Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Etsy Jewelry Site of the Week- BellaBijouJewellery

I'm really getting into cabochons (cabs) right now.  The lovely colors, patterns, and crystals enthrall me.  When I was little I bought a small guidebook on gems and minerals that was chock-full of pretty little inspirations from the earth.  It was one of my first forays into science (that and my favorite book on volcanoes!).  I was obsessed with finding gems, minerals, and fossils.  The only thing that bugged me was that most of the minerals could only be found in exotic locales, not New York State.  It's funny that this little book (now undoubtedly moldering in some landfill) propelled me into my vocation (science teaching) and my avocation (jewelry making). 

Well, back to the cabs.  I've been trying my hand at setting cabs in bezels, and although I've had some rough edges, literally and figuratively, I am loving them.  And here is an Etsian who also appears to love cabs:  bellabijoujewellery

Yummy, yummy, yummy, I've got cabs in my tummy!  And her silverwork around the cabs is lovely as well. 

Check out this gorgeous ocean jasper:
She has some dramatic rings too, ones I cannot see myself wearing because the stones are so BIG, but I can look and drool, right?
God, I love drusy!!!!!  If someone wants to make me happy and keep me busy for a long time, just give me some drusies and I'll just sit and stare. 

So, are you impressed with bellabijou too?

Why I create

What drives creativity?  Is it innate talent, a need to do something productive, or a desire to work with one's hands? Maybe it's all of these things and more.  Why do I craft,  whether it's creating jewelry, scrapbooks, or some other myriad crafty enterprise?  The other day I was at a graduation reception for my students (8th graders) and one of the parents commented positively on my necklace, to which I responded with "Oh, thank you, it's one of my creations."  To which she reacted with "Wow!  I didn't think science teachers would do that sort of thing!"  (She meant it in a nice way... LOL) Is it that surprising that a scientist, science teacher, or someone else steeped in logic and rationalism all day partake in such "right-brained" a activity like art? (Of course, research has shown that right-brain, left-brain compartmentalization has no basis in structure or function.)  Certainly there's precedent.   Look at Leonardo da Vinci-  he was an artist and a scientist- equally impressive as both.  But there are many examples of scientists who are artists, people who have day jobs in the scientific field- teachers, researchers, medical professionals, etc.  Why is it that so many people put art and science in separate camps?  Is it because you can't do both since they are incompatible?  Bunko. Hogwash.  Inane drivel. 

Perhaps my need to create has a lot to do with the fact that I am scientifically, rationally oriented.  I need to step away from the concrete sequentialness of my workday and dive into creative looser brain pathways at night.  Do I approach my art the same way I plan a lesson or design an experiment?  No, many times I  plunge right in- no plan other than a loose thought in my head, no schematic, no setting up all my materials in a row, no writing out steps. I like it like that.  Yes, there are times when I am working on a piece that is more complicated or that requires materials I do not want to ruin by freewheeling it, but many times I just let the ideas flow in a zen-like way.  The time at my jewelry bench is my meditative practice.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Etsy Fun and Wild Site of the Week- Tilly Bloom

TillyBloom is so chock full of wild, wonderful, and wacky stuff that I don't hesitate to smile whenever I see an item of hers.  Choosing the pieces I wish to highlight here is a big problem because there are so many cute and curious items that I cannot decide!  So I will randomly pick.  Here goes:

The Photographer Brooch- he's a real poser, huh?

My Best Leg- is there a worst leg?

The one that got away- good for the bird, too bad for the kitty!

Amelie is so precious- she's going to the Museum of NH to take notes on her favorite extinct creature- the trilobite.
I'd have to say Amelie is my fav because she's a gal after my own heart!

Which one do you like the best?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Etsy Scrapbook Site of the Week: Running Withe Scissors

runningwithescissors does some great scrapbooks!  Edgy and fun, with lots of chunk and embellishment.  One of her specialties is college-themed scrapbooks and other items (like boxes and wall decor).  Here is an example:
Hey, I think I'd take a special trip just to use this travel album:

Or, how about this adorable memories album?
Now you can definitely tell she's from Florida, check out the vibrant colors on this album.  I can almost smell the orange!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Etsy Jewelry Site of The Week- AWEShop

Deb, from AWEshop makes sassy and funky jewelry that is drool inducing.   I'm really fond of the rustic, cold connection look that she has in many of her pieces, like this one:
Textures made with hammers are another favorite technique of mine, as revealed in this ring:
Simple designs, clean,  earthy:  all that I love.  Here's another:
I just wish there were more pieces to love, but I think AWEShop had an AWESome craft fair this weekend and may be out of many offerings.  OK, Deb, get back in the studio and start hammering!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Etsy- Resellers, Assemblers, Mistaggers, Oh my!

