Thursday, July 16, 2015

Experimenting with Acrylics

I've branched out into painting abstracts with acrylics.  I love their forgiving nature.  If you don't like what you've done, you just paint over it!

In this abstract "Mixed Plates"
I actually painted over another painting I didn't like.  This painting is a finger painting and in my new experience was a pleasure to do.  As I smoothed the paint around with my fingers I could feel traces of the other painting underneath.  Here and there I took advantage of those different textures I felt and lightly traced my fingers through the paint like you would a pencil over paper with a penny below.  The results were some really cool images of lines and squiggles from the previous painting.

You could take advantage of these "ghost" images by strategically placing them ahead of time on your blank canvas.  Create raised ridges, shapes, of your choosing using ordinary acrylic paint.  Apply with a brush or finger.  Let dry.  Let the new paint catch hold of these raised areas you created to make really cool textures, shadows and interesting depth to your new painting.

I didn't have to pay extra money for any mediums to experiment this way.  Since I am a beginner I choose the least expensive acrylics in the store.  I only used high gloss medium to protect my final work.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Never Get Caught with Your Fly Down Again.

My boyfriend and I went on a vacation to Philadelphia last year and found ourselves wandering around South Street half of our visit!

South Street is an amazing area full of all kinds of shops, restaurants and ART WORK! Everywhere you go is a feast for the eyes. There are sculptures along the buildings and amazing signs. Some of the advertising is done in the coolest graffiti I've ever seen. The people are very interesting, dressing with attention even to the smallest details. You just want to take pictures of everything!
Fly Open!
This picture was taken outside of a delicious Mexican restaurant called Las Bugambilias. It's a great place to eat fish tacos and drink Margaritas and has this really fun metal sculpture. I almost published it on Facebook. I didn't notice my zipper was down!
I've been using Paint.Net for a lot of photo editing but I never dreamed of closing my fly with it. I've used it more for sizing, cropping and correcting color. I am new to photo editing as far as correcting something like this.

If you click on the first picture and then the second, you can see the jeans zip up!

Fly Closed!
I "zipped" my jeans back up by first enlarging the picture. You have to see the blending up close so it won't look like a patch. Use the tool called rectangle select. I selected long thin vertical areas on my jeans that went with the grain and texture of the fabric. I used the copy and paste feature next. You make the selection with the rectangle by dragging it around how you want it. Then you press copy, then press paste. When you do this it makes a moving marquis around your selection. Move your selected fabric patch to where you want it. Then press the paste button again. You can keep selecting your same patch and keep patching. I like it because you can resize your patch without reselecting it over and over. The only time you need to reselect it over is when you want a new patch. To escape from your selected patch press escape. Then pick your rectangle tool and start again. Escape to stop using the tool and press save.

I think my patch job came out ok. I think it's because I had jeans to work with. Next time I'll try to make myself thinner!
Get Paint.NET!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

How to Make a Textured Cuff from a Plain Blank or Sheet Metal

Wide Hammered Brass Cuff Bracelet
I made this pretty pounded cuff bracelet from a very plain wide cuff blank and just a hammer, steel block, pliers and with the metal bits and pieces laying around my bead board.

You could make one using your own design of course by using a piece of sheet metal you cut yourself or a metal cuff blank made flat.

I like raw brass or copper because these take a patina but you can use any metal and experiment.

First take cuff blank and flatten it a little by bending it.   Don't flatten using a hammer because you are going to make it cuff shaped again. 

You are going to lay your metal cuff blank on top of your steel block and put pieces of metal between your blank and the block.  These have to be reasonably flat or they will slide around when you start hammering.  You don't want them to slide because you want nice print in the metal and not a distorted one. 
Very Wide Textured Brass Cuff
I used several flat brass heshi beads, washers, and 12 gauge brass wire twisted into the shapes I wanted.  You place your little metal objects one piece at a time under the bracelet blank on the side that will face outward when you finally bend it back into a bracelet, and hold the blank firm and still while you hammer directly on top of your little metal thing. 

