Sunday, November 30, 2008

Desert Collage

I have been cleaning up my computer over the long Thanksgiving Hoilday. Put together this collage....beads, inspiration, cool photos...

Selling beads and jewelry

I sell my beads and jewelry in a variety of places:online, galleries, and shows. I really like doing shows as I like the one on one contact with my clients. You also learn about your beads and jewelry even from the people who do not purchase anything. I decided to stop doing outdoor art festivals last year. First I lost my helper (my daughter) when she moved. Then last year my tent self destructed; plus it is just too hard to do an outdoor show when you have to set up all by yourself. And you never know what Mother Nature has install for show day! So the shows I do now are bead shows and trunk shows. I don't do a ton of shows just 4 - 5 a year so it is important to choose the shows wisely.

I just returned from a show which made me realize how important it is to do you homework before trying a show. This show was in a new venue, so I really didn't have the option to go once before applying to be a vendor. But the location seemed good so I applied. Boy was I disappointed. The lighting in the room was awful - better suited for a romantic dinner out instead of selling glass beads. I did bring a few of my spotlights, but they are only effective given that there is adequate room lighting to begin with. To compond the issue there were electrical issues throughout the show causing the vendor lights to flicker and go on and off.... all day. Major migraine situation!

So what do you do in a situation like this? It made me realize that as vendors we really have no recourse except of course, not to go back. I complained to management of the show before it even opened, but they did nothing. Other vendors were complaining, but more to each other than to the show promoter. The clients were frustated. They wanted to buy, but couldn't see the products well. So bummer.. long trip....stress, disappoinment. But as always, the beaders I did meet are wonderful people as usual. I sold a few beads, and oh yeah.. I got to visit with my daughter.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Artifact Beads

I have a love hate relationship with my artifact beads. I love them, customers love them; but they are complicated to make. I just made 30 beads for my upcoming show in Bellevue, WA, but only 12 survived the many firings to my satisfaction. But I learn a lot every time I make a batch. And I have started to keep a notebook so I don't make the same mistakes. I do think my kiln is firing a little hot so I really need to adjust for that next time.

I did get a beautiful bead from this batch. and it gave me inspiration on a few variations to make after Thanksgiving. Here is a picture.

After I create and anneal the lampworked bead, I apply the PMC and fire the bead again. I sometimes have 4 to 5 firings before the PMC is just right. You have to calculate and allow for the shrinkage of the metal clay. Too tight - the bead might crack; too loose - the silver doesn't bond with the glass. too hot of a kiln and the glass slumps. And on and on. This bead was put into a liver of sulphur bath and the resulting colors are just amazing. The other thing that happended with this bead is that the PMC fumed in the kiln and changed the color of the glass bead. Very cool!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

New Rococo Series

I have started making some wonderful organically shaped hollow beads that I acid etch. I was inspired by a gorgeous baroque pearl that saw in a magazine ad. The ad and my new beads led to wanting to make some jewelry, which led to creating a line of jewelry using these beads. I wanted something simple - a go to piece of jewelry that can be worn any time. Some of the pieces are made with sterling silver chain, and the highest end piece is made with a wonderful hand made chain maille of antiqued sterling and copper wire. I really love the look of the 2 colors of metal.

The exciting news is that I just got juried into the Philadelphia Buyer's Market February show with this line. Now I'm hoping the economy rebounds enough so that I actually have some sales. I'm really excited about this new opportunity. Go to my website and click "What's new" to see all of the pieces.

PMC on lampwork - my artifact beads

Well, October flew by. I have started to make beads in earnest for the Bellevue Bead Show next month. I have been asked by several clients for more artifact beads, and I hope to have some new ones on my website soon. In the meantime I did enter a visual challenge that the PMC guild sponsors every quarter. They publish a picture in their newsletter and then you go off and create a piece using the picture as inspiration. Well I was runner up this month with one of my artifact beads....

So I am working hard on those artifact beads... they just take a long time. Having said that I really need to go make dinner now. Sunday has always been pizza in our home. And tonight it's chicken marsala pizza.

Welcome to my blog

I've decided to join the blogging world; at the same time wondering how I can manage to ever update a blog. So what's going on in my life? I am about to leave for a week in Tucson where we have our second home... one day to be our retirement home. Right now my youngest daughter lives there and takes care of it for us. Since the house is smaller, I had a studio built on the property out back, and I am off to Tucson to start equipping it. This will be fun as well as intimidating. It's completely empty; how do I choose the right furniture? I'm also getting ready for a show in November, and I am entering the newly announced competition sponsored by the ISGB and Bead and Button. I have been paired with a great jewelry artist - Heidi Kummli. Watch for pictures as the projects progress. I'm also writing a step by step article for the ISGB's Bead Release. So I am keeping this short. Just wanted to get something written and posted to try this blog out.....