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New Lampwork and moving update...Sayonara

Tuesday, May 27, 2008
FINALLY! We have a moving date...well kinda. The movers will be here sometime between June 11 to 14th. The painters start on June 2nd, so that will be taken care of before we move. Yeah! So now, it's hard core packing.

It's also sayonara for my Etsy shop for a while. I will be uploading the rest of my beads, that I've taken pictures of, in the next couple of days. Then I will send a Newsletter out to everyone. I will then be closing down on June 2nd and will not re-open until late July. I'm taking some time off to organized my studios plus visit with family and friends.

I will be in communication via email and by phone. So, even though I won't be around...I won't be wondering lost in the world. :-) I just want to take some time off, I really haven't taken anymore than a week off for over three years...so it's time that I treated myself. Life is too short not to.

Here's a preview of what I got pictures of...the above, yeah, its a kewl strand of brights and barrels, all in 96 COE.
The above and below is a new idea that I had. I really like the mix of colors on the beads. They will make up into some slammin' bracelets. The below is some my my typical doty beads with a splat of color.
The below a fun bead strand that includes a couple accent beads, a focal, and bracelet beads. The color combo is from a vintage table cloth that I use on picnics.
The below just screams fun...easy to wear...easy to work with beads.
Stoneware revisited...
Here's another set of stoneware....
Now that's it for today. I'm off to package up all my orders and get cracking on Etsy.
Have a happy, creative day!
~Moon

New Beads...New Chainmaille...time for a nap!

Sunday, May 25, 2008
I tell ya what, it's HOT and humid here. I step outside and feel like I'm melting.

This is more of a post and run...actually, I think I need a nap. I'm grumpy. :-)

I've been playing with brights again...

More chainmaille...

The cost of silver is going up everyday. There’s a boat load of jewelry designers that are moving over to copper or opting for other types of metals in their designs. I’ve been having a huge debate with myself regarding this issue. Don’t get me wrong, I sometimes like the look of copper. I’ve used it in a couple of my designs myself…but I chose the copper for the color not the cost of the metal. I also understand the profit margin when running a small business…even more so, when it is a luxury-oriented business.

I also really like oxidized and patina hues on metal…but, no matter what I use, the black seem to also color my skin. (let me clarify here, I can discolor sterling even right after it is cleaned…it’s my body chemistry in combo with Texan humid weather) So I’ve been using stainless steel chainball chain for the past several years and earring wires for my personal use. I have now decided to use stainless steel in some of my designs for the other folks out there that have the same issues. What I like about stainless is that it has an oxidized look to it without the patina chemical process.
As far as other metals…base, brass, pewter, plated, and mystery combos…I’m not going there. I will rarely use copper…I mean rarely. I will be adding more stainless, even stainless chainmaille bracelets and necklaces. I like the aged look it produces. I have to admit that stainless really isn’t that much cheaper than sterling. It’s because stainless is so much harder of a metal. So the equipment it takes to work and forge stainless are much more expensive. So it almost averages out. Stainless leverback earrings are the same price as sterling ones.
So all in all, I’m mostly staying with sterling silver. I am in the process of adding fine silver instead. I will use copper but rarely and as I said before, I will be adding stainless. The other metal I’m currently experimenting with is titanium. It has an oxidized look…it’s stronger, lighter, and wears like stainless (on me.) It’s the weight properties that I’m looking at. I like the chunky look but I don’t like the weight.
What else I like about titanium is that it can be heat anodized. That means I can turn the metal blue, purple, teal, or golden by using a torch on it. It’s more like a patina that doesn’t rub off because it’s not done via a chemical process, it’s done via heat. Which is a chemical process in a way but I’m not going into the entire process on this blog. It’s also a metal that is very soft until any heat is added, then it hardens quickly. So what does that mean…you have to hand forge it quickly and not make mistakes. It will snap if you over bend it. It’s a metal that does have limitations but all metals do…it’s also a metal that is used in the aerospace industry.

I just up loaded a bunch of new chainmaille bracelets in my Etsy shop. I've got more plus a bunch of beady dude sets...and if I can get motivated, more stone wrapped pendants.

Have a happy, holiday weekend!

~Moon

More Lampwork...Update

Friday, May 23, 2008
Whoo-whoo! We close today on the house...actually, we had to sign a power of attorney to our broker to go to closing for us. Anyway, we then get possession in 10 days...then the painters and carpet folks do their thang. We FINALLY got a decent quote regarding painting and the painters will be there starting June 2nd. They are supposed to be finished by June 9th.

