Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Enameling Beads with Barbara Lewis

This weekend I took another Painting With Fire class with Barbara Lewis.  I'd taken the class previously, but as with most classes, I usually  have to take it twice to really GET it and let it sink in.  

One of the things I love about taking classes is getting to meet fellow jewelry makers and bloggers.  It's so much fun to put a face to the words, you know?  Sometimes my world is so small over here on the Eastern Shore, sitting at my work bench and computer, so it's wonderful to get out.

Anyway -- this time, I really feel like I GOT it.  I hit the bead in the right part of the flame, covered it well in enamel, and actually ended up with usable beads at the end of the day.

I'm pretty darned pleased with these!  They aren't perfect, but they'll absolutely serve my purpose of making a necklace for myself.  I was also sufficiently inspired enough to buy a bunch of enamels and start dreaming up some ideas.

I also learned some new techniques in this class, such as making tricolor beads....

And how to make bi-color beads.

Hard to tell the colors on the bi-color beads, because believe it or not, those were harder for me than the tricolor, but you get the idea.

And then I went to town on covering regular color with transparent colors to get some really pretty vintage-esque colors.

All in all, a very productive class, and a day well spent!

Lori Anderson creates jewelry for Lori Anderson Designs and also writes the blog Pretty Things.  She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Two More Classes for the Year

I have two more classes scheduled for the year!

The first one is a re-take of Barbara Lewis' Painting With Fire torch enameling class.  I've taken this class before, but true to form, I rushed a bit too much, trying to make ALL the beads she offered (and boy does she give us a LOT of beads to play with!).  This time, I plan to take my time and really pay attention to how the torch works with the enamel, and focus on getting good coats of enamel on each bead.

The class is this Saturday (yay!) in Annapolis, MD, and I'll get to meet some bloggers I've "met" online.  Doesn't get much better than that.

Beads by Barbara Lewis, available at her Etsy shop

My next class will be my first online course, this one with Stephanie Lee of "Semiprecious Salvage" fame.  My friend Cindy Wimmer took the last Homesteader's Metalsmithing course and thought I might like it, so I signed up for the second round.  It's an entirely new style of metalsmithing than I've taken previously, so I'm eager to see how I'll use what I learn.

And that will about do it for my learning for the year.  I'll be doing a nice long wrap-up of the year at the end of December to see how I've fared -- did I actually accomplish what I set out to do?  Did I learn anything new?  Did I learn something I didn't expect to learn?

Stay tuned for class photos!

Lori Anderson creates jewelry for Lori Anderson Designs and also writes the blog Pretty Things.  She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Getting Branded and Saving the Earth

Since I launched the new web site with the new logo, I've been busy getting new branding materials together -- stickers, signage, postcards, that sort of thing.  I've even had t-shirts done!  I always like to wear my t-shirt when I'm setting up my booth for a craft show.

But what I'm really grooving on are the tote bags for groceries, which I've mentioned before ....

I'm going to be using both of these as promotional items throughout the year, and I like that they promote recycling.  At shows, I'm noticing a lot of people bringing in their own shopping bags, so I've not had to hand out as much plastic.  And having a nice water bottle is such a good idea!

I created these items at Cafe Press (my shop is here), and if you're in business, you can create your own marketing materials there as well!  It's one more step to setting yourself apart from the rest.

Lori Anderson creates jewelry for Lori Anderson Designs and also writes the blog Pretty Things.  She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene.

Friday, October 8, 2010

I'm writing a book!

I just got the final word a few days ago and it's not quite sunk in yet -- but I'm writing a beading book!  This is a HUGE accomplishment to check off my list of things I've always wanted to do in my jewelry career!

Read more about it by clicking here.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Another mile stone -- the new web site!

Another mile stone for this year has been accomplished at long last -- my new web site,

The launch was largely successful, with only a few glitches found afterward that couldn't have been found until after going live, and they're being worked on.  I also have to purchase another package to flesh out the check-out, giving customers the space to write in comments, tell me where they found me, and the like.

Overall, I'm really, really please, although I was apprehensive at first.  I contracted Quirky Bird to not only build the web site, but to give me a new logo for a total rebranding.  I felt I was at the point in my career, six years later, where I needed to get serious and "become". 

When I first saw the proposed web site, I was afraid it looked too cartoonish, so I asked my best buddy Cindy Wimmer what her opinion was, without telling her what *I* thought.  She loved it.  I was worried that the look wouldn't be cohesive, but it's grown on me, and now I like it.  I like the slide show (which I can change) and the blocks at the bottom with seasonal jewelry (which I can also change, and already have).

The company also gave me a crash course in SEO and how to write decent ad copy, and got me hooked up with a professional credit card processor for the site.  In all, I had about five people working on the site since January.  The web site would have been launched in the summer if it weren't for my migraines getting in the way -- I had a huge hand in doing a lot of the back end so I would be very familiar with how to change things down the road and not be beholden to paying an hourly rate to the developers.

The company also created all my print media, including this postcard.  Again, they gave me the PSD file so I can make complete changes to it.  I love this, because many companies give you a finished file that CANNOT be tampered with.

All in all, I'm quite pleased.  Yes, it was very expensive, but it was worth it.  It's been a long time coming.  I'm waiting now for my booth sign, and am looking for small Chinese lanterns for my booth (I already have large ones but haven't quite figured out how to use them).  I've also printed up t-shirts as well as tote bags for customers that have bought a gazillion things from me and brought in a lot of customers, but they can also be purchased here.

So one of the items on my Artist's Year Off list can be absolutely checked off!
Lori Anderson creates jewelry for Lori Anderson Designs and also writes the blog Pretty Things.  She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene.