Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Studio Time: Ack! It's the end of the month! The rest of the Demure Collection...

I ended up blogging way more than I expected this month! Huh! I guess there is LOTS going on in the head that much be blogged about. Below are the remaining pieces from the Demure collection.

Simple Southwest

I challenged myself to stay with a simple, classic stringing scheme (it's only five months in Hong Kong, and I'm already used to using "scheme" instead of "plan" in my vocabulary) to complement this stunning, encased floral focal by Sarah Hornik. While florals aren't Sarah's "thing," she does them SO well. I love fun, bright, funky floral things. Finished off in small turquoise rounds and sterling silver handmade figure-eight chain.

These are the earrings that complement the Simple Southwest necklace above. They are a little bit blingy due to the length and silver, but are still demure because of focusing on the turquoise and staying with small beads.

Demure Wild, Wild East

Yellow and brown jades, antiqued brass and wooden beads. Classic, simple, elegant, demure.

Cotton Candy Bubble Clusters

These are the remaining beads from one of my sessions learning some reactive glass habits and dot techniques from Sarah Hornik's Think Pink tutorial. The necklace and earrings are attention getters, even if they are demure.
I will post the jewelry in my Artfire shop tomorrow.

Speaking of bananas

Well, I guess no one was technically speaking of bananas...anyway, I found a blog with someone who has a sense of humor I can relate to. Aardvark Art Glass. I totally understand the temptation of the banana and the hammer.

This post about reminds of an incident when my mom got a telemarketer to hang up on her. What is it about the perverse delight of turning the tables on marketers? I told my mom about this blog post and she's all ready to sign up over on Facebook and have a go at torturing the marketers. I wonder if she could blow up their marketing algorithms? Hm....

Monday, April 27, 2009

Studio Time: Kanna Glass Studios - Bead Berries

Set of 24 beads in a custom request of single color. Details here.

Studio Time: Bead Berries - Custom Bead Sets

In the process of reconnecting with glass, learning my new lampwork setup, and perfecting techniques, I've been making a lot of spacers. LOTS of spacers. It sounds boring. It really isn't. I've learned that, while decorated beads are the desired end goal, spacers still fill a vital role in the world of handmade jewelry. After all, classic, elegant and timeless styles are developed from a repetition of elements. Some of my most popular finished pieces are really, just a set of spacers (shh...don't tell them that...)

But, to me, they aren't spacers. When you put these beads together, they look so juicy and shiny. You just want to scoop them up and do something with them.

I've been doing a lot with small beads (under 10 mm in size), so I'm calling these small bead sets: Bead Berries. To me, this is more than just semantics (one person's Bead Berry is another person's spacer) and marketing (a spacer by any other name is still a spacer.) To me, this is the art of suggesting the potential. My minds shoots off into fireworks with the possibilities of a set of simple glass beads. It's about accurately describing the beads so you know what you are getting.

So, this post is introducing the Kanna Glass Studios line of Bead Berries. Within the Bead Berry line, there are three categories:

Cherry Berries: these are my as-perfect-and-round-as-I-can-possibly-get-them-without-being-a-machine beads. If they were vintage cars, they would be "cherry." These are for the projects that need as much consistency and rounded beads as possible. While I strive for consistency and similarity, these are still handmade and there is some variation in the sizing.

Folk Berries: I appreciate someone who has honed their craft to achieve exquisite form and detail. As I was quality checking my beads for the Cherry Berry pile, I was sorting the beads that didn't make the cut into another pile. They didn't meet the Cherry standard, but it was bothering me. Until I realized why. I also appreciate rustic, folksy, handmade work. I like mixing these two aesthetics together. They play off each other and complement each other. I think this is why I love Southwest Style (U.S.) so much. It mixes clean elegance with organic form, design, and texture. These beads take just as much work as a Cherry Berry (formed and cleaned). These are the "pot quite nerfect" beads that didn't make the Cherry cut but still have the folksy appeal for the who enjoy the rustic charm of handmade beads.

To the connoisseur of Provence, Tuscan or Southwest style...this bead's for you.

