Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Learning to Metalsmith

  Wow. I knew it had been a long time since I posted, but I didn't know it had been THAT long. This is my first post of 2014!
  The most recent development in the life of Sleepy Turtle Beads is that I am taking a metalsmithing class at my university. I love it. Each class is about 3 hours long, and I usually stay after for another hour. I have learned how to solder, anneal, file, hammer, dap, sand, saw, and polish metal - mostly copper and sterling silver. I bought a small slab of sterling silver at the beginning of the semester, then melted it down and made silver sheet and wire. The butane torches are a bit scary(that is a LOT of heat), but I'm getting more and more comfortable using them.
  Here are a few of the projects I've been working on:

Hammered copper earrings
 
Sterling silver pendant with copper and brass hearts

This is the second bezel I made - pretty rough, but I set it with a stone and gave it to my mom for her birthday.


I like to make knot rings in copper and sterling silver
  I have more projects in the works and some that currently exist only in my head. More to come!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Last Christmas my sisters and I decorated faux gingerbread houses made from polymer clay. Yesterday, I finally got them assembled into ornaments.
Mine (This picture was taken with my sister's nice camera)
My sisters' (This picture was taken with my cheap camera)

 Now to hang them on the tree!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Tangled - but not in a nice Disney way.

Today I spent more than two hours on this silk-and-coral-chip necklace, and it was pretty...until it tangled beyond rescue. Blah.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A few things I've been working on lately

 Polymer clay sugar cookie set
 Animal print polymer clay discs
 Vintage-look pendant
 
Copper chain and pearls
 Fun, lightweight acrylic beads
Jewel-tones bracelet

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Peanuts and Popcorn

For some reason, these brightly-colored striped polymer clay rounds have always been "circus beads" in my mind.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My Beading Buddy

This picture was taken before I had a designated bead room. 

Once I got my bead room, the plan was to keep all cats out in order to keep their fur out of my clay, but my devoted Scrawny wouldn't hear of it and I caved. She wants to be where I am, and that is worth digging a few hairs out of my clay.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Money vs. Art - who will win?

    I'm having a crisis of pricing. Back when I used only store-bought beads, pricing was simple. Just add up the cost of materials, add time invested, and you have a reasonable price. But now that I'm doing so much with polymer clay, it gets hugely more complicated. 
    First of all, it's a lot harder to keep track of time invested when making clay beads because there are so many different parts to the process. Mixing, forming, baking, sanding, varnishing...it doesn't all happen in a nice measurable chunk. 
    Second problem: Say I do manage to get an accurate time for a project. If I charged for my usual rate per hour, the cost would be gigantic! Sanding alone can take 5 or more hours. Then what if I put the beads in the rock-tumbler instead of sanding? That takes a lot longer, but it's not my time it's using. So do I charge for the amount of time it would have taken if I had hand-sanded the beads?
    One way to do it would be to not worry about materials or time, but evaluate the finished piece and decide what it's worth. But that kind of imprecision terrifies me! It feels like walking across a highway with my eyes closed. With my system, I always had something concrete to rest on. If someone were to ask, "why is this so expensive?" (which, come to think of it, has never actually happened), I could get out my little book of records and show them exactly why it cost that much. But if someone were to ask about a clay piece, what would I say? "Well, uh...I don't know...on the day I chose the price, I must have been in an expensive mood and I decided it was worth that much..I am as puzzled as you are at the high price. What was I thinking?"
    See what I mean? This ever-present dilemma is starting to keep me from claying and beading, which is just tragic because I love to make jewelry. The technicalities of selling are overwhelming me. I could stop selling altogether, but I already have hundreds of finished pieces and a thousand clay beads just sitting and waiting to be used. I couldn't possibly use or give away all the things I make. It would be a shame to keep them hidden away in my bead room, wishing to be appreciated.
    So, yeah. That's my issue. Money and marketing sticking their noses into my art.