Friday, March 29, 2019

Fluid Art Magnets



My Fluid Art Magnets


A large part of what I was working on finishing during my time away from blogging was these fluid art magnets. They started as a curiosity, and then a hobby, and now possibly an obsession. This week I'm going to share with you my process of making them. I hope you have fun! 

 

First I paint the empty magnet rounds and leave them to dry in a warm, dry place. I did these over the winter, so I had them in a place that was near a space heater to keep them warm and prevent too much cracking.






I am an artist, and a photographer in origin so it's hard for me to not take a billion photos of the process to keep my friends and followers updated on social media. It's handy for writing blog posts, though! 


While making these, I often end up with a lot of awesome mini-scenes left on the cups used to mix paint, smudges on the newspaper meant to catch drips, etc. It's honestly one of my favorite parts.

This one reminded me of the final burning journey up Mount Doom.








Once the paint has dried, I fill the backs of the magnet rounds with resin. Finding my ideal process took some attempts- this was my very first one. I knew the magnet needed to be close to the surface to be effective, so I raised it on a little blob of hot glue in a criss-cross shape before filling it with resin. This was my first time buying resin, and I could only get a hold of the clear jewelry kind. Very useful, but too expensive for this kind of application.

This magnet turned out okay for my first one, the hold was a little weak with only 1 small magnet, and there were uneven spots in the resin and around the edges that were holding the magnet a little bit away from the fridge and preventing a good hold, which was fixed somewhat by filing down the resin surface.




My next attempt was with 2-part craft resin and increased magnets.  This worked a lot better! I had some failed attempts with the ratios of the resin, but that's how the process of fine tuning art works. There will always be some failures!




The magnets I had been using were okay, but not the size I'd intended on getting and when I ran out of them, I was happy to begin using these larger ones. After the initial setting, I let them cure and then added another layer of resin to cover the magnets completely and leave a smooth surface.  


Overall, the fluid art magnets have shocked me the most in how well they came out, and I love the effect that makes some of them look like planets. But that's not the only style I've used making magnets! I always like to play around with ideas, and sometimes I'm struck by inspiration (or really want to test out new supplies) and branch off. 
 I had some rounds that I painted over with solid colors, and after having turned some into flower magnets with some cut out paper and gold sharpie, looking at the plain yellow one reminded me of the colors used in Spongebob and it seemed like the perfect setting to paint Gary. So from there I went off making a whole Gary set!





Making these has been an incredibly fun experience. My hope is that in the coming summers, I can attend craft fairs and conventions to hopefully run a booth by myself or with other artists to send some of these to new homes. Currently, the finished ones are available to order individually or in sets.
Click here to view the available sets, or click on the Available Artwork- Fluid Art Magnets link on the nav bar above. The online pricing includes shipping- I use USPS flat rate boxes and while I do have my issues with USPS, they're often the only available service in areas I need to ship to, and I like having the option to provide tracking #s and signature required delivery for my customers, which costs a little extra but I like to offer it.
Thanks for joining in my art journey! 










Friday, March 22, 2019

CPTSD recovery through jewelry making?

Hello! 

Wow, it's been a while since I had a regular Friday posting schedule, but I'm back to it now!
I figured I'd be gone through the holidays and come back in Spring, and it's about time for Spring and for me to start unloading all the wonderful fluid art and body jewelry I've been making.
I've made canvas fluid art paintings, at least a couple dozen fluid art magnets, and a handful of velvet chokers with various finishings and clasps, and my return and process of trying to sell them now has gotten me thinking about my future making and selling art.

Business on Twitter is very hard, follower count does not really correlate to amount of people that have the funds and are ready to purchase art, so visibility and sales are nonexistent.
My main plan has been to wait for summer and to sell my work in a booth at art fairs and conventions, so fingers crossed that that turns out well!

