Category Archives: Kate

From the Studio – Etching!

Next weekend we’re hosting a super fun Weekend Workshop on Etching!

Saturday + Sunday | Jun 25+26 |11am-5pm | $240 | Register Now!

In this two day weekend workshop students will discover how to create raised patterns in metal without using any special equipment!  You’ll learn how to transfer images onto metal to etch a variety designs using a low toxic and safe method.  Etching is the process of using chemicals to cut a design or pattern into a metal surface. Etching your own designs into metal is a fun and rewarding way to customize your jewelry!

Class covers a variety of resist processes including ink transfer techniques and free hand solutions. We will also be covering basic metalsmithing techniques like drilling, filing, refining, and a variety of polishing and sealing methods, so this class is open to beginners as well as intermediate and advanced students.

Extra materials will be provided.

We spent a little time in the studio perfecting the technique this week, here’s some fun action shots:

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Here’s the pieces after they’ve come out:

And here’s a couple styles of the final products!

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From the Studio – Salt Casting!

This weekend we’re hosting a super fun one day workshop on Salt Casting!

Saturday | Jun 11 |11am-5pm | $179 | Register Now!

Salt Casting is the art of melting metal to its molten form and then pouring it over salt. This creates spontaneous forms and unusual shapes. In this workshop we learn how to recycle metal, create many different alloys, pour metal into different forms, and fabricate jewelry out of the salt cast pieces.  Your old jewelry and scraps (gold, silver, copper) can be cast into new and wondrous forms. The salt cast pieces can be made into earrings, pendants, and pins during the workshop. Extra materials will be provided.

We spent a little time in the studio perfecting the technique this week, here’s some fun action shots:

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Here’s the pieces after they’ve come out:

Studio trials pieces 1b

And here’s the final products!

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#benchtiptuesday – How to Carve Small Ring Sizes in Wax

A common question we get in the studio is how to size a wax ring for very small sizes. Most ring blanks come in a size 5 – so that pinky ring you’ve always wanted to make will require just a few more steps than your average ring.

How to Carve Small Ring Sizes in Wax

Suggested tools

Suggested tools

1. Starting with a solid wax tube in the color of your preference, cut out a ring blank to your desired width and evenly file the sides.

1. Starting with a solid wax tube in the color of your preference, cut out a ring blank to your desired width and evenly file the sides.

2. Measure the width of your ring blank.

2. Measure the width of your ring blank.

3. Figure out the middle point by dividing the diameter by two and marking that point with a scribe.

3. Figure out the middle point by dividing the width, or diameter, by two and marking that point with a scribe.

4. Make a bulls eye

4. Make a bulls eye

5. Using a drill bit and your flex shaft, drill a hole where the lines intersect (don't forget your safety glasses when operating your hand drill or flex shaft!).

5. Using a drill bit and your flex shaft, drill a hole where the lines intersect (don’t forget your safety glasses when operating your hand drill or flex shaft!).

After drilling.

After drilling.

6. Widen the hole using a wax bur.

6. Widen the hole using a wax bur.

I like to do this holding the flex shaft perpendicular to the wax blank. Always hold onto your piece while drilling.

I like to do this holding the flex shaft perpendicular to the wax blank. Always hold onto your piece while drilling.

7. Continue to widen the hole more with the same wax bur, or a cylinder bur.

7. Continue to widen the hole more with the same wax bur, or a cylinder bur.

I like to make small and gentle circles on the inside of the hole with the bur to slowly widen it.

I like to make small and gentle circles on the inside of the hole with the bur to slowly open it up.

8. Using a ring mandrel, continuously check your work while opening up the size. Make sure to push the piece gently down the mandrel to ensure accurate sizing.

8. Using a ring mandrel, continuously check your work while opening up the inside. Make sure to push the piece gently down the mandrel to ensure accurate sizing.

Et Voila! A size 2 ring for a pinky ring or otherwise teeny tiny hands! Learn more wax carving techniques in our in 6 week wax class listed here.

 

Design + Technique Inspiration

Our Intermediate level silversmithing: design and technique class is coming up next week (starts November 6th!), so naturally we’ve been browsing pinterest for some inspiration. Check out the pictures below for some techniques that we will be going over in class, such as braiding and twisting wires, stone setting, piercework/design using the sawframe, and surface texturization using hammers, stamps and burs. This is a really great class for anyone looking to expand and develop their design skills and technical repertoire.

