Monthly Archives: November 2014

What’s in a Name?

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How to you give a name to your business?

A shop name may be the first thing a browsing customer sees at a show or on line and it could either inspire further investigation or a yawn. Your name has to provide a glimpse into your world. I’ve seen shop names that range from amazing and catchy to boring

At the beginning of my career, all of my jewelry was created from the beach glass I collected and so I came up with the clever name of “Barbara’s Beach Glass”. It certainly wasn’t unique, but there was never any confusion as to what I had to offer.

DRIFTWOOD DESIGNS

I settled on this name for a few reasons.

1. Driftwood Designs still describes my beach glass jewelry, but allows me to expand into other areas. My collections could still include all things “beachy”, but include newer collections of metalwork, PMC, enameling and fiber.

2. Driftwood Designs represents a personal connection as well. When I was young, we had a summer home on a lake. It was a manmade lake, created, unfortunately, by cutting massive numbers of mature trees. The ecological impact of that meant nothing to those involved decades ago.

The stumps of the trees floated in the lake and washed up onto the beach as driftwood. Each nigh my sisters and I gathered pieces of the driftwood for a campfire. Every morning, I searched the remains of the fire for charred sticks. I would go down to the beach, perch on a large rock and sketch the lake, trees, and mostly, I sketched the wonderful driftwood stumps. So, the carefree times of sketching driftwood with driftwood has always been one of my fondest memories of my youth.

I hope my shop name has a pleasant connotation; it does to me. More importantly, I hope that some of the jewelry itself, evokes images of summer beach walks.

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Keum Boo Mistakes

On the same day that I took an enameling class at my friend Eva Sherman’s studio in Rocky River, (Painting with Fire), I also took a class in Keum Boo. This is also a technique that I had wanted to learn for a very long time. When this class became available, I signed up instantly.
The class was taught by Debora Mauser, Certified Painting with Fire Instructor, our instructor for the enameling class.

Keum Boo, the art of embedding gold foil into fine silver, is an ancient Korean technique.

The class went very well. The gold embedded beautifully.

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Then came the real test – performing the technique at home.
I already had the beehive kiln, but there wasn’t a flat top. I ordered one.
I ordered sheets of fine silver and a sheet of gold foil.
I had an agate burnisher.

When I had all the necessary supplies, I was ready to go. I choose earrings as my 1st project. I cut 1″ circles and drew a design. The design consisted of 3 pieces, a horizontal piece and 2 vertical pieces. With all pieces of foil cut, I heated the kiln, put the circles on it and proceeded to attach the top horizontal piece of gold foil on each earring. I burnished it without incident. So far, so good. I attached the next piece without incident. I’m doing well. Lastly, I began attaching the 3rd and final piece. I cast a glance at the first parts of my handiwork and noticed something bizarre. The first 4 pieces I attached had faded away and were barely visible. Only the last piece remained bright.

What was going on? I took them from the kiln to a fire brick.

Reviewing class literature, it seems I missed the part “Note: When you’re finished adding gold, remove your piece promptly. At these temperatures, the gold continues to diffuse into the surface”. It’s called Accidental Diffusion. “If left on the kiln, the gold will pale as it continues to diffuse into the surface of the silver”.

So basically, my pieces of gold foil had sunk into the fine silver. I sure learned that lesson well. It won’t happen again. One piece, one piece of gold foil and off the kiln. That’s overdoing it, but I don’t care. I don’t want to lose any more designs.


The Laurel School Show will Go on Without Me

All plans are subject to change. I will be unable to do the Laurel School Show.

I fell 2 weeks ago, landing on my knee, the one with the total knee replacement. It didn’t hurt right away, so I mostly ignored it and began preparing for the show. About 1 week ago, it began to hurt quite a lot. I also felt sort of a “twisting” sensation when I walked. I refused to go to the doctor, fearing I had damaged the implant.

