Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Because I like where I shop

Work in Progress Ever ask someone where they purchased a particular component of piece of art they put together and gotten a vague or non response? That's happened to me once or twice that I remember, and I find it annoying. As an artist buying components to a piece I'm working on is only the start. Where my creativity comes in is how I decide to use said components, and how well I can put that design together. It's a combination of design and craftsmanship that carries a piece of jewelry, or other handcraft. And yes, design includes choosing which components to use.

When I post my creations on my blog, or various online communities, I like to cite my sources of the materials I used. I may not always be good about naming my supplier specifically, but I like to give enough information so anyone interested could buy similar parts. Well, when it comes to my blog, I do have a blog roll feature for the blogs of the businesses I buy from. I don't like to buy into the mindset of "if they know where I got X Y and Z then they'll copy my super cool design". On the flip side I'm not naive enough to think that design copying doesn't exist either (but that's not really the topic of this post).

When it comes to the level of transparency one has about their suppliers there is a point I do want to make. When you tell people where you buy your supplies, then they can also buy from your supplier(s), increasing the sales your supplier makes. And when your supplier sells more stuff, it's better for their bottom line. I don't know about other people out there, but I'd like to see the suppliers I buy from stay in business.

And related to the topic of transparency, I am interested in helping out other artists learn new skills. I'd like to think that the jewelry I create (my style if you will) goes beyond the list of components I use. I do plan on posting some tutorials at some point here, expanding on the few tips and tricks I've posted in the past.

Note: Yes the photo is old, from earrings I made back in January. This happened to be a relevant image that I already had uploaded (lunchtime blogging). The big loops I made with wire from my local bead store (20 gauge copper), the copper bicone beads are from Rings and Things, and the topaz cracked Czech glass beads and Swarovski crystals are from Artbeads.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Found the Jump Ring Inspiration

Just a short post before company comes over tonight. I mainly wanted to share the inspiration for trying a chainmaille bezel with one of my new cabochons.

Polka dot by night Earrings (Over in the Rings and Things Gallery), use Swarovski rivoli stones. The jump rings used in this design catch the facets quite nicely. Now my cabs lack said facets, so I'll have to experiment with different weaves to hold them well. I'm thinking of European 4 in 1 with smaller rings. I'll keep my blog updated on the progress/attempts.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

DIY Polyclay Cabochons

So, last week I was glancing over at my clay bin which was on the dinning table, and noticed my little plastic palette sitting next to it. I had one of those light bulb flashing idea moments, thinking how much the little wells of the palette are shaped like a round cabochon (aka "cabs"). I hadn't even been planning on working with clay that night, but the idea was exciting enough that I had to set up a little work area at the table and start rolling the clay.

Yes, I took photos when I was done, so these are all finished. Here is my pallet with the cabs on/around it, along with a US nickle for size comparison. (how handy).

The next image shows all three cabs along with the nickle. Two I made with the same marbling technique where I twisted ropes of clay together several times. This made for the larger more prominent color pattern. The third cab I rolled the clay first into thin sheets and then rolled the sheets together and twisted from there. That's why the third cab has a very subtle color pattern to it.

Another shot of the rope twisted cabs. The smaller one was left over marbled clay after I molded the first one. It wasn't quite enough clay to fill the well, but it ended up round enough for this trial run.

So what's next? Why bezels of course. I want to try a bead stitched bezel on one, and also try doing something with chainmaille on another. Depending how that works I'll figure out what to do with the third. I may even just buy a glue on bail.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Teaser Post

Yes, I had fun with my polymer clay tonight. I made some cabochons last week, and finally got around to baking them. Once they cooled I then applied some glaze, which I may do a second coat tomorrow. Now I'm thinking of ideas for bezels, I do want to practice a bead stitch bezel and maybe something with jump rings. (I saw an example of a jump ring bezel in the Rings and Things catalog).

Pictures to come soon. (Yes, hence the teaser).

New Storage Container

Long time no post. I swear, various tech devices talk to each other, first the camera was acting up, and now it's my computer. (Though old camera was old and well used).

Anyways I wanted to write up a quick post to show one of my new storage containers. It's the 52 compartment Beadalon®, Bead Organizer. I took these photos almost 2 weeks ago when I had the camera out to take pictures of the cats. I have since added more beads and rings to this container. I'm actually thinking of getting a second one of these so my jump rings have their own container (I do some chainmaille).

This shot shows what I had in here as I started to put beads into the container. The one side is seed beads, and the other is findings and miscellaneous beads. My 3mm copper bicones are in there.

Here's a close up of the front left of the container. The smallest of the inner containers hold size 11 seed beads, while the ones behind them hold size 8. Farther back (outside of the frame of this image) I have size 6 (E) seed beads.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Storage in Progress

Last weekend I wrote about not having much luck finding a specific type of storage container for my beads. This picture shows the storage container that I'm looking for, with the smaller bead containers inside of it. I now have more beads then will fit in here which is why I was looking. (I ended up buying 2 bead storage/travel cases from Rings and Things Monday, which should be here soon).

There are three sizes of bead containers inside the storage bin, as seen in this picture. I've been buying these locally at Joanne's getting some of each size. The largest ones have 4 storage compartments, the medium have 5, and the small have 6. In general I use the smallest (6) for my seed beads, even up to size 6 seed (E) beads will fit depending on the quantity I've purchased. The medium are good for a larger quantity of seed beads along with some of the stone chips and medium beads. I have some 6 and 8mm rounds in these sizes. When buying 10mm beads the large containers work best, especially with a strand of cat's eye beads.

What is nice about these bead containers is the ability to open only the individual compartments for the beads I want to use. This is the large container here, with the pink cat's eye beads open. The other half of the container still has the lid on, which is handy to help avoid bead spills.

What one of the containers looks like with all the individual compartments separated. This is one of the medium containers with some stone chips, 8mm resin rounds, and a few random beads in the bottom one. The lid can be seen in the foreground of this photograph.

Some of the newer style of these containers come with a second lid, so that the stacks can be halved and still sealed. Which can be handy for a smaller storage space.

When I first started putting my beads in this storage system I had less supplies than I do now. I noticed that the Beadalon spools of stringing wire are a slight bit smaller in diameter then the large containers are. With the large containers being a slight bit shorter than the other containers, I could fit 2 spools of Beadalon on top of the large bead container and still close the lid on my storage bin. Though now with my larger supply I actually have my bead stringing wire in recycled plastic soup containers from the local grocery store. The soup containers are just a little wider than the Beadalon spools. I also have some Soft Flex, which those spools fit inside the backs of the Beadalon spools saving me a bit of space.

And this is my "to sort" storage bin. I've been tossing random beads and other craft supplies in here along with some other stuff. This is in addition to various plastic bags of beads and findings I have to store better. There is a finished necklace in this bin, along with a bracelet someone gave me which I need to fix the clasp on. There is also some sea glass and shells. I think the sea glass is store bought, rather than stuff I found. (Somewhere I have some pieces of sea glass I picked up from the shores of Lake Erie).