I've had a couple folks asked me why the painting is such a big deal. Well, the place looks like a cave. The folks before us decided they really liked dark colors. I don't...Indy has so many grey dreary days, that I prefer the light and bright decor. Here, in Austin, it is rarely grey. Even on cloudy days, it's still bright.

Also the previous owners painted the ceilings...in some odd drab hues. This is where I'm very traditional. I like white ceilings because it bounces the light though the room.

Why didn't we do it ourselves? Bob and I are busy...he travels and has very little time off. Me, I work 60-80 hours a week too. So when we are off, we do things together...not work on the house.

Enough moving stuff...here's the BEADS!

I did three mini sets of these beady babies....done in Kuglar leaded crystal clear...in barrels...in kewl colors.
These will be the last of these sets for a while, the ones in Kuglar. I'm packing it this weekend.
I am going to hit the torch today...I need a bit a melting glass time.

Once the movers give us the date...I'll also be letting everyone know when I'm closing my Etsy Store. It will be closed for a couple of months.

Have a wonderful weekend!!!!

~Moon

New Idea...Mix and Match Lampwork

Wednesday, May 21, 2008
I thought I'd try something different. Mix and match lampwork strands of accent beads. I picked a theme, Earth....then I picked the colors. Each strand has some of the same colors as the rest of the Earth strands yet each is different. So they can work within the same jewelry pieces.

I only did a handful of these strands. The ones shown here will be up on Etsy.
I think I will be making more strands like these for me. What I like about them is that I can mix gemstones with them.
Last of the eye candy....

This is kinda of a drive by blog post...I'm off to Etsy.
Have a great day!
~Moon

Orphan Works Bill 2008…How will it effect YOU?

Monday, May 19, 2008
Have you been reading about the Orphan Works Bill? Well, this started out in 2005 and got shot down in 2006 in the subcommittees of both the House and Senate. Now, it's back and resurrected from the grave...back to haunt artists. Here's an overview from Wikipedia.

Here's the full text version from the House, The Orphan Works Act of 2008Bill # H.R.5889.

Here's the full text version of the Senate, The Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008Bill # S.2913.

The House's IP subcommittee has already approved the Bill. That's one step closer. It's my thought, that sooner or later, a version (this one or another) will be enacted. My hope it will be a cleaner and better thought out version.

You ask how does this effect me...well, it does if you put anything up on the Internet regarding in regards to images or pictures. Under this Bill, you won't automatically have a copyright on your images any more. So if your pictures (family or business or even pics from your last vacation) is on the Internet, that makes them fair game for anyone to use in any manner they chose.

The pictures are considered "orphaned". Orphan equates to anyone can use them.

Currently, you now own the copywrite when they are posted on your blog or website or any place on the Internet. They are still considered yours and not 'orphaned'. All created work automatically has a copywrite. Under this Bill, you will not own the copywrite to any of your work unless you register them. That also means that each image will require a fee to protect the image. So the bottom line is that if you don't register them, they are considered public domain.

The issue, in my way of thinking, is that the Bill is intended to limit the liability for educators, museums, and libraries. Which I can understand. The reality is that it can be used by the fat pockets or greedy in our society as well.

I don't have the "OMG" attitude of many artists regarding the Bill. Even now, it takes some mighty deep pockets to protect intellectual rights to any work that is posted on the Internet. So to me, it levels the playing field a bit and puts everyone on their guard...Har-har. Yeah, right...and I have some swamp land for sale too.

The biggest issues is that the Bill is poorly defined. It's supposed to deal with older works/images (decades old) but it lumps all work together. So instead of calming the issues with older work, it just opens the field for more abuse. It even opens up the issue with commercial uses as well. There are many loopholes, even with the best written and well thought out Bill, to promote abuse. This Bill is a bit beyond mere loopholes. It opens up a vast subway system. It's not even a decent band-aide for which the Bill was intended.

The other issue that I see that intellectual property laws are already a bucket of worms. The Bill just adds more confusion to an already complex issue. That doesn't even touch the issues with International Copywrite Laws...mmmm, the bucket of worms just got a bit bigger. Didn't it?

Overall, laws are put in to action because of 'good faith' and to protect/serve the general public...the reality is that the 'opportunists' slice of our society can have a heyday with this Bill. So this Bill just doesn't effect artists. In reality it effect everyone and anyone that posts an image in the Internet. I foresee a huge number of repercussions for everyone...not just artists. The issue is that even though a law is enacted...it really isn't. It has to be fought out in the justice system as well. Look at Roe vs. Wade for example. The federal government has changed the ruling and has added extra limitations. Each state now has a version of the ruling. This is just one example of millions that take place.

