Friday, September 17, 2010

Lapis and Silver Flower Necklace and Earrings motif#18

Sorry for not posting in so long, but I was learning an important lesson the hard way. Basalmic Vinegar and Olive Oil go great together on salads but NOT on the keyboard of a laptop. It was an expensive lesson to learn. The bright side is that I really love my new laptop and Windows 7 :-)

I am still tatting in silver wire and one of my latest projects is this necklace and earrings. Lapis Lazuli goes great with silver and I have had several friends and relatives hint at what they want for their birthday or christmas.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Bridal Necklace and a brief venting #15

I've had a request lately for some bridal pieces, this the first one. It is fine silver wire, freshwater pearls and a sterling silver chain. I've, also made some matching earrings. I haven't named it yet, so if anyone has a suggestion, let me know. I love making the pieces but I hate coming up with names for them.

Now for the venting:
One of the Jewelry stores that carry my work had a visit from 2 people that are part of a local tatters group. They were very interested in my silver work and had the nerve to state in front of the store clerk, how expensive my work is and they could do the same for a lot less. Fortunately, the clerks attitude was "yeah sure", she was polite but frustrated with them too. Needless to say, they didn't buy anything. The aggravating part is that I know these people and their work, which is mostly just mediocre. I've won awards from both national and state organizations. I have 2 of my framed thread pieces on display at the Mississippi State Arts Commission Gallery and have my silver work at 3 different local Jewelry stores as well as the gift shop of the Mississippi Museum of Art.
I'm not bragging, there are tons of tatters out there in cyberspace with many years of experience and are much better and more talented than I am. But I do work hard at my craft, especially when working in silver wire. I just really irks me to have someone with very limited skills make these kind of comments in front of one of my vendors. Even if they could do it better and cheaper, its still very tacky.

P.S. My staph infection is finally under control leaving a 4 1/2 inch wound behind. If all goes well they will start using Apligraf on the wound to speed the healing. Thanks for your prayers we're finally seeing results

Thursday, July 1, 2010

New Pendant Courtesy Of Totusmel, #14

I've admired the design of Pamela's (aka TotusMel) Victoriana pendant for quite a while. And with Pamela's permission, I've tatted it in silver wire. It may not seem very exciting, but it represents a my first time using encapsulation in my wire tatting. I tried tatting it in heavier wire but it lost that delicate lace look, so I re-tatted it with a heavier wire as the core thread and my usual fine wire on the outside. I ended up with a much stronger piece without compromising design.

Please keep me in your prayers, I'm still fighting the staph infection, but I'm no longer on IV meds, we're trying oral antibiotics and hopefully I'll be able to work this weekend. The Mississippi Craftsman Guild is hosting a Heritage Day this weekend, with blacksmiths, sheep shearing, spinning, weaving and Native American basket making as well as stick ball lessons. Fortunately, my booth will be indoors where its air conditioned, we've been having 96 - 97 degree temperatures. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Addicted to Gemstones

Last Wednesday, my Doctor at the wound care clinic discovered that my leg wound had doubled in size over the past month. We have already killed off the Staph infection with IV antibiotics, and still it's getting larger. He decided to take a biopsy, because there was a possibility it might be malignant. Six days and five sleepless nights later, the biopsy came back negative! Praise The Lord! While waiting for the test results, I had a lot of people praying and did my best to not feed the stress (no binge eating, no potato chips, no buffets, etc.). But I did spend an unusual amount of time on ebay. I discovered that if you have enough time to waste, you can get some amazing deals on gemstone beads. I won 2 strand of Lapis Lazuli beads, a strand of faceted amethyst beads, a strand of red jade beads, a stand of red garnet, and a strand of emerald beads (all 6-8mm). The total cost is under $20.00 dollars. I've even bought a large black onyx cabochon to try to set into my tatting. I figure if people who crochet with wire can create settings why not tat one? So stay tuned for some silver wire and gemstone work.

Here are some Silver wire earrings with 6mm onyx beads and some with 2mm amethyst beads. Both designs are courtesy of the antique pattern library.

