Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My New Torch!

Today I anxiously awaited the Man in Brown to roll up in his truck and deliver a most important thing:

Photo via GTT

My new Bobcat torch!

This was supposed to be my Christmas present, but I've been having the devil of a time lately with my current lampwork torch.  Or the propane.  Or the oxygen concentrator.  No one seems to know for sure.  

I'll be going along fine for about an hour, making beads, humming along, when all of a sudden, pressure drops in everything and my flame dwindles.  I've posted this dilemma on Lampwork Etc and had several people give suggestions, and then a local lampworking friend came over to test things out -- and we're all still stumped.

photo by Cindy Wimmer
Soooooo.  The plan right now -- get my Christmas present early.  Next -- replace the propane tank, even though it's not empty.  My friend will come over then and run another test.  Heaven forbid the problem is with the oxygen concentrator, because that's my most expensive piece of equipment, and it weighs a ton so who knows what shipping it off for repair would cost.

photo via ?

Keep your fingers crossed for me.  I was having so much fun melting glass before this flame poofing out on me thing started and it's now just frustrating me to no end.  Of course, it's also been hot as Hades and probably not a good time to even THINK about using a flame, but still.  

(And isn't it cool that my torch is purple????)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Color Inspiration

Art Bead Scene included me in their Fall Color Inspiration post -- this was one of those times when I accidentally fell on my face right into the "in vogue" color palette of the season!  Usually I just make what I like (and believe me, I like this bracelet and hope a customer does, too!) but I wasn't intentional trying to follow a trend.

In case you're interested, here's the fall color palette for the year:

And here was my accidental contribution, using beads I made myself and polymer clay by Floridity:

So maybe I should be paying more attention to trends.  I think I'll clip the color palette and keep it by my design desk.  I must admit, I keep gravitating to bright colors -- in fact everything I made this morning was colorful and fun.  But trying a few more "trend" pieces and seeing how they're received by my customer base might be an interesting experiment!

I learn something new every day.

Lori Anderson creates jewelry for Lori Anderson Designs.  She write the blog Pretty Things and An Artists Year Off

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Book Review -- Blogging for Bliss

I love to write.  I learned to read when I was three years old and when I started to write, I quickly filled notebooks with my little made-up stories.  I remember one in particular.  After consuming way too many Nancy Drew mysteries, I wrote my very own -- "The Mystery of the Missing Mummy".  The only thing it had going for it was the alliteration, but I was so proud of it, especially the crayoned pictures.

All that to say, when blogging came about, I was in heaven.

(photo via imagechef.com)
So when I ran across Tara Frey's book "Blogging For Bliss", I was intrigued.  Why do other people write?  What motivates them?  What is their purpose?

This beautifully written book is also beautiful to look out -- throughout it shows various blogs that inspire by the sheer beauty of its pages.  "Blogging For Bliss" also covers what Frey calls "the tools of the trade" -- how to even start a blog and how to begin learning the ropes.  Will your blog be personal or strictly business? Just what the heck do all those online acronyms mean, anyway?

My favorite sections were about beautifying you blog and finding business via the blog.  I know that I regularly sell pieces of my jewelry off my blog, and I'm constantly working on photos and other "beauty marks".

The last section is so very important.  It covers the courtesy and manners for a good blogger and how to promote a wonderful atmosphere to your readers.  You can still show who you are and ask thought-provoking questions without causing a stampede of unsubscribing readers.

(art by StellaLola on Etsy)
I highly recommend this book to all bloggers, both new and seasoned bloggers alike.  It's an invaluable business tool as well as a source for inspiration.  Check it out today at Amazon.com, and visit Tara Frey's blog at http://www.tarafrey.com/

Lori Anderson creates jewelry for Lori Anderson Designs.  She write the blog Pretty Things and An Artists Year Off

Sunday, August 22, 2010

New Technique and New Media -- Turquoise and Shells

I normally use bright, colorful lampwork in my work, creating things like these:

But I've been trying to stretch my repertoire and use the extensive drawers of gemstones I've collected over the years.  I love them, I buy them show after show, but I don't use them that much.  I don't know if it's because they're in the bottom drawers, or if they don't lend themselves to whimsical things, but enough is enough.

Some time ago, a bead vendor was liquidating a ton of their ready-to-wear gemstone pendants for a ridiculously low price.  Things that were over $100 were now in the range where I could buy them and use them in my jewelry and still be able to charge my customers a rate they would be comfortable with.  Months ago, I made this necklace, but I just now got it photographed (and yes, that's how this summer has gone!).

click for a larger photo and more detail

The pendant is a large shell, genuine turquoise, a set pearl, and strangely, a set faceted aquamarine.  Color me puzzled on the aquamarine.  Anyway.  I've always admired asymmetrical designs but there's a trick to it -- keeping it balanced when worn, not using too many materials and turning it into a circus of color and texture -- so I'm not sure if I succeeded or not.  

