Hanging around the studio all day the other day - this was the result. 40's wine bottle labels, Edwardian birds and newsprint, ink, acrylic, my usual blend of junk.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
I just wish it were a little easier to figure out WHAT that is. Even using Turbo Tax and spreadsheets, it would have been nice to know exactly what my categorical breakdowns are supposed to be PRIOR to adding up my deductions only to find out I was going to have to break them down some other way, grr. Anyhow - this isn't about the annoying parts of doing taxes. Really, it's not.
I'm not the most organized puppy, and filing forces me to take a nice macro look at my business, my finances and how I handle or fail to handle money. It's kind of a trip going through statements and being able to retrace my steps on travel based on the receipts. It's kind of a relief to see that yes, most of my spending IS business related spending - so when dough passes through my hands at least it's not just going off into some kind of vacuum.
An interesting fact: the average self employed person made a little over 17 grand at their business.
Whoa. That's either a lot of really struggling people or a lot of creative deductions out there.
I guess it's nice to know I'm in the same boat as a lot of people - better than average, in fact, but that's a scary-ass leaking boat if ever there was. It makes me wonder - are the people doing this really young? Really flying by the seat of their pants? Also having a second job if not at least a significant second income? How does that average out so low? What's the point of having a business when it puts you below the poverty level?
I personally quit my part-time whatever job day jobs when I could honestly say that I was losing money by being there. Don't other people do a similar assessment?
It's all kind of mysterious and interesting.
Most self employed people probably do what I did, which is wonder at how much darn money they manage to shuffle through the economy. We are the wealth spreaders, all right. I wonder if my vendors like me better than my customers sometimes.
My one serious protestation is the fact that I detest the self employment tax. There is no reason that someone who's going off on their own, trying to actually do Capitalism and Freedom and Pickup Trucks and all that should be dinged for having the brass balls to fly solo. When we're averaging 17 grand a year, it's just cruel.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
And a couple of journal pages - I've been drawing while listening to songs and the words make their way in - I'm sure this will morph again in the eventual painting if there is one
Listening: At Last, Neko Case
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
This was a really nice lift and a great start to my week. You should check out the community if you make anything yourself - any kind of art - even if you only keep a personal art journal, there's a really supportive atmosphere and great tip and technique sharing.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
6x6 vintage paper, transfer from vintage paper, japanese paper, inks acrylics, etc.
I might do the other seasons, we'll see how motivated I am in that direction.
I'm listening to this - oh is it good. If the TV on the Radio one doesn't come up for you, scroll down and grab it. It's a good listen, and the interview made me laugh a lot, too.
They do drop the f bomb a lot, so if you are squeamish you won't like it, but you're missing out, really. Provinces sounds amazing.
Friday, March 26, 2010
vintage barkcloth ad, greeting card clipping (40's 50's) and sixties kid's book clipping (her swallow brooch)
Acrylic, ink, goodies, lots of Modest Mouse listening. she's 6x6 inches on cradled board
This is for this Gingersnaps challenge
I've been working hard and saw this challenge and could not resist playing along - the theme is "growth." This is a 4x4 on canvas - vintage papers, a clipping from a vintage sixties placemat (yes the sparrow's registration was very poor) clippings from 60's kid's book, ink, acrylic, an ad for barkcloth (also vintage) and brass wings. The only new paper is some Japanese chiyogami and my text. Which I'm not sure about. I love the font Nashville though.
Just a quick little down and dirty piece. I'm unsure if I'll resin coat it.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Washi, Victorian/Edwardian scrap and sheet music (I use actual sources) ink, acrylic, pencils - the look is soft overall because I resin coat and sand my collages - a nice unifying surface effect. 8x8 inches.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
I've been meaning to do some ACEOs - I've had the stock cut and lying around forever!
I guess I put some influences together in an indirect way - the old calling card/personal card seems like a way that an ACEO could be used and gifted in a neat fashion - so I'm doing a series of greeting girls.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
a response to this week's created by hand challenge - cutting stuff up makes my heart dance - vintage papers and rickrack - 50's and Edwardian.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Just posted this to the shop, along with other goodies - including some economical plated pieces - yum and yay!
