Friday 28 December 2012

Documenting creativity...

...and the lack thereof on my part. Since I am in a profound creative slump at the moment with only one picture to post here (due largely in part to two and a half days spent watching seasons four and five of Madmen back to back) I thought I'd send you over to check out Joanne Nelson's step-by-step documentation of creative decision-making in action while creating her mother's birthday gift, a garnet and citrine necklace. It does NOT come easily or quickly.

While you're there, stock up on some great beads! Valentine's Day and Mother's Day are both lurking just around the corner, then there will be all the spring and summer craft shows -- and in six months the smart people will be well into their Christmas 2013 production lines.

Maybe gold wire is the key to some of my own design dilemmas. Maybe turning off the teebeeeeee and the computer would be even more key, d'ya think?

This is all I managed to accomplish this Christmas:

And there they languish still this morning... If I could just figure out where I hid my earwires. Lynn is coming today to help me clean up and organise some more. She'll find 'em!

Yep, those are real emeralds underneath the pliers. When I saw these at The Bead Boutique in Kitchener, I pounced. They along with blue topaz and blue sapphire will become part of my series of birthstone earrings. Funny, it was drilled emeralds that I thought would be the stone most difficult to find. Stay tuned...

Thanks for looking!

Sunday 16 December 2012

Silly snowman earrings...

For the past four years, I'd make Christmas-themed earrings and they'd just sit there. Occasionally through the year someone might buy a pair. This year for the first time I got several inquiries if I had any Christmas earrings? No... But then during the week I'd make a few pair. This year for some reason I sold several pairs almost as soon as I put them out, but usually before I photographed them.

Here are three of the four snowperson earrings I made. I guess I should have started earlier this year.

Made with white jadeite rounds that I got from Nelson Gemstones, and which actually look kind of snowbally -- they have a bit of a granular solidity/translucency to them, Swarovski rondelles and matte jet heishi top hats; Bali silver daisy spacer "toes" to keep the head pins from sliding through the rounds, and finished with sterling earwires.

People really love the different semi-precious earrings with the Bali daisy spacers (those are hawk's eye up there beside the snowpersons) and I've sold several pairs already. I'm on the hunt now for a complete selection of 6mm and/or 8mm birthstone rounds.

The market was really good yesterday. I usually do better after Christmas, when people have their Christmas gift money to buy exactly what they want, so this was a most pleasant surprise. Given that I have such a broad range of items, I'm always fascinated by what people choose and why and for whom.

One more Saturday to go, and I hope it's good for all of us! What constitutes a successful show or market is vastly different for everyone, but I'm very pleased how this Christmas selling season has gone for me. How have your Christmas shows and markets been this season? Do you think this presages good sales in the spring and summer of 2013?

Thanks for looking.

Friday 14 December 2012

Little detour, big earrings...

I got distracted when I was halfway through making something or other (happens to me ALL the time), had a blinding flash and made these earrings. Found the handmade sterling, turquoise and copper bead earwires in my market office box which I had taken off another pair of earrings to lessen the price who knows how long ago. But they work perfectly here. Nice little pure copper dangles on the headpins... or maybe these would be called dangle pins.

This second photo is pretty close in colour to the Kingman turquoise:

I've finally found a good spot to rig up my ring mandrel. I'd had it C-clamped to my big plastic folding table, but was forever impaling myself getting up or sitting down, not to mention the mandrel was always breaking free of the clamp, nor did I really have room to wrap the wire as the clamp was at a forward angle along the front of the table instead of -- drum roll, please -- along the other edge of the table. Sigh... this has only taken me six months to figure out.

I guess I could actually move the mandrel forward, too. I'll see how it goes on the first ring. The grey mark on the paper sleeve has size 10 marked on it -- the size I mainly work around when making guy rings. For those who've never tried making rings, it's wire-wrapping around the ring itself that makes the ring smaller. You don't want to try to make a ring the exact size you need right off the bat. Make it a bit smaller than you need -- because if it ends up larger than you want, you can't make it smaller. Then use a hide mallet on the steel mandrel with the ring sizes on it to gently bash the ring down the mandrel to get the exact size you need.

