Foothills Holiday Art Market opening tonight

3-pearlslo

New smaller "petal" pearls[/caption] Opening night reception at the Foothills Art Center is tonight from 6:30pm - 8:30pm.  It's free and open to the public, there are handmade gifts for all!  The Foothills HART is an amazing collection of gifts for the holidays.  I am one of the jewelers who will have their work for sale.  The market continues through December and closes on the 30th, just in case you receive cash from Santa and want to spend it there.

This Sunday is Sami's Home Show.  Turn in to her neighborhood off Hampden at Poplar, then head south to Kenyon and go east.  We'll be there from 11am - 4pm.  Stop in to nosh & shop!

Reconstituting dried Metal Clay

[caption id="attachment_976" align="aligncenter" width="490" caption="reconstituting dried metal clay"][/caption] I was so excited to see an article written by Lisa Cain in the recent Metalclay Artist  Magazine, Vol. 2 Issue #2 called, Reconstituting Silver Metal Clay.  I have 11 years worth of scraps I've saved --I know--do I throw anything away?  I gathered it all in one shoe box and started my first batch, and I was amazed, like is like a package of new clay.  So far, I've made three batches.  You need to grind it, sift it, add water, roll it out and then let it sit overnight.  With the price of silver going up (and down) and all these leftover scraps, it makes sense.  My next mission is to take all my fired reject silver scraps to a metal recycler.  I have the name of a company in Denver that you can take your scraps, they melt it down while you wait, pull a plug out and then tell you the percentage of metal and apparently give you a fair price.

Don't forget to purchase a subscription to the first magazine dedicated to Metal Clay!

I've neglected my blog!

[caption id="attachment_968" align="aligncenter" width="490" caption="Mixed metal piece"][/caption] How time flies, and I'm realizing my last post was so long ago!  I have been busy, really!  I've been working on photographs to apply to summer shows, restocking the galleries I have my jewelry featured in, and making some ceramic pieces for our Colorado Potters Spring Show & Sale, which was last weekend!  I managed to make 40 or so olive dishes, a few birdhouses, and some bowls.  That means throwing clay in my basement where you are not sure if the sun is shining or not.  I've also been working on some mixed metal pieces, with steel, bronze clay & silver clay.  I found a very cool class online, by CRAFTCAST, Alison Lee hosts different artists who give online classes.  You can watch it live, or later download it.  She features different artists, and podcasts a you can listen to as well.

In my personal life sadly, I lost a cousin due to alcoholism, and in March went back to Milwaukee for a very sad funeral.  He had been in rehab after falling while very drunk & hitting his head over the holidays.  Unfortunately, the brain injury facility did not keep him very long, and after 30 days in an alcohol rehab, he got out & continued to drink.  It hit me hard, as I grew up with his family of nine kids.  I'm now realizing that alcohol can kill, and is very addictive.  And the addictive brain is a strong beast.  And 52 is way too young to leave this world.

Happy 2011! And oh--a new years resolution!

[caption id="attachment_929" align="aligncenter" width="459" caption="Photographer"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_932" align="aligncenter" width="490" caption="Booth Designer"][/caption]

Wow-the new year is here, I've done 117 posts since I created my blog, and I was thinking.......how many jobs do I do?  My new years resolution for 2011 is to streamline my jewelry business by farming out some of the jobs I do.  So I started making a list..... and here goes:

Photographer: taking shots for my Etsy shop, jurying into shows, my web & blog site

Booth Designer: marketing my work at fine art festivals, working on presentation of my work, signage

Accounting: keeping track of expenses, paying sales tax, income taxes

Web and Blog:  I do have a web designer, but I write my own blog, and try, try to update it as much as I can

Marketing/Branding:  I was a graphic designer, so know Photoshop & Illustrator, and do my own marketing

Sales Manager: I sell my work at shows, I have work at galleries on consignment, I keep track of what has sold, what inventory needs to be re-stocked

Buyer:  scoping out new items at the local gem shows, hunting through Tucson for unusual items to include in my work

Yikes, I'm tired!  Does anyone else feel like a whirlwind all of the time?  After thinking about streamlining my jewelry business, I began to think about how many art things do I do?

Jewelry Designer:  metal clay & silversmithing, maker of the Craig Hospital broken man charm

Ceramist: work with earthenware clay and am a member of the Colorado Potters Guild

Lampwork Artist:  work with soft glass when my garagio studio is not too cold....member of the Bead Cluster

Teacher:  I teach kids art camps: jewelry making, clay & cooking

On the up-side, I am never bored.  I feel blessed I'm able to work & do the things I love.  I've met great people and made great friends through the art world I'm involved in.  I love creating, teaching, taking classes, exploring new mediums.  So in 2011, I'll work on giving up some of these jobs--anyone know a good bookkeeper to start?

