Monday, November 28, 2011

Still Learning

While I have taken a couple of classes in the art of making silver clay jewelry, my steampunk designs are truly "trial and error" works of art.  I started creating from vintage found objects as a challenge and the designs have evolved as I learned new things about working with metals.

The components in my steampunk jewelry are held together by wire or epoxy as I don't solder.  My youngest daughter, however, has taken a steampunk course.  Yes, they do exist in some places. And she learned to make rivets.  So over the Thanksgiving holiday I got a quick course in rivet making.

Though it requires a little practice to make nice, round rivets, it's not very difficult.  The hardest thing was finding wire thick enough yet soft enough to hammer into flat heads.  The wire Hubby uses for wrapping his bonsai plants turned out to be perfect.  I think it's aluminum.  Basically, you drill holes where you want the pieces attached.  Find a wire of that thickness. Then create a head on one end by holding a piece of wire sticking up about 3-4mm in a stationary vise and hammer straight down with a ball peen hammer.  Insert the wire through the holes of the connection, cut it to about 2-3mm above the metal and create another head on the other end.  The new steampunk piece above is my first attempt at rivets.  I still have to work on making them nice and smooth and round without so much sanding.  But I'm loving this new technique--well, new to me.

Someone suggested that I create a tutorial as that always makes a great blog post.  But in searching google there are several out there already, like this one.

Also, if you can afford it, there are tools  that drill the holes and place manufactured rivets neatly for you.  Maybe someday.  But right now I'm enjoying the whole manual process.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving.

Sorry I haven't posted recently but I've just been possessed with getting through all the old papers and pictures I collected from my parents' house.  Some of it is important information about warrantees and blueprints.  Most is 60 years of memories.

Because for all the boxes and papers there's no place sit in my family room, and because there's something attached to all this paper that I seem to be allergic to (dust mites, mold?), I really needed to finish asap.

Well, it's done.  I've created picture albums for both my daughters and one for my brother that chronicle the lives of John and Stasia Libera.

Among the mass of old photos I found this gem so appropriate for Thanksgiving and the feast we celebrate it with.  That's Dad on leave in a staged photo that made the front page of the local paper.  No, he didn't really slaughter that poor bird.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sale at Jansjems Online

It's the end of our craft shows for the year and time to start building a new inventory for 2012.  In order to thank my loyal customers for another successful year and to encourage potential new customers to visit us on Etsy, Jansjems is having a sale on all the gemstone necklaces, bracelets, & earrings.

The sale begins today, Nov. 15 and will continue until Dec. 31 (or until inventory runs out.)

At 40% off, these pieces are priced to sell.  If you're shopping for something handmade and unique for yourself or for someone else but are hampered by a limited budget, now's the time to buy.

Locally you can still find Jansjems designs at two locations--silver jewelry at The Daylily in South Deerfield, MA and steampunk at the Pushkin Gallery Holiday Market in Greenfield, MA.  We'll also be active through the holiday season creating new designs for a release in 2012. 

Thank you again for your continuing support local artists in New England.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Jewelry and Holidays

This Saturday I'll be setting up shop for the last time this year at Handmade with Love.  It's in Easthampton at Eastworks.  Aviva and Karen organized a show there in February and it was a huge success.  So I have great hopes for this one as well.

Juried market of 20 artisans displaying only handmade items. Free swag bags to the first 50 people!

When I get to this time of each year it's sad knowing I won't be doing any shows again until the spring.  On the other hand I am excited and itching to create all the new designs I've sketched out.

One of my goals for this year was to try to get my jewelry into some local gift shops.  Well Jansjems jewelry can now be found at the Daylily in the center of South Deerfield.  Bridget has a few pieces of my fine silver and we're testing the market.  But with Christmas coming, I'm hoping they'll all sell.

I was also approached by Darcy Rosner.  She'll be managing the gift shop at the Pushkin Gallery in Greenfield until the end of December.  She does some incredible bead weaving as Sweet Bananaberry and also creates silver clay jewelry.  She wants us to get together for a "clay date" someday:)  That would be nice.  Maybe we'll inspire each other.

Anyway, the Pushkin Gallery will be having its grand opening on Nov. 10.  It's an incredible space with some wonderful installations.  It will be open daily so if you're in the area stop in and take a look around.  And Jansjems steampunk and fine silver will be available in Darcy's gift shop along with the work of several very talented local artisans.

So business-wise, things are moving right along.

Personally, I'm preparing for the holidays. Halloween got snowed out so I hope the weather is better for Thanksgiving.  I always have Thanksgiving at my house.  It will be a smaller and sadder party this year with Mom gone.  But it's always nice to have a houseful of family.

So I hope to see some friends at Eastworks this weekend.  And I hope you'll all go to Greenfield and take a peak at the Pushkin.