Friday, May 21, 2010

Palladium is HOT!

Last week I made a palladium wedding band and decided to take a few photos while I was soldering so I could share the process with you....
Palladium solder beads are placed in the joints.

Beginning to heat up the joints...

Metal is up to correct temperature and solder flows! Approximately 2300° F

That is HOT metal!

Palladium requires very high temperatures and the metal glows brilliant orange. As a result you must wear rated No. 5 or darker welding lenses for eye protection. (Making jewelry is not as glamorous as wearing it!)

All polished and pretty! Fin.

♥♥♥Congratulations to Jocelyn and Curtis!♥♥♥

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

putting a Label on it...

I was reading the Scoutie Girl blog today and became interested in Tara's We Scout Wednesday post: "Labels: What's Yours?"

Tara said
"the language we choose to label ourselves affects the way others perceive us, the choices we make, and even the direction we choose to pursue with our passion."

I think many of us struggle with labeling ourselves and/or our businesses. The fact that, as a society, we have to put a label on everything is sometimes annoying. But it is necessary for us to keep track of all facets of our world and labeling or compartmentalizing helps our minds stay organized.

So.....What is my label? Who am I? How do I want my customers and peers to perceive me?
  • Am I a bench jeweler?
  • Am I a designer?
  • Am I an artist?
  • Am I an entrepreneur?
I am all of these things and more....
I hope others see this and label me accordingly.

Monday, May 3, 2010

In search of Motivation

Once a month, members of the EtsyMetal team are asked a question and then requested to blog about it simultaneously. This month's question is:
What motivates you to create?

In a down market when things are not selling well?
When you are tired?
When life makes you busy?

Normally my answer would be: I am motivated by looming deadlines. Give me 6 months to do a project and I will procrastinate until the last month...then I will crank it out. However, this blog carnival question could not have come at a more poignant time for me.
Because, currently, I don't have the answer.

To be brutally honest, I have had little to no motivation lately. It's not that I don't have ideas or inspirations....I probably have too many ideas. I even have looming deadlines...not as many as I'd like, but I have some. But the general desire to work in my studio has been seriously lacking lately. There are many reasons I can attribute to my "funk."
  1. Working alone is hard. I have always worked better when there is someone else in my studio. I have been w/out employees for two years now and the solitude is taking hold. Loneliness is bad for motivation.
  2. Not selling / not having a lot of deadlines is bad for the ego. I constantly am asking myself, why am I not selling while designer X is? Why am I not more successful? Self doubt is bad for motivation.
  3. Making designs that are 12 years old is tiresome. I design new work every year. But sometimes it seems that the old designs are the best sellers and I am bored. Boredom is bad for motivation.
  4. Wearing too many hats can cause a headache. There are many jobs involved in running a business.....designer, bench jeweler, marketer, sales person, bookkeeper, etc. I enjoy all these jobs (well, not the bookkeeping part) but I find the balancing act difficult. When I feel overwhelmed I tend to shut down. Lack of balance leads to lack of motivation.
  5. Distractions abound! There are so many things that are competing for our attention. In my case, my beloved MacBook is my major distraction. Twitter, facebook, blogs, metal and business forums, etc. Most of my computer distractions are indeed business related...but it all goes back to that balance issue. Being too "plugged-in" is bad for studio motivation.
I could continue to list reasons why I am having a hard time getting into the studio, but enough with the excuses. What I need are solutions.

So, now that I have confessed my recent lack of motivation, hopefully it will shame me to get back into the groove. I am going to try to do the following:
  1. Set a timer while on the computer. I will try to limit my online distractions.
  2. Clean my clutter. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, my bench and office is a mess. Perhaps if I cleaned up a bit and rearranged the furniture, the studio will feel fresh. Maybe the studio won't seem like a lonely place, but the creative space that it should be.
  3. Create a job schedule. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by all the hats I have wear, I will try to break all the duties down to certain days of the week or month.
  4. Lose the "grass is greener" attitude. This one will be very hard. Being envious of the success of others and having self doubt is a part of many artists' sensibilities. Perhaps I need to focus more on me and less on them or simply find inspiration in the success of others.
Okay, wish me luck. I will keep you updated. Here I go....into the studio.....

Please read the Motivation tricks of other Etsymetal members. Follow the links to their blogs:
Ann Hartley / hartleystudio
Beth Cyr
Brooke Medllin
Maria Whetman / fluxplay
Nina Gibson
Stacey Hansen
Victoria Takahashi / Experimetal