For very interesting reading, take a peek at interview with illustrator Brad Holland. It's a bit eye opening of what can happen to artists with this Bill.

Here's links that you might just want to take a peek at too: http://capwiz.com/illustratorspartnership/home/
http://www.prweb.com/releases/2008/05/prweb911944.htm

If you get the chance, take a look at each of the Bills and make your own decision. Google it...think about it...read a bit more. That's what I did...then I added a bit of my personal experience...now I'm only beginning to understand the repercussions that can take place.

I'm not an intellectual property attorney...so anybody else have an opinion, I'd sure be interested.

After this post, still try to have a happy, creative day!

~Moon

More Lampwork...with update

Sunday, May 18, 2008
The last couple of days, I’ve been on the ‘early to rise’ schedule. Why?, you ask. Well, my hubby decided we needed more room to put boxes. So I no longer have either living room or family room furniture. My choices are to hang out in the studio, sit in the dinning room, office, or sleep. So I’ve been working on the torch about non-stop, except when I sleep. He did decide to leave the bedroom alone…I think it had to do with my penetrating glare.

These have been what I've been working on...
I've added some raku to the mix...again, these beady dudes look much better in person than in the pictures.
I'll put these up on Etsy sometime next week.
The house is pretty much packed except for the kitchen and what we need to live. I’m beginning to feel like I’m camping. Next week, I actually will start the final packing stage in the studio. I’ve been putting this off. I really don’t want to do this. So today will be my last full day on the torch.

We are STILL waiting on a quote from two different painters. Once that is done, we can do the final scheduling with the movers. We close on Friday, so that is taken care of. We don't have possession for 10 days after that. So the move is looking like it will be sometime mid-June. It’s getting close but this is kinda the worst part. Two years ago, we moved cross town…that was nothing. There isn’t the scheduling issues involved.

I keep telling myself, it will get better and I know it will. Everything will be back to normal sometime in July. That’s also why I’ve decided to close my Etsy shop during the move and not open it up until late July.

OK...I better get moving, I've got a kiln full of beads and I want to spend my LAST day on the torch productively. Geez, I feel like I've already having withdraw pains.

Have a happy, creative day!
~Moon

Accent Beads...New Lampwork

Friday, May 16, 2008
I'm just about done with accent lampwork. I wanted to get a bunch done, more because I like them. They are the most diverse beads that I make. It's the color blending that I like so much and they work so well with natural stones.







The above and below is a custom mix...it actually looks like abalone shell. I can picture these in some very kewl art jewelry.

Ok...I'm really not too chatty today. Got lots to do and though ya might like a bit of eye candy. Today, I'm back on the torch. I really don't have too many days left before I have to pack up the rest of the studio. So I'm spending every spare minute there. :-) I'm also waiting on another quote from painters...not only will it tell us when to do the final scheduling, it will tell me when I have to close my Etsy shop. I don't think that I will re-open it until my entire studio is up and running. I'm looking at maybe late July right now. A lot depends on just how much I can get done. I've also had a few calls for trunk shows...jewelry, not beads. I just love doing these and there's only so much time in a day. So I might put off Etsy for longer. Who knows, things just might go smoother than I'm predicting.
Have a happy, creative day!
~Moon

I've been busy...Mucho Lampwork Beads.

Thursday, May 15, 2008
I've been busy on the torch. I guess I know that the time is coming that I might not be making beads for a while. I've got to break down and finish packing sooner or later. I keep putting it off...me, thinks that I might be dreading the entire process. I hate moving...I really hate moving huge amounts of heavy glass.

Anyway, I've had several people ask me if I was going to make more of the 'Robin's Nest' beads. I knew that I was going to revisit the color combo but they wouldn't be duplicated like the first set.
So here's a couple of sets that I've flamed...all in the Kulgar leaded crystal clear. All in barrel form...still one of my favorites.
I also made several different sizes of strands. I have to say, that this will be my last beads for a long time in this color combo.
The below...turned out well. They look much better in person than in the pictures.
Here's an a strand of 'sky nuggets'...hand shaped with texture. They are lovely accents in jewelry because when the light hit them, they just sparkle.

