Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fold Forming- Pleats-plaits-tucks-rolls

Wow. It's been a while since I wrote in the blog. My apologies. I'll offer you a bribe of sorts to make up for my lack of writing. Consider this your Thanks Giving present. Yes I'll have one for Christmas for you also, but that's next week. I do all ready know what it is. Let me say this. I love Thanksgiving. Giving thanks is a wonderful idea, we should do it more often. But I love this holiday for two other reasons. First of all there's a parade! Secondly there's a concept us country kids understand. It's about looking at one thing and seeing something else. Turkeys are pretty disgusting, stupid critters. But to look at a turkey and see a feast is an amazing thing. That ability to look at one thing and see something else gets into fold forming a little bit. We are going to work with some metal but we're going to do it by thinking about fabric. This you've heard of a pleated skirt. you've seen accordion folded curtains. Here's a link that will fill you on on the terms of the pleat world.
Your present is a demo!  Pretty soon you're going to want something to hang on a tree. How about something fold formed?  caption
 You're going to need some things. A straight edge, scissors or a sharp knife, maybe some tape, perhaps a few paper clips, and most important fingers..Oh and a roll of aluminum foil. Hey it's metal!
 I've taken an 18" by 36" sheet and box pleated it the long way,
It was then accordion pleated-folded at 90 degrees. I cut this into two sheets 9" long.
 With a little unfolding and finger work it should look something like this. But we have to join the edges together.  
Here comes the epic fail part of the demo..I got a better idea. I at first thought I could use a slip tab A into slot B approach..Bad Idea..Didn't work. Every good demo I've ever done had it's epic fail moment. Such is life.
Instead of doing that do this. Another type of pleat! A rolled pleat as the join.
Much better join. Push this area inward creating a valley  fold. Now comes the fun part!
This pic shows a mountain fold. The dots show areas where metal has been trapped by the box pleat. We are going to pull 1/2 of these trapped metal areas open. That's how we create our form!

Fun part! ( understand we are going to open the mountains not the valleys)

Work all the way around the form opening 1/2 of each side then the other 1/2 until it looks like this. Proceed to open up the others.

These are the two forms I created during this demo. Could you do them in copper? Sure, just find some copper foil. I had too many pleats to get ball shapes. You'll figure it out. I used 3/4 " spacing..too big for ornaments?  For thanksgiving you recieved the gift of seeing a possibility, Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Doing It All Over Again.

     If I had it to do over again or more likely if I had to start all over again there are a few things I'd do differently. I suppose we can all say that. I'm not saying I wouldn't have the second margarita or that I wouldn't  seek the warm sandy beaches, somewhere. Let me try to explain.

     When I opened my first store the landlord suggested strongly that If I had an engraving machine I would get all of his companies presentation plaque business. A thousand dollars later I had purchased an engraving machine, five fonts and various jigs for it. A few hundred more bucks and I had a stack of little brass plates to put on my landlords GD plaques. I purchased engravable items and offered them for sale. This business looked like this I purchase ID bracelet, Sell ID bracelet at 2x mark up, engrave it for free! Sometimes we spelled the name wrong, sometimes things slipped in the machine. Mary did all of our engraving, Mary was one of the nicest people I ever met, she was a devoted grandmother. Engraving turned her into a mumbling, grouchy person. One of the happiest days in my jewelry career was the day I gave another jeweler, in an other state, my engraving machine.  So if I had it to do all over again, I'd have the second margarita and skip the engraving machine experience.
     My current projected business model takes into account more of me than just making jewelry and doing metalsmithing. Step one acquire some land 3-15 acres. Rural setting. House 1000 to 1200 sq ft. build it if I have to. Shop minimum 24x24 that's a 2 car garage size. Build a greenhouse connected to the shop 20x 40 to start. Use the greenhouse to do aquaponics, ie. raise fish and food. Produce organic vegetables. Sell excess. Use a combination of solar and grid provided power. Wood heat. Goal is to become a self sufficient small farm.
     This approach makes it easier to do the art side of things. It removes the have to sell jewelry aspect to survival-prospering. Almost all jewelry marketing would be done on line or at two large by invitations at the farm studio events.
A copper fold formed deep flower, "Fantasy Flower"Add caption
    There is an amazing thing that happens on purpose with aquaponics. The fish eat plants, algae mostly, the plants enjoy the nutrient the fish produce, the water stays clean. There is a certain synergy created. It's that synergy I want to be a part of. I'm seeking a balance. The fact that most of it happens in a greenhouse is an added blessing. No engraving machine, no grouchy people. Enjoy  Food for thought for some of you.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Changes In Doing It.

