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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Metal Clay Follow-Up


Yeah, I know they’re new and all, but there are enough people who’ve joined ArtFire to warrant ArtFire having enough hired personnel to deal with some of the consistently annoying issues on the site.

I can’t begin to list the things still being complained about by those of us trying to use the site that have NOT been dealt with. What a huge disappointment they are turning into.

BTW, this has nothing to do with my success or non-success in selling there. I’m talking about annoying things that have been mentioned to the ArtFire admins time and again that are not being taken care of. It makes me not want to list any more products there until they get their act together… but I’ve been waiting months and it’s still not happening. So sad.

I hear that it’s even worse if you try to use the site as a buyer. Ugh!


Last night, after I posted my blog, I had one of those lightning bolt moments. During class Friday, when I was showing my “Orient Express” bracelet (so named because it’s a “mystery” to me what the Chinese characters stand for) around and Hadar had asked me if I’d done anything different that might account for the colorful patina. I thought back, and nope, nothing different. Even quite the opposite of what one might expect, as I didn’t even take the pieces out while they were hot… after both phases, I let the kiln cool down all the way naturally.

But then just before going to bed I remembered… I remember that icky moment I’d had with the kiln. During phase two, I was trying to look at the numbers on the digital read-out, y’know, see where I was progress-wise. During the day, if the sun is on this side of the building, you just can’t see an LED readout. I thought my kiln had stopped. So I began to push buttons. By the time I’d figured out that it was just the LED readout and not the kiln itself, several minutes had passed and I don’t even know if when I got it back going again with its program if it was starting the cycle over or picking up where it left off or picking up where it left off but ramping up fast to catch back up to wherever it was before I started messing with it. Argh!

And I think what a shame it is that I don’t remember exactly WHEN this happened (as in, what exact moment of phase two) and/or exactly what I did at that time. I’d love to replicate it if that’s what produced my colorful patinas.

So I wake up this morning and I’m laying in bed thinking, “It’s your birthday, you really should get up and do something.” And then I remember I have a kiln full of stuff to check out. Oh yeah, baby, THAT gets me out of bed.

Here’s the goods, straight out of the kiln.

Apparently it wasn’t my mistake from earlier that gave me the patina. Yay!

BTW, that black stuff is just charcoal powder. After the pieces sat for a second (and after I took the picture), I turned the pieces upsidedown and all the black stuff came off.


I don’t like being asked what my favorite (of anything) is. I don’t have a favorite color, meal, movie or book. First of all, I have many “things” that I like in any given category, and secondly my likes and dislikes change.

Okay, that was no big deal. But I just wanted to get it off my chest.


mclainjewelry: It was great to see your finished pieces in the bronze and the pot and the kiln. I love the raku look of the finished product. I don't think I will venture there, though ... so much schtuffz going on with charcoal and containers, etc! I think the bead mandala is fantastic!

Thanks, Cathleen! Y’know, I actually allowed myself to be intimidated by clay for years based on a comment from a lampworker about how difficult a medium it was to work in. I mean, I figured, heck if LAMPWORKERS think it’s hard, what chance would I ever have? Ha ha ha!

But it’s funny, because it’s the list of “things” that keeps me from soldering projects. The pickling and the flux and the polishing (not in that order). I need projects that I can do here and there, in bits in pieces. If I have to get a whole “set-up” going, well that just doesn’t work. I rarely (if ever) have a full day to spend doing something.

Meh, I’m sure those are all just excuses on my part.

Anyway, I agree, Alex’s bead mandala is fab! I hope she does more. If she put them on notecards, I’d buy them in a heartbeat. Maybe I can talk her into a partnership deal.

Alex: Laser cutters aren't generally available to the common man, unless the man has mega-bucks. It might have been cut with a plasma cutter, still spendy but the common man (with a few bucks) can get one. My guess is it was a purchased component... And cool bracelets!

Hm… plasma cutter. Y’know, my first thought was also “purchased component”, but after looking at the profile and other items for sale, I really got the impression this was a bonafide metalsmith person. I’m gonna have to go back into my history for that day and have another look. Hee hee.

