Thursday, August 30, 2007

Rings & Things — Your Design Here Contest

Rings & Things — Your Design Here Contest
Rings & Things has announced that entries for the 2008 contest will be accepted February 1-29, 2008 with winners being announced the first week of May.
The grand prize will be a $750.00 gift certificate. First place prize will be $250.00 gift certificate. All honorable mentions will receive $75.00 gift certificates.
Winning entries may be featured in catalogs and promotions. Talk about exposure!
Here are some of the previous winners.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Metal Allergies?

I've never had allergies to any jewelry that I've worn, so I can say that I've been blessed that I can afford cheap jewelry, I guess. However, I have ran into several people who are allergic to certain metals, specifically nickel. As a result, these folks are forced to buy expensive precious metal jewelry, poor things. But, really, who would want anything less?
So, while researching copper to see if there are any reports of allergic reactions, I came upon a very informative site: Chard's Allergies to Jewelry. The name is weird, I must say, but the site is incredibly information-rich.
My copper allergy question? Answered. Apparently, sometimes copper and silver can react with atmospheric pollutants to cause irritation, but the copper and silver themselves are not the problem.
Well, now I can continue working on the copper/glass and copper earwire creations.
Whew!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Art Sale!!

This coming weekend, there will be an art sale at Mitcavish Studio, in the Sawyer Tannery Complex on Coombs street, in downtown Napa. There will be several artists attending, with several different mediums.
I will have new jewelry and glass plates and dishes available. So, come on down and check it out!

Taking (good) Pictures of Your Work

Sixth & Elm: Photographical Evidence...

Check out this comical posting (it WILL make you chuckle) highlighting the four MUST HAVE product photos for any product listing

Jatayu : wire & metal jewelry, tools & supplies, and classes by Connie Fox


Also, here is a great page with a set up to obtain consistently great photos of your jewelry or glass.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Trivia Contest - CGGE

Creative Glass Guild of Etsy~ Trivia Contest: August 26th

The Creative Glass Guild of Etsy (CGGE) would like to announce our Sunday Street Team Trivia Challenge! On August 26th at 4pm PST (7pm EST, 10pm UK), CGGE members will host our FIRST Sunday Street Team Trivia Contest.

This is a fun trivia contest featuring questions written by CGGE members about the CGGE team and members, it’s kind of a meet and greet, but you will have the chance to win some AWESOME prizes!

We will be giving out a total of 3 glass prize packages! The first place winner will receive a fused glass slider pendant donated by lisahammer ,

a stained glass butterfly donated by creationsinglass,
AND a fused glass bubble sushi dish donated by glassprimitif, similar to the one pictured here!
WHOA! If that is not enough, the second place winner will receive a stunning pendant donated by Smokeylady54 ,
and the third place winner will receive another stunning pendant donated by Aardvart .


Here are the details for this contest:
August 26th, 4pm PST (7pm EST, 10pm UK) in the Etsy P&C forums http://www.etsy.com/forums_board.php?forum_id=6
To play, you must be an Etsy member, it’s EASY, signup here: http://www.etsy.com

CGGE members are not allowed to participate, but we welcome you to join in and chat in the thread while the contestants are searching for the answers!

Trivia Game Instructions: It’s easy! I will be posting a series of questions to the thread every few minutes. The first person to respond with a correct answer to the thread will receive 4 points, the second person will receive 3 points, the third person will receive 2 points and any other people responding with a correct answer will receive 1 point. At the end of the game, I will tally up the points and announce the top three winners. PLEASE REMEMBER TO POST YOUR ANSWERS IN THE THREAD TO GET YOUR POINTS COUNTED. 

**IMPORTANT: Following our first Sunday Street Team Trivia contest, we would like to invite ANY other Street Team to continue this contest each recurring Sunday. Each team, will be responsible for coming up with their own prizes, questions, and administrators of the thread. If you are interested please convo creationsinglass to be put on the schedule! WE plan on working with Sara of EtsyTeams to promote this NEW recurring TEAM EVENT! It’s a great chance to get some additional exposure for your team and make a lot of new friends in the community!


