This blog is intended to document my journey into the world of handmade artisan lampwork beads.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

I know (as my son in South Korea reminded me) that I have been absent for the last two months. In my defense, a lot has been going on, mostly positive. I have been very busy with jewelry commitments. I decided to participate in the Sheltowee Art Fair in early November. I did horrible last year, but have learned a lot since then and decided to give it another go. Well, it went much better and gave me a renewed sense of purpose and confidence. Thanks to all that visited me there.

First we bit the bullet and bought a tent. I do think it made a difference.We also added more lighting. I Think we may even add some more, made a big difference. I Think we may also add one more banner with some more color.

This is a two day show (Saturday and Sunday) Danny helped me set up on Friday and sell on Saturday. We were fairly busy on Saturday so I thought Sunday would be calmer. Wrong, and I gave Danny a break and he just came to help me tear down. I was extremely busy and felt like I could not devote enough time to everyone that stopped. One big surprise was my zipper pulls they really sold well. Everyone was wanting them for stocking stuffers. There were not as many artists as usual at this event which was a little disappointing, hopefully next year artists will come back, the more the merrier. Here are a few pieces that I made for this show:

After that show was over the marathon began. The local guild, Mountain Heritage Artisans, had a awesome opportunity to open a holiday shop in downtown London. We were offered a building that needed a whole lot of work. Everyone pitched in and we were down to the last few days and the roof litterly fell in with a hard rain. We moved everything and started over down a block. Actually some things happen for a reason, this ended up a better location. This venture took a lot of my time but was well worth it. We were open every Friday and Saturday in December through Christmas Eve. This venture netted several custom orders and I loved the challenge. I got to demonstrate on one Saturday for 3 hours and loved it. With this exposure I was asked to make some custom pieces and I love custom orders. They usually force me to think outside of my comfort zone and that can lead to some new discoveries. Some of the custom work that people wanted for Christmas were:
This is a pile of beads before etching and prior to assembly. I absolutely loved them unetched and even etched.

I was so pleased how these turned out. I hope the the individuals that received them as gifts were as pleased.

I wish to thank all of my family and friends for their support in this endeavor, I could not do it with out all of you and I am enjoying every busy minute.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Ghosts

Halloween is my nother daughter 's favorite holiday. Last year I made her this bracelet and she would not even give it back to me to adjust the size until this year and then really didn't want to. So while I had it in my possession I took this picture. This year she helped me figure out my new phone, so I made her some ghost earrings to match. I was pretty pleased with both so I made myself a very similar bracelet and earrings. Of course I will only get to wear them a couple of times before it is time to put them away until next year.

I know it has been awhile since my last post, but that doesn't mean I have not been busy. London, KY's claim to fame is the Chicken festival. I usually avoid it like the plague. Well long story short, I had a booth this year in the Mountain Heritage Artisan Guild's tent. I was not expecting much, since most of the crowd is into blow up machine guns and such. I was pleasantly surprised, my husband was really successful on Saturday and Sunday in the sales department. Thursday and Friday were definitely very slow and miserable. Would I do it again, probably.

Back in the summer at the Gathering I purchased some metal clay powder. I purchased one pkg each Bronze, Brass and Copper. I have just now gotten to play with the first packet. I tried the bronze first, since it supposedly is the most forgiving. It is a long process. Wednesday after work I mixed up the clay and cut my pieces. I put them into the dehydrator until Friday after work. Then I put them in my kiln and did the first firing on a shelf to burn off the binder. Saturday morning, I took them out, they looked like charcoal briquets. I put them in coconut charcoal in a stainless steel pan and back in the kiln they went. They were in the kiln from 9am and were finally finished at 10pm. I opened the kiln and finally got to see them Sunday morning. We still didn't have a product that looked like metal. I put them in a pickle solution for awhile and then into the tumbler with stainless steel shot and water and dish soap. They tumbled all day, and Wa-la, bright shinny metal. I am very pleased and can't wait to try the other two metals.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bead Soup Blog Party Reveal

I am so lucky to have Jenny Vidberg as my Bead Soup Blog Partner. I sent and received beads from Sweden, how cool is that? Jenny and I both sent beads in a similar color palette with copper findings. How weird is that? We both work in the school system, and took on this challenge during a very busy time at work. But I would not have missed it for the world, hope Jenny feels the same.
This is what I sent to Sweden. A lampwork focal and matching spacers made by me and some copper accent beads and a copper toggle clasp.Jenny sent to me an amazing group of beads. It was very easy for me to come up with several design ideas. Since this necklace is going to be for me, I chose a design that I will wear often. I made the necklace on the long side, which makes it hard to get it all in the picture. The focal is a clay piece with a subtle wing design. It has a smokey color and the aqua as accent colors with a center of white. I added a few copper bicones as spacers and a copper bail for the focal. I have enough beads left over to try and design a pair of earrings to match. I am so excited to be able to wear this piece. I envision a white turtleneck or blouse and black slacks and maybe an aqua cardigan sweater.Can't wait to see what Jenny designs with the beads I sent her. Please visit her blog Shyme Design and see what she presents. Unfortunately I will be away from my computer this weekend. I am going to try to visit from my new fancy phone.

This is the biggest Bead Soup Blog Party yet and won't be this big ever again according to the hostess Lori Anderson. There are 362 participants from 5 continents and 21 countries. Almost all of the 50 states are also represented. You can visit the official Bead Soup Blog Party page with this link http://lorianderson-beadsoupblogparty.blogspot.com/, or you can visit from the list below:

These are the partner pairs.

The Hostess, Lori Anderson and her partner, Manuela Wutschke

19. Anna Sabina­­­­ and Erin Siegel

For a total of 362 people making jewelry!