Glibble Berries: these bead shapes were born from a pair of cheeky little beads that refused to form into Cherry Berries. I had been striving to achieve the very best technique I possibly can, but hadn't yet embraced the Folk Berry concept. Since I couldn't perform bead CPR and rescue the shape, I did a bunch of pressing with a small tool. These are my favorite beads. Glass dribbled onto the mandrel, shaped into a well-formed round, then pressed with a small tool to form organic facets. These take just as much work as the Cherry and Folk Berries. Out of my entire pile of Cherry Berries and Folk Berries, these are the ones I couldn't keep my hands off. They are tactile and fiddly...perfect for the twiddler.

Want some? I'm offering custom bead sets (24 beads) in single colors of choice. Custom Request Listing in my Artfire shop for each type. I can take one-two orders at a time and will re-post the listing after the order is filled. I'm not sure how long I plan to make spacers, so if you've been dreaming of a selection of beads in your favorite colors, take advantage of this offer! Please note: I do have a wide range of glass colors available, but not every single color under the glass sun, so some color flexibility is greatly appreciated.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Studio Time: Emelle Bracelets for young ladies

8:55 pm edit: I forgot I had scheduled this post...I wasn't quite done...here is the updated version (updated in the Chain Maille section).

These bracelets are a friend commission for her young cousins. These are designed for young ladies 6 and over. These are woven in an exquisitely fine 22-gauge chain maille Byzantine weave in Argentium silver centered with pink and purple glass beads by me. The bracelet is only 3mm wide...demure and strong.

Chain Maille
I really love making glass beads. They are the foundation of my jewelry. There are so many colors, techniques and ideas I have in my head that glass alone gets the majority of my time. However, I also have visions of the end results with my beads. I have not gone the I-only-make-glass-beads route because I still love making finished jewelry.
In the process of expanding my repertoire of jewelry skills beyond stringing, I started making my own hand coiled and cut jump rings. This segued naturally to chain maille. After some attempts at making my own rings cut by hand, then even investing in a small jump ring maker to attempt to make my own precision cut rings, I started searching for an alternative. I began realizing I was sending myself off on a creative rabbit hole and away from glass. Chain maille by itself is a significant investment in time. Learning the weaves, the technical aspects of making rings, making the right rings for the right weaves can take up your entire jewelry energy.
While looking for a way to make better jump rings, I stumbled onto Urban Maille, a small company dedicated to teaching chain maille weaves and making chain maille rings in silver, copper, and gold. Once you start using perfection, you can never go back. I realized I wanted to invest my energies into glass. And there was no need for me to divide my time into chain maille, since Urban Maille filled this niche so absolutely perfectly.
Beyond providing perfect rings, Urban Maille also teaches the weaves. If you are a jewelry artist who has been contemplating chain maille, Aislyn makes learning weave techinques so easy, you don't even realize you are learning a difficult skill. The kit-packs and instructions Aislyn has put together at Urban Maille jump your chain maille skills forward by leaps and bounds. The chain maille silver work I do with Urban Maille's rings gets rave reviews. If you've been contemplating chain maille, try Urban Maille. You'll be glad you did.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Studio Time: Victoria Harbour Deepwater Necklace and Earrings

Another simple set of jade and brass earrings. This time the beads are a lovely deeper shade of jade, reminiscent of the deep water of Victoria Harbour. 18" necklace and 2.5" earrings. Available in my Artfire shop.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hong Kong Chronicles: Bike Notes - aka Reasons to Appreciate Your Car

First Bead Giveaway Winner: Kristin at KS Jewelry Designs! (There was no competition, so I didn't do an actual drawing...hee, hee...) Kristin, email me your contact information and I will pop these in the post by tomorrow. Kristin, also has her own giveaway for one of her pendants. I love her work...it looks like it's soldered silver work, but it's wire-wrapping! She has a cool tutorial showing you how to achieve some of these looks. Buy it. You'll be happy you did. I can't wait to try out her ideas.

Today's post is sans beads and jewelry. I thought I'd share some of stories about adapting to Hong Kong life.

This is kind of like Cliff Notes, only for riding a bike in Hong Kong in the summer.

