Tuesday, February 19, 2008
I wanted to add a post with photos of my Tucson Finds - but I am sick as a dog!
So I will post that later!
1:30 pm - A Hundred Laps and Counting - John Franke
John is one of my favorite speakers – he is knowledgeable in many areas and always willing to share. His expertise is such that he can give specific info to YOUR situation.
An award winning faceter, John Franke is well known in the cutting fraternity. Together John and his wife Barbara - also an award winning faceter - run the Facet Shoppe in Burley, WA. John says that by now he has somewhat more than a hundred polishing laps. Polishing, as we know, is among the most fiddly and frustrating of the lapidary processes; sometimes things work and don't work for reasons that seem arbitrary and inexplicable. Plus there are so many different types of polishing laps. Which is the right one? Which should you choose if you wanted the indispensable minimum? John will address some of those questions, navigate through the jungle of available laps and steer you to a brilliant final polish.
3:30 pm - Web Resources for the Jeweler Blogging, Social Networking or Website? The Internet offers so may options to hobbyist, lapidary and jeweler alike. But which will work best for your business? This session is all about resourcing - putting the Internet to work for you. Former jewelry business owner Robyn Hawk is now a freelance PR and marketing consultant.
Outline - Selling Options Online
...the Gallery Pages of some Guilds
Blogs – Web Logs
Business – usually links to a selling site
Can be used as a Newsletter or to Introduce New Products
Service - informative, educational
Social - personal info and opinions
This genre started with the MySpace phenomena and just continues to grow there are at least a dozen of these Social Networking sites! Think they are just for kids? Go to MySpace.com and search jewelers or jewelry!
Just Getting Started? Most new Artisans let themselves get overwhelmed in learning HTML/Website Design when they are just starting out.
A good example of taking baby steps:
Turquoise Magpie started with an Ebay Store: turquoisemagpie.com
...then added a Customer Blog (turquoisemagpie.blogspot.com) to show their product in use and to toot the horns of their talented customers!
Then, with a loyal customer base behind her - the big leap to a website: magpiegemstones.com
...and a site for Szarka’s own jewelry – szarkas.com
Start small – build a customer base – see if the Art is just as much fun when you have to hold up the business end as well!
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Art Jewelry Collective
These are really fun...
My Neck Candy:
Dawn and Jeff's Blog:
...and for the best photos....
Phil Poirier has spent 35 years as a goldsmith and 24 years designing and engineering tools for the jewelry industry specifically for hydraulic presses. He is the current owner/operator of Bonny Doon in Taos, New Mexico. The company develops and markets hydraulic forming and tooling systems for the jewelry industry. http://www.bonnydoonengineering.com/
I am telling you I am hooked on this machine – the possibilities are endless...
That’s as much inside as I can stand – back out to the Electric Park...
Maybe it’s my hippy upbringing (I am after all a child of the 60’s) – but I really love the atmosphere at the TEP.
I offered to help Hans out this year so you will see several posts from TEP.
There are three sessions a day at 11am, 1:30pm and 3:30pm the class topics vary with something for every one.
11:00 am: Tips and Techniques for Cutting Molds with John Henkil of Castaldo. Every mold cutter has his favorite techniques, and John Henkil has been acquiring and studying these for some three decades. For fifteen years he's been demonstrating for Castaldo products.
This was a very informational demonstration. John didn’t just talk about the different ways of cutting a mold. He went into the pros and cons of the various types of molds and then did a hands demo of cutting techniques that could be utilized in different situations.
I sometimes think that cutting the mold is as much an art form as designing the piece in the mold.
Brad Simon Presents...
Ok – this is an exciting announcement... ALL NEW!!!! TV Channel all about Jewelry Making!!!!
If you're looking for jewelry training or in depth exposure to the techniques and the world of jewelry making, there's a new television channel which will focus on just that.
Initiated by Brad Simon and slated to debut in January 2008, Bench Jewelers Television Network will be a full TV network with different channels of interest to bench jewelers and will be aired over the Internet.
Channels will include, Shop Management, Stone Setting, Jewelry Repair, Custom Manufacturing, Platinum, Laser Welding, Bench Techniques, New Products, and more.
We all know Brad Simon from his publications that have always been free to users...E Bench Newsletter (Ebenchnewsletter.com) and the Bench Magazine.
Now there is Bench Television http://benchtelevision.com/ go – check it out there are free previews on several of the channels to whet your interest... when you see the videos and the quality of the work, and the level of the expertise gathered to teach, you will understand why there is a fee for the service. For an annual subscription to the service it is $125...there will be a monthly offer at a later date - this is for unlimited access to ALL channels.
BTW – check out all the great features at the next Bench Conference ( http://benchconference.com/ ) in Los Angeles, California! I hope to see you all there!
Thanks Brad for always sharing!
The Use of the Graver in Diamond Setting with Gerry Lewy's name will be known to many in the jewelry trade under his nickname "Gerry the Cybersetter." Today Gerry comes back with a repeat of Thursday's session, covering all aspects of the use of gravers in the discipline of diamond setting.
Gerry uses sample rings in various stages of completion, so that by seeing the incomplete setting, he says, "each person will then understand how the setting practice is furthered." He also utilizes photographs of different types of diamond setting, his instructional CD's and gravers for sale at the Learning Center, as well as free instructional handouts.
1. the Main Pavilion, the Lapidary equipment suppliers, Village Originals and Blake Brothers
2. small tents with everything from clothing to finished jewelry to wood products to 50 gallon barrels of rough!!!
3. the back edge of tents are huge mineral and rough dealers
Area one is on the blacktop however the rest of the show is in gravel!
You can find Wayne at: http://www.thelittlecameras.com/
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Let me go just a little off topic to talk about these videos...Hans Durstling, (the Father of the Learning Center) worked with the Canadian Discovery Channel to produce a series of videos that follow a specific type of from mine to market. Represented are Columbian Emerald, Brazilian Topaz, Sri Lankan Sapphire, Baltic Amber, Australian Opal and one on Synthetics. They are all really well done and will hopefully be available in US soon.
If you are in the area and have always wanted to learn a little about lapidary stop in and get some one on one with Diamond Pacific’s Genie and the Wizard trim saw. We have done demos with Rose Quartz and a woman came in with Dichroic Glass (she wanted to learn to take the scratches out) and Hans has been cutting a large amount of Ethiopian Real Estate...he is the new authority when it comes to cutting Ethiopian Opal!!!!
The 1:30pm presentation was Nora Nelson – Intro To Beading. She worked with 8-10 ladies on crimping – very nicely done and really helpful lady.
The 3:30pm presentation, Gerry Lewy – Diamond Setting Using Gravers was a popular seminar. He talked about grinding and polishing gravers and the same ways in which he has adapted his gravers for diamond setting – you can find out more about Gerry and his DVDs & gravers at http://www.gemz.com/
Most of my morning was spent in my Pearl Grading course for GIA...but I met a very interesting man on my way to lunch.
Gordon Austin is a Mining & Gemstone Consultant who has worked with the Paraiba Tourmaline mining operations in Paraiba, Brazil. I could have listened to his stories of trekking up into the mines all day. But I managed to break away and get lunch.
On the way back to class I stopped to listen to a little of the African Gems seminar by Richard Hughes of the AGTA-GTC. As always his stories are vivid and take you to far away lands.
Back to the grind...the afternoon section was the lab portion of my class and I have to say the pearls provided by GIA for the class to practice grading were phenomenal. Really beautiful South Seas and Tahitians, Akoyas and Freshwater Pearls! I really enjoyed it and I don’t envy the pearl graders out there...getting the hue, body color and overtone right is no easy job!
Thank you to Rick and Bonnie – I learned a lot and you made it an easy process.
Important Gems from the Smithsonian
I went back down to the Main Gem Hall because I wanted to get some photos of the rare gems in the Smithsonian Display. It is really interesting – on the first day of the show there were about a dozen stones total in the three cases....when I went back today the case was jammed!!!! Apparently the vendors make donations during the show and the folks that travel with the exhibit add the pieces to the display...you will know these gems because the labels are hand-written.
