Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Wire Leads - I Just Follow

My first love, making jewelry, has always been bending wire. I love how capricious it all is.  I love that you can have an idea of where you want to go - and how you can end up in an entirely different destination. This piece started life as a large coil and I really didn't like where we were going - so I started bending and twisting  
and I ended up with this interesting piece, which I then oxidized and polished, added that turquoise bead and the chain, and we had a great necklace.  But, remember where I started - a coil, and the end result is certainly a far cry from a symetrical coil and that's why I love working with wire.

I have been so dissappointed with the majority of the retail shops that carry my work, that even though they "Oh" and "Ah" over my copper and silver work, they want traditional strung jewelry.  They all have different excuses for not carrying it. One tells me that their clients don't like copper. Another says that they don't like it. The only places that seem to be brave enough to carry it are the museum gift shops and the "artsy" shops as opposed to the high end boutiques. I have a new "artsy" shop that almost cleaned me out of copper and silver wire work, so I have been frantically creating as I have to visit one of my museum shops and all she wants is copper. This is a western museum and the director likes copper and silver because they are products of Arizona.  I intentionally created the piece below for her.  I knew that I wanted to combine the two metals,
but I had no idea how, what ,where or when. I started with heavy gauge wire and forged it so it was work hardened but still bendable.  I made a frame and the ends to hold the chain. then I added a couple more pieces of heavy wire and one not so heavy.  This front piece was begging to have silver coiled around it and it did come out very nicely, if I do say so myself.

I wish that metals had not gotten so expensive in the last few months.  I would love to do several of these pieces in sterling silver only, but they would be very expensive for my markets .  I use allot of wire on these puppies and I think that we would be way over $500.00 for an all silver piece.  It used to be that my silver and copper were about the same price because the copper took so much more time for forging, oxidizing and clean up. Silver just always seems to go faster, and shining it up is definitely faster, so the time used to equalize out with the more expensive silver, but not any more.  Silver has been relegated to an accent rather than the main show and I am really sorry that that happened.

As a side note here - this techno-tard is stuck as to why this is working this way when I type. It happened after I added the pictures and I just can't seem to get it fixed, so pardon the centered last lines of my paragraphs.

One of the other things that I love about wire is the colors you can end up with after oxidizing.  I am not a big orange person, so pure copper does not appeal to me...but the possibilities with a little liver of sulfur or heat are amazing and beautiful.  I love the tones on the two necklaces above and they are neutral enough to go with almost anything. You also have the opportunity to take copper to almost black in the background, like in this bracelet, or allot of black like this necklace.

Copper wire, your imagination, some pliers, strong fingers and some liver of sulfur and ammonia can take the artisan to some fantastic places which is only limited by how much wire that you want to use. I have no idea how much wire that I used in the above necklace, but I know that it was hundreds of feet. Just remember that you can't go where the wire doesn't want to go especially if you are working in the heavier gauges.  Have fun with the wire and I think that you will be very pleased with the results.  These pieces or close replicas will be available in my shop in the near future.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Further Adventures of a Techno-tard

Last week my husbands' computer took one last breathe and died.  We mourned appropriately and decided to get along with one computer...however, John, my husband, must have "crash computer" fingers or something. I have never had a problem with the dreaded blue screens that he had when he booted up...but after using my computer for only three days, he managed to get two of those awful screens on my set up.  We decided that it was time for a new technological baby in our house, so we traipsed off to Best Buy to hopefully find a geek that spoke English that we understood.

Why are there never salespeople for techy stuff that are past their twenties?  I always feel so old when I have to buy some techy equipment.  Of course, I am old, but I do hate feeling that way.  There was a woman in the geek squad area and she worked there and she had to be pushing 60, and I thought she got lost from accounting or the steno pool...she really looked out of place. Whoa - slap my face for promoting age discrimination...I do apologize.

Anyone who knows me, or reads my blogs, knows how much I not only hate change, but tie that in with something to do with technology and I am not a happy camper.  So this last week has not been a pleasant one in our house, either for me or my husband.  I have been at the screen way too many hours and if he wanted to eat, he had to cook...not his favorite past time.  Right now, he's steaming the floors, please don't anyone tell him that I am having fun writing my blog, not slaving over this d... machine trying to make it do what I want.

Why is it that in making things bigger and better, the creators assume that we know how to bridge the gaps from old to new - or we are willing to discard the old and fully embrace the new?   Hey, I'm almost waxing philosophy here - heavens forbid. In any case, I used AOL...and as most of you must know, only the least geekest among us use that, but, in my defense, I started using that when it was about all that was available and  I am not now changing my email that is printed and stored everywhere and with everyone that I know.  I had a huge contact list, divided into very logical divisions so I could send "sale" mail when I wanted to, contact a couple of groups I belong to, family, different groups of friends, etc. etc. So I go into AOL the other day and they no longer have groups - so all my contacts, probably more than a thousand are all together, and a vast majority I have no idea who they are or where they belong.  There is no fixing something like that - and it not only makes me irrationally angry ( there's a better word, but I hate to be vulgar in my blog) but it really mucks up one of my main means of promoting my jewelry studio. Maybe if I'd know ahead of time, I could have somehow coped with it, going so far as purchasing some softwear where I could have entered these lists and then had them downloaded when my info was brought from the old to the new.

Maybe I am not non techy - maybe I am anti-techy. Something  that is supposed to make our lives simpler and more organized and easier, should not present the problems that it does.  I realize that I am pretty clueless when it comes to this stuff, but how in hell should I know that my groupings were about to dissappear....was this an educational gap? Should I have known this intuitively?  I knew I was going to continue to use AOL for my mail and I assumed my groupings would be along for the ride.  I don't think I would be as upset as I am if I had any idea how to fix it....ah well, it's done, on to the next adventure.

I am now using Chrome for my whatchamacallit instead of Microsoft explorer which I was told that I HAD to do - I am not using AOL as my gateway to the internet - which I am assuming was really lame - so I  guess that I have climbed a few rungs on the techy ladder, but not enough...til next time.