 15, 2014

Historical Split Ring Tatting Pattern #6 (Anne Orr)

Anne Orr Pattern #6 from Cross-Stitch and Tatting, Book No. 14 (published by J. & P. Coats Co., 1923)

go to:
look in Anne Orr Historical Split Ring Tatting Patterns
then look in The ShuttleSmith's Historical Illustrated SRT Patterns

The Pattern is in PDF.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

This Blog Site is Going Away--don't panic yet!

I am going to be phasing out this blog site in favor of one site where I can have my website and blog in one place.

I am NOT stopping to blog! I am merely consolodating my information into one place.  This new approach to blogging will allow me to more easily post patterns and PDF files of techniques in one spot.  My wonderful husband set me up with a website and says that I have unlimited I intend to fill it up with interesting tatting-related information/resources that I have tucked away in my files from years of creating handouts and patterns in my teaching past.

Right now I am 'double-posting' to both sites (this blogspot and my website:

I have tried to consider a timeline in which I want to make this transition....I was thinking that by the end of 2014 would be an appropriate timeframe and I would discontinue using this blog. 

So, beat the crowd and update your link to The ShuttleSmith at:   I promise you won't miss anything!

In anticipation of this, I have transferred alot of the blog data from this site to my website as 'pages' under Previous Blog Postings on my homepage menu.  (I did not copy/transfer any non-informational material--only the 'good' stuff that has a bit of merit).

Historical SRT Patterns now available

I finally got around to figuring out how to add PDF files to my website pages!!!
I now have 3 Illustrated Pattern PDFs posted on this website
14 #1
Book #14, Pattern 1
14 #2
Book #14, Pattern 2
14 #3
Book #14, Pattern 3
Go to my website:

Then go to: Anne Orr Historical Split Ring Tatting Patterns on my homepage menu.

Then click on the subpage: The ShuttleSmith Illustrated Historical SRT Patterns.

I did not ‘design’ these patterns. They are historical patterns by the Anne Orr Studio that I consider the ‘missing links’ between the introduction of the technique of Split Ring Tatting Technique and the actual usage of the technique in actual patterns.

I have worked the patterns, making minor revisions, and then created a modern illustrated pattern. The original written patterns can be seen on my webpage under: Split Ring History on my homepage menu.

I will continue to add more of these historical patterns in the future. Watch here for announcements

Monday, August 11, 2014

12 New Glass-Enameled Copper Tatting Shuttles

I have decided to update my Copper Glass-Enameled Tatting Shuttles.
I took off the old ones and replaced them with 12 new ones.
They will be available until I decide to update in the future.
My 'babies' need homes!! Please 'adopt' them for a nominal fee of $25. Free shipping to US addresses.
Go to my website:
Click on 'Tatting Shuttles For Sale'