You want to hit hard enough to see a dent make a raised form on the place you are hitting the hammer.  That's how you know you hit hard enough.  Move your pieces around and check your impressions as you go so you can see what you like.  Experiment with very hard hits and some softer ones.  You can use pennies and other small coins.  Hardware like little flat nuts or the heads snipped from screws would look good too.  Don't use anything that will shatter.  Don't use rocks, glass or gemstones.  Use protective eye wear and keep your fingers away from the sharp edges of your sheet metal.

Don't try too hard to make a definite design.  Plan you design with flexibility because since you are doing this by hand the pieces slip a little sometimes and the dents are not perfect.  My design looks a little like curling vines and I am sure my next cuff will look very different.

When you are finished with your design turn the blank over and add dents, shapes or texture  by hitting it directly on the good side.  You could add scratches with a nail or your dremel tool if you want. 

Wide Brass Cuff
 Finish the bracelet by bending it back into a cuff again with your hands.  I like to bend the edges on mine with a pair of pliers but you leave yours flat or use what ever method you want to finish the edges.  I pound the edges to thicken them and also to work harden the shape of the cuff.

The edges on my cuff are pounded hundreds of times so they are thicker than when I first started and smoothed with my dremel tool. They don't have that cut feeling.  The cuff is held on the bottom edge on the block while you hit the top edge.  I shape the cuff with my hand and set it on my block in the "c" shape and pound the edges.  This is very very noisy!  It takes a long time and my edges would be thinker a little more if I would have done this longer. 

A lot of work went into this bracelet as well as punishment to the family and neighbors with the pounding noise.
Finally I removed any sharpness with my dremel tool and felt around the edges for any places that might snag. I applied a light patina with liver of sulfur and it was so vivid with color I decided to leave it that way. It's sealed with Renaissance Wax on the inside and out.

This cuff is very wide at 3" and will fit up to a 7" wrist.   I can make a thinner one by special request.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Be Yourself and Be Free!

Carmen Planking!!!
This is a picture of my friend Carmen making her kids say, "MOM!!!"  They were at Tropical Park and she wouldn't get up until they took the picture. 
Her daugher posted it on her Facebook page and my son caught me looking at it several times and called me a picture stalker! 
I couldn't help it.  It makes me giggle every time I look at it.  This is Carmen being totally free and being herself, caught up in the moment, teasing her kids. 
I felt just a little twinge of jealousy that I hadn't let myself feel that way.  I've been just too caught up and I must confess I started to forget a little about having fun.  (I've been a real stick.)
She has really inspired me.  This is how we are supposed to be, enjoying moments, being ourselves and enjoying our friends and family!  She reminds me of how I'm supposed to feel, and that's free - not encoumbered with the weight of the world, worry free and just allowing myself to enjoy the moment with friends and family.  I wanted to share her inspiration with you!  And, may I add, She's doing a perfect plank, too!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ideas Kind of Just Floating Around?

You know, I really believe its OK to have some random ideas if you are stuck and haven't really chosen a direction to go with your work. Get those ideas started even if its just a little here and a little there. You will discover little things along the way about each one. You might want to write them down in a journal or sketch them down.

Don't criticise yourself for working on a few or a lot of ideas all at once. I know we all have been criticized for starting several projects and not finishing them but if they all or some are moving forward in one way or another I don't think anyone should judge! We shouldn't be so hard on ourselves!
When you are experimenting with jewelry ideas you could use recycled wire snippets or base metal jump rings to hold your prototypes together so you don't have to worry about wasted materials should you choose to take your project apart and go another direction.
If you get stuck on an idea go as far as you can with it and stick it away in a plastic bag. Work on something else. You could get working on the new thing and suddenly get a bright idea about the project you are stuck on.

I thought these shoes were kind of cool. I found them above South Street in Philadelphia like someone just threw them up there kind of random over the power lines. In a strange way they sort of look like they belong up there like the art all around them.  We could view them as hopelessly stuck or we can view them as art!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Enlarge Your Photos Before You Publish Them!

How often are you in a hurry when you compose an ad and post your pictures on Etsy?

