Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Marketing Tip

If you haven't heard of PhotoStamps yet, they are (as stated on their website) "an exciting new product that lets you take your own images or photographs and turn them into real U.S. postage." After learning about this great marketing tool on the Jeweler's Resource Bureau website, I recently ordered some with an image of my jewelry and was very happy with the product. What a great branding tool! It increases the cost of your postage by double...but it IS advertising and most advertising is not free!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Etsy Metal Finds

So sorry I missed doing the finds last week! Here are some lovely fall-ish things that I have found on Etsy. I love fall! I included a few extra finds today to make up for missing last week. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tip #15 - Simple Gif Tutorial for photoshop/ImageReady

So I finally have the 'animation' process down. It is quite easy and loads of fun! I am by no means an expert, but its pretty simple. I should mention I am on a mac, so things might be different on a pc. Here's how I made mine:

1. Open up photoshop

2. Open images you want to use.

3. Crop all images the same size - add text if desired, then either flatten the image or 'merge visible' I like 'command E' (shortcuts are my friend)

4. I like to open a new blank canvas to paste them all in to, that way I can save it separate from all of the other images.

5. Copy and Paste each image to that one new canvas - You are creating a layer for each image, but since they are all the same size and opaque, you only see one image, basically just like stacking up pieces of paper, they're all there, but you can only see the top one. (Command A - select all, Command C - copy, click on new canvas, Command V - paste)

6. There is a nice little button in my version of photoshop that is at the bottom of the 'tools' bar "Edit in ImageReady" - it is also under 'File'

7. Image Ready opens up.

8. Make sure the animation window and layers window are both open. If not, go to 'window' and click to select them

9. This is where it started to get a little confusing for me, but once I did it a couple times, its really a cinch. One image, the top image, will appear in the animation window. Depending on how you layered the images and what image you want to have first will depend on the next step. It all has to do with the visibility (that little eye in the layers window). I usually layer mine so the first image ends up being #1 and at the bottom. So I deselect all of the visibility of the layers above it. Now I have the first image in the animation window.

10. To ad the second frame click the 'duplicate' icon in the animation window (should be right next to the trash can)

11. In the Layers window, click to make the second window visible. Now you should have two frames in your animation window with two different images. Continue to duplicate and adjust visibility based on what you want.

12. Once you have finished adding each frame, you need to adjust the time each frame will be visible. You will see a 0 sec under each frame, click the down arrow and change the time. For this animation I did 2 sec - you can experiment to what works best for you and by pressing the 'play' button can have a preview.

13. When you get the timing down, you're ready to save! Go to 'File' and 'Save Optimized As' and you are done!

There is obviously a lot more that you can do and honestly I don't know most of it! But that is the basic on how to make an animated ad! You can upload it to flickr or email simply as you would any other photo. When I first uploaded it to flickr, I thought it hadn't worked, but to view the animation you go to 'all sizes' and then the animation will work.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Weekly Review: Flight of the Conchords

There seems to be a unanimous vote of loving Flight of the Conchords by the Etsy Metal gang...hailing from New Zealand, this terrible twosome bring loads of laughter with their off the wall comedy consisting of mostly bizarre songs. Enjoy!

Friday, October 17, 2008

EtsyMetal News 10.17.08

Victoria and Janos were featured in the Storque for an amazing project they have been working on with several other Flickr buddies. Their work is wonderful and inspiring and the article is fantastic. Its so great that its getting extra Etsy love too!!

Today is my birthday and I'm having a big sale! Check it out here.

Ashley Akers is running two amazing contests! check them out on her blog! Great chances to win some of her fabulous jewelry!

Rachael Sudlow is having a show this weekend, the Maple Leaf Festival in Baldwin, KS going all day Saturday & Sunday.

Shannon is teaching an enameling class! I so wish I could take it. Check it out here.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sara Westermark

Sara Westermark is a fabulous metalsmith, who creates modern and organic forms with hints of color. Here is a little peek at this wonderful artist. You can find more of her work in her Etsy Shop.

1. Where do you live, and where are you from?

I live in Wilmington, North Carolina although I grew up in Crystal City, Missouri. I moved to Wilmington shortly after I finished my Master's in Music in Voice Performance.

