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New Lampwork Beads...What's Happenin'...Lets Count the Beadsets

Monday, February 28, 2011
 I FINALLY sat down at the command center (my desk) and posted some beads on Etsy.  The shop was looking a bit lean. 
I'm in the beginning phase of having to raise my prices...I'm hoping to keep it small and non-painful.  So far, so good. 

 Yesterday's 'filling of the shop' were mostly silvered glass of one form or another.  I really like how these encased twistie beads turned out. 
 There were painful to photograph though....well, fo rme that is. :-)  I torched a handful of sets, mostly to see if I could do it.  I can, so I will be moving back to my brights and rocks.
 The below is a set of 'rocks' that I used silvered glass frit....are are some minis.  I did a couple of these sets...they look sooooo much better in person than in the pics.  In the future, I will make more of these but not for a while. 
 Here's a full sized set. :-)   These are etched...I'm thinking that I might do some more etched...they turned out great.  Where they would good great with all types of jewelry designs but I can picture them within several different types.  Anyway...I will go back to rocks but I really need a break from them for a while.
I've been making beads for over ten years now...professionally since 2003. Ever wonder how many beads I’ve made…ever wonder how many beadsets? I have couple of times but the numbers seem to get lost when I’m trying to think of new color combos or a new design or testing new glass.

I’m not one of the big names in lampwork…I’m a Larry Scott or Corina or….well you get the point and it’s a long list. I don’t teach…I don’t do e-tutorials…I don’t even talk on the forums. I don’t have time. Speaking of forums and online social networking…I’m trying to figure out how anyone has the time to be self-employed like an artist and spend time chatting on the forms or places like Facebook. It’s addictive….I had to take a full hiatus from FB and I’ve make it clean break from forums. If not, I don’t think I would get anything accomplished.

What I’ve figured out, in regards to what type of beadmaker I am…I’m more of a jeweler’s support staff.

Since I don’t have support staff, I need to get busy packing up all my Etsy orders and customs. Then I’m going to work on the torch today. I’ve got a lot of new glass that is calling my name.
Later Gators!

New Lampwork Bead Sets...Bead Photography Backgrounds...Silvered Glass

Sunday, February 20, 2011
The above and below pics are the same bead set.  The above was photographed inside, within a EZ cube and sparkle lighting.  The below was photographed outside, in muted sun, on a piece of white matt board (what I use to matt my watercolors).   The details have been blown up because the actual size of each bead averages 7.5mm by 13mm.  The background makes a huge difference in what the beads look like in reality.   In hand, they actually look some where in between the two photos.,.but...if I add any light or companion beads like sterling or a gemstone, that will change the colors as well.  I think it has a lot to do with the encasement and the properties of silvered glass. 
 I spent 8 hours yesterday working on photos and I only have 19 sets ready to go.  So my decision is to try to do both in studio and outside photos....more so when it's silvered glass, fumed, or encasements.   The opaque beady sets really about about the same in either light or most backgrounds.  The colors really don't changed much.   So I could photograph those sets on rainy or cold days that I don't want to do outside photos. 

Jewelry, that includes shiny sterling, really needs to be photographed inside.  I think that has to do with my meager photography skills. 

Now what does all this have to do with beady sets???  The thing is, the one thing that I dislike the most (about buying online) is that there have been times that I've purchased beads in a certain hue and they weren't when I opened the package.   That has to also with monitors too but it also has to to with backgrounds as a few other things too complex for my merge Photoshop skills. :-) 

Anyway, to make this ramble shorter...I'm going to try to do both inside and outside photos for certain types of glass.  It might take a bit longer but I'm betting that my customers would prefer it.   I also will try to make sure that I have 5 views as well. 

 These are also part of the silvered glass that I've been playing with.  The beads have both American silvered glass and fine silver.  I didn't think they would turn out as well as they did when I was torching them...but...when I opened the kiln, I was surprised.  The Double Helix that I used is one of the kiln striking kinds. 
I've kinda stayed away from encasing silvered glass.  For one, there's a lot of lampworkers that already do that.  The main reason is that I couldn't figure out how to photograph the sets.  Since I kinda have that down, I will do some more.   Previously, I just kept them and made jewelry from them. :-) 

This year, eclectic natural/tribal jewelry is very popular. It really never goes out of style but for the next couple of years, it's gonna be hot.  That's were the more organic lampwork seems to really shine in jewelry designs.  So maybe it's encased silvered glass that I shape into rocks. :-) 

I've rambled enough...I'm off to get some work done. 

Have a happy, creative day!

