Friday, January 29, 2010

Paying it Forward ~ In other back

One of my all time favorite movies is Pay It Forward. The whole concept of giving some stranger something with no other expectation than they do the same for somebody else is an idea that is catching on more and more.

I belong to a wonderful group of people on the Lampwork Etc. website. These people are huge in spirit and soul, not to mention talent. The generosity and compassion that these people hold for both human and animal is amazing. They welcome new people into the fold without hesitation and they don't hesitate to rally around each member when another member needs help. They look out for each other, just like a family would. They give things freely to the newcomer who is just beginning to spread their wings in the art of glass and jewelry work. They give freely what they can material-wise and knowledge-wise as well. They are one of the most giving group of people I have had the pleasure of "knowing".

To keep things fun and interesting, they sometimes hold give aways or challenges. Some of these challenges and giveaways take place on the LE website, but more often than not, they hold their giveaways on their websites or blogs. One of our members, Julsbeads is currently having a "Gimme Girl Giveaway"on her blog. Click on her link to see the fabulous items she's giving away in this draw! This is just one example of the generosity of the members of LE, a place I am proud to call "home" on the internet.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My continuing love affair with copper

(Click to enlarge)
I got my hands on a bunch of copper rings and decided to offer some to members of Lampwork Etc. The only catch was they had to use the rings to create a piece or pieces of jewelry. They could use as many or as little of the rings as they wanted to.
I had a few certain members in mind that I knew I wanted to participate in the challenge. I was so happy that they signed up for my challenge. These are members whos work I admire a great deal. I love how they design. I love how they utilize their materials. I love their concepts.
The results of my challenge are just beginning to trickle in. The photo above is one of the pieces I designed with the copper rings. I hammered the rings flat and then textured them with the ball pien end of my chasing hammer.
I had decided I was going to antique this piece as well. I had never used Liver of Sulphur before. I had no idea what to expect. I didn't even know how to use it! All I knew was that it could antique the copper components of my bracelet. So, I dissolved a chunk of this stuff in warm water and dropped my bracelet in. There were several things that I wasn't expecting that happened all at once here.
First of all, I used way too big a piece of LOS for this one bracelet. I don't know if I can use it at a later time, but I saved the container full of water and LOS.
The second thing that took place that I wasn't expecting was the speed at which my piece would turn color. I had no idea that it would be immediate. I figured I would have to let the bracelet sit in the solution for an hour or so. Not the case....this thing turned black immediately!
The third thing I wasn't prepared for was the smell of LOS. My whole house instantly smelled like rotten eggs. Even after two hours when I decided to go to bed, I could still smell it! It reminded me of the sulphur water that my mother used to have at her house in the country, before the town put water lines in. Peeeeee Ewwwww!
Now, I wasn't sure how I was supposed to "buff" the excess coloring off my bracelet so it would give it an antique look. All I knew is that I had to do something to remove most of what was there. I decided that I would try a steel wool pad and to my worked like a charm! I removed as much of the black color as I like and was quite pleased with the look it left when I was finished.
I really like the look of antiqued metal. I am thinking that I may just have to use this method more often. Maybe I have created a monster here! LOL! All I know is that it was super easy to do, I am very pleased with the results and knowing how to do this will certainly be very useful in the future.
So, what I have discovered since I began using copper in my designs is this. I love the look of shiny copper. Shiny copper always catches my eye. Heck, who am I kidding? Shiny anything always catches my eye!
I really like the look of antiqued copper. It gives the piece what I call a "historic" look. Makes it look vintage. I guess it stirs some buried feelings of nostolgia in me or something.
But....and maybe it will grow on me, or maybe I will learn to love it, but for right now.....I DON'T like the look of natural patinaed copper. To me, it has no depth. It's's boring. I cannot find anything that I like about natural patinaed copper. I know that I do like the greenish blue type of patina on copper. That's not what I am talking about here. I'm talking about when the copper loses it's shine and is just dull.....and brown. Blech.
Like I said...maybe one day I will love it as much too. Who knows. I'm still pretty new into this copper adventure with my jewelry. I'm pretty sure there is still lots for me to learn and discover the more I use it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

My new found fondness for copper

I was never really a big fan of copper. Don't know why, exactly, but it just didn't have much appeal for me. But I used to feel the same way about silver too and I love silver now. I guess tinkering in jewelry making, certain things begin to grow on you. Or, as is the case with my love of silver now, I couldn't afford to work in gold, so I had to substitute for a more affordable working medium. I chose to work in silver. Occassionally I will dabble with some gold-filled components, but for the most part, it has been strictly silver.
That is, up until now. Now I've added a new and fun element to my jewelry making. I've added copper. Copper is wonderful! Copper is versitile! Copper can be a brand new penny or copper can be aged. Or copper can be a whole lot of other finishes in between! Copper goes with lots of things. Copper plays well with others. You can mix it with just about anything.
I'm finding that I am growing (quite quickly, I might add) very fond of copper. I've even taken to ordering a whole bunch of copper findings. I love mixing copper with sterling silver. The look is so cool! Look for more copper and copper/silver pieces coming from me. It's MY latest thing in my designs. =]

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Taking the plunge.....