2. How did you get started working with metal?

I have been drawn to metal because of its permanence. My father was an antique dealer and I loved looking at the craftsmanship of Victorian jewelry. I was curious about how it was constructed and yearned to create modern and unique pieces. My interest in metal became a reality when a few years ago I met a jeweler, Gary Pack. Gary would let me watch him work, talked to me about basic tools, and answered all my questions. He never wanted to be a "teacher" but that is what he ended up being for me. He encouraged me to experiment and figure it out on my own. So I did that. I bought all the books I could afford and read through them all. I try something new all the time. When I am successful with a new technique, I do it 25 times to make the skill more permanent. I guess this is a carryover from my music training.

3. What are a few of your favorite pieces at the moment?

My favorite piece that I have made is my Roman Ruins peridot ring. I was drilling holes in a ring to get a lunar piece, but my drill bit got really dull, and ruined my ring. My husband suggested that I salvage the ring and artistically saw around the ripped open hole in my ring. I did this and added "cracks". I really love how it turned out, but it is definitely a happy accident! This series physically represents my acceptance of change in life. I find beauty in the incomplete, the broken, and in ruins.

I'm building a series around my "roe" stud earrings at the moment. I can't wait to get them finished and list them on etsy. I've made lots of little roe disks and now I'm linking them all together!

I'm also really pleased with how my Ice Towers bangle turned out. It is a study for a ring that I have sketched and want to make.

4. What inspires you (artists, objects, interests)?

I love clean designs, organic and natural forms, contrast of color and texture, and upcycling materials. My daughter has often inspired me. She loves fairies and would pick up pieces of pine straw and string leaves onto them to make a fairy necklace. Then she would announce, "see Mom, why don't you do that in your jewelry?" So I did!

5. Do you have any other artistic interests?

I am a classical singer and I still perform as a soloist (opera, oratorio and art song) locally in addition to teaching a full studio of private students. My students have been very successful and have gone on to schools on full scholarships. (I'm so proud of them). I will be performing as a soloist for the Faure "Requiem", Scarlatti cantata with the Tallis Chamber Orchestra and hopefully a gig with the local symphony orchestra in the spring.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tip #14 - Building up a Setting Seat

Sometimes when you get your bezel soldered onto your base, you discover that it's too high for the stone you are about to set, or you just want that stone to sit a little higher than it's own hight. You can use just about anything to build it up the seat, but here's a good one that will incorporate your recycling efforts. Save those credit card offers you get in the mail that include a fake plastic card, or use up your spent gift cards.

Simply trace the shape of your cabochon onto the card with a sharpie, cut it out and place into your bezel. Try to avoid the places on the card where numbers or letters are raised, so that the stone will sit evenly on its seat. You can use as many layers of card as needed, and don't forget that dental floss when you're testing the fit (see tip #12). The plastic won't degrade over time like cardboard will, and will leave you a raised, evenly seated setting.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Weekly Review: Concrete Handbook for Artists

There are many materials that can be used for jewelry and other artistic ventures. Many of these materials, such as concrete, require some research and education in how they work. This is where a book such as Concrete Handbook for Artists comes in. Written by Andrew Goss, this is a thorough technical book about many aspects of concrete, how it works, and how to best utilize this material for artistic pieces. This book is highly recommended by members of Etsy Metal.

EtsyMetal News 10.13.08

There is of course a lot going on this fall. We are all gearing up for the holiday season as well as many shows this fall.

Lynette Andreasen is in an amazing show - Contemorary Visions in Metal. The artist reception is this Wed. Oct 15th from 6 - 8pm. Unfortunately, she won't be able to be there, but her amazing work will be! Check out her shop and blog.

Danielle Miller is a 2009 Niche Awards finalist that is amazing!!!

Ash Hilton was featured in last weeks Sunday Magazine - which is the weekly magazine included in New Zealand's biggest daily newspaper with a circulation of 500,000! Congrats! That is truly fantastic!

Upcoming shows:

Oct. 18th
Kat Gannon will be at Haddonfield Fall Festival from 10:00am to 5:00pm.