1) Keep tires properly inflated. As the .33 hp (using the reasoning that a horse runs about 40 mph and I ride my bike at about 13 mph, I am therefore the .33 hp motor for my bike) I recommend keeping the tires of your car properly inflated. I have noticed that I ride with much less effort when the tires of my bike are freshly inflated. (See 2c)

2) Appreciate your windshield. I'm thinking I need something. Otherwise, I have to do the following:

a) Keep my mouth closed while riding. It is mosquito season and it has freshly rained. Fresh, giant crop of mosquitoes. And I hear there is a fly season coming up, too. I have been pelted with bugs while riding home at 13 mph. I, therefore, keep my mouth closed.

b) Don't wear lip gloss. My friends who wear make-up (i.e. lipstick and lip gloss) have reported having bugs adhere to their lips while wearing freshly applied cosmetics.

c) Try not to breath deeply through the nose. While I caught on pretty quick to keeping my mouth closed, it's still hard not to breath deeply while riding uphill. It's not fun to snort a bug. Trust me on this one.

Therefore, I think I will need to:

1) get some kind of face shield, or

2) look like a outlaw of the wild, wild east (sunglasses, bandana over my mouth, cowboy hat)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Studio News: Kiwi Beadberry Giveaway

How to win: sign up to be a Follower (over on the left) and comment on this post. Your name will be entered into a drawing. The winner will be announced on Friday. (And if only one person comments...you win!)

About the beads: this is a really nice set of 18 (yes, eighteen) small beads. They range in size from 7-9mm by 4-5 mm. Kiwi is a delightful bright, green transparent. It fooled me the first time I used it because it's transparent sheathed in opaque. But that combo creates the above deliciously swirled green beadberries. There are enough to create a beautiful necklace and earrings...and if you space them just right you could stretch the beads into a bracelet as well!

Quality assurance: These are my first-rate beads! I quality check them to make sure they are well-balanced, have proper dimples, are round, and no smokey or scummed glass. I spin them, touch them, and look at them carefully. Any that don't past muster are sent to the seconds jar. I also guarantee my beads...if any don't pass your muster, I will fix it!


Since I have taken a six-month hiatus from the creation of beads, I am in the process of working through my glass rods and perfecting my basic techniques. I'm doing large spacer lots and getting to know the individual colors of glass. I'm going to start building up a reference library over on my website (not all links are working...it's a work in progress) with notations on the individual glass rods.

Lampwork setup: Minor dual fuel torch

Flame: Neutral

Color: Kiwi - transparent green encased in an opaque green

Rod Size: my lot was 5mm rods, very slightly smaller than the majority of my other rods (6-7mm) which I think contributed to a quick melt

How the glass feels to me: Rods melted quickly (partly due to smaller rod size). I did not lose any glass due to thermal shock when heating the rods in the flame. It seemed easiest to create small beads rather than large beads. The glass didn't feel overly stiff or overly soft. I found it to be one of the easier rods to work with. I've been working with a number of colors and in relation to some of the transparent colors that are stiffer, it seemed to be as easy to work in the flame as a regular opaque.

I checked three of the glass suppliers I've used (I like all of them) and this color is currently sold out on LB Supplys, Arrow Springs, and Frantz Art Glass. I did a web search and found Flame Tree Glass located in Roswell, Georgia. They have Kiwi listed on their site and have about 1 lb left...just in case anyone fell in love with this color. (I haven't personally done business with Flame Tree Glass, but Maureen was very prompt about replying to my inquiry regarding the availability.)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Studio Time: Giraffic Park

You know what's really cool? To take raw materials (bits of wire and glass)...

...create this sweet little set of glass beads....

...and make a necklace for a friend...

I had some friends visiting who like giraffe-y themed items. I played around with the design and came up with these little zoo-themed beads in a giraffe motif with some delicious chocolate-ly spacers. It's a beautiful classic piece that is stunning when worn (my friend was wearing them as she departed today...she looked gorgeous). The nice thing about a classic piece is that they can be dressy or casual, worn with anything and look stunning because they are glassy and shiny.
Custom WorkRegarding doing custom items: I've purchased some of Rena Klingenberg's e-books, in particular the Secrets of a Handcrafted Jewelry Shopping Service, and it had an idea for customized jewelry wardrobe service. I've had a chance to experiment with this on a few friends...and I really like doing custom work.