I've got a discount going for my new facebook friends. If you want the discount, it's easy - become a facebook friend and you'll get the details. It's a pretty nice discount, if I do say so.
And it doesn't expire. It's repeatable, even. You can use it as much as you want!
Friday, March 19, 2010
This is a paper doll from the talented Tengds - her photostream has really creative uses of yuzen washi and other papers - truly a paper artist who appreciates beautiful paper!
This is another of her lovely images - the colors are so wonderfully perfect for spring. Really pretty work!
I haven't done anything with collage in the longest time - but all these great papers got me interested. There are a lot of papers that simply aren't suited for pendants, or only part of them are.
I set myself up with the following parameters: only vintage papers. Only my hand alterations. Vintage trims as much as possible.
No reproduction, no scanning, no xerox, no new stuff, no "artists papers" no stamps.
The finished collage is coated with sanded resin, for a more opaque and smooth surface.
Have you ever given yourself parameters like that to get out of a rut? Does narrowing it down from totally infinite help you or hinder you? I find it a huge help to have a few things pre-decided for me. I plan on doing more challenges for this reason.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
I've been working with paper and jewelry in a variety of ways - one of my preferred methods remains setting an image under a glass or plastic lens into a brass or sterling bezel by using a bezel roller or a light hammering - in other words a "no resin" solution. I've made heaps of pretty japanese paper pendants this way, directly into antiqued brass bezels.
However, the flexibility of a resin pour is a wonderful thing! Which led me to try a number of products. I haven't tried everything on the market, but of the 4 products I've used, I've found advantages and disadvantages to each. This is not a paid endorsement.
There are several different types of material on the market. Let's look at them:
The water based glazes.
Diamond glaze and DG3 by Judikins, 3-D crystal lacquer by sakuracraft, Ranger Glossy Accents - these glazes are acrylic media that are water based. Others are on the market, including some nice propriatary products by etsy sellers Annie Howes and Sun and Moon kits - I have not used these but they get good reviews regularly.
The advantages - absolutey minimal toxicity. Ease of use - no mixing and fairly simple drying process.
The disadvantages - long-term softeness is sometimes possible (marring with fingernail pressure) they are not water tight nor even perfectly water resistant - bubbling is hard to control on some products.
Something to remember with the water media especially- your results may vary widely. One of the major issues I've run into in discussing resin over paper jewelry with others is that climate and geography matter. Let me repeat - climate MATTERS! I live in Minnesota. The climate here is variable - being bone dry in winter and humid and hot in summer. It's possible to see 102F and -50F in the same calendar year.
This isn't just a Garrison Keillor moment on my part - my point is that when you are using a water based glaze product, your results will vary accordingly. I can get a 2 hour dry on a layer of Diamond Glaze in January. That's practically unheard of by my Atlanta counterparts.
So what's the verdict on the water based glazes?
I like Diamond Glaze and 3-D crystal lacquer for various reasons. I haven't yet tried DG-3 mostly because I'm very pleased with 3-D lacquer and it seems like it might function similarly.
Judikins Diamond Glaze - Advantages:
Dries VERY quickly in a dry environment, probably comparitivevely quickly in a less dry environment. Very low toxicity - if I were doing a kid's class, party, or mom and kid craft time, this is the item I'd probably pick to use, or if I was crafting with kids or roving advernturing pets in my space. Of course this isn't an endorsement to eat the stuff, it just seems very low-risk compared to other options. This stuff is super in a thin application - so if you are putting a picture directly into a very shallow bezel or onto a pendant plate with a shallow scoop-out I'd reach for this in a heartbeat. Super in papercraft applications, for collaging, glossing up and finishing artwork in various ways. Other advantages - no mixing, no major respiratory hazards for people with normal respiration, no vile odors.
Wet. Must seal inkjet images - It's possible to use it if you seal your inkjet images with microglaze (another Judikins product, basically a wax) but sometimes I've had poor adhesion between those sealed images and the glass tile in glass tile jewelry - I'd save the inkjet images for scrabble tiles or an application where the glaze is on top. Not a strong performer in deep bezel really thick doming applications - I marvel at people who can get this to work well filling up a patera bezel - there are cloudiness issues with this application, in my experience. Bubbles frequently and bubbles are hard to get rid of. I've never had luck with the wire or toothpick method, I find that scraping off the glaze with a fingernail and reapplying it during the open working time is the better bubble remover. If course the queen of the complaints about Diamond Glaze is that when you're all done, it's not waterproof. A very moist fingerprint will sometimes
remain on dried work. It will cloud over if soaked. I've dented finished pieces with a nail by accident - tres embarrasing in front of a customer.
