jewelry


As much as I’ve neglected this blog, I’ve been even worse with my other blog … the one for my Vivero Glass jewelry business. Finally I’ve updated it with some more recent photos and links to the bricks & mortar stores selling my work. And naturally there is a link to my Etsy shop as well. Today I fired a whole batch of new buttons and pendants, mostly destined for St Andrews NB, but some will end up on Etsy too.

Have a look … and send all your friends there too ;o)

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It’s a long time now since we came back from Newfoundland. Writing all those long-winded descriptions of our trip and uploading all of the photos wore me out. Tonight, two months or so later, I could barely remember how to log into my blog.

This fall I’m not expecting to write frequent updates. It’s a very busy time at The Loop, as the last of the cruise ship passengers filter through Halifax. (Cruise ship visits to our fair city are highest in September and October.) Everyone else seems to be starting to think about holiday knitting, so that, along with a full schedule of knitting classes, is keeping us hopping.

In the evenings, or some afternoons when I don’t have to be at The Loop, I’m spending a lot of time working on my glass business. My Etsy site is going well and I’m doing my best to update it (while trying not to make too many purchases from other Etsy sellers!). For those of you in the Halifax area, my pendants will soon be available at a very cool new shop on Birmingham Street called “Love, me”. Love, me Boutique sells a lovely range of hand-crafted clothing, jewelry and household items, all Canadian-made. I expect to have my pendants in there by the end of October. Swing by and check it out – it’s only a couple of doors over from Woozles.

It’s also a busy fall for my (decidedly non-crafty) consulting work. I’m helping to develop a collaborative planning process to develop and implement an integrated management framework for activities taking place in waters off the south coast of Nova Scotia – ESSIM, for the acronym fans among you. It’s a fascinating process that I’ve been involved in for years, in my former incarnation as a person with a real job, so I’m glad to be able to continue helping it move forward.

Let’s see, what else … I’m on a couple of boards, one for my condo and I’m also a new member of the Downtown Halifax Business Commission’s Board of Management. The DHBC work is fascinating, and it’s increasing my knowledge and curiosity about the city and the things that happen here. Tomorrow night I’m even going to sit in on a city council meeting to hear the presentation the DHBC will be making to council. (You can bet I’ll bring my knitting!)

So these are my excuses for neglecting this blog lately. But I still might be reading yours now and then ;o)

I can’t even find any photos to go with what I wrote above, it’s just not visual enough. Once a long long time ago I threatened to write posts about a box of my old correspondence I found. So here are a couple of scans of a postcard I received when I was much much younger and my life was even less settled and more unpredictable.

I love how what’s written on the postcard seems very cryptic or esoteric or something, like a secret language.

As you can see from the front of the card, it is the language of skydivers. I was a young skydiver way back when. I had forgotten this postcard and when I found it, I was pleased to recall that I used to know someone who would mail me to tell me about where he had left his Cessna aircraft engine and how he was getting a new one. This was the guy who first taught me to freefall. Ah, those were the days, when there was nothing better than getting to abandon yourself to the utter freedom and thrill of gravity, for 30 seconds or more at a time. Once you get to know what you are doing, 30 or 40 seconds can be enough time to get a lot done. In particular I was into three-ways … that is, jumping with my two buddies and we would practice our relative work (RW) manoeuvres, seeing how many positions or “points” we could complete before it was time to open our chutes.

Good times. I wonder if I’ll ever get to jump from an airplane again.

So much for reminiscences, I should be working (or sleeping) shouldn’t I.

As I posted earlier, I am pleased that I finally got all the elements together and created my Etsy shop for Vivero Glass.

Hundreds of people have told me that they are in suspense to understand just how I create my jewelry. Hundreds I tell you.

I sit and stare into space and random ideas pop into my head. Ideas pop into my head while I am talking to people. Some ideas come from people’s suggestions. I make notes and sketches in a notebook. Then I start cutting pieces of glass, often late at night.

