30 March 2006

I'm on my own now

This week I've been busy trying to get ready for my very first Indie Craft Fair. If you happen to be in the Columbus, Ohio area on April 1st, stop by Little Brothers on N. High St. and say hi! I'm really excited about this event, especially after listening to the CraftyPod episode on Urban Craft Uprising. It just feels like such an exciting venue.

In preparation for the event, I've been busy making more Shawl Pins. I have a bunch of dark stoneware beads to make into pins tonight and tomorrow but what I'm really excited about at the moment is the promising results of my early raku experiments.

In the past, I have achieved metallic reduction using pitfiring techniques developed in cooperation with a friend with whom I'm no longer in contact. Since I live in the suburbs and my studio is near my home, all of the pitfiring was done at her more remote rural studio. The unfortunate result of this is that I have always been dependent on her firing schedule and have had to answer inquiries about ordering my reduction fired goddesses and other work with a lack of certainty which I fear has translated to lost sales.

I have been uncertain how best to solve this problem. To be honest, I've been somewhat reluctant to even acknowledge that there was a problem. The whole situation between the two of us was just too complicated already without trying to factor my dependence upon her for this into the equation. I guess that I always felt, on some level, as though I was imposing upon her for these firings and never wanted to appear ungrateful. When our friendship started to disintegrate, I started letting my regular pitfire customers know that the supply had dried up for the foreseeable future.

We started pit firing because our early raku efforts were not entirely successful. Beads don't have much thermal mass and generally cooled too quickly to ignite the materials in the post firing reduction chamber. By taking our glazed and fired beads to the pit and refiring them there, the thermal mass issue wasn't really a factor. Everything was fired until the fuel had been reduced to embers and then buried to smother the fire and cause the reduction of the glaze. The thing is, there are actually quite a few raku bead artists who have solved the thermal mass problem and who consistently produce beautiful raku beads. I've known this all along. I've only just recently decided that the results are worth the added experimentation required to make it work for me.

I'd like to think that the pins shown here are a good start. I'll probably be posting some pictures of my process as I work more of the kinks out.

20 March 2006

Applications for Competitions

For the most part, I have failed to enter any of the major bead competitions because I'm just too disorganized to get everything done in time. I don't have slides of my work, don't have everything set up to take slides, and never seem to have the money and/or time to get slides taken before the deadline.

I need to work on this. I really want to enter a couple of upcoming competitions and I'm afraid that the deadline will, once again, pass before I have the materials in order to submit my entries. I know that something like this would really help me to get this done.

I've actually been reading a lot about photographing jewelry lately. Once I get things set up, I'll post some pics of the set-up and some trial and error notes. Keep your fingers crossed for me. While you're at it, I still haven't heard whether I was accepted to the Spring 2006 Art to Wear Fair.

15 March 2006

NC Vacation Report

Things are going pretty well here in North Carolina. Our friend J, who is attending art school in the southern part of the state, drove up to Hatteras Island to meet us. We miss having him around on a regular basis and feel as though we haven’t seen nearly enough of him since he moved here. It was great to see him playing with Miss Mica.

Mica and her daddy have gotten some quality beach time in. It’s really too cold to go in the water, even just to walk barefoot along the edge of the surf. We have, however, really enjoyed walking through the fine sand looking for shells. I’ve amassed quite a collection of broken shells to use as stamps and textures when making beads. I can’t wait to get home and start making beads and using my new tools.

I brought along my needle felting to help pass the time in the car. I made a beautiful hummingbird for my niece, and a puppy to go with Miss Mica’s teddy bear. I also made a tiny Cthulhu which I’m showing off on my Etsy shop. I don’t really want to sell him, although if anyone wants to pay the ridiculous price that I’ve listed him at, I could certainly convince myself to part with him.

I’ve mentioned that I spend a lot of time working in the studio, listening to podcasts. One of the CraftSanity podcasts that I downloaded was an interview with the ladies from The AntiCraft. I’ve decided to write up a couple of needle felting projects for them. It’s not a paying market, but it is exposure and I’ll be able to put the articles in my clippings file to help build my writing credentials. I’m thinking that Cthulhu might be one of the projects that I submit.

Well, I think that her Micaness is waking and I need to turn off the closed captioning on the television here in the condo. My sweetie and I like having the captioning on because we can keep the volume lower, but it drives my parents nuts.

09 March 2006

A hazard for toys and toes everywhere

First things first. Since I now have confirmation that photos have been received by everyone who contributed to the fund for the MicaCycle, I can now post a picture of my baby girl on her hog. She has learned, in record time, to climb on and off by herself. She can rock the motorcycle without any assistance (and really doesn't want my help, thank you very much...) and gets it scooting all over the wood floors in the livingroom of our house. Which brings us to the title of this post. She has no concept of what those rockers are doing to anything in their path. Several toys have been permanently altered by the crushing rockers of death. I nearly lost a toe the other day trying to quickly kick something out of the way.

The same things that I love about this toy are also responsible for its destructive capability. This is one very heavy toy. It is carved from solid wood and it is built to last. It is not going anywhere, no matter how many times or how hard her daddy or I may stub our fragile toes upon its wicked base. But the smiles of pure joy (and the bitter envy of all of my friends) have certainly served to soothe my pain as I hop around on the uninjured foot and try not to swear loud enough to wake Mica as she naps on the couch.

We're getting ready for a short vacation. Mica's grandparents want to take her to the beach. I'm certainly not going to object to that plan if they're willing to include me. It will make things a little tight when I get home, but I'm willing to make the tough sacrifice of suffering through a week on the beach.

I'm participating in an Indie Craft Fair in Columbus on April 1st. I'm really looking forward to the event. That said, I have a lot of work to do once I get home if I'm going to be ready for it. If you're in Columbus on April 1st, please consider stopping by. I'll give you an Etsy flier or something.

Speaking of Etsy, Miss Mica and I had a meeting yesterday evening with a couple of other local Etsyians to talk about Street Team stuff. I dressed her up in her pink cowboy boots so that everyone would know which adorable baby was mine. We got some fliers and some 1 inch buttons from Etsy HQ from the Magnificent Matt. This was mostly a getting acquainted exercise but it was nice to meet some new people. Mica enjoyed having grown-ups to talk to after spending so much time with no one to converse with but her crazy mom.

And now, I should pack. The mountain of baby clothes is not going to sort itself into a neatly folded vacation wardrobe on its own.

01 March 2006

Etsy street team stuff

Well, today's the day that Matt, Etsy Street Team Co-ordinator extraordinaire, posts the fliers from the contest for judging. I look forward to seeing what everyone has come up with.

I've been conversing with the street team members from the Dayton area and we're trying to set a time to actually get together to talk some of this stuff out. I'm also trying to figure out ways that I can promote Etsy. I talked it up at the felting workshop that I went to last week. I'll probably do the same next week.

I also sat down and designed a card similar to the ones Etsy put up for download that has my info printed on it. I just hate to hand-write info on the cards when I'm printing them anyway. I like the way that the card turned out.

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