Monday, December 19, 2011

Show News! And help please

First, the big news: I got my acceptance email from Norwescon Dealers' Room Monday! That means I will definitely be there with an abundance of stuff. Now I just need to make some decisions about hotel arrangements and locate an assistant.

 The graduation show went well. There was a decent turnout and some sales. I'll be making more leaf things, as they continue to be very popular.

My Professor's only advice about my display was that I should probably have more color.  I'm inclined to agree, and am looking for ways to incorporate my shade of purple into things.  I'll almost certainly be able to add some in the sign and frame, and there may be a new tablecloth or overlay as well.  The fun part is going to be transferring the aesthetic from an art show display to a dealers' room table.

So I mentioned above that I need some assistance with Norwescon. I need some assistance with Rustycon as well. The job mostly involves covering the booth during lunch and if there ends up being a daytime panel I need to go to, as well as help with setup and breakdown. There's a con badge in it for the person chosen, and likely some meals as well.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

New Technology and Life Before Handbags

Firstly, a reminder for the graduation show:  This Friday, 12/16, Wayward Coffeehouse (SW corner of 65th & Roosevelt, Seattle).  Be there, drink coffee, buy art!

Now on with today's show!

There's a lot of new technology in the studio lately.  We learned about electro-etching a few weeks ago, and I finally got set up for it in the studio.  The first piece is a thing of beauty.

The first etched piece!

Subsequent pieces have been similarly successful.

My instructor has been encouraging us to look at plastics at an alternative material for some time now, and I finally got around to exploring it.  It turns out that acrylic can be made to substitute for a number of natural materials that are difficult, expensive, and/or unethical to obtain, like ivory, ebony, and bone.  You can carve it , dye it, and heat form it.  This is an in-progress shot from the beginnings of a hair-comb I'm carving from black acrylic:


I hand-sketched the knot right on to the backing paper and sawed and filed from there.  It's currently just about ready to be molded (for later resin pouring) and formed.  There will be pics when it's done.

This is another carved piece in ivory acrylic:

carved ivory acrylic

This pic was only just taken, and it has a ways to go yet.  The carvings need to be cleaned up, the whole thing needs some dye, and there may end up being some inlay work.

A lot of my playing with etching and plastics is headed in a particular direction.  This is an antique chatelaine:

BLW Nurse's Chatelaine

Pre-WWI, this was one of the more popular options for women to carry around the things she would need during the day.  The attachments were called accessories, and could often be switched out depending on what was planned for the day.  This one has a pencil, a little notepad called an "aide-memoire" (these frequently had ivory or celluloid pages that would be erased and reused), a compact or pill case, scissors, a container for a thimble or tape measure, and a whistle.  A google image search will show almost limitless options for things to hang on your chatelaine.
I'm working on a couple of these and a bunch of accessories, and how they might be updated with modern materials and accessories.  I already carry a number of things (bus pass, key-cards, a tape measure & a flash drive) on tags and hooks on the outside of my purse despite the fact that the handbag itself is ginormous.  I already have this flash drive and am planning to make more:

The jump to a proper chatelaine is really not a big one.
I figure the modern chatelaine would include a cell case, credit card case, flash drive, change purse, plus whatever tools you need for what you do.  I always have a tape measure, and often need a box knife (they make tiny adorable ones) and a B&S sheet metal gauge.  I'd probably also have a little change-purse-type bag for Carmex and the like.  I'm especially fascinated with the aide-memorie and its reusable pages, since there are some things in the world I can only work out with a pencil.  This is another case of "pics when it's done", which hopefully will be taken Friday afternoon before time to go set up the show.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Shows, Sales, and everything else!

Tine for catching up!  Most immediately, we've got a big sale going on in the Artfire shop.  There's a coupon code for half-off everything in the "clearance sale!" category.  Also there's free shipping on everything right now.  The sale will run till Tuesday.

Other big news:  I'm graduating from my jewelry and metals program this winter!  Part of this process involves having a solo show, and mine will be on Friday, Dec 16th, at Wayward Coffeehouse, at Roosevelt and 65th in Seattle from 6pm to 9pm.  I even have a postcard for it!