Using a kiln to fire fusing glass is referred to as ‘warm glass’. I fire my work at a final temperature 1475 degrees, but the firing process is precisely staged. The temperature increases and decreases are controlled by a computer unit, to ensure heating and cooling at the appropriate rates for properly annealing the glass. That ensures that the glass will be strong and durable, in addition to being shiny and pretty.

It’s not as exciting or dangerous as forming hot glass, either through lampwork or glassblowing. Since I was 14 I’ve wished to learn to blow glass. Someday …. In the meantime, the most dangerous thing about this work is nicking my fingers and forearms with glass pieces or random slivers. Granted, some days I feel a little like Edward Scissorhands (remember all the little cuts on his face?), but it’s not a huge problem. I hardly ever bleed because of this work.

Some of the glass starts out like this:

 

The beautiful swirly ones are called Opal Art Glass. It’s fun to pick just the right little swirly bit for my tiny necklaces and buttons. I get these pieces cut from the original sheets which are about 4 feet x 3 feet and truly magnificent to look at.

Then there is the ‘regular’ fusing glass. I have certain colours I prefer to work with, in both opaque and translucent forms.

 

 

These were a couple of bundles of glass that I just brought home from Cranberry last week. I had strapped them onto the seat of the ‘new’ little motorcycle and they got home safely. (Bill and I bought a new little motorcycle … did I mention that?) Then, on the way into my building, I dropped one of the packages. Hence the chipped corners and the broken-off pieces! Luckily, this doesn’t matter at all, at the scale of my work. Eventually it will all be cut into tiny pieces anyway. Nonetheless I felt like a spaz.

The Glassline bottles are liquid glass, which I use like paint for some of my designs.

 

And here are most of the tools I use on a regular basis:

Glass cutter, pliers, grozier (that’s the largest set of pliers), a big file, glass snippers, fine paintbrushes, and of course tweezers!

So I cut, snip, tweeze, glue and paint. When I have enough pieces ready, I pack them up to go to the kiln.

Into the oven, my pretties!

 

It’s always exciting to see how things turn out. Most kiln loads have couple of duds, but it’s great when a new idea turns out well.

This was the first of the whale tails I did. It now adorns the neck of a friend of mine who studies endangered right whales for a living.

Now I’ve made my first couple of sales on Etsy which is fun. I’ve also sold things through several stores, but the Etsy experience is a little different and pretty cool. It’s a more personal transaction where someone from far away likes something I made and sends me money for it. I like it!

Okay not me, but my ‘stuff’. Late last night I made my first listings on Etsy. It’s pretty easy to do, though you have to be organized with photos and descriptions of each item ready before you post them. But now I’m ready to sit back and watch the orders pour in from around the globe. Maybe!

Here is the link if you would like to have a look and maybe even send it to everyone you know:

http://viveroglass.etsy.com/

So far I’ve listed a dozen items, but I have more to come.

I especially love the snowglobes, and I intend to keep making more of those. I’ve had a thing for snowglobes (snowshakers) since about the time I was in university. The first one I ever bought was during a trip to Paris. I’ve bought many more in all sorts of places, and the best thing is that friends brought them back for me too. Sometimes people I didn’t even know that well would bring them for me, because they seemed to enjoy the idea of adding something unique and exotic to my collection. Many of them had great stories attached, like the one from Egypt … My Egyptologist friend sought out a tacky souvenir for me, despite the horrified protestations of her esteemed Egyptian colleagues who thought she should be looking for fine antiquities. That’s what friends are for!

At one point I had about a hundred snow shakers. I’ve had to cull some as I moved into a smaller space, but I still keep and treasure many of them. And now I’ve found a new way to explore my fascination with those watery idyllic little worlds.

Do you know about Etsy? It is a wonderful website that is a sort of marketplace for people who like to buy and sell hand-made things. It’s easy to get mesmerized, browsing through all the beautiful things on the site. I’ve bought a few things lately because I wanted to support the people making things, and also simply because I saw nice things that I like. Here are my little treasures … unfortunately my photos don’t do them justice.

First, the cuffs: I’ve never owned a leather cuff and I got the idea in my head that I should. So I was browsing many of them on Etsy. I had a hard time deciding between a few, so I ended up buying two.

