Saturday, March 29, 2008

Adventures in Metalsmithing, Part One

I'm at a craft show this weekend, and it's going great -- you would think it's a Christmas show instead of a spring show, as busy as I've been! I've got my work cut out for me to make more things, AND update the web site (which has been woefully neglected), AND and.... and....


In the meantime, take a look at Part One of a three part series -- my adventures in a metalsmithing class. First up, earrings. Click here to read at Watch Me Create!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

This morning Zack raced downstairs to see what the Easter Bunny left him. Thanks to Nana, Pop-Pop, and Auntie Jen, quite a lot of fun stuff!


The Easter "basket" is a wooden one that Zack and I painted this week. We were going to stick foamies on, too, but he decided at the last minute not to. I knotted a handle out of plastic lanyard strips and beads and we called it a go.


The first thing he went for was his #88 Nascar chocolate car that Nana and Pop-Pop sent (reminder -- neither Rick nor I follow Nascar, and this is NOT Pop-Pop's favorite driver, yet somehow, Zack has decided this is it for him).

He got eggs with money in them....



And then the obligatory bunny ears were eaten off (along with the head, and the toes)......


Then it was time to hunt the Easter eggs that Mommy had hidden in the front yard.


Some were literally tossed across the yard willy-nilly....



And some were carefully placed....


We ended up collecting and re-hiding the eggs five times. Then Zack and Daddy played with these Bunny Paratroopers that Nana sent (by then my camera battery had run out). Zack is bouncing off the ever-loving walls from the sugar high and I'm contemplating a nap, but it's already 5pm.

Happy Easter everyone!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Belated Post About St. Patrick's Day

My friend Kathy reminded me about something that I had every intention of posting about, but had flaked and forgotten, so here it is.


The preschool Zack is in is brilliant. I'm constantly amazed at the projects they do.


For St. Patrick’s Day, they "chased" a leprechaun all week. They came to school one day to find tiny green footprints all over the floor (done really well in paint). Every day, more footprints. The last day, they came in from the playground to find a big pot of gold tinsel. They looked and looked, but no leprechaun could be found in the pot of gold, or anywhere else in the room. Not sure how they explained the story on that one, Zack was vague, but candy was involved at the end, so all was well.



They also got to plant herbs in a little plastic cup, and then they glued a picture of the leprechaun on the front, so when the herbs grow, it looks like his hair.


I only hope his kindergarten is half as fun.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Accident Prone Jewelry Design

You can read about my accident-prone approach to jewelry design at the "Watch Me Create" blog by clicking here -- you'll learn how I made this lovely bracelet, called "Cattleya", which is currently on sale at http://www.lorianderson.net/. It's named "Cattleya" after the copper orchid charms.

Isn't it lovely? It's one of those pieces that I just had to stop and look at for a while!!!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Lookie Lookie!

Look what I just got! I commissioned this wonderful Etsian Nanichan to knit me this Lacewing Scarf with a terrific flower on it. The flower is what did it for me. It's on an elastic band, so I can slide the scarf through it and wear it any number of ways. I found it in her Items Sold section (be sure to peruse it to see her AWESOME things, as she does a ton of gorgeous pretties) and we chatted about the color and type of yarn I like, and she made it exactly to my wishes.

AMAZING, don't you think? Please take a look at her shop, bookmark her, and visit her when you need a gift or something for yourself!!!!!




Monday, March 17, 2008

What Animals Eat

Today on the way home from preschool Zack was asking about what animals ate -- this was prompted by his watching "The Magic Schoolbus" today and learning about plankton and fish and what they ate.

He was looking at the new grass that's been coming up and asked what ate grass.

I said, "Cows eat grass. Sheep eat grass. Goats eat grass."

His head popped up from the back seat.

"What?" he exclaimed indignantly. "Goats eat clothes!"

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Silver Smithing Class

I just spent a wonderful weekend in a silversmithing class with Sue Stockman. I'll have photos and a more in-depth exploration of the class on Watch Me Create as soon as I finish sanding and polishing, but I have to say how 180% opposite of last year this class was for me.

Last year, I had no clue what to expect, had done no reading, and rushed, rushed, rushed. And ultimately, while I was very excited about learning so much, I wasn't good at any of it.

I can be fearful of trying new things, which is the reason I sign up for classes -- if I pay the money and make the time commitment, it forces me to do it. I decided to sign up again for Sue's class, as many of her students do. First, it's a three-day class, and there's a lot to learn in silversmithing. Most people who go into that side of jewelry as a business either go to art school for it or take hours upon hours upon hours of school for it. But mainly, Sue is an amazing person who is an incredible person and teacher. Not everyone who is good at something can teach, and she really is a gifted and creative teacher.

I'll save writing more in depth stuff and leave you with this -- it was a success. I had certain things in my head that I wanted to try again, and I accomplished them. I pushed past my apprehensions and fears and things WORKED this time. I couldn't be more pleased, and for the first time, I can see what I could do with this in my day-to-day jewelry business.

Cool things, man, cool things.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Can't Touch This


(If you were hitting the clubs or listening to the air waves at all in the early '90's, you are SO laughing right now!)

