Monday, November 8, 2010

Blog Carnival: Business Success Secrets



What does it mean to you to be "successful" in business as an artist? How do you walk the line between creativity and profitability? What is the best thing you've done for your business?

At this point in the evolution of my business, "success" is something that falls between creativity and profitability. I chose this business because I can be creative with the hope of being profitable. I spent a lot of time working in a non-creative atmosphere for a paycheck. When I left that career, I did so because I wanted to stay at home and focus on my family. I still want to do that, but can't do only that. I need to be able to both take care of my family and contribute to our finances. Success means not having to go back.

Creativity leads to profitability. When people shop of the kind of product that I make, they aren't presented with loads of exactly the same thing. If I can't pull them in with something creative, they are lost to me. In that way, there's no "line" between the two. Instead one feeds the other. Most of what I find fun and exciting, they find interesting. Sometimes, they don't. There are those times when I am excited about something and I make it, and it doesn't sell. Hopefully, I haven't made it into a piece of production work before testing the market. This creative business is something that feeds on response; response from peers or clients. When that overlaps it's really nice, so if I don't get a response, I usually lose interest as well. I once read that retailers should have 50% of their items be completely new each year. I'm not sure I'm that creative yet, but I try to keep it fresh.

Most of the time, I follow my business where it leads me. I browse sites and articles that offer business advise, but I don't worship at them. If I find an idea that could work for me, I might follow that lead, but I can't let that take up all my time. I suppose the best thing I've done to help my business grow is to be brave. I am nervous to try new things, but I don't let fear stop me. I have a long to do list, so I don't plan on running out of ideas for business or for creativity anytime soon.

Blog Carnival
Here are the EtsyMetal team members participating in this carnival:
Gaby / India y a la Luna: http://indiaylaluna.blogspot.com/

Monday, October 11, 2010

Risotto

Here's an update to my earlier "Food for Thought" post. The picture above is shot of the risotto I talked about - almost finished. It has butternut squash instead of mushrooms. It was yummy. The chicken I've been using in this recipe is from the frozen section of Trader Joes - I think it's just called 'roasted chicken'. You defrost it in the microwave, cut it up into small pieces and add it with the last cup of broth to heat it up. The squash is a great addition to anything. I take a butternut squash, split it long wise, spread olive oil on the cut parts (facing up), salt and pepper, and back for 40 minutes at 375 degrees. easy. Then I let it cool in the fridge, and later peel it and cut it into bite size pieces. I just keep it in a tupperware until I need it. I added half of a single squash to this risotto. The rest I actually ate cold as a side to a sandwich for lunch with some more salt and pepper on it. Yum!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Blog Carnival: EtsyMetal & Me!

This October marks the 4 year anniversary of the street Team EtsyMetal. Our blog carnival this month asks about the group:
When/Why did you join?
I am proud to be a founding member of our team. There was a forum post in the EtsyForums asking for interest in a metal group and I was eager to join. I'd been selling on Etsy for a few months and teams were brand new, so I was excited to exchange ideas with other metal jewelry makers. In those days, there weren't established tags for jewelry items, so it was difficult to find a way to set our items apart from the many other jewelry making techniques, and teaming up was a way to figure out how to do that. There was a period of contact through group convo, and then a private forum and then a better one. Our contact with one another is almost exclusively online so it's nice to have a well organized place to ask questions, make comments, ask for advice, complain and have some fun
Is it what you expected?
It's been much more than I expected. I have grown to have some really nice friendships inside the group. Before I had any online presence, I thought only crazy people had relationships online, but much has changed! There have been some bumps along the road, but it is going great now. I have learned a lot and my work has grown thanks to the influence of my EM friends.
What does it mean to you to be a part of the team?
This team is particularly great because we all work in the same medium. I belong to some local groups, but there isn't the same feeling among the members. I have access to this team 24/7. I can always count on replies to a question within a very short period of time. Since leaving school and having kids, I am not surrounded by people who want to discuss jewelry for very long. My friends here are interested and are my best customers, but they can't tell me what I'm doing wrong when I'm stuck with a good design idea and can't figure out the right way to execute it. I love the monthly challenges - some of my best work has emerged from them. The charm swaps have been great! I learned how to blog and be a craft faire vendor from my teammates. They've helped me to aim higher in my business goals. I hope I've contributed some of the same to my fellow members. We are professional as well as a load of fun!

Check out what other members say:

Friday, October 1, 2010

Charm Swap VI!