I linked pearls to pick up the color of the shell and the set pearl.  I found some turquoise that was the same color as the pendant (that took forever).  I added one modern sterling silver bead that I picked up heaven-knows-where.  And I finished it out with fringy chain.  

I skipped adding aquamarine.  I just don't get that aquamarine.

I'm charging 158.00 for this, and I hope it goes to a happy home.  I'd be interested to know, before I post it on my web site, if you think I should change anything.  I have to admit, putting this together was a LOT harder than working in my usual color palette and preferred lampwork.  But I see more of this in my future.

Lori Anderson creates jewelry for Lori Anderson Designs and also writes the blog Pretty Things.  Ironically, her birthstone is aquamarine.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Come see what I made!

Click here and come see what I made with beads by Barbara Bechtel of Floridity!  I tried some new techniques, including patinating copper, playing with asymmetry, and making my own toggle clasp.

Lori Anderson makes jewelry for Lori Anderson Designs and writes the blog Pretty Things and contributes to Art Bead Scene.  She is so glad summer is almost over.

I'm Going to Art and Soul Hampton, 2011!

If you recall, I said that I was going to Art and Soul this year.  Unfortunately, I had to cancel because I was suffering from a week of migraines.  But my friend Cindy Wimmer of Sweet Bead Studio has convinced me to try it again.


This time, instead of taking journaling classes as I'd planned this year, I chose to take an enameling class with Linda and Opie O'Brien.  I think this will help me stretch myself artistically, as will taking my second enameling class with Barbara Lewis this October.

Are any of you planning to go to the Hampton, VA event?  I know tons of people go to its flagship retreat in Portland, OR, but I hope some of you consider the east coast version.

I'm very excited to continue my journey into the next year!

Lori Anderson creates jewelry for Lori Anderson Designs and also writes the blog Pretty Things.  She can't pass a bookstore without going inside.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

For the love of shoes -- Sanita and Beads

Come on over to Pretty Things and see what shoes have to do with beads!

(photo via Sanitaclogs.com)

Lori Anderson makes jewelry for Lori Anderson Designs and also writes the blog Pretty Things.  She loooooves her some shoes.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Update on BeadFest

Update -- I can't go.

I was so excited, but I got an email saying my instructor had taken a bad fall and was unable to teach.  At this late of a date, there wasn't a class left that I felt like taking, so after a long talk with my husband, I canceled my trip.

"But you could shop!" you say.

Yes, yes I could.

But I decided to save that money and now I'm going to go to Bead and Button next year!

So --- who is planning on going???  I'd still love to meet people there!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Are you going to BeadFest?????

Keeping up with my plan on taking classes, I'll be taking a beginning lampworking class at BeadFest in Philadelphia August 22nd.  I'm actually heading up the day before to go bead shopping and hope to see some of you bead artisans there -- and if any of you designers are going, give me a shout so I can read name tags and maybe find you!

Are you going?  If you are, are you going to take classes, or just shop?

Lori Anderson makes jewelry for Lori Anderson Designs, and also writes the blog Pretty Things, and occasionally for Art Bead Scene.  She loves funky, colorful beads.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Enameled Beads

I really should have posted this post here, but I goofed -- anyway!  If you're interested in seeing my tiny foray into enameling, click here!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bead Soup For One -- Beading with Barbara Bechtel of Floridity

Please hop on over to Pretty Things and see what I made with Barbara Bechtel of Floridity's beads! I decided to challenge myself each month with my own personal Bead Soup Challenge (have you participated in one of my challenges?) and Floridity is the first Artisan of the Month.
Are you a bead maker -- ceramic, polymer clay, glass -- and would like to be a featured artisan? Email me and let's talk!

Lori Anderson designs jewelry for Lori Anderson Designs and also writes the blog Pretty Things. She lives on the eastern shore of Maryland.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I'm Trying

I really am trying to make jewelry that's new and cool and different.

But it's hard to make jewelry when iCarly is on TV or MySims is on the Wii. Ah, life with a seven-year old. Love him dearly, but he rules the TV.

So this weekend Rick and Zack headed to the farm in PA so I could have a day and a half of quiet to bead. And of course, I had a headache, but I was bound and determined to make things.

I don't have photos yet, but I did manage to make some new things with Floridity's beads I bought for this month's Personal Bead Soup challenge I set for myself, and a couple of them were totally new designs to me.

But because of the headache, I found that I just had to make what I know -- the tried and true and (sigh) trite. OK, not trite. That's being to harsh on myself.

This morning, though, I looked through what I made and realized, someone's going to love those things. If I change my style too much, and have too many new designs, I'll lose my valuable customer base. The new designs will hopefully gain me new customers, but I can't forget the people who got me to where I am -- able to make this a full-time job.

The point of this post? I'm trying. And that's fine. I think I'll be "trying" all my life. I'll never be "there" because if I decide, "I'm done, there's nothing left to learn", I'm doing myself such a disservice.

So maybe this weekend was a pretty good weekend for beading after all.

Lori Anderson designs jewelry for Lori Anderson Designs and also writes the blog Pretty Things. She lives in Maryland.