Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Buy Silver Now!

Hey Everybody, I know I alerted you before to buy silver because prices were down and I gave my reasoning about why the price had dropped.Well, it's kind of like anything in life... the more you learn the more you find out you don't know. I just read a very interesting article and according to this guy the market is being manipulated -- read this -- and really has nothing to do with the weak dollar or oil prices or anything else. Okay, it is very complex and whether it will all play out, we'll see. However, it seems like it IS playing out.

After these big financiers process a bunch of their ' loss-orders' which will net them Billions or Trillions, the price of Gold and Silver will take off again and most likely double or triple what it was before. If this happens, Silver will be $60 an ounce!! Right now it is $11.50, so BUY NOW!!

Take advantage of being a craftsman and the fact that you can actually buy real metal instead of what an investment banker would want to give you... 'paper' silver. People who want to invest in metals right now are waiting in line. It is in such short supply that it is only being given to fabricators. That is me and you!! So again I will say, BUY NOW!!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Price for Bronze PMC

Sorry it took me so long, but I just checked the price for the new Bronze PMC and it is relatively cheap compared to Silver PMC. The Silver PMC (.999 silver) is around $45 for a 25 gram lump while the Bronze is only about $35 for a 200 gram lump. Wow! That is quite a difference.

Like I said in my previous post, I am personally not that interested in producing jewelry made from copper, brass and the like. However, this is a breakthrough in my opinion and I will definitely be getting some and checking it out.

I just completed teaching a PMC class and as always the 25 gram lumps were slightly prohibitive because they just disappear too fast. At almost 50 bucks a pop the creativity is stifled a bit. Using this new Bronze PMC should allow more freedom to experiment and ease some of the economic tensions that new students have.

Actually, the Silver PMC still intimidates me when I hold that bubble gum size wad in my fingers. I remember the first time I experienced PMC -- I thought 'this is great, but I want a 5 pound bag instead of this little tidbit'. But that is just me. Since I have a pottery degree and understood what clay will do 30 years ago I was very excited by PMC and the possibilities. When I heard CLAY, I thought alright! But then I realized the economic disparities between PMC (precious metal clay) and clay, lost a lot of my initial enthusiasm and reverted to my more conventional silversmith methods.

So if you haven't tried it, get some Bronze PMC and go wild. Once you get some great results let us all see what you've done. Send me a photo and I'll post it here on this blog.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Bronze PMC

I just got this notice today and it is good news for us PMC artists.
Rio announces BRONZE PMC! Surely it will be much cheaper than even Silver PMC, and even though I am not in a habit of producing my jewelry using Copper, Brass, and the like... I am definitely interested in this as a lower cost alternative for some 'parts' of my jewelry.
Check it out, here is the link for the June Newsletter and Clasp Conference.
Click Here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Keep on truckin

If you are old enough (I am) to remember the 60's art from the hippie days that flourished, you will remember the 'Keep on truckin' dude... well, that is the subject of my post today. I haven't posted any 'help' in over a month and I wanted to let you know I am still here. I have been working a lot and not at the computer but I always think of myself this way... truckin on... I will never stop or give up.

Part of what I want to do here is tell you stuff, but there is another part -- answering questions. Since I haven't received a lot of comments I have let my blog sit unattended. Truth is, I would rather be working at my bench then sitting at the computer and if I really have time for only ONE thing, I will do my Yoga first ;) -- it is that important to me.

So I am here NOW to encourage you to ask questions and post your comments about jewelry making, PMC or anything you feel is relevant to life in general. Just do it, as the commercials say.

I also want to remind you of my upcoming classes (only 4 weeks away), go here to check it out. I'll be teaching at the ESSA in Eureka Springs, a beautiful place and the school has a brand new metal-smithing building that we will get to use. I have a plan for the classes of course, but they are small, so really, we will get to do anything we want.

Join the fun and sign up today. Give them a call if you need more info.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

I got quoted

Wow! I got quoted in the Northwest Times last week. It is always amazing what reporters pick out and print from what is said in an interview. I have been interviewed before for events and articles and this particular article came out good -- I like what I said.