To the pics!

Oxidized finish with bezel set druzy by Untamed Menagerie

Oxidized finish with bezel set druzy by Untamed Menagerie

The Jewelry Girls Place

Twists and braids by The Jewelry Girls Place 

A contemporary band with an opal bezel by Artulia

A contemporary band with an opal bezel by Artulia

Capucinne Rings

A modern horse shoe style band by Capucinne Rings 

Aleksandra Vali

Scorched and burned – the look of reticulation demonstrated by Aleksandra Vali 

Praxis Jewelry

Beautiful texture and an antique inspired bezel by Praxis Jewelry 

Art deco (1933) by Jakob Bengel

Art deco (1933) by Jakob Bengel

Gorgeous notching and wire work by Pinking Edge Design

Gorgeous notching and wire work by Pinking Edge Design

For more inspiration check out our pinterest page!

The Wonderful World of Water Casting: Inspiration

In ancient times, psychics used water casting as a fortune telling technique, although some practicing fortune tellers still use this technique in Eastern Europe. The process involves pouring either tin or lead into a bucket of water. The resulting shape is either directly interpreted as an omen for the future, or is rotated in a candlelight to create shadows, whose shapes are then interpreted. The shapes are often interpreted not only literally, but also symbolically: a bubbly surface refers to money, a fragile or broken shape misfortune.

In terms of jewelry making, water casting is the art of pouring molten metal (silver, gold, copper, etc.) into liquid. You end up with these amazing organic and  irregular shapes that you can then refine into beautiful and unique pieces of jewelry. It’s also a great way to recycle those metal scraps you have lying around!

Want to learn more about this unusual technique? Our next water casting workshop is coming up: Saturday + Sunday, August 9th and 10th, from 11am-5:30pm (click the link to register). This is a great workshop for experimentation – don’t miss out!

In the meantime – check out some inspiration below!

 

 

 

Check out the full Water Casting Inspiration board on Pinterest for more inspiration!

 

 

Tips for Marketing your Jewelry

Content-marketing-drawing-board

We all love to make pretty things, but how to we get the world to see them? Here are our tips for getting your work out there:

“Social Media is free and is a great way show your brand to the world! Facebook Page, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr / Blog – all of these are free, fun and easy and you can do everything from your smartphone. Show your fans behind-the-scenes shots of how your work is created, where your inspiration comes from, and the finished product! Don’t forget to tell them where to purchase.”

“stay in touch with your clients by using free platforms such as Mailchimp or Constant Contact – these services allow you to send email updates to your various networks.”

-Emilie, Program Director 

“A super easy way to get your designs out into the world is to loan some jewelry to your friends. Make sure you give them business cards to pass out as well. It also helps to go to stores and see what other jewelry is out there, or whats trendy at the moment. For example, I was talking to a local clothing store owner and she said people are really into ear cuffs right now, so I’m experimenting with different types of ear jewelry.”

-Kate, Program Assistant

“Know your audience and how to appeal to them.”

-Jillian, Director of Communications

If you’re interested in more tips, I came across an article on Launch Grow Joy, a blog dedicated to entrepreneurs, that lists more than 50 tips from jewelry designers all over the country. Below are some tips that grabbed my attention, as well as a link to the full article.

“Every person you meet is a potential customer. Wear a piece of your jewelry every day, every where you go.  Be friendly, positive and smile to everyone you see. When people compliment you on your jewelry, say thank you, hand them your business card, and say, since you like these earrings or this ring, bracelet, necklace or whatever it may be, please visit my website to look at my other jewelry. The person will happily take your business card and you now have a new potential customer.”  – Diane Batoff from Micassileo Jewelry

“Participate fully in shows and events. By this I mean taking the time to set up a professional booth with a consistent look. And, put down your cell phone…people want to shop with an artist who is present in the moment.” – Sherry Trammel-Schauls from Balsamroot Ranch Jewelry

“Create a look, word or color that is distinctively yours. When people see your work and marketing material, your name should pop in their head.” – Lauren Sigman from Lauren Sigman Jewelry

