Friday, September 2, 2011

Off to the Emmys

Everything is finished, packaged, and on it's way to California. Yay! (but not without some last minute issues, of course ;)

I LOVE the way the "gift" came out! The little note in the box was a last minute idea. I think it makes it polished with a personal "artisan" look and feel!

The last week!
O.M.G. The finishing up process of 100 pairs of earrings was WAY more complicated than I was expecting! Sooo many problems that I didn't expect!

Problem #1:
So, apparently (and honestly I did NOT think of this beforehand) when you start a long hammering session (30-40min) the texture looks completely different than when you're finishing up the session. --You start out nice and strong with bold strokes and end up with lighter strokes that are kinda small and dimply-- This causes a huge problem when trying to match up pairs of earrings!

Texturizing 200 teardrops is killer on the arm (actually the elbow)
Problem #2:
I normally only oxidize (apply a patina) to a few items at a time and so I did not realize that how critical the temperature of the oxidizing solution is in determing the final "color" of the patina. The first half I dipped had a blue-ish hue (a warmer solution) and the second half (a cooler solution) had a yellow-ish hue. Both are valid, I guess, although I prefer the blue-ish hue, but again this makes it super difficult in matching up pairs of earrings!

Oh, and I also didn't consider the time it would take to polish each and every one. The patina may look pretty in the picture below, but it definitely doesn't look so great up close; and besides, the point of the patina is to emphasize the texture, so the surface needs to be buffed and polished. (and remember, boys and girls, this is front and back)

200 teardrops with patina, before polishing. Aren't they gorgeous? Like fall leaves.

Problem #3:
Putting a finishing coat onto 200 teardrops. This wasn't a problem so much as it was a HUGE job. I absolutely didn't realize the amount of time it would take. 

Several things have to be done. 
Normally, I attach the piece of jewelry onto a little s hook to dip into the finishing solution and to hang to dry. Well, I didn't want to have to make 200 little s-hooks so I decided to attach the earwires to the teardrops before dipping. I also normally hang the piece to dry onto a small tin pan with holes for the hooks, but that obviously wouldn't work for 200 earrings so it took some thinking (more time) to come up with a solution: my oven racks on top of veggie cans!
Each piece needs to be cleaned before coating, so I had to sniff acetone (the best cleaner for oils, etc) for a bit too long while doing the cleaning. I really should have opened a window, but hindsight is 20-20, right. lol.
After dipping each teardrop individually into the little cup of finishing solution they need to be hung to dry, which is ok (I have my oven racks) except for the fact that the solution drips a bit at first, so the pieces must be watched carefully for drips and the excess solution wicked off with a paper towel (not doing this is very bad as the final dried piece looks horrible with a thick dot of finishing coat at the bottom!)
After hanging to dry for an hour, the whole dipping process is done again! 
...dip, wick, hang, wick, check, wick again... dip, wick, hang, wick, check, wick again...........

--have I mentioned I'm not good with repetitive tasks?

I'm very proud of my drying rack, lol.

Problem #3: (the biggest problem I had and I don't have a picture! I was far too frustrated to think about pictures and blog posts and such!)

Matching the pairs of earrings. Between the different hammering textures and the different patina hues, matching was a bitch! I really have to remember to think about issues like these BEFORE I start on my Oscars gift bag items (which I still haven't decided on anyway!)

No more problems, just lots of work:
1. Finding a place to hang the matched pairs (I had to clear my oven racks to make room to do the "matching" task)

100 pairs of earrings waiting to be boxed.

2. Put business and artist cards in each box.
3. Card each pair of earrings and place in boxes.

100 boxes pairs of earrings.

4. Place cute little artist note in each box.

I love images that are askew and sort-of artsy.

5. Lid each box
6. Attach the labels.

Somehow, 100 boxes pairs of earrings doesn't look like as much as when they're unboxed. :)

 7. Tie ribbon around 100 boxes (with my About card on the bottom)
--thanks for helping me out Tiago (my awesomely artistic husband who I totally trust to make perfect bows on celebrity gifts :)

Simple, elegant, and a little earthy packaged celebrity gifts! :)

8. Boxing it all up.
I'm a little anal about shipping. I'm totally paranoid of packages being left out in the rain or being tossed unceremoniously into trucks and so I really try to package well. I lined the box in trash bags (waterproof) and surrounded everything with bubblewrap. Better safe than sorry, right?

Boxed up and ready to go!

Sterling cufflinks: 
My gift to Gavin, head of GBK -- the company that hosts THE most awesome celebrity gift lounges!

Sterling cufflinks for Gavin!

My display for The Artisan Group's table at the Gift Lounge:
I'm displaying different items than I'm gifting. I wanted to show variety of work, but also the teardrop earrings just didn't fit well onto the display with the necklace (and I did NOT have time to rethink my display)

I did have trouble finding a color for the backdrop that showed off both sterling silver and copper equally well... black was too formal, white didn't show off silver, beige/brown didn't show off copper, etc. etc. :) --this is watercolor paper with torn edges that has been hand painted.

Gift Lounge display items.

C'est finis!
I'm sooooo excited to see (well, hear, since I'm not actually there) what happens at the gift lounge. Valerie and Nikki are going to try to tweet or FB updates all day and I'm quite sure every member of TAG will be glued to their "devices", I know I will.

Thank You Valerie
Thank You Nikki
I really do appreciate you putting together this very personal and friendly group that allows us to participate and be WELL REPRESENTED in these events. I have total trust that you care about each of us and will do your best to promote our items.


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  1. OMG-the work, but the end was well worth it. The earring and cuff links are amazing!

  2. Thanks for sharing this! I loved reading every bit of it. And it gave me some things to think about before I start my process for the GG's! Best of luck, they all look amazing! ~Amber from TAG

  3. You are such a trooper Deb! I have to say, everything turned out amazing! I was wondering how the process would go with soooo many earrings. I hope you are giving your poor arm a nice rest!

    Gavin's cuff links are gorgeous!

  4. Thanks everyone!

    Diane: It was a lot of work, but already worth all the effort in the press attention I've received so far!

    Amber: I'll definitely be thinking of these types of issues next time! Hope this helps you and if you have questions, let me know.

    Ashley: Thank you! It is a huge process, but my elbow is recovering nicely! Should be healed up just in time to start on my Oscars gifts, lol.

  5. Totally A.W.E.some!!!

    Thank you for a fabulous look at your fabulous craftsmanship!

    Best and Blessings,

    p.s. This has been Tweeted!

  6. Beautiful work Deb! That is going to be one lucky group of celebs :)

  7. Loved this post, Deb! Thanks for taking us on the journey with you!

    The earrings and packaging are AWEsome! And those cufflinks!

  8. They look amazing! Thanks for the birds eye view into the process. It's so interesting to see what
    other people's creative process involves.

    Best of luck! :)

  9. Very, very cool post! Thanks for sharing your process with us -- we loved reading it! And now, you've given us the kick in the pants we need to start prepping for our Oscars swag bags EARLY! :)

    Thanks and all the best from a fellow TAG member!

    ~ Pia and Kathleen