All of the pieces featured on this postcard will be at the show along with some other spectacular things.

Speaking of things you haven't seen yet, here's another pendant:

I'm exceptionally pleased with the smoke effect from the double silk ribbon necklace.  I think I'm going to switch everything over to silk cords and ribbons.  At the least it will lend some consistency to my presentation.

Also, speaking of shows, I'm all lined up to be in the Dealers' Room at RustyCon January 20-22, 2012.  I've got my paperwork in for the Dealers' Room at Norwescon, but I don't know yet if I'm going to get a slot.  I should probably snag an art show table to feature some of my really spectacular pieces, just in case.
OryCon was a pretty fun show.  I seriously had the slickest, most professional display of all the 3D artists.

I sold a pendant and a print, and spent an awful lot of time at concerts.  Also, I think some of the northwest convention regulars are starting to recognize me.  :-)
I'm going to be away from home and studio for a couple weeks right after RustyCon for a desperately needed vacation, during which I'll be filling my personal twitter feed with pictures of things like pineapples full of rum.  With any luck I'll come back full of ideas and new solutions to vexing engineering problems.

That's about it for now.  There will be further updates on progress towards the graduation show.  If you're in the Seattle area at the time, feel free to stop in.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Back from Foolscap--Best Con Weekend EVER!

Tiny convention was tiny, and also awesome.  I think there were maybe 120 people there, but the smallness of it was one of the major contributing factors to the awesomeness.  There were generally 3 rooms of programming running at any given time, and only the largest room had the table-in-front setup.  The other 2 rooms had big conference tables, so the panels in there were less like panels and more like discussion groups.  Also, some of the panels were 90 min. instead of 60, which gave us the chance to further explore complex topics.  The size of the con also kept it from becoming impersonal and scary.  There weren't really enough people to break off into separate cliques.  The attendees were also almost all (mostly local) writers/editors/publishers/artists.  I don't think I met one single "just a fan" the whole weekend.   I met a bunch of people and made a bunch of connections and had a great time.  Pretty much everyone at this con walked through the art show at least once, so when I said "I did the enamels in the art show" they knew what I was talking about (this doesn't happen so much at larger conventions).  It's entertaining to think that there are actually people now who know who I am and what I do. :-)
People of note:
I met illustrator Egypt Urnash on Friday night as she was showing off the Tarot deck she just finished designing (Tarot of the Silicon Dawn).  It's a fantastically unique deck full of evocative sci-fi and post-human images.  If you are at all technically or sci-fi oriented, check out this deck.
I met author Nathan Crowder on Saturday in the Real-World Achievement Systems panel.  Afterward, he allowed me to be a bad influence and tempt him off to the hotel bar, where we ran into Folly Blaine, another writer.  We ended up talking about writing and Seattle neighborhoods and creative process until we were all half an hour late to our next panels.  Folly and I ended up going to "Love and/or Money" (about trying to make a living in art/writing), and ended up having an extended conversation about art and writing with Lee Moyer, a fantastic illustrator from Portland.

I also sold a necklace, a pendant, and one of the firebird prints, and when I went to do a final check on sales right before brunch, I found a blue ribbon tacked to my panel for first place in 3D work!

All in all, this is one of the best convention weekends I've *ever* had, and I'm definitely going back next year.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Off to Foolscap for the weekend!

I'll be in lovely Remond, WA all weekend.  There will be pieces in the art show, too.  I'll still be connected to email for questions/comments/etc., but no shipping of anything until next Tuesday.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

More than Fish and Hammocks

Past projects are interesting things.  I keep all my old sketchbooks specifically so I can look at past ideas and see if maybe any of them can help with current problems.  Past projects on the internet are especially interesting, because frequently they never go away, and if they're public, they often stay that way even when you've moved on to something else.