Sara Westermark will be at Autumn with Topsail in Topsail, NC

We also hit some milestones recently:
maggiejs hit 500 sales and bcyrjewelry it 700! woohoooo!!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Chris Parry

Chris Parry is a talented metalsmith from England. He works out of his shop in Kent (Gravesend), England. Parry creates amazing pieces from sterling silver and gold, many of them custom orders. You can see more of his work on his Website, his Etsy Shop, and Flickr.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Danielle's Bud Vase - Part 3

To conclude the making of my bud vase...

Now that I have all my parts, I have to make them fit together! I file neck so it will sit flush on the top dome with little or no gaps. This takes a while: taking a little metal off here...checking the fit...taking a little metal off there...checking the fit ...and so on...

Once I have the fit perfect, I mark where I want to neck to be attached to the top dome and cut a hole into it.

Then stitches or burs are raised with a graver to hold the neck from moving (I will show you this a little later) and it is soldered into place.

The next step is to make a seat for the vase to sit on. I air raised a shallow dome into my larger bottom hemisphere.
Then the top inside egde is marked for placement and burs are raised to hold the two halves together during soldering. This technique of raising burs to keep things from sliding around was new to me and I love it! When I was taught in school, we used binding wire...which sometimes distorts your work and sticks to it. :(

It is soldered upside down so solder can be added to the lip (which will be removed later).

It's together!
The lip is sawed off and filed.

Lastly, the piece is heated, pickled and brass brushed many times over to raise the fine silver to the surface and give it this final finish. TA DA!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


vor langer, langer zeit hat Victoria, Experimetal, einen super vorschlag gemacht:

alle interresierten mitglieder von EtsyMetal machen einige anhänger für eine armkette (charm bracelet) und wir tauschen sie dann aus damit alle teilnehmer ein armband mit den anhängern von den kollegen haben.
mit grosser begeisterung haben sich fast zwanzig von uns bereit erklärt mitzumachen.

gesagt, - und endlich - getan!

jeder hat genug anhänger für alle andern gemacht plus ein paar extra für den EtsyMetal shop.

hier sind sie, trommelwirbel!!!!

Elizabeth Scott hat grosszügigerweise drei etra armketten für den shop gemacht & fotografiert:

- sie sind jetzt im Etsy Metal shop erkäuflich.

Ein sehr spezielles sammlerstück, da es nur drei von diesen armketten zu kaufen gibt!
die andern 15 stücke sind im besitz von den folgenden teilnehmern:

howlindoggie, ashleyjewelry, ninagibsondesigns, downtothewiredeigns, ninadinoff, maggiejs, themusesjewels, sudlow, kismet designs, discomedusa, alphabettispaghetti, experimetal (sie intiatorin selber!), nyhedy, esdesigns and bcyrjewelry

das ist eine einmalige sache!

Monday, October 6, 2008

some things are just worth waiting for...

Some of you may remember talk on the blog of the legendary Etsy Metal charm swap. The original idea came from Experimetal - you can see her natural ability for utterly brilliant ideas when you look at her work, and this idea was one of the best. Ever. No, seriously, I'm not exaggerating.

One of the things about being part of a team stuffed to the gills with such amazingly talented people is - you get like a kid in a sweet shop (candy store ;)). Where do you start? How can you choose what to buy? Me, I get totally short-circuited when I try to go jewellery shopping and end up with a wish list that's longer than my arm. Experimetal's idea was a charm bracelet, with charms from many members of the team. Each participating member made enough charms for all of the other members - plus one... They were all sent to one member to co-ordinate; and once they were all there, they were divvied up and each participant received one of each - including their own.

And this is the amazing collection that came through fifteen letter-boxes:

Aren't they just incredible?!

And - those "one extra" charms? Elizabeth Scott hand-fabricated a beautiful sterling chain for them, strung them - and made this:

- which is available for sale in the Etsy Metal etsy shop - HERE

It is an astonishing, astonishing piece of wearable art; a real collector's piece. Fifteen pieces from metalsmiths of this caliber all in one place is something that just doesn't happen every day. Represented here are:

howlindoggie, ashleyjewelry, ninagibsondesigns, downtothewiredeigns, ninadinoff, maggiejs, themusesjewels, sudlow, kismet designs, discomedusa, alphabettispaghetti, experimetal, (the instigator herself!) nyhedy, esdesigns and bcyrjewelry

and it really is a once in a lifetime one-off. Although... this was the charm swap Mark I. We enjoyed it so much that there are charms swaps Marks II and III in the pipeline.

