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36 hour days?? How do SRAs do it???...New Lampwork

Thursday, March 31, 2011
I've been spending lots of time on the torch but not a lot of time taking pictures.  I've come to a point that I can't even find my top of my desk.  So it will be photography time again.  Why do I do this to myself?  I stay on the torch, the part the I enjoy...then when I start drowning in beads, then I will start the process of photography and then filling up the Etsy shop.  If I would just keep a handle on it...I wouldn't dread the selling part of this business. question do ya'll do it all?  (run on sentence alert)  I mean how does one do the creating (beads and/or jewelry), then do the photography, then do the listings, keep up on the website, so the social networking, keep the blog updated, upload on Flickr, etc? 

Now that's just the online sales.  Then there's the art shows, bead shows, wholesale, gallery, and consignment.  Which consignment can be one of the biggest time suckers there is or it can be great!  Then there is the custom work and the amount of communication it takes. 

Then there's the typical small business duties...paperwork, taxes...well you know the drill. 

Normally, I am pretty good at managing my time and decent at multi-tasking but I'm coming to a point that I almost need 36 hour days.

So be careful what you wish for, sometimes you get what you ask for. :-)

Later Gators...I'm off to the torch! :-)

New Lampwork Series...Escapes; DH's Psyche

Monday, March 28, 2011
This series started with a spark of an idea…then I read though Michael Barley’s Baleen tutorial…then I pondered some more…then on March 24th, it happened. All the pieces fell into place. So the birth of this series is also Harry Houdini’s birthday (March 24, 1874 – October 31, 1926)…hence the name, Escapes. To make it more interesting…regarding color combos…I enlisted the help of a globe. I spin the globe, close my eyes, and pick a spot on Earth. Then figure out what is in that area that interests me.

What this all boils down to…is when you have made as many beads that I have in the last decade, it’s good to still have fun with the creative process.

The global pick…drum roll…is Venice, Italy....

When I think of Venice, I think of canals in the late evening with the play of shadows and lights from the city on the water.  Italian renaissance is rich in history and art but it’s the little things that intrigue me.

Anyway...the set is highlighted with Double Helix's Psyche.  Yeah, there's some oil slick sheen that I couldn't get the camera to pick up but...Psyche does other things than just the typical silvered glass. 

Yeah, if you cycle the bead though a O2 flame then an light reduction flame, then repeat a couple of get oil slick hues.  Yep, it's pretty but its not the look I was going for.  Psyche also other kewl stuff it fumes the glass around can be layed in clear for a lovely shade of creates glass reactions that I can't get with other glasses and it doesn't react with other also reacts well with Double Helix's RE391, a clear it doesn't pit like some of the other silvered glasses (depending on the batch).  

Glass used: Psyche, River Rock, CiM Celadon Unique, Opal Yellow, DH Gaia, DH Aether, DH RE391, Lauscha Clear, CiM Thai Orchid, and Reichenbach Multicolor. 

I've got a handful of these type of sets...focals with accent beads, that I will be photographing this week for Etsy.  Some are larger (necklace, bracelet, & earrings) and several are smaller.  It depended on my mood but most are very organic and will mix well with natural stones. 

Later Gators!

Playing with my Template

Sunday, March 27, 2011
Some how, some way...I've knocked out...tipped over...several of my blog widgets. One of them was followers.  There is a very good chance that if you were once a follower, you are not now.  Sorry!  That's what I get for playing with the HTML code.  I'm not sure what I did...but I think it happened when I was working on the banner.  It's not the first time I've done something like this and I doubt it will be the last.
Other than that, I will do some updates soon.  I've been at the torch almost nonstop and have some interesting bead sets.

Have a happy, creative day!

Lampwork...Color! What I've been up to...and the art jewelry buyer

Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Yep, I've been at the torch for hours...and enjoying myself as well.  The beady piles are growing so I do need to get some listed on Etsy.   I've had some requests for necklace sets but, in today's economy, price point is a big deal. Anyway, I've been designing sets that have a kewl focal and affordable accent beads.  An example of one is below.  I've been doing mostly custom sets but, I'm thinking that I will get some made for Etsy as well. 

I've also been doing a large amount of research when it comes to doing bead shows.  I've done lots of art shows...geez, one year Bob and I did 34 of the suckers.  Never again, will we do that many in one year.  The thing is, bead/trade shows are different.  They are almost always inside, which appeals to me greatly.  They are low stress and also help me with increasing my beady customer base.  I also have an entire bead show set up...lots of custom displays, lights, and the fu-fu that goes with it.  The only things that I need to pick up is banners and and a few more interesting displays...whatever shows off a current series that I'm working on. 