The charms for the EtsyMetal team's 6th charms swap (CS6) are finished. I waited until the last minute as usual. So here is the process for making 22 charms. A small production line. It started with a butterfly sketch I swiped from my good friend and artist, Michelle Byran. Butterflies are everywhere in jewelry, but I was attracted to the great feeling of flight and movement in the tiny sketch on a post it note. I made a prototype to see if it would work in metal. Michelle will be getting a charm. Maybe she'll give me some more sketches :)

I shrunk the image down and traced it. Then adhered the tracings to sheet copper.
Cut out all the little butterfly shapes.
Cut sterling silver half bead wire for the bodies and balled up the ends of silver wire for the antennas. Then the pieces were soldered together and I put a bend in the butterfly bodies to give them more dimension.
All that was left to do was add a patina, tumble, and seal with a little bit of wax.
All done! I am the partner of the curator, Inbar Baraket for this charm swap and have been receiving all the charms over the past couple of weeks. There are still several to come in, but it promises to be a fantastic bracelet. Everyone has done lovely work.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Blog Carnival: Food For Thought

The topic for the etsymetal blog carnival for August is Food: What do you eat? What won't you eat? Do you suggest any interesting pairings? What is your favorite studio snack? Optional: Include a favorite recipe.

I don't have any food restrictions. I am not a vegan, vegetarian, locovore, non-dairy, non-carb, low-sodium, or anything. However, if I am given a choice, I will chose organic, and I love it if its locally grown. I only buy hormone free foods at the market, but I confess that I have no idea what's in my In and Out hamburger or where it comes from. I am not picky, but there are a few things I dislike, like raw peppers, eggplant, and asparagus - yuck! And there are some things I avoid like ice cream - I wish I could eat it, but I can't - it is no longer my friend. I love milk chocolate and guacamole but not together. I do think that most things are better with cheese.

My work bench and computer space are located in my home studio, which is in my kitchen, so I always have access to snacks while I'm working. I try to keep fresh fruit on hand for snacking. Todays choice is cantaloupe. I also always have a pot of coffee going so I can have it throughout the day - I like it hot or iced and I also often splurge on fancy latte drinks from coffee stores when I am out and about. I usually have a coffee cup and a cup of water within arms reach of my workspace, but I don't snack while working because salty, greasy, and sticky fingers don't work well with what I am doing.

My husband, Patrick is the breakfast chef of the household. Weekends and holidays we have "real" breakfast, but the rest of the time, it's toast, cereal or frozen waffles. I like to cook meals, but don't usually have time for anything elaborate, so I make a lot of things that are fresh, but half-done from the store - like tortellini from the fresh pasta aisle with broccoli pesto (over-steamed broccoli with brown butter). Occasionally I feel like something that will take some time to make and is super yummy. I made this recipe up and its great on a cold day:

Risotto with Everything:
1 cup arborio rice
1/3 cup minced shallots or small onion
1 cup white wine
1 carton of chicken or vegetable broth
1 package of crimini mushrooms
butter
olive oil
salt & pepper
1 cup of frozen peas
1/2 - 1 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese
leftover cooked chicken, or vegetables

Slice mushrooms and saute in a little butter or oil with salt and pepper - set aside. Over medium heat, add 1 T. butter and olive oil to cover the bottom of a heavy sauce pan. Add shallots to pan and cook until translucent. Add arborio rice and toast, trying not to burn the shallots - You may want to lower the heat a little. Add white wine and stir. When the wine has been absorbed into the rice, begin adding broth, one cup at a time, stir, and wait until the broth is absorbed until adding another cup. You might not use the entire carton of broth taste it to check. With the last cup of broth, add the frozen peas. Add the reserved mushrooms and cooked chicken or other cooked vegetables available. This is where the "everything" portion comes in. While the rice is cooking, I rummage through the fridge and pantry looking for leftovers. Last, add the grated cheese. Let it cool for a couple of minutes or you will burn yourself. Dig in!