♥A special “Thanks” to lisahammer for helping to organize this contest, blissbyheather for allowing us to modify her original contest, and our talented glass artisans who donated the gorgeous prizes, lisahammer, creationsinglass, glassprimitif, Smokeylady54, and Aardvart. ♥

Monday, August 13, 2007

In Search of Inspiration....

Wowsers! Would you just look at this incredibly intricate and detailed dragon?
I found this lovely hanging out at GlassArtists.org in Michelle Rial's gallery.LinkShe's definitely got an affinity for Asian themed creations as well as for fish. Check out all of her amazing pieces. What a talented artist out of Serena, IL.
Here is her website.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Late Night Shopping Extravaganza!

I was up late last night after a long, steady night at work, and I started perusing my favorites on Etsy.com. I found a cool new tool that lets you make posters out of listings, though I had to use my screenshot program to grab this image. When I went back today to see if the images were still there, they were. So, it did save them in my profile, or in cookies, or whatever. But, I still don't know if there's any purpose to it other than just allowing you to make your own customized images with listings. Hmm...
Still, look at all the fabulous offerings available! I did break down and buy two paintings from focuslineart, who's got a series called Tree Rings (top left). I can't wait to receive them and see how cool they are in the flesh!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Making Your Own Earwires

After spending what I felt was too much on the components for making earrings,
and being frustrated because the components were never quite what I wanted,
I decided that I needed to figure out how I could make my own!


Tools:
  • Use 20 gauge (0.8mm) wire, which is sturdier than 22 gauge (0.6mm), and fits most pierced ears. (18 gauge wire tends to be too thick to fit through traditional pierced ear lobes.)
  • BIC Softfeel™ Pen with a round shaft and a rubber pad to grip the wire
  • flat file, or even better, a cup burr to file the ends of the ear wires and help prevent infections from the scrapes that jagged edges could cause. A cup burr can be inserted into a Dremel™ tool or Flex-Shaft™ drill. Then, you simply put the end of the ear wire into the cup and turn the drill on. The cup burr files the end of the ear wire into a nice dome that fits nicely through pierced ears without scraping and causing infection. A cup burr that is larger than the wire makes it easier to fit the end of the ear wire into the cup.
  • round nose pliers
  • chain nose pliers
  • flush cutters
  • bench block and hammer

Begin by cutting a 3" piece of wire and pulling it straight. Make a small loop with the tip of your round nose pliers, at one end of the wire. This loop will be the spot where you attach any embellishments. The wire now resembles a head pin.

Now, move the round nose pliers to the other side of the loop. Nestle the pliers against the edge of the loop, and bend the wire over the pliers to almost a 90° angle. Hold the loop of the wire, so that the long piece of wire points at you. Place the pen about 1/2" away from the bend in the wire and roll towards the bend, creating the hook of the ear wire.

Make any minor adjustments, so that the wire looks right and cut off excess wire about 1/4" past the bottom of the small loop. At the very bottom of the straight wire, make a slight bend away from the loop.

File the tip as described above. Hammer the front of the ear wire to add a more elegant feeling.

I learned this technique from the book, "All Wired Up," by Mark Lareau.

I've looked through several different wire working books, and this one is a really great beginner's book. It describes all the different tools you'll need, touching upon basic techniques and delving further into intermediate techniques as well.

A peek into the table of contents:
  • Introduction -
  • Materials & Tools - The author really stresses that the only things you really need are wire, your hands, pliers, and flush cutters. He thoroughly explains different wires and the important factors to consider when choosing a wire. Then, he goes on to explain the three essentials : Round Nose Pliers, Flush Cutters, and Chain Nose Pliers. Other tools he explains as useful, but non-essential are : Wire Straightening Pliers, Flat Nose Pliers, Bench Block and Hammer, Jewelry Bead Crimp Pliers, Tool Magic® Rubber Coating, and needle files or Cup Burrs.
  • Getting Started - A short list of "To Do's," including working with clean hands, watching your posture, how to hold your pliers, and straightening your wire.
  • Basic Wirework Techniques - Making loops of all sorts for headpins, opening and closing loops, wrapped loops, and scrolls (or spirals).
  • Basic Wirework Projects - Donut pendant wraps, Donut embellishments, and freeform coil earrings.
  • Findings - Wrapped wire bails for turning beads or crystals into pendants or earrings, and Fancy Headpins (triangle, heart, and star).
  • Ear Wires - Plain ear wires, Plain ear wires with a bead, Fancy ear wires (incorporating the techniques used in making fancy head pins).
  • Clasps - "S" Clasps, with and without a bead, Hook and Eye Clasps, and the "Strongest Wire Hook and Eye Clasp in the Universe!"
  • Cages - Wirewrapping Marbles, Wire Capped Bead, and Wirewrapping Cabochons.
  • Gallery of Comtemporary Wirework - Pictures incorporating all of the techniques learned in previous chapters (and more) intended to inspire you to get creative!

Monday, August 6, 2007

My Art Cards, Originals



For the month of August, the Creative Glass Guild of Etsy is participating in an ACEO challenge, where members are encouraged to make art cards out of glass.

"What is an ACEO?" you may ask...
They're a miniature piece of art. Art Card, editions and originals. They measure 2.5 by 3.5 inches, the same as other types of trading cards (like baseball or football cards).



If you're interested in trading Art Cards, I happened upon a site, The ATC Post and Trade, where, "ATC Artists are invited to join, post ATCs, partake in host-sponsored exchanges, and trade ATCs with other members."

Anyway, these are before and after pictures of some of the cards I'll be posting to Etsy.com, as well as trading on The ATC Post and Trade.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Note to Self...

Check out Trunkt: The Buyer's Guide to Independent Art + Design

CGGE

Yea! The Creative Glass Guild of Etsy now has a blog!! Check it out here: CGGE
and visit the website here.
We are a non-juried glass group that is open to everyone who uses glass as their medium. We ask that members “STRIVE FOR FIVE” meaning that we ask all members to have AT LEAST 5 “glass” items in their shops at all times. Membership is based on inclusiveness and member involvement; not strict rules, organizational structures and exclusivity. We strive to create a team with diverse backgrounds and wide-ranging levels of success & experience. Therefore, we aim to welcome everybody who works with glass, despite their associations or current skill levels. We hope to foster a teaching environment where new members can learn from experienced mentors via shared knowledge and constructive critiques.
    Our GOALS are:
  • To foster an open, creative and supportive environment for all glass artists
  • To learn and share glass techniques from each other
  • share information and knowledge gained from outside the group and contribute to the Etsy community
  • To promote CGGE members' shops and glass-related activities
  • To promote ETSY as a site for handmade items at our craft fairs and shows that we attend
  • To have fun!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Freeze and Fuse Glass

There seems to be a lot of interest in the freeze and fuse technique recently, so I have tried to explain a bit of the process of Freeze-n-Fuse below. If the technique intrigues you, I've got more pictures that help explain a bit better here.
"What is Freeze and Fuse?," you ask. Well, simply put, it is making ice cubes with glass powder and slowly heating the ice in a kiln, so that as the water evaporates, the glass pulls in on itself and melts together.
This is a "new" technique recently discovered (or recently re-discovered since Ancient times). Phil Teefy of Rainbow Glass in Sacramento offered a workshop in Napa in September 2006, where we made some molds out of RTV Silicone, and then made glass leaves using the freeze and fuse technique. First, we made a clay base to rest the leaf on. We rolled out a sheet of clay, moistened it with drops of water, and place our leaves on the clay (vein side up). Using a dental pick tool, we made the lip of the silicone mold (in relief) by digging a 1/4" outline around the outside edge of the leaf into the clay. We then drew a light outline 1/2" away from the ditch, and then sliced the clay in a general leaf shape another 1/2" away from the outline.
Next, we needed to make a dam to hold the silicone mold making mix. Again, we rolled out some clay, using 3/4" spacers on either side of the rolling pin to ensure a level and evenly rolled clay strip. We sliced strips of clay 1" wide, and made a dam by placing the clay strips along the light outline and edge of the clay base.

Now we're ready to mix and pour the RTV silicone. The silicone mixture is quite expensive, so we measured the volume of our dam (L*W*H) so that we didn't make an excessive amount of silicone. After mixing the two part RTV silicone, we poured it into the mold, holding the bucket about a foot above the dam, and letting it run into the mold in a very thin stream, to prevent bubbles from forming in the mold. After pouring the mixture into the mold dam, we vibrated the table to help any bubbles that may have gotten trapped to work their way to the surface.

After the mold has set according to instructions...

Now we're ready for the fun, artistic, creative process of Freeze-n-Fuse! Yea!!
A side note: There are many readily available, pre-made molds (I've sorted out some here, but artist Kimberly Crick of The Enchanted Gallery has some fabulously beautiful molds which I highly recommend!) that can be used, so that you need not make your own mold. However, if you learn to make your own molds, you are limited only by your imagination as to what you can make!

A word of caution - a proper dust mask should be worn to prevent the inhalation of glass!

Tools: mold, plastic cups, Oral B "Hummingbird," spoon or stir stick, water, glass powder (frit size 08), a proper dust mask should be worn to prevent the inhalation of glass!

So, we have our mold. I added a just a touch of dry, white powder (frit size - 08) to my mold, and rubbed it into the veins. This adds a little contrast and pulls out the detail in the finished leaf.

From this point on, any powder that we add needs to have a little moisture.

Start by measuring your powder into a plastic cup. You can mix colors with clear powder to create lighter shades. You may want to keep a record of the exact amounts of glass mixed (in grams) if you want to be able to replicate certain colors. It is easiest to mix several colors that you will be using in different cups before you are ready to pour them into the mold.

After you have measured out and mixed the glass powders in their separate plastic cups, you are ready to add a little water.

Add enough water so that you can mix the glass easily. The desired consistency of the paste that you are mixing will look liquid-y when you stop stirring, but will have a paste-like consistency while you are stirring it.

After adding water and stirring, lay the hummingbird horizontally across the top of the cup to vibrate the mixture and settle the glass to the bottom of the cup.

Pour off any excess liquid. Stir again and check the consistency. Add or subtract water until the paste-like yet watery consistency is reached.

After you have all your cups of paste ready, you can begin adding them to the mold, adding a little at a time and tapping with your finger to prevent bubbles or pockets of water from forming.

After the mold is filled, use the hummingbird again to vibrate the mold and settle all of the glass, shaking all excess water to the top of the mold. This water can be sopped up with the corner of a paper towel. Place the mold in the freezer for at least an hour, and not longer than overnight.

The water in the paste will start to dehydrate if the mold is placed in the freezer for too long, resulting in a finished piece that has "fallen apart".

After the piece has frozen, you can take it out and transfer it carefully to the kiln. The colder it is in your studio, the more time you will have to clean up your piece before firing it. Gently brush away any overhang or rough edges on your piece, after slipping it out of the mold. Place the piece in the kiln and fire.



Programmable firing schedule for Freeze and Fuse pieces in the kiln:

Segment 1:
190° per hour
190° temperature
1 hour hold

Segment 2:
500° per hour
1100° temperature
20 minute hold

Segment 3:
300° per hour (for small projects)

1275° temperature for a matte finish
1300° temperature for a semi-gloss finish
1325° temperature for a polished finished, but a little loss of detail

5 minute hold

This process is much easier to understand when you've got someone to watch, but with a little trial and error, you'll figure out the right consistency. (And it doesn't have to be too exact!)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

CGGE Treasury

Ccvalenzo of Designs with Attitude has put together a treasury on Etsy made up of items from members of the Creative Glass Guild of Etsy. She has included one of my stone inspired glass pendants. Take a look:)

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