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Thursday, March 26, 2015

SRAJD Week 6 Topic BLOGS

Laura Bracken: Let's start the week by reminding everyone of our great SRAJD blogroll. Can you imagine how much useful and fun information is to be had from the pages on this list? http://www.artisimportant.com/SRAJD/blogs.htm

Tammy Adams: How often do you all post new content for your blogs? I aim for once a week, sometimes twice if there's a design challenge or blog hop.

Laura Bracken: I try to blog every 2-3 days. I like to keep my readership around the 500 a day or higher mark and that seems to help.

Helen White: I tried to aim for 1 post a week, but my health has been so bad the last three years that I can't physically do this. I also have a different website with blog attached which I have neglected, but I just can't find time or energy. Now I am trying to blog when I feel like it and the pain is manageable.

Tammy Adams: Laura, what tool do you use to track readership?

Laura Bracken: I have stats on the Blogger dashboard and I also use http://statcounter.com

Nohline L'Ecuyer: This is where I stumble. I started a blog; have several posts written but need to find the photos to attach.

My blog is through my webpage (new) on indiemade. Can you attach this stat counter to that. I think I may have it on Blagger,but not sure. How do you get followers? I have a lot of questions on this subject.  Do you write your blog post with photos in a word doc and then just paste it to your post?

Laura Bracken: If you get the code from StatCounter (easy-peasy), you can ask the IndieMade admin to add it to your blog page. As to how I get followers, I don’t think I do anything special that I can think of. I try to be “out there” in the social media world and when someone mentions something or has a question on a topic I’ve covered in my blog, I post a link. I used to write my posts in WORD (but not with photos) and then paste to blog, but lately I just write it straight in my blog.

Tammy Adams: I compose my posts from the blog dashboard most of the time, Nohline. Sometimes I start a draft document in a word processing program, especially if ideas come to me when away from my blog dashboard. In either case, I insert parenthetical notes about images to remind me to grab a photo.

This is a nice post about audience size. It sort of goes with the idea of writing for one person. Which is good basic advice for authors on any platform. http://www.alexandrafranzen.com/.../21/you-are-a-big-deal/

Nohline L'Ecuyer: Oh that's wonderful Tammy! Thank you and it applies to so much more than just a blog!

Tammy Adams:  Here's another question: what do you blog about? Most of my posts are about what I call my creative adventures: designing new pieces, trying new techniques, blog hops. Occasionally I share some tips, but I haven't done any formal tutorials.

Laura Bracken: I have two blogs, Tammy. One is me babbling about everything, some of which happens to be jewelry related. Then I take the useful jewelry info and put it in the other "all business" blog. My "babbling" blog gets 500 hits a day... way way WAY more than my all business blog.

So I think posts about just want you mention would be great... your design inspirations, attempts at new techniques, etc.

Carol (Britt) Clay: I post on my blog more seasonally and in a staggered pattern, mainly due to time constraints and listing groups of items. I also stagger (not only) posts about my items, but in between my posts, I write about other shops too. They're what I call "shout outs" and I also promote Collection/Treasury posts where I use a method of visualizing an actual trip there on my magic carpet.....(ok, sounds corny, but I love visualizing things). Once at someone's shop, I wander through and focus on items they sell, as a promo. I also add my own item at the end of each treas/collection (because I was also featured too, so why not)?  I am now listing about 25 new items so I expect to be making a new blog post afterward...

Laura Bracken: Decent, straight-forward advice. I follow all these rules except #6  Getting past the annoying pop-up on that site took me a second or two... ugh http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/232478

Since blogging is such a huge social media path, I thought we'd have more conversation on the topic. Is everyone happy with their blog or lack of blog? No questions, thoughts, ideas, rants?

Tammy Adams:  I wouldn't say I'm 100% satisfied with my blog. It's only a little over 1 year old, and I'm still learning things. I'm not sure who I want to be my "target audience" for my blog, just as I am still working on defining the target market for my jewelry. I'd say most of my readers are other jewelry designers, partly because I regularly participate in design challenges and blog hops. I'm curious how other bloggers recruit readers.

Laura Bracken: I don't recruit, but I do refer to past blog posts in social media when relevant.

Tammy Adams:  That's sort of my raison d'etre for blogging, too, Laura.  I try to write shorter posts and so far have not succeeded. But I do at least sprinkle photos liberally about the text.

Bonnie Jacobsen: I love blogs and don't have one.

Laura Bracken: I don't see the point to having one unless you WANT one and/or need one, I guess. Apparently I ramble and babble and feel the need to yap constantly.

Bonnie Jacobsen:  I love your blogs Laura. I am disappointed when you don't do them.

Laura Bracken: Really Bonnie? That's so awesome to hear. My next blog post will be about my adventures on Valentine's day. 

Sonia Davis: I have thought about a blog and probably even started one and never went back to it........I now need to justify to my husband and family my reason for wanting to do this full time....So I guess I will start blogging.......how do you do it all.....create, design, family, social media, marketing....etc. i commend everyone who is able to keep up....I am trying one step at a time.

Helen White: I have two blogs, one for my journalism site and one for the jewellery website. I tried to post once a week on the latter but couldn't keep it up for health reasons. I tend to come up with topics spontaneously rather than planning it all.

Monday, March 2, 2015

February 2015 PATINA Theme for SRAJD Jewelry Design Challenge

Before we begin with February, congrats to Donna Jo Wallace for being the randomly chosen winner of all the January submissions.

Here is a list of the prizes accumulated so far.  Select your gift from here.

And now.... Our theme for February 2015 was “PATINAS”.  Click on each artist's name to see more of their work.

Here are the beautiful offerings of the SRAJD members…

Kim Forrer
Achieved this pretty verdigris patina by leaving the cuff out in the fog for a few days then used a vinegar/salt bath and airdry. I love the look of old copper colored by age and the elements.

