Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bleach Pen Fail

I decided that a shirt would be fun to try Clorox bleach pen on and I didn't even think about the fabric content.   Using a piece of foamcore cut to size and popped into the shirt I started painting with my bleach pen.  It's crazy but I'm sure this is exactly what they mean by this being a moisture wicking fabric because after getting about halfway through the design I could see the fabric pulling the moisture away from the main line of bleach.  I didnt think a whole lot about it thinking it could add a cool effect to the shirt.  When I came back to it the next day you can see in the last photo it was totally bleached out and no pattern was left under the bleach pen and I ended up with a huge yellow blob.  Oh well no huge loss but I would suggest that you stick with cotton fabric for future bleach pen projects.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bleach Pen Doodle Jean Tutorial

I've been obsessed by what folks have been doing with Clorox bleach pens and knew I had to give it a try myself.  Pintress has pins of a bunch done on all sorts of tee shirts but only a few posts on jeans.  After reading all about making your own bleach pens and more I decided to just purchase the bleach pens for my first go around.  Honestly the pens are under $3.00 each and it took me just over one pen to do every bit of doodling on this pair of jeans.  To me it would never be worth bothering with trying to make my own but that's just my opinion.  I would hate to get totally finished with my project just to find out my bleach ratio was off and I didn't get the nice deep bleached pattern I was looking for.

Jeans or other mostly cotton item
Clorox Bleach Pen
Tooth Pick or other sharp implement 
Wax Paper
Paper Towel

My friend Bethany made a good point, you don't want to use the dollar store version of these bleach pens, they work great on the grout in your bathroom but are to watery to be any good for this application.  Bleach bleeding will happen with the cheap pens, this is yet another reason I didn't want to mess with trying to make bleach paste.

Here are my finished jeans, I just thrilled with them.

I should have started by shaking my bleach pens to make sure the bleach paste inside was evenly distrubited throughout the pen.  I didn't do this but you will :). I started by placing waxed paper on the inside of the pants so the bleach wouldn't bleed through.  I simply cut the basic leg shape and slid it into both pant legs. I wasn't sure where I would end up doodling with the bleach so I simply lined both sides top to bottom.

You could draw a design onto your pants with chalk before applying the bleach but this goes against my jump in with both feet mentality so I didn't. Before you start doodling on the pants try it on a paper towel to get the feel for the pens bleach consistency, have a toothpick handy so you can pop any bubbles that need busting, trust me there will be bubbles.  I realized that I needed to start squeezing the pen before putting it down onto the denim to make sure I wouldn't be starting with a bubble.  I completed the the leg doodle and moved onto the front pocket because these were areas I could do without flipping the pants. The bleach must completely dry before you can work on the other side so no bleach smudging happens.

This is what the bleach looked like after drying, I took this powdery mess outside and brushed it off the pants.  Once it was pretty much all off I rinced the jeans in the tub to get out any extra bleach.  I didn't want it to take the chance that it might lighten the rest of the jean fabric in the laundry.  I have a front loader and they don't use as much water to dilute the bleach so this was just a precaution.

Here is the back of the finished jeans.

Close up of the leg, the toothpick also comes in handy to pull the bleach into points because the pens lay out a fairly thick line.

Here is the rear pocket and I did it last, I don't think that I had the pen as well shaken as the front and it's not as crisp of a design so shake those pens.

This is the front pocket and you can see some of it isn't as crisp as the leg pattern again with the shaking. LOL.   