My current customer base has certain prefs...mostly ones that I enjoy accommodating like brights, nuggets, barrels, and some organics.  Most of it comes to price points.  The thing is that I'm getting a bit bored...I like more complex bead sets and focals.  I really like silvered glass.  Where as silvered glass could be sold online, it's a bitch to photograph and not worth my time because of my photo skills. 

So if you have any comments, hints, suggestions, or opinions on bead or trade shows...send me an email. I would be interested. 

I guess I'm also tired to staring at a computer screen or a torch flame. :-)  Interaction also charges my inspiraton too.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve gotten some questions regarding lampwork, natural stones, and art jewelry.  This is a blog…and I’m always looking for interesting topics to write about…plus it’s interesting what folks think of art jewelry, either as a buyer or a jewelry designer. I think it’s one of the best ways to stay in touch with one’s customers in some ways too.

Anyway…one of the questions intrigued me:
What to look for in art jewelry when I’m looking at a piece to buy? I always say, buy what appeals to you. If pressed, I also add…look for jewelry that has high grade raw materials, that is well put together, and wears well. There’s a huge selection to choose from and from all different price points. The thing is, if it doesn’t hang correct or the style doesn’t look good on you…even if it’s on sale, why buy it? If the piece is made from either base metals like brass or copper, and you have issues with either one of the metals, it’s not like you are going to be able to wear it for any length of time. There are a lot of people who can…but many of my customers can’t tolerate base metals. They are precious metal people.

I’ve also been doing a bit of education when it comes to lampwork as well. The thing is, if someone is in the market for art jewelry and it’s not a impulse buy or ‘oh this is so pretty’ type of buyer…the customer knows what the price is for that strand of pearls or blue kyanite or fire opal. They even know that prasiolite is green amethyst. The different grades and types of turquoise is more than most customers know unless Southwestern pieces are their primo interest. It’s the same way with lampwork.

One of the most interesting things that one of my customers mention is…she can’t figure out why designers mixed lampwork with brass or base metals. After chatting about the kewlness of mixed metals (like adding copper or bronze with sterling), she kinda understood but she doubted she would buy the pieces. I just let it pass…mostly because I’m not designing jewelry right now.

The point to this post is to bring about the concept…that the internet has brought many changes. It has opened up the art jewelry venues to sell online and it keeps costs down so the average person can afford to buy these pieces. It has also opened the eyes to many buyers. They have huge amounts of information at their finger tips. The average art jewelry buyer is becoming more and more sophisticated.  There's more to this line of thinking but this is turning into a novel.

Later Gators...I'm off to the torch!!! 

Lampwork Eye Candy...and Indifference, issues in the world...

Friday, March 18, 2011
 It's been a while since I've I thought I'd share some beady babies.  These are already sold...thank you...but I've moved into my bright days. :-)

The world news is depressing…the Middle East, namely Libya. The disasters in Australia and now, Japan, are heartbreaking.
Our world systems of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are based on the concept of ‘doing the right thing’ …not ‘what’s in it for me.’ So the reality score card isn’t very sterling in regards to the UN. I’m looking at the failures. In viewing the big picture of Rwanda…Darfur…the Balkans. We, as world citizens, even failed to stop 1995 Srebrenica massacre. The UN’s peacekeeping missions are plagued by abuses. How about those 2004 reports of alleged rape, prostitution and pedophilia in the Congo. So now what is going to happen in Libya?? It took long enough for that no-fly zone...

When the world’s protectors are the world’s abusers, be is by their own hand or by lack of action…what are the end results?

What is happening is Libya is very sad is some ways. It shows that a ‘World’ organization has become a ‘world’ organization. I do understand that it takes communication and shared info to determine the correct decision but does it take this long??? While the Security Council is discussing the matter…people are dying and for what? Talking?? So when diplomacy becomes the escape for lack of action, then what action must be taken??

We all know right from wrong…it’s not like this situation (or Rwanda) is nuclear physics. Either the UN is a “World” organization for the people and human rights or it’s not. If it can not act in a swift and a conscious manner, then why does it exist? Didn’t we learn from WWII??? Sounds like we are bolding going nowhere.

Also reading about world disasters, namely Japan…but it also makes me think of the failures in Katrina/New Orleans, Haiti, Indonesian etc.

Now what does ‘all of this’ have to do with lampwork and art??? (because as soon as I write one of these rants, my email reader normally hacks up a hairball with all the responses I get) Well, it goes back to the old saying…”Artists are here to disturb the peace”. It also does pertain to everyone. You have a voice, use it or be willing to take the consequences.