P.S. Still no sales on Etsy. Anybody have some advice?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I Found a Loophole

I found a loophole in my promise. My wife made promise her several years ago to stop buying her jewelry, not because she didn't like my choices, but because with all my medical bills we couldn't afford for me to buy her anymore jewelry.
The promise I made doesn't include not making her jewelry. So since she loves pearls I played around with some simple designs and ended up with a pearl bracelet and earrings tatted in silver wire, I even made the clasp and findings. She can't wait to wear them to Church on Sunday.
On the down side the staph infection in my leg has grown significantly this week and is weeping like crazy. I would appreciate everyone's prayers. Staph is a dangerous thing to play with.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Life is Hard - Tatting is Good

Staph is one of the most aggravating and scariest problems I've ever had. I've been fighting this infection since before Christmas. I am currently doing IV antibiotics, this is week three 0f this round. They had to change the antibiotics I was on because it was breaking done my muscle tissue. The new one makes me extremely ill but it seems to be working. Oh well, enough whining...

I've managed to get the nurses to avoid putting the IV in my hands so that it doesn't interfere with my tatting. I now have my work in the Mississippi Museum of Art Gift Shop, and two jewelry stores here in Jackson. I've tatted up a storm but have hardly anything here at home to show for it. My wife keeps reminding me that its a good thing, all my tatting is out there luring in customers. My work gets tons of oohs and ahhhs but few sales so far, its hard to be patient.

My newest design in silver wire is based on Yarnplayer's "Joyful Bell" pattern incorporating 2 different size pearls into the pattern, giving it a lot of movement (the center pearl hangs in the center opening) and bling. Big thanks to all the designers who graciously share their patterns. Thanks Marilee (yarnplayer).

Friday, April 9, 2010

Finally A Winner!!!

Sorry for taking so long to announce the winner of my give a way. My internet went done Friday before Easter and after many, many hours on hold and arguing with customer service and tech support, I'm up and running again. Its amazing how out of touch it feels to not have internet.

Well, back to the give a way... according to the magical random number generator the winner is DaleMarie. Your earrings will be heading your way. I hope you enjoy them.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Time For My First Giveaway

I have been going through my tatting and found one of the first pair of earrings I'd made in metal, I realized they needed to be adopted by a tatter with a good home. They are tatted in silver wire with a copper core and have a swarovski crystal teardrop tatted into the design.
If you have a good home to offer them and can name the designer of the pattern, leave your name and the designer's name as a comment on my blog before 12 midnight est, April 4th, 2010.
Good luck!!! (Hint: The original design did not use the teardrop)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

News, News and More News

Its been an exciting week so far, I've been nominated by the Mississippi Arts Commission to participate in Southern, a national resource which promotes southern artists. It's a big honor because to be listed you have to be juried and nominated by the state Arts Commission. They will have photos as well as a mini bio and artist resume' on the site.

I've also been e-mailed a copy of the ad for the up coming trunk show and all I can think to say is WOW! I can't believe it's really happening.

Stay tuned for a give away of one of my pieces. I hope to post it later this week.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Preparing For Easter motif #9

With my trunk show coming up, I'm trying to tat a few things that are appropriate for the season. I realized very quickly that there is no way to make a shamrock out of silver and make it look green, so I began preparing for the Easter season. I already had several Cross pendants made so I figured what I was missing was Cross earrings. So, with the help of "Mini-Tats" by Patti Duff, I have tatted some cool Cross earrings in silver. I know they look good because my wife felt compelled to test out a pair on Sunday for Church. They received a lot of great comments and I managed with some difficulty to get them back from my wife so I could take pictures. I don't know if Patti Duff is on the web but I'd like to tell her how great her book has been as a resource for small motifs for Silver earrings.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Exciting News and New Earrings - motif #8