These are a bit different than my normal encased beads. They more like plump disks. I've been experiment with the shape for a while. They work great for trapeze necklaces...great as stackable pendants...great for accents beads in bracelets. I've added huge amounts of fine silver to give these beads an organic look. They look great with both metal and gemstones.
Here's some more...
And more...these are extra lovely. (can ya tell that the below are my favorites?)
Most of these beads will be posted up on Etsy in the next couple of days.
Every once in a while I take the time to ponder the week’s events…yep, kinda scary isn’t it. Yesterday I was on the torch for over twelve hours so I had the time to ponder.

I’ve had several people ask me why lampwork beads are so expensive though the years. (twice this week alone) That comes with, isn’t only glass? My response is normally, ‘well yes, it’s glass… just like an emerald is only a rock’.

I’ve come to the understanding that no question is a bad question…it’s just that some folks just don’t present the question well. I think it has to do with tone of voice; maybe even it’s the lack of polite curiosity when the question is posed. It also depends on who is asking the question.

If it’s a jewelry designer, I think I will take it on a case by case manner. My rule thumb here is that is someone is selling something, anything, they should know what they are selling. Most jewelry designers are at the mercy of the raw materials that they are using, so if you don’t know, find out. It’s really not that difficult in this age of information. Try plugging in ‘lampwork, how made’ in your favorite search engine. You just might be amazed at the amount of information that is out there. When it comes to the fine details…I will always explain how I do a certain technique or why ‘something’ takes me so long to make. So don’t let me scare you away from questions.

If it’s a person from the general public, a non-jewelry designer, I take the time and will continue to do so. I just consider it a form of public education. Now they might get that polite smile, a nod of the head, and even a neutral ‘that’s nice’ or ‘I understand’ from me…but I will continue to do my best to explain. There are just some folks, no matter what I say, really don’t want to know the answer. They are asking just to poke fun, maybe they are trying to make a point, or for some reason that I really don’t have time for.

Translation…’that’s nice’ translates to ‘that’s stupid’ and ‘I understand’ translates to something I can’t say in public.

The other thing that I’ve found a bit odd when a fellow lampworker takes the time to ask me a question regarding how I got a certain color reaction or what type of glass I used to make a certain bead. Them I take the time out of my day to answer their questions. Then they don’t take the time to even say ‘thanks’. Which happens about 50% of the time. Every time this happens, I wonder why I even answer questions like these. I took the time to experiment and work the glass, then the time to answer the question…sometimes takes me a while because I’ve got to go find my notes or think back on how I did it in the first place. It’s not that I need a ‘thank you’, it’s just polite.
Anyway, if you got this far...feel free to comment. I really won't bite your head off. Maybe I'm just getting old and cranky.
Anyway, I'm off to upload a bunch of beads on Etsy!
Have a happy, creative day,
~Moon


Painters and the waiting game...more lampwork beady dudes too!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008
It's been another frustrating day, waiting for the final quotes for painting to get done. We had one painter contact us, to let us know the price but he couldn't start until late June because he was going on vacation. Just great...so now, we are trying to get another person in the house for another quote. This buying a house cross country and trying to wrap up the details, is a PITA. If we can get the painter wrapped up, that the last of the details and then we can finish up with the actual moving organization. Then it comes the final packing. That's really it.

Well, that's the moving update...now to the 'good' stuff, beads. :-) The below is made from the Kuglar crystal clear. They are lovely beads...with one of the best hues of olive that I have. Anyway, I liked them so much that I made 4 mini sets. Two are already posted on Etsy.
The below were made on 1/8th sized mandrels. Great for necklaces, which you see but they are also great for earrings too.
Here's a set that were made on my normal sized mandrels. These are petite beady babes.
These turned out well, in my humble opinion. There's great veining and the encasements pop the colors up.
Makes me think of spring flowers...
I've been working on lots and lots of encasements. It's jewelry making season for a lot of folks and I've been getting requests for them. Geez, I like them too. I think they are one of the best for wire and they make up into lovely bracelets. I guess what I like about these types of beads the most is that they go so well with gemstones. The problem that I've had mixing lampwork, glass, and gemstones is that takes a huge inventory of accents beads. It's hard to match shades. That's where these beads come in handy. They seem to pull designs together.

It was a long day in the studio yesterday. I worked until my kiln couldn't hold anymore beads. I normally work no longer than 8-10 hours at the torch. Yesterday was some what longer. Today will be the same. It's perfect beadmaking weather here in Austin, which doesn't happen too often. So I'm of to see what the kiln fairy brought me.

Have a happy, creative day!
~Moon