I wish I had a photo of the Risotto to show you - I may add one later.
*UPDATE* here's the promised photo: :)

Click to see what others are blogging on this topic:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Studio Mascot

This is Ozzy.  He's a betta fish that my youngest son brought home from a birthday party last year.  He is named Ozzy for Mr. Osbourne by the small boy who loves loud music.  In our family we have a little bit of history forgetting to feed animals who don't bark or meow for their food, so I have him on the counter in front of my bench.  If I look up, I see him and remember to drop the small pellets of food into his vase, which he eats audibly.  Yes, he lives in a vase because when you get a fish for a birthday party favor, you don't get a fish bowl, and I couldn't find anything better to put him in. He never complains.  In fact, Ozzy is quite animated.  If you look at him, he reacts by swishing around - it kind of looks like he's talking.  Over the past few months I have begun to show him pieces I'm working on and asking for an opinion.  Ozzy is always positive.  I've grown fond of the little fish that I groaned over when he first came in the door.  Our dog makes a mess and doesn't care for anything I'm working on or doing unless it has to do with tennis balls or food.  The cats are mad at me because of the dog and they only come by the house to see what's for dinner and beg for some cat nip.  Ozzy doesn't roam or make too big a mess, so I'm pleased to give him the title, Mascot.  He's hard to photograph, though.  Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

For other thoughts on mascots, please see:  

Monday, May 3, 2010

Blog Carnival 5/3/10 - What Motivates You To Create?

The truth is that I have more ideas than time when it comes to inspiration, but motivation is something different. How do I go from concept to fruition? I am, I confess a natural loafer. I must take after my grandfather because I remember after he retired from a career he seemed to love, he said, "I have done a lot of things in my life... but I am best at doing nothing at all." I was probably 10 years old and I thought, "Yeah, I get it." I really enjoy being creative and busy- I do, but I also tend to get lost along the way. I am the queen of procrastination as well. The loafer and the procrastinator in me can find lots of excuses to do nothing. However, there are those moments when there is a proverbial fire lit under my butt that I find exhilarating and productive. So how do I keep the fire burning? What is the kindling? I find that if I tell someone I'm going to do something, their expectation gives me accountability, and I get up and go.

My customers have expectations and deadlines for me - that's helpful. They call me, they email me, they sometimes text me. I love that they want to buy jewelry that I make. I have a couple of friends who sing me the jingle to a major commercial jewelry franchise, "Your personal jeweler..." They enjoy having a personal jeweler. So I am motivated by my clients. Being a business owner is motivating!

I also really find being involved with the group that this blog carnival is sponsored by. EtsyMetal has a number of challenges going on all the time. The challenges have deadlines, and yes, I procrastinate and I'm sometimes late, but I really want to be a part of them. I was recently given the job of team leader for the challenges, and I thought I should join the blog carnival as part of those duties. So, here I am - motivated to write on my blog, which I've neglected lately. But I am going to find my way back to it and this blog carnival and some of the other challenges I'm working on gets me going!

My Family is a great motivator. They give me encouragement and support. I do NOT want to be a person whose spouse comes home and wonders what I've done all day. My jewelry studio is at home and there can be the temptation to nap instead of work, but I feel a responsibility to my family. My business makes money that contributes to our family's income. Since both of my kids are in school during the day, I have to do something besides housework while they are at school to justify my not having a traditional career. I like being a WAHM (work at home mom) - it gives me the freedom to drive on the kids' field trips, teach their art classes, and be there for them in a way that moms and dads who work traditional jobs struggle to do. Gone is the time of a single family income. It takes two working adults to make it. I know very few housewives who don't contribute to the family economically.

Success helps get me moving too. Presenting something really great is a goal. I know that I shouldn't need the validation of others to feel successful, but I do love it when I wow my clients and my fellow jewelers. They're encouragement and my own internal drive are fantastic motivators.

I love what I do. I've got tons of inspiration. I like the process of going from A to Z with a piece that I'm working on and I'm thankful that I have the opportunity to do it. I owe it to myself to keep it up! I give myself breaks, and try to pace myself so as not to burn out - that's important! Being at home with the studio and a stack of orders comes with a sense of responsibility to not quit - work all the time - but I also have to relax and enjoy it too.

Here's what some other people are saying on the topic of motivation:

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Blog Carnival - The Creative Process: How do you plan and organize for design?


The blog Carnival is a group of metal artists belonging to EtsyMetal who blog on the same topic on the same date. For April 1st 2010, the topic is
"The Creative Process: How do you plan and organize for design?"

Here is a photo of my work bench as it is at this moment in time. It is situated in the middle of my kitchen, in the middle of my tiny house, in downtown Anaheim, CA. The photo was taken a few minutes ago after a tiny amount of tidying up. I like the location as I am frequently interrupted and it's nice to be able to enter and exit the "studio" without effort. As far as organization and planning for design, I have several steps. I sketch, and notate a lot. Laying a few materials I'm interested in working with helps too. I put a few things on a blank page in a sketch book and start brainstorming. Often those original materials are discarded for new ideas, but it's a starting point.
Organization helps with design too. If I find I'm stuck for a design idea, I will often start by cleaning up my work surface and organizing and re-arranging tools and materials. I won't get very far if I can't find what I'm looking for. Jewelry makers must have tons of compartments and tiny boxes and little bowls to keep every little component findable. We are notorious hoarders of stones and little bits, and I fit the profile neatly. Since I have limited space, its a constant battle to keep everything I need in a way that doesn't spill out everywhere. It's imperative to organize and label everything. When I buy a new material, the first thing I do is find a spot for it and label it with what it is, how much it was, where I got it, and the date, and it's dimensions. I have learned that if I skip this step, I have trouble later when I'm pricing a finished piece or trying to duplicate it.
Please visit the other EtsyMetal members blogging in this carnival:

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

RAD Week #12

This was week 12. The most popular one was the safety pin, which I photoshopped onto my finger. It's a bit revolting. The last little ring "WRING" was a little something I put together after talking with another participant about neck wringing. :) Rings, rings, rings. I've got quite a pile of them now. Send me encouraging thoughts so I can keep going.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Project Runway Jewelry Challenge 7.7: Four Elements

Earth Water Fire or Air. Well I chose fire and made these earrings. I like how the dirty, sooty heat patina came out on the copper. The silver accent at the base of the flame gives the earrings depth. There were only three participants in the element challenge!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Project Runway Jewelry Challenge 7.6: Adult & Children's Look


Oops! I just realized I forgot to blog about this challenge. This was from March 5! The assignment was to make a piece for a child (or pet) and a complimentary one for an adult. I have two boys. They don't have much use for jewelry at the moment, but they are always collecting rocks. I find them in their pockets while doing laundry, and throughout the house. Sometimes they bring me tiny stones they've found on their various activities. I decided a tiny box to put their tiny rocks into would be appropriate for a boy, and I wanted a ring to put a rock from each of them for the Adult look. Copper, fine silver, stone, silver tubing & wire hinge. Here is what others came up with!

I skipped the next challenge, Hardware Store. I didin't have time to go to the hardware store to shop and was uninspired by what I have lying around the house, so I gave myself some time off. A few years ago, EtsyMetal had a monthly theme of "from the hardware store" and I made a copper pipe bangle. This bangle was heavy and clunky, but cool looking and I listed it for sale. I was a little surprised when it sold!
Please check out the EM blog to see what other participants created!

Friday, March 19, 2010

RAD Week #11

Week eleven. Four days of paper and three days of metal. I have a love/hate relationship with paper. I love it. I go to shops like Paper Source and other craft stores, spend hours looking at pretty paper, and I could easily spend lots of money on things like paper flower kits and stationary. There's something really nice about a pristine piece of paper. I hate paper too. I have loads of it. It comes in the mail, it comes home from my kids' school, it comes as packaging and I don't know where else. It is stacked up on tables and desks. It seems like I put tons if it in the recycle bin on a daily basis. My efforts to go green and paperless seem futile. I keep trying everyday to eliminate the excess of paper; online bills, email subscriptions - everywhere I can go paperless, I do. And yet, my paper problem remains. I re-use it and recycle it, and dream of a day when it's not stacked on surfaces in my house; when the only paper I have is for creative endeavors.

As an art medium, there's something wonderful about paper. Regular old paper isn't meant to withstand time. Unlike metal, it breaks down quickly, rots easily, tears and disintegrates. But seal it and layer it together, and it's great to manipulate. I like paper mache, made from newspaper. I love paper sculpture, and paper crafts. The four paper rings I made this week won't withstand any test of time, but I do like to explore the medium of paper for jewelry. It's lightweight and pliable and fun. It's also fast and easy and gives me a break from making metal rings when I can't get to the bench!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

RAD Week #10

Here are the Ring A Day offerings from last week. Toward the end of the week, with I focused mainly on using scrap. I have a tray full of sterling silver bits that are pieces that didn't work out or leftovers from other projects. I am reluctant to send my scrap in to trade for credit to buy fresh metal. I love melting it down into balls and blobs and hammering it into disks. It has when I do this, it creates this fantastic, rustic surface that looks organic and old. Pitted, slightly rough, cracked, and imperfect, recycled silver has a depth that machine milled silver does not. The last few rings are dapped recycled silver just simply attached to a square wire band. I love how the edges are ruffled like old flower petals. It's a little bit time consuming to melt down, hammer, anneal, put through the rolling mill, anneal, mill, anneal, mill... until I get a disk of silver that is a nice shape and thickness - but quite satisfying.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

