Posted by: alenegeed | August 14, 2014

Sprinkled Silver Designs; NEW


Yes I finally got around to getting a copyright on my signature process of copper and sterling. 

pendant sprinkled silver turquoise red

Sprinkled Silver Turquoise Pendant

I call it ‘Sprinkled Silver’ because that is what it looks like when I am creating it and what it looks like in the finished pieces, too

How and Why did I create this process?

The basic answer is… because it was fun!  I have been playing around with copper and silver since I began my journey into metals. Those of you who have read my book, Inside the Mind of a Jewelry Designer already know how a got into this ‘mess’ to begin with!

I was attracted to the metals process and once I took my first class, I was hooked! there was no looking back.

Sprinkled Silver Cuff bracelet 1

Sprinkled Silver Cuff

Fast forward 8 years to 2014 .. this passion has grown and gotten stronger.

That’s why I am so proud of these designs. They really speak to what I love about designing.. Each time I create another ‘Sprinkled Silver’ design, the passion grows. I wish I could explain it better.

Those of you who share this passion for your chosen field know the feeling already. The fire just grows and grows… and along the way is the fun of creating from our souls.

This entire collection uses copper, sterling and gemstones to create art. 

Earrings Sprinkled Silver2

Sprinkled Silver Earrings

I look forward to your feedback and comments. What do you like (or dislike) about the designs? Do they speak to you? 

Stay tuned for more designs and for more details about my entry into the Wholesale market.  (Yes you will be seeing me in retail stores next year)

Join my Newsletter today  for Subscriber Only Specials and Discounts.

If you liked this Post you may like  Fun with Foldforming… Metal that is!

Feel Inspired Today; Wear a Work of Art

Posted by: alenegeed | June 29, 2014

Tools of the Jewelry Trade; Pipe Cutter


The other day I decided to play around with a new process… using copper piping to create a jewelry design. I had seen some designs recently that started out as tubing/pipe and then were chased with a hammer to create some awesome results.

tube cutter large

medium pipe cutter

I had some 1/2″ pipe and 1/4″ flexible piping that I had purchased at a local Home Depot. 
As I brought out my Jewelers Saw to make the necessary cuts, my husband asked me why I wasn’t using a pipe cutter.
A Pipe cutter?? Aren’t those something that plumbers use? The answer was Yes… but if you want to cut pipe then why not use it for jewelry? What a concept!
And of course since my husband is handy around the house… he already owned 3 different sizes of cutters. Yippee!
tube cutter small with tube

Small tube cutter with copper

Once he showed my how to use this handy tool. I was in heaven! The one you see here is the smaller size for 1/4″ tubing. There is a blade on one side and a recessed area for the pipe on the other side. And talk about EASY to use.
1) Mark where you want the cut.. insert the tube into the cutter, turn the wheel to hold it snugly. (dont tighten too much)
2) Then spin the cutter slowly.
3) Once you see the marks (slight indentation around the tube), then tighten a little and spin again… repeat process until the piece is cut all the way through.  
AND, there is no need to anneal the tube before cutting. Save that step for  the design process. 
Next time you want to accomplish a new jewelry process and are not sure about the right tools to use.. remember to think outside the box and look at tools that are made for other purposes. They may be the perfect solution for your creation.
Rough tube designs

Rough tube designs

 Here’s the product I created in the rough stages. (copper cut, annealed, textured/hammered and sterling added)
tube earrings
And here is the finished Earring design.. the first of many designs now that I have this shortcut!
 
IF you enjoyed this post you may like
Tools of the Trade; Mini electric sander and filer.
 
Posted by: alenegeed | June 15, 2014

Got the ‘Ain’t Got No Inspiration Blues?


3 easy ways to get your inspirational juices flowing.

blues image

 

Whether we are an artist, author or entrepreneur.. the passion we feel sometimes takes a day (or a week) off. Those are the times that I feel most blocked. I don’t seem to find the flashes of inspiration I am so used to experiencing. I can sit down at my jeweler’s bench or at my computer as many times  as I want and … NOTHING!

So I have learned over time to step away. No amount of TIME is going to fix my slump.

However, these 3 tricks have helped me to get back into the flow. 

1) Take a Hike!

Or a walk, stroll, bike ride, swim, Zumba class … anything that makes your physical body move. I don’t know all the scientific reasons that this works. I just know it does. I get my mind off of my lack of motivation and my body thanks me for giving it exercise. Often times during the hike I will get my inspirational moment. At any rate I now feel great again and that is the first step to getting back into the swing of things.

2) Watch Shark Tank.

