Friday, April 11, 2014

White Copper Clay Day 2

Well, it was a rough day, full of experimentation.  I am not done yet, either. 

I did learn a lot, and blogged about it here on Love my Art Jewlery.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Trying New Things: White Copper Clay

So, as soon as I saw White Copper Clay, I knew I had to try it.  I purchased some, and there it sat.  I finally broke it out, and started playing.

From what I read, it is mostly copper, with a little bit of nickel to make it white.  I am a little hesitant because I know there are people with nickel allergies.

On the flip side, I am excited to have something that can look more like silver, without the expense.  And, there are plenty of people without metal allergies (plus I can back it in copper, ect..)

I didn't try out the other white clays when they came out (other then silver), because they claimed they were fragile and able to break.  I wanted something that could be totally finished like metal when its done, hammered, soldered, riveted, ect......

I purchased it here

It is the brand I have always worked with, and so it is comfortable for me. 

Fine Finishing Boot Camp Tip (Love my Art Jewelry):

When I try out a medium, or technique, there is a lot of trial and error involved.  I don't sell my products until I have a good understanding of them, and know they are quality and will last. I highly recommend thoroughly educating yourself about the materials you use, and how they wear over time, before thinking of selling them.  This only benefits you, and how you look as a professional.   I like to learn from my mistakes, and I want those mistakes to happen to me and not my customers.  

So here are the questions I seek to answer as I work with this new medium..............

1.  How does it oxidize over time?  Will it tarnish like copper, bronze or silver, or be totally different in how it reacts?

2.   How does it hammer?  Is it soft like copper, harder like bronze?  Is it fragile?  Does it drill easily?

3.  How does it react with patina?  Like liver of sulfur? 

4.  How does it look with a heat patina?

5.  Does it solder well?

I will also be looking at questions as I work with it in clay form, like 
1.  does it stick to itself nicely like copper clay?  
2.  How does it carve? 
3.  How is the firing different from bronze and copper, and how does it fire (does it crack easily like bronze, does it come out flawless like copper?)

So look for a follow up post with some answers to these questions.  

I have some in the kiln as I type!  Wish me luck!  

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Dream Come True: a Bead Dream that is............

Ever since I started designing and making jewelry, I wondered how people got into magazines and won competitions (I used to drool over the Saul Bell Winners year after year).  I thought, someday, I want that, to be known for my art.

I have had my eyes on the Bead Dreams competition for a few years now.  You can read up on it here.

It is an annual competition put on by the Bead and Button show.  Every year, I see the pieces online when its time to vote for Peoples Choice, and every year I wish mine were there.

Year after year I wish that I had taken time to create something amazing to enter.  Every year, it passes by.

This year I decided I was going to try it.  What did I have to lose?  I felt like my work is finally in a place, where I think I can compete.  But having never entered a competition, I really had no idea if I could make the cut.  I started planning my pieces back in February.

The way it works, is you submit by category, and it is a $50 fee per entry.  You take pictures of your pieces, and tell a bit about them and submit them.  If you get selected as a finalist (a HUGE honor) your pieces ship to the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee to be judged for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.  All pieces, whether they get a ribbon or not are on display there for the duration of the show.  

So, I submitted two polymer clay pieces and a metal clay piece.  And then I held my breath and sat on nails and paced and paced.  I finally told myself to not be upset if I don't get in, that I tried, and it is all a learning experience and there is always next year.  But guess what.........................

I got both of my polymer clay submission in !!!!!!!!
I danced around like a crazy person.  This is such a dream come true for me.  

So if you are going to Bead and Button, please look for these pieces.

Zen Circles

And this set called 

Sea Swept

I owe a lot of thanks to Joan Miller, Karen Totten and Lisa Peters.  They gave me wonderful advice and encouragement as I was creating these sets.  I couldn't have done it without them.  (Joan has won ribbons at Bead Dreams a few times, and will be there again rocking the Handmade Bead and Button Category- so look for her too).  Thanks for your honesty and encouragement ladies!

They will be getting shipped off this week.  Now, I hope for a ribbon.  It would be so amazing, I am pretty sure I would cry.......but I am just so thankful to make it this far.  

If you go to Bead and Button, please send me a picture of my pieces in the case.  It would be much appreciated.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Bead Soup Has ARrived

My bead soup arrived last week, but I have been so busy....I am just getting a chance to blog about it now.

My partner Stephanie Haussler sent me an awesome mix of some pretty spring colors.

 Her and her husband are a team, he makes glass beads, and she makes and sells jewelry.  You can check out their etsy shop here.

This is the pretty box I got 

and this is what was waiting inside

I love that she sent lots of ribbon- I love fabric.

The focal is by her husband.  I like the black ends against the pastel green- very nice!  However, this shape is hard for me, so time to get my thinking cap on and branch out from my comfort zone (but that is what this is all about- right?)  She even sent me some Wooly Wire (which is funny because I sent her some too!)

I also got lots of accent beads in shades of purple, which I LOVE.  Though I am not sure I will do a purple and green color palate on this just yet.

I got a little bag of more lampwork by her husband

What a great soup!  I can't wait to start playing.

I sent Stephanie two soups.  The first one is something that I personally would love to design with.  Its a little on the colorless rustic side.  It's not everyone's style for sure.  The polymer donut and charm and bronze beads are by me.  The clasp is by Genea Beads.

So just in case she hated it, I sent a second one with a little more color, and I included some beads from friends whose work I adore.

This one has a ceramic donut by Marsha Neal Studios, a polymer donut by me, sea glass (which I love), a starfish headpin by Genea Beads, and Wooly Wire by my friend Nellie!


My friend Heather Marston contacted me a few weeks ago and asked if my daughter Julia would like to trade soups with her daughter Sarah.  Of course, she jumped on it.  So I will also be showing off her soup and her creation.  This is what Julia received from Sarah. (sarah even made the enameled beads herself!!!)

Julia just squealed!  She is kinda new to jewelry making- just finding a love for it this past she is not sure what to do with it yet.  I am sure she will rock it though !!!!

This is what Julia sent to Sarah

two of her polymer "candy hearts", some wing dings from Genea Beads, and some My Elements from Yvonne (her new favorite shop!)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Asymmetry Blog Hop LMAJ

Today, and throughout this week, is the bi-monthly blog hop for Love my Art Jewelry.

I have only had time to make one new thing, but I have a couple other fairly recent designs that I can share as well.

For me, most pieces I make are asymmetrical.  I like the drama it creates in a piece.  I like that slight chaos it implies, and then, it balances out in some sort of way anyhow.
It's a challenge, its fun, and it allow me to use a greater variety of beads in one piece then if I matched them up.  I don't know about you, but to me, having more beads is a good thing !!
I can't be sure, but this may have been how I got started pushing the asymmetrical designs.  I am known to often lay out twice the amount of beads then I can fit in a piece.  Yet every time I hope I can somehow fit them in.  In order to use the variety I had hoped to use in a piece, and keep it on the shorter side, I had to make some asymmetrical designs.  Now, like I said, I can't be sure, but I think that played a part in it.  

So here are my pieces.

This first one is a longer piece, which is typically harder for me. 

 This one features my scrimshaw beadm ammonite, bronze pieces, a marsha neal studio drop at the bottom and a Suburban Girl studio donut

 Rustic Pink focal and rusty stone bead by me, donut by marsha neal studio

This is my newest one- made with some new beads I had made for another project (that didn't fit into

I hope you like them.  I know, I won't be going back to symmetrical anytime soon ;)

Please go on over to LMAJ and see what others have made as well!