Jewelry Day!

I've been photographing, cropping, Photoshopping, etc, etc, etc a ton of jewelry shots in preparation for more web site updates and a Craftsman's Classic show in Chantilly, VA the end of the month. I have a silversmithing class this weekend, so not sure how much will get done in the next few days, so I'll leave you with some photos to whet your appetite!


This is an absolutely HUGE piece of rare larimar. I used a lavish amount of Bali sterling silver to create (what I think) is a stunning necklace).

These earrings are rich! Carnelian briolettes beneath, micro-faceted citrine above, and yummy handmade boro lampwork beads in the middle!

I made the chain with large rings of sterling silver and doublets of gold-fill, and then added charms of handmade lampwork glass. The shades range from butterscotch disks to golden rounds. Delish!

See more handmade jewelry at www.lorianderson.net and www.lori2.com

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Books

I've read a bunch of books in the past few days, so thought I'd catch you up. You can read my reviews at GoodReads.com by clicking here , but here's a quick synopsis:

"The Great Gatsby", by F. Scott Fitzgerald -- quite liked it, and although I'm sure I was supposed to read this in school, I didn't remember a bit of it.

"A Long Way Down" by Nick Hornby -- I liked it, but while it's funny at times, it's a bit dark and the subject is macabre, so it's not going to be for everyone.

"The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid" by Bill Bryson -- laugh-til-you-cry hilarious. You have to read it.

"Change of Heart" by Jodi Picoult -- I really liked this one and read it in one day.

"Rant" and "Diary" by Chuck Palahniuk -- Eh. I liked "Invisible Monsters" so much better.

So what have YOU been reading?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Fairy Tale Charms

You can read about how I made these Fairy Tale Scrabble Charms at "Watch Me Create" -- just click here.

Monday, March 03, 2008

The high cost of sterling silver

Today sterling silver went up to over $20 an ounce.

You could almost hear the tears and gnashing of teeth of jewelry designers everywhere.

If none of this really means anything, if it's the first you've heard of it, allow me to put it into perspective for you.

Here is a picture of sterling silver beads that arrived yesterday. Price (wholesale, not retail, mind you!), $400.


Two years ago, this would have cost me $120. And if you think that pile of beads looks like quite a lot, go to my web site and take a look -- many of my bracelets have four to five silver beads and a silver toggle in the mix, and those bags have 10 beads each, so it will go fast.

When I first started making jewelry four and a half years ago, I bought silver at $4/ounce. Now, it's $20/an ounce -- an increase of 500% -- up 35% just this year alone, and we're only in March! That is a LOT for either me to absorb as a designer or you to absorb as a customer. Silver is by far the most popular metal I work in, but the cost of it, particularly for the beautifully detailed beads and toggles I use, shows no sign of coming back down any time soon.


So why is it so high?

Some say it's because China launched precious metal futures trading in January 2008. Some say it's due to silver riding the coat tails of gold's meteoric rise to nearly $1000/ounce. And of course historically, precious metals go up when the dollar is down.

What does this mean for jewelry designers -- more specifically, me?

It means I'm going to work even harder to create unique things. Jewelry is not a necessity, and there are many, many jewelry options out there, so this (hopefully) temporary rise in the cost of supplies will make me push myself to create with more "oomph".

I will NOT be using silver plated anything. It wears off over time and when I see what my Early Lori Anderson pieces look like now, with the plating worn off in part or all the way -- I just can't bring myself to ever use it again. Copper, brass, bronze, yes. Plated, no.

I'm in this for the long haul, so I'm going to treat this hike in silver as a bump in the road that I have to drive over, a bad storm that I have to weather. There's no reason why I can't continue to make pretty things, and I promise to make each piece worth every penny.

To see silver in action, visit www.lorianderson.net

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Zack's Bridge

Zack's preschool, Christ Church, is fantastic. They do the most creative, fun things with the kids, and while they're educational, they really do let the kids DO things and make their own mistakes and conjectures and what not.

One of their projects one week was about building, and they drew blueprints of bridges they wanted to build -- chalk on dark blue paper. Then the next day, they built what they drew, with the assistance of the teachers, and saw if they could translate what they drew in 2D into 3D.

That sounds pretty intense for a 5 year old, but really, it was a great excercise in imagination, and "if this doesn't work, what will you pick next", which is something my little guy needs to embrace.

Here is Zack's finished project -- a draw bridge.

When he realized that he couldn't, as a five-year old, build something out of styrofoam that opened UP, he thought and thought with the teacher, and they came up with a bridge that woudl swing OUT. I thought that was quite clever. And then of course he had to build a boat that was going under the bridge (labeled "Motor Boat" lest we not know what it was) and pasted blue paper under it so we would understand it was on the water.

Since this was a big project and wouldn't store in my big art flats where I save Zack's masterpieces, I took this picture, printed it, wrote about it, and attached it to the blueprint to save for posterity.

And I thought I would share it with you!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Jewelry

I had a show today, and Zack for the first time in forever is sick with a cold, so not much time -- so just pictures tonight.....






See more jewelry at www.lorianderson.net and www.lori2.com