Before I found metal and glass, I was a Fiber Artist.  I still am, a little bit.  I have a spinning wheel tat I turn to in times when I really need to de-stress and think.  I'll probably be a spinner forever.  My other great fibery love was netting.  I learned it in order to make hair nets for costume purposes and then just sort of ran with the idea.  If you've ever been to the main home page, you saw under the Studio link a logo for More Than Fish and Hammocks, my netting web site, that I set up when I realized that while there were a lot of pictures of how to net, there was something of a lack of any really good color-coded illustrations.  The problem with pictures is that people tend to take pictures of their own projects-in-progress and when you're showing rows of interlacing and even simple knots, having all the thread the same color makes it difficult to see what's actually going on.
Sheet bend knot illustration from F&H

So anyway, I put up this instructional site, largely as a precursor to possibly writing a book on the subject, did maintenance, periodically added new info, and then life got crazy and I got distracted, and I ended up mostly abandoning it.  As life went on, and I moved from TX to Seattle I didn't think about it much, but I didn't bother taking the site down.  It's not like the information would go out-of-date.  Maybe twice a year I'd get an email praising the site or asking for more detailed info/advice on something, and I answered politely with the best advice I could give, but I didn't think anything of it.  Flash forward to the last couple of months.  I've got the studio site up, and Analytics installed, tracking how many visitors I have and where they're coming from (not a lot, and generally direct), and it occurs to me to put Analytics on F&H, "just to see."
Apparently F&H has been quietly gathering notice while I wasn't looking, and is now considered a standard internet reference on net-making...particularly the illustrations about how to make the knots.  It's getting 30-50 hits/day, with referrals from all sorts of other places.  The most entertaining thing to me is that while I made it thinking on the scale of lace and hairnets, a lot of my traffic is from fishing and utility-related sites.  Apparently everyone needs good illustrations.

Long story short (I know, too late), past project might be current again, simply because the internet kept it from just going away when I was done.  It won't be a lot, just a couple hours here and there to keep things fresh that might eventually add up to enough to publish in dead tree version.  My main focus will still be metal and glass, but you might end up seeing me work silk in on occasion now, too. :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

claw changes, buttons, prints, and other recent stuff

It's probably about time for me to officially give up on the fiction of regular weekly posts on Sundays.  It's just not gonna happen.  My production schedule is just too variable.

So, anyway, The price structure for the claws has changed a bit with the addition of the painted finish.

the shiny finish has gone up a bit in price, and the brushed has come down.  All the adjustments are to account for the actual amount of work that goes in to the claws.

Buttons have started showing up in the shops, soon to be followed by more prints, and I'm starting to pay a bit more attention over at the Etsy shop again.  I'm going to take a moment to be brutally honest, here:  I don't really like Etsy.  I dislike the pricing structure.  I dislike the way Etsy doesn't want you to admit you might have other online sales channels, and the way the admins are actively hostile toward any kind of negative comment (even when it's about someone  blatantly breaking rules).  I especially dislike that you have to constantly pay to renew listings just to avoid getting kicked to the back of the line in search results.  I like Artfire much more, with the straightforward pricing, the ability to link out to all your other sales channels (including Etsy), and search results that don't involve extortion.  Unfortunately, Etsy is the site that everyone's heard of, so I kind of have to work with it.
That being said, I'm starting to duplicate more of my listings into the Etsy shop.  I'm probably still going to focus my marketing efforts on Artfire, and then also my own site (if I ever manage to get direct sales set up).
Speaking of my main site, there will probably be some tweaks in the coming days, while I try to make things more friendly to more browsers (even browsers I don't like :)  )

That's it for now.  I think next time I might discuss my shady past, and the way it's recently come back to surprise me (in a positive way).

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The other big news...

Is that my Zazzle store has gone live.  It currently includes things with both the "Creature of Fire" firebird and the Kraken shipwreck illustrations.  Watch soon for t-shirts and the like, as well as other illustrations.

Back from the dead

Ok, so I have a confession to make, and an apology to go with it.    I have been known to suffer from the occasional depressive episode.  Sometimes it's triggered by weather, and sometimes by other things.  I have, over the last few weeks, since I returned form Texas, been having the worst episode in years.  The fog started lifting yesterday, and I realized I'd basically been sleepwalking through the last 3 weeks.  I apologize to what readers I may have for dropping off the face of the earth like that.