It is true, all of us are Artists! But some of have more creative urge than others and that is what sets us apart. We find a way to get the tools and materials and learn to create the things that we visualize.

Check out the article if you have time.

All I can add is that helping each other is what is really important in life and this is my goal with this Blog. Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Link for more Education and Events

Here's a new link for Rio Grande Education and Events. Check it out!
Rio Grande

Thursday, March 27, 2008

More Resources for Learning and Travel!

Here is a link to some upcoming Conventions and Expos that should provide any attendee some excitement and opportunities to learn new techniques or procedures in the Jewelry making field.

Jewelry Shows and Expos

If you have it in your budget, make the effort to attend a show to get your juices flowing and get yourself fired up about making jewelry! It is always a good to learn new things and make new friends. Let Providence work for you. Here is a saying from Goethe that I really like:

Until one is committed there is hesitancy,
The chance to draw back,
Always ineffectiveness.
Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation)
There is one elementary truth,
The ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans:
That the moment one definitely commits oneself
Then Providence moves, too.
All sorts of things occur to help one
That would never otherwise have occurred.
A whole stream of events issues from the decision
Raising in one's favor
All manner of unforseen incidents and meetings and material assistance
which no man would have dreamed would have come his way.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Good time to buy Silver

Heads up! If you haven't been watching the price of silver, it just dropped about $3 an ounce in the past couple of days.

Like I have stated in a previous post, I am not an expert on financial subjects or trading commodities, but I do pay attention to the news. One week ago the Fed made a bunch of moves to shore up the US economy -- like cutting the Prime interest rate and pumping money into some banks, etc. It is all too complicated for me to think I know what is going to happen next... I don't! However, I would say that if you depend on buying silver to produce your goods, it is a good time to buy. I doubt that the spot price will drop much more and will eventually creep back up.

Remember the spot price is relative. It does seem like it hurts to pay 3x what we did just a few years ago, but everything else is more expensive too, so it really is just a reflection of the weak dollar, oil prices, etc. Personally, I'm happy that I am involved in the Arts and live in this modern age when I can readily get silver (at any price) and express myself this way producing my own adornment so I am grateful.

So, prepare your order and call it into your supplier first thing Monday before the market takes off, in order to save some money.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

PMC classes

I just got notified of the schedule of PMC classes being offerd by Rio Grande. It is a good program -- by receiving your certification you are able to also teach a class plus you receive some good discounts on materials and get a membership to the PMC Guild. Here is the link: Rio PMC classes

If you are a serious jewelry maker and you haven't yet tried using PMC, I would recommend it. Personally, I don't think it will take the place of traditional silversmithing but it is allowing many people to create beautiful silver pieces without all the tools and equipment normally required.

I'll be teaching a PMC/silversmithing class in the summer. If your in the area (Arkansas), check it out: PMC Class

Also, here is the link to the PMC Guild

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rising Price of Materials

If you haven't noticed, the price of us silversmiths' main material -- Silver -- just reached another high today. As I write this it is sitting at $19.20/oz... whoa!! I check the price everyday and I have been watching it creep up little by little to where it is now from around $4.50/oz in 2001.

Except for the historic and failed attempt by the Hunt Brothers that drove the price up to $48.70 an ounce for a short time in 1980, the price of silver has remained low and an affordable material for hobbyists and jewelers. Now this (close to) $20/oz is really causing some changes in the jewelry industry. I don't see the price going back down.

I am not a financial analyst or a commodity trader but I know enough about what is happening to know that the price rise is caused by two things. Mainly it is a reflection of the weak US Dollar. For example, what I use to pay for a 200 ounce order of silver in 2001 (at $4.50/oz) was around $1200 which included fabrication charges and some shipping. That same order would now cost me over $4000. That price is an indication of what the dollar is worth and not based on the quantity of silver that is present in the planet. There is a lot of Silver!! I read once in an encyclopedia that most silver is micro-crystalline in form (not nuggets) and is actually a bi-product of other metal smelting processes targeting nickel, copper, etc., which are in even more demand than silver.