Lampwork-Photography-and my Studio Cleaning Sale on Etsy

Saturday, February 19, 2011
I’m in the process of moving my studio home and cleaning at the same time. So I’m clearing out all my work created in 2009 and 2010 to make room for my new work for 2011. The studio sale jewelry will be discounted 70-50% off original prices. When I clean, I clean.

 There comes a time with enough is enough...I've just got too much stuff.  I will do a few shows this year but I feel like I'm being weighted down by all my inventory so I don't create more. 
 So it's time!  As I take the photos over the next several weeks, I will be listing them in my Etsy shop.
 I think one of the reasons why I haven't surged forward regarding new lampwork bead designs, is that I'm stuck.  This sale will hopefully unstuck me. :-)
 After all these years, I've finally figured out how to take decent pics; not great but decent. That's another reason for the sale on Etsy...I need the practice.

These bracelets are part of my of the 'Everyday' line. The whole object was to showcase the color of the lampwork beads without overwhelming them. Just my lampwork with sterling.  These are to be sleek and wearable for everyday wear. I mean in the shower, doing dishes, playing with the kids or furballs, and of course, working the 9-5 grind. The sterling is shiny so it's very easy to clean...the design isn't complex or has anything to catch on...I used a trigger clasp so that even during wrestling match with the dog won't pull it off your wrist. This is the design that I wear daily and I'm tough on jewelry.

That's what I'll be working on the next several weeks...along with taking pics of the 100 or so bead sets that I also have sitting on my desk.  I will also have orphan sets as well. 

I've been avoiding the camera and just working on the torch as much as possible.  Which is great in some ways but now I seem to be drowning in assorted other stuff.  I've also have several orders of glass coming I know if I don't get this started, I will hide in the garage and just work away; trying to forget the piles waiting for me to photograph. 

BTW, I'm still taking a break from Facebook.  The social networking sites are great but I spend too much time on them. 

Ok...I've got to get my packages out...yep, that means all customs are done!!!!  I'm also not taking any more customs until I get my desk cleared and my studio fully moved.  I've got two more open studios left then I can finish up.  Hopefully by May 1st, not only will the studios be moved...the photography caught up...I can start doing some work that I've got in mind. 

Have a happy, creative day!

Photo Experiments

Friday, February 18, 2011

MMJ Lampwork, originally uploaded by Moon Stumpp.

I've been trying to find a new, anti-glare background for my jewelry. That's what is holding me up for my studio cleaning sale.

There's still a bit of glare but not bad. I'm working on it...but photography is still the bain of my existance. :-)

Later Gators!

Wire Style 2

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cindy Wimmer, from Sweet Bead Studio, let me know that my beads are on page 82 within one of her designs.  Wire Style 2 is also currently on pre-order from Amazon.

Yeah, two blog posts in one day...I figured I better or I will forget to share.  Which does happen sometimes.

Have a happy, creative day!

New Lampwork...Tide Pools

 With all the sunshine and warmer temp here, I got into the ocean theme while making beads.  Yeah, I's a bit cheesy but hey, I enjoyed torching the above strands.  I will say, they were a bit of a PITA to make so this is a very limited mini series. :-)   The focals are visually interesting to stand alone in a piece of jewelry, that's why the companion sets of basic mini rocks.  The focals are so busy that too much fu-fu will muddy up the visual field.  They would look great with just sterling, or with seed beads, or a very simple gemstone strand. 

The my last strand with 96 COE for a while.  I thought I really wanted to do a mini series...I changed my mind.  If I'm going to do this, I really need to change my set up. When we moved the glass studio home, I added another modified oxycon.  So I'm running between 25-30 helps to be close to Unlimited Oxygen....with a larger torch.  So I'm really running rather warm.  My pref is to run hot and work quick, but I just can't do what with 96 COE glass.  So I think that this mini series that I wanted to do is going to be put on the back burner, until I have more patience.
Well, I great ambitions for the torch today. :-)  Bob is working it's quite here.  All the beads are cleaned...I'm staying way from Facebook and every other of chatty forum (time killers)...and I really don't want to do photography today.  It's not even on my 'To-Do' list today...which it really should be added.  I'm drowning in bead sets right now.  There well over hundred of them that seem to be looming over my head.  Plus I've got all the bracelets cleaned and ready to go for the studio cleaning sale...I just need the photos. :-)  Well, it seems it's not going to happen today.  I've got the torcher chamber calling my name...rods are just siting there waiting for me. 

Later Gators!

