Saturday, December 22, 2012

Designer Chat with Ken Oliver

Designer Chat2
A couple years ago I first met Ken in person at a CHA show in LA and I was so impressed not only by the AMAZING crafter and artist that Ken is, but also by his wonderful personality. He truly is a awesome person and so I was thrilled when he said that he would be part of the Susan K. Weckesser Inc. – Christmas Love Campaign. His work is simply magical.
I would like to now introduce…….
Ken Oliver
Christmas Love: Preserving Your Family Heritage
Preserving your family heritage is an easy way to show your family how much you love them, lets you share stories and memories of loved ones who are no longer with us, and lets you discover together the intricate and often fascinating fibre that weaves us together into a rich tapestry of family love.
At this time of year, we’re completely consumed with going to parties, shopping for presents…the decorating; the complete and utter chaos that envelopes us at Christmastime can be overwhelming. And the real joy of Christmas is often overshadowed by the pressure to shop, spend, give…This year, I made a very conscious decision to give “handmade.” There’s no better way to share your love than to
share something made by your hand. Sure, I have spent many nights cutting, gluing, soldering, painting and creating…but I’ve spent that time in the peace of my home surrounded by music, things and people that make me happy. I have yet to go to the mall or visit one of those mega discount stores. And I feel all the better for it. In these very challenging days, giving handmade gifts, especially like the ones I am sharing with you today, will touch hearts and will let you preserve and share your family heritage.
This heritage project started in November, while I visited my parents in Indiana at Thanksgiving when my mother and I started scanning boxes of old family photographs. As we were working through the piles I started to realize how very lucky we were to have this record of hundreds of photos and how special our family truly is. We were farmers, we were workers and we were makers…life in rural America at the end of the 19th century was hard…money was dear, and usually if you wanted something, you had to learn how to make it…you might have guessed by now that crafting is in my DNA.
After the holiday, I returned home to Phoenix with the images in my mind…I love working with vintage family photos and really wanted to create some art objects that preserve the images in a decorative way, and in a way that would invite family story-telling and memory sharing.
To share the images we’d worked on together, I decided to create some special Christmas ornaments that would be in character with life in rural America at the end of the 19th century and preserve our heritage in a way that could be enjoyed for many years to come and hopefully by generations to come.
First I created photo transfers onto clear acrylic sheets. This technique captures a transparent image. Anything you place the image on shows through the photo.

Then using some spray paints and alcohol inks, I faux finished bevelled glass pieces to give the effect of antique mercury glass.
Next, I created mini collages using the images and scrapbook papers.
Here, you’ll see the reversed side of the collage. I used Graphic 45 paper and tiny elements using Spellbinders die templates and craft foils for a very vintage look. Ink and glitter also add a layer of instant age to the collages.
Enclose the collages between t layers of beveled glass then use copper tape to seal the edges and hold the solder.
Apply flux and solder around each piece. I’ve been really fortunate to have worked with Giuseppina "Josie" Cirincione, who has mentored and taught me some very cool soldering technique through this project. Her book Solder Technique Studio: Soldering Iron Fundamentals for the Mixed Media Artistis an invaluable resource.
Then to finish the ornaments, remove all residue with a spray bottle of alcohol, then apply liquid patina to the soldered area to age the metal.
I added strips of antique saree ribbon to hang the ornaments. The look is elegant and harkens to the fact that crafters or makers generations ago used strips of old clothing or fabric strips to create yarn or string.
Each one of these ornaments tells a story, stories of my grandparents on their wedding day, stories of my great grandmother and great grandfather and their lives on the farm in rural Kentucky. I love looking at the ornaments, each one is a treasure. It’s been a real joy to create them and a privilege to share them with you. And I am really looking forward to sharing them with my family this week over the holiday…I expect we’ll get to tell stories to my nieces and nephews about days and times that are long ago and far away…and I am really excited to share and preserve a small bit of our family heritage.
Thank you again for letting me share this with you today during Susan K. Weckesser’s Campaign of Love. It’s so important to share family traditions and to preserve our heritage, especially during the holidays.
Merry Christmas All…Make sure you create something beautiful today!

To see more of Ken’s amazing work go visit his blog
Thank-you SO Much Ken! What a beautiful way to save & share precious memories.
HERE are some things GOING on:
My Susan K. Weckesser Inc. Design Team has been amazing and has really been showing some LOVE during the Christmas Love Campaign have you seen what they have been blogging about?
It has something to do with…
Thank-you for sharing & caring!
Hey, if you tweet…. look for #Christmaslovecampaign
on top of Waterton


  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea!!!! What a wonderful keepsake! I am going to do this!

  2. Love this project and I love Ken. Thanks, Susan, for having him on your blog, and thanks to Ken for sharing his awesome craftiness with us!

  3. Looooove them, really enjoyed your post today and what christmas means to you!!!!
    Wishing you health,joy and happiness Ken.

  4. Hi Ken. Your ornaments are stunning! Thank you for sharing them with us. Happy Holidays!

  5. Hello Ken, What a wonderful post. So personal and beautifully written. You have in fact taken your treasure and created treasure for future generations. So satifying and authentique!
    Enjoy evey moment of your Family Christmas Time.


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