What’s in a name? My Struggle to Choose a Business Name.

name tagChoosing a name for my business has proven to be harder than it was to name my children!

I have had several businesses over my career as an artist. Each business name seemed to fit the business at the time, but now looking back some of the names seem lame. For example: I live in an old fashioned red schoolhouse—complete with a belfry. When we moved here I named my studio…. “The Schoolhouse Studio”. Yup. Wow eh? Okay it fit the location. When I started a magazine for Metal Clay artists it needed a name. I agonized over that name. Then I realized “Metal Clay Artist Magazine” fit…most of the time. Some newsstands insisted on putting the magazine in with Ceramics for the first few years and not in jewellery making section. Clearly there was room for improvement on the magazine name. When I had a brick and mortar bead store…the name was simple and clear. Guess what I named it…. wait for it… “The Bead Store”! Despite this clever name I still had people come in and ask what we sold. Ugh. Can’t win maybe? Continue reading…

A Lack of Focus

IMG_25051“A Lack of Focus” by Jeannette Froese LeBlanc

“I’m not going to limit myself just because people won’t accept the fact that I can do something else.”― Dolly Parton

I love that quote. I started to think of it this week when a friend who was visiting my studio remarked that I have “so much going on” and that I should just pick one art media. ~Maybe. That does seem logical. Even the head of the ceramics department at the University of Regina would agree with my friend as he said the same thing to me 24 years ago. Well his words were harsher, “You’ll never have a career in the arts if you don’t focus.” I did focus. I focused on ceramics. Loved it. (Ended up as a potter for 15 years.) But I also enjoyed the painting classes and photography classes I took along with my major. Looking around my studio it seems I never was able to focus on one thing, to fit into one media. I have a painting easel, canvases, a sewing dress form, a potter’s wheel and kiln, a sewing machine, a grinder, sheets of glass, beads by the pound and a jewellery bench….

While I was a “potter” by definition, I enjoyed slab work which led me to take courses in architectural ceramics–and make fireplace mantles. I also loved raku and for many years was a “production raku potter”. But slowly jewellery eeked into my life. First I started to make raku fired beads. Then I learned new ways to string them and new ways to finish necklaces and brooches. Soon my pottery booth at shows was split between hand-built raku sculptures and raku jewellery.

Enter Metal Clay. After working with 50lbs of ceramic clay at a time, teeny tiny amounts of metal clay was an interesting change. Making my own findings and jewellery in metal clay to compliment my raku beads became my new passion. As many of my readers know I started and ran a magazine devoted to metal clay jewellery. I was an artist in search of such a resource and with none available, I started the magazine. Metal clay still holds my attention 7 years later, and I have a large part of my studio set up for making jewellery. I also have a few sewing machines and shelves of fabric in my studio. I merged the two studio spaces this summer during my “60 Day Studio Challenge”. This is what my friend was passing a comment about…How could I work on two such different things? Didn’t I need to focus? Her questions made me wonder, “Am I less of an artist due to this perceived lack of focus?”. For me one media seamlessly flows into another.

The artists I would like to question are those who make the same things…for decades. I know several potters from when I was a ceramics major…who are still using the same glazes and making the same forms. How is it possible not to go crazy doing that? I don’t see having a single focus as being an asset for an artist.

Continue reading…

Kilns: Fiber or Firebrick?

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Kilns: Fiber or Firebrick?
By John S. Hohenshelt

There has been much discussion regarding the differences between brick and fiber kilns in light of the introduction of bronze and copper clays into the marketplace. This article explains the differences in these two insulating materials for kilns in relation to the firing requirements of the different metal clays. Continue reading…

Beginner Project: Go-Go Silver Earrings by Jeannette Froese LeBlanc

finished Here’s an easy project that teaches you many useful skills for metal clay jewelry making.

  • How to use metal clay tools, including slats, roller, templates, textures and butane torch.
  • How to properly handle metal clay for ease of use and to economize the material.
  • How to incorporate other jewelry making techniques with metal clay.
  • How to enjoy  metal clay!

Hollow Barrel Beads by Jeannette Froese LeBlanc and Margaret Schindel

10393547_10152501674108157_5796246438284297048_nProject and Photos by Jeannette Froese LeBlanc. Step-by-step instructions by Jeannette Froese LeBlanc and Margaret Schindel

This tutorial shows how to make the textured barrel beads as seen in the image of the mixed media necklace. Barrel beads use very little clay, yet have a lot of volume. And since they are not formed over any sort of burn-out material (i.e. wood or cork clay) they can be fired with a torch rather than a kiln.

When I finished making some barrel beads for this project I thought I needed a “beauty shot”; a photo that would inspire others to want to try making these beads. That was my “rabbit hole”! A month later…I strung this necklace. The other beads in the necklace include round bronze and silver beads, silver bead caps, vintage red plastic beads, rubber beads and rubber cord. It’s a real mix, but it is fun and that’s why we make jewellery!

 

Photography: The Live Model By Marcia B.

 

_MG_8662_Retouched-3c_RGB[Editor’s Note: When we started to put models on the cover our readers noticed!  The first issue with a live model featured a beautiful cover photograph of Kathleen Nowak Tucci’s piece Unidinia on a live model. This eye-catching shot generated so much positive buzz in the forums and on Facebook, we decided to go in-depth for our readers and ask a photographer for her point of view on jewellery photography.]

Shooting fashion and beauty is a creative endeavor that entails exploration in order to attain a meaningful photographic expression.

When producing a shoot as a photographer/stylist, I start off with a concept. Along with the input of my creative team, I let the photo-shoot process take on a life of its own to see what can be accomplished. First—I scout a model that suits the look I am aiming for. 1_Photography_Marcia 34221In terms of styling—with the established concept in mind, I proceed in getting the right clothing and accessories to accomplish the planned look. I then consult with my make-up artist for complimentary beauty looks to match the concept. It’s an enjoyable process that allows freedom to transform ideas into even greater ideas. Last, I seek a location that coincides with the theme of the shoot. Finding the right location with the right amenities for make-up, hair and wardrobe prep can be tedious at times. It is very exciting when all components come together on set and the creative process comes alive. When shooting, I keep my concept in mind and continue to evolve as ideas arise on set. Continue reading…

Collaborate, Connect, Communicate: Three Goals of the Impact Artist Project

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2nd Place winner in the Metal Clay Category of the Saul Bell Design Award 2015 is Holly’s necklace, “Je’taime, – Dual Flame.”.

Holly Ginsberg Gage has had a busy year. She won Second Place in Metal Clay at the 2015 Saul Bell Design Awards and now she is heading up IMPACT Artist Project: International Metal Clay Project Advancing Creativity and Talent. Holly has set up a 25K fundraiser on Kickstater to fund the project. We caught up with her during her fundraiser to hear more details.

Holly tells us that if 25K is raised that it will be just enough to launch the project, “25K is the bare minimum to get us out the door with our most basic goals, which is growing the resources on our website, and maintaining the forum, IMPACT Activity programs and Rewards, and free webinars.” If 50k is raised with Kickstarter, Holly will give away a free book to everyone that has donated.   “The Journey of Self Discovery Through Metal Clay, This book is yet to be published, and will be given away as an e-book.” Continue reading…

Bill Struve’s New Invention: 3-D MetalCreator

Bill at Metal Clay Mojo 2015Every once in a while, if we are lucky, we meet someone who is truly a giving person. Someone who doesn’t expect something in return. Most of us know people who will look for the “what’s in it for me” before they give, such as: a tax receipt, their name listed on a donor page or carved onto a corner stone. But then there are those who quietly give. In the artistic community, artists are often preyed upon to “give” and “donate”. But in this case a scientist and an artist are giving to artists! Bill and Lacey Ann Struve are well known in the metal clay community. They have invented and produced several base metal clays under their company Metal Adventures and now they have a new invention to share with the artistic community. Continue reading…