Aug 292010
 

I’m starting a new venture with the Starving Jewelry Artists…a “blog carnival” where we will all discuss a specific topic each month.  This month’s topic/question was “How does texture play into your work?”

Obviously, texture is a metal-worker’s best friend.  Combining stamping, hammering, patinas, and other texturizing techniques is a basic component of working with metals.  But I’ll address another reason for using texture in my work.

Cover Up.

Yep…using texture is sometimes an easy way to “hide” those little imperfections and OOPS! moments one has with a tool that mars the surface of pretty, shiny metal.

It’s sort of like putting on make up, however…a little goes a long way.  Putting on a thick coat of foundation or powder makes my face look like a mask, while a light swipe will do a great job at covering up that tiny scar on my forehead or scratch on my nose.

While I have a plethora of fancy texturing hammers, sometimes I prefer to just use a small ballpeen hammer to create tiny dents that look great shiny OR with a nice patina (see my articles on patina for more details on how to add color and depth to your metal work).  Either way, if I’ve made a boo-boo while working on a piece, like a scratch or dent, the texture added by hammering lightly will help to disguise the flaw.

When I started adding texture to my pieces, I made a common mistake of whacking the tar out of my pieces.  Not always necessary!  Especially with lighter gauge wire or sheet metal, a modest tap is all that’s really needed.  And hammering on a softer surface (like wood or rubber) will create a different result from hammering on a steel block.  Remember, you can always add more texture…harder to smooth it out if you’ve done too much!!

Experiment with different surfaces and hammers, and remember…texture can be your friend, especially when “covering up” those flaws!

 

Aug 132010
 

Every show is unique – I never know exactly how I’ll be set up until I get to the site!  Today, I am setting up in the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha for the Art in Bloom festival.  This show is unique in it’s garden setting…I’ll be outside in my 10×10 tent with an 8′ table (provided by the Gardens).

I try to stay organized in between shows, but it always helps to have a checklist to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything.  Here’s a list of the things I make sure I have for every show:

Display materials

  • Tables
  • Table coverings
  • Earring, bracelet, ring and necklace displays
  • “Floof” (sometimes a vase with some dried flowers or other interesting items that will bring attention to my booth but not draw away from my jewelry!)
  • Business cards and holders
  • Risers
  • Shelves
  • Mirrors
  • Guest book
  • Signage, including credit card acceptance, return policy, artist statement, etc.,
  • Wheeled cart or 2-wheeler to haul boxes to and from my car

Point of Sale (POS) materials

  • Cash box and bank (1’s, 5’s, coins to make change)
  • Receipt book to write sales in
  • Calculator
  • Cash register (optional)
  • Pens
  • Charge slips (for knuckle buster type credit card sales)
  • Knuckle buster
  • Credit card swiper
  • Clipboard (for customers to use when signing a credit card slip or to write out their checks)
  • Bags for items sold (I use small recloseable plastic bags that I pre-stuff with a business card and anti-tarnish strip, and organza bags to put the jewelry and receipt in)
  • Notebook (write up custom orders, customer questions, items to replenish before your next show)

Cleaning materials

  • Window cleaner (for displays and mirrors)
  • Lint brush
  • Paper towels or lint-free cloths
  • Trash bags (you’d be surprised how often you are NOT near a trash container!)

Personal items

  • Tissue
  • Chapstick or lip balm
  • Water
  • Small, easy to eat (and not messy) snacks
  • Eyeglasses
  • Baby wipes (nice if you are outside and it’s hot!)
  • Chair if not provided by the venue
  • Anti-bacterial hand gel

Jewelry supplies

  • Spare beading wire, crimps, ear wires, clasps, chain, jump rings, wire…anything you can use to make a quick change or repair.  I’ve gained many a sale simply by offering to change a style or ear wire or clasp for a customer, on the spot!
  • Tools you will need to perform those quick changes or for projects (see next bullet).  Don’t forget a crimper, pliers, cutters as essentials!
  • Projects to work on.  Rather than reading a magazine or book, I recommend jewelry makers work on easy projects during down time.  Not only does it show that your work is handmade and created by YOU, but many times, people are interested enough to cluster around your “demo”…a booth that’s full of people draws more people in!  Just be sure you are working on something that you can put down at a moment’s notice if a customer needs help or has a question.
  • Work surface and/or beading mat.

If you are outdoors, you’ll also need a tent or canopy (check with the venue to see what is acceptable), weights and/or stakes.  Add in sun screen, bug spray and a fan if needed!

And FINALLY….don’t forget your jewelry!  I’ve known a couple of people who did a fabulous job of setting up their booth, then realized their product was back home by the back door!

Aug 092010
 

Gotta share these…

Last month, I had a booth set up at the local county fair.  We’ve been in the commercial exhibit building for 5 or 6 years, and it’s a good opportunity to see folks that I don’t get to see every day!

Jeremy tends the “shop” during the day, and asked me to bring my stash of rubber rings from Fire Mountain Gems and some aluminum rings.  When I got to the fair on Friday, he showed me what he’d made.

Roundmaille…something I have only experimented with so far!  And the twerp just “made it up” from an idea in his head.

I need to work with him a little on his closures, but he did a fantastic job on the weave…and check out the eye for color!  I told him we’d put a price tag on his two bracelets and he could have the profit when they sell, but I’m tempted to snag that blue/purple/teal one for myself.

I’m pretty proud of his accomplishments.  I may have to hire him!!

Aug 072010
 

…to sooth the savage beader. 🙂

While I love the sounds of silence, I do like to have some background “noise” when I’m working in my studio.  I’m not much of a TV-watcher, although I find some of the “how to” shows on public television interesting (even if I have no interest in the subject, like sewing!).  More often, I’ll pop a concert DVD in my studio TV, or turn on the radio.

When I’m working online – blogging, Facebooking (I guess that’s now a verb, LOL ), listing items on Etsy, or doing research – I occasionally will have my television set to a satellite radio station.

Until yesterday.

My daughter commented on her Facebook page that she was madly in love with Pandora…I instantly thought of the popular beads with the big holes, but no, she meant Pandora.com…online radio that YOU program yourself.  After just a few minutes of using the site myself, I was hooked.

So, I’m off to listen to one of “my” favorite stations while I catch up on this morning’s news.  What do you listen to you when you are working on your projects?

BTW, your useless bit of trivia for today is the source of the original quote, usually misquoted as “Music hath (or has) charms to sooth the savage beast”.  It’s by William Congreve, in The mourning bride, written in 1697:

Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,
To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.
I’ve read, that things inanimate have mov’d,
And, as with living Souls, have been inform’d,
By Magick Numbers and persuasive Sound.
What then am I? Am I more senseless grown
Than Trees, or Flint? O force of constant Woe!
‘Tis not in Harmony to calm my Griefs.
Anselmo sleeps, and is at Peace; last Night
The silent Tomb receiv’d the good Old King;
He and his Sorrows now are safely lodg’d
Within its cold, but hospitable Bosom.
Why am not I at Peace?