Jewelrymaking iPhone App

I’m working on a resource list for my Guest Artist visit to the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild this weekend.  I’m giving two demos:  Scribble Beads and  Combining Metal & Polymer Clay.  After compiling a list of online sources for various tools, supplies and reference books, I was trying to think if there was any other really useful resource, and I remembered the iMakeJewelry iphone app by Victoria Lansford.

Clearly this is designed for a very narrow market, but if you make jewelry and you have an iphone or an ipod touch, then it’s a really great tool.  Among other things the application has:

  • up to date metals prices
  • reference info on a variety of metals & stones
  • calculators for ring blank lengths, sheet & wire weights etc.
  • tables with B & S gauge info & corresponding drill bit size
  • conversion calculators for area, distance, mass, temperature & volume
  • and a bonus tips & hints section

It’s a really handy app!

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Bead & Button Show – Microfold Texture Class

My buddy and annual roommate, Diane Villano arrived this afternoon and I had my first class today.  I’m having a blast already.  The energy and enthusiasm here at the Bead & Button Show is fantastic.  I love talking to other students about what classes they’ve taken so far.  Despite the economy there seem to be plently of people here taking classes, and it seems like everyone is loving what they’ve learned.

My class today was “Microfold Textures” with Jack Berry, sponsored by Rio Grande.  Their classes are great because they bring jeweler’s benches fully stocked with all the tools and supplies.  All you have to bring is a pen and pad.

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It was a really fun day.  Jack Berry is a great teacher, very thorough and an altogether delightful person to be around.  We used an industrial tube wringer and/or a microfold brake to crimp sheets of copper or silver and then refined the textures with pliers and punches.

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The earrings I made are strictly based on the suggested pattern.  My attempts to play around with some variations weren’t too successful.  It’s something I want to explore some more when I get home.

Tomorrow I’ve got a beading class and the Meet the Teachers reception in the evening.

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Reawakening the creative voice

This long dark winter has been a creative desert for me.  It has been so long since I have done anything artsy that my creative voice has been completely silenced.  Even when I am too busy with life to get into the studio, my mind is usually awash in ideas and images.  Often I think of new designs, but I also spend a lot of time mentally problem-solving the more complex ideas I’ve had.  In the past months, I have been so completely closed off from all of my usual creative pursuits that I didn’t notice the absence of ideas right away.  Frankly my brain has been feeling like it’s just full of white noise.

When I realized it, I got kind of scared… and then I got mad… at myself.  I don’t want to be like this anymore, and I am tired of waiting for my creative voice to magically wake up on its own.  So I’ve taken steps to wake it up, and it’s starting to work.  First of all I signed up for my metals class again.  In several weeks all I have done is solder a few bezels to base sheets and cut and file them.  I haven’t made it down to the studio yet, but taking that first step, getting my hands on one of the materials I love, has banished that feeling of white noise.  I’ve got ideas and images floating around in my head again, jewelry designs I want to play around with, and I am thrilled.

I am holding off on the celebration until after I get down into my studio and get my hands on some polymer clay.  I think it will be soon though because for the first time in a very long time I want to get back to it.

(This post has been sitting in my “drafts” folder for a couple of weeks.  I’m happy to say my creative voice is back!  I’ll try to post more about it soon, but for now I’m going to ride the wave.)

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On a positive note

I am not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, but as I was looking back at last year’s blog posts, I noticed that I really whine a lot about creative inertia, blocks etc.   So I am not going to call this a resolution, but  going forward I will to try to cut back on the whining on the blog.  I doubt I can stop it altogether, but I think I aim for a more positive note.  I am not a big fan of negativity, and I don’t think dwelling on the negative so often is doing me any good.

Currently I am working on Studio Snapshot of my own studio which I should have up in a few days.  I followed my own advice, and did not rush around cleaning so my photos are going to show tables covered with projects and supplies instead of a pristine space.  I don’t know about other people but my studio is something of a work in progress.  I have moved several things around since I first set it up and I expect to make other changes eventually.

Also, I have gotten a wonderful response to my latest call for more Studio Snapshots so I’ll have several studios to share with you in the coming weeks.  Contact me if you’d like to have your studio featured.

Anyway… on another positive note here’s a beautiful twilight sky photo I took recently.

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