Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Birthday Sale!

Today's my Birthday and I feel like celebrating!!! I'm offering a 20% off sale in my shop off anything over $20. Use "BIRTHDAY" for the sale code in the note to seller. (I'll send you a refund via paypal or you can wait for a revised invoice) I can't think of a better way to celebrate it except with you!!!

visit my shop:
Sara's Etsy shop Link


Monday, March 22, 2010

Piercing with "Knew" Saw

RAD 81
Originally uploaded by sarawestermark
I had so much fun piercing with my new saw. It is so easy to handle and makes piercing a dream. I didn't even mind sawing some tubing! This is my Ring a Day for today the 81st day of the New Year. I drilled a hole and then inserted my saw blade with my Knew Concept say and made all my cracks. I really love it when you have a tool and it makes something tedious into something fun and meditative.

SNAG Tool Review Continued--Micro Forming Tools

I was enchanted by the tools offered by N. C. Black Co in the vendor room at the Society of North American Goldsmith's conference.  N. C. Black Co. specializes in micro forming tools for shell forming, raising, and spiculums by offering a full range of hammers, mallets, stakes and forming blocks for metalsmiths.  

These tools are available only at ALLCRAFT TOOL Co. and are 100% made in the United States.  I couldn't find a website address for Allcraft, but I do have a phone number to call for the tools, (212) 279-7077.  People were constantly at the booth trying out various hammers.  I don't remember a time when they had an empty booth!

They also had handouts available to show how each hammer was used to create these different micro forms.  I decided in the interest of time that I would visit them after I get home since they are located in North Carolina.  I am planning to travel to the Sawtooth School to get a lesson on these beautiful tools.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Exhibition in Motion at SNAG 2010

Michael Dale Bernard posted this on Crafthaus via Youtube.  I thought you would like to see the runway video too!  I posted earlier with behind the scenes photos of these pieces.  Here you see it in motion.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My Favorite Tools from SNAG

During the SNAG conference I frequented the vendors' rooms and keep looking at tools.  When I get home I will order the 2 of the red saws from Rio Grande.  I used it on my ring a day project while I was here.  It cuts better and is lighter than anything I've ever used before.  I also enjoyed trying out the textured hammer on the "stool stump" with a huge anvil.  For me the red saw is a must have tool.  (Knew Concept Jeweler's Saw in 3", 5" and 8").  I got to meet Bill Fretz and ask many questions about his line of hammers and stakes.  I am interested in looking into the ring doming set of bench stakes.  Mark Nelson is the Rio employee who is on the youtube instruction videos, (most recently in the video on using the swantstrom cutter to make a seamless ring) recommended some tools for me to add to my "want" list.  He suggested a hammer handpiece 15-D for setting cabs and a Bench Mate kit.  I hope my husband reads this because my birthday is at the end of this month!

I also liked the layout of the Rio sales booth, it was easy to see the tools and benches were available to watch people work.  The folks at Rio were helpful, easy going and nice to talk to, plus they are great dancers!  (I had no idea that so many people would dance!  Many danced until the DJ finished).  They are truly committed to service and that really shows.

Knew Concept Jeweler's Saw from Rio Grande 5"

Textured hammer 

bench stump and beautiful anvil

I am going to sort out my finances and save up for a Potter hydrolic press from Otto Frei.  I got to meet the maker, Kevin Potter and makes his own presses and die plates.  On the way to the conference I studied Susan Kinsley's Book on Hydrolic Die Forming.  (You can still buy it on Amazon from the author for the original list price). Potter Presses are exclusively available at Otto Frei.

Kevin Potter and his 20 ton hydraulic press

Bracelet form on the press

Handmade Stakes and Forming tools by Potter

Custom Dies for the Potter Press

Otto Frei Durston Mill 4" 

Otto Frei  Electric Sparker

I already have one and I love it!

Friday, March 12, 2010

SNAG Exhibition in Motion

My first SNAG conference has been quite a whirlwind of activity.  There is something to do everyday.  The lectures have been excellent and I'm thrilled to keep learning.  I've gotten to meet some of my metalsmithing hero's like Tim McCreight and Andy Cooperman.  Last night was the SNAG fashion show at the Houston Museum of Art.  I was thrilled to participate in it and documented Marthe Le Van's transformation from a book editor to avant garde fashion model.  

The artist I represented is Erica Stankwych Bailey.  She lives in Fayetteville, North Carolina and drove down to my house to deliver her piece titled, "unwanted".  It is made of junk mail and the color is from the original colors of the paper.  She used recycled copper from construction sites to create links.  

I give credit to all the designers as soon as I locate that bulletin.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

SNAG Donation 4-stringed lute pendant

I wanted to make a donation piece that reflected my work and my love of Classical Music. I keep trying to make them be "real" instruments by making some sound. This time I used steel strings and a sounding board, but without adjustable pins, I don't think I can tighten the strings enough to make a sound.

I'll keep trying--eventually I figure out a way to make pins that are adjustable.

Pearl Pin

Pearl Pin
Originally uploaded by sarawestermark
This is a closeup of my SNAG "pearl pin". :D

Going to my first SNAG Conference!

Tomorrow morning I take a 7 am flight to Houston to attend my very first SNAG (Society of North American Goldsmiths) Conference.  One of the first things done at this conference is the legendary "pin swap".  Its a meet and greet event in which the members trade pins that they have made.  I made over 50 pins out of copper, sterling pin backs and large fresh water pearls.  I'm really excited, nervous and nearly ready to go.  

I'm torn with leaving my family.  At first it sounded like a really great Mom only vacation, but now I'm getting a bit anxious that I will miss them terribly.  Of course they will get along fine without me for a few days.  (I'm going to keep telling myself that!).

One highlight for me is that I get to wear Erica Stankwytch Bailey's extraordinary recycled junk mail necklace.  It is spectacular.  I will try to post pictures while I'm out there.