About Me

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Juli grew up a shy, middle child and is a woman of few words whose jewelry speaks volumes about herself, her feelings and her perspective on the world.  A modern alchemist of design, she melds industrial imagery and organic aesthetics together to create new and unique designs.  Juli's love for asymmetrical design was immediately made apparent in her very first bead craft:  a pair of mismatched earrings created when she was sixteen.  She developed her eclectic style by reading about and experimenting with every style and technique she could get her hands on, from stitched bead jewelry to riveted metals and from wire wrapping to precious metal clays.  No matter what Juli creates, her sense of humor & fun, love of the craft and sense of style come through.  Juli would probably blog more often if her rather large tabby cat, Rocky, didn't insinuate himself between her hands and the keyboard.  However, she does regularly update her facebook fan page for Juli's Jewels.  Juli is always paying-it-forward, not only on a personal level, but through her company with "just because" giveaways.  Juli's Jewels ArtFire artisan shop is jam packed with earrings, pendants, necklaces, anklets and more that are ready to ship and she loves to make custom orders for people too!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Fun with metal clay

I love silver metal clay. There, I said it. I really do. BUT, and yes, its a big but...silver metal clay is expensive! A 10 gram packet of Art Clay Silver costs a little over $15 at metalclaysupply.com, which is were I have found it for the least amount of money. Yes, that works out to be about $1.50 per gram. So...A couple months ago, the great and powerful "They" (in this instance They being Metal Adventure) came out with a new product, BronzClay (clay that fires into bronze). Well, way less expensive at 17.09 for a 100 gram packet (less than $.20 per gram), but you need "Stuff" and bronze, not really my medium. The happy folks at Metal Adventures, no slackers there, were brewing up a new batch of fun, one that I couldn't pass up trying at least once, to see how I like it. Yup, that's right, my second favorite metal to work with...COPPER! The following is my first adventure with CopprClay. I made a couple of flat projects that can be used as pendants, if they turn out.

Supply list for my CopprClay adventure
Coppr Clay (100 gram packet) - I only pinched off about a fifth of the lump, as this was my first try
A plastic roller
Mat board (like from a picture frame)
Olive oil
My non-stick sheet (I think its Teflon, but I've had it so long, I forgot)
Assorted cookie cutters
Rubber stamps
Clay drill
Emory board
My food dehydrator
My kiln (we call her Lilly)
A stainless steel firing container
Coconut Carbon
A wire brush

Ready? Here we go…

I rubbed a little olive oil on my hands and the roller, cutters and rubber stamp (just a little, like, a couple of drops).

I unwrapped the clay and pinch off a bit and rolled it around in my palms until it formed soft little ball. I put the ball on my work surface and put the mat board next to the ball of clay and used the roller to start rolling out the clay. Relieved the CopprClay is stickier than SIlver metal clay and got out the olive oil again. Continued rolling and turning the clay until it was an even thickness with the mat board. Used the rubber stamp to texture the clay and then used a large butterfly cutter to cut out the bulk of the pendant. I rolled up the scraps and repeated the process for 2 more smaller butterflys, a star with a small star cut out to hang as a charm, and a flat rectangle frame to put something into later.

I out all the pieces into the dehydrator and then cleaned up some of my work area and got ready for sanding. This is really important as something that is not too big a deal in the greenware (ceramic) stage will be sharp or slicy after firing. Smoothed all the edges and felt around for and bumpy bits (these equal sharp metal spikes after firing). Drilled holes for jump rings etc. then checked for dryness. The pieces must be bone dry before firing or they could crack.

When I decided the pieces were dry enough, I put an inch of the coconut carbon in the firing vessel, laid down the clay pieces (at least a 1/2 inch away from each other) and the filled the vessel to the top with the coconut carbon.

Now for the fun part, firing! I had to figure out how to program Lilly as I have only used her for firing silver metal clay and she is preprogrammed for that. Once I got her figured out though...I put the firing vessel into the kiln (making sure not to touch the sides ot the magic thing in the back that takes care of the heat), closed the door and hit start. Now I am waiting...The hold time is 2 hours, then I have to wait for the kiln to cool before I can see what I've got.
I'll let you know as soon as I can but for now, lets have some dinner, or something.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Scary Craft's Night of the Creators

Last night I attended Scary Craft’s Night of the Creators. It was my first time. It happens the LAST Tuesday of the month (except November-January) at Side Show Studios on Freeport Boulevard in Sacramento from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. (Side Show Studios is an interesting mix of Art Gallery and Tattoo shop. I like it.)

Anyway, back on track…Scary Craft. The group last night was Krissi, Yoli, Di, Char, Khai (?), Becca and me. From what I gather, there is often a tutorial or theme for the evening, but not last night. Last night was just working on whatever project you brought. It was a very laid back evening, a nice combination of yakking and crafting.