Verdict: Highly recommended for personal work, home crafters, crafters with young kids and pets - less so for professional production work. Great for first-timers make and takes and classes because of relatively fast dry time. Great for thin topcoat applications. Not so great for thick applications and sealing between inkjet image and glass. Need to seal inkjet images. Nice as a papercrafting medium if you like shine.
3-D crystal lacquer: - Advantages :
Also water based and very low toxicity. Thick consistency and few bubbles - bubbling works itself out wonderfully. This is much better for doming and deep applications than Diamond Glaze. I have had very good results using this with inkjet printed images - a thin swipe of mod podge or micro glaze protects without foiling adhesion - even bare naked inkjet images seem to remain fairly intact under 3-D crystal lacquer. Very impressive, that.
Sticky-icky! The only reason that I prefer Diamond Glaze for the kids-and-pets set is that 3-D Crystal lacquer has a much longer open/tacky time - I've had scrabble tiles snag onto a sleeve and worn them around for a while! Also it takes longer to dry - if you don't want your make and take folks to have to wait, Diamond Glaze is a safer bet, and better for little attention spans. The long dry-time and long sticky open time also makes this a product I don't really incorporate into collaging and papercraft as much. Also not waterproof or watertight, being a waterbased product.
Verdict: very good performer for jewelry applications, longer open time is the only major disadvantage, versatile, clearer finish, thicker gloss. Works well with scrabble tile as well as glass tile applications. Also not waterproof - I personally avoid using this in professional applications and production craft, unless I'm doing something like a magnet which isn't handled as much or worn around, but that's my personal preference. Not as useful in collage applications with longer
open time, but again that's a personal preference.
So there are water based glazes - how else can glosses cure? Water based gloss dries - UV curing resin and resins cure though chemical reaction.
UV curing resins require the sun or a UV lamp to cure to a clear dry and waterproof (aha!) finish. I personally have not chosen these products at this time after researching them, however.
The craft-labeled offerings are very expensive - either because the product itself is expensive or the UV light marketed to the crafter to cure the product is very expensive. Add onto that the fact that I find these products redundant with ICE resin, inconvenient in a sun-scarce four seasons environment (going outdoors to work or needing a special curing light just sounds like a pain, and have you ever been out on a clear MN winter day?) - they're just not viable in my particular environment. I will say that I'm intrigued by Solarez - which is a UV curing, low VOC resin marketed to surfers to repair their boards - it seems to be priced right and work fairly well in direct sunlight. Maybe I'll try some in the summer - but overall if you don't live somewhere where surf, sun, warmth and heat are part of your life, it might not be the way to go.
The reviews on these products are very mixed, and led me to pass them over.
That said - some crafters absolutely swear by Lisa Pavelka's Magic Glos - and I imagine that they have a setup and a process that works well for them, and they've taken the time to use the product correctly. Her customer service has been praised very highly. It's possible that a lot of the problems people have with UV resin involve a higher learning curve than the waterbased glosses and the relative expense of the medium discouraging them from experimentation till getting it just so.
For me, the availability of other products and the need for a lamp just didn't make the return-on-investment grade.
Lastly there are the good ol' resin resins. These are the chemically curing, notoriously stinky and poisonous, waterproof and serious professional's choice. But are they always stinky and always poisonous?
Rio Grande Colores, Envirotex, ICE resin - These are epoxy resins. Unlike polyesther resin, the highly toxic esthers are not present - there's still some debate as to toxicity, and many people choose to use respirators, masks, venitlation. I have used ICE and Envirotex, and prefer ICE, which is supopsedly remarkably similar if not identical to the Rio Grande available Colores.
Envirotex has a slightly thinner consitency, a slightly more noxious smell and an ingredient labeled toxic on its MSDS sheets. The price of Envirotex is considerably less than either ICE or Colores. I can't find any other advantage. To me, it's just not worth having something like that in my space to save a buck.
