Pretty Patinas

Every time I open the boxes where metal patinas are forming on the pieces of brass and copper, it is like Christmas. You never know exactly how they will turn out, and its a lot of fun to be surprised by beauty. I cut the metal up and ground down the edges and gave everything a coat of Renaissance Wax to seal the finish. I cut up pieces to make bracelets, pendants and earrings.

As soon as we finish the details like putting in holes I’ll be selling some as jewelry making components and making some up to sell in galleries, online, and at shows like the upcoming Laramie Holiday Market on Saturday  9-4 November 30th at the University of WY Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts.

I’ll be there with Camille Rendal and Shelley Leonard, local Laramie artists themselves. We’ll have earrings pendants and bracelets, belt buckles, handwoven scarves, and more!

Camille and I are also starting an online store using the shopify platform. We are presenting art we make and also our art printed onto a variety of clothing, accessories and household decor. We’ve just started things going and will have a Grand Opening later this month. I’m creating new POD designs and uploading new products to the store every day. Check back often to see what’s new!

 

Playing Dress-Up With PODs

Well this certainly is fun! I took a 3 Inch by 6 inch piece of metal (seen at right) and painted it with alcohol ink and gave it several coats of Rustoleum Varathane, Then did the back of the metal with a design in a simpler but co-orrdinating color design. After that I took pictures, and now I can use the pictures to create POD (Print On Demand) products. Right now you can buy through their website, but I am in the process of putting my  own store together with Shopify.

The original art is seen at right. Below in the gallery are the pieces and the POD items

These particular items, a scarf, yoga leggings, a draped kimono, tote bag and zipper carry call are all from Art For Where in Montreal Canada.

They mill their own fabric, print it, cut and sew and drop ship the orders. Then I cut up the metal, ground down the edges, and got the pieces ready to make into jewelry!

 

 

 

PODs and Pixels

I have been researching different POD companies this year. Pixels is one of many I’ve tried, and it is one of three that I’ve chosen to keep up. I like many things about Pixels, including the ability to edit all items with a single design on that at once, the ability to put an interface through an ipage right onto my website storefront, the ability to create printable catalog pages…I’m still exploring all the options. The shop that you put together on their site is very attractive, easy to work with, and so is the product design setup. The are the company that does all the printing for Fine Art America, used by many galleries and artists.

One of the few things not in its favor is that It does not play with woocommerce, a popular marketing platform used with websites, particularly wordpress based websites. It interfaces beautifully with Shopify using one of the free apps available with an account–but Shopify comes with a monthly price tag over $25, and that is money I’d rather spend on art supplies. WordPress, Woocommerce and Pixels are free to use. Pixels has a store aspect for me right on their site, and I can import it to my store front. Pixels supplies code for widgets that can be placed to have small or large slideshows of designs available. Shoppers are taken to the Pixels site and can purchase and checkout there. They do not check out using my woocommerce interface, so there could be times that items are found through both platforms, and they would need to be purchased in separate transactions. That’s not so hard!

Here’s a link to the breakdown on ecommerce platforms from the Printful site.

I never could start small with a project, so I put together 24 ink on metal designs and applied them to the products here. Pixels offers Mugs, Weekender Totes, Pouches, Portable Battery Chargers, Fleece Blankets, Spiral Notebooks, Yoga Mats, Round Beach Towels, T-Shirts, Phone Cases, Tote Bags, Shower Curtains, Duvet Covers, Throw Pillows, Greeting Cards, and Prints. With each design on each product, that is already a lot of options. In the spirit of investigation, I am also using two other POD companies called Art To Where and Printful  and these both integrate with woocommerce. For them, I have built a storefront page right here. They feature and additional 16 kinds of clothing and accessories with the printed artwork.  I’m still working on applying the designs to the items, but it is coming right along!!

Read more about the POD companies I am researching and ways that I am selling  here.

I like them all quite a bit, and have several more collections of digitized photos, drawings, and shibori fabrics. Then I look forward to playing with the designs in Adobe Illustrator and coming up with even more.

 

Major Metal!

We’ve been spending the past few months digging in with creative endeavors here in our new place. We’re producing new art, music, writing, and also preparing for winter. (We’ve already had snow three times!) I’ve been putting major efforts into metal work that has been languishing unfinished or unsorted for a while. I had a pile of etched metal and metal with beautiful patinas as well as decorative ways with inks. Now I have quite a few trays filled with earring parts, pendants, cuff bracelets, and sets. I’m selling components to other jewelry designers and having fun seeing what they do with them.

I’m reaping a bonanza harvest of brass, bronze, nickle silver, copper, tin and aluminum components for making earrings, pendants and charms. I’m selling on Facebook groups and also wholesale to stores. Plus, when the winter days keep me indoors, I’ll have plenty to choose from when making jewelry.

 

 

New Ways in the West

I love the vivid colors and fun effects that are obtainable with alcohol inks on metal. For my first art experiments in my new home state of Wyoming, I got all my inks and my embossing powders out for several days of summertime fun! I’ve wanted to see how the inks and powders held up to cutting and filing for some time, but life in Colorado and then moving kept nudging project days to the side. But here in my new studio spaces (I have several now–indoor, outdoor, and a shed, all  with power and lights!!) I’m finding it much easier to get some art time.

My experiments started with cutting up some 30 gauge aluminum and getting it cleaned up and ready for the inks. After having lots of fun with color, all the pieces were carefully heated to help further set the inks permanently, and then sprayed with two coats of polyurethane.

After that, I cut up the pieces, making  2″x4″ rectangle pieces for my embossing experiments, and 4″x4″ squares, and a larger piece that will get played with later and cut up to make decorative parts for boxes, mobiles, and jewelry. Some for now, some for another time! I want to do some that incorporate other elements too, like metal leaf.

In the course of our recent move, I got to see all my art supplies, and now they are out where I can see them all the time, motivating me to actually use them. While accumulating tools and supplies is a lot of fun itself, I’ve pared down to the ones I want to use, and it is very satisfying to use them. I love seeing how the different things go together.

Once I have the prepared metal pieces, I like to cut them up further and make things like jewelry components or inserts for decorative boxes. For jewelry use, I use a large metal shear to cut straight across, disc cutters to make circles, and metal shears to cut more complex shapes. In order to easily duplicate shapes, I made myself some laser cut templates of shapes that I like. I used a Open Source program called Inkscape to create my shapes and then used them with the laser cutter at Tinkermill, the makerspace in Longmont Colorado. Makerspaces are great hubs of creativity, and I hope to see more of them established.

Here are the templates I cut, with all sorts of shapes, flowers, leaves, and more. I use them in metal, paper and textile work a lot. The set on the right is particularly useful for making earring pairs and pendants or pins. Now I have a lot of different pieces and can try a variety of different things. I love the freedom to experiment and play with colors and textures. Sometimes I go too far, but I always learn things that inform more pleasing work later.

I cut out shapes and then smooth the edges with a habilis 00 file, some sanding, and then I can pierce holes with the Euro Tool punch, glue pieces to leather or other backings, or embed the pieces in polymer clay to be cured. (Pieces with embossing powder cannot be heat cured–embossing must be done after the baking step.)

The next step for me is to make some finished jewelry, and I’ll be doing that this week; from where I am sitting now I can see just the right beads to make these all up. Check back soon to see how they look when finished, and please do view the results of my ink and embossing experiments as well as other work.

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