I know my pictures have much to be desired on my jewelry sites but this is not the angle I am going to discuss today. When I learn to take better pictures that will be another post!

This is about checking your work. I mean check your jewelry for obvious flaws in workmanship like scratches on stones, wires sticking out, mismatched colors, dirt, etc.

I got the idea when I was bringing my jewelry to work and the girls were bringing it to the bathroom. They weren't just trying it on. They were scrutinizing it really up close behind those closed doors!

This is what happens to our work on Etsy. We all publish our pictures so they will be enlarged. Etsy will let you publish a picture that is 1000 x 1000 pixels. That's pretty big! It's about 7 x 7 inches! (abouts) You can see everything! Everything! EVERYTHING!

Sometimes we all get in a hurry. That's why I am bring this up. Enlarging the pictures before and immediately after you post will save your butt from a lost customer, Regretsy, laughter, and out right humiliation or embarrassment!

You are putting yourself in the seat of the customer. You will find those deciding factors that make them buy your jewelry or not!

I clean my vintage jewelry well but I have enlarged pictures only to find that there are hairs stuck in a brooch or earrings. Or gross makeup caked on the side of a rhinestone. Ewwww!

I've made earrings using briolettes only to find a flaw in the front of the glass or the stone. This is my opportunity to remake the earring again and hide the flaw in the back behind the filigree. If I would not have enlarged the picture like the customer would have; I don't think I would have found it. (I constantly change glasses between bifocals and magnifiers.)

If you forgot to tuck in a wire in your wrap this is your chance. Tuck it in and take another picture. If your forgot that little bit of glue, well here's your chance to see it magnified 8 times! Enlarged pictures show all. ALL!!!!

Enclosed you will find another fly in the ointment so to speak. I take my pictures outside sometimes. I don't mind the occasional ant in the picture, those can be funny. I will even get a dragonfly to flirt with my dragonfly brass stampings. Take a look. What do you find?

If you love this little clown brooch he is clean and still available in my shop with several other figural type brooches!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Make Your Own Wire Guards and French Wire

I wanted to show you all an easy way to make your own attractive beading wire protectors that you can do in any type of metal. This picture here is taken with 20 gauge wire as the base wire and 24 gauge wire as the wrapped wire. You can make several wraps of your smaller gauge wire around wire that is at least 20 gauge wire. Use the 20 gauge because you can get your beading wire through the coil when it's done. Use a flat nose pair of pliers to hold the wire in place and use your fingers or another pair of pliers to do the wrapping. I recommend using the second pliers to help you because then you can pull the wraps nice and tight and close. Make the wraps nice and close. Your finished work will look like a tight little spring when you are done. The coil wrapping should be at least 14 mm for your finished piece until you get used to working with it then adjust according to your preference. Trim the excess and slide off the thicker wire. Use just like you would french wire or Accu-Guards. Slide on to your beading wire followed by a crimp and secure the crimp behind the loop you made. See my Dragonfly necklace as an example.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tell a Story to Go with your Work

Mrs. Owl Gets Rose for Honorable Mention
 I think that by letting your work tell a story or telling a story to go with your work captivates your customer audience and keeps them in your shop just a little longer. 

In the case of this articulated Owl necklace "Mrs. Owl Gets Rose for Honorable Mention" I tell a story to go with my work.

Your visitors will enjoy going to your Etsy shop just for the sheer pleasure of the visit, even if they might not purchase anything at that moment, they will love your shop and may at the very least heart your item or shop and come back.  They might also be inclined to visit your other items to see what you wrote in your descriptions.

When customers do searches on Etsy and use the "All Items" feature they might use search terms that are more theme oriented other than just what might be used for the tags and materials. 

"Mrs. Owl", as an example, when searched for under "All Items" brings up several owls with female personalities and cute whimsical features. 

This way of searching can be more helpful than the other ways in the Etsy search pull down menu because the tags are mostly used to describe the basics and get used up really fast. Other searches that my Mrs. Owl comes up in because of the story are "honorable mention" and "pageant".  Who knows maybe she will end up being an award for someone in her exact predicament!

