24 July 2008

Panic sets in!

It struck last night at 6:30, and I am surprised that I didn't start panicking until so late in the week. I only have one day left to finish all my errands, "finish" stocking up for the upcoming three art shows, and finish packing the truck. I don't have enough inventory!! I'm sure of it! I was up until 12:30 last night and woke at 5:30, thinking of all the things I need to do. Of course, I will be just fine, but it is hard not to feel a bit of panic when faced with three shows in a row, all on the road. This is the time when those errands that seemed necessary on Monday are dropped off of the "to do list." Like those receipt books that I should get: Office Max DOES exist in other cities! Travel food: wow! Other towns have grocery stores! Silly, I know, but I tend to think everything HAS to be done before I leave.

22 July 2008

Coraline is well

And here is the latest on Coraline. She is walking normally and is free to wander anywhere in the house. She cannot jump high, however. I don't know if this is because of losing muscle strength or a more permanent change because of her pelvic injury. In the photos you might be able to discern the twisted wires coming out of the bottom of her chin; these come out in a few weeks. She has been eating soft food, but strangely prefers her hard kibbles, which she cannot chew and swallows whole. I hope she'll be able to crunch them up when her jaw and teeth are completely healed!

Thank you so much to all of you who contacted me with concern about my cat! She truly is a really good cat and I am glad her injuries were not worse!

Crazy about the spirals

Last week I was crazy about spirals, coiling, and weaving. The pair with the woven wire frames and a drop (beautiful AAA grade Amethyst marquise briolettes) has been floating around in my sketchbook for about a year. I thought the brios would sway when the earring is on, but they don't and I'm not entirely sure why; they can move freely but seem to largely stay put. This is good as they are less likely to become caught in hair. I leave some of these bright, but all the ones shown here have been oxidized and then polished to highlight the texture. These are lightweight and fun to wear and fun to make!

19 July 2008

Busy, busy week

This past week has been crazy busy. I got back from Brookings, SD, where sales were decent, but significantly down from last year, and immediately went to work in prepping for my next five shows, three of which are out of town. Plus, my truck had to go into the shop to repair vandalism damage. I promise to never lock the truck at the dog park ever again! There is nothing valuable inside and who wants to steal a 10 year old small pickup anyway?

I finally decided to go ahead and buy a laptop. Besides wanting to continue writing here in the coming three weeks while I am traveling, I don't want to spend an entire day reading the emails I have missed. Plus, I get occasional sales through my website and I am proud of providing a quick turn-around time on those orders. I wouldn't want an order to languish because I'm away from home with no internet access. I bought a used iBook from an eBay shop called applecoreparts. I mention their name specifically because they were Great to work with. I contacted them about being able to get an item up for bid in time before I left next week. They got back to me immediately and posted an identical item as "buy it now." I paid for the item around 2pm and the technician installed an AirPort card and got it shipped by 4pm!! Awesome service, in my opinion! There is even a chance that it will be delivered today. A new toy! I'm so excited!

Well, gotta run now. It is time to head back to the art show....

11 July 2008

Back to the Show Season

I did not have a show last weekend, so even though I continued to work, it felt like a little vacation. I even had time to update the "necklaces" page of my website! Half of the pieces shown there were sold at shows, and I had not taken them off the site. I really need to be diligent about updating the site more often. Now I need to finish working on that page and then tackle the "earrings" page, which I haven't been happy with for a while. Some of those pieces are gone, plus I have a lot of work that is not shown on the website that should be there. I swear running the business takes more time than actually making jewelry!

This morning I will finish packing the truck, drop off Morgan at the kennel, and then drive to Brookings, South Dakota for the Brookings Summer Arts Festival. I did this show last year and not only had good sales, but had a great time as well. The park where the festival is held (Pioneer Park) is beautiful, with many large mature trees and gently curving paths. Last year my booth was situated just behind the "Children's stage," and I anticipated corny kids entertainment, but what I heard were several artists who performed smart, funny songs, and played great music. It was wonderful! I am hoping that I am in the same spot!