On one hand, custom work is scary. A lot of artists don't like to do it. I've had a few experiences where it was difficult to connect and create the desired piece. This usually happens when it's long distance. To do long-distance custom work, I either need someone who has an open mind for my interpretation or a lot of patience for long-distance back-and-forth and some snail mail exchanges. This is why it's easier to do custom work in person and over a period of time.

My favorite opportunity to create is the Personality Customization. Some of my custom order experiences:

Design Customization: the first big commission I had was for a wedding. The bride wanted handmade necklaces and earrings as gifts for her bridesmaids. The bride designed her own piece. She had a mass-produced costume piece that provided a starting point for our conversations with a few key elements that appealed to the bride. Having a starting point made the conversation easier to create her design. (I generally like to use my Flickr Gallery as the starting point for design discussions.) I made a batch of beads in different colors and color-matched the best choice to the dresses she chose. She wanted small, classic beads, which were easy to achieve with reactive glass. We were also able to customize the sizing to the bridesmaids. She was so pleased, she ordered two more sets in a different color for two of her friends as gifts for their help with her wedding.
Ready-Made Customizations: my second commission was based on my signature style. My signature style involves color riots. For people new to handmade jewelry or artisan made jewelry, it’s a little surprising and not always their cup of tea. However, I find appreciation grows when I have the opportunity to explain the effort that goes into the piece. I had a piece that was one of my more colorful arrangements based on a foundation of a gorgeous set of green, purple, and blue beads by Laura Sparling. I had originally created it as a piece to keep for myself, but I was surprised to find that one of my friends liked the piece, and with a few tweaks it has become a staple of her wardrobe…she loves pinks, purples and browns and this was a great accent piece that she could wear with the majority of her wardrobe.
Personality customization: this is my favorite way to create. I take some time to get to know the person, observe daily attire, differences in outfits, commonalities in outfits, general color palette, and style preferences (classic, funky, retro, trendy, etc.). I also spent some time showing her my “hobby” from the creation of glass beads, to various techniques (chain maille, wire-wrapping, stringing, base metal). Through casual conversation I also learned her color preferences, design preferences, and was able to observe what she wore normally and what she chose in souvenir jewelry. I also learned a little tidbit that giraffe’s were a family theme. I went off and experimented with giraffe-y themes. The first few beads weren’t quite “right” but I had the opportunity to play some more and got the “ooh, ahh” factor from the second play session. That was enough to formulate the above set and turn it into a classic, everyday piece that can dress up or go casual. I have a follow-up request for a tie-tac for the husband to match the wife. (Now I need to go find a tie-tac finding.)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Creative Finds: Coal Miner's Daughter

As I listen to my neighbor's daughter practice the piano, my mind returns to music and the correlation between musical art and tangible art.

MoonKatty studios has had a few posts on music that have made me think: like the post on how Georgia O'Keefe created some of her works to music or that, like a violin's bow, we need tension in our lives to express our art.

I'll be coming back to music from time to time. But, this post was prompted by watching the movie, Coal Miner's Daughter, a bio-pic about Loretta Lynn, one of the influential women in country music. I watched it for the first time in the early 90's when I was just starting to listen to country music. I watched it again last week with some different impressions as I embark on a creative business.

One thing that struck me when Loretta started out, she and her husband 'went confidently in the direction of their dreams.' Her husband had incredible confidence in her ability. He learned bits and pieces about the music industry as they went and learned to do a lot himself...take the artist picture, recorded her first record, sent out copies and letters to the radio stations, drove around in person to the radio stations. The learning process was quite interesting. It reminds me a lot of what needs to be done as the artists are launching their own creative and the fact that you do a lot yourself.

Regarding the above quote, I couldn't remember who said it, so I looked it up. The full quotation is even more interesting. The full quote is by Henry David Thoreau, from Walden, "If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."

An additional thought in the context of this paragraph, "In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex." I like this thought because it fits with some of the ideas I had around the upcoming article for the May Kanna Spark! newsletter, "Creating Your Mission Statement."

I'm going to start having bead giveways soon. I'm only doing spacers right now, to refresh my skills, but they are in juicy, bead berry colors. Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Creative Finds: The Noisy Plume

There are many many things that have melded together into my brain and help me form my creativity. Last September, I wanted to refine my blog. I've been wandering around various blogs, trying get some creative juices going to help me figure "who I want to grow up to be" as Kanna Glass Studios.