This project was so much fun I see more in my future, I may have to doodle on friends jeans because just how many doodle jeans does one person need.  My jean jacket may be next on the docket.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Mr. Skull Bracelet

I purchased a skull bead from Laurie Loriola Flanders, she sells her beads under the name Isabel's Rose.  The bracelet was made on the jig and is hinged for comfort and the ease of getting it on and off.    I looked up the skull bracelets I had made in the past and the photo was dated three years ago!  I also made some sugar skull beads two years ago and I'm thinking maybe a cross between the three styles would be fun.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Double Hinged Bracelet

I was thinking about making hinged bracelets after taking Richard Salley's class a few weeks ago and the idea came to me that purchased hinges would be so much easier to use than trying to make my own. The patina on these really did turn out purple, pink, orange and blue, it's not a trick of the camera.  I really hope I can repeat these colors and that it wasn't just the atmosphere playing tricks.
Double Hinged Bracelet $75.00

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Funky Skull Necklace

A fun skull necklace made on the Jig with a handmade chain. This skull was created by Marianne Kasparian of MAKUstudio.
Funky Skull Necklace. $90.00 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Handmade Chasing and Texture Tools

I just got back from Bead & Button in Milwaukee where I took a class from Richard Salley in tool making.  I learned how to turn W1 water hardening stock tool steel into chasing and texturing tools.  They turned out amazing I couldn't have been any happier with the class. There was plenty of time to work and I was able to complete 15 tools including all the twisted handles tempering and hardening so they are ready to use. I hope to take more classes from Richard and if you have a chance look up his work its amazing.
Chasing and texture tools along with a burnishing tool and scribe
Notice the fun twist in the handle

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Friday, May 30, 2014

Winged Heart

I have several of these amazing Nailed Hearts made by, this is Mak's small heart but either size would work for this design.  I have plans to start publishing my designs as tutorials making they will be available through Etsy as an instant PDF download.  These are also available for sale as finished work if you don't want to make your own.

Winged Heart Necklace $90.00
All recycled copper with a handmade ceramic raku fired heart made by MAKU

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Fuzzy Ball Bracelet

My friend Emily was over today and we worked on some felted ball bracelets.  They are made out of recycled copper, handmade felted balls and glass beads.

Friday, May 16, 2014

More Air Chased Cuffs

I spent yesterday hammering tubing at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and with Lauren the hammer queen's help and I got some amazing results.  the camera really caught the true color of these.

Tonight I'll be at Spring into the Arts downtown Battle Creek in Lynn Ivan Salon.  Come on down to see me if you get a chance.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Air Chased Cuffs

Today I tried air chasing copper pipe into cuffs, it looks a whole lot easier than it really is.  There are a few fold forming and air chasing videos on you tube that give the basics but there's no understanding of what's going on with the metal until you start hammering.  On the first one I didn't get much lift off the bracelet and on the second one I had pleanty. It didn't spread the love across the whole bracelet top so I ended up with more if a defined ridge than I was going for.  All in all it was a very productive day and I learned a lot about moving the metal.  I think it may be time to take Lauren's chasing class at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts so I can learn to get more uniform results.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Oval Wrapped Link Necklace.

I worked on this oval wrapped link last night while watching TV, using the 1/2 inch oval peg for the Now That's a Jig.  If you would like to try this technique yourself I used 18 gauge recycled copper wire but you could use 20 gauge for a more delicate look.

Close-up of the Oval Wrapped Link Necklace $85.00

Just to give you an idea of size, these aren't delicate links.
Here the links are unfinished on the jig.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Applying to Art Fairs

I just found this post that had been wrote but never posted, I decided it was a great post so better late than never :)

While I was in Tucson (2013)with Diane Hawkey I got to watch her jury photos for entrance into an art fair.  It was truly an eye opening experience.  First of all I have to say that deciding on what photos to send in to a jury is painful at best but maybe my experience can help you along your path to getting excepted into better shows.  It's been awhile since I was refused entrance into a show because of my photos or anything else for that matter but my photos could be a whole lot cleaner and my booth photos could be so much nicer with just a few tweaks.  Lets start with my jewelry photos.  These are two that I have often sent in.
Grandmothers Flower Garden

Bell of the Ball
Although these photos are very good they could be better first off almost all the photos I saw that were good didn't have the edges messed with and they had a gradient gray background.  I really liked the look of these photos because they didn't glare white at you from the screen. All of the photos should reflect your work and should go together.  They want to see photos where they could say yes this work all looks like one person makes it.  They don't want to see a sample of each style you offer.