One of the few things that keeps me getting out of bed in the morning when I'm that far off the cliff is that my world is full of things that need to get done, but I don't particularly want to do when I'm feeling energetic and creative.  So I cleaned and organized both my studio and my office at home.  I hung shelves that had been sitting around in boxes for months.  I unpacked all the art I shipped back from Texas.  I framed and hung much of the art I'd bought over the years that had just been sitting around wrapped up.  I painted a lot of my furniture, so things aren't quite so mismatched. And yesterday, as the gray fog started to dissipate, I made these:

they're 1.5" pin-back buttons of some of my elemental illustration pieces.  I happen to have a button press laying around, and have been meaning to get around to these for at least a year.  Something about the image editing needed to adapt the art to the format, along with the physical work of pressing the buttons made the fog dissipate a little bit faster, and now I'm mostly ok.  Expect the buttons (and buttons of some of my Different Worlds) to start showing up in the ArtFire shop fairly soon.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Short post

The tail end of a 2-week vacation is not really the best time for me to wax philosophical about location and aesthetics.  I'm kind of tired, and need a few days to recover and organize my thoughts.  Instead I'll leave you with a few pictures and some news.  Please note that my phone is the only camera I had with me on this trip.

First, this is my homeland:
from the scenic overlook on 360 south of the river
If you look closely, you can see the Austin skyline out beyond the hills.  My part of Texas is NOT flat.

Next we have pictures of my display in the Apollocon art show, just after setup.  The lighting didn't acutally suck quite as bad as the pictures look.  It required 4 frames to capture it all, from left to right:

As for the news:  I managed to sell 2 pendants and a hair pin, to complete strangers, even.  So if you were thinking about Pacific Rim, or Gas Giant #2, sorry, you missed them.

The next post will probably contain more pictures of my homeland, and possibly a discussion of art & place.

Until then....

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Deep in the Heart...

Posting from Austin, TX.  The vacation has been great.  It's been food, food, food, and margaritas the whole way.  Also "Dark & Stormy #1: the Kraken" has sold, as well as the "copper spirals and pearls" necklace.  Prints of  "Dark & Stormy..." will be available soon, and the piece will still be displayed at ApolloCon.

On a design-related note, someone erected a ginormous USB flash drive in my (Austin's) downtown:
it's the one kind of in the background. they call it "the Austonian"
I thoroughly disapprove.

Next post will be form the end of ApolloCon.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

All my exes...

Ok, not all of them, but a significant few.  Nonetheless I'm in Texas until 6/23, visiting family and friends and attending ApolloCon.  The last couple of weeks have been intensely busy, what with trying to finish things for school, and get everything ready for the Con.
"Dark & Stormy #1: The Kraken"  3.5"X2.5" cloisonne tile

I have 30 pieces that I intend to enter, some of which are previously unseen, and which I'll have to get someone to take pictures of before they get sold.  I've been on a compass rose kick of late, so I have 2 brooches on those lines, with more pieces to come.
"Directions #1" 2.25" cloisonne brooch

 I also spent a significant chunk of change on very nice pearls at the SNAG conference, so expect those to be figuring in more of my work coming up.  So, on that note, I will leave you with some pictures of things in process, some of which are done, and some not..

Just a quick explanation on those last two:  I have new tools!  well, materials, anyway.  acrylic painting enamels, and water-based underglaze paints, so I can do more subtle shading and more painterly patterns.  I'm pretty damned pleased with them.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Apologies for missed posts

The last couple of weeks have just been crazy, and the next few will be more so, but not necessarily in a way that will make me miss posts.  I make it up to you with many pictures.

This is my packaging: cute little tins with stickers on and purple tissue inside

Blessed Sky
"Blessed Sky" pendant.  If you look closely there's a very subtle pentagram worked into it.

Different Worlds: Blue Marble #7 (Pacific Rim)
Blue Marble #7: Pacific Rim.  It's got Australia!

Firebird pendant
What can I say, I like firebirds.

Different Worlds: Sun #2
A larger, pendant version of the sun from "One Sun, Nine Planets..."

Different Worlds: Gas Giant #2
Another Gas Giant type planet

Creature of Air
The final scan of Creature of Air.
Creature of Earth
The final scan of Creature of Earth.

So, yes, I've got the elemental creatures done.  I'm working on my next few things, one of which is titled "Leviathan."  Hopefully there will be more timely pictures of that one.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

There is News!

First, happy Mother's Day to all the biological moms, adoptive moms, house moms, and and other women charged with dealing with the less mature folks (including those less mature folks who are well into their 20s and better).

I got word back that I passed the jury for Foolscap, so I'll definitely be there!

Also, we finally have a Facebook Fan Page!  I'll be adding buttons and whatnot to the blog soon.

I finished "Creature of Earth".  I'm not exceptionally pleased, but it didn't self-destruct, so I'll take it.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The year's quite full show schedule

Considering that the season really started last week with Norwescon, I thought maybe I should outline where I and my work will be making appearances for the rest of the year.

May 17 - June 10:  Seattle, WA:  North Seattle Community College Student Show, NSCC gallery.  The solar system will be there, as well as whatever elemental creatures I have done.
June 24 - 26: Houston, TX:  Apollocon.  Attending, and I've got 2 tables reserved in the Art Show.  There may be a new illustration project or 2 along with the creatures and astronomy.  I'll also likely have prints available for private sale (not in the show, since they don't have a print shop and I'll be displaying all the originals).
August 12 - 14: Spokane, WA:  SpoCon.  Attending and hopefully displaying in the Art Show (haven't heard back about availability yet)
September 16 - 18: Redmond, WA: Foolscap. Attending and hopefully displaying in the Art Show.
November 11 - 13: Portland, OR: OryCon. Attending and hopefully displaying in the Art Show.

That's the schedule so far.It doesn't look like much until you start accounting for all the travel and that I'll likely have 2 tables/panels to fill at each show.  August also includes working GenCon and Pax as a demo person with Sandstorm Productions, a game publishing company that friends of mine are heavily involved with.  Hopefully next year, I'll have enough prints of things to be able to mail them in to shows that I can't attend.  At this point it's all about getting exposure.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Norwescon aftermath

So the bad news is I didn't sell one damned thing.  The good news is that I made a lot of contacts, and handed out a lot of business cards.  The prints of Fire and Water are also now available in my Artfire studio.  I'm putting stuff into the Student Show at school next week, and I expect to have at least one more element done by then.  From here on out, it's about prepping for ApolloCon in Houston at the end of June.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I blame prep work for Norwescon for my forgetting the Sunday night post.  It's been display-building and mat-cutting all week, and I'll probably be late again this week for recovery from the convention.  There's a good chance I'm going to tweet about the goings on on the @nrs_jewelry feed.  See y'all next week with reports on the convention and how the prints of the elemental creature pieces went over!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Success and failure

This is going to be a short post, since I'm writing at stupid-o'clock AM.  Pictures will be added later.  The great giant news is that I picked up the kiln on Friday.  I've been using it all weekend and it's awesome.

In other news, I attempted to re-make the Green Man enamel piece, and this one self-destructed, too, albeit in a completely different manner.  I've taken the hint , and changed the Earth elemental piece to an ouroborous (snake biting it's own tail.  Symbolizes infinity).  It will likely be done in time for Norwescon, but probably not in time for prints.  I've finished Air, as well, but I'm not particularly happy with it.  There are some perspective/proportion issues that make it look funny, and I'm not particularly inclined to show it at all.

Ok, time for bed now.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

engineering for expanding products

So far, I've been doing my enameling in a very on-the-fly manner, and for most of what I've been doing, that's ok.  But now I'm starting to look at *very* heavy use items like cabinet pulls/knobs, functional buttons and closures, and belts (which take a lot of abuse being banged against counters/etc), so I'm looking at ways to reinforce the enamel and especially protect the edges form cracking.  I've tried making the enamels and bezel-setting them, but bezels are time-consuming to get just right.  It looks like I'm going to be putting wire rims on the borders of my pieces now.  It's a couple of extra steps, but nothing like the pain of getting a bezel-set smooth.

Once I get a handle on the enamel, I can get a handle on the mountings, and I'm looking at systems where I can make the enamels and then set them as knobs, brooches, pendants, or whatever.  I've got some ideas, but they definitely still need testing.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Late again, but with good reason.

