Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Beautiful Day!

Rich and I spent the day enjoying the colorful sights of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, near MT. Vernon, WA. It's nice to get away from thinking about work or jewelry for a day and just enjoy the beauty of this place. You can see the entire album of photos on my facebook page:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Practically Sold Out in MN!

I'm back in WA after a whirlwind week in MN. I had a great time visitng family and friends and eating my way through the week with everyone. And, I sold 90% (out of about 100 items) of the jewelry items I brought with me! I'm overwhelmed, honored and very pleased.

I met with an art gallery owner in Hudson, WI and will be selling my jewelry at Seasons on St. Croix this fall. I also met with the Fairview-University Hospital gift store manager. She purchased 28 items from me for the store and ordered another 30+ items for July delivery. It will be great fun to make new items for the gift shop! Both of these wholesale meetings were due to my sister-in-law's urging and her connections. My sister and a friend invited several friends to see and purchase my work. I also got to stop by one of my favorite MN bead shops, "The Bead Monkey", and pick up some really fun new beads for summer jewelry.

I feel like I got some terrific exposure this past week. I came home with some custom orders that I need to get busy making and then on to making items for the gift shop and the art gallery! My etsy shop will be pretty bare for a few months.

I was also excited to come home to my hubby and see my mail after a week. I had ordered several tools and supplies before I left and they are now all here and ready for me to play with! Finally, I have a really nice disc cutter - yeah! I also now have several fun brass texturing plates and a nice supply of sheet metals to use them on. I can't wait to get back to making new things after a week of visiting and selling!

Monday, April 13, 2009

One Last Preview of MN things to come

Just thought I'd post one more item that you've never seen before. I'm bringing this one to MN with me tomorrow. It's actually a re-make of a necklace that was previously on etsy, titled "Copper River". I decide that since I've learned to rivet, I would change the look of this necklace to something I like a little better than it's original. I took the copper river off of it's sterling background and riveted on a sterling silver sunshine charm. I used copper wire for my rivet, to give the center a little accent. I love this pendant now! The background is sterling silver that I have oxidized to bring out the textured pattern. I have left the sunshine piece shiny and bright. It's a wonderful contrast and compliment to each other. Although not pictured, this piece will include an oxidized sterling chain.

There are many more jewelry items coming to MN that you've never seen on etsy, so be sure to come to the jewelry open house in Woodbury on Saturday, April 18th! If you'd like to come and need more info, just leave a comment and I'd be happy to send you a copy of the evite! Everyone's invited!

Looking forward to seeing all my MN friends soon!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Coppery Delights Treasury!

I'm honored once again by Kathleen Krucoff to have one of my jewelry pieces featured in her Coppery Delight's treasury! It's a beautiful treasury filled with copper jewelry items. She chose my "I'm All Mixed Up" pendant to include. Be sure to visit this treasury and visit Kathleen's web site also to see her wonderful glass items!

Thank you Kathleen!

A MN Preview

Here's a little preview of some of the things I'm bringing to MN next week! I've been busy working on my mixed metal riveted pieces; these aren't on etsy. There are more new items, but some are already packed and not shown here. I'll bring all of my etsy items with me to MN as well. My suitcase will be full! I can't wait to see everyone.

Meanwhile, here at the homefront, the shrubs are blooming. My husband will be home minding the house, plants and pets while I'm gone.

Wishing everyone a blessed Easter.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My Solstice II Earrings are featured in a Treasury Today!

I'm honored today by fellow Seattle area etsy artist, Jill MacCorkle. She has included one of my jewelry pieces in her etsy treasury called "Let the Sun Shine"! My Solstice II earrings are featured in the top row, middle column. Visit the treasury today and explore all the wonderful things each of these artists have on etsy, and be sure to visit Jill MacCorkle's shop, too! Jill makes beautiful, colorful gemstone jewelry!
Let the Sun Shine, indeed! Have a great Day!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Beauty of a Spiral

If you’re a follower of my etsy shop, you won’t be surprised to read that I love the look of a spiral. Many of my jewelry items contain or focus on spirals. My Simply Spiral necklace, I’m All Mixed Up earrings, Dizzy earrings, We’re All Linked Together, and Dreaming of Spring all have spirals as a main aspect of the design. Many others have small spirals here and there in their details.

I was making a bracelet piece today and one of its components is a spiral. My engineer husband noticed it and told me that all architects go gaga over spirals; they are well known as one of the most aesthetically pleasing forms in nature.