The description that I used not only describes the owl necklace I made but tells a story so the reader knows that this is also a two part story which draws the consumer to possibly look at my sold items to see part one

Monday, September 27, 2010

How to Feature an Etsy Treasury On Your Blog

I've been wanting to post an Etsy Treasury to my Blogger for quite awhile now but couldn't find the way to do it. There is this amazing Etsy Treasury HTML Code Generator I found on Red Row Studio's website.  The instructions are simple.  You just copy and paste the middle part of the Etsy Treasury that is between the two slashes into the form where it says, "Treasury Id", then pick your columns you want to show and the size you want.  Then you hit the Generate Code button!  The code is there for you to copy and paste to your post!

The Etsy artists in this treasury have such beautiful work and I couldn't wait to show you!

'A Look In and Out the Window' by bajunajewelry

Inspired by Nature - A Collection of Lovely Etsy Artist's that Look Both In and Out the Window

Jewelbox Jewels, Facete...

Starry night photo - Am...

Autumn Leaf Necklace. S...

autumn leaves

Tree Locket Oval - Jewe...

Bare Trees 2

Monet Sunflowers art pe...

Sunflowers and water

Shades of Blue Feather ...

Bird in tree bluejay pr...

1 PC Raw Brass Birds on...

Three Crows Photo, Natu...

IRELAND rabbit Coin nec...

Bunny Photograph 8x10 C...

4pc Antiqued 35mm Big R...

Flower photo, purple, w...


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Let Your Creative Juices Flow!

I've been really stuck. My kitchen table slash bench looks like a tornado hit it.

I tried my usual method of touching and feeling my beads, filigrees, stampings and making little piles and moving things around on my bead board.

When you get stuck or blocked or your creative juice gets clogged, sometimes you just need to let go.

Yup, let go! Stop it! Lay it down! Drop it! I said drop it!

Did you drop it?

Now get on with the rest of your life outside your craft world. (That sounds mean.)

Your creative juices just won't flow if you are stuck and you try to force them.

I'm not telling you to give up crafts. I'm just telling you to lay it down. Let go with your vise grip, your choke hold, so you can let yourself live and enjoy yourself and get out of the slump.

Go do something. Go for a walk. Get some fresh air to that brain. Do something nice for a family member. Call your grandmother.

Refuse to even think about the artwork for a while. Don't even look at your stash.

I know this sounds silly but inspiration can come when you least expect it if you let go.

Mine came suddenly while I was in the kitchen making dinner for my family!

My refrigerator is covered with magnets and this one happened to catch my eye from a trip to California.

I got it! I'm inspired by a refrigerator magnet! Mission San Juan Capistrano!

A flood of images comes to mind and the cobwebs are gone!

Beautiful Mission San Juan Capistrano!

Cabbage sized roses, fushia bougainvillea and swallows fill my mind!

Bees buzz and the sun heats my face.

The swallows, high upon the walls, flit back and forth from their nests catching bugs in the garden.

What Divine perfume!

When I sleep, colors fill my room! I know what I'm going to do!

I have all these beautiful brass stampings of swallows and flowers and even a cross with a pretty floral design that I had bought from Jill's store Brass Bouquet.

I joined my pretty brass findings with jump rings and pretty chain Jill calls Ariel and finished it with a small lobster clasp.

I called my pretty necklace Mission San Juan Capistrano!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Make a Pendant From a Briolette

Make a Pendant From a Briolette Experiment with Hammering for Different Effects

I made this pendant with a beautiful big deep ruby red faceted glass briolette but this is just an idea. You pick your own briolette and metals and beads to use. My briolette measures 25mm long and 18mm in diameter.

A bright 5mm dimpled brass bead accents this pendant and pretty filigree bead caps. The accent bead you use will need to have a hole large enough to accommodate 20 gauge wire doubled. The bead caps can't be so big that they stick out past the edges of the briolette. When you bend the wire up they need to lay flat and fit snug. Experiment.