ICE as well as Colores shows one borderline toxic, but still non-toxic ingredient on its MSDS sheets, and is labeled respiratory safe, unless heated up significantly. As for smell or outgassing, both ICE and Colores have a slightly chocolately sweet scent at most - if you smell it you are probably breathing too close. Many frequent resin users use respirators and gloves with these products and this is a good idea. Like many products some people will develop an intolerance sometimes and if there are extant breathing or chemical sensitivity issues ICE resin or Colores or Envirotex may not be for you.
Threre's no real reason to heat ICE up past 90 degrees anyway - air curing is best and the trick of using a heat gun on bubbles and to speed the process is pointless as the heat gun is too hot for this product. I exhale gently through a staw to address bubbles which also tend to work themselves out if the resin is cured correctly. ICE and Colores can be cast, sanded, colored (Colores with its own coloring agents, ICE with a little bit of oil paint). ICE performs well in doming and deep applications and some fans claim it does so better than Colores - though I imagine there's little difference.
Verdict: ICE and Colores are preferable - paying a little more to avoid toxicity as much as possible seems a good trade off. Gloves ventilation and/or a respirator are good ideas, but the overall character of these resins is nontoxic. For versatilty and convenience I find the ICE resin to be the best option. If I had issues of pet and child access I'd avoid these resins, or chemical sensitivities. Mixing is necessary, but at 1:1 it's not that hard if you are thorough.
Remember - this isn't an endorsement of just one product - the best product for a particular purpose depends a great deal on what you are after. If I am making scrabble tile magnets - a product that doesn't get handled heavily and a product that I want to keep costs down on - I would reach for my 3-D crystal lacquer. If I wanted to shape and sand a piece I would use ICE resin. If I wanted a rich opaque color, I would use Colores. If I wanted to use resin with polymer clay, I'd invest in the Lisa Pavelka Magic-glos. There is no one size fits all tool.
Enjoy, stay safe, and happy crafting!
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
I didn't know what to do with my etsy store. I certainly have no intention of closing it, but I am not feeling the old business at all at this point. Too hurried, too much pressure, too much a one woman shipping factory. I got sick and it stopped being fun. Or maybe it stopped being fun and I got sick.
A much slower way of working holds its appeal - and so I'm committing to that. A life that allows me to catch up on all the things that get neglected when healing is your main job. Including relationships.
I ran into one of my friends in Target (ugh, yes) last night - it was one of those funny moments where you're thinking about someone in the early morning and then there they are in some way later in the day. It was really a tip off that it's time to do things other than work and be sick. I'm just so grateful that I get to think about more, finally.
So the etsy store is really going to be my online gallery of serious work. Well, as serious as it gets.
The bunny cuff is a vintage paper image, the beads form a bezel. It closes with a fifties glass button in kelly green, measures 6.5 inches and there's only one in the whole wide world.
Monday, March 8, 2010
These ladies are poised on the brink of the world's first major youth counterculture. The guy isn't going to know what hit him, but he'll enjoy it.
Sure they're being labeled as a food item, just another piece of female cake. But the twenties are about to happen. And it's not going to be the same.
From my collection of vintage cards.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Original clippings from a sixties era bird picture book I found in poor repair. These little 18mm birdies are set by hand under plastic lenses in solid brass, attached to a brass bracelet base that was antiqued in the US to my nickel-free specifications.
7 inches, simply gorgeous - and it's the ONLY ONE of its kind - this is non-reproduced vintage paper.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Vintage finds, fine Japanese Chiyogami papers, and some select reproductions are transformed with nontoxic methods and .925 sterling silver.
What's the difference between Paper Yum and other glass and scrabble pendants?
Sterling silver - for the longevity of the piece, for your sensitive skin, for your sophisticated taste.
I also offer pieces in brass which I have had antiqued through a nickel-free process in the USA, to my own specifications. No more mystery metal - just antiqued-finished nickel free brass. I myself can wear these pieces and I'm fairly allergic to nickel.
I do offer some plated for those interested in fast and fashionable fun - but personally, I choose to wear sterling - I'm allergic to plated myself!