By again, we of course mean the Lunar New Year that's coming up very shortly.
There have been a few exciting things already this year. First, and I promise not to delve into politics much if ever again, the pulling of SOPA/PIPA from Congress. We're mostly internet based here, folks, so legislation that threatens the freedom of the internet is of the bad. (Yes, piracy = bad, but so does killing the internet.) Okay, I'll shut up about that now.
Second, the Imaginarium is all set up to head down to Burbank, CA, in March with the intent of setting up a vendor table at a Supernatural convention. Ahoy, geeks! To that end, we've been cranking out all kinds of different items in a range of prices. If you can think of anything awesome that you think geeks and nerds might enjoy, leave us a comment and we'll see if we can make it. Yeah, that's a challenge. Bring it! (Small disclaimer: we do have to worry about licensing issues, so there are things that we simply will NOT make, don't ask, it won't happen.)
Third, we received our lovely new business cards that have fun little doodles on them by Hugh McLeod of Gaping Void. They're quite fun and make this here blogger a bit giddy.
Finally, we're playing with some graphic design here. Notice our new header? It's no longer the sunset visible from the Blue Box! We've also put a nifty little graphic in with the Hearts for Haiti campaign. Thoughts? Suggestions? Love it or hate it? Either way, let us know. We take all comments into consideration and then patently ignore them. Er. Ignore that last bit. Or send us a comment complaining about it, either way. Something interesting is bound to happen!
Okay, a bit late since it's almost over here in the Blue Box, but Merry Christmas anyway! Hope you all had a wonderful day spent with friends and family.
There are big plans afoot for the coming year in the Blue Box, but they're all a bit hush-hush right now so you'll have to come back later to find out what's going on!
In any case, I hope you all have a fantastic final week of 2011. Let's make 2012 ROCK (pun totally intended, says the lapidarist).
This past weekend, the Blue Box Blogger took a field trip and enjoyed a class on the use of fine metal art clay. If you've not heard of this technique, you're in good company. The technique came from Japan fairly recently - within the past 20 years, I believe. Basically it's extremely finely ground fine metals - in this case silver, although they also have bronze and perhaps other metals - mixed with an organic, non-toxic binding agent. The mix has the consistency of clay, allowing you to mold and model the silver easily without needing to rely on smithing equipment.
Once your piece has been shaped and dried, you fire it (either with a torch [FIRE!!!!!!] or in a kiln) to burn out the binding agent. After that process is complete, you're left with 100% fine silver, still in the shape of whatever you created. Then it's a matter of burnishing, polishing, patina-ing, tumbling, etc and you've got yourself a nice, shiny piece o' silver.
Not only can you create pieces just with the silver, you can also combine it with other art forms, such as lapidary and wirewrapping. It's always fun to learn new things, but when you get to incorporate what you already love doing with the new technique, it's even better!
Today, I am ridiculously excited to announce the official launch of the Hearts for Haiti design line. Ever since I came back from Haiti this summer, I've been wanting to find a way to continue supporting the people I met there. I won't put the entire information release here on the blog, since it's all under the Hearts for Haiti tab one easy click away.
Please take a moment of your time and read through the information, though. Haiti and the people that I worked with have worked their way deep into my heart; I'm sure that if you had the chance to get to know them, they would do the same to you.
Blue Box Imaginarium is now on both Twitter and Facebook. Exciting, no?
You can find us at http://www.facebook.com/blueboximaginarium or on twitter as @BlueBoxTweets.
Other than that, there's not a whole lot of exciting news here in the Blue Box. We finished up a new piece, which has been posted in the gallery. It's the first time we've tried wrapping together multiple stones; as an experiment, I think it went rather well! We're also trying out custom chain-making - not making the chains themselves, but cutting them down to size and using our own findings and clasps to make them a bit more unique. To that end, we've been sorting massive amounts of jumprings of all sizes. It's a bit mind-numbing, trying to spot the difference between a 3mm 20 gauge jumpring and a 4mm 20 gauge jumpring and a 4mm 22 gauge jumpring, but it's also sort of soothing. (Yeah, I know, we're a bit weird in the Box.) We've got some normal clasps as well as some fun filigree clasps, so it'll be fun once we get everything sorted and ready for chain-making.
Today we received some more opal rough; some of the pieces are absolutely gorgeous. I'm quite excited about getting to work with those. And of course I'm quite excited about sharing the pictures as we go along in the process of cabbing them.
Here's hoping for grey gloomy weather tomorrow so we're not tempted to hit the beach instead of working in the Box!
Today we had a little field trip and attended a Gem Faire show. Although we didn't find any awesome slabs that we could work with, we did pick up something very special...
Ethiopian opals. They're absolutely gorgeous, and the Blogger is practically drooling over getting a chance to work with them. The colour and fire really pop; it looks like any angle is going to be excellent for cutting.
We also picked up some new chains and findings so we can cut our chains to specific lengths - no more wishing our pendant chains were slightly shorter or longer!
We've got a number of projects in the works, so the Blogger will be quite busy and happy for a while. (Assuming we can pry the Blogger's hands off of the opals, that is...)
Apparently the Blogger has been spending a little too much time hiding in the Blue Box, but at least when
in there, the Blogger gets things accomplished!
Here's a little taste of what's been done recently.
We couldn't decide what colour heart we wanted to make, so in this case, we started with two slabs.
Then we roughed them out on the 80 wheel of our lovely Genie, and stuck them onto dop sticks with wax
so we don't grind off our fingers when working on the finer parts.
After that, it's work and grind and shape and smooth, going through all 7 different grits until we get to a
Right now, the cabs are hanging out in the freezer so they pop off the wax and we can get to work
wrapping them. Of course, before they got there, we had to clean up, our least favourite part.
Now you can see why the Blogger thinks we look like we've been slaughtering small animals! There is a
lot of iron content in the red stone, which is also very soft, meaning that there's a lot of grit and residue
leftover when we're working. And since we use water-cooling for the grinding wheels, the water turns red,
and then starts dripping down elbows and splattering everywhere.
Which is, of course, half the fun of it!
Until next time,
The Blue Box Blogger
Welcome to our little corner of the internet. Here we will be posting interesting (we hope) information
about what's going on in our little blue box of a shop. We'll keep you updated on how projects are coming
along and discuss some of the various aspects involved in lapidary and wirewrap work.
Stick around; things will get smoother as we get everything up and running.
The Blue Box Blogger sometimes has a strange sense of humour that comes out here rather than the workshop.