I absolutely LOVE this show. I love watching other entrepreneurs. The passion they exude for their creations is so inspiring. I can even overlook Mr Wonderful giving them all such a hard time. I am sure this is the ‘drama’ that is created to keep more people watching the show. I don’t care about that. All I know for sure is that I feel completely energized and inspired after seeing others at their most creative moments. 
Kitty Button exploring my tool bag

Kitty Button exploring my tool bag

3) Play with your cat or dog.

Animals are interested and curious about everything. I can drop a twist-tie on the floor and my kitty “Button’ acts as if she has discovered gold! She can kick it around and flip it in the air for over an hour. And lets not even talk about empty boxes or bags. So much to explore. One day I even found her in my traveling tool kit.. on TOP of the large tool chest. She was having fun.
Just spend about 15 minutes observing. You will be amazed at how quickly it brings you back into creativity. Don’t have a pet? Try walking by a duck pond nearby. Or watch a bird feeder. Animals are a gift to every human being.
These are my 3 most tried and true methods of getting my MO-JO back. I know there are others that have worked for you, too. 
I would love to hear your suggestions, too!

“Above all try something.”    

Franklin D. Roosevelt

If you enjoyed this blog, you make like.  Remember to Look Back 

 

Posted by: alenegeed | May 23, 2014

Cookoo over COLOR!


We are surrounded with hundreds of colors. The latest PANTONE color guide lists over 1750 different shades, combinations and nuances of the primary colors.

As a child I can remember getting so excited over all the colors in the Crayola crayon box!  crayola crayons

My favorite was the ‘large’ size with 84 different colors.. Did you have the same thrill over checking out all the colors? These days the boxes contain 120 colors. I envy the children that get to play with that many colors.

What fun!

Since I grew up in the ‘olden days’ I remember black and white Television. One of my favorite shows was Star Trek. Black and white did not allow me to see the various uniform colors.
Gold and Blue Uniforms NEVER got killed!

Gold and Blue Uniforms NEVER got killed!

So one day when I went over to a friend’s house that had a color TV, I was astounded to realize that Kirk, Spock and the guy who always got killed when they went to the planet’s surface all had different colored uniforms.
Hence the warning: If you wear a red shirt.  DON’T GO DOWN to the PLANET!!
Color has a psychological effect on us – influencing our mind and emotions. We all have color preferences, too. So color can help reveal our personalities. Cool!
My mother studied color extensively and in her later years she taught classes on several related subjects. Recently I was ecstatic to find her notes on these classes! In future posts I will pass along more of the information she made available to her students. Such fascinating stuff!
For now here is a quick overview of what each primary color represents.  I have gone into depth in previous posts.. which you can find under the COLOR tab to the right.  More details can also be found in the book: Color Magic for Beginners  by Richard Webster.
RED: Stimulating,  Innovative, Competitive
ORANGE: Sociable, Friendly, Persistent
YELLOW: Cheerful, Intellectual,Idealistic
GREEN: Balanced, Comfortable, Nurturing
BLUE: Calm, Serene, Introspective
INDIGO: Wise, Dignified, Emotionally balanced
VIOLET: Regal, Creative, Selfless

What is your favorite color? Do these criteria speak to your own personality?

red creek jasper

Red Creek Jasper Pendant

Highlighted  here are two of my favorite designs using color:  
Stay tuned for future blogs on color
Silver heart VIG closeup

Antique Dichroic Glass Heart Pendant

 
If you liked this post, then check out The Color BLUE
Posted by: alenegeed | April 26, 2014

Photographing Jewelry… Harder than it looks!


I am a jewelry designer and yes I do my own photography.

3 Sacred Spiral Amethyst cholla

Amethyst Sacred Spiral Earrings

As in the case of most artists who create limited Edition and one-of-a- kind pieces.. It is not cost effective to hire a professional to photograph each design!
So I decided early on to take my own photos. And I can tell you that this became a whole new learning curve for me. I read lots of comments and tutorials online, purchased proper equipment for photographing small objects (jewelry in my case), purchased editing software  and then experimented a lot!
Each time I played around with the process I got just a tiny bit more competent.

Then earlier this year I took a workshop from a real photographer and had to unlearn  and rethink it all. Doug Baldwin, the instructor and photographer for over 30 years, drummed one rule into our heads.. and it finally sunk in.  “Don’t photograph on artsy backgrounds. Customers want to be able to see the product clearly.. they don’t CARE about the surroundings.”  Of course there were lots more helpful hints and insights in the workshop…I improved the way I photographed the gems and learned how to use diffused lighting.  I even ended up purchasing another photography system that I love. 

I live in Arizona and Love the outdoors. So a dried piece of cholla cactus seemed like a great option for a background. As you can see by the two images above… the background, while so cool looking, does not allow you to see the earring design clearly. The image to the left gives you a focused, clean image… so you can decide if this design is a must-have for your own collection.

Here is another example.. Again using the cholla cactus.

2SSSANT cholla Sacred Spiral Pendant

See how much better the image to the right is?

