Wednesday, 26 March 2014

In Good Company

I was going to write about copyright and image/design theft for today's post, as it's something that's becoming increasingly relevant to me - but I've decided to go with a more positive theme, and save the legal stuff for another day.

I'm very flattered to have been invited to join a whole bunch of talented sellers in a Facebook market night event on Saturday.  Online markets are becoming quite common - it's a great way for buyers to see the things they like all in one place, from the comfort of - well, wherever they want to be, these days.

This is only the second one I've participated in, and for the occasion, I've offered my new pieces, including this Sunset Tree, at special prices just for the event.  Please do pop along if you're able - there really will be some beautiful work there.  And I may even pluck up the courage to do one all by myself one day.  Although it is fun being part of a group of sellers for a change, so maybe not ... ;)

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Structure and a self-imposed challenge

As someone who currently works from home, I find that a certain amount of structure to my working week is necessary.  If you follow me on Facebook, you'll know that I spend Wednesdays in my hubby's workshop, wrestling his and my paperwork into shape and doing all the other admin tasks I put off during the rest of the week - listing in my online shops and writing this blog among them.

During the rest of the week, I start work by 9, make sure I take a break for lunch and work through until at least 5.30 (and usually later in the evening - you know what it's like when you work for yourself!).  This works for me.  I don't allow myself to get tempted by that book I'm dying to finish, or wander off to play cook in the kitchen.  That's not to say I can't if I really want to (and I'm not under pressure with commissions), but I generally don't.  This is a job - one I love, I can't deny it - but one that needs to pay my bills or I'll have to give it up.  So I'm utterly committed to making it work. :)

I'm interested to know what your own work ethic is, if you work from home?  Do you work 'office hours', or have a more relaxed schedule?  What works for you?

Along the theme of self-discipline and having daily/weekly tasks, I'm going to set myself a mini challenge - I'm going to make one pair of earrings every (working) day for the whole of April.  Would anyone like to join in?  It could be any task you'd like to set yourself daily, and you can share the results here or on my Facebook page if you'd like to.  :) 

Something tells me I'll be sick of the sight of earrings by the end of April ... nah, that'll never happen. ;)  I'd best get making earwires in preparation, though ...

Friday, 14 March 2014

Thank Flux For That ...

By Jove, I think I've cracked it!  If you follow me on Facebook, you probably know that I've been trying for months to make ball ended brass headpins with my torch.  I've mastered bronze and copper and I'm happy to buy proprietary silver ones, but I so wanted to make brass ones!  Unfortunately, every attempt I made involved spitting and smoking and charred remains - and let's not even talk about what happened to the wire ... ;)  It didn't seem to matter how I treated the wire or where I held it in the flame - same result.  Burnt offerings and a nasty smell.

However, after some time spent Googling the problem (again) and generally doing a lot of whingeing about it, I saw someone mention way down one of the pages I was poring over for help, that they used flux on their wire.  I can't remember where I saw it, nor can I find it again (naturally) or I'd put the link here.  But 'Aha' I thought - flux.  So I looked up flux on some of my supplier sites, only to realise there are lots of different types, and I couldn't find one that suggested it could be used on brass.  I asked on my Facebook page, and a very kind follower advised that although she used it for silver, her preferred flux was borax.

I figured it was worth a try - at the very least, if it didn't work, I could try it on my sterling wire.  So, one borax cone and a dish later, I sat down this morning to experiment.  Painting the wire with the flux paste is fiddly and time-consuming, but when I put my brass wire in the flame, expecting a mini fire again, it was not so!  A teeny tiny ball formed on the end of the wire and did its fascinating spinning around and crawling up the wire thing.  It's going to take some practise to get the balls a bit more central, and it's not as easy as bronze - but yay!  Result!  :)

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Do you believe in fairies ... ?

Remember when we were kids?  Every time a wish was made - when blowing out birthday candles, puffing the seeds from a dandelion etc - I had two alternating wishes.  The first was the (still unfulfilled) wish for a puppy, the second was for a pair of working fairy wings.  It's an age old desire for humans to be able to fly, so it's not really that surprising.  But imagine the delight of sporting a fluttering pair of delicate shimmering wings that could actually lift you off the ground.  Let's be honest - I'd still wish for that if I thought it was remotely possible, but I think my belief in magic may be just a tiny bit tarnished. However, a little of that belief in magic must linger in many of us, because the allure of fairies never completely diminishes.  As evidenced by this recent artwork commission - a set of Four Seasons fairies.

I enjoyed working on this so much, it inspired me to make a wire fairy pendant, using my original goddess design and a dash of seasonal magic.  So here is my Spring Fairy.

Of course, I'm slightly more obsessed with merfolk than fairies, so I'm still trying to work out how to make a mermaid pendant, but in the meantime, don't stop believing in fairies - I may still get my wings! ;)