Yep, more Lampwork Beads...Beyond the Beta Version...found odd lots

Sunday, February 13, 2011
 I'm still working on the 'Beyone the Beta Verison' of the rock series.  These are much more interesting to torch.  The are completely 96 COE, which I have to work either very high in the flame or a high O2 flame...or both.  If not the color will burn out, boil, bubble, and pit.  Since I normally work hot and quick, slow and cool is kinda getting to me.   I didn't get a great pic of the above.  They really are beautiful in hand.  They have the color combo of old carnival glass.   I made another rock set that is very similar that I'm going to etch.  Both have come out of my 96 stash.  I've got some really old glass from Zimmerman, Gaffer, and some handpulls... that I've been playing with.  Ya know, I've got this horde of glass that seems to be breeding.  It's not really...I guess I just keep on adding to it. 

When the studio was moved, I didn't pack it.  A bunch of family and friends came over...they did it.  I just stood around.  At the time, I didn't have any grip in my hands so I kept on dropping things.  Yeah, that was really kewl when dealing with glass rods.  Anyway, I finally took an inventory of what I have to make a few orders because I was out of a few things.  I also found a couple of boxes/tubes that either were not unpacked yet or sitting in a very dark area of my glass storage area.  I found things like a bunch of Gaffer and Zimmerman.  For those that aren't lampworkers or glass people, Zimmerman is now out of business and Gaffer does limited pulls of their veiled glasses.  I also found PI glass...another company that is now out of business.  Too bad too!!!  OMG, their glass is 96COE but it melts like butter.  Their factor is now the new CiM factory. 

I also found several pounds of River Rock...Poppy Coral...Sea Green...Amber Rose...Garret trans...Terra...several different types of odd lot silvered glasses...lots of old ASK.  So, it's time that I use some of this...why save it???  I can hear the glass calling to me...'melt me, melt me, melt me'. :-)  Why do I need over 5 lbs of pineapple sparkle or key lime or yellow ice or the really old yellow opal????    I've got odd lots that I've never heard of before.  Like a couple rods marked, blue amber rose????  Or sunshine coral????   I doubt that they are real because I got them from a supplier that gone out of business.  I have no idea what they really are...hell, they are pretty and they are glass, I'll just melt them and find out. :-)
 I've still have all the 96COE glass sitting on my torcher chamber so that's what I will stay with for the next couple of days.  After that...well, these are a bit time intensive so I will move back to my same ol', same ol' for a couple of weeks. 
Ok...time to hit the torch now.  Next week, I've got to get busy with photography.  I've got close to 100 bead sets to get pics so.  So hopefully, in the next week or so, I will do an Etsy shop upload. 

Later Gators!

New Lampwork, beyond the Beta version...and Changes in the wind…price increases

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The above is a new set...beyond the Beta version of Mooner's Rock series.  I will keep making the old series...a lot of people like them plus they are cheap.  Or should I say, affordable. :-)  There really isn't that much to them and I don't use the more expensive glasses on them. 

I did get a bit bored with making them but they are just so many different options for a jewelry designer.  So I kept the same shape and added a lot of extras...fine silver, frits, and raku.  I think the next version will also include fumed beads.  They are just so easy to design with...they work so well with natual stones and metals.  So it's going to be hard for me to stop making them.

Changes in the wind…
I think (just my opinion) that there is a change in store for several of the creative arts. The areas that I understand, are clay, paint, and glass. Mostly in the prices of raw materials. There are several rare earth minerals that are used, like Erbium…my pink of choice, a rich cranberry, uses such rare earth mineral. For example, I have a several rods of cranberry that I paid $36-39 a pound. I went to replace some of it last week and it’s now $85 per pound. Eye protection glasses for both soft and boro, utilizes a rare earth mineral/oxides. Lanthanum is used in both lampworking glass and ceramics glazes. So is thulium, in glass and ceramics. I’m just beginning to do the research on this tangent but I see the prices go sky high soon.

For example, when I started making jewelry full time, the price of silver was running about $3 a troy ounce, currently it is $29.88. So I’m betting that the same thing is going to happen to many of my raw materials that I’m currently using in both painting and glass. I knew it was only a matter of time.

Now what does all of that mean…I’m not fully sure yet. I do know that I will in the process of figuring out how to keep my costs down…but I’ve already taken it to the bare bones a couple of years ago. So I really don’t have many frills left to cut. I also buy in bulk as much as possible, which I will keep on doing. So bulk purchases and cutting frills several years ago is the reason why I haven’t had to raise any of my prices in the past 4-5 years.

So if you have any ideas on how to keep costs down, please pass them along.

The thing is, I’m above average lampworker, not one of the great ones mind you…but….many of the more interesting beads, you don’t see. They mostly sit on my desk because of the price I have to charge for them. I’ve found myself ‘dumbing down’ my work to stay within the confines of what the market will bear.

