Sunday, September 6, 2009

Light Box for taking Photos of Jewelry

I'm always struggling to make good photos with enough light, etc. It seems after they are posted to the internet to Etsy they look darker than on my computer. I made a light box earlier that had tissue paper in the sides for light to go through. It just wasn't bright enough. So someplace I saw the idea of making it differently.

On this new one I cut out just the top and folded back the flaps to get them out of the way. This one is also about twice as large as the first one. This larger size makes it easier to work in and around. Then I lined the inside of the box with high gloss photo paper. The first photo shows how that looks.

Then, I set it up in the dining room with a light shining in from each side on the top. This really works much better with the light reflecting off the shiny white sides. I believe I can make it even better by adding lights to the front and shining inward. I don't have any right now that I can use, but tomorrow could be a good shopping day. My first batch of photos with this setup look much better and I hope will require less editing than before.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Seahorse pendant - new!

A gold seahorse is fused onto this black and white pendant. Available on etsy.

One of my newest creations!

This pendant is made of pastel dichroic glass that is fused at 1400 =/- degrees. The colors are pink, green, lavender, blue, etc. A raised area of gold dots goes across the top. Available on Etsy.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My listing process for sales sites

I thought I would document (for anyone who might be interested) my process for getting my jewelry ready to list on Etsy or one of the other handmade sales sites.

When an item is finished I take lots of photos - 10-12 or more of each item. I usually do a batch of 20-25 pieces at a time. In the Canon Zoom Browzer, I look at them and delete any fuzzy ones, etc. I export them to a new folder and rename them such as b101-1, b101-2, etc. I open Paint Shop Pro and crop them to about 600, and also lighten if needed. Then I go to Photoshop Elements and do a 'batch' processing. This will automatically resize them (I go for 500) change the dpi to 72 and put a watermark on of my choice and color. (And put in a sub-folder). With the item in from of me, I write up all the descriptons in Word for that batch, take measurements, etc. - a separate file for each batch.

When I list an item, I put a notation just before the description to indicate where I am listing it. I sometimes list the same item on 4 different sites. If sales were better, I probably wouldn't do this. All this takes more time than making the item - jewelry in my case.

Posted at 11:46 pm, June 11 2009 EST - Report this post

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Glass fusing in molds

Fusing glass in molds for jewelry: This is not an easy subject to get information about, so I'm sharing what I've learned. (This only applies to small jewelry size pieces and molds as larger sizes may differ.)

First you will need: a mold of the appropriate size for jewelry, some glass frit (crushed glass) and, of course, a electionically controlled kiln. Oh yes, and you MUST have some kiln wash - and the only one I have found to work is Primo Primer by Hotline. The stuff that came with the kiln for use on shelves just doesn't work on molds.

Glass frit comes in 4 different sizes: powder, fine, medium, and coarse. I do not use powder as it is too easy to breathe into your lungs (respirator required). Also, the size will vary from one company to the next. One medium may equal someone else's coarse. You will have to experiment. Try to buy only 2 or 4 ounces the first time as a one lb. jar is going to last a long time; and if you are like me, you will want several different colors. The Warm Glass website has small jars in all sizes and colors. Also note that frit comes in both transparent and opaque. They have a very different look when fired. I usually mix the 2 together, as I did in the above photo.

Molds are available several places, it's just a matter of finding the shape you desire. Check the overall measurement to make sure it will fit in your kiln (if it's small like mine). Then get the inside size of the mold itself to be sure that it is the right size or what you had in mind. I bought some that were for pendants and if filled to the top with frit are very heavy. Above is the photo of a group of the large sized ones.
A note about molds. On some of them -especially ones with designs - the bottom of the mold is the top of the piece when you take it out. This means that the top (really the bottom) is rounded and will not be very flat. This can be a problem. I have refired the pieces without the mold to a tack fuse to get the bottom to flatten out a little for gluing. This can also flatten out the top where the design is if you fire it too hot.
The process: Brush off any dust from the mold. Mix the primer according to the instructions. (Don't breathe the dust.) This is usually 1 part dry mix and 4-5 parts water. Put in a jar that can be sealed and shaken. It tends to settle and must be stirred well each time before using. Using a soft brush, coat the inside and top of the molds with the primer. Let dry a few hours and repeat until you have at least 4 coats on. Be sure it is dry before adding glass. Adding the glass - I use a small metal measuring spoon and tweezers to put the glass in and push it around. If you're trying for a pattern of any type, I would usually put a solid color in the bottom and arrange the pattern on top of that. You can add clear to the overall top if you desire. It's fun to experiment!
The fusing: The important part is next. These molds are made of ceramic and as such must be heated slowly or they will crack. I've had a couple crack when I was using the little micro-wave oven kiln. They sell those small molds to use in it, but don't do it. The microwave heats much too fast. You must ramp up your real kiln temperature slowly - here's my schedule: (obviously your's may vary).
  • 300 degrees per hr to 1000 - hold 20 min.
  • 400 degrees per hr to 1250 - hold 20 min.
  • 600 degrees per hr to 1550 - hold 30 (large molds can go to 1600, hold 40)
  • full to 1000, hold 40 min.
  • 100 to 900, hold 40 min.
  • 100 to 750, hold 20 min.
  • 400 to 100, & off. (don't peek until cool!)

When finished - turn the mold upside down and hopefully the pieces will fall out. If not use a soft spatula or similar to pry a little. There will probably be kiln wash stuck to the bottom. Scrub it off with scouring powder and a toothbrush. Admire your new jewelry pieces.

Til next time.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Getting Ready to Glue

I'm cleaning up my studio today in anticipation of my grandson coming to visit. His bed is behind my glass stuff. I still have a lot of pieces to glue waiting on my desk. Here's a photo of them. After glueing, I then have to take photos of each piece and write up a description of it.