Friday, September 30, 2011

The Countdown Is On!

Well, one week from today is the Appalachian Mountain Artisans Festival. I am extremely nervous for several reasons. The first one is the usual...will people like my jewelry...will they like it enough to buy it. I have managed to keep this fear under control for the last several years, because my jewelry and glass work have become more popular and I know I have many who buy from me frequently. That tells me someone likes it (besides my mom, who has too.) lol

More than that though is the fact that it is my first outdoor show, and it is three days long. All the shows I have done to this point have been indoor craft shows. No worrying with the weather. I have my canopy, and thanks to my wonderful husband I have all of the panels I need to close it up. I'm going to have to put it up by myself on Thursday while he is at work because I have ceramics class on Thursday night. Let's hope that goes smooth.

I am frantically making jewelry, and the kiln is running non-stop when I am at home. I think I have plenty of jewelry and glassware that people will like, but you just never know. It has been a mad rush with this and school. It won't stop any time soon. I have another show in Leesburg the first weekend in November and the Holiday Heritage show at Southern State Community College (where I work) the first weekend in December. I'm happy to have so many shows before Christmas. I hope I can keep up.

Three days...outdoor show...October in Ohio...need I say more. Everybody pray for good weather next weekend.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Quilt Squares

Now, if you are not from Ohio you may not know what a big deal barn quilts are. Other states have them too, but Ohio seems to have a rather large amount of them and they are fairly popular. They have branched out from barns and are now on a variety of other buildings. We even have one at the college on the building where I work. Well as I mentioned earlier, Jo at Hilltop Designs hosts an art festival each year called the Appalachian Mountain Artisans Festival. On the side of her building she has one of the quilt squares. She asked me to make some jewelry with her quilt square on it to sell during the festival.

That took a great deal of research on my part. I can fuse images into my pieces, but they come in the form of water slide decals that are created to be placed on the glass and fired in the kiln. There are all types of images you can get on the decals. Everything from animals to flowers to trees, religious symbols, abstract designs, etc. I have yet to find water slide decal material that will go into the kiln that will allow you to print your own images first. I ended up having to special order ink jet decal paper that allowed me to print my quilt images from my ink jet printer.

This means I have to first cut my glass pieces and fire them in the kiln. Once they are done, I can then apply the images to the glass.
Now, my next problem. I needed some way to keep the images from scratching off of the glass. I am using a spray acrylic sealer that should do the trick. I am using about 4 coats of that so it means spray and then drying time in between each coat.

Finally, I have started making the cord necklaces and putting on the findings. I am happy to say that I am getting close to having 25 necklaces and 35 key chains done, but the process is a long one. It takes awhile to get from cutting the glass, through firing, applying the decals, spraying multiple coats of the sealer, making the cords, epoxying (is that a word) on the findings, and finishing things up.
I hope that these are popular for her and people like them. I now realize, however, I don't want to be a production jeweler. lol

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I've Gone International!

I have the had the deepest sense of satisfaction today. I shipped my first piece of jewelry out of the country. My Facebook Fan page reached 100 fans, so I held a contest for all of those wonderful people. I gave everyone numbers and then used to pick a random number. The winner was to get this necklace...
The wonderful lady whose number I drew lives in British Columbia. She was extremely excited that she won, and she said she had never won anything before. I am so happy that I got to break her losing streak for her. lol

I am also extremely happy about it. It made me feel good that she was so thrilled to have won the necklace. And, it made me feel good that I now have a piece that is international. :)

I can hardly wait until I hit 200 fans so we can have another contest. Shannon, I hope the necklace makes it to you soon and thanks for making my day!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

New Shop

See this piece at
Another first for me, I finally have my Etsy shop up and running! I guess that makes me an official online business. I have wanted to do this for years, but it seemed like life, work, kids, etc. were always getting in the way. I could barely keep enough inventory going for the shows I did and the shops I consigned to.

 Now that I have made a commitment to myself that I am going to grow my business and do all of things that goes along with that, I am starting to get some things accomplished. I now have the blog up and running, I am increasing my inventory in preparation for all the shows that I am going to be doing between now and the first of the year, and now my ETSY STORE!!!

See this piece at
It seems that I am still really nervous about all of this. I am almost as nervous as I was when I started doing shows. I guess that I will always worry about people not liking my pieces. I don't seem to have that problem at the shows I do anymore. My sales are always good and I get a lot of praise about my work. I guess I will have to get over the jitters, just like I did when I started doing shows.

The one thing I did find out was that it takes a little time to get an item listed. Between taking pictures, editing pictures, writing descriptions, uploading, tagging, promoting, etc. its not as easy as just slapping an item up there.

See this piece at
Any how, I have taken another step on my journey and it makes me feel accomplished. Now, if I were that close to being ready for school to start that would be saying something. lol

If you get the chance take a look at my Etsy store, Let me know what you think, if you have any comments, requests, or just a pat on the back that would be good too. :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Crashed Glass

Well, tonight I had a glass catastrophe. I was experimenting with a drop ring vase. I was using a thicker piece of glass I made from a pot melt. Evidently the glass was too heavy and I took it up too high because it fell right through the drop ring and splatted on the kiln tile. I will have to try a different firing schedule with the thicker pieces.

Since that was a bust, I spent this evening polishing pieces and finishing up some half done pieces to get ready for the various shows I have coming up.
One thing I am working on is fused glass necklaces that can be worn by men or women.
I have gotten several requests for more masculine jewelry, so I am putting together these necklaces. I have also done some more masculine bracelets with gemstones and leather and some fused glass tie clips and tie tacks. I plan on taking some more pictures tomorrow so I will have some more examples soon. If anyone has any requests or ideas for masculine jewelry please let me know.

Friday, September 2, 2011

More on Pot Melts

In case you can't tell, doing pot melts in the kiln is one of my favorite things to do. I found a picture of one in the kiln that I took awhile ago. As I said in my last post, the pot melt starts by loading a pot with a hole in the bottom with different colors of scrap glass. Then you fire the kiln and break the temperature up until the glass gets molten and flows out of the bottom of the pot. Here is what it looks like.
The glass pools up on the kiln shelf and when it cools you have beautiful patterns of different colors. From there you can do a variety of things with the tile. I showed you the vase I created from the blue pot melt I did the other night.
I also make jewelry out of pot melts as well. They can be cut with a saw, or my personal favorite, I wrap it in newspaper and take it out on my concrete barn floor. I take the hammer to it and come out with all kinds of different shapes.
I put the pieces back into the kiln and fire them again to get nice polished sides and edges. These are so fun to do.