RAD Week #9


Okay, I admit it. I'm getting a little weary of rings. Each time I get excited about a ring, the excitement can't be sustained for long because the next morning comes along and I have to do it all over again. I don't want to skip a day because I'm afraid if I do, I'll lose my momentum. I have to find things to get excited about, that will amuse me for a few moments - hence the cookie holder ring. I am always excited to get a couple of boxes of thin mints from my friend's daughter every year. The twisty wire one was boring - I was in a rush. I always have to have a few like that each week that aren't terribly interesting, but get it done for the day.
The shoes amused me. I dress up nice a few times a year and have cute but torturous shoes for the occasion, which end up kicked off under the table or to the side of the dance floor. My husband thinks its nice. He's nice.
I cleaned my youngest son's room last week and found all sorts of strange toy items, including the plastic bone - which slipped on my finger nicely. I guess the bone is to make your cowboy play more authentic. but I thought it was weird.
Here's some cool rings from other participants:

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Project Runway Jewelry Challenge 7.5 Design for your Star!

Beautiful. Dirty. Rich.
We had the week off from Project Runway this time - Thanks, Olympics! So I have an extra week on the last assignment and a little time to catch up on blogging. This assignment was to design a piece with a celebrity in mind. The PR crew had to design something for Heidi Klum for a magazine cover. I'm really pleased with how my Lady GaGa Earrings turned out. I wanted to choose someone who was not just a celebrity, but one who's fashion is outrageous. When I remembered Lady GaGa in her bubble costume, I also remembered my hollow glass beads. The silver element is recycled scrap, melted down into blobs, hammered, annealed, and rolled out into disks and then domed. I love the uneven, ruffled edges the recycled silver ends up with. I never get around to sending my silver scrap in for cash because I love to melt it down myself. It comes out irregular and pitted and a little uneven. When its sanded to a matte finish, it's just about perfect. Anyway, I love these earrings, and I think my green display head even looks a little like Lady Gaga! Thanks for the inspiriation, Lady G!

Monday, March 1, 2010

RAD Week #8

This is Week 8's group of rings! I am pleased with how the photography is coming out. Doing a ring every day also means taking a photo every day and cropping, and other little edits. Sometimes the photography takes longer than the ring! Even when I take a photo on a black background with a shadow behind, I still need to make adjustments to the exposure in photoshop to get the black right, which often makes the ring darker as well, but I'm getting better at it. I have used the saturation effect on my hand several times as well - as in the post-it note 'ring' above. It's an actual hand in the photo, but it makes it look like a black and white photo with something color on top of it, which I find interesting, and makes what is colorful stand out. I always want my hand to be secondary if it's in the photo as I am not the best hand model and I often have to fix cuts, bruises and other weirdnesses that are on my hand in photoshop - Thank goodness for photoshop!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Project Runway Jewelry Challenge 7.3:The Met


I just realized that I forgot to make this post! Challenge 7.3 (2 weeks ago) was to look through the collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and make something inspired by a piece in their permenant collection. Luckily they have photos online as I can't swing a trip to New York at present.
I chose Joan Miro's Constellation: Toward the Rainbow as my inspiration piece. I am a parent helper at my children's school for their Art Masters Program and they recently did an amazing project based on Miro's work and I thought I could apply the same techniques to metal as they did with paper and color. So the bangle is the main piece. I took some square wire and made the simple bangle and added some bits from Miro's painting to it. I like how it turned out.
The 2nd piece is a squiggle with a Miro-style star which slides on the lower part of the pendant. It's my favorite of the two.
Please look at the EtsyMetal blog to see what everyone did for their Met inspired pieces!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

RAD Week #7

This is week seven of the Ring a Day Project! From 2/12 -2/18 I made four metal rings. The 5th metal ring is just one of my bubble wands on my finger, which I did make, but technically isn't a ring. The red rick rack ring is great looking and I have plans to make a silver version soon as the fabric on is too floppy to wear. The candy ring was leftovers from Valentine's Day. I love the pink tulip ring! I have blue and green glass tulips that I can use for these too. I love the leaves at the sides. The turquoise ring is mine! The other two are leftover bits from other projects soldered onto a ring band, and both turned out nice. RAD has taken over. I feel like I must not fall behind and make/post a ring each and every day, lest I never pick it up. So far I'm still doing it! I just need the same attitude about blog posting. I'm caught up on RAD postings now! I'll catch up on other things soon and maybe even join the EM blog carnival for March - I hope!