To Create this lovely Deep Red Faceted Glass Briolette Pendant I used 20 gauge wire because this briolette is heavy. You decide what you need. I threaded the side drilled holes with the wire and took the ends of the wire and added vintage style filigree bead caps and made sure they laid flat against the briolette. I then brought the wire ends up through a 5mm dimpled shiny brass bead. The doubled brass wire was made into a sturdy double loop with about a 3mm opening. Tip - When you wrap a double loop try to keep the wires side by side when you make the loops and wraps. Stick the point of the round pliars through the loop to shape it and align the loops. If you carefully lay your wrapped loops on a metal block you can hammer the wraps and the loops to make a faceted look or just leave it plain. Be careful to not hit your accent bead. Twisted wire would look very nice, too.

The pendant hangs from a Hammered Brass 10mm Jump Ring. I took a link from a big 10mm round chain and hammered it to make my jump ring. Hammering really changes the look of jump rings and chain links. Make sure they keep their shape when you hammer them so the ends meet properly. You might have to bend and align.

Monday, March 16, 2009

2009 Art Speaks in Lowes Hotel Miami Beach

The 2009 Art Speaks at the Lowes Hotel on Miami Beach was a fun private event. The idea was pure genius and I hope catches on.
Event planners basically held a conference for a large nationwide company and the Artists were the entertainment afterwards! There were about 400 + people. How cool!
A mixture of Sculptures in many different mediums, Painters, and Jewelry Artists captivated their audience.

Some of these artists were established and had many clientele. What was interesting was the neat mix of the less established artists from the art college and ETSY! We had OUR chance to show our talent, too!

We didn't just display our Art we did demonstrations! THAT was the entertainment appeal for the conference attendees.

Scenes sprang to life with people, plants and animals! Smiles on paintings and people graced the landscapes of the conference room.

Fingers inquisitively poked wet sculptures and the slopes of smooth and rough and pondered taking them home.

Jewelers with precious and semi precious gems and metals pounded, strung, soldered and made little twists here and there with a flick of the wrist and a pair of pliers or wire.

Eyes sparkled with surprise as creations emerged before them.

"How do you do it?" They asked. "I'll show you." We said.
I got to promote ETSY. Some of the artists didn't know that ETSY is so much easier than Ebay to advertise with and is cheaper so the Artist makes a better profit. I passed out many business cards with my ETSY shop

Friday, September 5, 2008

Create a Beautiful Cagework Brooch

This brooch is made with Brass Bouquet's drilled Petuna Filigree, A flat brass filigree, A Big 12mm Copper flower Bead cap, A copper pronged brooch back, 20 guage brass headpin, and a brass bead cap. The cobalt bead is my last one and is over 20 years old. I was in my 20's when I found it in an old man's sewing box when he gave me various buttons and things as a gift.
I joined the main pieces together with the 20 guage headpin and wrapped it very tight in the back. I did a wire wrapped loop in the back and flattened it after I made sure the ensamble was tight. Then placed the flat filigree on the brooch back, then the Petuna filigree (which I bent a little because of the little hump on the back from the headpin loop). I bent the prongs and pinched with flat pliers. :)
Thank you Jill for your wonderful inspiring pieces of filigree!
Kathy Noda - Bajuna Jewelry and Custom Beaded Creations

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Riverside Park Art Show!