Aluminum has potential as a jewelry medium. These pieces are resting on a sheet of textured aluminum stock.
"I found time to learn the night sky, so that it was calendar, clock, & compass. There are knots to learn, puzzles to solve: how does one reckon the tides? Need a sundial? The arithmetic of ratio & proportion are at the root of trigonometry & algebra, whoso can reckon in fractions has a firm grip of all else. All of these were in the reach of folk in days gone by, if they bothered to learn them. There is nothing like going for a walk, to loosen the bindings of habit, & so open one to new thoughts & feelings. Learn your surroundings: one can figure the direction & distance of a sound at night, especially a branch falling from a tree or the like, if one has taken in his surroundings. If one looks at what is over the hill, or around the next bend, they are no longer unknown territory; one can picture what is going on from the sounds made there. It is good sense to know that this or that can be found here or there, one may need it at a moment’s notice, even if, until then, it was only stuff. Every day holds something new, or gives an answer to an old mystery; when it comes to living without the plugged-in things being switched on: when boredom calls, it calls for change; so make a change." The preceding long quote is from a writing by Christopher Ellis titled "Somethings on what to do when everything is  turned off" 
     Today you and I are facing what seem to be ever increasing precious metals prices,  increasing energy costs and higher food prices. Today I'd like to suggest some methods- techniques we may find ourselves doing as a result of these changing times.  "it calls for change, so make a change."
    I think PMC has an advantage when it comes to copper and brass clays. by combining a glass approach called miliflori or caining. it's not mokome but it's cool looking stuff.
    The process of filigree uses surprisingly little metal. learn about a tool called a millgraining tool.

    Casting is still an excellent method to produce multiples, But so are photo etching, and die cutting.
    Electro-plating uses very little metal. Electro forming is a little different.
    I highly recommend that any of you wanting to have a career in jewelry become gemologists. The value of most $10,000 pieces comes down to a mounting less than $1,000 and $9,000 for the center stone. The profit is made on the stone. Put your knowledge where the profit is!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

We Can Do It!

It just wouldn't be right if I didn't include the most famous "Do It" person, the American icon, Rosie The Riveter in a series about "doing it" The painting by Norman Rockwell is now the property of Walmart  and hangs in their gallery in Benton-ville Arkansas. I did almost forget to include her. I was joking with a friend yesterday, she by the way has a striking resemblance to Rosie, about never being able to find a screw driver. Though I know for a fact I haven't made all of them into chasing and repousee tools. I must confess I really don't use screw drivers very often, It all goes back to Rosie!  Rosie the famous riveter needed holes to put rivets in. The tool of choice was a hand held power drill. One of the other things you could do with this drill was to put a screw driver bit into it and have a powered screw driver! Rosie's of the day were known to take their drills home with them to use for home fix it jobs. A market for power tools for the home owner was discovered. The maker of those drills was Black and Decker, amazing. When I was a kid I learned about the power drill. Today my power drill is battery operated and I have fifty screwdriver-bits to fit almost every situation.  Thanks Rosie, for bringing the tools home. If you are a lady-smith consider Rosie as a roll-model. A can do it American girl.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Doing It The Wabi-Sabi Way

Well yesterday was an experience in frustration. I wrote and typed the blog for the day twice. Each time it failed to post. This is the third attempt. Believe me when I say that this version is almost completely different from the other two attempts. My thoughts seem clearer.
    I’m not going to pretend to completely understand the Japanese concept of wabi sabi. I have a western view of the world my understanding may be limited by my perspective. I do like what I see and hear. The concept draws me in. Here’s a long quote from Wiki, I find useful. "if an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing, then that object could be said to be wabi-sabi." "[Wabi-sabi] nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect."
     How do these three realities help us? They help us by providing a focus on the natural. They ask us to meditate on an object rather than just glance in passing at an object. As makers of objects we have to understand that subtle changes become areas of wonderment for the viewer. That area of wonderment has transformative power for the viewer of the object.
     The westerner will simply say "I don't know anything about art, but I like it." Others will say, "This piece speaks to me."
Some days it's as if through some happy accident, a serendipity, I discovered I could speak a language I didn't know existed, And I just discovered there are people that understand it!
     A synergy has formed.   Enjoy

