Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Edwards Place Fine Art Fair 2016

Edwards Place Fine Art Fair is an art fair in Springfield, IL with live music, 70 artisan booths, food carts, yart sale, beer and wine tents, book sale, and also featuring artisan demos. This year was the second time Popnicute had a booth over there and we had a good time. So I'd like to say thank you for a great show!



Sold jewelry at Edwards Place Fine Art Fair (minus a ring that apparently was never photographed)


First of all, my husband and I got to meet and stay with our friends over there, a lovely couple by the name of Kendra and Jayson. They're excellent sales persons, very friendly, and people enjoyed visiting Popnicute's booth because of that.

Popnicute's booth at 28th annual Edward's Place Fine Art Fair


The patrons are great as well. This show is not very big being only 70 artisans are invited. But despite the small scale, the show did draw a lot of visitors who are regulars to the show. Saturday, as always, is busier than Sunday. To me, sales in a Sunday has always been half what I made in Saturday but as I asked other jewelry vendors, especially the ones who sell silver jewelry, sales were better for them on Sunday. So I'm thinking the type of jewelry and price points we sell could be a factor. To our observations, Sunday drew younger crowds and people who sell lower priced items do better on Sundays. A lot of interesting people visited our booth and added Popnicute Jewelry in their collection. There were several ladies wearing an army of bracelets in their wrists who bought Popnicute's skinny bangles, a nice couple who brought home a fold formed necklace and a pair of fold formed earrings, bracelets were popular (sold 8 of those), there was a gallery owner and her daughter who had joined custody of their jewelry brought home the salmon skin necklace that was held by Vince Gill, the country singer, and she was quite pleased by it, and many others. We've got 2 offers to consign and some of the visitors even remembered me from the last show I did two years ago (we couldn't do it last year). How's that for an ego boost?

Vince Gill and Popnicute Jewelry


I love it when the visitors show a great interest on the process and the materials. I had quite a few people asked what Argentium Silver is as they read my business cards. I will gladly educate them and share the process of making my jewelry whenever it's asked. I feel it's important for them to know and understand the efforts involved in making them. It made them feel more appreciative for the arts.


Popnicute's new business cards

Will I do this show again? Absolutely!


As for my display I basically used what I had with the exception of painting the vintage boxes with creamy grey chalk paint and three new display items. The bamboo spice rack which I bought for displaying cuffs as it turns out it was great for displaying my earring boxes. I glued on cabinet bumpers as feet to stop it from sliding off the table top.

Spice rack as earring display


What I used as earring cards above are actually business cards. In the past I've made my own from kraft card stock paper sold in hobby stores but they are flimsy and in result they're curved from the weight of the earrings. Luckily, I found these business card blanks on Amazon. They came in a box of 100 cards. They're thick and the width is perfect for my earring boxes. They're only 1/2" longer than the box so I scored and fold it then drill holes for the ear wires. It fits nicely inside the box, it doesn't sag, and harder to take out than my old ones which would hopefully prevent those sticky fingers from lifting my earrings.

Business card blanks for earring cards


The newly painted box got metallic champagne faux leather lining. I liked the colors better than the medium brown suede they once had. I think this new color brightened up my booth and show off the jewelry better. Could also be the reason why I sold more jewelry this time around. Look at the pictures below, do you think the bottom photos show an improvement?

Old display from 2014

2016 display
2016 display

2016 display


I've also solved the no electricity problem. Not that it was a problem for this show as the sky was bright on both days but for indoor or when it's darker, where no generator is allowed or any electricity offered it will be useful. Since my LED clamp lights came with USB connectors, I bought a 20,000 mAh power bank with 4 slots to power my lights. For the whole Saturday from 10 AM - 5 PM or 7 hours, these 4 lights which were lit all the way through only used about half its power. I still charged it at night just in case. Since it's a power bank (battery), it's very quiet and very compact in size. It's a win in my book!