While poking around looking for those Kingman rondelles, I found my copper clasps and pewter birds that I've been looking for all week in the first two places I looked just now. I guess that's the secret to finding lost things if retracing your steps doesn't work: look for something entirely different.

Okay -- now to make some rings, and then... clean up? Pack up? Go to bed early for once? 3:30 a.m. will come faster than fast. Eyes crossed it's a good market tomorrow!

Thanks for looking.

10 pairs of earrings almost complete & many short beaded chains later

I've been spending waaaaay too much time on Pinterest and obsessively, mindlessly, longingly (WHY???), clicking on pictures of pristine studios with beautiful storage and display features. Who can possibly create in these zen oases of calm and emptiness, let alone find anything once it's put away? Not meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee...

The worst thing is I'm running out of the things to MAKE stuff with, like earwires and whatnot,
no time to make them and less time to order any.
Along the bottom, kyanite, lapis, Kingman turquoise & quartz chains; white jadeite, melon-cut quartz, hawk's eye, kyanite, black tourmaline, garnet, high cut amethyst, high cut citrine & amethyst earrings,
all with Bali silver spacers and awaiting sterling earwires to finish them off.
Every flat or near flat surface eventually will be piled high with something...
...eventually with Max
Et voila
This must get cleaned up SOON...
Lynn, my organising genius pal, is coming on Monday... But for now, back to work to finish off the earrings and putting some necklaces together with my new beaded chains. Right now -- at 1:56 p.m., eleven days and two Saturday markets before Christmas -- I am about where I wanted to be in September.

Thanks for looking!

Sunday 9 December 2012

High cut citrine & amethyst earrings & large cube Swarovski earrings

I've been typing like a mad fiend for the past two weeks. It's been so busy I couldn't get to Toronto as I had hoped, but was able to make a last-minute order to my supplier to bring in emergency supplies of Bali daisy spacers, odd stones and Swarovskis... because a customer asked me last week to make her some plain large cube crystal Swarovski earrings which she'd seen on someone who she said was casually and neutrally dressed, but these large square earrings she was wearing upped the style ante unbelievably. I happened to have some AB crystal cubes handy that I showed her, but she said it was the clear crystal that was so stunning.

This is what I came up with. I never would have thought these would work but I have to say I am impressed. The fire and spark is unbelievable. I am only barely capturing the effect in these photos.

Photo taken square on
Photo taken from an angle -- the way the cubes are oriented to the earwires if you're wearing them

The reason why I included the two top photos is notice how they're angled. If you set them square to the earwire, then that's all you get: what looks like a cube of glass. But if you angle them so the front corner is aligned with the front of the earwire, then you'll have maximum sparkle. I point this out because I'm an old-school draftsperson. I like verticals and horizontals and things to line up; diagonals tend to bug me.

I wish I'd ordered more packages of these, but I didn't... next time!

I've also been getting a lot of requests for anything amethyst or citrine, so I ordered a half-string each of high cut citrines and amethysts. This is the first time I've come across this designation. I think "high cut" refers to twice the price for half the number of stones... No? It doesn't? Well, expensive (to me) or not, these are equally strikingly beautiful while having distinctively different personalities. Not to mention, being able to buy half-strings of more expensive stones is a relatively painless investment to make in order to move one's jewellery into the higher end, especially in gift-giving season.

The amethysts are a deep purple, facetted into a kind of soft rectangle-y-squarish/cube-ish shape, the stones are clear and you can see the colour ebbing and flowing, deepening and intensifying in places -- I hope this is an indication that these are not heat-treated or dyed amethysts. The colour is gorgeous, deep and velvety purple.

The citrines have been cut with random angular faceting, so I've had to go through the string to try and match up the pairs -- again, though, with beautiful colour. When you rotate them in the light, they flash iridescence along the internal planes. I've never ever seen anything like this. Please, someone tell me these are real and not treated or dyed!

The same lighting, but taken at a different angle from the following two photos

As always, these are for sale, but email me first for price and availability; postage and shipping extra.

Thanks for looking!