It shows off the texture and beauty (OK so I am a little prejudiced on that) of this pendant!

The Cuff image below is yet another example. Malachite is highlighted and featured prominently in the photo to the left.

Yes, I am still a novice when it comes to photography.. and yes I will continue to learn and improve my photos.

Copper Cuff Malachite cholla

over the next several months, I should have all the images on my site converted over to the newer, cleaner looking images.

My next step is a class on editing. Cannot wait!Malachite Cuff

Check out my jewelry (and the current photos online) and give me your feedback.

Every bit helps me to improve my craft!

 If you liked this blog you may like The Secret Life of a Metal and Hammer Hoarder.
Posted by: alenegeed | March 16, 2014

The Aries Personality and Gemstones for your Sign.


Okay all you Aries babies. Your time is almost upon us.

aries-sign-horoscope

Officially you were born between March 21 (that’s this Friday) and April 20th.

The RAM is your symbol.  A Ram is powerful and will climb to the highest peaks to see what life has to offer. A Ram rarely turns down a challenge. An Aries has difficulty turning down challenges as the desire to go forward and conquer is very strong.

Aries goes through life with confidence and a enthusiastic outlook on everything. IF you are an Aries, you like to lead. After all what fun is following anyway??

And you are in good company too. The following famous people were born under the sign of the ram, too.

  • Johann Sebastian Bach                                                            
  • Charlie Chaplin 
  • Harry Houdini
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Vincent Van Gogh

Just be careful to slow down and not be too aggressive. It can happen to anyone born under this sign.

It’s a good thing you have many friends and LOVE to have fun!!  and FYI, your best partner for marriage is a LIBRA!

So what about gemstones are you attracted to? Well Aries babies tend to love malachite, rose quartz, carnelian and coral

3 Malachite copper

My favorite of this bunch is malachite! It’s rich green and vibrant color is tailormade for your outgoing and take charge personality.

What do you think? I would love to hear from some Aries babies? What is your favorite gemstone?

If you liked this post you may like. The LIBRA personality

Posted by: alenegeed | February 2, 2014

Amethyst; My All-Time Favorite Gemstone


Ever since I can remember, I have been in love with Amethyst. 

Amethyst Geode

Amethyst Geode

Before I began my Jewelry Designer Career, I purchased Amethyst creations from other artisans. I still wear several of the pieces today.
The rich purple in this gem is intoxicating!
This Geode showcases the gem perfectly. ( I have at least 4 Geodes in varying sizes too!!!)
All February Babies share this love with me, right? after all you are the lucky ones to have amethyst as your birthstone. (I am a little jealous).
But the rest of us are allowed to own and savor ‘the purple’ too.
Did you know that amethyst is considered to be the Stone of St Valentine? He is said to have worn an amethyst ring engraved with the image of cupid.
Legend has it that Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, was so angry with mortals that he vowed to feed the next human he saw to the tigers. A maiden named Amethyst was that human. But before Bacchus could incur his wrath, Diana, the goddess of nature, changed Amethyst into a pillar of quartz to save her. Thus was created the first amethyst gemstone!

3 Sacred Spiral Amethyst cholla

Guess What?? The Greeks believed that wearing amethyst prevented drunkeness! Hence the greek name amethustos, meaning ‘not drunk’  Dont try this yourself though. I am PRETTY SURE, this is just fable!!
Amethyst is said to have strong healing powers. Many wear this gem during meditation as it tends to enhance our spiritual connection.

Cold hard facts:

  • Amethyst is a member of the Quartz family
  • Amethyst has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs Scale. This means it is durable enough to  use in almost any setting, including rings. 
  • Amethyst is readily found. There are active mines in Brazil, Mexico, Russia and Uruguay.. to name a few
  • Cleaning is easy. Ultrasonic works as well as plain old soap and water!
Next time spot an artisan Amethyst design… jump at the chance to purchase it
I have several pieces available too. (OK just a tiny sales pitch). Click here to see.
More information on Amethyst can be found in the Illustrated Directory of Healing Crystals

If you enjoyed this post you may like Turquoise Legends and Facts

Posted by: alenegeed | January 20, 2014

Person of Interest: Lucy Brookes; Owner Eternal Tools


Lucy Brookes is next in my series of people who are following their passion and living their dream.

Lucy Brookes

Lucy is the owner of Eternal Tools -based in Oxfordshire, UK.  I met Lucy through one of my LinkedIn discussion groups and was immediately taken with her. She is constantly adding value to many discussions as well as starting some of her own thought provoking and informative discussions.
How did her Business begin?
In 1999 her husband followed his passion in horology and began designing clocks and watch repair tools. From then the business naturally expanded to inventing and creating more tools… not only for clock/watch fanatics, but also for lapidarists and jewelers.  And this year it is celebrating 15 years in business.