Friday, February 19, 2010

EtsyMetal Jewelry Challenge 7.4 Design Your Heart Out!


I skipped blogging last week about the Project Runway Jewelry Challenge, so this post is to catch up. The theme for our challenge based on Episode 4, was "Design Your Heart Out"; to make something about hearts and a secondary challenge to make a complimentary piece to be donated to the American Heart Association. I wasn't super excited about this one as I had just completed my St. Valentine's Day orders that were all hearts and love, so I left it to the last moment and then finally decided to make a funky, untraditional looking heart bracelet. The hearts are squashy and fun and not syrupy sweet, so I started to get into the challenge. I stamped stripes, and spirals on two of the hearts (one side only) and then made dots in the third heart by drilling part way into the surface of the metal. I gave them a rough, scratchy oxidized finish and connected them with some square wire cable. I really like how it turned out.
I mirrored the shape of my squashy, funky heart in sterling silver wire for a pendant. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the pendant will be donated to the AHA. If you are interested, please check it out in my shop!
Please check out the EtsyMetal blog for to see the other participants' work!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

RAD Week #6


I'm still getting caught up on blogging about the RAD (Ring A Day) project. Here are seven more rings from week six of doing rings everyday! I love the car ring. The little mini van travels around the road ring. It's super fun to wear. I'm not sure about making some for the shop, but it might be something I'll do when time permits. The duct tape ring is fun. It's kind of floppy, so not so great to wear, but perfect for this project. I'm working through all the weird materials I have little by little. The orange sequins are cool, right? Someone custom ordered some sequin earrings in orange, and I found some great neon orange vintage sequins for them. I couldn't resist wrapping them around my finger. As promised, here are a few of my favorites from week 5 and 6:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

RAD Week #5

I'm very behind in posting to my blog, so this is me trying to catch up. These are my week 5 rings for the Ring a Day project. The green reflector ring was featured by flickr in their "explore" area of interesting shots, and has gotten more than 275 views and a lot of comments. I'm thrilled that the original size 6 ring sold from my etsy shop. I have a few more of these vintage glass stones, but not many, so I'm now trying to get my hands on some more. The two square wire rings are fun. The log cabin one is a little to snaggy to wear, but it looks great! I love the burlap ring. Just fun and a companion piece to the project runway burlap jewelry challenge which is blogged here! When reinforced with super glue, burlap is a nice, sturdy material. I'm not sure it'll catch on for jewelry, but it was a fun project anyway! I'll put some favorites of other participants in my next RAD post!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Project Runway Jewelry Challenge 7.2: Burlap


Burlap is a challenging material to work with. It unravels very easily without it's selvage. The natural fibers split and break and shed off the fabric. The burlap that was available in my local fabric shop was terrible, but one of my EtsyMetal friends offered to send me a bit of hers, and I accepted - hoping that it would be better than what I could get. It was. (Thanks, Victoria!). It was very tightly woven, however for the idea I had about playing with the warp and weft of the fabric, and replacing some of them with metal wire. I finally figured out that I could easily and selectively remove threads from the middle of the pieces of fabric with tweezers. In order to keep the remaining threads from coming unraveled, I applied a little super glue around the edges, just where the threads met. This worked great, and stiffened the burlap as well. I wove four flattened silver bits of wire into the warp and weft. The backing is a piece of copper sheet, which had roller print of metal screen on one side, which mirrored the weave of the burlap nicely for the back of my pendant. I oxidized the piece and made scratches in the front to also mirror fabric a little and riveted the burlap/silver to the front. A bit of silver tubing for the bale and a simple silver chain completes it. Also Check out the ring that got the burlap treatment for the RAD project.
Here are the other participants in the burlap challenge:

Saturday, January 30, 2010

RAD Week #4


I can't believe I only made one metal ring last week. I really like the mini-series of take out dinner order trash rings. The Salt & Pepper, Chop Sticks, Fork, and Straw Wrappers were fun to do. The fork (stabby) ring got over 125 views and over 20 comments! That was fun. My knit and felted wool finger cuff was a challenge - I wasn't sure how much larger than I needed to knit it. I put it through the hot wash and dryer about 4 times (I got a lot of laundry done that day). The spaghetti was after a long day and just trying to get the dinner leftovers put away. My metal ring is of coarse my favorite. The petal shaped hollow form with a garnet on top, which goes with my Project Runway Challenge entry, Petal Keeper. This was a busy week without much time at the bench, so hopefully I'll be able to make more in metal this week! The RAD group on flickr has over 200 members now! Here are some of my favorites from others last week: