Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Audio books

Today I made the same bead, over and over.  Most of them will be made into jewelry, so I needed a big pile.  Usually I get 4 or 5 of these beads done, get bored and start making other beads.  I get bored easily, one of the hazards of a creative mind.  (That is a nice way to say I sometimes have trouble staying on task.)  Today was different though.  My ipod has a very, very long audio book that I got for a long car trip, but I didn't even get halfway through it on the trip.  So for the first time, I tried making beads while listening to a good story, and it worked great.  The time flew and before I knew it, I had a kiln full of these beads.  I will have to find more good audio books!  By the way, the book is Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet.  I highly recommend it for listening or reading!

In my previous glass career making stained glass windows, I couldn't cut glass while listening to a book- I would miss some dialog and have to rewind the tape (this was in the dark ages when they were all "books on tape".)  Guess my mind had to concentrate too much on cutting, although grinding and soldering were fine.  So I wondered if I could make beads listening to a story.  For more complicated beads, it might not work so well, but for production work, it was great!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Studio photos

Keeping my studio somewhat organized is challenging!  One of my biggest problems is how to store all the rods of glass I use to make beads.  Love, love, love the colors!  I need to be able to find the colors I want, and also see when a color is getting low so I can re-order.  I re-purposed the wood cubes- they were toy storage for my kids, who have been out on their own for quite a while.  Then I bought plastic downspouts, cut it into 14" lengths, and stacked it in the cubes.  I tried to keep the transparent colors in one section, opaque colors in another section, etc, but as I keep adding new colors, I am running out of room!  There is a section with mystery glass- I don't know the manufacturer or the color name.  It sure makes it challenging sometimes!
Every day when I am done torching, I put the glass rods and tools away and sweep all the chips off.  I like to start the day with a clean workbench.  It doesn't stay that way for long, but if I start out that way, I seem to be able to concentrate on the beads and not the mess.  Wow, my water dish is really dirty!  Instead of didymium eyeglasses, I use a shield, which I love.  My original thought was that if the prescription for my eyeglasses changes, I would have to get new didymiums, which can be quite expensive.  With the shield, I can wear my own eyeglasses.  A side benefit- it shields a lot of the heat from hitting my face, so in the summer, it is much cooler!

I keep tools in cups and glass rods in pots, all within reach.  The table behind me holds lots of other goodies, like silver foil and leaf, enamels, frits and wire.  They all have proper homes, but they never seem to get there.  This is all the stuff I use on a regular basis, and it seems like too much work to put it all away, and then get it out the next day.

My studio is my favorite place in the world! 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

New book!

 Big news today!  I just signed a contract for writing another glass beadmaking book with Stackpoole Publishing.  There goes any free time for the rest of the year!

I enjoyed writing my first book, Glass Beads: Tips, Tools and Techniques for Learning the Craft, which was aimed for beginners.  This one will be a little different, with some advanced techniques among other things.  The same photographer, Kevin Brett of Soul Imagery will be working with me, which makes me very happy.  He takes amazing photographs!

The rest of this year will be spent either making beads, putting jewelry together, or writing my book- and also a few necessary activities like paying bills and doing shows to pay those bills.  That leaves no time for cleaning the house or cooking.  Oh well.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

No power!

What a weekend!  Our power went off yesterday evening and didn't come back on until late this morning.  With no power, I couldn't make beads, read, put jewelry together, work on the computer, etc, etc, etc.  I finally played solitaire on my little netbook for a while, and went to bed early- not an easy thing for me, being such a night owl.  This morning I decided to do some shopping, something I seldom do, and before I got out of the house, the power was back on.  I went shopping anyway since I wanted speakers for my ipod for my studio- I really don't like the ear plugs, and I had a coupon so away I went.  Found a great little set I think.  I plan on listening to an audio book while making beads.  Last weekend, on a long trip to upstate NY, I started listening to Pillars of the Earth.  After at least 10 hours, I didn't put much of a dent in it.  I didn't realize it was so long when I bought it!

Next week I promise more photos!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

3 goals for 2009

Last year I had 3 goals to accomplish:

1. Redesign my website, which I did.
2. Get beads up on etsy to sell.  I sort of did this.  At one point I had 6 beads up for sale, but I never added more, and the listings expired.  I have finally realized that I really don't want to do this!  There is always something else to work on and it keeps getting pushed to the bottom of the pile, so for now, I will concentrate on selling my beads in other ways.
3. Make a blog.  So I am only 5 months late on this one, but I finally got it done.  There are still a lot of things that need tweaked, but it is up and I am posting, so that counts.

So far this year, I don't have any specific goals other than the usual- lose weight, make lots of beads, have more patience, solve the world's problems.  One thing at a time....

I finally created a blog- I think! There are lots of things I want to customize, but I can work on that a little at a time. So now I need to think about what I want to say. My life is similar to many other artists, and to other glass bead makers, but to anyone else, it probably looks pretty bizarre! I am a night owl, and work on my computer late at night. If I get on during the day, the hours slip away and before I know it, I haven't finished anything else. As it is, I often go to bed around 2 or 3am- way too late, which makes mornings difficult. My friends know to not call before 11am or so!

For the last several years, this bead has been my signature bead. I call it my window bead. I create the windows by grinding and polishing them (on the front and back) after I make the bead, using lapidary equipment. It is time consuming, but worth the effort.

Tomorrow I plan to spend the day running errands. Maybe on Friday I can get on my torch again to make beads, my favorite way to spend the day!