Right, so, finals at school ate my life, time, energy, and brain.  The worst thing about finals in art classes is that it's not really an exam.  You basically take all the art work you did in class, display it, and stand up in front of the whole class and justify your existence...including your failures.

Epic Fail: Spirit of Earth

This was supposed to be "Spirit of Earth", AKA The Green Man.  It has bubbles, both ruptured and not (the popped ones you can see the base color in), as well as silver wire that has separated from the enamel.  This was mostly my hubris biting me in the ass.  Between the bad engineering decision that resulted in a face full of cracks (It's heavy enough metal that I can wait and counter-enamel at the end!), the physics-lacking jury-rigged solution (If I flip it over and counter it now, all the cracks will melt back together and everything will be ok), and over-firing at the end, the glass melted enough to allow the cloisonné wire to start falling out, and the glass to run down them.  It's a small miracle I didn't seriously damage the school kiln.  The only thing that survived were those totally perfect eyes...mocking me.

In happier news, Water is done:
Spirit of Water

I am pleased, especially with the metallics I got in the darker brown and the water.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Firebird!! Also in today's issue:marketing materials

The "Spirit of Fire" firebird was finished on Wednesday.  It was a royal pain and a learning experience, but it's done.  It took approximately 6 firings

I also have a whole series of pics of most of the process, but I'm still sorting those out.  So, for next week, we'll have process pics, and probably "Spirit of Water" as well.  That one's currently in the "fugly" stage, and I expect to have it done in another day's work.

I'm currently venturing into bookbinding for a school project, and that's been interesting.  My art business class requires us to have 2 portfolio books to show at the end of the quarter (a little more than a week from now), one big fancy book (for meetings with shops, galleries and clients), and one leave-behind book (to leave with those shops, etc. so they'll remember you).  I'm making the big portfolio from scratch, and playing with a couple of ideas for the leave-behind.  Since I'm running with copper, silver, and purple for my main colors it's been interesting to try to get the right balance and not go over the edge into gaudy.  I've got several options for the less-elaborate leave-behind portfolio.  There's the standard black vinyl with permanently bound-in page protectors, the 3-ring binder, the paper or plastic presentation folder with brads, and professional binding (which is expensive).  But, I found, in Office Depot, a form of spiral comb-binding that doesn't require a special machine to work the comb.  I'm thinking to try that in letter and half-letter size, just to see what it looks like. I've also got a few of the standard black variety in case the experiment looks odd or otherwise doesn't work.

Sheesh.  An artist's work is never done.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

elemental creatures

So, the new Big Project is the Elemental Creatures series, which I hope to debut at NorwesCon. It's my first major endeavor in enamel illustration.  I'm nearly done with Fire, have started Water, and have a working sketch for Earth.  Air is still a bit in the planning stage. Hopefully next week I'll have all the pics of "Creature of Fire" ready to show you.  I'm trying to document the whole process, through all the firings, all the exacting work is visible.

I'm also starting to look into project management software; something to help me keep track of my time and stay on top of my production schedule.  I've just done some figuring out of how much I need to sell to be sufficiently profitable, and producing that much may be a challenge.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Conventions and enamel astronomy!

The biggest news this week it that I've confirmed my travel plans and will definitely be at ApolloCon in Houston, TX, June 24-26.

The second-biggest news is that Claws are officially going into production!  I got the samples from my machinist today, and they're awesome and worth every penny.  So, look for copper, brass, and bronze claws available on Etsy and ArtFire soon (probably tomorrow or Wednesday).

The third-biggest news is pics of the solar system buttons.   I've got them displayed nicely on a piece of black velveteen in a shadow box frame with comets and an asteroid belt made of low-grade pearls.  They will be available for sale beginning at the ApolloCon Art Show.  they're each about 1" across, and I think I'm going to ask at least $300 for the set.

3/1 UPDATE:  This piece now has an official name.  It's called "One Sun, Nine Planets, Many Moons, Assorted Rocks"

Whole display with comets and asteroids
One radiant Sun


Earth and Moon together




 And, last, but certainly not least (in my eyes):


 I think that's all the news I have available for the time being.