My friend and fellow artist Patti Kobelin put together a really nice neighborhood block party at Riverside Park in Ft. Lauderdale. It included an art show from friends and neighbors, ponies, games and prizes and lots of barbecue from the neighbors. The neighborhood grocery stores even donated food and one even a gift basket to give away for a raffle!
I was invited to participate as one of the artists, how cool :).
I learned several things that I feel that will be very important for next time.
1. Be at the show and set up early.
2. Have all unnecessary items off the table! At one point even my lunch was on the table! That's not pretty! I should have had a little lower -of-sight place for such items.
3. Have a plan. Have a look that you want. Have a fast portable orderly way planned out to get set up fast, neatly and not have a scrambled look. (My way of setting up has the scrambled look, I got to the party late because of traffic.) I could have packed my jewelry and supplies better so I wouldn't have been scrambling. I would have looked more professional.
4. Have a plan B!!!!!
I found out about the party about one week in advance. I knew that I wouldn't have much to sell. I mostly had just my Etsy Items plus about 3 other items. I had to have a plan B. This was it. I decided to bring my tools and wire and several beads and components to let people see how to wire wrap a pair of earrings. Children especially love to watch this so be prepared to answer and teach them. Also showing everybody how fun it is to pound a link to flatten it for a different look and flatten wire and roll and make a spiral or scroll it is really interesting to all.
5. Make up your mind that even if you don't sell anything you are going to create a neat experience to all who visit you.
I was supposed to be at the party from 2pm-6pm. I got there at 3 something and it started to rain at 5. I was able to talk to some ladies about some of my items and sell a necklace and a bracelet. These two ladies want to do business again. I feel that because I was friendly and talked about the materials and how nice and relaxing it is to make jewelry that they felt comfortable enough to ask for my email and give me theirs for future projects and sales. A young girl was asking me about the whole business end. I think she may have been a future artist.
Because of the rain the event was cut a little short.
6. Another idea I had was to bring a very inexpensive bag of beads and wire so even the little girls that were there could have something custom made for about $1 - $2.
This whole event was very fun. I discovered the joy of sharing my art and meeting other artists. I also enjoyed sharing with the kids. I made money and was thrilled from my two sales but the joy of being able to share my experience and knowledge whether they bought something or not felt even greater!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Wire Wrap Your Jewelry Securely

Queen Ann's Lace

Queen Ann's Lace is a 20" necklace all hand wrapped with brass wire and each link pounded to give a nice shape.
Featured is a BIG Pink Chalcedony Quartz Drusy Pendant about 4cm x 3cm with a pretty lacy patina brass filigree. The back of the drusy pendant has very light faceting and is very pretty also.
The hand wrapped links include several 8mm Swarovski Crystals in Cantaloupe which is that neat one that changes colors in different lights ie. Sunlight, Neon, Halogen, incandescent from Peach, to Pink, Green, Blue and Clear.
The other beads are 6mm pink rose quartz, frosted green glass, and brass donuts. There are several brass filigree bead caps.
The clasp is a pounded brass swirl and loop.
All the brass is 100% brass it has patina that I buffed off in some places that will darken.
* Notice that the wire wrapping has several wraps on each link. When a piece of jewelry has this type of wrapping instead of just bending the wire closed; there is less risk of it coming open. This takes a lot of time, too. Even if a piece has one good wrap - most of mine has two or three - even one good wrap is very dependable and keeps a piece of jewelry from coming apart. Wire wrapping that has bends to fasten links or to close on stones or charms should be work hardened to make the bend more secure.

More examples of sturdy wire wrapping can be seen in these photo's on Jill's Blog.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Working With Gemstone Chips

When I took the string out of my peridot chips I thought OHHHH NOOOO! This is going to be a long night to try to string any of these to make any thing. So I got an idea. I laid them out on my bead board and turned on two lights. One was next to me and the other across the room to hold up the bead and see the hole! My bead board has inches marked of on it and I could separate everything into two rows for my double stringed Peridot and Citrine necklace. I pushed the peridot chips into the grooves of the bead board. That just made an organized mess! I found it was EASIER to work from the focal Citrine Bead out to the ends of the string. I Just picked up the big peridot chips first and took turns stringing them on the beading wire evenly on either side of the Citrine. I used a clip on the side I wasn't working on. I measured as I strung and only after they were on the string. I made sure they were tight when I measured. I believe this technique made this necklace look quiet nice.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Take Your Time

Research and take your time. You are selling a one of a kind piece of art! Not just a piece of jewelry. Do your homework. What do people like? They like class. They like to make a statement about themselves. They like to show style. They have class. Present yourself as being in the buyers' shoes. Would you buy that? For that much? Is this a good investment? Will it be timeless and be fashionable in years to come? Does it look like it was mass produced or an individual work of art?
This set is called "For the Love of Turquoise" . It won the Brass Bouquet May 08 Jewelry contest! - Thank You Brass Bouquet!