Friday, October 30, 2009

Sales still slow, learning how to work with bronzclay and dealing with children in small spaces

The last two days have been "flu" days at school, and the schools have been closed -- which means that in addition to my 2-year-old son, who enjoys being at the caboose -- I have had my 6-year-old daughter, who does not. The two of them alternated between hitting/poking/jabbing each other and complaining that the other one touched them. Grrrr! Very hard to concentrate and get anything done in that environment. Luckily Dad got off early today and came to get them. Yeah!

I worked on several projects this week -- a two-tone belt buckle made of bronzclay, PMC and sterling silver; two bronzclay pendant and earring sets; and a bronzclay prototype pin for the B.R.A.N. (Bike Ride Across Nebraska) riders that will be coming through town next June. I also made two pin prototypes in my signature colored pencil mini paintings on plastic.

I am working on a wire pendant in sterling and black onyx as well.

The bronzclay gives me fits as it bubbles when fired, and comes out of the kiln with totally unpredictable patinas. I have also found it shrinks more than PMC3, so I have to figure out how big to make a ring so it is the right size after firing. I can't rely on my regular PMC3 ring sizers, apparently, since my size 6-1/2 ring broke the mold, cracked its shank and became a size 3 in the kiln. Arrrggghhh!

I mended the shank and refired it, but it still needed more work and made a return trip to the kiln tonight. I have a leafy pendant and earrings in the kiln as well, and another leafy pendant and earrings drying on my workbench to be fired tomorrow.

The pin prototype needs some tweaking tomorrow and I will let it dry all day then fire it tomorrow night. Bronzeclay takes so long to fire that I just put it in the kiln as I leave the shop at night -- that way it can fire overnight and be just cool enough to remove from the kiln in the morning, plus it helps keep the caboose warm at night!

I miss my syringe clay when working with bronze and copper clay though! I really rely on my syringe for stems, vines, squiggles, pasting, etc...

The stuff is new, so I am pioneering along with the rest of those using the stuff though. I am a self-taught artisan anyway, so why not teach myself on this stuff too!

The buckle is finally finished, after numerous snafoos while soldering. I like the two-tone look and it is very simple, but showy as well.

My needle texture pendant and earrings will be finished up tomorrow.

I mailed out a special order this morning and another earlier in the week. Now, I just need some actual customers to come to the shop and make some purchases. Business is SSSSLLLOOOOWWWW!


Oh well, Christmas is coming -- hopefully people will buy local. I will be having my Grand Opening sometime soon. I will know by the end of next week, I suppose.

Lots of work to do and I had better get back to it. Happy creating!

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