Mitsuro jewelry

I learned about mitsuro earlier today, browsing the jewelry section of the website of the man scheduled to teach a workshop on contact juggling at StrowlerCon. (CONTACT JUGGLING OMG. ahem)

It’s a technique that uses wax to form a piece, but instead of carving the wax, you warm and stretch and pull it and.


Wow, does he make some amazing work using that technique.  I love the organic look, and I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite, because I could hardly stop staring at any of them long enough to click “next.”


Contests! Jewelry and hackerspace craziness

A friend pointed me in the direction of a contest being held by Happy Mango Beads, with a “Trash to Treasure” theme.

I spent about 5? or 6? hours working on my entry, and I am delighted to announce that my entry was one of the alternate winners! Which means: FREE BEAD MONEYS. Also: fame and notoriety.

Maybe not.

Anyway, here it is, the Machinist’s Collar:

Collar made from stainless steel wire, glass beads, and found objects

"When I aimed my flashlight toward the back of the machine shop, an unexpected blue glint caught my eye. I was not expecting to find this: a collar made from stainless steel wire, woven into a framework for broken watch bands, rusted washers, and other metal objects I could not identify, accented with glass beads. Was this completed by a bored machinist, waiting for a necessary part to arrive? The result of finally emptying the jar labeled “Shiny! or might be useful some day”? Or a symbol of office, abandoned when the shop closed? Perhaps the number of washers hung from the front indicated levels of seniority. I may never know; I visited only days before the wrecking ball arrived."

I raided my collection of random metal objects for this. I knew they’d come in handy someday! VINDICATION!!

The collar turned out to be taller than I originally planned, and for a while I felt pretty bummed out that it was not matching my original concept. It was going to be terrible! And then it started to come together, and I am more pleased with the result than I was with my original concept.

Also: check out the photos of all the entries on Facebook – there are a lot of really gorgeous entries. I think this necklace is my favorite.

On to something less wearable:

Back in August, Artisan’s Asylum had the opportunity to participate in a hackerspace competition. We had 3 weeks to complete a project. Which would be videotaped. The process and the final result. For the purpose of being shown on VIMBY.

The first hour of the show is up, which introduces the competition and very briefly introduces the 5 groups participating. We will get our very own hour in an upcoming week.

Much like the project itself, this both terrifies and excites me.


Swapfest loot

I haven’t been to Swapfest since last year, and realized recently that I needed to remedy that. This is what I came home with (also a pair of pliers, but they are less exciting and photogenic):

Bearings and EMF shielding strips

On the left, a bag of EMF shielding; on the right, some really lovely bearings.

The shielding is stuff I have experimented with before, but I only have a small quantity left, so I now I feel free to do more experimentation, and have plenty for good results, too! It has an adhesive strip on the back, which is not particularly useful for me, I think.

I did not buy out the bearing seller’s entire supply, but I was tempted. They’re so pretty!


Some of the bearings have tiny springs in between the balls; other have more rigid spacers.


More fun teaching! (I’ll be at StrowlerCon)

Which is a con with a lot of performance stuff at it – music and circus-type performances of the type that I have seen at Arisia and elsewhere.

Also, they will have a Maker Showcase, which is like an art show. But (or so I am told) also demonstrations going on in the same place at the same time.

I learned about this maybe a month ago, at an Asylum meeting; one of our wardens had been asked by the StrowlerCon people to help with the Maker Showcase, and we all thought we should try to get an Asylum table there. With work by some of us, and propaganda I mean fliers and fun things like that.

And then I looked around at the website and decided to write up a proposal for putting some of my wire things in the Maker Showcase (hey they said they were looking for costuming sorts of things! not just whizzy electronics). And also maybe I could do a workshop on making feather ears (or paper, or fabric, or whatever), or wire fish to hang from trees . . .

Time passed.

I began to wonder when I would hear back, but it had been less than a week.

More time passed!

I began to panic worry, because depending on the specifics, I might have to be all kinds of prepared and I didn’t want to get prepared and then find out No, but also I didn’t want to not be prepared enough and find out OMG TOO MUCH TOO LATE.

To make a boring story short, I learned last my proposals have been accepted, and I think I pretty much get to choose how to display things, and how much time I want to spend doing demonstrations/workshops, right there in the Maker room, which is lovely and much less terrifying than “Hey, here’s a two hour slot! In the program and in a room that holds 20 people and everything!”

So now I have but a short time to sit down at my desk visit the Abyss and work out a lot of details. So that I don’t find myself trying to find the right words to explain to other people how I do what I just know how to do (like the Bazaar Bizarre).

Things I am thinking about demonstrating:

  • feather ears, though possibly with paper instead of feathers (or starched fabric?)
  • simple ear cuffs, because hey! I finally sat down and worked this out myself! and they are relatively simple and quick
  • wire fish and birds and geometric shapes, for sticking in lawns and hanging from trees

I toyed briefly with the idea of paying for a vendor table, but realized that I do not have the time to make enough items to make a table worthwhile. However, there is apparently some way I can sell things, but it sounds like it is  more complicated than if I had a vendor table. So that is an intriguing option that bears more thought. And also requires I make some more things (but not SO MANY).

Simple brass wire ear cuff

Simple to make, simple to teach, can have dangly beaded bits hang off them for more fun.


Bazaar Bizarre aftermath

So I worked at a craft fair (the Bazaar Bizarre, in its first-ever summer occurrence) for the first time ever, and it was only slightly less terrifying than I imagine it would have been if I’d actually been selling my own work.

I was there at the Artisan’s Asylum table; we were there to pass out flyers and show people how to make simple crafts. A couple of people were making neat hair decorations, tiny hats, and bags out of ties. We had bookbinding, and someone showing off Sumobots. Our coffee making demo had to cancel on account of it being too windy. And we had two people doing jewelry demos (the other person was showing knotwork).

Jewelry display, plus duct tape head with feather mask, plus flyers, beads, wire, etc.

I brought a lot of glass beads, figuring I could show people how to make simple dangly earrings. I even sat down and practiced by myself, so I would know how to talk someone through the process while demonstrating it.

No one was interested in learning how to make them.

People were interested in making ear cuffs, which I had on my big display board.

And of course I didn’t have any of the really simple ear cuffs there. Fortunately, I did have my brass wire, because at the last minute I decided to bring it so I could amuse myself if nothing else was going on.

I know now how just how poorly I know what I am doing, because I found myself flailing a lot trying to explain how to hold the wire and the tools – and honestly, I don’t know that -I- always follow the same process, so there was a lot of ad hockery (ad hackery?). I figure that explaining that teaching this was all new to me might be reassuring to people who were confused by the process a bit. Well, I got some laughs at least. And my victi- er students did end up with wearable ear cuffs.

Also, I got some really nice feedback about some of the wire work I had on display (the stainless steel necklace, which I finished off and now – of course now! – want to make some edits to. Guess I’ll have to make another. OH NOES.), like encouragement to make more and sell it.

I did loads of research earlier this year into Etsy and good places to buy supplies (bulk wire, especially), but time going elsewhere, and massive terror at the prospect of taking this semi-seriously, have conspired to keep me from actually setting up a shop and making items to sell. But I think at this point (and then there was a coworker this morning, who I showed some photos to), I have no choice.

If for no other reason than to subsidize my bead buying habit.