When I started making the chokers and plotting out my ideas for what kind of body jewelry I wanted to do in the future, I thought of using Etsy because it's a great place to have images of what's available in a scrollable gallery rather than showing one by one in a tweet or a blog post, and has been a good platform for handmade sellers in the past. 
 However, Etsy's customer service and fairness to sellers has taken a HUGE dive and I'm just not really interested in getting my hopes up to sell on Etsy only for it to fail. So, that kind of leaves me in an only-selling-to-friends-and-advertising-on-twitter limbo again.

My idea right now is that I might make a bigcartel store page, and post that on here and on my Twitter but again, reaching people for art sales through here and on Twitter is difficult. Either nobody has money, or nobody's seeing the ads.  We'll see what happens!


So, while this post isn't going to be an ad or me listing what things I have finished, I want to share my excitement about jumping into a new vein of art, explain a little about why I began making chokers, and my plans for making more body jewelry in the future. Of course, with lots of pictures along the way.


THE CHOKERS





I guess the best place to start is with a little background. My newish obsession with chokers and certain body jewelry springs from my wanting to be able to express myself more, and trying to shed the issues with CPTSD and identity confusion that have gotten in the way of me feeling like I could express myself with style and jewelry.




I love chokers, but since my teenage years I haven't been able to let anything touch the front of my neck. Every crew neck Tshirt I own is always cut, (I made this GIF recently and it's a good example except that it's a pajama shirt and very torn at this point and tore farther down the neck than I usually cut)


and I wouldn't wear necklaces any looser than my pentacle. It's been a big annoyance and trigger for me, not being able to trust people fully.


A good example of this is when I have to get my TSH levels checked for my Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease that disrupts the function of my endocrine system and basically everything else because of that. The thyroid gland is in the neck, and mine has a nodule on it which may or not be involved with my thyroid hormone levels being crazy.
But this means it has to be monitored, meaning every time my doc has to massage my neck, poking around while I keep my eyes locked on my fiance's and he reminds me to breathe, and I do my best not to shake while my eyes fill up with tears that I hope the doctor doesn't notice.


So as you can imagine, chokers have been a huge no-no. But with focusing on recovering and having been with my fiance for 4+ years, I've been doing a lot of work becoming more okay with certain things. Still only my fiance can touch my neck without triggering panic, but that's incredible progress compared to when we started dating and it was basically the first thing I had to warn him about.

I wanted to start making chokers for myself, because being able to wear them is a big step for me but DISASTER, my neck is too small for the kind of chokers you see in stores, and if they aren't made with enough chain, I can't adjust them. So I started making my own, and then as I began to share pictures of the process of making them, my friends became really interested and started giving suggestions and making orders for customs.

The process starts with me online window-shopping, just looking at all the supplies I'd need, and then in true art school educated style, I slap together an idea in MS paint and save it in a folder of designs





Then is my almost favorite step, the supplies come in and I scream and do a happy dance. I don't have much space for proper storage for all my art supplies, so I have them in a box in a *somewhat* organized way.







Then I begin construction. I cut the ribbon down, because it usually comes in 3 ft lengths. Then I put on the end crimps and connect the clasps with the right kind of metal loops.



The fun thing about making things for yourself is that you can pick exactly the finishings you want, so I did some playing around with clasps that I liked.



Once the chokers are finished, I find a sunny spot and do a photo shoot of them with my dress form, Victoria. Here she is in a few  of my favorite finished chokers.









After I do that, it's all about packaging them away and selling them! I take into account the total cost of materials per choker, plus the $7.50 USPS flat rate shipping fee, and come to a breakeven number. Then I look online for similar handmade chokers and check what the pricing is, to make sure mine falls within a fair price range. I don't want to ask too much of anybody, but I do need to afford the cost of living. I posted them to my Twitter page and while I don't have too much hope they'll sell there, I'll be advertising them there while I prepare for art fairs  & such this summer.

Thanks for letting me share my art making journey with you! I'll be posting about my new fluid art paintings and the magnet making process either next week or soon after that, it depends when my collab post will be ready to come out.