The other factor is actually the same one -- as the dollar weakens, more and people are using Silver as an investment strategy (along with Gold). Basic supply and demand working here, the more people that want something, the more the price rises.

So what do us craftsmen and hobbyists do? We really don't have much choice, just like we don't have any choice about the price of gasoline, so we must pay the price what ever it is. The good news is that it is clearing the field of people who have a ceiling on the price they can pay to create a product that has a preset cost. In other words, if somebody wants to make a piece of jewelry that wholesales for $8 they must reverse design their costs and at this point there is not a lot of cheap stuff that can be made using the current prices of metals.

I asked an associate in the manufacturing sector what he thought about this (actually, this was a couple weeks ago and Silver was only $16/oz) and he me told this: The trend will be in Stainless Steel, Silver with Gold accents, a lot of 10K gold and the manufacturing in the US will be ALL big-ticket. I am curious to see what will be in all the department stores showcases next season.

The good news is that as it becomes more and more difficult for the major manufacturers to pump out cheap goods (China, India) it creates more room for small merchants to fill in the space. That small merchant is YOU and ME!! The world is moving more towards handmade items and quality and away from mass consumerism. Another indication that this is true is the number of people who are making sales via the internet (eBay, Etsy, etc), home jewelry parties, and at shows.

What we must do is pay what we have to for the materials we need and adjust our prices accordingly. Actually, I am encouraged -- I have been selling my jewelry for a lot less than I wanted to for many years, and even though now I must pay more for my stock, I am actually realizing more profit due to the markup. Another really cool thing is that more people will be able to start craft ventures (woodworking, pottery, etc.) and make a living while joining the 'work at home' crowd... you've heard of that, right? Remember, one also gains tax incentives (write-offs) with owning a business.

So don't despair! Let's all stick together and support each other in our quests to learn the arts that we have only dreamed of in the past. I pledge my help to all those that I can reach with this Blog and through my classes. I encourage you again to subscribe so you don't miss anything. In my next post I will begin discussing tools -- what do you really need. Check back!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Upcoming Information -- Subscribe today

I have been making silver and gold jewelry for about 20 years now and during that time I have been asked many times, 'How did you learn to make jewelry?'

I started by taking a class at an Art Center. It was typical - crowded, not a lot of instruction, with short availability/access, and not enough tools to go around. But for me it was a great start, especially considering the cost, which was low. I took notice of what I needed and what I didn't -- I inspected what was there and I made a list of the essentials. For example, I wanted to solder so I knew I needed a torch. I then proceeded to buy the tools and materials I needed to make the things I wanted to make. Since that time I have accumulated many tools and gone through lots of materials in pursuit of my quest to learn.

Unlike many more typical careers like doctor. lawyer, fireman, etc., becoming a jeweler has always seemed to be shrouded in mystery. There are specialty schools and some really good metalsmithing programs at a few colleges around the U.S. where you can go and take classes. But the availability of these just didn't compare to other fields (for example, not many colleges have jewelry programs, but almost all have Philosophy), why is this? There are probably a lot of reasons why. One reason, I believe, is somewhere in the realm of 'social design'. In other words our culture just didn't need that many jewelers so it wasn't thought of as a normal money-making career. Our jewelry was made by lower paid people in third world countries and by factory processes. Since I wasn't looking at it as a way to make money I wasn't deterred. When I decided I wanted to learn to make jewelry, and I couldn't locate an easy path, I got some books and I taught myself.

Again I will say put your emphasis on creating and learning basic skills rather than starting out thinking about making money. If you develop your skills you will make money. In my opinion, it takes as much perseverance, training, skill, and enthusiasm to become a jeweler as it does to become a lawyer, doctor, engineer, or any other occupation. With the same dedication to training one can expect to earn a decent living as a jewelry maker -- it is really just a different application of very similar skills. What I am trying to say here is learning basic skills is the first and foremost task that one should try to complete. This means sawing, filing, hammering, and yes, soldering! (I have never understood peoples' fear of fire, I am much more in awe of the power of water).

The purpose of this Blog is to help people to learn how to make fabricated jewelry. So I will be providing lots of information about specific processes and tasks, tips and information, tools, materials and where to get them. A community will form and we will all be able to meet here to promote and cheer each other on. Since I am a person that was able to learn how to make jewelry and have seen that many people can excel at it with a little help and guidance, I am willing to share what I know. I have started a jewelry making and metal smithing program before and I currently teach classes to any group of people I can round up. Let me give you my opening introduction -- I always start the classes with this -- to what I will try to do.

I always tell my new students on day one, at the very beginning, that making jewelry is not a matter of having a bunch of tools and stuff. I liken it to learning a musical instrument, like the violin. I am willing to tell you everything I know and help you in any way I can, show you demos and direct you to great pieces of jewelry to be inspired by. But nothing happens until you practice. It is never a matter of me telling you something, it is up to you to learn from your doing. Having said that, I will say that it gets easier each time you practice and most of you can become very proficient very rapidly. I have seen students go from frightened to fantastic in a weeks time. You can do it -- you will be able to create beautiful jewelry!

I hope you will subscribe to my Blog so you won't miss anything. Right now my posts are a little sparse, but I am just getting started. I am spending a lot of time preparing great documentation to post that will help you. Videos, printed demos, audio Webinars, and an ongoing discussion of everything Jewelry, including metal prices, Gems, PMC, tools, etc. So look for the link on the right side of this page and subscribe today (your email will remain private).

PS - I teach classes both for groups and private instruction and I am available to travel to do this, just drop me a note if you are interested.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Visualize your Jewelry

When I was a kid, we used to get a Sears catalog every year before Christmas. I would spend a lot of time looking at the pictures of all the toys and stuff and eventually tell my parents what I wanted, and most often I would receive it. I know now that this is where my creative abilities were developed. As a child I was totally into playing, I lived in a fantasy in my mind and spent many, many hours playing with all the various toys that I had over the years. I never lost this and playing has been my modus operandi my whole life. Consequently, I have experienced a lot of good things because I lived this way... but that is another story.

The reason I bring this up is because I want to say how important visualizing is in developing a jewelry style, what a good aid it is in creating jewelry that is your own. Books are good -- there is a multitude of books on the market that will give you ideas. But hopefully the things you see in the books are only launching points for getting the skills you will need to make the pieces that you want to make. I have seen a lot of jewelry that is just a copy of another piece of jewelry. I want to encourage you to shoot higher, to believe that you can make the pieces that you imagine in your mind, instead of just becoming another cookie-cutter copycat artist.

I have been using a certain catalog as a visualizing tool since I started making jewelry, when it was a little skinny thing. Now, it has grown to a 2" thick monster with everything you could ever need and more. What is the catalog? Well of course it is the Rio Grande Company's. Before I say more, here is the phone number, 1-800-545-6566. I have used this catalog like I did the Sears catalog when I was a child. I have spent many hours looking at all the tools and imagining what I could do with them. This visualizing was a key to my success at learning to make jewelry.

I was a obstinate kid, if I wanted to do something I was not going to give up. Well, I ended up with an Art Degree and I have tried many forms of art making. As a Jewelry Maker, I am mostly self taught, but where did I get my inspiration? From books of course (I will talk about some of these in my next post), but I must give a lot of credit to the Rio Grande catalog. Of course they are not the only Company selling jewelry tools and findings, in fact a quick search on the internet will net you a bonanza of information. But the internet didn't exist when I started making jewelry.

So call them and get a Tool catalog (ask for the Findings catalog too) and look it over. Imagine what you can do when you put my mind to it. I am grateful to my friend who gave me the phone number when I started. Enjoy making jewelry and learning to express yourself this way and don't get caught in the money-making aspects too much. Keep it original and you will enjoy every minute that you spend making your jewelry, it will never be like work. If you do this people will be asking you for your jewelry and you will make all the money you want effortlessly. I am amazed at how many people now own my jewelry, even Internationally.

