Saturday 25 April 2015

Big steps. . .

I've been busy this last few days. Well, I've been busy this last few months on this particular project. We're sorting out the house, ready to put it on the market very soon. We made a list of things that needed doing, about four months ago, and have steadily worked our way through it. This last few days was just the cleaning and putting things out of sight to be ready for the photographer. He came yesterday, so I'm in that strange limbo you get when you have just stopped being busy and can't quite figure out what to do with yourself.
So I haven't done much claying, and haven't posted anything. I have been listing a backlog of stuff onto my shop though.
I did play around with some textures and some bits from the hardware store though.

Too big and heavy for earrings, probably, though I might be wrong. Cool for arty statement pendants though I think.

Still waiting for the house pics and description to come through, to be approved by us, but next time I post we may be in the throes of showing people round, fielding offers and all that stuff. Then all we have to do is find the right house even further out into the country. . .

Thursday 16 April 2015

In Spring time in Spring time the only pretty ri-ing time. . etc

As that Shakespeare put it. . .
It does actually seem to be Spring. I'm only wearing one jumper instead of my customary winter two jumpers. The sun is shining and you can feel some proper heat coming from it. The flowers are emerging and a very cool insect of a type known as a 'bee-mimic', (loosely, a kind of hover fly that looks like a bee) called bombylius major is buzzing round the pulmonaria. I have a great affection for these beasties, they have a long pointy 'nose' which they can guide precisely into the centre of a tiny forget-me-not flower, while hovering, with unerring accuracy.

Bombylius major

Chiff chaffs are calling, a skylark is doing it's stuff high above, and all the garden birds are well into their nest building cycle. No swallows as yet but it's definitely spring!

I've been experimenting again. . . As I mentioned in passing in my last post, I have some ring blanks. In their natural state they are a bit naff to be honest. All shiny and silvery and mass produced looking. So I attacked a couple of them with sandpaper and alcohol inks and gilder's paste in no particular order until they looked more interesting. They are made of copper, under the silver plating stuff, which is much nicer. Especially when scratched to blazes and coloured in an irregular way. They then become suitable  partners for my image trans tile bead things.

Suitably trashed ring blank with image trans bead in place. attached with blu tac, but fear not, it's just for the photo, so I can see what it looks like.

I might even try one or two on my JBDRusticOrganic Etsy shop soon. 

As my hands are a bit too middle aged and too obviously male, which wouldn't really do. . . I decided to try alternative things to fit the rings onto for photographic purposes. I remembered the stack of chopped buddlia branches I put aside for kindling, and picked out a suitable piece. I quite like the effect.

I think it will be worth a try for me to list a couple in a day or two. I keep finding uses for my image trans beads, and just need to keep getting stuff out there to see what reaction I get.

Jon x

Saturday 11 April 2015

Image Transfer - part 324. . .

I'm still obsessed with image transfer stuff, and, though I say it myself as shouldn't, I have got it down pretty well by now.

Here's some I made earlier. .  Claire Maunsell gradauted cutters technique,  hollow beads. A repeat order no less ;-) Relatively gently 'antiqued' this time.

I have an idea of what works and what doesn't, which leaves me free to make various different sorts of beads, and to consider the different uses I could put the resulting beads to, instead of having to concentrate on the technique. . .

For instance, these are some 1.5 cm square, about 1cm thick, hollow, asymmetrical pattern, image beads I made because I liked the 3cm ones and thought smaller, chunky beads might look cool. Not sure what they would be best suited to, but necklace/pendant/assemblage beads looks the best option I think.

I can't stop making cufflinks. Even though I haven't sold many. They just look so cool! 

I am resisting the idea that a pair of cufflinks should match exactly. These, and all my other pairs, have similar, but not identical designs on them.

Some of the beads I made, that might have become cufflinks if I hadn't got a grip on my cufflink obsession, I made into earrings.

I have to stop making those soon too, or I will be overrun with them ;-)

Next, I going to try Tie tacks, I got some blanks the other day. Rings, if I can successfully mess up the horribly shiny ring blanks I got. I have sandpaper and alcohol inks etc, so I don't see it being a problem. . . And brooches, once I have researched what kind of pins and brooches other artists make, to get an idea of the scope of the 'medium'.
Should be fun ;-)
Jon x

Saturday 4 April 2015

When do you stop experimenting?

I guess the answer to that is 'You don't!'.
OK, put it this way - 'When should you stop experimenting?'
I would like to think the answer would be 'Never!', but it depends on what you are trying to achieve.
It is always tempting to try something new out, but it can be a distraction if you are aiming to refine a process. It can be tedious tweaking small details in order to get a process right, it's much easier and more fun to just mess about with a new idea instead.

An example - I tried these designs as stud earrings. I don't really think they work as such. (too big? 10mm and 15mm) I need to research the particular character stud earrings have, and adapt. I feel I am just not 'getting it' right now. I need to plug away at this, but it would be more fun to mess around with another new idea. . .
I come up against this all the time. I have so may things I want to try. . .
My solution, such as it is, is to do both at the same time. When your detail tweak stuff is baking, you have a half hour to experiment, and when your experimental things are baking, you have half an hour to refine your detail tweak stuff. . . You can prioritise each process at different times of day.

Refining the process - Image transfers onto raw clay, ready to be cut out and baked. I've got this pretty much sorted now. I need to concentrate on what images work best at what size next. . . And I need to remember to work on the tile I want to bake them on! . . I forgot,  which meant that they distorted slightly when I lifted them off my big work tile and onto my baking tile. Duh. .

This dilemma also spills over into deciding what I should put in my shop. I have to weigh up whether it is worth the time and effort to photograph and list something that might prove to be unpopular.
Well, at the stage my shop is at, I think I have to adopt the approach of trying anything and everything, and refining from there based on the reactions things get.

An experiment with digital African style black and white images - and with possible matching pendant and earring beads. Not sure if I will list this, but I probably will. It's the only way to find out if I'm heading in the right direction.