For inspiration about how to write a blog, one of my "must-reads" is by Jillian at The Noisy Plume. She writes prose and poetry to the tune of her daily life as she swings her hammer and forms delectable silver jewelry. Go check out her work! Gorgeous! It's a must read and her sought-after jewelry is a must-purchase...if you can get your hands on any of it...it has a tendency to fly off the shelves.

When I try to think of where I want to go as me (Kanna Glass Studios) and I start getting off track, her blog is one of the touchstones I come back to for helping me stay focused on the goal of inspire-inform-entertain. Things I've learned from reading her blog: 1) she writes in her own, unique creative voice, 2) she lives her life creatively, 3) she takes photos of her life and draws that into inspiration for her jewelry 4) she maintains a positive, creative focus. If you have time to read her blog from the start, you'll find this consistency throughout.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Studio Time: Glass-ified

As in satisfied...

I have my lampwork station setup! Through networking, I was able to keep in touch with another lampwork artist in Hong Kong. She went back to the US and sold me her lampwork setup. I'm so thrilled! It's an upgrade on what I was planning to do. I have been having trouble finding MAPP gas, but wanted to stick with the hothead because I like the simplicity of the single fuel torch.

I'm totally over that now.

My new lampwork setup includes an oxy-con for a dual-fuel torch.


I was expecting to be bad because I haven't done a lick of glass for 6 months. Um. No. My beads were...good! I did decide to focus on the basics...just making really good beads (Laura Sparling's perfect beads have me inspired to master basics and have beautifully formed beads). This torch is so beautiful. It allows me to work quickly, efficiently and make really beautiful beads! I've only done spacer type beads in single colors, but you can do so much with these in jewelry. I do still love organic beads and I have some beginner beads that are inspiring me to explore some things I did when I was a fresh, fresh newbie glass artist. But, back to these spacer beads. Um...I'm amazed...did I really do those? I'm saving photos of the bunch of them for what is inspiring in me in May...but, I did have to rave about my upgraded lampwork setup. If you're still playing with a Hothead and can afford to upgrade...do it. You'll be really, really happy. Really, really.


You know how you love something, even though it's kind of ugly? Much like a dog owner still loves it's homely dog? This is my very first button.

It's so much like my very first beads. While it's pretty hideous, I see all kinds of possibility in it. I learn a lot from my early failures. :-)

Just because I posted an ugly bead picture after talking about my good beads, I'll have to post a picture of some of my new beads just so you know I wasn't making any of this up. These are CiM colors of Rose Quartz and Heffalump. These look like juicy little glass berries.
I'm in love with Creation is Messy colors and with my new lampwork station!

Hong Kong Chronicles: My New Schnau-tese

What, you may ask, is a Schnau-tese? It is a formerly cute Maltese...

Who's coat has grown long and matted and whose mama can't find a groomer on the island...yet...

And whose mama decided to remodel the Maltese by tackling the grooming issue on her own.

This is three sessions with a scissors and a clippers later...

With the Maltese not letting the mama groom her legs or her belly...

She looks like a white Schnauzer. The above is actually the improved version! I was so embarrassed with the haircut the first day, I didn't take her out until it was dark. I didn't want anyone to see how awful she looked. Molly, on the other hand, was blissfully ignorant of her homeliness. Or, as she says it, "What? Why are you laughing? I'm still hot stuff!"

Here is one week later...I have been trimming a little every day...a snip on the leg here, a clip under the belly. I can see this is going to be an on-going process. I think she's starting to look a little like a Jack Russell terrier now.

And for the record...Molly and I have had a discussion and she decided she liked being an only child. Actually, the "discussion" went more like this...

Molly gets excited to see all the neighbor dogs. Molly meets a little rescue Maltese and is particuarly excited. Mama takes Molly to visit the rescue Maltese and see if she would like company.

Molly ignores the rescue Maltese.

I guess it's just me and one Malt!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Studio Time: Demure Cowgirl

More demure inspirations with very tiny beads of a dark-colored stabilized turquoise, small copper rounds on antiqued brass.

This is for the gal who is shy to declare her western cowgirl leanings. The delicate turquoise beads are a quiet 4mm wide. In mottled greens, browns, deep copper, and antiqued brass, this piece is perfect for a classic wardrobe with an ever so slight western twist with the dangles reminiscent of the bolo tie.