I hope this info helps you in your jewelry making quest. Thanks for dropping by and check back soon.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Mind Movies!!

I know that this is off the subject of Making Jewelry, but spare me this once, ok!

Have you seen the Movie THE SECRET? If you haven't, you should get it and watch it ASAP. It is all the rage of course, since some of the people in the movie were on Oprah, Larry King and some other shows. It has also taken a lot of criticism, like from the 20/20 bozos and all the skeptical types. Well, who cares! I say let everyone believe what they want to believe. Anyway the secret
is the LAW OF ATTRACTION. Actually, this is just where the excitement begins if you haven't ever considered this or heard of it.

Get the Book (Law of Attraction) by Ester and Jerry Hicks and read it! Really they are not saying anything new, but they EXPLAIN it in very clear language. James Allen is super famous for his book As a Man Thinketh, which covers the same concept. We are thought machines and we manifest what we get from our thoughts. So anyway get the movie and watch it >> THE SECRET.

So now here is what I really want to tell you about. See, I have been hammering away personally at my subconscious for years now, making progress, changing my life, etc. But then I saw this video on You Tube that rocked! These guys (Ryan and co.) are marketing what they are calling Mind Movies as a tool to help us hard heads really impact our subconscious minds... where the real battleground is!

You buy their program kit (software) and make your Mind Movie. Then you just watch it in the morning when you get up and at night before you retire. And since it's YOUR movie it is all about you and what you want to manifest!! It is a way cool idea and I will say, it really works! I believe in it so much that I have become an affiliate - to make money of course but more than that -- to help other people! So to get to their website just click the Mind Movie Banner at the top of this page. There is no obligation, just watch the short intro video and see what I am talking about.

Now a lot of people STILL don't even have a computer... and I really feel for them for not being able to do this, but you do! And trust me, since you have been attracted to this Blog (thanks, btw) and you are NOW reading this post you are on the right track -- keep going!!

So click the Banner Ad to watch the short demo or here is the affiliate sign up link: Mind Movies

PS - there is also a contest for best Mind Movie posted on You Tube - winner gets $5000. =)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Good Information Resource

Hey, I want to help you find cool links, information, resources, etc., so here is a good link. Tammy seems to have it covered pretty well, especially the bead scene: AboutDotCom
But don't give up on me, I will be forthcoming with some handy PDFs (tutorials) for a few of my original chain designs very soon, so check back. Warning, I am a solder-aholic!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Tuscon Gem and Mineral Show

If you have made jewelry for any length of time, you probably know about
this show, that is, the Tuscon Gem and Mineral Show.
If you are interested in Jewelry Making in any way, shape or form,
equipment, beads, fossils, etc... go to this show!
It is huge and will really open your eyes to the possibilities.
You can buy just about anything you want and see stuff you haven't
seen before, guaranteed.

There are more links for addition information here.

You found it!

I know there are a lot of you out there who are interested in learning to make Jewelry. Sure, there are lots of books and a few schools, but this is not what you have been looking for.

I will do everything I can here on this BLOG to bring together the multitude of resources available via the WWW and SHOW you how it is done. Once you see what you need to do, it will be up to you to get the tools, materials, or whatever it takes (you decide) and you will be on your way.

With all the resources out there, it is just a matter of locating what you need and harnessing your enthusiasm. There is no greater thrill than turning your own idea into a finished piece that you can wear, give away or even SELL! And contrary to most people's way of thinking, it is EASY! People see jewelry I have made and they say, "Wow, that looks like it is really hard." I tell them NO, it just takes time!

"Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs."
-- Henry Ford

So if you have the time to spend learning and doing, then you have found a good place to help satisfy your urge to make your own jewelry. Just look around, follow the links, and you will be guided to the information you seek. Thanks for visiting and Good Luck with fulfilling your passion to make your own Jewelry.