Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Cure For Crafty Hands

I have to say I never realized how torn up my fingers could get doing glass work. Holding small pieces of glass against grinders and ring saw blades had left my fingertips cracked, cut, peeling, bleeding and so sensitive I could barely stand to touch anything. If I let them callus the calluses would split and bleed. When I tried taping them up there were times when I'd remove the tape to find my skin peeling off with the tape. For months I tried everything I could think of to get them to heel. I think there's also something about glass dust (more like glass mud since it's wet) that is very bad for hands. They would dry and crack in addition to the trauma that the glass edges did to my finger tips.
One day my wife brought home a product called O'Keeffe's Working Hands. It comes as a lotion in a tube and as a cream in a round container. If you're one of those folks who get those painful cracks near your nail beds, this stuff will heal them almost overnight. After using this stuff every night at bedtime and throughout the day my hands and finger tips are almost completely healed. If you could have seen how ravaged they were before you'd know what an accomplishment that is.
So between grinding down the edges of the glass before I press it against the ring saw blade and the regular application of O'Keeffe's Working Hands my misery has been greatly relieved. I mean, it's not like I'd ever consider quitting doing glass work. Something had to give.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New Designs

The jewelry market is VERY saturated and it is not easy to keep sales coming in with so many talented artisans out there. I felt it was time to evolve. For most of the time I've been making fused glass jewelry I preferred to do a shallow "tack" fuse on my pieces. This resulted in more defined edges, and rather than incorporating the glass I pretty much just layered it. I like the interactions from the different layers of transparent glass. I rarely used opaque glass.
I decided to do a few things differently. First I began a marketing campaign, which is pretty much an OJT thing for me. I'm learning as I go along, trying to decide where best to focus my resources. Then I lowerd my prices. I took an average of about three dollars off of my jewelry. And lastly I began to shift direction with my designs. I'll keep some of my more popular items (like the puzzle pendants), but now I'm doing more of the full fusing designs and using alot of the fusible decals to embellish my pieces. Above is a comparison of my old vs my new designs. I have really enjoyed creating in this new style.