Krissi was working on little mermaid pendants and a kitty plaque (mmm, love the smell of burning wood). I’m not sure what Yoli was working on, but it looked like tags. Di was working on super sparkly mini hats. Char finished a painting of a smoking penguin for Di. Khai(?) was making curtains. Becca was mostly getting out of the house and hanging with people (I feel you sista’) but she worked on a picture in her notebook. I was doing some domino and bottle cap collages (mostly barely-dressed babes).

For those of you who know me, the hardest part of the evening was getting out of the car. Once I get warmed up, I can do okay. I made the decision to go when Facebook told me I might like. I ran home to throw together some stuff to work on (I never sat down, that would have doomed my resolve). The hubby handed me a hot dog, which I ate standing up. I hopped back in the car and got on the freeway drove straight to Side Show, pulled into the parking lot and sat. It took me about 10 minutes to convince myself to get out of the car and walk into Side Show. I did it though and had a really good time. Scary Craft = not too scary.

I will be going back next month, which is good as I promised I would do a wire-wrapping tutorial. Hope to see you next month.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Where Do You Work? - Update

Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words...I can sum it up in 3. What a mess! I got my pictures on here backwards, SO, the top one is the most current.

Don't forget to leave a comment on my original post for a chance to win a collage domino necklace


Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Mothers Day/My Daughter's Birthday

Today, is the day after Mother's Day, I know. But today I received the nicest Mother's Day Gift ever. It wasn't actually given to me, but I got it anyway.

I had just finished up my "Where do you work" blog/contest post and was previewing it. I saw my daughters face in my followers section and gave her a click. She is starting her own blog and I almost cried (I did get a little misty) when I clicked on it and gave it a read. Today is her 20th birthday, stop by and wish her well. And no, I won't share the Margarita Chicken recipe either (you gotta keep some secrets).

Where do you work?

I have been thinking about my craft/ workspace a lot lately. Why, because I get to change it.

Currently, my workspace is a portion of the guest room upstairs. As you can see, I have pretty much taken over. I try to keep my work desk somewhat clear so I can actually do work on it, but the workable area is pretty small. My bookcase has overflowed onto the floor, which is also where I keep things I just can’t put anywhere else right now, like the dehydrator and pasta machine. I can’t actually use my sewing machine because I would have to move all the stuff that is currently residing on top of the sewing table. Obviously, there is no place for anyone to sleep on that bed. Also, with the way the room is built and the furniture is situated, there is no walking around space on the floor if Buddy (the super dog) decides to hang out with me while I craft (the cats manage to find a place to curl up, but that’s because they’re cats, they don’t require as much space as a sleepy dog).

Last summer, my daughter/assistant/supermodel, Denise, moved to Tucson with her boyfriend. After plenty of long, hard thought, my hubby and I decided to redo her room as the guest room, and I will get to take over the spare room as my studio. It will still be a long time before I can complete all the work, as there is a lot of furniture to move, a spare bed to dispose of, etc. In the end, I will be able to have almost all of my work stuff in one place (I still have to keep the torches in the garage).

So, where do you work? Leave a comment on my blog about your workspace (with a link to a picture if possible). I will pick one of your comments to win a collaged domino necklace. Deadline to enter is May 31st. I will pick a winner on June 1st and contact you about sending out your necklace.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

IndieSacramento May Market Wrap-up

Well, IndieSacramento was today, rain or shine, and boy did it rain! All things considered (and again, lets consider the rain) there was a terrific turn-out. Way to go all you die-hard Indie Supporters.
A boy asked me today, why we did this. I was thrown for a second. He asked, "Is it just a thing to make money?" How do you answer that? First, I was kind of, "Well, yeah". But then I had the right answer, the real answer. I said, "This is an event for little businesses. I'm a little, tiny business and that guy over there (Wear Yeti) is also a little, tiny business. All of the people here are little, tiny businesses (my husband chimed in here and said "And artists"). Events like this help little, tiny businesses get their name (and merchandise) out into the public. We can't afford shops in the mall. We might sell some stuff on the internet, but mostly, we do shows like this where people can see our stuff and meet us, and if we are lucky, they might like it and buy something." The boy said, "oh, that makes a lot of sense." (at this point I am feeling good about explaining this to the boy, who I guess to be about 10). After the boy left, I asked my husband (Steve), if he thought what I told the boy was right. He said yeah except I forgot to mention that we are really a bunch of artists, not just business people.
So for all of you who came out, thank you for supporting IndieSacramento. Thank you for supporting out little, tiny businesses. We are artists. We believe in what we do. I love making jewelry, it makes me incredibly happy. You people, our customers and supporters, make all of this possible. It was nice to see regulars and meet new people (shout out to Evie, here).
Again, thank you.

Friday, May 1, 2009

IndieSacramento Blog Special

Sorry, I didn't get to this yesterday...The super secret password for my IndieSacramento Blog Special is "Rain, rain, go away! Come back tomorrow, okay?" I will have a little treat for the first ten people with the Super Secret Password.
Hope to see you there, rain or shine.


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