Sunday, December 27, 2009

I am Moving!

I am moving this blog over to WordPress! Come visit me there and add me to your follow list!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Public Shout-Out to C&T Designs

Curt at C&T Designs is another person to whom I need to say a public "Thank you!". I buy all my niobium, bronze, and square copper rings from Curt, because his quality is so good. However, I also get rings from Curt because he is just a really nice guy.

In a past post I mentioned that I was struggling with HP 3-1, an easy weave, but the dickens to get started! I also commented about my struggles on Twitter. Curt Twitters, as well, and asked me what tutorials I was using. I mentioned them, and he sent me his own tutorial on HP 3-1, which gave the absolutely clearest description that I have yet seen of the dimensionality of that weave. The tutorial helped me figure out the 3-1 weave, as you can see. These are rings that I cut, and are not up to the standard of Curt's. I wanted to try the weave with the size rings Curt recommended, and I was too impatient to order some of his excellent rings. I don't mind cutting a few rings with a jewellery saw to see if I like the weave enough to do it again, but anything more than a bracelet's worth of rings in soft copper and I go running to the store! Life is too short.

Anyway, I had to try again, this time combining larger rings in copper and bronze. Next I think I could alternate them.

But then I had to try helm chain, and managed that, too. I really like helm chain; it is an odd combination of incredibly easy and flat-out annoying, but the result is lovely, like a Celtic knotowrk border. Next time, though, I am buying the rings for that weave; never again am I cutting 1/8" rings with my hand saw. I have a teeny blade that gives me a nice flush cut, but oy, the labor in keeping an even cut on a weeny surface! Curt earns every penny he charges on those rings, and I am happy to pay it!

Curt is also very nice about cutting custom rings for people, and doing other things (we are talking about adding a liver-of-sulfur patina to the square copper rings, as I have a neighbor who wants a bracelet with a darker finish). He's also the original seller of the anodized rainbow niobium rings.

You can see the helm chain and the first HP 3-1 bracelets over at my 1000 Markets shop.

Thank You, Studio Marcy!

One of the things I really, really like about my local ISGB chapter, "Southern Flames," is that everyone there is so helpful. We're all interested in each other's success, and everyone is just genuinely supportive. One great example is Marcy Lamberson, aka Studio Marcy, Marcy makes the most wonderful, humorous, just plain funny beads out there. She has a fantastic sense of humor when it comes to beads -- check out Kayla the Panda Hula Dancer, or the woman who wants to be kissed under the mistletoe!

But Marcy is a genuinely cheerful person outside the studio as well. I still laugh when I think of the both of us outside Beads by Design, where Southern Flames meets (Thank you, Stephanie!). We were both buying glass from another Southern Flames member who had extra in his car, and there in the dark, weighing out glass, we were cracking all kinds of mafia jokes :)

Marcy is also generous of spirit, and when we are all working on beads for Beads of Courage offers mini-tutorials, sharing techniques freely--something increasingly rare. She features Southern Flames members on her blog--and I am her latest feature. If you are in the ATL area on the 12th of December, make sure you stop by Janke Studios, where Marcy will be demoing lampwork!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

By the way

if you are wondering how some of the Prismacolor turned out ... here's some recent pictures, plus some more chain maille. Happy Thanksgiving, people! Remember all the things you are thankful for ... not just today, or tomorrow, but every day. We all have *so* much that I think we don't even think of.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Post-Show Musings

My friend Julia (Art of the Firebird) and I were at the Down the Street Bead Show this past weekend. The people were wonderful, as always; it is lots of fun to chat with returning customers, new ones, and of course other vendors. I'm always so thankful for the people who stop by and look, and talk, whether they buy or not! This year our friend Tara Roberts had made a pile of fleece hats with animal ears--everything from pert cats to long dangly rabbit and sheep ears--and several of us bought them. Julia and I each had one, and they were a conversation piece (AND were warm!). If you are on Facebook, Tara's husband John posted pictures of the show, including a picture of Tara in her bunny hat and other lampworkers in theirs.

In terms of money,the show was disappointing. Sales were slow across the show, and there was one four-hour block where we made only one sale. I was very thankful that at my faculty meeting on Friday I brought out my "box of sin" and was cleaned out of all my Prismacolor pieces! The other area of disappointment was Cobb Galleria's treatment of Miss Daisy, our favorite food vendor, who was ejected by the Cobb Galleria management. Audrey was very unhappy at that, as Daisy doesn't make much on these shows yet can't store the finished food--everything is seriously fresh, which is what makes it so yummy. So she bought Daisy out and then shared with all of us. Wouldn't take a penny, either. I hope that Cobb lets Miss Daisy back in next show; she's a lot of fun (and her chocolate is to die for!).

However, the slow pace of the show meant that I could finally sit down and figure out chain maille, which I have enjoyed ever since seeing Julia's absolutely gorgeous work. When I say "figure out chain maille," I am not implying that you can sit down and be an expert. What I figured out was how to hold my pliers, work, and rings while only spilling the rings seriously once. I still shed rings all over the floor (which I had to pick up ... and pick up ...) I started with a simple box chain, but I tarted it up with square wire. As a box chain is rather rectangular and, well, boxy, I thought I would see what happened when I used square wire. Lo and behold, it was elegant! I need to dig it out of the show box and take a picture of it.

Julia was working on a barrel chain with anodized niobium wire, and I really liked the look of the resulting bracelet. There's a trick to barrel chain! I hunted around on the web and found instructions to a barrel chain with a single inner ring, elegantly named Rhinos Snorting Drano. No, really. Who makes up these names? Anyway, RSD looked quite good in copper square wire, and was incredibly easy to construct. I like easy! I then tried half-Persian 3-1, but either my rings are too small, or the square doesn't work. I can see *how* to do it, but can't make the blasted things go. Will try again with larger rings.

So then I returned to the barrel chain, this time doing a real barrel chain. I added bright blue lampwork beads, with copper bead caps, and really liked the result.
I have the earrings made, too, but no picture. I really like the way this weave is soft in a round wire and is almost engineering-steampunk in the square wire. It makes a nice contrast with the soft blue of the beads.

One other thing about a slow show is that one gets to talk to other vendors, and in general, the vendors at the DTS shows are very generous with time and information. I got some more tips on the Prismacolour-on-copper process, and shared how I made my copper displays. , All in all, it was tiring--but a good time was had by all.

Now on to Christmas!