Aren't you amazed? We're amazed! And those metalworkers above? They're amazing.

Etsy Metal Finds

Today's finds come from the shops of two of my dear (and talented) friends on Etsy. I own pieces from both of them and can attest to the beautiful quality and highly crafted work.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Tube Setting Trick

Awhile back, we featured an article on tube setting, that was a great inspiration for my new work. I started playing with the technique & wanted a way to place the setting in between the band rather than sitting atop it. Here's one way that worked really well for me:

solder your base band & size it as needed. Use hard solder.

take a cutting disc in your flex shaft & lightly grind out two spaces along the band (I put mine OVER my original seam) that will hold your tube setting

tube setting instructions

Place your tube setting on your soldering block & solder the band onto it. I later sliced the section of ring from the center of the tube section so that it would have clean lines.

tube setting instructions

finish setting as usual and voila!

tube setting instructions

Friday, October 3, 2008

Simone Walsh

Our latest featured member is Simone Walsh, of Australia. A very accomplished artist, she has just recently started a new collection inspired by the Victorian Era. You can see more of her work at her Etsy Shop, or on her Blog.

1. Where do you live, and where are you from?

I currently live in an inner city suburb of Sydney, Australia. I grew up in Adelaide, Australia. But I'm still not exactly sure where home might be!

2. How did you get started working with metal?

Originally I got interested in working with wire - just playing at recreating a simple but intriguing design I'd seen using encased marbles. That led me to start creating other simple jewellery with wire, beads and other findings. I fairly quickly realised that I wanted to learn to create metalwork. I was fascinated by the idea of starting with a sheet of silver and turning it into something beautiful. I eventually gave up on my career at the time in the music industry and went off to study visual arts full time at a technical college, majoring in jewellery and metal. After that I lived in London for a couple of years and when I returned to Australia I came to Sydney to study for a Bachelor of Visual Arts with a jewellery and object design major to further develop my work. Now I work from my little home studio.

3. What are a few of your favorite pieces at the moment?

I've just completed a new range of work which is all inspired by the Victorian era. As soon as I sat down at my bench to start work on the ideas I'd been developing (I always do a lot of final design work at my bench), I was really pleased to find that it all came together amazingly smoothly and just as I'd imagined. So of course at the moment those pieces are my favourites! I think my most favourite from the range is a cameo pendant which features a beautiful damask pattern etched into the surface and a contrast of silver and black - I think I've managed to capture the right mix of tradition and modernity that I was looking for. I'm also very pleased with a shell-like cut out pattern using a Victorian metalwork design which I've used for a pendant and earrings.

4. What inspires you (artists, objects, interests)?

Over the last few years I've become increasingly interested in that way that nature and different cultures intersect, which I constantly find to be a source of inspiration. The stylised designs from the Victorian era of leaves and flowers are a great example of this. Beyond that, I'm always inspired by all sorts of particularly ornamental objects - my home is full of a wide variety of them from different eras and in different styles. I'm also always inspired by travel and am often itching to take off somewhere intriguing - my next trip will hopefully take in Spain (again!) and Morocco.

5. Do you have any other artistic interests?

Other than enjoying the work that others make, I don't really have time to pursue other artistic interests of my own. Plus I love the work I do, which always helps to keep me focused. I am very interested in art theory and visiting galleries and museums when I get the time, which is never often enough.

images from simone walsh
all images are links

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Danielle's Bud Vase - Part 2

The making of my base vase, continued...

The next step in making my bud vase was to sink my second disc. You do this by hammering the disc into a piece of wood with a shallow bowl chiseled out.
After I sunk it to my desired shape, I then planished it. Now that I have my two main parts, I have to trim and file the bottom hemisphere so it will can be soldered to the top dome.

The next step is to make the pieces for the neck of the vase. I decided to use the scrap left from cutting out my discs. I laid out the shapes in paper and glued them to my metal so I could accurately cut the pieces out. Then I formed them on a mandrel.

Once I had the neck pieces formed, I soldered them together.
Next Wednesday I will show you how I finished the bud vase...
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