The necklace is 17.5" to the dangle and the two dangles are an additional 3" from the drop.

I did four version of earrings to complement the necklace, but the cluster earrings below are by far my favorite. They are still demure at 1.5" from the drop.

The earrings below are the most demure of the bunch with one link at just under 1" from the drop.

The two-link version below adds a little flair by being 1.75" from the drop.

The three-link version echoes the dangles in the necklace and adds flair and drama at 2.75"...yet it's still demure due to the delicate sizing of the beads.

P.S. - so sorry for the blog drought. A multi-day migraine dried up my creative rain. Note to self: get some pre-posting done...toodles!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Studio News: Lampwork for the Jewelry Designer

Way back when (six months ago) I promised to put together a tutorial called, "Lampwork for the Jewelry Designer" on my beginner blog, Glass by Jennifer. I've finally been able to put this tutorial together! Actually, I have so much information, I've decided to do two versions: the first one is a short, free tutorial. It is designed to provide a quick, condensed format of key characteristics of good lampwork beads. The goal: 1) provide information to the new lampwork consumer, and 2) provide talking points for artists who sell lampwork beads and jewelry designers who incorporate lampwork beads in their jewelry designs.

Newsletter subscribers had early access to this article and the freebie download that goes with it.
Click here to link to the full-color tutorial. (Note: I did struggle with the formatting to the A4 and Letter pages. If you have any issues printing, please let me know. I will see what I can do to accommodate you.)

Artists featured in this brochure (in alphabetical order):
Emma Baird, Kerry Bogert, Endangered Creations, Sarah Hornik, Moon Katty Studios, Sarah Moran, Lori Peterson, Michal S, and Laura Sparling.

Okay, here is the article that was published in my April 2009 The Kanna Spark newsletter:

Lampwork for the Jewelry Designer

A special thank you to Emma Baird at
The Little Bead Shop and Kerry Bogert at Kab's Creative Concepts for contributing independent lists of what they consider are the aspects that make up quality artisan beads. Their lists helped validate the key points and provided additional insight. Their thoughts are interwoven into this article.
As a fan of lampwork artists and now as I am launching my glass art, I have noticed a common thread of frustration in jewelry designers and lampwork artists. The most common question I see and hear, "Why are lampwork beads so expensive?" When I started doing jewelry, I stumbled across lampwork beads and it was that very question that started me on the quest to find out why. As I understand more about the art and the effort it takes to produce these beautiful glass beads, I find myself buying more beads. Why? Because I have a deeper understanding of the effort it takes, the investment the artists have made in their studio and their skill, and appreciate the unique voice expressed by these artists. Here is the short list of the most important things to know about artisan glass beads you buy and incorporate into your jewelry.

The Short List
Unique - this is the first thing Kerry, Emma, and I all listed. Artisan glass beads will make your jewelry unique and one-of-a-kind. Artists are notoriously restless and do not mass produce their beads. While you might see something similar, or an artist will revisit their design, you will usually not see that exact same piece again. The well-known glass artists usually push the boundaries and develop a style that tells you who made the beads instantly.

Kiln Annealed - this needs to be on the top of your radar for a quality artisan bead. Glass melts at close to 2,000 degree F (1093 C). Heating or cooling glass causes stress and reduces durability. A kiln will cool the glass down at a rate that allows the molecules to settle into a more stable form.

Well-formed - when examining glass beads, here are some basic signs they are well-formed:
  • All raised decorations are melted in enough so they are firmly attached and will not pop off or chip off during regular wear
  • It is generally desired to have a pucker on the bead ends so it does not cut into the wire or string
  • A perfectly formed sphere will not have a pucker, but it will also not have sharp edges
  • It is well-balanced and hangs nicely on a finding or string
  • The bead hole is clean and does not contain any dusty substance (this is the bead release that coats the steel mandrel)
What to Avoid
  • Pointed ends
  • Smoked or scummed glass
  • Unintentional bubbles and inclusions (including bead release)
  • Badly seated decorations
  • Not kiln annealed
  • Bead release not cleaned
This article will be available as a free tutorial with full-color pictures for use with your customers. There will be space to print or stamp your business name if you choose to distribute it. Click here to go to the Free Download page.

