Monday, January 24, 2011

Getting taller and urchin thinking

 Getting taller developing the body
 Gained an inch in height between these two shots. lip now 4.5" height 8"
In perspective it's beginning to look more like a bottle. The shallow urchin bowl is beginning to take shape. If you haven't figured it out yet I never work on just one piece.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Step Away From The Computer, Now!

     My wife frequently gets phone calls from friends experiencing computer issues. Calls range from, Help I think I've just deleted Windows! to How do I move these photos to? Most times she get's called when the friends have reached their frustration level. " Step away from the computer, now." has become kind of a personal joke around here. I've watched her talk people through some pretty complicated stuff, She does this with grace and ease, it's amazing.
     I rely on her for technical support. I'm more into the social networking side of things. Lately I've had several FB friends throw up their hands, pull out their hair and cry on their keyboards. Comments have ranged from "Are any of these friends my friends? Who are these people? Does anyone read this stuff? Why an I smoking more and enjoying it less? The household statement comes to mind, Step away from the computer, now.  Social networking can become addictive
     Here's an analogy. I hated high school. Mostly I hated an educational invention called "Study Hall." Everyone had a one hour study hall every school day. Study hall was sold to the parents as a way for students to work on their homework during the day. It's real function was to solve a scheduling problem caused by over crowed class rooms. To me it was prison. I usually solved the problem by going to the library. My approach worked well for a couple of years. Until one day I discovered I had exhausted the resource material on the things I was interested in. Something wonderful happened my senior year. I got a permanent pass from study hall to the Art Room. I had one hour a day to make stuff, sometimes alone in the art room. All of the years of  (research?) were about to pay off. People liked the stuff I made.

    It's easy to loose hours in a library, most of the time. Research time is valuable. It can not however replace the making stuff time. Step away from the computer, now. Come back show us what you made. We love pictures!  Here's some stuff to enjoy...Go make some!      


Monday, January 17, 2011

High on Mommas want list

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Getting taller

 This one is going in a different direction, It's going to get taller. It's now about 5" tall and 5" at lip.
6 6/8" tall  still about 5 1/2" lip
7 1/2 " tall,  5 " lip     These pics show the same piece through three courses of raising.  I'm using four different stakes and several raising hammers.  Some thoughts:  This is about the most difficult and time consuming way I could think of to make a funnel. The neck of this form is almost an inch tall now and 3/8" in diameter.  Whoa I've never made copper pipe before. This is teaching me about how far I can push the material. There will be a brief pause while I make a couple of longer stakes. I'm expecting the finished bottle-vase form to exceed 10" in height, have a largest diameter of approx. 3" to have a lip of larger than 3/8" and a foot of less then 2 1/2" The actual foot will be soldered in. This piece started as an eight inch disk of copper. Visions of raised spouts are beginning to occupy my thoughts for other pieces. I'm currently working on a sea urchin bowl, more on that another time.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Know the competition.

     It's easy to think of the other jeweler down the street as the competition. Also easy to consider the other guy offering jewelry for sale on Esty or Art Fire as the competition. Are the other pieces in the display case with yours in the gallery that sells your jewelery the competition?  Let me attempt to change your perception for a moment
     When Mc Donalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut, and Kentucky Fried Chicken look to locate their stores they would prefer to locate near other successful chains. The theory being they intend to offer hungry people a different dining experience than the others. They may share the same customer base, they might not. The concept is; offering the customer more variety is beneficial to each of the establishments. Food courts in malls are a good example of the power of offering diversity to the customer.
    I once opened a new jewelry store in a town of about 15,000 people. My store made the third jewelery store in the community. There was an unexpected result to my opening that 3rd store in town.  I would have expected to achieve my 1/3 of the possible jewelry sales, in other words my slice of the existing pie. What actually happened was that total jewelery sales for all three stores went up, the pie expanded. Both of the other existing stores reported increased sales! I gave this considerable thought as I purchased inventory for the next year. I came to this conclusion. The collection of retailers in the community was suffering from a considerable leak in retail sales to other communities. By increasing the selection of jewelry available and by increasing the awareness of the jewelry and services provided within the community we had begun to hold our customer base. My goal then became to increase the holding and drawing power of the community of retailers.  Realizing it would be to my benefit to be beside the best little book store and the best bakery in town would begin to occupy my thoughts. Somewhere along the journey I stopped thinking about the other jewelers and retailers in town as competition and began to think of them as colleagues.
     It was kinda of funny really when people discovered the three of us were friends. This shouldn't have beena surprise, after all we had more in common with each other than we did nearly anyone else. We faced similar problems, had the same expectations of the products we sold and knew many of the same people in the industry. There are humorous stories of us interacting. I once supported one of them running for Mayor of the city. Each of them did things I didn't do, each of them had a specialty, and an area of expertise. I would always make time to talk to either of them and they for me.
     I once wrote an article comparing the numbers of vacuum cleaners given as Christmas presents and the rise in the divorce rate across the country. My tongue in cheek article pointed out expectations of the receiver of the gift. Though I've never seen a time when vacuum cleaners were in hot demand, as this years must have item,  I'd be among the last to suggest you shouldn't have one. Nor would I suggest giving the newest phone on the market is a bad idea. I remember when vcrs or Ninetendo games blew off retailers shelves. I remember when digital watches were a hot item in the jewelry store. I suspect Amazon sold many a Kindle this year. Those seasonal must have items are the competition for the public's disposable income. Imaging the difference in the reception when she opens the package containing her new Blackberry and the next present is the diamond ring she's bee drooling over. Suppose your card says "This year I thought I'd get you things that ring." We don't have to back away from the major competition for the customers disposable income, we can embrace it. We do after all have wonderful things to sell.
    There is an almost unseen competitor for your customers disposable income. Let's look at the daily expenses of lots of people across the country. They go to work five days a week and average $7.00 a day in gas to get to and from work. Their yearly fuel bill for the commute is about $2,600. If gas prices rise a little per gallon, it wouldn't take long for the daily commute to cost $10.00 a day. What that means is that your customer would have $800.00 less disposable income annually. If that's not insulting enough consider the fact that they would have pumped the gas themselves, cleaned their own windshield, checked their own oil and purchased air for their own tires. Don't mention they conduct these transactions after waiting for the Lotto ticket purchasers to get out of the way. Of course they could conveniently purchase an over priced gallon of milk during the process.Gone are the service stations, welcome to convenience stores. But sadly gone is a share of the disposable income you and I prosper from.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New beginnings are continuations

 Building forms composed of more elements.
 Gaining height and volume
 These are mow about 10 inches tall
 This one has a long way to go. It's now about 5"x5"  headed to a bottle or vase form  goal >10" tall
 In another direction, 100' of 12 gauge copper wire flattened and annealed

To do more explorations in line required making these double coils, they help prevent tangles while braiding.
 There is a bunch of prep work that goes into this stuff that gets unmentioned.  Slight changes in form can represent hours of work. Forms suggest other forms, new concepts begin to take shape.