The one on the left is leather that’s been dyed green with a stamped tree pattern on it. The one on the right is soft leather with random coloured grommets. I like them both. They appeal to my inner tomboy I guess.

And of all things, I bought yarn on Etsy. There are about a million people selling hand-dyed yarns but some stand out more than others. The colours of Fearless Fibres caught my eye. Both Bill and I have gotten into making socks lately, and I bought some sock yarn for each of us:

The dark one, “Deepest Forest” is for Bill. It’s beautiful dark shades of green with a lot of black in it. The brighter one is for me … Kiwi Lime. It’s a little brighter than I thought, but I like it. The wool is 100% merino, superwash, something typically used for socks (for the non-knitters reading). This particular wool is really soft and cushiony, and I can’t wait to start knitting with it. That will happen after I complete the two pairs of socks I have on the go now, and the hoodie cardigan for my niece that is so close to being finished.

I also bought one more nice little item but I can’t show it. That’s because it’s a belated birthday gift for my sister and she might look here now and then. It just arrived today, so I’d better get it in the mail to her soon.

Once I get my life a little more organized, and once I’ve filled the orders for my glass (three stores waiting for shipments from me), I might like to try selling some of my jewelry on Etsy. If you even remotely like nifty hand-made things, head over there and have a browse.

This morning I retrieved a batch of my fused glass from the kiln. I had been experimenting with some new designs, so I was excited to see how they had turned out. Before seeing them, I was a little nervous because sometimes these experiments don’t work out, and it’s sad to have to reject pieces. Most batches have at least a couple of duds (I fire 30-40 things at a time, little buttons and pendants). Anyway today I was quite pleased with how things turned out! Sneak preview photos:

This pile of shiny glass ‘donuts’ will soon be heading to one of my client stores in New Brunswick. They are kind of mesmerizing, I feel like one of those birds that hoards shiny objects … ! (Bower birds? Magpies?)

And here are a whole bunch of right whales I did. Sunrise, sunset, foggy days – all kinds of weather! They need to have bails attached. Once they are finished I will be posting better photos on my Vivero Glass blog… along with several other new designs including other sea creatures like leatherback turtles and seahorses!

For my birthday a couple of months ago, my handsome and handy boyfriend bought me a little MP3 player so I could listen to music while I run. Because I have been learning to run. Nothing so fancy as an iPod, and I would have resisted that anyway because it’s too trendy. But it was a nice little device for listening to music files and radio – Sansa something or other, 1 GB. But after a couple of months the thing crapped out, and online research showed us that this has been a common occurrence with the device. Some bug that has now been fixed.

We took it back to Future Shop and they were very accommodating about an exchange … in fact I upgraded somewhat to a Creative Zen V Plus. It’s 2GB. I am in love with it. I had a superficial reaction at first because it is so pretty … shiny black and green. But it also has the kind of features I wanted without being too expensive. And as a bonus, you can put your own background photos in it, and it looks sooo nice with a little photo of my glass buttons.

Zen V Plus

Well this photo doesn’t do it justice!

Tonight I ‘ran’ home from work, which means I ran and walked. Trying to run for 10 minutes at a time with 1 minute walk breaks in between, but I am still taking a few more walk breaks than that. But I did the 4km route and ran for more than half of it, probably a total of 23 minutes. For me that’s a lot! And the new little music machine made it so much more fun (the previous device wasn’t so reliable sometimes). I had created a special “RUN” playlist and the music that really motivated me to run was the hard stuff like Nomeansno, so I decided to add more. So I’ve just added some new songs from the following groups: more Nomeansno; The Leaving Trains; the Offspring; and the Partridge Family. A winning combination! (plus lots of other lively stuff on the ‘Run’ list.) And I am now looking forward to my next run in a couple of days.

All I need to do now is knit a nice little cosy for my new machine. After I finish the magnificent orange sweater I am making for my delightful 8-year-old niece, to her precise specifications. I’m making it from Cascade 220 Superwash; it’s a knee-length jacket-style cardigan. With custom glass buttons of course, from Vivero Glass!


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