And the origin of the name?

Well that was easy! the tools are made of hard, high quality materials that last ‘eternally’!   Perhaps not quite that long, but you get the idea.

What Drives Lucy and her husband to continue in the direction of their dream?

Encouragement of others tops the list. Followed by the close second of the desire to keep learning.

Lucy’s best advice when is comes to building your own business?

  • Never stop listening and learning!!
  • Listen to your customers. Treat them as you wish to be treated
  • Keep up with current trends in technology and marketing.
  • Don’t take short cuts.  The short cut today always turns into more work or unfavorable comments down the road.

What’s next?

Eternal Tools has just launched a new website with lots of new features to make it more user friendly for customers all over the world.  And new tool inventions are being manufactured… stay tuned for more details.

Lucy’s other passions??

Jewelry making… of course!!, sculpting, art, singing, swing dancing, yoga, travel and walking in the mountains!  OK Lucy, WHEN DO YOU HAVE TIME TO SLEEP??

Want to get in touch with Lucy and Eternal Tools? Here are the links.Eternal_Tools_Logo

WEBSITE
BLOG
FACEBOOK
TWITTER

If you enjoyed this blog you may like Calla Gold; Wedding Jeweler

Posted by: alenegeed | January 3, 2014

Colossal Jewelry Closeouts


January is the best time for refocusing, reorganizing and regrouping!

Sterling and Opal Ring

Sterling and Opal Ring $45.00

New design ideas are spinning in my head… even as I write this blog!

That means I really HAVE to reduce my inventory (and get more  dollars to purchase metal)

When originally announced, there were 60 designs reduced by 35% – 50%.
Now there are 40 left and they all want to go to a good home… how about Your Home???
Many of the closeouts are highlighted throughout this blog.

Or click here to see them all.

FYI: If you become a Newsletter subscriber you will receive SUBSCRIBER-ONLY specials every month… not to mention getting the scoop on closeouts and new products before anyone else! 

Tiger Eye Copper Cuff

Copper & Tigers Eye Cuff $50

Last month, my subscribers got the full closeout list (60+ pieces) AND and additional 20% OFF every order.  

Interested in Subscribing   ??

 Just click here.       

Sterling Sacred Spiral Earrings $35

Sterling Sacred Spiral Earrings $35

Here’s to a wonderful 2014 for each and every one of us!

ALL CLOSEOUTS

SUBSCRIBE to my NEWSLETTER

Posted by: alenegeed | December 23, 2013

Exhibiting at Festivals this year.. My thoughts


I had the pleasure to exhibit at two Art Festivals this month. Since this was only my second experience with this type of marketing I knew the learning curve would be immense.

Partial booth shot

Last year I did exhibit at the smaller of the two shows with limited success.  With that experience under my belt I made the plunge this year and applied for a larger show (400+ booths) .. and was accepted!

Tempe Festival of the Arts is one of the largest and most respected shows in the country. They are diligent about accepting only artisans who create their own work. They also keep to a strict ratio of types of artisans.

This makes the show so much more fun for the people attending. They know that they will find a variety of crafted products instead of an overabundance of ceramic artists or jewelers. As an exhibitor this enhances my experience and my sales! (which is after all the ultimate goal, right?)

Mesa Arts Festival is a completely different animal. The number of booths and exhibitors  is limited to 50. Since the event takes place at the arts center, there are many demos and tours also being offered.

Right next to me the Mesa Arts Studio was demonstrating torch fire enameling. In other areas of the venue, there were demos for cutting stones (lapidary) and texturing metal. The Glass and Blacksmithing studios were open for tours, too. This event draws a decent crowd and the energy level is high.

So what did I learn to improve my next show experience?

1) Be prepared for any kind of weather. Bring layers of clothes including hats and gloves. Arizona has a mild climate but the first day of the show it was 30 degrees in the morning!! Bring visors, sunscreen and lip balm

2) Bring a stash of water and energy bars (or other easy to eat foods). When it gets busy you may not have the opportunity to eat otherwise!

3) Open up the tent on at least 2 sides! Mine was closed on 3 sides and even the lighting we used did not help as much as the openness would have.

booth shot 2013 full talbe

 4) Get a corner booth if possible.

5) Exhibit at the same show for several years if possible. The vendors around me that were 5-6 time repeaters had a following of clients that sought them out during the show. How cool is that!!

6) Greet as many people as possible. Make them want to stop by your booth… This can be overdone of course…Just be sincere and all will be well.

7) Study what other vendors around you are doing with their displays. I learned so much just observing how others were utilizing their display space. Many spent years getting to their level. I felt lucky to be able to learn so much so quickly.

Most of all HAVE FUN!!

If you liked this post you may enjoy  Jewelry Design and Social Media tips

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