Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Adventures in PMC (Precious Metals Clay)

It was actually low temperature, slow dry Art Clay I used. PMC and Art clay consists of particles of pure silver and some enviromentally safe binders that once burn off from firing, leave the artist with 99.9% pur silver. So, prior to diving in, I carefully researched the product. I'd seen some beautiful pieces of jewelry made by artists online and was certain I too could create a unique masterpiece.

So my clay arrived, I had my design all mapped out and I was rearin' to go! The clay was harder than I'd thought it would be so I kneaded it in my hand in hopes of softening it. This may have been my first big mistake because it seemed the clay was becoming drier.

As much as I tried to create my design, the clay cracked and fell apart. I added a bit of water to it but it seemed the material was now pasty with little hard chunks. Frustrated, about all I felt I could do was roll the clay on my mat and create something different. I came up with a cross. Quickly I grabbed my "scratch and dent" irradiated diamonds and pressed them in, careful each one would be secure in the clay.

I then took a hair dryer and dried the clay for about 40 min. on high. From there I filed my cross. It had an amateurish look to it, but it was my salvaged work of art. I let it set out and continue to thoroughly dry until around noon the next day (about 12 hours).

To fire my piece I used my gas stove top and some metal wire netting my husband picked up at the hardware store. I followed instructions I read online. I lit the burner to see where the red from the heat was then placed my pieces there (after first turning off the stove). When my cross and other pieces were "cooking" they eventually became a pinkish-peach in color. I knew this was the time to begin the timer. I made sure each piece was like that at least a few minutes and watched making sure they didn't turn red hot.

When the timer beeped, I placed my pieces in a dish of cool water and heard each make a popping noise from the temperature change. Once cooled I filed away the white surface creating a mat finished pure silver creation. I buffed the parts of some items I wanted shiny. I later wire wrapped them, but my poor cross never did look like I'd hoped. Nonetheless, I like it.

I'm not too discouraged. I read up on PMC and Art Clay a bit more and learned I shouldn't "play" with the clay but work with it right away. I can worry about perfecting edges when I sand the dry piece rather than while it's soft.

Each of the pieces displayed have been offered in my Esty store:




Sunday, May 24, 2009

Here's the Sale!

This is my first promotion, and it will be interesting to find out if it's worth offering; if people will take advantage of it. I've already begun doing some Etsy shopping in other stores having sales.

Origionally I planned on starting the sale Monday but decided to begin it a bit early. Here's how the promotion is stated in my announcement:

---------------------------SALE TODAY!!!------------------------

This is my first promo. I hope you'll find something you'll enjoy.

I'm offering FREE SHIPPING on all items PLUS an additional 10% off!! Sunday and Monday(24th and 25th) ONLY! Most items are one of a kind so grab them while they're available! Savings will be issued by way of Paypal within 24 hours. Please note I am in Oregon, USA, Pacific time zone.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Memorial Day Sale!

First off, God's blessings to the families who have lost loved ones, our heroes, who died making our nation the great one it is. My prayers are with you and our nation as we remember these brave souls.

This Memorial day, from midnight Pacific Time to 11:59PM, as the day comes to an end, I'd like to offer special savings. The actual sale won't be disclosed until Memorial Day morning (midnight) and will be announced on my store page. The special offer will be refunded via Paypal into the customer's account. I've purchaced a showcase spot on Etsy and am getting ready to add some great new collectable additions so keep your eyes peeled!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Out of This World Pendants!

I'm really excited to be working with meteorites and tektites. While most know meteorites are pieces of metal from outer space that hit the earth, many aren't familiar with tektites. Tektites are formations occurring from meteorite impacts. A popular and sought after tektite is Moldavite. It is a earthy green color (middle photo).

Below are some pendants recently listed in my Etsy store. I plan on list more in the near future depending on the popularity of these treasures.




Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What Goes into a Piece

I do my best to keep my prices low. There is a lot that goes into each wire wrapped pendant, so I can really justify what might seem to be higher prices in other people's work. Sure, you can buy a cab in a bezel or prong setting for a bit less money (sometimes), but for the mass produced castings, there isn't always love and character going into the pieces. I thought I'd give you all a literary glimpse of what goes into making my wire wrapped pendants.

Selecting Stones and Supplies: First off, I don't have a lot of money at my disposal on any given day. Because of this, I buy wire as I need it and I'm careful to purchase stones I know I'll use. The wire I work with is typically half-hard (to hold shape) and solid sterling silver. My stones come from trusted vendors and unless otherwise stated, are all natural. I work with rough material and polished stones. I spend literally hours a week searching out affordable yet unique stones to use in my pendants. I like having a story behind my jewelry; something more to say than "thank you" when someone compliments one of my pieces.

