Friday 10 November 2017

Goodbye Website. . . (My Fault Entirely) - More Creating and Experimenting - Alcohol inks and an Annoying Pink Tint

Custom made long spike beads, close up

Carried along by the general tide of dissatisfaction with the way Etsy was going, (and still is pretty much, for me at least) I decided to set up my own website with it's own shop. (I wittered on about it in a previous post) I got it looking nice, mentioned it a few times but never kept up the promoting pressure needed to drive traffic to it. Try as I might, that sort of carry-on just doesn't sit right with me. I know that's 'unrealistic', self indulgent, not the way it's done and all that stuff, but I'm just not one of life's blow yer own trumpeters, and if it doesn't feel right I'm not going to do it ;-) . . . 

So, I'm going to knock the website on the head at the end of the month. The platform I chose is totally free from blame. Indiemade are very good. It's just me that's not prepared to do the sort of work required to make a success of such a venture. I'll stick with Etsy as my shop for now, as it does have at least some built in traffic, but use Facebook as a selling venue. Any stuff that doesn't sell on there gets put up in my shop. Probably.

Earring spikes with oxidised copper loops - sold

I have just bought the domain for so I will probably use that for a stand alone site in future. 'If and when'.

Big, ornately rustic focal - sold

On the bead creation front, some of you will have seen these beads on FB, but here they are again in their full glory ;-)

I enclosed a repurposed wooden bead from a charity shop necklace bought for such a purpose, in polymer clay and then added turned technique bits on either end to make a bigly rustic large focal or two. Using textures on some, and my surface treatments on others. 

Double bead wrapped focal

I sold a couple as well. 

It's a fun process which I will revisit when the mood takes me.

woody, ceramic-y surface treatment on this big focal - sold

Talking of the mood taking me, I often find that I go into my workshop fully intending to make a certain type of thing, and then find I just can't get going, the results don't move me. Then I find I have to let go of my intention and mess around until something clicks, other than the bones in my neck. . . It can be a bit frustrating, especially when you feel that precious studio time is ebbing away, but I trust my instinct and it never lets me down. . .

Custom long spike - sold

I was asked (via FB) to make some long (3"ish) turned effect spikes by an excellent beaded jewellery maker from the West of the USA, so I set to work and had great fun working out how all the different ins and outs and textures fit together on one piece ;-)

Pink and black annoyances

The annoying pink tint I mentioned in the title comes from the nature of the pigments in alcohol inks. When diluted, or used in fairly vigorously applied layers they tend to change colour in a weird way, or revert to some kind of base pigment, sometimes quite unlike the expected colour. At least that is what I think is happening. 
In the pic above, the black ink has turned the white areas pinky purple. (when painting with black alc ink and the brush starts to run dry you find you are painting with purple and not black any more) This happened when I varnished it, the varnish seems to slightly dissolve the black ink which then reveals it's secret purply nature ;-) .
Acrylic paints don't do this.
What I was attempting with these beads was to scrape off the black ink to make a simple black and white design. I ended up with black and pink instead. Not so desirable.

Proper black and white scratch beads

So I made another set and used black acrylic paint, and scraped that off instead. it is denser but more delicate than alc ink, and is easier to use, as you can easily paint bits of black back on if you make a mistake. It sits on the surface of the clay, whereas alc ink spreads out and stains the surface, which makes it less precise. I varnished them, as the paint would just wear or chip off otherwise. I might try matt varnish next time. I really like these sort of simple, African inspired patterns with their simple mathematical logic, which, let's face it is the only kind of mathematical logic I can handle ;-)

Gonna be a busy couple of weeks, the bathroom bits and pieces have arrived, (basically the whole shebang, bath, toilet, shower etc etc) and I am also in the middle of the fake panelling on the landing, while a new set of bannisters is being fitted by a local joiner. I hope I can squeeze some bead time in there somewhere.

Until next time, be good, unless of course being good doesn't appeal, your call. . .
Jon x


  1. Your beads and components are beautiful, I especially love these ones in your blog.

    1. Thanks Nicola, I'm going tomato some more using those techniques, as they worked well ;-)

    2. tomato???? 'to make' was what I intended to type. . . ;-)

  2. I'm sitting here wondering whether I should mention acrylic inks to you or not. Because I think that if you find them and start working with them, it will be sending you down a really amazing Rabbit Hole.

    1. I do have a very few colours of Acrylic ink actually. I just used them like paint really. What wonders can they perform? I like the strength of colour but I don't like how much they cost ;-) I have found that they sort of pool somewhat on the surface of baked clay, being water based and all. But I mixed a bit of rubbing alcohol with them and that cured it.
      I haven't used them much as I quite often use stuff that needs to be washed off, so alcohol inks are the inks of choice. I'm intrigued by your hints of amazing properties they hold however. . . . Do tell ;-)

  3. The pink and black is not terrible Jon. They will sell. Lots of women wear pink!!

    As for Etsy. Everyone knows I'm not a fan. I don't believe in trying to compete with 40 million other vendors at the same place...just not for me. However I am hearing lots about a mass exodus from Etsy. That's interesting. I remember when it started out and it was worth being one of the few vendors - then bang - they got greedy. Of course other people will always be out there thinking that selling on Etsy is going to be the answer and the company will take in numbers to equal those they are losing until of course everything fails. That could bring on the rise of something even better. Fingers crossed for everyone!

    Love your 3 inch beads! They are fabulous!! Have you thought of doing a chunkier style of big bead? Something with lots of heft? Hmmm....

    Keep up the painting Jon. And good luck with your bathroom. I really hope you have another one in the house as bathing in the pond at the moment seems like a chilly idea...