Crown Classes and More in 2020

I wasn’t born a Crowned Head of anywhere or in any line to be one. I don’t really think I’d want to be Royalty, either—but I do like crowns! A good crown can improve the mood or  accessorize that power suit.

I’ll be teaching in the upcoming year 2020, including a class making wire and beads crowns at Bead Cache in Ft. Collins,  Colorado! Here’s one design sample made with brass wire, and a selection of ruby red glass beads along with sparkling bronze glass crystals and golden metal accent beads.

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New Ink On Metal!

I’ve got new metal and more to show and sell at a 24 hour event in the One Sweet Bead Market on Facebook, coming right up on Tuesday, August 20th. This is a great group, and one of three I sell through on Facebook. I’ve closed my Etsy store, and opened my own shop here at Creative Connections. I’ll be putting new work up in sales on Facebook, and then stocking the digital shelves here in my shop!

Complete Greens

In my previous post, I showed the components and green, pearl and ivory beads I picked out for putting together a necklace and earring set or two. I got them made up, and its time to show them off! The first necklace is a chain of beads that are in a harmonious color grouping–a great way to use up beads that are not enough for an entire necklace by themselves. I like the collector’s mode best anyway–a few of these, one or two of those…

The second image shows the etched brass pendant and earring set  made up into a set with some hand dyed sari sil ribbon and a hand-formed bronze wire hook and eye clasp. I also wire wrapped a ceramic face with some bronze wire and a bit of the silk fiber fluff–now it is a pendant just waiting for a ribbon or chain.

The third image shows another necklace, made with etched brass using images of vintage foreign stamps. this one also has a hook and eye clasp–very sturdy and easy to make. All these lovely cool greens were fun to bring together. Now I think I will move on to some blues!

Chain Reaction

I’ve been packaging up the etched and patina metal sets from the most recent batch, and they turned out so well that I had to keep a few things for myself. Electrically etched versions of vintage foreign postage stamps in green, and a lovely brass set in a Renaissance design caught me, and I set them aside for a bit of beading fun. I already had a lunch tray with beads in that soft green, and one in ivories and pearls. When you work in colors you like, things go together, and there are often leftovers from projects. Two or three beads are enough to become part of a brand new design, and a color coordinated display.

I like taking an eclectic group of beads and seeing how they can dance together—that’s more fun for me than one kind of bead repeatedly strung in a row. I’m using metal, polymer clay, shell, glass and crystal, rocks and pearls. Chain lengths made with wire segments are a great way to use up a lot of beads in small groupings. I am using 22ga bronze wire to make this necklace, which will feature an etched central pendant piece with fringe—eventually! I think the stamps will be another necklace, or maybe a charm bracelet…

Of course, there needs to be a pair of earrings; since I started with one of my 3 piece metal earring pendant sets, that makes it easy to get that going too! This project is coming together a little at a time, as I take breaks from the work of the week. Gotta have those creativity breaks, especially when it is hot outside and the computer needs a rest.

Electrical Etching

We’ve been very busy indeed, getting a big new batch of electro-etched metals finished, putting inks or patinas on aluminum, brass, bronze, copper and nickel silver. Now that warm weather is here, we are gearing up to do more textiles, more polymer clay…and work in the digital world continues too. I’m putting my online shop together here at Creative Connections, and filling it up with jewelry, components, kits and more. I also have a page for my POD (print on demand) artwork on  wearable items and accessories as well as home decor. I put up more items in the shop here every day, and will continue in and around the other projects—gotta make ’em before you can show ’em off!

I’ve started making bracelets out of a thicker gauge of metal, and the results are lovely. 22ga for bracelets and 24-26 gauge for earrings and pendants works out very nicely with a better heft to the bracelets and less weight for ears. I’ll be adding bracelets and more to the shop next week–do please stop back and see.

Components Coming Right Up!

We’ve been busy at my house all winter long, learning new things, writing, making music, making art…and while I’m ready for the Spring thaws and starting a garden, there is still a bit of winter left here in Wyoming. So we distract ourselves from the cold with old movies, fresh hot homemade donuts and lots of creative pursuits. I’ll be making the results available in upcoming 24 hour events in the One Sweet Bead Market Facebook group February 25 and March 25.  While it is still cold outside, Come Get ‘Em While They’re Hot!

 

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.