Lots of buzz on the Etsy forums this past week on one of the usual suspect themes: resellers, assemblers, and mistaggers;  this week the assemblers got the slings and arrows thrown at them.  First, some terminology:  Reseller in Etsy parlance is a shop that buys something (perhaps handmade, perhaps not, but usually not) and sells it to the unsuspecting public through Etsy labeled as "handmade."  These folks are usually deceptive, and serve Etsians, buyers and sellers alike, no good in the long run. Resellers are usually given the boot fairly quickly by Etsy admins, though not quickly enough if you read the forums.  Forum posters are particularly piqued when a reseller makes the FP (front page), the Storque blog, or some other pedestal of Etsy fame.  Assembler is the term used for someone who buys pre-fab supplies and puts minimal effort, time, or artistic design into assembling aforementioned supplies into some crafty goodness.  Assemblers are not as deceptive, except to themselves, perhaps. They may say they handcrafted the items,  when you look objectively at it, the item was just put together, the way you'd put together a bookshelf from IKEA.  Some of these folks may knowingly deceive the public, but some are also truly thinking they are hand-making objet d'art because they don't know any better.  Mistaggers are those who do not properly or appropriately tag their items for sale at Etsy.  "Tagging" essentially is a keyword search system.  A seller is alloted 14 tags for each item.  It's up to the seller to describe the item the best way, with the end goal of views and sales.  For example, if I had a metal clay and aventurine pendant/necklace in the shape of a pea pod, I would tag it with descriptors such as "sterling silver," pea," "pea pod," "green," "necklace," "metal clay," "fine silver," aventurine," etc.  Appropriatley tagging includes materials used, methods used, shapes, objects, themes, etc.  You are not supposed to tag a necklace with "earrings" in the hope that someone looking for earrings will suddenly spot your gorgeous necklace and say "Wow, I hadn't thought about a necklace, but that one looks great, I'll buy it!"  Nor are you supposed to tag an item with what it could be used for, like labelling earrings with "wedding."

Most Etsians are in agreement that the resellers simply have no place in Etsy (eBay is more welcoming I'm sure), and mistaggers are either misinformed or plain dumb, but the view on assemblers is a potpourri of potshots,  sob stories, and seller envy.  Can any trained monkey can take some prefab chain, add a jump ring, clasp, and a charm and call it handmade? Is there any skill to this?  Of course there is, but let's face it, the skills needed to assemble a necklace like this are rudimentary.  Artistic?  No, I wouldn't say so. Demanding?  Only if you do 100 a day!  Design oriented? Possibly, because the assembler would need some semblance of proportion, color,  and balance to create a necklace.  Should I feel sorry for an assembler on Etsy who was "called out" on a blog for being an assembler ( a SUCCESSFUL assembler I might add)?  No, probably not.  A. She's making the bucks and I am not.  B. She needs to realize "denial" is not just a river in Egypt.   But then again, should I, or anyone else on Etsy, lambaste her for her work?  No, I think not, because many of these assemblers make what the sheeple want and if the sheeple want cute little chains with butterflies (or insert whatever cutesy item) on them, so be it. These assemblers also do what most sheeple CANNOT do which is create something with their hands.  At least the assemblers give it the ole' college try. So why is there vehemence and vituperous venom?  IMHO, I think it really comes down to envy, plain and simple.  If an assembler is spending very little time, effort, and artistic endeavor per item and making a really nice profit on it, while an artisan is slaving away in her garret studio, soldering and sawing and setting, and fewer buy her stuff, well, I can see the resentment boiling over in the pickle pot!

What do you think?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Etsy Fun Site of the Week- Sushibooties

Awww, isn't this adorable?  Well, for us, maybe;  the Boston terrier doesn't seem too happy.  Well,
 sushibooties does take that into account in her description of the above item, which is a doggie Halloween costume of a sushi roll (in case you couldn't tell!) 

If you want your own sushi-related wearable item for yourself (I mean, why do our dogs get all the cute stuff?), then you can get yourself a pair of cute slippers:

Or how about these ab-fab baby booties:

And the hippest chick must have this accessory (an iPod case).  Just don't eat it!!

If Japanese is not your thing, then try the Chinese fortune cookie slippers packed in a sweet take-out box:

Only a creative mind can come up the  sushi=footwear.  But that's the beauty of Etsy!!!!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Check out my coupon!

This coupon is good in my shop for one year for 10% off any item in my Etsy shop:
ScrapMetal Coupon

Etsy shop:

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Etsy Jewelry Site of the Week- Kaelin Designs

This site on Etsy has some truly beautiful and ethereal work:

Look at the clean flowing curves on this hand forged collar:

And on this bracelet, again, the gentle curves, like an ocean wave:
This piece is more geometric rather than organic, but lovely in a grand scale:

Oh this is a gorgeous piece of metalsmithing; love the granulation!

Please visit her shop!!!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Gemstone of the Week- Turquoise

That heavenly blue-green of turquoise evokes many images: blue skies of the American Southwest, a Caribbean sea, or a lovely robin's egg.  But it is a stone that needs some love because it has been fiddled with for too long and most people don't know if they are truly looking turquoise when they see it.  Why is that?  Well, turquoise has many imitators, such as howlite and magnesite (both normally white) that can be dyed to look like turquoise.  The other problem lies with turquoise itself- it's rather porous and can fracture easily, so it needs to be stabilized with epoxies and other plastics.   But many people accept the stabilization because otherwise, the stone would not be as useful in jewelry. Sometimes turquoise is even dyed, or its matrix (the dark parts) is, not acceptable to many jewelry artists.  Some turquoise is even reconstituted from little bits, a practice most would agree is too drastic.  Full disclosure of what treatments the stone has had is the best, so dealing with reputable purveyors of turquoise is your best bet if you want to buy the stone.

So how does turquoise get its dramatic colors? It's mostly from copper compounds (the blue) or some iron compounds (the green).  Dark brown or black limonite forms the characteristic veining one sees in turquoise.

Turquoise is mined in various places in the world, mostly dry areas, the American SW, China, the Middle East, and was one of the first minerals to be mined and used in jewelry, so it has had a long, rich history.

Check out my latest treasury:

Turquoise Treasures: