Friday, 19 March 2010

We're in Business

So last week I bit the bullet and set up an Etsy shop and linked it to my website. I have been very keenly watching the traffic on my site and have been very excited as I’ve reached lots of mini milestones with visitors and questions and really little things like that (I kind of make the milestones up as I go along therefore I am never disappointed). But today I have hit the first biggest milestone that I actually had set without just “happening” upon it...... I have had my first sale of my beadies!!!!!!!


How excited am I? That’ll be VERY! Oh wow - people actually want to buy my beads and stuff that I make. What a buzz and a headrush! Can you tell that I’m excited? I want to run around and scream at the top of my voice that I am successful [sic]!

So the hard work and the prattling around trying to get my sites up and running has paid off. It is surprisingly time consuming setting up each item for sale - taking the photos, tweaking the pics so that they are straight and in focus etc, and the writing up and making sure the details are correct. It is like ebay but perhaps with more pride because I’m not selling stuff I don’t need/want anymore; rather I’m selling lots of things that I would love to keep (magpie syndrome) but know I must try and “dispose” of them in the prettiest way possible.

It took a lot of courage to start selling my beads and jewellery. I had a lot of worries and self doubt especially if I sell something that the buyer isn’t satisfied with. To that end I have almost put disclaimers on my beads (but not quite) but then I have realised that the people who are buying my beads are likely to be people who make their own jewellery and are buying handmade beads exactly because they don’t want the precision machine made chinese beads that flood the general market. I am going to have to keep reminding myself of this and have faith in my creative abilities. So to all you newbies who are wavering on the edge of to sell or not to sell..... just do it. You’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Etch-a-Sketch....Shake to Erase

So everyone says that encasing beads makes them gloriously shiny and gets the colours to “pop” and gives them I have been breaking myself learning to encase. Now I can kinda encase I want to have a go at etching to make them look really matt and dull. So I bought some etch-all the other week when I was at the Essex bead fair and have just had a go.

When I first read about etching the was a lot of talk about having to neutralise the etched beads with bicarb of soda, and various other procedures which all sounded quite dangerous and, to be honest, a bit too faffy to bother with. But this etch-all is just so easy to use as you just rinse the solution off the beads in running water once you have etched them enough (although you should still neutralise with with a solution of water and bicarb of soda to prevent residual acid burns). And also you can then return the used etching solution back into the pot for re-use (good job as it isn’t particularly cheap).

The instructions said that you only need to leave the beads in for a minute but I have found that doesn’t take much of the shine off thus I leave mine in the etching fluid for about 10 minutes which gives them a good matt finish. They don’t seem to take on the etched appearance until they are rinsed, neutralised and dried. Etching is very effective on transparent - the pic has CIM and Reichenbach opaques, transparent and opals in wrapped in SIS. And I also stir them in the pot using bamboo BBQ skewers continuously - if you just let them sit there then they come out with shiny bottoms where they have sat - and nobody wants a shiny bottom!

P.S. it does also take the shine of the inside of the little ceramic ramekin I use for my etching so I dread to think what it would do to a plastic or metal container - be warned!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Silver - It's Tarnished me

I have been trying for weeks to get my Double Helix glass to do anything other than turn out colours akin to baby poo. I got a mixed bundle of DH from Tuffnell Glass in January and was so excited that I would be able to produce these magic striking and reducing colours. I did my research and began to work my rather expensive rods of glass eagerly awaiting mystic pinks and swirling purples and metallic sheen galore on my little hot head.... and I got baby poo rather consistently.

Then 2 months on I discovered Triton and Aurae and my faith was restored in my abilities to reduce glass. I have burnt my fingers covering holes in the torch to get a reducing flame (yes half of you will say “tut tut” for not using tinfoil and the other half will say it because it is a little risky messing blocking essential oxygen intake in to the flame). I have found that Triton, Aurae and Pysche work really well on a HH and silvered reduction effects can be achieved by bringing the bead into the blue cone, without actually having to cover the holes - but a better effect can be achieved by actually reducing. It has been great fun to have a play with - if not a little frustrating and expensive at times).

I’ve done a bit more research and am going to have a more constructive and realistic attempt at the striking glasses such as Gaia and Luna; and if I’m feeling brave then I will have a go at the kiln strikers. I have to say thanks to all of the good advice and lessons learnt from the guys at Frit Happens - it would have been an unmitigated disaster without such essential intelligence!

Monday, 1 March 2010

Spring is in the Air

Bicarbonate of Soda is amazing isn’t it....

Need I say more?