Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Show Check List

I made a check list for my show packing list a whole back, for a big show, and it helped me immensely! Of course I was ridiculously over-packed.. but hey.. you live you learn! I have since modified my list greatly! I use this general list to prep for all my shows. It helps me pack what I need, and eliminate what I do not. I find I modify this often to each event, or to specific events with either space restrictions or other needs. When I go through my check list if there is something I know I don't need, good, at least I thought about it. If there IS something I need, even if I do not use it often at shows, I usually keep it on the list as well. That way when I look at the list I remember. I also have been known to attach a sheet with a outline of the booth I have. 10x10 in comparison to say a 6x14 space is a totally different set up! I can pencil in my ideas, and have a starting point when I get to the booth, which is many times an unknown adventure in itself! Please feel free to use any or all of it. If you would like it e-mailed to you please leave a comment, or e-mail me :) I will be happy to e-mail it to you in PDF Word or Open Office format.
Packing this is a totally different story!!
I have a large luggage duffel bag with wheels, and a roller bar that I try to put things like the office and srt up small trays and what not in. I use shoe boxes (they are at the $1 store) and stack them. If I fill it I can get 6 boxes in it, and have room for something at the top. I can also pack it on top of the boxes with my table coverings if I plan right! lol
Any way you choose to pack it, make it as easy break down and re-pack as it is to unpack!

A few tips on packing this stuff up & then some:
~Anticipate the size of the crowd. Do you really need all three boxes of business cards and sales slips for a show that only 1000 people are expected? probably not. Yes we all want to say yes.. but 2 boxes is probably more than enough!

~Organize. It looks not so good when you are fumbling for a pair of pliers or a sales receipt or a pen in the middle of a show.  Dedicate a box or bag or section of____ to hold XYZ. Label boxes/bags if you can not see into them, or color coat things.. red for sales supplies, blue for business cards.. etc. Make it work for you! When setting up, it will be easy to have what you need right at your fingertips!

~Zip locks are your friend for small stuff

~Signs do not always reflect what you want them to... So make sure you have a back up. Either print out some signs that you can write in the price or have a blank ready for an item you may have missed! When its all out on the table, there is a lot that you see that you did not see in your studio! :)

~ Don;t try to demo if you know you can not. For whatever reason, be it, to many people, and no one to watch your stuff while you demo, the wrong space, safety concerns, just to much work, your show neighbor keeps knocking into things, your really tired, up all night, just not worth packing, you realize its not the crowd to demo to... whatever! ... dont do it. Have pictures, maybe a book, a few rods of glass, and some beads on the mandrel. Just as good! So much less to have to try and juggle.

~Have a buddy if possible. It is nice to be able to walk around and get a sense of the rest of the show. Not to mention the breaks you will need to get a drink and go pee, at the least. If you dont have a buddy, get to know your show neighbors. Chances are they have been in your shoes, or are in your shoes and are more than willing to help you out. Be sure to be polite. Meeting your show buddies can also lead to seeing them at more shows and networking about shows that are good, and which to avoid. 9 times out of 10, you meet great people! But there are some duds out there, so be aware!

~Don't push yourself too much. You wont want to do any shows again!

More in a few days.....

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Week To Come... JOBS... and Show Prep

Well it has been an interesting week!
I started a job at a really neat company. So far its a pretty cool job, no complaints! I had a second job all lined up too... I trained, and showed up my first day, and... let down!!! Some kind of mis-communication between management, and the girl already working my shifts prior is not leaving after all. (WTF)

I was really looking forward to it!! Bartending at a sushi bar! F U N, goo hours, sat night till 11, and sunday evening til 10, (and sushi!) Really nice people too. I hope that they call me in to work in the future. I really want to keep bartending on a regular basis, even if its not there.. but for now, I guess I will keep looking.

I have to stop in and request payment for the hours I trained (and did not get tipped for) and I am thinking of asking if they want me to stay on as a fill in. This way when the girl actually decided to leave (it kindda seems like eventually she will) I can just jump in.

I am kind of mad that I really did put some serious effort into starting this job for them . I was really excited, and looking forward to it, so of course I would put the effort in. I bought new clothes.. new shoes.. (you know the all black bartender stuff) I worked a 9 hour shift at my day job, and then spent another 4 hours (ALL IN IN HEELS) bartending for my training to work the weekend... Which I did not even work, but canceled my plans, 2 weeks in a row for thinking I had a job. I had a message saying i didn't have to work the first saturday, but I was not really supposed to work that day anyways, I was just filling in. What I guess I was being told (in broken english) was the shift was covered-permanently. So I showed up for what was supposed to be my first day...

I am contemplating asking for payment in a free sushi dinner in stead of cash... I figure If they have not put me on the books, and it was just a few hours, and all this crap it is the least they can do, and it would eliminate some tension, knowing that I would have no animosity as a customer as well.

I am obviously babbling about this... It kindda hurts. I asked if I did something wrong.. They said no, it was just a mis-communication of starting me, not knowing if the other girl was actually staying.. I was hired on the spot, and they expected me to be taking the shifts, and for the girl to be leaving. I still feel rejected... :(

So no beads this weekend, and it will be a busy week at work, and I have a show next weekend. I think This week will be about prepping for shows. Checklists and some set up pics. What to bring, what I usually over pack... What I usually forget! and some stories about how to deal with customer relations. It will be more words than pics, but rest assured it IS important to keep customer relations up to be successful!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How To Use Frit


There are 100 maybe 1,000 ways to use frit. None are wrong, its just about your taste.
For the longest time I had frit but I did not really use it, in retrospect I have no idea why! It is so fun! I am frit obsessed (on a budget!) Which means I do not have a collection to the likes of some of the great LE'ers.. yes you have seen their great mountainous walls of frit. Rotating display racks, to fit the jars, and even specially installed shelving. THAT is just not me.... y e t 
That is me in my dreams! Well that and many other glass fantasies... So lets talk frit!
Weather you make the simplest bead, and roll it gently on your bead, only slightly melting it in, or you make a base, roll in frit, and encase to magnify its awesomeness you have got a great bead! And it was not all that hard! 

5 Great Ways To Use Frit The First Five!
1) Make a bead, roll in frit. Leave frit partially raised but attached. (sugar beads is a great example!)
2) Make a bead, roll in frit. Melt in the frit. Take a rake and drag the frit in one direction or many! Your choice!
3) Make a bead base, roll in frit. Heavily encase. The clear (or transparent of your choice) will magnify the look of the frit seeming suspended in the middle. Experiment with the base colors, and layering colors that create different variations of color with the same frit blend. (The picture to the left has dots of clear that you can see the magnification in)

4) Make a bead to be pressed. Use a lighter transparent color, and roll in tons of transparent frit of a darker transparent reduction frit. Melt it in in a slightly reducing flame, and press. The edges of the frit will be slightly silvered.

5) Work off mandrel. Make a blob, roll it in frit, melt in, squish it, cut it, and pull it! Coolest effect ever! Experiment with different frit blends and color combo's!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Make Your Own Frit Results!

I made a few test beads with the frit I made. They all came out great! This bead inparticular was not what I expected.....
This is Frit Blend #2 over Grasshopper green! TO DIE FOR! The pictures do not even do this justice! I will be using this combo more, This is a mix that resonates with island waters of tropical paradises!

Blend #1

Here are the samples, on black white and clear.

A close up of the clear.

Blend #2

On White and Clear only. (There is only one non transparent color in the mix.)

Frit Blend #3
It is a little blurry, so here are a few more pics. (click to enlarge)

Below are a bunch of pics with the different colors. Blend 1 and 2 are very similar. The main noticeable factor is that Frit blend #2 is much more of a transparent blend than the Frit Blend #1. This was my intention.
Blend #2




I did not have the chance to play with blend 3 as much as I thought I would at this torch session. But I am sure you will be seeing it in my work! I also think I will add more purple next time! Although I think this may look great on a few colors just like this!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Make Frit Blends At Home!


The other day when I was sooo not into making beads, but had the kiln on, I put it to good use! I heated a few rods of this color.. a few rods of that color.. and let them meet there sweet death in the happy bucket of water!
*insert evil happy laugh here*
I have been telling myself that I need a blue frit blend for some simple frited spiral pressed beads (click here to see the posting about Jim Moore spiral tongs) I also figured since I was doing it, I would throw in a green purple mix just for fun. I have made frit before by heating a glob and dousing it in water, but found this to be much easier, and give you faster more bountiful results! Recipes are at the bottom!

After you pick out your colors....
1) Heat glass in the kiln.
2) Plunge hot glass into clean water bucket.
3) Evil laugh as it crackles and breaks apart.
4) Dry
5) Quick 3-5 second blend in coffee grinder, repeat as necessary.
6) Flip contents onto a coffee filter, allow to dry if needed and run a magnet through to pick up any metal flecks the grinder blade may have left behind.
7) Sift if desired.
8) Use to make beads!!!

The Breakdown!
Making the actual frit is surprisingly easy! Just heat up rods and dunk them into a clean water bucket. They turn into 3in pieces of crackled glass. They look like those antique baked marbles really, and they crumble like sand stone! Very much fun to a dork like me! Please be careful when doing this though!!! It is glass, and you are intentionally breaking it!!!

You can either use shorts, or full rods. This is a GREAT way to use up all those shorts! I knew what I wanted in a frit blend, so I used full rods as my means of measurement. I gathered a few rods proportionately and plunged them into the same water bath. IF you plan on making multiple blends, experimenting with the proportions, or are not sure what your colors will do together, SEPARATE your plunges! Use a clean container (glass or metal) for each color.  It is a good idea to spray your glass with a squirt bottle to minimize the glass dust. You do not want to breath in glass dust!!!! (google it if you do not believe me!) Also make sure to clean the coffee grinder between colors, and DO NOT use your coffee grinder for anything but crafts anymore!

You will have a mix of different sized frit. You can buy sized mesh sifters to sort them, or just find a few different sized metal or plastic mesh pieces at the hardware store and fit them anything that will create a small rim (think soda bottle slice, or small PVC pipe slice left over from storing glass, and a rubber band or larger hose clamp. You know the kind most lampworkers have laying around!!!! Tim Gunn says "make it work"!) Sift through different sizes starting with the largest size and working towards the smaller sizes. Create as many sizes you would like until you are happy with it.
When mixing crushed glass record your measurements in a journal and measure with a teaspoon or like item.
When you run out of frit you can look in your book and know exactly how to get your new favorite frit blend!!! It is a good idea to spray the glass with a squirt or 2 of water doing this as well. This will minimize glass dust. If you plan on doing a lot of this, consider wearing a respirator to avoid the glass dust!.

Remember, Mixing Frit is like mixing cocktails! They are great when they look good, and taste good! But there are always those ones that should never be mixed again! EVER! Think Rubino and Ivory, or Baily's Irish Cream and Jeggermister! Both are fun experiments, but some drinks, and frits have better results the next day....

Frit Recipes!
I used rods for proportion. I left the end of the rod stick out of the kiln, so it would not shatter. I then kept the ends so I would remember to record the results, and kept them with the crushed frit until now. (I am using them as now to list the colors I used.) The rods are all standard size about 5-6mm and all about 13in long. Standard  rods or comercial 1-2mm stringer, also 12-13in  in length. Even though I retained the top 3in of the rod the proportions stay the same.

Blue Blend #1

1 Rod Each:
(ET052) Trans Light Blue
(VT058) Trans Med Blue
(EP242) Pastel Medium Lapis
(EP232) Pastel Light turquoise
1 Stringer
(ET060)Trans Cobalt Blue

Blue Blend #2

1 Rod Each:
(EP242) Pastel Medium Lapis
(ET052) Trans Light Blue
(VT080) Trans Pale Lavender
2 Rods each:
(VT058) Trans Med Blue
(T034) Trans Light Turquoise 
(Unknowingly I grabbed one Effetre, and one Vetro. They are interchangeable.)

Green And Purple Blend

1 Rod Each:
(EP273) Pastel Pea green
(EP212) Pastel Purple
(ET071) Trans Yellow Green
(ET040) Trans Purple

Sunday, March 13, 2011

One Last Wig Wag Post!

For now anyways... You didn't think I would let you go without seeing beads made with the wig wags did you??? Check out the first 2 posting about wig wags, for wig wag recipes!

This first bead was made with a white base, layers of transparent aqua, green and blue. Then the wig wag went on. spiraling around, and around, then across and up the other side. I will give you a few different views of this one.


The bead on top has a spiral of the wig wag that was encased before being melted in. then the same wig wag was used for the flower petals. It gave the petals a really neat stone effect.  The lower pink bead was made by laying stripes of wig wag end to end on a barrel shape bead. Nothing was melted in or shaped until all the surface was covered. It looked like a pull and peel Twizzler. It is on a base of white. I was very surprised at the results! You can not even tell that there were lines in it previously. or that a wig wag was used at all. I love the effect, but it was unexpected. The wig wag was melted in very slowly.

These beads were all made using the same technique the green, purple, and the blue bead. They are made by taking a small disc bead, lining the edge with the wig wag, and then heavily encasing it with clear before melting it in. The same way you make stripe beads by stretching the dots on a disc as you melt it in slowly. The base is black or white, and the blue and green beads I encased with T080, instead of clear. I find that the trick to these beads is to make sure that your clear melts over the edges of the wig wag, and touch the core bead. This will give you really nice edged as it spreads, and even if you have to add more clear as it melts, you will not have to worry about trapping loose ends of the wig wag. 
Next week we start talking about frit!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

More wig wags and recipes!

A few more wig wags, as these are so fun! I have a selection of transparents, and this time I tried to tighten my wig to my wag.  I realized after pulling the first batch that if I did not get them tighter, they would just look more like a twistie on a bead. It is harder to make a tighter wave. It wants to make a thicker wig-wag this way. My first was disastrous again, but I had to find my groove :) This first picture shows the difference between the first wig-wag's wave distance and the new ones. You can see the new one is much closer together. I use the pink one as a reference to the new group in multiple photo's.

Again with the group:
I really do encourage you all try try the wig wags :) The post previous to this has the how to aspect of the wig wags. I will tell you how to use them in a bead as soon as I actually turn my kiln on and make beads!!! This week it has only been wig wags, which I am really enjoying as you can see! Either the studio is still a bit chilly for my brain to function or I don't have the time block I would like to make beads and babysit my kiln. I may blog about twisties as well sooner than later if I keep not turning on my kiln.

More pics and recipes~!
Effetre and Vetrofond Glass ID's

White (VP204-cool) barrel base (short barrel)
Stripes of:
Transparent Med Blue (VT054)
Transparent Light Aqua (VT034)
Med transparent Grass Green (ET022)
Black (ET064)


White (VP204-cool) barrel base (short barrel)
Stripes of:
Transparent Med Blue (VT054)
Transparent Light Blue (ET052)
Transparent Purple (ET040)
Transparent Purple (ET044)

Transparent Amber/Straw yellow (VT008)
Black (T064)

White (VP204-cool) barrel base (short barrel)
Stripes of:
Transparent Dark Purple (ET044)
Transparent Med Grass Green (VT022)
Pastel Pea Green (EP212)
Pastel Purple/Voilet (EP273)
The lines are not black, they are DSP (EP275)
(Dark Silver Plum) I got remembered this from JC Herrell! Her tutorials on stringer include the mention of using DSP instead of black to avoid the bleed and color shift of effetre black (064) and create the look of pure black with the DSP. It has a, metallic look in the pictures, and acts metallic under a neutral flame. That is another blog day all together!!

White (VP204-cool) barrel base (short barrel)
Stripes of:
Reichenbach Opal Raspberry
CIM Simple Berry
Pastel Purple (EP272)
DSP (EP275)

Group Pictures!!! Smile!!!! Numbers correspond to above





Pink from previous blog posting.