So all of this has me pondering...what is in the future for the arts?    Or is just me?

Anyway.... will leave you with those questions, if you decided to read this far. :-) 

Later Gators!

Etsy Treasury....Crazy for Giraffes

Thursday, February 10, 2011
This is such an unique DOOHICKIES & SUCH!  I was flattered she added a bead set of mine.

'Crazy for Giraffes' by Doohickiesnsuch

Just a cute little collection of things with giraffe print

Gary The Giraffe - A St...

Organizer Basket Fabric...

MMJ Lampwork Bead Set-T...

Animal Adventures Giraf...

NEW DESIGN Wall Art Ki...

Kissing Giraffes - Ster...


NEW Arrival-Decorative ...

Minky and Satin Baby Bl...

The SQUEEZE - Wild Anim...

Spice Brown Glass Antiq...

Giraffe reversible Apro...

African Landscape Sunse...

Large Giraffe Print Saf...

Mr. Giraffe Baby Onesie...

Wrist Key Chain - Key F...


New Lampwork Bead color combs

 I'm trying something a bit different...I'm still playing with color but thinking that the Mooner's Rock series needs to jump out of it's beta version. 
 The above is color combo is kewl...I was hard for me to get the photos but in hand, they really are kewl.  I would like to expand on this design concept and expand this color combo to other shapes.
The above are some betas that I will also be expanding on.  The concept goes back to be able to mix lampwork, natural stones, and metals.  I think my beadmaking style is related to my jewelry design background.

Ok....I'm off to take some photos!!!!  Wish me luck. :-)

Later Gators!

New Scanner...New Watercolor SmallWorks

Sunday, February 06, 2011
  With all the snow and ice, I was stuck inside playing with my new scanner. I got an Epson Perfection's a wonderful photo scanner and not expensive at all.  I've just got to learn how to use it now. 

The above and below are part of my Window Series.  They are small, 4X6, on Arches 300lb watercolor paper, and matted out to 5X7.  The whole idea for these mini watercolors is that they are affordable, collectable, and colorful.  They are made for groupings but they look great on a bookshelf or a couple in a bath. 

Yes, I do larger pieces but with the current economy and as an unknown painter…many people want to buy smaller/cheaper work of the artist to test it out. That’s OK with me. The other thing is that 5X7 to 11X14 are rather easy to ship. Which after the move from the studio is complete, the two shows that I’m hanging at are done, and I decide on the few shows that we will be doing…then it will be time to work on Artalope, the second website and open up the second Etsy shop as well.

The website and shop has been already reserved…now I’ve got to come up with the time to get it up and running. There sometimes, just not enough time in a day. I also just got back to the torch after months and months of being idle. When my hands don’t do what I want them to do, it’s frustrating. I also found that pushing too hard, is painful. That I could live's the numbness that got to me.   I'm happy to say, that it mostly comes and goes now.

The above is from my Heart on a String Series...again, they are small.  I've done some larger as well. 

Ok...I've got to get some things done and hit the torch.  It's been almost a week since I've been out there.  There just isn't enough room in the garage for both the car and me.  It gives me the willies and it's just not a good idea.

Later Gators!!!

We Dug Ourselves out...We are Free!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

The above is a picture of Briggs, the wonder Sheltie, helping to clear the snow and ice out of the driveway.  Bob did most of the heavy ice removal with a spade.  It took two days, off and on to get it done.  Our drive is on an incline so the ice near the garage door was about 2.5 inches thick. Down by the street, it was closer to 4-5 inches thick.  The we were graced with a couple of feet from DOT.  Some nice person with something like a snow blower took a nice section of that away.  Anyway, we can make it over the hump.  Bob will finish up tomorrow to see if he can chip some of the last away.  We have more snow coming tomorrow night...isn't this weather lousy...and then we really dip in temps. 

We have been freed!!!!   I just had to say that again.  I've been trapped in the house since Monday.  The car can make it out of the driveway now.  Bob even made a run to the ‘Happy Dragon’ for dinner.   Yippy skippy, life is good!!!!

Why is it such a wonderful thing for the car to get out of the garage...that's where I make beads.  Tomorrow, while the US is watching the Super Bowl, I'll be on the torch.

Later Gators,...stay warm and stay safe!!

Happy Fine Art Friday-New Watercolor Series-Fish

Friday, February 04, 2011

I've been working on my watercolor skills.  These are 4X6 that will be matted to 5X7.   I'm also playing with my new photo scanner.  It might be a while until I get the process down. :-)

Ok...back to work with me!!!!
Stay warm....stay safe!