20,000 mAh power bank


That's all for today. I hope you enjoyed reading my experience with Edwards Place Fine Art Fair this year!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Beginners Guide to Sawing with Knew Concepts Jewelers Saw

Knew Concepts is a fairly new name in the jewelry industry. They introduced a new concept, as the brand name clearly stated, to sawing. To install the blade, instead of pushing the frame into the sternum like the standard German saw frame, Lee Marshall who refers himself as "The Saw Guy" invented a tensioning system that basically lets the frame does the tensioning for you. Brilliant, no? 

I've heard split opinions on Knew Concepts Jeweler's Saw, some people love it and others hate it. I'm in the first group. I LOVE IT! So what makes Knew Concepts Saw special? Let me tell you.


Kharisma from Popnicute.com, not State Farm.




  •  Knew Concepts Jeweler's Saw with Cam Lever Tensioning System is lightweight, rigid frame, and you get the perfect tension with a flip of a switch. It's great for piercing jobs as you don't have to break your sternum to finish a jewelry. The lightweight frame allows you to saw longer without getting hand fatigue.
Flip that lever!





BASIC BLADE INSTALLATION GUIDE:

  • The correct way to install the blade is the teeth should be pointing down and facing out. The smaller the blade gets the harder it is to see the teeth. The next best thing besides wearing a magnifier is to feel the blade with your finger.
Stroke it up gently to feel the teeth of the blade.

The blade size in this diagram is an exaggeration to show it better



  • Insert the blade, make sure the Tension Knob is unscrewed to the max, then tighten the Top Knob.
Unscrew it!



  • Flip the cam lever to the opposite side to instantly tensioning the blade. Screw the Tension Knob clockwise to add the tension until you find the perfect tension. You only need to do this ONCE. The future blade changing is as easy as flipping the switch. That's it!
Flip it once, flip it good!



SAWING GUIDE:

  • Lube your blade for better sawing experience. I use a candle wax. Beeswax can also be used.



  • With lubricant the blade cuts smoother, resists breaking, and lasts up to twice as long.



  • This is how you saw a tight angle: cut from two different directions. It will produce a nice sharp point and you'll avoid breaking a blade.



  • For corners bigger than 90°, you can easily cut through it in one pass. Just keep your blade moving while turning the piece around.




  • Finger safety measure: always place fingers that are holding the sheet down on the solid area of the bench and no one will get cut. 




HOW TO AVOID PREMATURE BLADE BREAKAGE:

  • There are many ways to avoid premature blade breakage. One of them is to soften your grip by having the pinky out. However, I found that it's more comfortable for me to have my index finger out. Holding the saw handle with only 3 fingers and a thumb will relax your grip a whole lot. You just have to find which method works best for you.




Watch this video below to get 

Subscribe to Popnicute on YouTube.



  • One method I use to saw neater is by using the thinnest line possible. My favorite is to draw in Adobe Illustrator, a vector based program, using 0.25 pt line. Inkscape is the free alternative to Adobe Illustrator. Here, I'll show you a little snippet on the difference between using a Sharpie and 0.25 pt line. 



  • 0.25 pt line is just about the size of a saw blade so your eyes can focus much better. If you saw a thick line your eyes would wander off left and right confusing your hand so you get squiggly line as a result.

To make learning easier for you I have made my Digital Sawing Templates available at my tutorial shop:

All graphics were drawn in Adobe Illustrator using 0.25 pt line.


Watch the video above for the full coverage. 
Subscribe to my youtube channel for more tutorials. 

HAPPY SAWING!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Beginners Guide to Make Copper Pipe Cuff Bracelet with Popnicute

Making the Moon Crater copper pipe bracelet is a lot of fun. All you need, material wise, is a piece of copper pipe, M thickness (the thinnest copper pipe). Easily obtainable from any hardware stores. But to form it, there are a lot of tools involved. I will show you here some basic tools to help you get started. I'm not affiliated to any of these websites or brands. I shared them here simply because I believe they have good products and services.