Its been an exciting week which is hard to have when you are on IV antibiotics for a staph infection and a second antibiotic for an upper respiratory infection. Now that I am tatting in silver, I found out I have to be judged in a new category in the Craftmen's Guild even though I am still tatting, my new work is in a new medium. Well, Saturday I met with the head of the committee that judges the member's work. We met at her studio/store and she was so impressed with my work that she offered to mentor me and spent over two hours teaching me how to make earring findings, jump rings and clasps. She then went on to offer to host a trunk show,with advertising just like a gallery show and wanted to carry my tatted jewelry year round in her store. She also asked if it was OK with me if she could raise my prices about 75 to a 100 dollars, she was confident that her clients would pay it. Needless to say I left her studio walking on air. The fun didn't end there, Sunday night I decided to try out a technique she taught me on how to turn pearls into dangles and added a 7mm cultured pearl to a motif from Patti Duff's "Mini Tats". I finished them Monday morning about 12 noon, at 2:00 I had a Doctor appointment, within minutes of showing them to the nurses they sold! I took a quick picture with my cell phone and pocketed her check. I may not be selling anything in my ETSY store but it is selling locally. I'm also, tatting up a bunch of horsehead earrings to be taken on consignment to an equestrian show in south Florida, wish me luck.
Here is the picture of the earrings I mentioned.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Silver and Pearls motif #7

I recently received a very generous gift from a fellow craftsman in the Mississippi Craftsman's Guild. They had ordered some small pearls that were too small for the type of wire wrapped jewelry they make so they sent them to me as a gift to encourage me in this new direction of tating in silver. They are seed bead size and fit perfectly with the wire I use. I spent days just looking at them before deciding how to use them. I finally came up with a heart pendant using 9 pearls (Tri Heart pattern by Susan Taliaferro) and Marilee's "Keyed Up" pattern for earrings, each have 6 pearls in them. I tatted the heart in size 20 thread first and then did the silver one, they were almost identical in size. I may have found my tatting niche (ha! ha!)

I haven't sold anything on ETSY yet but have sold several pendants and earrings while waiting in the Doctor's office and to friends. Still holding out hope for my ETSY store though!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Attack of the "Cuteness" motif#6

It was bound to happen sooner or later, I succumbed to all the cuteness. I knew eventually it would overflow into my tatting someday. How could I expect live in a home filled with puppets , clown props and balloons and not have it happen. My wife and I even have a giant 4 foot long clown fish that looks like Nemo currently sitting in our living room (recently returned from a visit to the local library's teddy bear sleepover). Well I guess its OK since I make part of my living as a clown. I finally gave in to the "cuteness" and made a set of teddy bear earrings in silver wire from the book, "Mini-Tats" by Patti Duff.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Silver Horse Head Earrings motif#5

Tatting in silver gives you a very different perspective. 1) you can't just try out a pattern in silver, mistakes are costly. 2) you have to have very strong and steady hands, 3) you can't watch TV and tat in silver ( a real bummer) - you have to focus 4) you have think about negative space in a new way - you can't stiffen it.
----- but I'm still having fun doing it!

These are Dawn's horse head earrings in silver, my latest work. Watch for them in my ETSY store.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Its Like Learning To Tatt All Over Again motif# 2, 3, 4

Tatting in silver is a real challenge. If you make a mistake in thread you can either retro-tat or start again, no big deal. With silver you can't undo and silver costs an arm and a leg. But I have to admit it is a lot of fun, its like learning to tat all over again, with a whole new set of challenges, it has that feeling you get when you first learn to tat and you realize you've created something beautiful from just an ordinary piece of thread. I still have lot to learn about working in the different types of silver (who knew there was different types), in the mean time here are some pictures of my latest projects. The photos are not all that great, but I do have some professional photos on the way for my Etsy store.

Special credit goes to Briget Phelps for sharing her wonderful "Sweetheart" pattern. Its perfect with St. Valentine's Day coming up.

Stay tuned for more pictures (earrings are next) and watch for new items in my Etsy store.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I'm Back and Tatting in Silver

It's been months since I had time to blog, between my duties as Pastor, my birthday party business and my first high end craft show, I've been swamped. I'm just now finishing my Christmas gifts.
Now for the tatting...
I've been tatting up a storm trying to get enough stuff ready for upcoming shows that I have actually developed a tatting callus. Who knew that was even possible?
The most exciting part has to do with the show I did. I met a lot of other crafts people, one was someone who makes jewelry with wire, using knitting and knotting techniques. She encouraged me to try tatting with silver, she even gave me a good size length of wire to start with. It's taken a bit to get a handle on how to work with wire but the results are awesome. Here are some pictures I took of a pendant and earrings in silver, the pattern is the center of the "arches" doily.