It’s really easy to sit back and bitch about the issues that are taking place. I hear/read, on a daily basis exactly that happening. (it’s even easier to maintain an ostrich type mentality of apathy)

I also know that there are a huge number of issues taking place…so pick one, any one issue….campaign for change. It doesn’t have be one of those reality shaking biggies either. There’s plenty of issues to pick from…there’s plenty of causes to support…there’s plenty of ways to get involved. Write a letter…donate time or money…recycle…blog…spay or neuter your pets…the list goes on and on! In other words…get up off your butt and do something…take responsibility for your world.

Freedom does have its price, nothing is free in this world. In my opinion, knowledge/information carries a price tag of responsibility and accountability.

For the quote loving folks…here’s one by Elie Wiesel (if you don’t know who he is, try Google)
“The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.”

That's the end of my rant...back to business.

Later Gators...have a great weekend!

New Look

Monday, March 14, 2011
I'm thinking of's time to clean up the blog and my Etsy shop.  So I got a new banner...somthing bright!!!

I'm currently working on my Color Gizmos series.  Hopefully, I will have a dozen or so sets to post on Etsy before the end of the week.  The shop is lookin' a bit lean.  Naked is more like it.

Later Gators...I'm off to the torch!

Bright Lampwork Sets....and things that make you smile

Friday, March 11, 2011
I've been playing with bright colored combos lately...BTW both are already sold...but I'm thinking that I will make more in the future.  Currently I'm working with shards and not having the best of luck with them.  I think the reason is that I'm more geared towards sets.  The shards that I'm working with are rather that alone makes them geared more toward focals.  So...I will keep trying.  I'm thinking that I might want to move on to silvered glass least it would be a bit more entertaining. 
Every once in a while, I find something on the Internet that makes me burst out laughing...I found this reading Kate McKinnon's blog.  It's been in several places but it just stuck me as totally funny.

Things that make you wonder...

Later Gators,

Had to share...

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Things that make you say, mmmmmm....e'nuff said.
Off to the torch!!!

Lots of Lampwork's a party on Etsy

Yep, I've been busy taking photos again. 

I make beady lampwork sets for jewelers but...I also enjoy focals and torching matched seems that I've gotten kinda stuck in the same ol', same ol' for the past couple of years. do I break away from just making sets?

That's what I've been pondering on the last several days.  When I find an answer...I'll share. :-)

The below is one of my favorite, all time sets that I've made.  I really wish I could of gotten a better pic of them. 

The below is some of my retro beads...

When I pulled these (above and below) from the kiln...well, they are smile makers.  I got the color from layering some fine silver.  Every once in a while...I even amaze myself.  Not me's the glass.  The way it moves and melts, how it comes together in the flame.

Have a happy, creative day!

Feeling Better...Gallery Show...a bit of watercolor and some mixed media work

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Warning...the pics are kinda lousy...they were taken at the show.  The above is under glass and it's a PITA to get a good image.  The rest have the same issue or weird angles because I snapped them at odd angles. It's a learning experience.

Last Friday, I hung my second show.  I'm feeling a bit better about my painting...I know, I know, an artist is their worst critic but the feedback was good.  Even a few sales. 

The below is one of my favorites that I've painted...

Here's a wall view of a series grouping...

The above is an experimental piece in watercolors...I got a lousy pic of it's one that I would like to expand on in the future.

I've got another show in May & June....then another in August. 

No, I'm not walking away from lampwork but it's good to have other creative outlet. I'm secure in my beadmaking abilities but painting is new to me.  It will take a bit longer to feel comfortable with my work.

Later Gators!

Back to my Color Gizmo Series...Colorful Lampwork Bead Sets

Wednesday, March 02, 2011
I have returned to the Color Gizmo Series for a while.  The beads are ok to me but they make up into lovely jewelry.  That is my focus right now. 

 There comes a point when the beads can overshadow the jewelry design.  There is something to be said for too much, is too much. 

I also made some larger sets for those jewelry designers that want to create collections or a series.  I don't do large amounts of them but I'm having more and more call to torch them.  Mostly customs but sometimes I also get on a roll. :-)

 The above is a lovely set with dept...this is where it's a great bead set but I just couldn't get a decent pic of them.  I will go with what I've got and then retake later.  
What I'm trying to do is get my Etsy shop nice and full with some of my staples.  Then I can take some time off to paint and to torch some ideas that I have.  My biggest issue, when it comes to new designs and new glass, is coming up with interesting sets that are wearable, usable for the jewelry designer, and affordable. 

Back to processing pics....maybe I'll post more later.

Later Gator,

Drive by Lampwork...Yep, more bead sets

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The above is my looks so much better in hand, than in the pic. 

Ok...I'm back to processing pics and will be uploading a few on Etsy!!!!

Later Gators!