At my husband’s insistence, I finally went on Monday and, good news for me, the implant was fine. I had just fractured my patella. Who is happy when they fracture their patella? Me.

I have to wear an immobilizer that extends from ankle to upper thigh. Walking is quite difficult and tiresome. Consequently, the show will have to go on without me.

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Thank You Rocky River.

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26th Annual Harvest Holiday Craft and Quilt Show.

The show this past Friday and Saturday was very well run. I have been doing shows for about 6 yrs. and this is one of my favorites. This show was especially well organized. The men and women of the Senior Center went out of their way to answer our questions. Everyone was very friendly and provided any support needed. Our booths coordinated well with the quilt show being held simultaneously.

It is strange that I enjoy this show so much as it isn’t anything like others I do. There is a mix of booths. There are definitely some that would be considered crafty. But there were some art booths mixed in, including a lovely man from Chine who does the most amazing paintings. I bought one this year to go with the one I bought 3 yr. ago.

I am also slightly prejudiced toward Rocky River, as we lived here for close to 15 yrs. Our girls went from pre-school through high school in the RR school system. It was an incredible school system, a blue school most of the years the girls were there. They got an outstanding education.

And spending time at the lake? Wonderful.

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Mark your calendars.

For those folks on the east side, as well as those eager to drive to the east side for a high end holiday show, leave some time on December 6-7 for the Laurel School Artisan Bazaar. The address is One Lyman Circle, Shaker Heights. Times are 10:00-5:00, 11:00-4:00.
Hope to see you there. Mention this blog for 20% off.

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Color My Face Red

Time does funny things to our memories.

In my recent blog, Fall is a Perfect Time for a Show-and Rings, I talked about a woman who enjoyed and bought a number of my rings. As my memory played tricks, I called her ‘the middle-aged woman’. I would like to offer my sincere apology. I met her on Friday and her name is Deby. She is young, charming and just the sort of person I would choose to spend time.

I think we talked for about half an hour. Deby is a jeweler herself and we may be getting together to work on some pieces.

Again, Deby, I’m sorry for the ‘middle-aged woman’ comment. It couldn’t be further from the truth.


“Painting with Fire” – Now I Get It!

I have been experimenting with enameling for several months and finally just about nailed doing flat or gently curved surfaces. Using a torch under a tripod, I created some rather lovely pieces. My ultimate goal, however, was to learn to enamel beads. This technique simply eluded me.

I had been reading and studying Barbara Lewis’s book, “Torch-Fired Enamel Jewelry, a Workshop in Painting with Fire”. Her beads, discs and bead caps were magnificent. Her set-up was ingenious, with the anchor piece being something called a bead pulling station. I ordered all of the pieces, but couldn’t create a single bead. I knew it was related to the amount of heat generated by my torch. So frustrated! All of this money invested in a technique I so badly wanted to conquer and I couldn’t.

Imagine how excited I was when a Painted with Fire class was being offered locally by my friend, Eva Sherman, at her studio, Grand River Beads. The day long class was taught by Debora Mauser, a Certified Painting with Fire Instructor. She finally pulled all of the pieces together for me. The first step is to put a bead of your choice-copper, brass, iron-on a mandrel. The bead is heated until it glows and totally immersed in a can of enamel. Add 2 to 3 additional more layers of enamel. When done, pull bead from mandrel by placing bead in “V” of bead pulling station. Beads cool in a bed of vermiculite. Many other techniques were discussed.

I am so thrilled at everything I learned at the class. I have been able to reproduce much of what I learned, but I have lost a few of the finer points. Enameling has added a new dimension to my jewelry making.

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Metalsmithing Poodle

This blog has morphed into an observation and reflection of life as an artist. I am a Denver based metalsmith who works in a call center by day, sells jewelry by night, and fills the rest of the waking hours practicing parkour. I am the founder of Purple Poodle Designs and I am the events coordinator for the Colorado Metalsmithing Association.

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