Saturday, January 31, 2009

I think I've got it...finally (scroll down--there ARE photos in this post!)

It was a really big deal that I agreed to join Trish's Romancing the Charm Swap, as I had vowed off swaps for many reasons.
One is that it's just too stressful to put myself out there to be judged.
Call it insecurity or fear or having problems with criticism...but giving or selling my art has never been a motivating factor for me.

Another reason, is things just don't always go as planned.
And that's what has happened this time.
I came up with an idea (which I will blog about soon), and I decided to make soldered glass charms.
That's sort-of biting off more than I can chew, in that I've only made those one time before, and I wasn't even sure if I could pull it off.

Anyway, the process would be comical were it not so frustrating.
First I ordered the glass.
I ended up buying pieces of one inch square glass from Volcano Arts (a really friendly and informative place. The website is filled with ideas and tutorials).
Then I ordered what I placed inside the glass (more soon...).
I already had the copper tape, soldering iron, and flux.

I wanted to attach paper labels, and drove around TWO HOURS one afternoon searching the things out.
None at Michaels, none at Kinkos, sold out at Office Depot...
I finally found some at Joann's, and by that time just nixed the printing and used silver glitter pen to write them out.
Okay, as the money is ching ching chinging away....

I went to solder the charms, and all I got was carbon dust and burned tape.
What is going on????
I drove all the way to the north county to buy new tips for my soldering iron, only to discover the stamping store no longer sold that item.
I drove all over town yet AGAIN, this time looking for another iron.
The least expensive version at the stained glass store was $82!
Luckily I had a coughing attack and had to leave before I could consider it.
I ended up buying a lower wattage version at Michaels, just to have something.

I tried again. Same result.
In the meantime, Trish was supposed to have received these a week ago.
Okay, the glass, the material, the new iron, the tags, the pens, the sterling silver jumprings and sterling silver loops...I was already creeping up to $100.
Then I got some soldering books from the library, and they said to use non-leaded solder for items that would be handled often, like jewelry.
The solder I already had, and the solder that the stamping store uses, is 60/40.
I drove to the stained glass store and bought a tiny spool of Silvergleem for $29.
Holy crap.

And still I have no charms to mail. Geez.

I dropped by a beadstore, and I called the stamp store, asking if anyone could help show me what I was doing wrong.
They suggested I take a class.

So today I took Beginning Soldering. Again. A $35 class.
The good thing is I can finish my charms now.
It was also good information to learn from a second teacher, because she had different ways of doing things, and it's always interesting to learn new techniques.

I only made one charm today.
The solder is lumpy because this teacher prefers it that way--she taught us to touch the iron along the edge repeatedly.
I've seen in books where some artists like to drop dots of solder along the edge.
I prefer it thin and flat.
It's more fragile that way, but I like the look, so the charms for the swap will be nicer (I hope anyway).

Seagull charm
The lady feeding the seagull at the ocean, and the larger seagull to the right are from actual black & white vintage photographs.
Not very colorful, perhaps, but I love these images.

Charm back
The silhouette is also from an actual vintage photograph.
The quotation (author unknown) seemed appropriate with this imagery.

This one was just for practice, the charms for the swap are completely different.
I will blog about those next.

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Blogger LauraK said...

Barb, I have also sworn off swaps! Thanks for confirming the wisdom of this decision.

3:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those are lovely Barb. yes it was an expensive thing to learn but well worth it.

"Stained Glass Projects and Patterns" by George Shannon and Pat Torlen is very good. It has step by step instructions, colour pics and a variety of projects with patterns too. It's good for ideas.

I am sorry you have sworn off swaps- I am doing my 1st one "Time For Tea". I'll let you know how it goes.

6:26 AM  

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