Tuesday, September 27, 2011

If only I could get my act together.....

I was planning to enter the Jewel School Design Contest, I spent hours conceptualizing and creating a design around the theme "Crystal Cornucopia" and came up with a piece I really liked. A lot of jewelry I make is more of an artistic challenge, rather than something I would actually wear, but this one I'm already planning my Thanksgiving outfit around.

So I finished Sunday afternoon, patted myself on the back for getting done early and called it a day.  Heading home from the studio, I figured I would come in Monday morning, do the photo shoot with a fresh eye and submit in plenty of time for the Monday midnight deadline. Except the deadline was Sunday midnight....


I emailed Monday when I realized my oversight but was told very politely, nope, sorry, you can't submit beyond the deadline, that's why they're called deadlines. I was hoping they might have a moron exception clause, but alas, no....

So here's my creation, all dressed up and nowhere to go....

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Copper & Turquoise Scribble Cuff

I've been developing classes around a technique I call "scribbling with copper". The latest incarnation incorporates a natural piece of turquoise that seems to blend seamlessly into the cuff. Don't you think so?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bead Soup Blog Party - the Big Reveal!

Back in August, 300 plus jewelry making friends signed on for a bead soup blog hop organized by Lori Anderson. We were assigned partners with whom we exchanged beads and created an item of jewelry with said beads. Well the big reveal day has finally arrived and I can now show you my top secret project. These are the beads sent by my partner Dana Johnson Jones.....

And here's what I did.....
I like to use neck collars because they have good "bones".....in my previous life, I was an architect and can't seem to get away from designs that are somewhat structural. The fall-ish bead colors inspired me to create an October Wreath neck piece. Since the piece does not need a toggle, it ended up layered over the focal and wired in place. If you look closely, the other end of the toggle is used as a design element on the "wreath", along with more bead soup pieces. And finally, I wrapped some coiled wire thru it to create a "vine" effect. What do you think?

Thank you Dana and Lori, I had a blast!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Free WireKnitZ Pinwheel Flower Tutorial

Tape Measure
Long Tweezers
Snap Setter
Size 18 Snap Adaptor
Rubber Mallet

(2) pieces 4 ½” Long Series 2000 WireKnitZ®
(1) Size 18 Pearl Snap Fastener


Cut 2 pieces 4 ½” long Series 2000 WireKnitZ in your choice of colors.  Sample shows Light Gold over Leaf Green.


Insert one piece inside the other by folding the end of the inside piece like a triangle, inserting the tweezers into the outside piece, grabbing the triangle and pulling it through.


Fold raw edges inside at each end and smooth out the square.


Bend each corner toward the center in a pinwheel formation.


Install snap to the pinwheel with snap setter. Install back of snap to wearable art item of your choice.

Sculpt the flower to achieve a 3D shape, snap in place and voila! Step back and admire your new creation!

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Great Design Team Debate

There was a raging debate flying around the Internet over the weekend, .....the essence of which was, should Design Team contributors/bloggers be paid for their services or just receive free product?

You can bring yourself up to speed on Crafty Pod's Blog or Craft Test Dummies Facebook Page. Unfortunately, Creative Paper Clays Blog has removed all but one comment from the original post that generated all the controversy in the first place.

All sides have valid points. Many designers are quite happy to be paid in product, figuring they create and buy the product anyway, why not get the product for free? Quite a few are "not in it for the money", but because they enjoy the creative process. Plus they get their blog linked to a "major company", and get exposure in the creative community. Maybe even get "discovered" and become world famous....

The other side feels that not being paid reduces the value of every one's contribution. And that the manufacturers are taking advantage of artists by getting free designs as well as access to that bloggers social media platform for no financial remuneration.

And the manufacturers that sponsor design teams without paying them feel that they are being up front with what they are offering, and if a design team member is willing to accept the terms, what is the big deal? Not to mention, the current economic climate has put a damper on every one's marketing revenue, and this is one way to get exposure without investing any cash.

Hmmmm......as a very wise person once told me, sometimes you have to just agree to disagree. I have worn all 3 hats, so I can relate to all 3 perspectives. As an artist, I love the creative process and creating a piece I am happy with gives me more satisfaction than any amount of $ could. However, as an artist with experience and skillz, I am not afraid to price my work so that I am fairly compensated for my time and talent. I am also the owner of Grand River Beads & Gift Gallery, and as a small biz owner surviving the last 3 years of the current economic climate has made me acutely aware of the challenges entrepreneurs face and the need to cut costs just to survive.

But I think there are 2 principles we can all agree on. First, you get what you pay for. If you want cheap labor, you are going to get unreliable help and a constant turnover, which in the long run can be more costly than paying a fair price to begin with. And second, as in life, as in marriage, as in politics, compromise is the name of the game. I feel that a good workable compromise might be a sliding remunerative scale. In the real world, some employees are more valuable to the company because a) they have more experience, and b) they generate more revenue for the company. This model would allow entry level designers to work for product, but as their readership grows, experience accumulates and design talent evolves, they get a "salary adjustment". Heavy hitters in the art world might also be more inclined to create/blog for companies if they were paid more than the industry standard of $50 per month.

Just my 2 cents....and now I'm off to create something, overprice it, and put it in my unvisited gallery....KIDDING....except for the creating part....:-)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Coiled Copper Kazuri Rings

My new cordless variable speed drill has revolutionized my life! Now that I don't have to wrap each coil by hand, I'm a copper coil making machine. :-) ...here are a few rings from today's time in the studio.......

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Jenny's Neck Piece

When Jenny Rohrs of Craft Test Dummies asked me to lend a hand designing a neck piece to wear to a wedding, I was both flattered and slightly intimidated. I mean this gal knows EVERYONE in the art jewelry world! But in my favor, she's a good friend and knows how easily I can be persuaded to drop everything for the opportunity to play with wire. That and a cupcake bribe will work every time! :-)

So, we came up with a basic plan & color scheme and agreed on an asymmetrical look. I started by  making a "dahlia" focal and wiring it to a silver neck collar. Adding some randomly spaced beads and wrapping a strand of twisted wire through the piece completed the look. One final adjustment of the coils to create the illusion of a vine and voila! What do you think?

And she wears it so well!