Tuesday, January 26, 2010

PMC Certification

I just returned from a 3 day course at the lovely Vitrum Studios in Beltsville Maryland.  I took the Rio Grande PMC certification class which allows me to get a discount on PMC products and to teach classes in PMC.  The extensive 3 day class is about technique, it is not a creative class.  But even so, it is defiantly worthwhile

My teacher was Terry Kovalcik, a master a PMC manipulation and technique. He was a great instructor for this course, tough but with a good sense of humor.  And he generously shared a lot of his personal tips and techniques at the end of the class.

For this class you are required to finish seven projects.  The projects are a bit silly, but they are designed to practice skills and intoduce you to the different PMC products that are available. I'm glad that I was exposed to some of these products, even if I never choose to experiment with them.  One example is the torch fired ring.  First of all, I don't believe in torch firing PMC, and a ring made this way is not practical as it will never be strong enough. Even Terry advised against it, but the experience of making the ring was a helpful to me.  Also made another ring with a set CZ fired into it, something I will probably never do again.

OK, what did I love to make? The tetrahedron project was a real challenge and sometimes the sanding a polishing was tedious, but it was an important exercise. The lentil bead project was a lot of fun.  I loved all the possibilites of PMC sheet, and even though the woven earrings I made are not anything I would ever wear.  I'm so excited to work with this type of PMC.  Same for the gold Aura 22.

My favorite project by far was the last, the pen.  I can't wait to make Yads (for torah reading) based on this project. 

I have been contemplating taking this class for a couple of years.  It is expensive, especially because it is never offered in or near St. Louis.  And the class definitely is a demonstration of product and a certain technique.  This is the technique that is mandated by the makers of PMC and the artist that they have selected as their masters.  They do things and certain way and believe that they is the only way it can be done.  Well, I do not think that is necessarily so. But I do believe that knowledge is power.  And I have learned a lot of alternative methods to join, decorate and finish PMC.  I think that the skills that I had before combined with the new knowledge will help me with my future designs and projects.  I so look forward to getting a bulk of time in the studio to work.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

January mezuzah project

The last week has been very stressful.  The is a lot of terrible and wonderful things happening all at once.  I was lucky to carve out a bit of time to make the first mezzuah of the year.  It's one I have been contemplating for a while, and even though it's completed,  I wish I had done things differently.  Still, it's a nice attempt at  a castle motif.  Next time I want to make the roof detail more prominent.

I am off to Maryland tomorrow to attend my PMC certification class.  It's three days of classes that teach technique and use of materials.  I am very excited for the challenge as well as the opportunity to meet other serious PMC artists.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

the mezuzah project

I've decided to start a new design challenge this year.  I am calling it the mezuzuah project.  I am going to design and make a new fine silver mezuzah case each month and feature it on my blog and in my Etsy store. 

This month I am creating the castle tower mezuzuah.  It's in the kiln right now, stay tuned....

Saturday, January 9, 2010

the art of business/ the business of art

This last week I have been focusing on getting serious about my artwork and making it a viable business.  I have spent hours on the computer networking, building my brand and getting my name and my Etsy shop out on the world wide web.  You can find links to my blog, my etsy store, pictures of my fine silver metal jewelry and Judaica, and personal bio, all over the place.  Yet, there is so much more to do.  I am only about half way through my list of free marketing tools on the web.
You can now find me on linkedin , whohub, and flicker, plus countless other  small art, handmade, and craft sites I will not bore you with.  I have become a part of great networking communities, like my etsy metal clay team and Showme Etsy a local St. Louis group of crafters.  And, I own the domain rachelsthings, so www.rachelsthings.com will connect you directly to my etsy store!
In the near future I will be getting a new logo, etsy store banner, and I am off to DC for my PMC certification!

Please feel free to link my blog or website to any you might own, and I will do the same.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

snow day

There was a snow storm last night with super cold tempertures and everyone here in St. Louis freaked out so all the school are closed.  It seems pretty silly really, I mean it's bitter cold yes, but  the snow is really powdery and easy to clear away. 

It's nice to have the girls home from school today, but I will probably not get as much work done as I would have liked.  But this morning I did get a chance to photograph some new things for my Etsy shop.  Here is a new necklace called "Hidden Treasures".  The silver charms looks antique to me, like something you might find on an archeological dig in Europe.

Friday, January 1, 2010

i've been busy

I'm making 4 new Jewish star necklaces, 3 pairs of periwinkle drop earrings and 3 tiny house necklaces.  Still working on the tiny houses and the earrings, but check out the etsy store later this week to see the finish products.

I also recruited Abby to model a necklace so that people can get more of an idea of the scale.  Doesn't she look professional!