And thanks for the compliment on the bracelets. 99.9% of the credit, however, goes to the glass artist (as in most cases with my jewelry). I hate to think I’ll be making less and less jewelry in the future out of Lampwork, but I just can’t put the prices as high as the pieces deserve and I feel it’s so disrespectful to both me and the lampworkers if my pieces (using their work) sell for huge discount prices (as in, materials cost or less… ugh).

There was a post in the LE bathroom yesterday where a lampworker showed a matching pair of beads and asked for comments as to her idea on price ($30). The general consensus was that her price was spot on. The beads were really nice and I agreed that the price was spot on. The problem with a jewelry maker, though, is that if I buy those beads and make earrings out of them, it’s unlikely I’d make a profit and I’d most likely take a loss when selling them. Why? Maybe it’s me… maybe it’s where I sell. Perhaps in a Beverly Hills boutique or given the right artist’s name, those earrings could easily bring a profit to the maker, but I don’t sell in Beverly Hills boutiques nor do I have a name that commands such prices.

So although I TOTALLY feel the lampworkers’ prices are fair to them as artists, I can no longer buy any Lampwork beads because it’s not a feasible component option for me as a jewelry maker.

mclainjewelry: Laura, I totally missed why you are going to Hanover (Dartmouth) Is Gabe gonna go to school there? You know I am just over 2 hours from Boston .. if he does end up going there on one of your trips East, please consider flying into Bradley (Hartford) and visiting me (15 min from airport.. I can pick you p) then driving north to Hanover (only adds maybe an hour to your journey and hey you can visit my mess and my kitties!!)

About the laser cutting ... Google : laser cut metal and you will see many links including Youtube videos. At its best there are some cool intricate results... but usually it is just used for kitsch.

Thank you so much for buying my pin... I have spent 400 dollars for car repairs in the last week (there goes my rent) so it REALLY REALLY REALLY helps! Now .. the other day you were pondering on how to maximize your Etsy ... um um the way to make money on Etsy is to hang in there and NOT spend all your profits *snark*... but thanks so much anyhooooo.

I feel sad when I see empty shops on Etsy or elsewhere... people do give up a bit too easily. I have had sales come out of the blue so I just keep on listing. I just finished a big batch of pins, so my photographing extravaganza is about to begin, then I will list. I also have a craft fair in RL 3 weeks from tomorrow and saturday. Hope the weather cooperates, that is all I ask.

Thanks again.

Ha! Cathleen, I don’t expect people to keep up with my ramblings. I’m going to Dartmouth in July with Gabe because he has a goalie camp there. I wish I’d known ahead of time about Hartford. I really didn’t have any preferences as to airports, once I realized there weren’t any big, convenient ones. Ha ha ha! I would have loved to see you!

Okay, I will google laser cut metal and have a look. Apparently I’m intrigued enough. :-)

Sorry to hear about your car repairs. I was just thinking that since mine is over the 80,000 mile mark I’d better stash some cash… y’know, just in case.

And no, I’m not giving up yet. Heck, I’ve been with Etsy practically since it began, why would I give up now? Ha ha ha! But now that I’m settled in, finally, after the move, I am making more items and trying to keep the listings going.

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1 comment:

  1. Well Boston airport and highways are a nightmare ... so I KNOW you will consider Hartford if you ever fly east again. The airport is manageable and the highways are much sweeter than Boston ... the airport is on route 91 and you go due north to either NH or VT.

    Just an aside. Somewhere along the way you may have picked up that my parents were much older when I was born. My mom was 43... but long ago and far away when she was a young thing, she trained to be a nurse at what was then Mary Hitchcock Memorial hospital.. now part of Dartmouth hospital. She dated dashing young men (her words) who were Dartmouth students. She used to tell me about wintertime dates where the snow was so bad (mind you this is the 20's) that her date picked her up in horse driven sleigh!

    My mom has been gone over 20 years now and one of my regrets is that I did not sit down with at least a tape recorder and save all of her amazing stories about the first half of the last millenium.

    Anyhoo that's my Dartmouth story... and PLEASE if you have any excuse to come east again... email me!