After waiting about an hour for the shuttle back to the Rio Grande show...I promise not to get into a discussion about the shuttles, but some of them take forever. Anyway went to Rio to meet up with Jennifer and to buy some of the Bonny Doon products that I used in my classes.
This is a fun evening – we are off to the Orchid Dinner! For anyone not already familiar with Orchid – it is a forum for jewelers on the Ganoksin site (ganoksin.com). The Orchid Dinner is the only annual fund raiser for the forum. It was a lovely image and dinner was good! The Silent Auction had some really great tools, a Bonny Doon Lite, Pepe Jumpringer, donations from Miland and Jack Berry...along with certificates from the likes of Stuller & Rio.
But the auction is just the icing on the cake...the real value of the Orchid Dinner is the camaraderie, the networking....just being in a room filled with artists sharing their art.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
The levels are varied – you walk in to the hall and are greeted by tables manned by reps for magazines (Jewelry Artist, Metalsmith/SNAG, Indian Colored Gem Assoc., etc.) the schools (GIA, ISG, etc.), the guilds (Appraisers, Metalsmiths, etc.), the associations (MJSA, AJA, etc.)...any info you could want is in the walkway.
On the same floor as registration is the “Spectrum of Gems” featuring the work of the AGTA Spectrum Award Winners. The walls are lined with Photographs by award winning jewelry and gem photographers. I can’t show you this area because they don’t allow photos, but you can see the Spectrum Award Winners at:
All this is interesting but let’s get on to the reason we came! GEMS! Downstairs one flight you are greeted by another one of the friendly members of the TCC Security staff pointing a scanner at you (your badge is scanned at the door of every room)!
This is the main pavilion of the AGTA Show, wall-to- wall Gems & Jewelry!!!
This is a little off-topic...but - was I the only person that didn’t know that Rio had patterned copper? It is really nice – one looks like it was run through a micro-fold brake and one looks like a ball peen hammer pattern and the third is a more intense pattern.
I have to give a quick thanks to Kyle – our Rio slave ....just joking! You couldn’t ask this guy to do something he wasn’t willing to do! He prepped, cleaned, ran between the class and management with our questions and met us each day with a smile!
For those of you who look at the Catalog In Motion Schedule and wonder if it is worth the expense? YES, YES, YES!
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Thought for the Day – “This is the biggest hammer in your studio!”
Day one was forming – it is amazing just how puffy you can get a piece of metal!
These were the samples of the puffed forms – soldered together as beads and vessels. The three dimensional shapes are formed when metal is forced into a matrix die. Matrix dies can be made of aluminum, steel, brass, or Plexiglas. We all received squares of Plexiglas, jeweler’s saws*, files and designed a die.
Dave put no limits on us and helped each of us press our die – we learned a great deal just by dealing with the limitations of our design choices.
One of the new introductions was the Silhouette Die Set ...it is a contained system with a multitude of dies and additional die sets available.
The group of women in the class represented almost every level of jeweler - goldsmiths, metalsmiths, students, hobbyists, even a woman with a blacksmithing history. What an incredibly talented assembly – I really think that each of went away with something from every artist in the room! It was like having a class within a class... a lot of “what do you think would happen if”...and “lets anneal it and try it again!” I won’t soon forget these women...
Everyone shared samples of their work, Maria Tucker (in red – her website is at http://mariatucker.com ) admires a gold/diamond pendant on leather by Shelly Bermont (check out her work at http://shellybjewelled.com ) while Jennifer Friedman (green jacket – website at http://jenniferfriedmanstudio.com ) and Roberta Starbird and metalsmith student and her daughter look on. Kara (an RN – I sure meet a lot of nurses in jewelry design) sitting in the corner takes lessons from Genevieve. Everyone brought different lifestyles, different views and came from all across the country from
Notice that Genevieve is not cranking a jack she is operating this press with the push of a button!
We cut an assortment of dies and had several gauges of copper and brass to work with.
There was a surprise in the room to assist with die cutting – the New Concept Saw!
You have to see this saw in action, it runs like a sewing machine and has to be seen to be believed!!!! You will never dread piercing again!
More on day two at Rio's Catalog In Motion tomorrow....
Sunday, February 3, 2008
At the same time I picked up some chrysoprase & rose quartz rough...I will post these when I cut them.
The AKS Shows are at the Howard Johnson and La Quinta – these two shows are the spot to find raw crystals and metaphysical teaching & products. Just beyond them was the Tucson Showplace - more of a fossil &mineral show, except for Rhodo Co. which is exclusively about Rhodocrosite (from specimens to sinks...YES...bathroom sinks!).
We went by the Tucson Convention Center, Hotel Arizona and the GJX Shows all of which start later this week.
Next on my agenda - a trip to the Tucson Electric Park to help Hans Durstling (the Dean of the Learning Center) set up for the Mayor of Tucson’s foray into gem cutting!
If you are in Tucson – the Electric Park Learning Center offers a variety of free seminars every day at 11:00am, 1:30pm and 3:30pm. To check out the line-up go to http://electricparklearningcenter.com/ .
When I got there Hans was working with two Ethiopian gentlemen that had some of the nicest Ethiopian Opal I have seen so far. They were looking for information on a more user friendly way to market these stones than just as “nuts” for specimens. Hans as always...came through like the artist/teacher he is. With in minutes they were using the equipment provided to the Learning Center by Diamond Pacific (two complete Genie setups and a trim saw) without fear!
We are working on getting an internet connection in the Learning Center – then I can blog directly from the seminars! Oh Yeah – did I mention that there is a HUGE Village Originals tent at the Electric Park Show?
Tomorrow – is day one of my class at Rio’s Catalog In Motion...I am learning to use a Hydraulic Press!!!
Photo: Rock Our World's large crystal cathedrals.
Globe X - This show is the craziest mix...gems, beads, pearls, crystal cathedrals, rugs, singing bowls, African Trade beads, Tibetan Silver and fossil creatures crawling across stone as tall as you are!! All of this is flowing from two stories of hotel suites out into the courtyard & parking areas between the rows of hotel rooms.
We were here to check out the opal carving demo by internationally known carver, Daniela L’Abbate. I met Dani at the 2007 show and Jennifer (my Tucson roommate) had some opal questions that needed answers. Dani shares space in the Down To Earth Opals booth and as usual their Lightning Ridge location always assures topnotch product from the source!
Daniela L’Abbate's Opal Carvings at Down To Earth Opals, Lightning Ridge,AU
Gem Brite Lapidary - Jim & Diane Coon
785 Makinster Rd., Tillamook, OR 97141
Freya’s Jewellery – Ammolite in the Rockies
Oswald (Ossi, Sr.) Treutler
P.O. Box 950, Banff, AB Canada T1L 1A9
Ph: (403) 762-4652 FAX: (403) 762-8044
At the edge of the GlobeX show (it may in fact be the Rapa River Show – they pretty much run together) were some dealers with African Trade Beads.
Next stop was the Riverpark Hotel – this is definitely my favorite of the outdoor, everything but the kitchen sink shows...it is a little more refined but not so refined that it was expensive. Unlike Globe X most of this show is under giant tents – there are still folks selling out of there suites. I will never forget the first time I asked a dealer to show me a strand of emeralds and he had to crawl across his bed to get to the case...only in Tucson!
The outside booths at the edge of the Riverpark housed the “cheaper stuff” – now in saying that be aware that this is also where I made my first purchase (double drilled shell bracelets in the photo), so cheap isn’t always bad! The gem rough at this show is beautiful, but I will talk about that tomorrow when I go back to pick up some rough that I can work up in the Learning Center later this week!
OK – so into the “big” tent – lovely things from Amber to Watches made from Meteorites. I left Jennifer at “The Opal Zone” looking at some really nice Koroit opal (he also has some of the nicest Ethiopian Opal I have seen) and I went off to look for the award winning faceter/carvers that I remembered from the previous year.
Tucson Ph: (520) 977-8265
Brazil Ph: 55-33-3275-1459
With booths at Globe X as well as the Riverpark, the folks at United States Pearl Co. located in Hong Kong and E. Tennessee oozed southern hospitality, they were helpful and accommodating...their product speaks for itself. Clean beautiful pearls both loose and made into jewelry...but the showstopper was the incredible selection of baroque pearls – all natural color.