Thursday, May 19, 2011

Adventures in Silicone

I've been playing with silicone the last few days - in the interest of mold making.  Which is kind of a totally boring topic, unless you've ever thought much about how to make molds, in which case it's not so boring.  Because figuring out how to do it opens up a world of shapes and sizes - no longer a slave to the Man, I can now unfurl my wings and fly free.

Here's how it starts - you buy a few molds that are exceptionally cool.  In particular the ones that produce these bracelets and rings:

And then you start wanting earrings that are an exact cube, only to discover that apparently no one on the entire internet would like to sell cube molds of the size you are now convinced is imperative for said earrings.  So then you stare at your molds.  And you think, "self, how hard could that really be?"  So then you do what you always do in times like these - you head straight to youtube.  Turns out you can figure out how to do *anything* with the help of YouTube.  (As a sign that our civilization might be headed straight to hell, I used to say that I could figure out how to do anything with the help of a book.  Now it's YouTube.  Progress or regress, you be the judge.)

So YouTube sent me on my way, and after some more sleuthing I came up with a likely looking silicone product - which I'm pretty sure is the exact same product used in the molds I like so much.  Surely this is a sign!  And this product requires a digital gram scale, which strangely enough I actually own due to my stint as a produce farmer.  All signs still looking good.  So here's how it all went down:

1.  Pull out scale, feeling proud it's in your possession.

2.  Realize the f@#*ing thing is now killing batteries every time you put them in, due to its apparent desire to display the word "off" when it's off.  But if it's displaying the word, it isn't really off, is it?  So then go find...

3.  The battery charger.

4.  In the meantime ponder the fact that you can't find the power cord.  Think that charging and/or removing batteries all of the time is going to get tedious, so call the store you bought it from and inquire about buying a new power cord.  Upon hearing the news that a new cord will cost $50, decide playing with batteries isn't so bad.

5.  While the batteries are charging, rig up the containers.  I went for the very sophisticated take-out soup container/plastic cup and dixie cup options.  Along with some double sided tape these actually worked pretty well.

6.  Mix up the goo.  Not a big deal, but rather sticky.  Definitely recommend gloves.

7.  Stir goo until hands cramp.  Not kidding.  That stuff is thick.

8.  Pour goo into molds.

9.  Wait.  Overnight.

10. Peel off the paper - and then pry and drag rings and bracelet out of the now-firm goo.  And voila!  Molds!

These are mine sitting beside the originals - and while mine are a little more ragged that the originals, they're a pretty close approximation.  Success!  Of course the real test will be once I actually use them. And now that I know I can more or less make molds, I've got to find the exact right cube for the earring of my dreams.  So a follow-up report will be forthcoming.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What Three Days and a Camera Will Get You

I knew I needed to figure out how to photograph my jewelry well enough to put it up on etsy.  But I had been putting it off, and putting it off, and putting it off.  Because I had made some previous attempts - and let's just say they weren't pretty.  At all.  So bad, in fact, that I no longer have photographic proof of them.  And then I tried a few that were slightly more successful - but a couple of artist/designer friends were emphatically negative on the brick I was using as a support:

One tactfully said "it just catches the eye in a not-so-good way."  The other said "it kind of looks like congealed snot."  Huh.  Not really what I was going for.  So back to the drawing board.  The next suggestion I got was wood.  Since I was in singleminded pursuit of decent photographs (not even fabulous, just decent), I gathered up every movable wooden object I could find.  Cigar boxes.  Jewelry boxes.  Wooden bowls.  Finally, success!  Turns out my new backdrop is actually my old jewelry box.  The one that I haven't used in years, but really like because it's cool looking.  And in this case, cool looking was all I needed.  So. . .  here are some of the pics.

Fairly successful, right?  (And if you're thinking no, please contact me privately and quickly, so I can spend another 3 days re-doing these.)  And yes, it really did take 3 days to figure all of this out.  Clearly I'm severely lacking in photographic talent and initiative.  But, now I kind of have a system figured out, so I'm feeling dedicated to the online idea.  Because it looks like this whole e-commerce fad may be here to stay.  So, in case you didn't notice the big new etsy app on the side of this blog - it's official, I'm back on etsy!  And that's what three days and a camera will get you.