For a complete instruction on 
HOW TO MAKE A COPPER PIPE BRACELET
watch the video below.



Check my Craftsy store, Popnicute.Supply, for PDF Tutorials and Digital Sawing Templates!


PS: you can replace any of these tools with comparable products. Shop around for the best prices.


PROPANE TORCH

Propane torch is needed to anneal copper. A butane torch is too small and will not give you enough heat to anneal copper pipe. Your choice of refillable or disposable propane tank. Plenty of them available at the hardware store. Acetylene torch can be used as an alternative. 


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CHARCOAL BLOCK / FIRE BRICK

Fire brick is available at the hardware store. A charcoal block can be found at a jewelry supply company like Otto Frei or Rio Grande even at Amazon. Fire brick will be the surface to fire your copper pipe. Do not anneal copper on top of concrete. Concrete can shatter from heat and is potentially dangerous.

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ANNEALING PAN
You can use any baking pan to contain your charcoal block to protect your surface from direct heat. I bought a used stainless steel cooking pan in a thrift shop as my annealing pan and filled it with pumice. I place my pumice pan on top of a granite lazy suzan so I can turn the pan around easily if needed.

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SLOW COOKER POT

You can get one from a thrift store. Plastic or ceramic lid is better to use. Pickle is acidic and can rust steel which would contaminate pickle and copper plate the pieces you dipped into it.
To make a pickle, use PH Down (pool chemical, can be purchased at hardware store/pool supply store) mixed with water to remove firescale from your copper pipe. Do not boil. Warm setting is enough. Warm pickle cleans faster but it can be used cold too.
PS: if you intend to use cold pickle, any glass container big enough for your piece would do.

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QUENCHING BOWL
Use a big enough ceramic or glass bowl and fill it with water. It will be used to dip a heated copper to cool it down. It's best to not use plastic as plastic can melt in touch with high heat. If you use pickle, you'll need another quenching bowl filled with water and baking soda solution to neutralize the pickle.

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PICKLE

Pickle is used to remove the black oxide that's forming on top layer of the metal after firing. I use pH DOWN (any brand) which is a chemical used in swimming pool to lower the pH of the water. Mine came in granule form and I basically pour water inside the quenching bowl and add enough granules, don't be shy. I only pickle after I'm done with forming the pipe bracelet as forming this bracelet requires multiple firing so pickling is unnecessary. For the rest of the process I just quench the pipe inside plain water. Leave the metal in pickle for about a few minutes or until the black oxide has softened. I used my copper tong to scratch the piece lightly, if the black oxide is lifted then it's done pickling. You don't really need to leave it in pickle until the blackness is completely gone.

Pickle is acidic and will paint rust on steel tools so don't ever put it inside a metallic container nor dip any steel tool inside a pickle solution. 

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BAKING SODA

Dilute baking soda in water to neutralize the acidic piece after pickling. Again, don't be shy. When dipping your pickled piece in baking soda solution, the piece will fizzle like an effervescent. Wait until the bubbles are gone to lift it off. When it no longer bubbles it indicates that your piece has been neutralized.

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COPPER TONGS
Use long copper tongs to handle hot copper pipe and to put in and pick up your copper pipe inside a pickle solution. Do not use steel. Steel reacts with pickle and will contaminate your pickle.

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ANVIL
An anvil or a bench block is where you hammer and form your copper pipe on.

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CHASING HAMMER
I use a chasing hammer to create the initial dents on the copper pipe.

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DAPPING PUNCH SET

These dapping punch set can be used to create deeper and tighter craters. Use a delrin or brass mallet or a chasing hammer to drive the punches.

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ROUND OR OVAL STEPPED MANDREL

A stepped mandrel is used to form the hammered pipe into a bracelet. I prefer a stepped mandrel as it can hold down the bracelet as I form it a little further (see video).


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So there you have it. A list of basic tools you needed to make a Moon Crater bracelet out of copper pipe. Have fun creating!!