Well, I finally decided that it was time to start doing something with all of this jewelry that I was making.

I had previously listed things on Ebay, given lots of things to friends and relatives and collected a huge amount of things that I had made. I had good intentions of selling my jewelry online, but all of the picture taking, writing descriptions and selling my product just didn't appeal to me. It was something that I just couldn't "get into".

My collection of pieces started to become quite some size, and I knew that the time had come that I would have to find them new homes. I mean, I don't even wear all that much jewelry! I couldn't possibly promote myself by wearing my own pieces if I don't wear it!

So, to get to the point, I decided to start listing things. I started over at Artfire. I have a "store" there with my items listed. This prompted me to open a store at ShopHandmade. It's been a couple of weeks now since I've opened my stores over there. So far....there are a few lookers, but no buyers. Maybe my prices are too high?

Regardless, my friend opened a store over at Etsy. I was helping her to promote her store when I got the idea that I may as well open a store there myself. So I did! It just opened today! If you care to check it out, you can find it here.

All three stores carry the same inventory. If a piece sells, it will be removed from all three storefronts. Rather than have different items for each store, I just felt that this way would be easier for me to keep track of for now and it would widen the exposure of the pieces for me. Maybe in the future I will stock different items in each individual store, but for now, I will keep it like this. =]

Take a look around. Maybe there's something that will catch your eye!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

For a good cause....

Sometimes life doesn't seem fair. A life taken away at such a very young age, so innocent and so naive. We sometimes ask why, we sometimes get angry. I can't imagine what I would do if I were to lose a child, especially one that is still so new to the world.

A fellow co-worker and his family is going through this unthinkable tragedy as I write this. Their little one will soon leave this world and return to his home. I can't comprehend how it must feel waking up each morning and wondering if today will be the last day that I get to share with my loved one, especially a child so young. It must be torture, to say the least.

My fellow co-workers are holding a benefit dinner to help ease the financial burden that the loss of this beautiful child is placing on this family. Although we wish we could take the pain away, we know it is out of our hands. But what we can do to help, we will do.

I have created and will be donating this bracelet and earrings set to put up for auction at the benefit dinner. It seems like such a small thing to do, but every little bit helps. My wish is for lots of people to bid on the set so this family will benefit from it. The set is made up of Swarovski crystals and sterling silver. I wish I could capture the sparkle of this piece on camera.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

It's amazing what I come up with when I play around

(Click image to enlarge)

So I started out my day not really planning on making any jewelry pieces. I usually need a bit of motivation for creating jewelry and I haven't really been that motivated to do so lately. Although, I do confess.....I did make a really pretty pair of earrings for one of the girls I work with last week. Mind you, I had promised them to her over 6 months ago.....sometimes these things take time.....hahaha......a LOT of time. ;-) I wish I would have taken a picture of them.

As I was saying....I hadn't planned out any pieces to make. I actually wasn't even thinking about sitting at my jewelry desk at all yesterday. I don't even know how I got to researching chainmaille, but next thing I knew, I was on this website looking at different tutorials for patterns. I knew I had lots of gold-filled jump rings sitting in my components organizer, so I pulled them out and proceeded to give one of the tutorials a try.

Well, let me just say that working with those little pieces was at first frustrating. I felt like my fingers were too big and I was totally uncoordinated with the tools. Then I realized that I wasn't able to "see" them as well as maybe I should be, so I went and sat at my desk and used the magnifier. Wow!!! What a difference!!! Now I could actually see where the jumprings were going and if I had placed them around the others correctly. Once I could see properly, I found that the process went a whole lot quicker.

Anyways.....long story short.....the image above is the result of my experiment with chainmaille. I made two pieces of chain and decided to turn them into a bracelet. The beads I used are lampwork beads made by Dana Graham. I remember when Dana first started out lampworking and she's grown so much as a lampwork artist. =] I hope that I have done her beads justice in this piece.

Friday, July 31, 2009

~ "Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods." ~ Albert Einstein ~


The recent reportings of the Online Fraud Investigations have been found to be none other than the work of a disgruntled artist! The articles published on this person's blog ARE NOT TRUE! I will not post a link to this slanderous blog, as I don't want to feed the narcassitic bully anymore attention than what she's already brought to herself. A link to her ridiculous blog can be found on the site that is linked below. Please...if you are going to read her site, do it through an RSS feed instead of a direct link. This way she won't obtain the hits she needs to keep her blog at the top of the Google pages. It's easy to do, once you know how to do it. If you don't know how, this site explains how to do it.

To find out the TRUTH about the integrity of these brilliant artists, please read this blog, the Artisan Fraud Truth Report. The accussations against the artists listed in the Online Fraud Investigations blog are both FALSE and unreliable. They are the ramblings of a disgruntled artist who was guilty and exposed of fraud of her very own last year. She was shut down at that time, only to re-emerge with a vengence. You can read about it here.

I have always known that these wonderful artists were innocent of all accusations against them and it is the reason that I previously blogged about it help educate those that were searching for answers to the recent smear campaign going on against them. It warms my heart to see that they are finally being cleared of all of these false allegations.