A more advanced tutorial is in the works. The more detailed tutorial will delve into the details of what makes lampwork art so special. I'm thinking of it along the lines of an "art appreciation" tutorial...teaching some of the details and techniques that show the significant investment of learning, time, discipline, and equipment that artists make into this art. It will drill into the details of the above quick reference to further educate the art bead buyer (end consumer and jewelry designer) and acts as a bit of a "pre-tutorial" for those considering giving lampwork a try. Because my first one took so long, I make no promises on when it will be available. I just promise to keep working on it. Here are the topics I plan to dive into:
  • A Closer Look at the Artists and How They Are Unique
  • Just the Basics - How a Bead is Made
  • Why is Kiln Annealing a Bead So Important?
  • Comparing Good and Bad Techniques
  • Techniques in Glass - What is That Called?
  • All About the Glass

And Finally - Feedback Welcome!

One great advantage of the Web 2.0 (interactive format) is the ability for instant feedback. I have written this tutorial in "my voice" in keeping with the spirit of small businesses. However, because I have designed this for free distribution with space for your contact information, would you like this written in a more "voice neutral" tone like more formal business documents? Post your response to this blog or send me a private email. Thanks!

A quick note on the copyright permissions granted with this free download: The words, photographs, and content of this brochure are copyrighted. As the copyright owner, I grant permission to print this brochure for free distribution for the education of the lampwork buyer. Space has been provided on the front to stamp your contact and studio name. This brochure is not to be distributed for resale. Content should not be modified and original contact information should not be removed. Permission was granted by the artists to photograph and feature their work. Permission was also granted by the artists to re-print their copyrighted photos.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Studio Time: Victoria Harbour Shimmer

The set below is some more ways my brain interpreted the theme of demure for April. I went to the jade market and was enthralled with some beautiful jade beads. One strand were these tiny, approximately 5/16" beads in a pale, pale green. It reminds me of top of the shimmering Victoria Harbour. The water is actually many layers of green and these beads remind me of the shimmering ruffles kissed by the sun...captured in small jade and antiqued brass.

The necklace is one of my Bubble Necklace designs, slightly mimicking the charm bracelets, but not quite the density. The simple palette and subdued jade make it a new classic that can grace any tailored outfit.

The Creative Rain BarrelOn an additional note, I've been excited and anxious to launch because my brain and fingertips have been dripping with creative ideas that are making me tingle with anticipation.

The imagery that best captures my creative activity is like the storm weather in Texas: tempestuous thunderstorms with dazzling displays of lightning (creative flashes) that soak the land. Flash floods swirling, creating a dizzying array of ideas that are hard to capture they are flying so fast. Occasionally whipping up into a tornadoed frenzy. Nothing is safe in the wake of my creative storm: yarn, fabric, walls, paper, glass, silver. (After I experience a broader array of Hong Kong, I’m sure I’ll have some additional imagery.)

Then, suddenly, the storm evaporates, the sky is crystal, the sun bright and hot.

And if I haven’t captured those ideas in my creative rain barrel, I experience a drought of the dreamy thoughts that inspired my work.

Which is what happened to me since I launched. Life happened…a few migraines and an onslaught of regular activities that take precedence…and…BAM! My creative storm is a boring little trickle of ho-hum explanations of my work…yawn.

What saved me from a complete drought were some of the habits I’ve been developing to keep my Creative Rain Barrel full. In this case, I had named all the pieces I’ve made for this month. Phew! When I posted the above, I had actually forgotten the name! So, this is my useful little “live and learn” lesson: if you have a storm of thoughts flooding your brain...find some way to capture it while it's storming. That way you have a handy store of information for when your brain is on auto-pilot and you're busy with the production of life: cooking, shopping, cleaning, day-job, taking care of family, production work on your little business, etc.

My Creative Rain Barrel

Post-it notes, inspiration journal, pre-posting on my blog, email myself, naming my pieces as I make them (and writing them somewhere).

Your Creative Rain Barrel?

So, what little tips and tricks can you share to capture your "creative storm" while it's creatively raining? If I get enough response, I’ll post a compilation of ideas as a follow-up to this post in a week or two.