Friday, November 28, 2014

Where to Find My Work this Holiday Season - Shops, Shows and Sales!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I'm very excited to be a vendor at the Women's Festival of Crafts this weekend. This is always a wonderful show, now in it's 25th year, I think it's my 8th year! Find me at booth 42, I'm sharing my booth with Molly and it is her first show, come drool over her gorgeous rings! 
 You can also find my work in 7 shops across the state and 7 shops across the country! 
 I'm giving out lil JK jute gift bags with purchase at the show this weekend. I'll also have special re-usable gift tins. 
Trinket is fully stocked for the holiday season. Rachel picked a huge selection of earrings. 
 Trinket and Sweet Lady Jane and Spellbound, as well as many other shops on Church St are all taking part in #ShopSmallBTV
 Spellbound is also having a sale, 20% off all full price items store wide - which means you can get my Kahn Man line on sale!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Spellbound

So last week, with Molly's help, we put my new Kahn Man line together (really it's unisex!). I just dropped off a HUGE order today at Spellbound. I'm very excited to be working with Mara and to have my work in her beautiful boutique. The pieces will be featured prominently on the men's side in a rustic, antique case. They carry a wide array of women's and men's clothing, great bags and belts and accessories. While I was there I snagged the Salaam Lucy Dress in a striped grey and white knit, perfect for these chilly days. Very soon they will have an online shop too!


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Everything's Coming Up Druzy

I just love how dramatic these druzy cabs are, they look like they're filled with overflowing sugar or a dimension to some other sparkly galaxy. Druzy crystals take hundreds to thousands of years to form, as molten rock begins cools with trapped gases inside. The gases cause gaps in the rock and groundwater flows through the gaps. Centuries go by like this and minerals crystallize forming this concentrated crystallization. I've used PMC (Precious Metal Clay) pure silver for the setting which is why it has an organic look and textured design. I chose an open back because these pieces look so beautiful when the light shines through. These are all available in my Etsy shop.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

PMC Flex - This stuff’s made for bezels!

Sometimes things…align. Just as I’m getting back into setting stones using PMC (Precious Metal Clay), Mitsubishi releases a new clay that is PERFECT for making bezels. I’m referring to PMC Flex. I couldn’t have wished for a more appropriate product. This is kind of a technical blog post, hope my PMC peeps dig it. (Please leave a comment if you do!)
I still use the same technique that I came up with a decade ago and that was first published in Lapidary Journal in ‘05. I then refined things and came up with some variations for Tim McCreight’s book PMC Technic in ’07. If you don’t have the book, the digital version was just released for sale through the Apple Ibooks Store, Amazon (for Kindle) and plays on almost any phone, tablet or computer.

The “Kahn Bezel” (as some have called it) is made up of scanning a cab, printing it 118% larger and using that template to make your back sheet. I still use PMC Plus for this (cause why not, it works great for this purpose and is less expensive than the newer clays).

Originally I used PMC Paper for the bezel because it was available, uniformly thin and created a great bezel wall. Then I moved to using PMC Plus or PMC3 because of the length limitation of the PMC Paper and because I wanted to create textured bezel walls. Rolling those clays super thin was difficult but even more difficult was handling them when dry.
video
This little Flipagram illustrates me making a bezel from start to finish. 

First I would roll out a snake of clay at 2 cards and then drop down to 3 pieces of paper on each side and roll onto my texture. Then I would cut bezel strips and I let them dry. (They need to dry so they don’t get hurt while working with them and so they stand up without flopping over.) Then I would re-wet the one side so it would become soft and flexible and bend it around the back sheet and mark where to cut it. I would sand beveled ends on the strip and in that time, it would dry and become rigid again and potentially break. I would wet it on the inside again and bend it around the back sheet, this time adhering it to the back sheet as I bent it around.

PMC Flex allows me to avoid some steps. I can simply let it dry and then it is super bendy and flexible - no cracking! It’s amazing that something so thin can be so pliable and worry free! 
So now, once it’s dry I can take my strip and bend it around, mark it, cut it, sand the ends, bend it around again and attach it to my back sheet, saving those re-wetting steps and saving me from holding my breath! What a treat!
 