“When you post on Facebook or Pinterest, it needs to be VISUAL and done CONSISTENTLY.  I take some time at the beginning of the week to gather some photos, quotes, product shots, and get them ready to go for use that week. I also find material to share from other sources that fit with my brand (blogs, products I like, photos that inspire, quotes).  Then each day I get up before my kids and schedule the Facebook posts.  I often do several days at a time, but it’s important to stay engaged and make sure you’re responding to posts.  Of course you can hire someone to do this for you, but I enjoy connecting to my customers in such a personal medium as Facebook.  This doesn’t mean you have to be online constantly.  Just schedule your posts in bulk and it’s really pretty easy.” – Sarah Jane Nelson from Life is Rosey: Jewelry that Speaks

Have any tips of your own? Share them with us in the comments section!

Tips for Photographing your Jewelry

Creating jewelry is such an incredible journey, although capturing the finished piece in a photograph can sometimes be difficult. Most jewelry is hard to photograph because trying to capture details on small objects is difficult, and light tends to bounce off the metal to create glare. In the spirit of education, I asked everyone around Liloveve, as well as some professional photographers for tips about taking great photos of  your jewelry.

“Use natural light. You can also try smartphone apps like VSOcam or pho-to-lab.”

-Jillian, Director of Communication, Liloveve

“Take a ton of pictures. You’re bound to end up with one good one!”

-Caroline, Principal Designer & Instructor, Liloveve

“Always use a tripod. For taking product shots measure the distance of your camera to the piece so you can get the same distance every time.”

-Emilie, Program Director & Instructor, Liloveve

Some tips from the pros:

“Have a nice consistent source of natural light, and style the pieces with other neutral elements. I’m always a fan of using crystals or stones!”

-Diggy Lloyd, Photographer

“Lighting is everything. A good lens, bright lights, a model with good skin. I’d also say that the key, especially with gemstones or crystals, is to catch the shine with the light.”

-Laura Cartagena, Photographer, Founder of Create / Collect

“Three tips: 1. if your piece is shiny try not to get your reflection in the shot. 2. make sure your lights aren’t creating hot spots on the item. 3. using a light box helps get full light coverage over the entire object.”

-Frank Bowles, Photographer

“Lighting is key honestly. I’ve also found that photographing the pieces on people is helpful. If not possible, make a light box using a white matte board or poster board. Position two lights coming in the sides (45 degrees-ish) to completely light the piece. The right camera lens is also important as you want to be close enough to really show the details. 50 mm lenses work the best because of their depth of field.”

-Sarah MK Moody, Photographer, Co-Founder of  Create / Collect

If you’re looking to up your Instagram game or refresh the pictures on your Etsy page, check out these lenses that you can clip on your phone to increase your image quality. It’s a good investment if you don’t want to spend $1000 on a high quality camera right away.

-The Ollo Clip (iPhone 5/5s/5c and 4/4s only) will run you about $59.99-129.99. All of their lenses can take wide angle, fish eye, and macro shots, and their four in one lens allows you to take 10x as well as 15x macro shots. The Ollo Clip is designed to complement the iPhone 5s’s 8 megapixel camera, but the image quality works for the 4 as well – see example below.

This is the new Four in One Lense from Ollo Clip. It will run you $69.99

This is the new Four in One Lens from Ollo Clip. It will run you $69.99.

Customer photo shot on iPhone 4S using Ollo Clip

Actual Ollo Clip customer photo shot on iPhone 4S

-The Sony QX10 and QX100 lenses are compatible with iPhone and Android devices. These lenses will run you about $250 for the QX10 (18 megapixels) and $500 for the QX100 (20.2 megapixels and a Carl Zeiss lens, a leader in the optical industry). They snap onto your smartphone and can connect with your phone over wifi or you can use a memory chip. Customer reviews note that these lenses are best used for close up shots, not action shots.

Sony QX10 and QX100

From left to right: Sony QX10 and QX100

Actual customer photo shot using the QX10

Actual QX10 customer photo

There are less expensive options that work on pretty much any type of smartphone available on Amazon and Ebay that will run you about $18-39, but you may sacrifice quality.

We hope these tips were helpful, and wish you luck with your photography adventures moving forward!