Designing: By the time I've purchased a stone, I usually have an idea of what I want to do with it. It's not uncommon for me to start out with one idea and end up with a completely different design. I try to let each piece take on its own personality. Nonetheless, I often take time to sketch out my intended design. I can spend 10 minutes to 30 minutes drawing each item.

Finding Time to Wrap: What many don't know is I am a stay-at-home mom to 3 special needs kids ages 10 mo, 5 1/2 and 7 1/2 whom my husband and I have adopted through our state's foster system. My day often consists of running to and from appointments or preschool. I wouldn't trade my life for anything, as you moms out there know, parenting in general can be exhausting but rewarding! Because of this, I try to keep my work lighthearted and fun. I work on a weekend day and in the evenings while my dear husband takes care of the kids. Being the night owl I am, I can be up late working on pieces as my husband lays snoring away on the couch beside me.

Depending on the pendant, I spend anywhere from an hour to 2 1/2 hours wrapping. The average pendant takes typically just under 2 hours. I'm sure there are some out there who can whip up their pieces in less time but I try to take my time, measuring and utilizing enough materials so my settings are a bit more substantial. This also costs a bit more money to do.

Listing: Between photographing, editing pictures and loading descriptions, I can spend about 20 minutes on each item just on listing.

Advertising: Finding time to promote my items is a real challenge. I try to participate on forums so people will know I exist. I have this blog, and a couple other social network sites I work with keeping people up to date with what I'm doing. I spend at lease a couple hours a week promoting.

Shipping: Most often its a single item being taken to the post office. This obviously takes time and gasoline. My husband has been the one to so graciously drop orders off lately.

To Sum it all Up: So while I may only spend $10 to $25 in actual supplies per piece, between selecting stones, designing, wrapping, listing, promoting and delivering, I can spend an easy average of 4 hours on one piece as I typically produce only about 5 per week.

So what's my time worth? Well thankfully wire wrapping is a relaxing hobby of mine. Currently, most of my pendants are priced about $34-$36. Just because my prices are lower does not mean I skimp on quality. I work to make pieces I personally would be proud to wear. If I'm not satisfied with them, they don't get listed.

Photographing Jewelry

Admittedly, photography is not my strong point. I would much rather be wire wrapping than taking pictures. Since my time on Etsy.com (just over a month)I've browsed many successful stores and noticed quality pictures. I've also shopped jewelry, soaps and handbags.

The photos which tend to sell me on items are ones where the product is modeled in use. For example, there is a model wearing a necklace or purse, or soaps are shown in a soap dish or counter top with a wash rag or something.
So I spent the better part of last night into this morning taking lots of new pictures to display my pendants on my neckline. While I don't have the most flattering neckline, my hope is customers will get a better idea of the size and impact of my peices.

If you've visited some of my jewelry in the past, I hope you'll come back and rediscover them.

The pendant featured in this photo is available in my Etsy store for $36.

Congratulations to the Heart Mom Winner!

A winner has been selected for Heart Mom's Mother's day drawing and her name is Kimberly. Congratulations Kimberly! I hope you enjoy your pendant.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Nominate Your 2009 Heart Mom

This is the last week to nominate your "Heart Mom".

Haven't heard of Heart Mom yet? Please check out the website at http://heartmom.com/! Read Ali's blog and connect with other moms on the HeartMom forum.

"At Heart Mom we want to celebrate the good mom's and support those who got a not good one. Whether you're a Mom, mother, Mum, Mama, Mommy, Mummy, Momma, Foster Mom, Step Mom, Birth Mom, Surrogate Mom, Biological Mom, other Mom, Friend's Mom, Soon to be Mom, Trying to Conceive Mom, Stay at Home Mom, Working Mom, Disabled Mom, Special Needs Mom, Homeschooling Mom, PTA Mom, and on and on and on home is where the Heart Mom is. Find support, messages, friends, advice, and ideas here at HeartMom.com"

To help honor the Heart Mom winner, EmBound is offering a lovely sterling silver wire wrapped pendant with a color change alexandrite glass (made in West Germany 1948-1950) accented with a genuine faceted apatite bead.

If you would like to purchase this pendant, you can do that too by visiting my store. The one in my store will come with a 20" sterling silver neck chain and sells for $24.



CLICK HERE to make your nomination now!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Tying up Loose Ends

With precious metal prices so high today I am consciencious about making the most of my jewelry materials. Since begining my wire wrapped designs I've saved the clippings with the intent of having them recycled.

Wanting to make a cross necklace for myself, and having the idea for one in my head, I began prepping materials for my project. It then dawned on me I had all these pre-cut pieces at my disposal to impliment my design. This was a bit of relief as I realized I was running low on materials this week.

Satisfied with my finished cross, I thought perhaps others may enjoy a similar one as well. So I began working away.

Unlike with many of my other pendants, I am offering a 20" 925 sterling silver box chain with this one.

If you are interested in purchacing one of these crosses for yourself they are currently available at www.EmBound.net in my Etsy store for $17.50.