No-Work Weekend Jewelry Making

I'll be making jewelry on the weekends...

...but it won't be for sale.

I can’t believe I just typed that. Being a working artist, everything is always for sale, isn’t it? Well, I learned the hard way that that’s the fastest way to take something that you love and turn it into a j.o.b., which leads to b.o., I mean, burn out.

On top of that, if you’re like me, when you’re not making stuff to sell, you’re always thinking about new ways to sell it.

You may rationalize with yourself and say, “But really, I *do* like doing it all.” And I wouldn’t argue with you. I love being immersed and as passionate just as much as the next guy, and it’s all good…until it isn’t. It creeps up on you and once you get to that point, it’s H-E-double-hockey-sticks getting out of it.

So, this weekend, I proactively said no more. Or in the wise words of Beverly Hills Chihuahua: NO MAS!

I declared a no-work weekend.

I argued with myself over this, and whined a little, “But I looooove making jewelry…I don’t want to stop on the weekends.” So, I came up with a compromise I could live with.

I recently took a class with Cynthia Toops, the master of the polymer clay micromosaic. Y’all know I love me some micromosaics. Did you know I used to do polymer clay? Yep. Back in the day that was my first bead making and selling gig, before I got into glass. I feel like I’ve come full circle.

Anyway…spending time making something that someone else taught me will guarantee that I won’t turn it into a product line. Why? Because that’s just damn tacky. Cynthia is right when she says that the technique isn’t hard, it just takes a lot of time. Just how I like it.

I had this setting laying around from a failed glass stone setting attempt so I used it for my second polymer clay micro mosaic. The one below is the first one I made, in class, with another bezel that had a snafu with the stone I was going to set.

So, Friday came and I thought, I need to get a bezel made for my no-work jewelry making weekend! I’d spent a lot of the week working on designing an upcoming collection and I didn’t have it in me to toil with more. So, if it’s not dots I’m falling back on, it’s eyes, of course.

I liked the setting I’d already worked on so I set out to create one that was similar.

I realized that the method I use for creating the decoration around the edge is also mosaic-like. At this point I’m thinking I can probably relate anything in life to something to do with mosaics. Art mirrors life. Or the other way around?

I like it. I think it’s going to be a good one.

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New experience with the micromosaic faces

I was excited to get back to the micro mosaic faces and now, having made them off and on for a couple of years I’ve become more proficient and am having some additional successes with color combos.

lori greenberg glass micro mosaic

Because I am pretty comfortable with the technique and process I was able to work more freeform. That is, a strong foundation allows an artist to play (with more success). I didn’t have a plan like I usually do and started out making all of the more solid face components. Then I chose some color, and created a new one with a new scheme, which opened the door to even more options.

lori greenberg glass micromosaic

Something interesting happened along the way. Because there was no plan or template I started to let the glass chips do what they wanted. I started building areas of color and forming swirls and curves as I went. It was like I was painting with pixels, one at a time. Before I knew it, I had flames. I was not intending flames and I sure wasn’t intending a matching goatee. All I was thinking was that I wanted to match the orange in the nose and put some outline around the eyes. Working this way was really enjoyable. Like doodling but with minuscule little dots of glass. I felt like a painter; and I cannot paint, or draw.

lori greenberg glass micromosaic

The other ones, below, kind of happened that way too. I do wish that the color of the orange-ish/yellow section would have stayed the cool color that it was before it was fused in the kiln but, I still got a new color for my library and I will try again sometime with another combo to recreate the brighter yellow contrasted with the maroonish sangre color. It’s all good. (see that? I’m trying to appreciate what I’ve done rather than being so hard on myself).

lori greenberg glass micromosaic

I got really fast at making these because I eliminated some of the fine black outlining. But looking at the piece below you can see that that outlining does make a a big difference in the overall effect and feel of the piece. The fine black (as opposed to the thicker black lines above) are made with stringer about the thickness of a hair, if even that. It can get a little time consuming and tedious to say the least. I see that’s a necessary evil though. You might not realize it but the mouth murrini and eyes below are outlined in that black. If they weren’t they’d just kind of blend in. Gotta do it.

lori greenberg glass micro mosaic

Next step is designing a frame (in cardboard) to pass onto my silver-fabricating buddy, Chris Mode, for the next steps. I’m kind of itching to try the silver again but I’m not sure. We’ll see if I can do it in cardboard first!

Various stages of done-ness

It’s time to make more face pendants. Here are a few in varying stages of the process. One thing I like about the one below here is that yellowish color. It’s an attempt at blending multiple colors in this style rather than staying in the same family. I tried this when I first started doing the mosaics and didn’t like the results. In the last two years I have learned more about how colors work together (or not) in this technique. So much more to learn.

glass micro mosaic tile

The guy below has a cute little mouth murrine. I don’t remember who I got it from. Greg Chase and Jim Anspach have sent me face part murrini over the years but I also have some that I got from an artist’s studio close-out. I think this one is kind of cool except for the fact that it’s a chip that is very very thin on one edge. I hope it doesn’t get swallowed up by the rest of the design.

glass micro mosaic tile

Here’s one that has the mosaic part complete. See my little signature cane in there? I love that thing. It was the first stringer stack murrine I did. I’m excited about these because I’m going to try something new. I have showed a couple pieces where Chris Mode has done the silver work to make them into pendants. This time I have an idea an I’m going to build the prototype setting in cardboard and see if she will be able to fabricate it for me in silver. While I have some soldering skills, cardboard and glue is a lot less intimidating to me that sheets of silver and solder.

glass micro mosaic tileIf you can’t tell, I’m also messing around with a new photo set-up. I purchased the light boxes from Doug Baldwin. It’s hard adjusting to the look that I’m getting because I do like a little shiny glare on my pieces. I mean, they’re glass, and I’ve been liking my pictures for a long time. So, I’ve tried a could different things to rig them up to my liking. I’m not sure I’m there yet though.

Why did I change? It just looks like an easier set up than what I have. I don’t know though. When will I get it and be satisfied? Maybe if I ever get that macro lens and learn to use my ‘good’ camera?