07 July 2008

Bulky Viking knit necklace

Earlier this spring I finally made a piece I had been thinking of for quite a while. I have made Viking knit chains in which I strung a strand of seed beads, so that the color of the beads comes through in a subtle fashion. I had a strand of large faceted rondelles of amethyst, citrine, and ametrine which needed just the right project, and I had been wanting to put them into a Viking knit chain, but as I said, the rondelles were LARGE. Up to 1.5cm for the largest. I realized one day that the perfect mandrel for this project was a cut up pool cue that I use for making Turk's head rings (learned from Loren Damewood). First I had to choose the size I wanted to make the chain on the graduated pool cue. As you can see, this meant starting the chain in the middle of one of my pieces of pool cue. Very tricky!! The other photos show the work as it progresses, and the final necklace. I have to say that after all that work I am somewhat disappointed in the result. It did not occur to me (why not??) that the gemstones were not dark enough to show through the way I envisioned. The result is interesting, but a little TOO subtle. I am not sure what I am going to do with this piece yet.

FYI: The Viking knit chain is woven with 60 feet of 26 gauge Argentium silver, and took an elapsed time of 4.5 hours spread out over 5 days. The gemstones are strung on Accu-flex beading wire.

Actually, now that I am looking a bit more impassively at the photo, the colors come through just fine and I like the effect. Just goes to show that your expectations can affect your perceptions!

06 July 2008

Announcing the "Sale of the Fortnight"

I have been thinking about this for a while, and have finally decided to try having a "Sale of the Fortnight" on my website. I will choose something new every two weeks (that's a fortnight) to place "on sale" at the lowest price I'll ever offer. I already have the next several offerings planned and photographed. I will announce the newest offering here, but you could always go directly to the website to see what's on sale. Some items will be "one of a kind" while others can be duplicated.

I got the idea for this from my days in the Geology Department at Carleton College. One of the display cases held a "Map of the Fortnight," which changed about every two weeks (people get busy, you know). I always thought it was cool to check out the new map, plus the whole phrase has a neat rhythm to it.

The first item I am offering are a pair of my Viking knit bead cap earrings, made with Argentium silver and AAA faceted Amethyst pear-shaped briolettes. You can purchase these dainty beauties for $30, including shipping!

Be sure to check back regularly to find out what is being offered!

05 July 2008

My pets are being cute

It sure looks like Morgan is lying close to Coraline on purpose, but I know better. She is just waiting for me to get off the computer so I can take her to the dog park! Which I eventually did.

Playing with the Soumak weave

I have come across several examples of the Soumak weave (a tapestry weaving technique) applied to fine wire, most notably by Barbara Berk. I love the patterns formed and tried it, first with some simple earrings and then with a bangle bracelet. The bracelet took several hours spread out over three days, since there is only just so much hand-coiling the hands can withstand at any one time! I began work on a large neckwire to match, but ran out of steam/time to work on it mid-way through. I'll probably finish it some time in September and will post a photo then.

04 July 2008

Keep it Simple...

Sometimes it pays to keep things simple. I keep a sketchbook around and will draw specific ideas, and sometimes just doodles of shapes. Earlier this spring I was having a slow Sunday at an indoor craft show and was bored with the work I had brought, so I opened up my sketchbook to look through ideas I had sketched months ago, and I found a page full of simple spirals. Hey, why not?! So I made some earrings and I loved them! They are super lightweight and cute, plus they dance nicely (especially when actually dancing!). I made a few more, each one slightly different than the last. Turns out that these ultra simple shapes are popular and I continually sell out of these earrings. Fortunately, I am finding them fun to make. Of course, it is not in my nature to just leave the design, such as it is, alone, and have begun to explore new uses of this simple spiral, such as the three pendants shown. The bail is a fused ring of Argentium silver.

I have a sketch incorporating spiral links and viking knitting; I am just waiting to have some more "free" time to fully explore new ideas. This probably will not occur until September as my weekends are full of shows until then