Kim Forrer
The colors on the copper in this bracelet were inspired by the lovely Turquoise chips linking the squares. And also my love of ocean colors. I used a combo of layering inks and acrylics to achieve these great patterns.

Marcia Tobolsky
I decide to created some wrap earrings for valentines besides others items that I been silver wrap stones, this is moonstones beads and pearls with the lever back cooper earrings.

Kim Forrer
Colors achieved with my torch. Took about 5 minutes of passing continual flame across the cuff. Then sealed to help preserve the colors.

Kim Forrer
I layered acrylic paints and alcohol inks to color this brass cuff. Inspired by a dress I loved back in the 70's.

Marcia Tobolsky
I used copper wire the earrings shows the time, natural oxidation with glass beads and hematite stone this design.

Tammy Adams
Metal washers given a faux copper patina with Ice Resin Enamels. Connected with dark oxidized copper jump rings. Earrings are on natural copper ear wires, which will develop their own patina over time.

Barbara Swinton
This is the first patina I have tried that is not LOS. A friend shared her recipe, which included white vinegar, ammonia and salt. I really like the finished look - very rustic. Love the dab of red on one of the earrings. Scrap pieces of 22g copper sheet and some 10g copper wire were used to create the basic design...but the patina is what really makes them unique. I applied a renaissance wax finish which gave the patina more contrast. Certainly this recipe will be used again:)

Carol Evans
I love creating patinas..... Transforming raw metal into pieces with texture and dimension. I used a combination of heat treatment, reactive metal patina and wax to give these earrings an aged patina in a deep hunter green with warm brass highlights.

Debbie Brown
These earrings were inspired by gorgeous Spanish black lace. I took shiny gold brass medallions and added a patina to them. The finish has a sealer on them, and they hang from sterling silver ear wires.

Rain Hannah
I call these "Mermaid Trinkets" -t hey are a traditional verdigris patina over domed, distressed and textured copper discs. I used the Sculpt Nouveau product for these. Basically the flat discs were annealed, I pounded the heck out of 'em with a texture hammer, then annealed again, then domed, then bent the domes a bit with pliers around the edges, then hit the domes with a hammer a little more... it was very therapeutic! Once they were textured the way I liked, I used the Sculpt Nouveau product - it took about 48 hours to get the "bloom" where I wanted it, but once it was there, I sealed the discs thoroughly with Permalac and then some Renaissance wax.
        I've had the mauve stick pearls in my stash for about 4 years, and hadn't found a use for them yet, but they went really well with the green patina so I knew I wanted to pair them together. Ditto the peach pearls, which I bought around the same time. I was trying to use up old materials for this project. I did throw in some Czech crystal for a little sparkle.
        Using the stick pearl to anchor the top of the design reminded me of a pagoda shape, so I decided to play around with the idea a little more. I was really happy with all of the variations I came up with, so I'm doing a little mini collection around the theme. There is a necklace in the works, to match.

Kelly Hosford Patterson
I'm working on an assemblage art necklace with an old grungy tin as the focal. I looked everywhere for salvage supplies to go with it, but couldn't find the look I wanted at a salvage price. I really wanted pieces that looked like they were once very fancy, a very long time ago. Ancient looking gold, pearls, and rhinestones, etc. So I handmade some fancy chain links, and experimented with making them look very old and grungy. My chain is made out of brass wire. It's craft wire, so it has a lacquer coating to protect the shine. First step was removing the protective lacquer. I soaked it in nail polish remover until the coating started to soften and then rubbed it to break it up. It started to flake off, but not completely, which worked out perfectly for my purposes. I then dipped my chain into a black patina solution (Nitric Acid & Selenium Dioxide), to darken the unprotected portion of the chain. The results are perfect for my project. 50 year old chain in less than a day!

Catherine Shattuck
These lovely "spoon" earrings were originally raw brass. The colorizing process that I used to achieve this look is done in several steps. First, after cleaning them, I paint the spoon stampings with a white acrylic base, then painted over that with a very light blue acrylic paint. To give them the patina affect I mixed brown umber acrylic paint with glaze and applied it along the edges, then rubbed it off right away, leaving a tinted edge that makes the pieces look aged. I really enjoy colorizing many of my designs now and have learned a lot about this and other patina processes within the past few years.

Catherine Shattuck
I gave this sweet little pair of earrings a shabby look by coloring with several layers of a chalk white paint, rubbing them out after each layer. Finally, I sealed them to protect the finish. They are embellished with poly clay flowers and Czech glass leaf beads.

Donna Jo Wallace
Niobium spiral wave bracelet, anodized peacock blue. Anodized niobium has not been plated or dyed with any other metal. It is still pure allergy-safe niobium all the way through. All niobium jewelry in my shop is anodized in-house on my own equipment. The color is not flat, but is brilliant with slight impressions of other colors as you turn it in the light. This bracelet is 8.5 inches (21.5 cm) long. Handmade by Naturally Nickel Free.

Carol Priestley
Earrings - Red Copper Oxide Patina (Grilled Borax)

Laura Bracken
These are bronze earrings with a non-chemical heat patina.

Laura Bracken
And just finished these so I'll slip them in here.  Both copper and liver of sulfur.  For the bracelet on the right, I stopped the patina at the red stage (which was pretty wild before I coated it with Ren wax).  Then I re-buffed the edges for contrast.  For the larger cuff I gave it a darker patina then just buffed lightly with steel wool.

We hope you’ve enjoyed looking at these wonderful creations. Make sure to check out the other monthly challenges.

If you’d like to get in on the action, join the SRAJD organization. If you’re already an active member, submit your jewelry challenge piece here for the current month .