Make a tool

•March 11, 2013 • 3 Comments

Sharing one of my stone setting tools; cost about a dollar and 15 minutes to make, not including rummaging thru bins in the garage. Making the simple tools is a frugal way to start your tool collection and good shop practice – learn to grind down a screw to make a bezel pusher is part of the skill set needed to make a setting punch or chasing / repousse tools.

This is my bezel pusher, kinda wonky but perfectly usable. It's a brass screw screwed into a graver handle. Brass is relatively safe to use near stones, and the screw head is a good size.

Begin by screwing the brass screw into a graver handle. You could substitute the graver handle for a cabinet door knob, wood ball, dowel, handle made with thermoplastic, whatever is comfortable in your hand.

Next, you'll grind down the head or the screw using a bench grinder, hand files, or sanding disc in your flexshaft, whatever you have to use. Work until you have taken off the top of the screw and the slot for the screwdriver is gone. Keep a dish of water nearby to cool the metal while grinding.

Use sandpaper or files take off all the tool marks and clean up any sharp edges. Don't polish, you want a little tooth to help prevent your tool from slipping.



Ugh! Taking pictures

•February 27, 2013 • 1 Comment

Reflections, reflections, reflections

Quite maddening trying get the perfect picture when you have not taken the time to understand the tools. Something to be said for taking the time to learn rather than just jumping in, even when that means an extra day or days. Of course learning from mistakes is often the best teacher, if you recognize the mistakes as mistakes. Sigh…

No surfers today

•February 21, 2013 • Leave a Comment

The water was rough and foamy after the storm….meant to get some work done today…start on a custom order and work out a design with a prototype but ended up sitting with a five year old for a couple of hours. I miss my five old years, but it's a tad overwhelming…was it always????


Rainy cold day

•February 19, 2013 • 1 Comment

It's so cold…my plan was to make a ring today but i dread working in my cold, damp studio. Instead I'm trying something new…homemade split pea soup. Yea, not earth shaking, but for me a big achievement.


Weekend Workshop or I love learning

•December 10, 2012 • 1 Comment

Spent the weekend at a Kinetic Jewelry Workshop lead by Sarah Doremus, sponsored by MASSC.  I’ve been to so many workshops where the facilitator is bored, overly controlling and/or frustrated with the varying level of students.  Not the case this weekend – the instructor was generous, patient, friendly, & very enthusiastic.  Plus, added bonus,  learning from other attendees – everyone seems to have some bit of information to share / show – I finally saw how to solder with wire from the roll!

I made crude (very, very crude) examples of all the projects – no bothering with filing or buffing, I just wanted working models to use.   Covering in firescale, rough/sharp edges, wire hanging out {lol}, nevertheless I have examples of a crank toy, a telescoping rod, dog/baby gate hinge and a spinning object using ball bearings.   Can’t wait to get started.  Nothing like an interesting workshop, filled with interesting people to relight the spark.


Choosing shows, continued. Or, don’t make my mistakes

•December 8, 2012 • 1 Comment

My mantra is don’t do a show you haven’t walked yourself, even if that means waiting a year.  I should have a sign made and hung above my computer – “Don’t do a show until you’ve walked it”.

I *did* a show this week, on a whim – no firsthand knowledge.  How was is?  Not good.   Aside from the not doing a show without seeing it firsthand, there is the part about not doing a show when the main event is not shopping for handmade.  I know this – I’ve said this, I’ve wrote this, but there I go – head first.  Stupid.

To my credit before I said yes to the show I google’d the demographics of the group that would be at the show – college educated, income in the six figures, etc., sounded good – except they were not at the event to see me, or any of the other handmade sellers.  I imagine we were a nice touch to the event, take a walk and look at the booths, have some food from the gourmet food trucks before heading back to the main event.

Lesson learned ….again.

1) never do a show until you walk it &  2) never do a show when *you* are not the main event.

Show Season – Getting ready for NEXT year.

•November 30, 2012 • 2 Comments

I learned my lesson about not checking out shows before signing up, I’ve found myself at shows that have no organization, no advertising, resale vendors…a colossal waste of time, money and energy.  Now no matter what anyone tells me about a show,  I never do a show without going to it first to check it out, and this is the best time to check out shows for next year.  So, I’ve got my list of shows for this weekend and I’m ready  – plus, I love going to shows.

First I look at the show as a whole; does it look cohesive, does it look like an artist market or flea market. Is there a mix of items or is the show heavy on one or two products. What is the range of price points and how/where would my work fit into the show.

Then I start looking at the what’s going on at the show: are there shoppers, do I see anyone buying, where are the bathrooms, parking, signs, advertising, inside, outside, electricity, are there staff members around, central cash register, etc.

At that point I start to talk to the sellers – especially people I know or people selling comparable items or items at a comparable price point. I tell them I am checking out the show for next year and ask them what they think – I don’t recall anyone not talking to me. I don’t ask any specifics in terms of sales, and I ask them about other shows they do – it’s usually a nice conversation with an exchange of business cards.

Take a couple of pictures, write some notes & wish everyone good sales.  Well worth the time spent.