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Doing It "Advantage"

 aluminum fold formed pendant concept.
 Copper Fold formed boats. upside down ear ring design
 Became a pair of Fold formed copper earrings
 Fold formed coils about the size of a nickle
Unfolding is the best part of fold forming!
One of the Doing It Advantages is that all of the play is my property. I get the benefit of having done it. That benefit is the next ideas and concepts.
     I know you have probably never heard of Union Whiten, Iowa. Let alone Dows, Iowa. If you're not from Iowa you've never heard of March Madness. If you are from Iowa, you know about Girls Basketball, and Cinderella State Basketball Championship Teams. For a good many years the state championship could come down to some little school that was hardly on the map VS one of the large cities. Denise Long was the star of the 1968 Girls Basketball team from Union Whiten. She scored 111 points in that game!  There's a park in Whiten in her honor. Yup,  the park has a basket ball hoop! Why do I mention that now? Because it's about this time of the year, when the nights get a little cooler, that the girls in Iowa would hit the driveway courts, dust off the basketballs and begin practicing!  You couldn't pay people to do that! But you can't stop them either. It's their advantage, and they know it!
     Tomorrow I'll some more things for you to consider. Enjoy

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Doing It Against The Odds

 A series of "Evidence"

     If you have considered starting your own business, jewelry of other wise, no doubt somebody  has informed you that four out of five small businesses will end in failure within their first five years. That's a staggering failure rate! If that were the whole story no one in their right mind should ever want to own their own business! We should accept it and move on. But wait a minute, It's not the whole story! What about that 1 in 5 gal. Well the odds are pretty great that she was a 4 out of 5'er at lease once and pretty high she was a 4 out of 5'er twice. What happens is each time she tries is she learns more about what works and what doesn't work. There's another thing that happens. I got my first bank loan, in my name, no cosigner, when I was twelve years old! I bought two pregnant sows, Raised the pigs, kept two more sows, bread them, raised the pigs and sold the rest. By the time I was sixteen I had a dozen sows and  semi truck worth of bacon and pork chops.   I sold out of the hog production business! Had I failed as a hog producer? I was a solid 4 out of 5'er. I just lost interest in farming.
     I watched a family owned liquor store set up a barbeque grill, out their back door. It didn't take long for a  barbeque catering and wine tasting company to spin off. They basically became their own best customer. I watched their Bingo Parlor transform into the catering business. Yup they would have qualifies as 4 out of 5'ers. So I'm going to tell you what they never do. If you've tried and failed, ponder a while and try again. The odds are changing in your favor. One of the things we need to do is stop believing the "sort of" information people keep giving us,
    I spoke to the plant superintendent of  rather large electronics company a few years ago. He said that in his industry people are  only accurate about half of the time. I was pretty shocked with his 55% figure. He went on to say that anyone in his industry anyone that was accurate 85% of the time would be considered genius level. I started thinking, There is no way I could be wrong 15% of the time and still be in business. You won't be able to either. Here's how to get your accuracy rate up. Most people fire back answers at questions like they have a machine gun, professionals at automatic fire, fire in short bursts. We are going to add a pause and a question from us between their question and our answer. Goes something like this. Your kid in the back seat of the car says, "Dad, Are greyhounds yellow? Instead of your usual fast all knowing answer of "No" you respond with "Why? Your son says"'cause if that's not a Greyhound, then it's a schoolbus coming directly at us."  Pause, clarify the question.
    I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Very few people, just a couple of close employees and imediate family members, know this about me. I'm really two people! There's the amazing can do anything at the jewelers bench guy, according to the standing behind the counter talking to a customer me. And there's the "Holly buckets of grease Batman, What have you gotten me into this time? How cheap am I going to have to do this little bit of wonderment?" guy, when I'm seated at the bench. I swear my IQ goes up ten points when I sit at the jewelers bench.
   This week I'll blog some more on this making it-doing it stuff. I'm pretty solidly in like with destination marketing,  selling directly to my own retail customers and a synergistic approach to being artist-designer-craftsman. Hope you enjoy