We did a little research on spirals and found that the golden spiral is the symbol of harmony and beauty. Plato called it “the key to the physics of the cosmos”. I won’t even try to explain the math here, mainly because it’s been way too long since my college math days. But it is important to know that its mathematical sequence is infinite (phi) and the arithmetic number is found incorporated in all know organic structures. From the bone structure of human beings, to the seed pattern of a sunflower to the spiral of a sea shell, and the spiral of the galaxy, the phi proportion is there. Amazing, isn’t it?

We are compelled instinctively to be drawn to this shape. It’s in our bones. When we see it, we feel it. A symbol of harmony and beauty, indeed.

Take a look and enjoy:

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Riveting Rivets Class! (Yes, the pun is intended)

Oh, I'm so excited today! I spent the day taking Tracy Stanley's "Rivets - Cold Connections" class here in Bellevue. I had sooo much fun! Tracy, of Wired Arts is an inspiring and fun instructor. She teaches at national bead shows and we are so lucky here in WA that she lives in the Seattle area and teaches locally when she's not teaching at a show.

I learned so much today - I'll explain the process here. I wish I had brought my camera to show you the process, but I forgot!

We started the class with about 2 hours of texturing various sheet metals. We used a variety of things for texture, ranging from steel screen, PMC brass texture plates, about 6 different texturing hammers, metal stamps with designs and letters, steel washers and steel wire. Whew! Our possibilites were unlimited, it seemed. I textured copper, brass and sterling sheet metal. Once textured, we oxidized our sheet metal in liver of sulfur (smelly-yuck!), then carefully removed the oxidation with steel wool. We cut the sheet metal into squares and circles. Tracy brought her disc cutters. Her's is so much nicer than mine. Using hers convinced me I really need to order a quality disc cutter for myself, and soon. The right tool for the job, right? Anyway, the whole class was pounding away, taking out any worries, aggression and frustrations they may have had out on the sheet metal. It was fun and very, very, noisy! Then there was calm. Ahhh. Short lived, though.

Next up was learning to form rivets. We learned several different types of materials that can be used to make rivets. I used 3 in my own bracelet today. First, I used heavy copper wire. I cut a very small section of wire to fit through the items I was riveting together, then on my steel bench block... tap, tap, tap very lightly on one side, then the other side, then back again with my new, wonderful, Fretz riveting hammer. Talk about the right toll for the job; this is it! The hammering goes on for about 5-15 minutes per rivet! Patience is key. Tap until the ends of the wire are spread out like a nail head on both sides and flattened tight so all is secure.

By this time, our 6 hour class was over and I was at home working some more. For my second type of rivet, I used a copper nail. I cut the sharp end of the nail off and tried as hard as I could to keep the cut end from flying, just as Tracy told us to do, but the end went flying up from under my hand and workbench and hit my glasses and then my face. Ouch! Time to put on my safety goggles. Then tap, tap, tap, flattend the remaining end of the nail til it was smooth.

Third, I used an eyelet as a rivet. I found this to be the easiest and least time consuming, which was good because my patience was wearing thin. Another thing I could have used today, but decided I would wait for another time, was a piece of narrow tubing. I expect that it would feel similar to the eyelet, except that both ends would need to be hammered and flattened. I like the look of the eyelet/tube because it's hollow in the center and adds just a little more effect or layer to the component.

At the end of the evening, I had 6 squares of decorated copper and brass bases, with various trimmings on each. I linked them together with brass jump rings, made a clasp out of sterling silver wire, oxidized it, attached it, polished it in the tumbler and "Voila", a one of a kind bracelet! Well, "Voila" isn't exactly right. In all, I spent a total of 10 hours working on this!

Right now, I plan on keeping this bracelet for myself, as I ususally do with my first trial items. But, I have a lot of textured metal remaining from todays texturing frenzy. I'll plan another bracelet and hopefully post it on etsy soon, or just bring it with me to MN in mid April. I also think these components would make a great pendant (one or two pieces hung from chain) or a even a unique keychain. I'm also thinking about making about a dozen squares and letting people pick and choose which ones they would like to put together for their own unique bracelet or necklace.

I'm eager to know what you think of this bracelet. Your comments are most welcome - good or bad. Do you have any thoughts or ideas about what else you'd like to see made with these mixed metal, riveted components?
** As I finish writing this post, I just took the bracelet out of the tumbler (and added the photo of it). I must say, it's brighter than I expeceted it to be. I usually tumble my jewelry before I oxidize it, but this time I waited until everything was done, then I tumbled it. The tumbler took all of the oxidation off the brass jump rings and made them shiny bright. Everything is bright and shiny, but at least the oxidation still shows on the sheet metal portions of the piece, highlighting the textures. It's still pretty, it's just not what I thought it would look like! I'm sure the metals will darken on their own over time, though.