New Pearl and spot

[caption id="attachment_917" align="aligncenter" width="490" caption="new pearl for Jeanne"][/caption]

I've been constructing some new pearls, and this one had a different shape, so I made this form for it.  An old friend bought it, and not being a necklace person really, she loves wearing it.  I asked if I could photograph it, and lo and behold, this spot kept appearing on my photos.  I cleaned, and cleaned some more.  The glass was spotless, the lenses were spotless, so I called the camera shop.  "There's something on your sensor" was the response.  We have to send your camera away for cleaning.  Odd, I'd never heard of that.  He said it happens when you change lenses.  So, in 10 days I hope to have a fresh newly cleaned camera.

It's always something--especially when you are dealing with technology!  As I write this, I have no back up drive.  It has died, I assume.  I've had other back-up drives and they have not failed, but this one is failing!  It has been less than a year, so I'll see what the store has to say when I take it in.  It's kind of scary though, not backing up my data.  I had a hard drive fail last year on my trusty "vintage" laptop, PowerBook G4.  I lost lots of e-mails addresses, and some music, but had most of the files backed up.  It's a must if you have a business and your life involves around a computer.  My newer desktop iMac is now the main machine, and I'm living on a thin thread without a back-up drive!

PMC Conference and more...

[caption id="attachment_792" align="aligncenter" width="490" caption="Tim McCreight demo"][/caption] I can't believe it is August already!  I just returned from the PMC Conference in West Lafayette, Indiana, at Purdue University.   It was a great conference, and I learned a ton, and I was inspired by all the amazing folks there.  It was my fifth conference, beginning in Wooster, Ohio in 2002.   This photo was taken when Tim McCreight gave a demo of the new clay Mitsubishi is about to release, PMC Pro.  It's amazing, and we'll see in the fall when it is introduced.  Stay tuned for more info!

I posted a quite a few photos on my Facebook page of the fun at the conference.  Are we Facebook friends yet?

Life in the Slow Lane

[caption id="attachment_767" align="aligncenter" width="490" caption="new pearl series"][/caption] Boy, having a second foot surgery in 7 months has really slowed me down.  Tomorrow I will go back to have the stitches out.  The Doc told me to bring a comfortable shoe.  The walking boot is getting old!  And it's not smelling like a flower any more.  My foot is still different colors of blues & purples.  Trying to heal.  Trying to slow me down.  It has worked somewhat, as I have not posted on my blog this month very much!

This new pearl series was made for the Barbara & Co feature.  I love the pearl on the right.  It's being held in by some feelers or something.  Very informal photo I took right before delivery.  Oh--and summer is arriving in Denver!  And it's finals week, our house has been very serious these last 2 weeks.  On Friday school will be over for a few months.  Time to sleep in a bit.  Time to smell the flowers, time to get back to work mode!

New tear-aways!

[caption id="attachment_486" align="aligncenter" width="254" caption="new tear-away sheets"][/caption] I am set up now to do my own copies to make tear-away sheets.  I bought the cheapest copier with the correct toner.  I have one of Celie Fago's formulas using FIMO polymer clay.  This combo worked well.  It's good to use 2 metallic polymer clays, and another color, or two.  I'd love to hear what works for other people.   The tear-away sheets I was using are pretty worn out.  The clay will eventually lift off your paper.  Now I just have to flatten these out!

Moo MiniCards

My new favorite minicards are from www.moo.com. They were really popular with my customers this past summer at art festivals I participated in. One great aspect for marketing your work, is that they include a photo, so potential customers can remember you.  You can upload 100 different images, crop them and get an array of your work, with information printed on the back. Go Moo! [caption id="attachment_471" align="aligncenter" width="72" caption="Moo Cards"][/caption]

More Resin pieces

[caption id="attachment_353" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Resin pieces, "Dream" and "Breathe""]Resin pieces, "Dream" and "Breathe"[/caption]

I'm still trying to photograph resin pieces.  This isn't too bad. These images are from Teesha Moore, she sells amazing sheets of her journal pages.  I added the type and cropped them.  Ever have an odd dream & feel like a gargoyle is taking flight off the top of your head?

Burnishing Bronze Clay

[caption id="attachment_480" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Burnishing the highlights"][/caption] There have been several questions on the Yahoo Metal Clay Group forum about finishing bronze clay.  My favorite way is to burnish the highlights.  I recently took my dremel tool with a tip on it (don't know the name) and used that for highlighting the high areas.  I like the way it looks.  I haven't sealed these yet.  Am working on a sealant that doesn't turn off the glorious colors coming out of the kiln.  Renaissance Wax totally dulled the colors on a recent bronze batch. Will report back when I find the right product!

Golden Fine Arts Festival

[caption id="attachment_478" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Outdoor booth"][/caption] The weekend at the Golden Fine Arts Festival was a success-not much rain, not too hot, lots of people and I had a great show!  Many thanks to all the volunteers who make that show happen.  And many thanks to my customers--thanks for supporting my work!

My next and last show of the summer is August 29 & 30, the Evergreen Fine Arts Festival.  Stop by & say hi.

Recycling a cake lid

drypmcMy favorite recycled piece, or "tool" for working with metal clay, actually there are two here, one is the wooden soap holder, that became the light bulb holder for shaping metal clay, the other is an angel food cake lid with a hole cut through it, hair dryer inserted.  May need to replace this one soon, as it's had lots of use and is melting......