Wednesday, June 24, 2015

You can do it! Drill holes in stones.

Seriously. Nothing gives me a bigger feeling of accomplishment than drilling a hole in a stone. I mean, the possibilities are endless if you can drill a stone. You can make a hole bigger to wrap with heavy-gauge wire. You can use a pebble that you found to make a pendant or drill a bead to rivet on a ring. Like this.

I have been working on this technique to add to the projects in my upcoming book (Spring 2016, FYI. More details to come) but I wanted to share some tips with you, since drilling is such a handy skill to master.


I use these diamond drill bits found in my Etsy store. Use them in your Dremel, flex shaft or drill press. Here are some tips to consider when drilling:
  • Always use diamond drill bits wet. Use an old plastic container as a water reservoir. Hold the stone that you are drilling underwater close to the surface and drill. 
  • If it's not possible to drill underwater, dip the tip of the drill frequently (very frequently) in water to keep it cool and lubricated. Also dip the object being drilled. If you see dark grey colored dust around the hole as you are drilling, that means that the drill and object are too hot and you are close to breaking your project and drill. Dip immediately if this happens.
  • Hold the drill bit at a 45-degree angle as you begin to drill. Apply slight pressure and as the drill begins to pierce the surface, rotate the tool upright to 90-degrees and continue to drill. This will provide a "seat" for the drill bit and prevent it from skittering over the surface of the piece you are drilling. 
  • Drilling makes dust. Wear a dust mask while you work to prevent breathing particles in.
  • Wear safety glasses. Objects can fly right out of your hands as you drill. Take care to protect your eyes.
I have a class coming up that is all about drilling a variety of objects plus a whole bunch of techniques using the rotary tool. You can join me at BeadFest in August in my Pierce, Set, Texture and Polish: Rotary Tool Basics class on Thursday, August 20.  Check out all of the classes on their website. Class is filling, but there are a few spots left. 

I also have a FREE class coming up soon on Beaducation.com that demonstrates how to drill on a variety of pieces. I'll share it as soon as it is available.

I encourage to to give drilling a try. I know you have a rotary tool hanging around your tool box. Break it out and experiment! And don't forget to let me know how it goes.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Easy Metal Jewelry

Hurray! It's official. The latest issue of Easy Metal Magazine just came out and I have four projects featured in it.



Editor Denise Peck was also nice enough to do an interview with me that appears in the issue as well. I talk about how I got started in the biz and what is currently inspiring me. Thanks so much for the feature. It was really awesome of you! It also features a reprint of my "Ode to Portable Torches" from Jewelry Making Daily.

There are a great bunch of projects in this special issue. It's available in the Interweave Store and hits newsstands and craft stores today! Don't miss it.

Friday, May 29, 2015

I Played Hooky

Yep. I know Bead & Button is just a few days away. Right. I know that my book deadline is shortly after I get back. Uh huh. Yes. I have not packed my clothes and I may or may not have enough room in my suitcases for all of the tools I want to bring to Milwaukee. I should be working on a website redo for Jess Imports and my Etsy store needs stocking.

Who cares?

I played hookey today. And it was the best damn time.

It all started a couple of weeks ago. My friend Andrea Chebeleu owns an amazing Studio Workshop in San Jose, CA called A Work of Heart. She teaches mixed media classes and has a variety of really cool classes on her schedule. (Including mine from time to time.) She stocks a bunch of art supplies and interesting things. It's like a creative explosion in there.

So, like I said, a couple of weeks ago Andrea posted on Facebook that she was preparing to teach a few online classes at CreativeLive in San Francisco that needed a few students in the audience. The topics all had to do with painting, art journals and reusing/repurposing your art. I was hooked at "online class" and "paint." Plus I have always loved the art she creates and the opportunity to learn some of her techniques sounded too good to miss. Plus right here in SF? Sign me up!

I followed the link to the application, answered a few questions and a couple of days later I got an email welcoming me to join the class. "Cool," I thought. I added it to my Google calendar, set a reminder and got back to the task at hand.

I got a couple of emails from CreateLive about the general info for the day. Parking. What to wear. Photo release. A general rundown of what they do. Again I thought, "Cool." Checked that my calendar alerts were on and went on with my day.

Fast forward to yesterday. In the midst of being so very, very busy lately, I didn't think much about what we were going to do in the class(es). When I arrived at the studio I immediately ran into Andrea as she was putting the final finishing touches on class prep. Everything looked great, but what caught my eye was that next to each of the four student tables was a 3-TIERED CART OF ART SUPPLIES!!!! My heart gave a leap of joy and I thought, "I am gonna get to use all that stuff. ALL THAT NEW, SHINNY, JUST-FOR-ME-TO-USE-STUFF!!!" It was like getting a new box of Crayons on the first day of school. Except better.

I met my fellow students (lovely ladies), had a bite to eat (lovely breakfast in the caf/kitchen/meetingroom), got the rundown from the producer and host and wired with a mic (lovely and professional crew.) Then it was ON! Usually CreateLive classes are live on air, but this particular series was a live-to-tape for broadcast at a later date. Three classes were filmed over the course of the day... Making Collage Papers, Art Journals 101 and Recycling Your Art.

Now let me let you on on a little secret. Painting and drawing and journaling has always been a bit intimidating for me. I mean... yeah, I've done a lot of that stuff from my days as a theatre major in college to last week when I jotted down some jewelry ideas in my idea book. But it's never seemed effortless. Until yesterday.

I think it was the combination of the fast pace of the class and the focused direction and effective design coaching that Andrea gave the students. Plus having a full cart right to my left full of everything I needed. So I just did it.

The first class showed us how to create collage papers for our work. On of my favorite techniques was using regular and sticky-back foam to make our own stamps for printing.

Brilliant!
Then we did things like gelatin printing, layering paper with all kinds of paints, stamping, smooshing, dabbing. Using acrylic ink. (Also a new favorite. Drop them on paper and then spray with water. Magic!)

Acrylic Ink. Water. Bamboo skewer. Bubble wrap. Amazing!
The day went by so quickly that I hardly had a chance to snap photos, but here are a few highlights.

 
Journal Page
Collage Paper

Journal Page Two
Andrea and Kate peeking.
All of the techniques were really interesting and I learned a lot. My favorite takeaways were:

1. When choosing paint colors to mix and layer wet use two of the three primary colors. Mix a variation of two (or three) and you'll get those colors plus the color they make (blue+red=green). Mix a variation of all three primary colors and you'll get mud. ( Blue+red+yellow=brown). That helped to keep my colors vibrant.

2. This art is for YOU. It's a way to get your creative thoughts on paper. Not everything is pretty, but almost everything is usable in some form.

3. Bubble wrap is your friend. Put some paint on it and use it to print on paper. Genius.

4. Take pictures of your art and use it in other ways. A printout is an immediate collage paper. Use it for backgrounds, images and elements in other areas of your work. (Think website backgrounds, business cards, even printed fabric.) When you use your original designs it gets more of your "hand" in your art. 

Collage on canvas. Using photocopies of journal pages as the background.
And one last big takeaway. This.

The contents of that three-tiered cart? Yep. Each of us got to take home our art supplies. It was better than winning a car from Oprah! (You get acrylic paints and stencils and spray ink... and you, and you!) So unexpected. And so appreciated.

If you want to learn more about Andrea and her fantastic shop and classes, visit her website.  Find out more about CreateLive here. There are a lot of interesting classes beyond their craft offerings.


Even though I've packed away my art supplies, I am thinking about filling all of those pages in that blank art journal. After my deadlines. And looking forward to playing hooky another day.