Once fired, it is rigid and acts just like any bezel wall, I use a bezel roller followed by a steel burnisher to set my stone.

PMC Flex is so flexible that it is challenging to sand but for the purpose of making a bezel it is perfect. I’m loving setting stones again. I have 3 new turquoise pendants in my Etsy shop and more  on the way! 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Taking Some Time Amidst the Chaos

It's so easy to get completely overwhelmed right now so I'm trying to make time to take care of myself too. The Stoweflake Spa made that easy with their 50% off week deal. I called my dear friend Kori and we made a date for yesterday. We made sure to get there a couple hours early to enjoy the spa amenities: sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, waterfall pool, mineral pool. Pure luxuriousness.
Plus I was able to weave together business + social time + relaxation. The Spa made a BIG order from me over the summer and I was happy to see they are now quite low on work. They recently made a holiday order to replenish and I will be sending that in a few weeks but meanwhile I dropped off the 14 Chakra wraps that they ordered (they were completely out!) The Spa boutique carries the best products and features many Vermont made lines such as: LunaromaWay Out Wax and VT Artisan Tea Co
After a wonderful and relaxing Reflexology appointment with Lea I headed down the mountain road to the Stowe Craft Gallery to drop off the rest of their holiday order. 
So nice to see how they display my work and in a prominent position in the gallery. 
This week I also finished 3 new Turquoise pendants. You can find them in my Etsy shop. While I still have 2 shop orders to finish this week and then 3 HUGE shop orders to finish this month I'm trying to stay calm. Amanda Young is helping with that with weekly massages. After the spa afternoon yesterday and a massage from Amanda today, I feel ready to conquer the rest of the week. The sunshine ain't hurtin' either! To everyone that's workin' hard out there...make sure to take some time for yourself!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Artist Feature: Althea Designs

Today I'd like to introduce Althea Freeman-Miller. I just love her block prints. Last year I saw her show at Uncommon Grounds. I liked so many of her pieces that I couldn't choose. Through mutual friends, I saw her Facebook page and that she recently opened an Etsy shopI was happy to be her first customer. So excited to read that she'll be hanging prints at the Skinny Pancake this evening. Her show will be up until the new year. You can even buy them right off the wall and take them with you! They make great holiday gifts. 
How lovely is this Vermont!?
Her studio is swoon worthy. So much color and wood and light.
These motorcycle boots are rad!
 I like the detail yet homespun-ness of this anatomical heart
Althea writes on her website: "All I ever want to do is make things. I specialize in linoleum block printing because I am fascinated by the simplicity and personality of carved lines. I love the abundance and repetition relief printing has to offer. I’m inspired by little things that make life better, like rocking chairs, Swiss army knives, and tacos! I love feeling an appreciation for the world around me. My favorite prints have a sense of humor and a well balanced composition. They are often tributes to an under credited beauty: a carrot, a horse shoe crab, or a cheese grater. I use color very playfully. I like bright happy color combinations including bold blues, oranges, and deep greens." 
Her celebration of the ordinary is so appealing. All the pieces look so great together. About her process: "I begin a piece by studying my subject matter. I usually end up with a series of pencil drawings,  trying different angles and prospectives. It helps to imagine myself carving as I draw, finding opportunities to add texture and always keeping negative space in mind. There is always the decision if I will carve the back away or the design into the linoleum. Perfecting my drawing is the most time consuming part of the process. I use Japanese wood carving tools and linoleum mounted blocks. All my designs are printed on quality printmaking paper with soy-oil based inks. A wooded spoon or a 4 inch baren is used to rub the back of the paper while it lies on an inked block. Prints are mounted to up-cycled wood. All pieces are finished with a clear coat to protect the ink. They are sold ready to hang. Seeing my designs displayed on wood backing makes my process feel compete. It’s as if the image has come full circle and returned to a wood block." 
This is the bicycle print that I ordered from her Etsy shop. You get to choose the color of the ink and the color of the painted wood, it's nice to be able to customize what you want and having the print on the wood block does give it so much more substance. Custom orders do take a few weeks though so now is a great time to order for the holidays. I placed mine next to my back door and I enjoy that it's like a sign to remind me that my bicycle is right outside. Oh and look at that, right next to my Skinny Pancake hat -how perfect!