Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Whoops--Almost Missed This

So, it's 4:30AM and I'm feeding baby parrots when it hits me....Do I have a post due today for LMAJ????  Well, yes, I do.  Crap. 
 
I'm a bit distracted, we are entering into the busiest time of the year for us here at the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation, the organization my husband founded and where I work and live.  Our South Florida 30-acre breeding and research facility is home to some of the world's rarest and most endangered animals.  One of our many programs involves breeding endangered South American parrots, and right now we are hatching this year's crop of Red-browed Amazon parrots.  Native to Brazil, less than 500 of these beautiful birds remain in the wild, and we have the entire captive breeding population in North America.  So, every egg is incubated and every chick is hand-reared to ensure the species survival.  Right now I have three babies I'm feeding every 90 minutes around the clock, with several more eggs in the incubator ready to hatch.  A totally different take on Easter eggs...seriously.
 
They may not start out very pretty, but they sure do end up GORGEOUS!
 So, forgive me almost missing this post.  Sleep deprivation will do that to you.  THANK GOD FOR STARBUCKS DOUBLE SHOT EXPRESSO IN THE CAN.
 
I will say that baby season is sometimes my most productive design time as well.  I often create some of my best work while trying to stay awake between feedings through the night.  Last night I finished the ring you see here and LOVE IT.  Imperial Jasper, sterling silver, copper and a dot of 14K gold.  I'm not quite in the groove yet, these are only the first babies of the season.  In a couple weeks I should be really rocking the studio between midnight and 6:00AM!  Of course the rest of the day I am a scene from the Walking Dead, but...whatever.
 
 
So, in lieu of one of my usual fabulous posts (snort), I will instead share a FANTASTIC tutorial recently posted by one of my favorite artists, Kharisma Ryantori Sommers of Popincute.  She is an AMAZING designer, I love her works, and she just recently started creating wonderful YouTube tutorials she posts for FREE.  This copper tube cuff tutorial rocks...and makes me, once again, long for a real torch so I can anneal with ease.  I am so appreciative for artists willing to share their techniques--so generous and her video is fun, detailed and easy to follow.  So, take a look and then go bang some metal.
 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Fine Finishings Boot Camp : Copper......AND a giveaway winner!!!

                                                                                           by Kelli Pope

Copper is a WONDERFUL metal to work with. Probably my favorite.  Although left untreated, it can be very bright, AND will turn skin green.   NOT a good selling point for jewelry. 

It takes patina wonderfully!

It's beautiful when "flame painted"

And one of my favorite finishings is Liver of Sulphur. 


(I prefer the gel form)


 LOS gives it a rich, rustic, dark, aged look.  

Most importantly though, once your copper component is completed,  make sure you seal it.  MissFickleMedia turned me on to Permalac years ago.  It's the only lacquer I use now.   

It's available in gloss or matte. *Make sure you use LOS and lacquer in a well ventilated area.*

What are some of your favorite finishing products?   


and now for the winner of Stacie's 4/17/14 giveaway...........

RE-MAKER

Congratulations!!!!!
(winner picked via random.org)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Special Request....

MaryAnn Carroll
Happy Easter to all of you who celebrate this special day.

Today, I would like to ask that you take a moment to think about what you can do to help someone that you have never met. There is a good chance that you may have never heard his story.

I connected to this story for many reasons and I would like to do what I can to help with his defense. He does not belong in prison.

I am offering earrings to purchase and ALL money collected minus PayPal and shipping fees will be going to the Charles Erickson Defense Fund.  

You can learn more about donating/purchasing the enameled copper earrings of your choice by clicking HERE.  There are 4 different sizes with 4 different donation amounts.  There is one size pendant.

When you get there, please read the entire post and visit the links that I shared.

What you do and how we bond together to do what's right will make a difference.

Please join me in the Circle of Support for Charles Erickson.



Samples of what you will receive. Click HERE to see sizes available.

I made a range of sizes of the earrings pictured. I chose to make hoops (circles) in one common color, which is symbolic of the "Circle of Support" that Charles is receiving by so many people through online connections. It is a color that goes with many outfits, but I like to mostly wear them with my jeans since that is the color they remind me of. All ear wires are made with silver-filled wire. If you would like anymore information, just ask.

Thank-you, MaryAnn

Friday, April 18, 2014

True to your Art, True to your Business or Both?

MaryAnn Carroll
What is the most important to you as an artist? I think most of us would say that it is that we remain true to ourselves, grow from our experiences and perfect our techniques. I agree.

On the other hand, there is an art of selling. With show times coming up for many or if you sell online, I think you need to ask yourself if there is a balance in what you do?  This has been an ongoing discussion with my husband Bill Perrine and me. He has been a ceramic artist for many, many years, but started to create wood-fired pottery in 2008. At the time, he was not going to "bend" from being the artist that he was. I respected that, but as time went on, I started to give my female perspective on his work. Although beautiful, much of what he created had a masculine feel to it. Don't get me wrong.... I love most of it!

Although, I love what he does and he is incredibly talented, we have had many discussions about who the buyers are.  I travel with him to shows and have my little section set up for jewelry. I have paid lots of attention to how people shop when they walk into your both.

I can assure you (I think I will actually tally it this year) that the majority of your buyers are women. Once again we found ourselves having the same discussion and he came up with a way to stay true to himself while thinking about his buying "audience".







Those are a few examples of what will be going into the wood-fire kiln in a couple of weeks. The beads that will be going in still remain in one big ball of clay sitting on the kitchen table......


So, this is my take on his sales. I know you are dying to know...... "what's my take on my sales?" Well, it is basically the same thing. I have learned that some of my best work often sits because of the price tag. I also learned that I have to learn the art of creating for my audience. I am in a small gallery in Cortland, NY called Cinch Art Space. It is a great little shop filled with art from over 40 vendors.

Being in Cinch has been a learning experience for me. I had to know the community (near SUNY Cortland) and think about who the other buyers are. With that said, I began designing a range of jewelry from simple to complex. When I create simple it allows me to keep the price down. On the flip side of that, I tend to get bored easily, so I have to balance simple and more complex.

There you have it. I would love to know what strategies work for you.

On a completely different note, we have a few other things going on. Staci is offering a fabulous pendant giveaway. You can click HERE to read her post and leave your comment. Please remember to comment on the blog so that you will be counted when drawing a name.

Karen's non-profit organization Rare Species Conservatory Foundation is currently going through some difficult times. If you have a passion for preserving wildlife and our environment, please go to her website to read about their very important mission. You can also get to it by clicking the link on our sidebar. Funding is always needed to keep organizations like hers going.

Lastly, for those of you that might know me through online friendships or "in real life", you probably know that I am a big advocate for political injustice, particularly for those who are in prisons all over the United States for crimes that they did not commit. My passion evolved from one of the worst experiences that changed my life forever. The case involves a loved one and since it is not completely closed (despite the fact that it is now in year 4), I am not going to go into any details, other to say that it was very close to ending up like so many others who did not end up as "fortunate" as we did with wrongful convictions. I know we do not like to believe that the corruption can sometimes be on the side of the "good guys", but it can be and it has been.  I am offering a sale/donation to help Charles Erickson. You might have heard about the case since it has been all over the media. If you would like to learn more about how you can make a purchase while donating at the same time, you can click HERE. There is also a link on our sidebar.

Today, I do not only want to thank-you for supporting artists who create handmade with handmade, but also thank-you for supporting causes that are there to right the wrong.

MaryAnn


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