 When the juror pulls up your file what they see is your four photos of jewelry then they click on a link that takes them to your booth photo.  The first thing they look for is does the jewelry fit the booth.  Is the booth clear of clutter.  Are there items cluttering up your photo, you may want to remove them I'm not talking about removing things forever but one of the comments that was made over and over was that a booth looked like it had thrown up it's goods.  Edit your booth for your photo, don't put out everything you own even if you do put it all out at the show.  It should look extremely neat and organized.  I am going to set up my booth when it gets warmer and take a new photo of it editing so that it's clean and crisp.  I tend to over do it and honestly after looking at maybe 100 booth photos I never want to see overdone again.  

Your juror then rates your booth between 0-3, you ask what gets a 0 well many artist sent in photos of more jewelry that is not a booth pic and one person even sent in a photo of their tent all zipped up.  I laughed so hard when I saw it because when you think of it that is a booth photo just not exactly what the juror would prefer to see.  When I started out I was told that a juror wants to see all 3 sides of your tent but this isn't true at all what they really want to see is that your booth represents what you are selling in a clean, fitting way.  Do your table skirts go to the ground, are your shelves over filled.  The other thing that got to be a turn off is the jewelry displays that you can get at Michael's.  Honestly there are so many other better options besides black velvet neck forms, use your imagination it will pay off.  

2012 booth photo
This is my 2012 booth photo, Melissa and I took it on a freezing day in January.  It was before we had truly finished the booth but we needed something to send in and this did the job.  We got into all the shows we applied to but it has been improved a lot since then.  First of all we now have wine colored fitted table cloths.  You may not think this is a big deal but the judges are looking for a clean crisp look and knotting my table cloths is distracting and sloppy looking. I would never take a photo on cement again green grass looks so much more inviting. We also have added wine colored panels to the corners of our booth to carry the color up into more of the booth.  When I take the new photos I will also try to not get the top of the tent it's distracting.  A few of the photos looked like maybe they stood on a ladder to give a better view of their setup.  As far as the table top displays I would work on evening out the weight of them but other than that they aren't to bad I did see better but it really wasn't my style and you truly want to reflect that in this photo because you only get one shot. 

Hammered Double Bangle

Recycled Hammered Double Bangle, wear single or double them up.
Hammered Double Bangle $20.00
Hammered Double Bangle $20.00
Two Hammered Double Bangles $20.00 Each.

Scroll Cuff

I made up some bracelets Sunday and applied the patina yesterday.  These were made from a tutorial called Aegean Cuff Bracelet wrote by Stacy Perry, her Etsy shop is here,  I was thrilled with the tutorial the photos and instructions were easy to follow.  I made the first one exactly like the instructions but then the second and third ones I used the Now That's a Jig to make the band sections and and added more curls, the process went so much faster with the jig that I cut my time down to about half of what it took me to do with pliers.  This is because there was no measuring simply wrapping the wire around the appropriate jig pins then snipping them apart. This bracelet used just over 12 feet of recycled wire but it doesn't feel heavy.

The top photo shows the cuff after the Aegean Blue Patina treatment that is explained in the tutorial and the bottom cuff is after I used the buffing wheel.  When the bracelets came out of the fuming I should have rinsed them off but didn't realize I needed too and just let them dry.  I may have had a smoother patina had I read through all the directions, what's new.  The patina was just going to knock off the bracelet so taking the buffing wheel to it quickened the process.  After the buffing wheel I used Pledge Wipes to pick up any stray dust.  

The first bracelet I made using the measurements given in the tutorial ran a little small so keep that in mind.  I would suggest making one of the body bands bend it and make sure of the length before proceeding to make the rest. 
Scroll Cuff $80.00
Scroll Cuff $80.00