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It is so easy to be tempted by all of the new techniques and products that seem to bombard us each day…
it is hard to fight the need to buy… and the need to try!

It is equally so easy to become inundated and overwhelmed by all of that new stimuli.
Surrounded by so much, it is easy to get distracted.

Here’s how Guest Blogger Melody Pierson is handling it.

It has become embarrassingly clear to me that I just don’t know when to stop and assess what I learn, produce, sell in terms of the jewelry BUSINESS. I would love to take  someone’s course in this, but I don’t have the money. I leave what money I have for clay, tools, supplies and the hairdresser. Yes, I have forfeited manicures and pedicures and lunches with friends.

So, every day in my email I get a digest or a magazine article from everything I have subscribed to and lately the magic words “wire-wrapping” finds me everywhere. You can wrap with wire. You can wrap with leather. You can wrap with waxed cotton string. However the wire is where it’s at for me at the moment…wait a couple of days, that will change.

Now, I could easily read all the articles and watch the YouTube videos (thank G0D for them) and look at photos. You would think machines did these wraps, they are so perfect and taunt and there are patterns that I believe one could spend a lot of time just doing that. It was about time I tried.

I took a flat oval acrylic orange bead that I thought was rather pretty and some thin brass wire. I stabilized the wire around and across the bead (in my mind) and then decided to make curliques in and around the piece like it was a flower… so curly and crazy it looked like a flower that was watered with LSD. Very trippy. Where the wire didn’t stick, I just added a bit of crazy glue, very carefully and voila, a wire-wrapped bead that, by the way, I had no clue how I was going to hang it as a pendant. It looked so fragile. I figured it would come to me. So far, it hasn’t moved an inch.

Today I was looking at this new ring I made out of nickel-brass, (it looks a bit like steel and a bit silvery) and the clay is great to work with. The ring came out great but just a tad too big. There is a horizontal space on top between the front and the back so I decided to get more thin brass wire and wire-wrap that. Oh yes I did – and you know what? The ring now  fits me. Of course, it does not look perfect at all. I would probably re-do it, but who knew that this could be a way to make a ring smaller to fit a finger?

Wire-wrapping is also getting me to practice using my pliers and which pliers for what purpose. I’m learning something new. I love, love to learn something new. Just for fun I made a whole ring with copper wire that stands up on the top about an inch. It’s comical, whimsical and I like it. You get to think outside the box. Keep that in mind when you go to make a ring out of metal clay… think differently.

I was also very interested in colour. Apparently enamelling is a very good process for metal clay but between you and me, there was no money in the cookie jar. That’s the name of my bank. The Melody Jar of Money. Not a whole lotta cash there. I got very lucky. A very nice lady,  was getting OUT of enamelling so she just sent me a bunch of packages with different colours. After that I was on my own. There are two great books on this but I will have to wait and see what I can learn online. I can tell one needs a lot of patience for this procedure and technique.

Moving right along, I had ordered some GlasClay from the same folks that I ordered this nickel-brass clay (http://www.etsy.com/shop/earthwindfireart) where Carl and Geneva are just the salt of the earth and I trust them implicitly to steer me in the right direction. You know, we are a lot of nice people out there in this world of metal clay, and stones, and leather, and lace. It’s just great when you hook up with the good ones. Anyway, my point is, and I do have a point, the nickel brass is great but I also love the GlasClay which I totally messed up the first time around. It was like a burnt pot roast feeling that you worked hard on all day. I waited a week or more, gathering more information… from an internet group which gave me their thoughts as well.

I tried firing it again with a new schedule and IT WORKED. I was ecstatic. No great design. But it was a beautiful colour and I know that I can also use this structurally so I am just a kid who is being inundated with so many new toys.

I’m thinking it’s a good thing I’m not rich. I would be ordering everything. The Silhouette machine  which does all kinds of lettering stamps, countless texture plates and more tools. Ask me what I want right now and all I can think of is ear wires and Italian leather wire. I want to make those bracelets that you can adjust the size just by pulling the strings. Another great video online. However, to make it even way better, you can add beads and all kinds of stuff. I’m still working on that sliding knot.

Then along came cuffs not necessarily made from metal clay but from leather and different materials where you can incorporate metal clay and beads, and whatever turns you on. On a day when I had some cash, I made a small order for blank cuffs from wide to thin leathers, thicker, thinner, etc… and what’s stressing me now is how to make closures for these wide leather bracelets. Argghh.

Usually it’s the small stuff that gets me. Or scares me. yes, Kumihimo braiding is another. Got that too and made about five long braids, same style because I was afraid to try another one (lol) while I was barely remembering to keep the same technique going around one disc with those bobbins. Oh my, what
would we do without those bobbins? Frankly, I am not sure what to use these braids for, except as a pretty rope for a pendant but rumor has it you can attach beads in there and make some funky bracelets. Listen, I bought the kit and I am terrified of the hardware they give you to close it and attach it. Way too much information!

While I was already trying all kinds of stuff, I remembered someone mentioning Prismacolor pencils for colourizing your pieces of metal clay. I Googled the coloured pencils and they were a small fortune. I have coloured pencils at home. I’m wondering if they’ll work.

I also have Gilders paste. Clearly I haven’t gotten a handle on that. I get that stuff everywhere in my immediate work area. Like my hands and hair. At first I thought you just do the “Karate Kid” thing; rub on, rub off…Well, yeah, but then you can add water and use a paintbrush, and, and, and…

So now there are stones and gems and enamels and pastes, pencils and patinas, metal clay, glass clay and paper clay and cork clay. I have Paper Clay and Cork clay and I know they are to be used to make hollow forms. I am terrified of them. Reason? I will be putting it inside my clay and it will “BURN OUT” in the kiln. Already I’m thinking, “fire”….

The worst/best part is when I go to a site that I like for metal clay, etc…and they have this NEW THING, that I MUST TRY. And thankfully I don’t have that much money or I WOULD BE trying it. In rare moments, I look at these NEW THINGS and say to myself, “Are they serious?” Can you NOT do that by hand? It’s hard to know what you need and what you don’t when you are going through learning curves.

If someone tells me to just concentrate on one thing for a few months, I think I would hurl. I’m a Gemini. I multi-task. I like to mix it up a bit. When I have a spell of patience, I DO concentrate on one thing for a few days and
when I am near completion of a pendant that I designed from ScratchFoam that Wanaree Tanner recommended, I begin to see, oh, LOOK there’s a squirrel!

Forgive me, I’m just a bit wired. I’m sure you understand.