The Joy of Metal Clay: Butterfly Series – Part 1 Leaves

This week marks the beginning of my summer butterfly series project. This week I am starting with Monarch caterpillar food, the milkweed. In past posts I have blogged about how to use metal clay paste to coat a leaf. This time I am feeling impatient and don’t want to paste layer on layer onto a leaf. Instead I have decided to roll the leaf into the clay. The only problem about this approach is that it is hard to get a smooth tapered edge around the leaf and sometimes you may get a choppy edge if you are not careful …

The Business Chat – Booth Display 101

I’ve been taking my own advice this week and putting my holiday business plans into place. I’ve lined up when I need to purchase my packaging, my inventory targets, when to buy supplies and now I’m working on my display. For the upcoming season I only have 2 major shows and of course I have a different booth size at both of these than my normal display. Argh. As I’ve pointed out before display is absolutely critical to your show success. A great display can sell a mediocre product and a lousy display can mean that fabulous work will languish …

Question Friday

I know, I know – this is supposed to be Inspiration Friday. Unfortunately, I’ve been without a working camera for some time now. (hope to get that resolved this weekend) Instead of my as of late pics of inspiring images – I’m really curious to find out when you find the time to bead. Are you fortunate to have your weekends/evenings to yourself? Or do you try to squeeze in a few hours late at night after the kids have gone to bed? Do you put aside other chores in favour of jewelry making? (Ha! – anyone who has seen …

2 Thumbs up for Fast Fire Bronze

As I’m sure most of you know, I’ve had a huge amount of trouble firing both bronze and copper clays. Occasionally, I’ll be blessed with the odd completely successful firing. More often than not, I usually run into some sort of problem. These problems have included overfiring (blistering), underfiring (not sintered), and occasionally even a combination of the two in the same pan. Could be my kiln, could be me – however, regardless of where the fault lay, I just couldn’t get it to work consistently.  This I found hugely frustrating, as I absolutely love the look of copper and …

New This Week!

I’d like to buy a vowel … “Yes, Alex – I’d like to buy a vowel. A couple of vowels, actually, and some consonants ….” Now you can buy a vowel, or the whole word even. This is because we found a stash of out-of-production Swarovski crystal letters. Not rhinestone appliques, but actual rhinestone letters – gleaming faceted letter shapes – sparkling like diamonds. OOOOh boy! What is really fascinating to me about these is not just the possibilities of spelling out words, making signet rings with initials on them, personalizing stuff – which is all fabulous, and I’ve been …

Pics for those of you too far to come visit

I had a chance to spend more time in the store today than I usually do. I came in for a meeting, and was fortunate to have an hour beforehand to see everyone. I took the opportunity to snatch a few pics of the store. I apologize for the somewhat poor Iphone photo’s. I have misplaced the camera charger for my real camera. Hopefully, I’ll find that soon! Standing in the middle of the store, looking towards the front. This table has all sorts of fancy Swarovski beads – and some incredibly gorgeous jewelry too! A selection of our lampwork …

Saved by Gilders Paste

Not all design decisions are superb, some are downright fugly, while others merely “meh.” This ring was “meh.” The decision to not add a silvery coating to the epoxy clay before it hardened lessened the look of the finished ring, IMHO. I thought it was ok, but not really what I wanted it too look like. Gilder’s paste to the rescue. Turns the black clay silvery, and makes the ring look more finished. This one was more of an unfortunate accident. I waited to long to apply the metalFX to the Apoxie clay, and it had already hardened, so it …

The Joy of Metal Clay – Miracles of Nature

Please excuse a slight digression from metal clay today. One thing I am inspired by is nature! While camping a couple of weeks ago my youngest and I collected a Monarch caterpillar and two monarch eggs. We have spent the past two weeks entranced by the process of metamorphosis. In addition to the eggs we collected we discovered eggs on our home milkweed plants (their sole source of food) and we now seem to have quite a Monarch nursery going on in our kitchen (the current count is one chrysalis, three caterpillars and four eggs). First, there is the egg, …

The Business Chat – Christmas in August

The sun is shining, the bees are buzzing and guess what? Christmas is coming!!! Yes people it’s time to start the holiday countdown! Right now sales are slow because everyone is on vacation (maybe you are too?). This is the perfect opportunity to start planning and scheduling your holiday season. As soon as September hits life will move into warp speed and before you know it you’ll be sitting around that tree ripping presents apart and wondering if it’s too late to list online those Santa earrings you made. While you’re sitting around in the sunshine with a lovely frosty …

Art from unusual materials

Do you incorporate any unusual materials into your jewelry? Have a look at this gallery of images on Britain’s The Telegraph. Fascinating art created from everything from chewing gum, discarded hole punch dots, and an etch-a-sketch. Have you considered making jewelry not only to wear, but to also display as art? If you make or purchase an “art to wear” piece, it would seem a shame to leave it linger in a jewelry box. Other than a shadow box, does anyone have any ideas for display?