As some of you may know I have been wanting to take my jewelry making skills from just wire to the next level - metalworking. I have had a longstanding love affair with metal (other artists works) and felt it was time for me to go to that plane myself.
I have a brother who (when not being a specialized diesel mechanic) is a blacksmith. Not just an ordinary blacksmith but one who does beautiful and intricate work - tables, beds, desks - you name it he can do it. So on Labor Day Monday I headed to his forge to get some basic lessons at his forge. I torched, hammered, soldered all to my delight! He sent me home with directions to go buy a cheap torch, gave me a jewelers anvil and a few metal discs, rivets, and various gauge metal rods. Now the key word you need to take from this paragraph as I move forward is - FORGE - a complete decked out forge with huge anvils, multiple types of torches, cool grinding and polishing machines, multiple type of hammers and stamps, and an unbelieveable hydraulic hammer machine with a foot pedal.
Now, I am back home with my newly purchased torch and my bag of goodies and my tiny anvil.....suddenly I am aware of the difference between working in his forge and working in my home! LOL The torch doesn't heat to nearly the temp as his so heating up my metal takes much longer. My tools have handles that are perfect for working with wire and beads but have short handles that put you waaaayyy to close to the flame. And having so much room to work on his large anvil sure was a lot easier than trying to hit something on my tiny version! Also, where in the house is the best place to work? I tried working outside but I think my neighbors might revolt at the hammering! Where is the safest place to work with a torch?
So, what I thought was going to be an immediate plunge into metal working is moving much slower due to the fact that I am having to think of creative ways to hold my work, hammer my work and make my set up easy to use. It is amazing the difference that good tools make! What seemed comfortable and fun to do seems tedious and time consuming when transferred into a different work environment. I am going to have to test out different setups and scour the toolboxes that are hidden away to try to find tools that will work with my new endeavor. I can't afford to purchase new ones at this point so I will have to find things that I already own in order to make this happen.
Hopefully, in the next week or so I will find a way to make it happen. With more shows coming up I sure would like to be able to show off some new and fabulous pieces!!
I will try to keep you posted,
Thursday, August 11, 2011
When I first opened my shop I didn't know a great deal about Etsy. I had only been a shopper for about 4 months when I decided I wanted to open my shop; so Etsy was very new to me. I did all of the normal things, read the forums, checked the help files and tutorials, joined a few teams, faved others items. In the teams I asked for critiques of my shop so that I could make changes to increase my views and get some sales. Well, most people don't want to tell you the truth... you hear a lot of "your shop looks great!, wonderful items, you should do well"; all the while still not getting views or sales.
After a while I found someone whose work I really liked a lot who seemed to be doing pretty well so I sent her a convo asking for any help she could give me. What I got back was a 2 or 3 page convo giving me line item by line item things that could be changed to make my shop work better for me. Now bear in mind that all the while she was very humble and mentioned several times that she was no expert but that I asked for help and she would give me the best she could. :) It is a convo that I will never forget and a person to whom I will always owe a great deal! (plus I still love her work ) I took every single suggestion she made and guess what....it helped! She took to the time to take me seriously, give me the best info she could and didn't hold back on me. HOW REFRESHING! So...bet your wondering by now who this mentor of mine might be....
Let me introduce you to my mentor and my friend - Elizabeth Matlack - Oddballartco/TheNakedHippie
There will be no interview as I want you to see her as I do! (it is my blog after all! hehehe)
I was hooked on her ACEO's the first moment I saw them. She is multifaceted - some of her work is simply fun and funky and others have an intrique to them that will cause me to stare at it for long periods of time wondering if I am taking it all in. She is a leader to many, a friend to all, an artist of absolute worth and a very humble person who I bet will blush when she reads this. I will forever be grateful for the answers to all of the questions I have asked over the past few months and mostly for the honesty, sincerity and willingness to be helpful.
So Elizabeth - my hat is off to you -
Now, take a look at some of her work and I bet you will find you love her as much as I do....Enjoy!