Friday, October 17, 2008

Seedpods and Sowing Seeds

I've been catching up on some things I haven't had time to do while I was looking for a vet to finish Carmella's NDV treatment. Updating the blog for the art jewelry team I run, The Art Jewelry Collective, posting about the latest trend among jewelry supply companies to cut corners in response to the failing economy, and working closely with my Website Committee chairperson to arrange for what we need to do to get our new e-commerce site up and running in time for holiday shoppers. This is a big deal especially because sales on Etsy have slowed, not only for me but for others as well, and we really have to ramp up our marketing strategy and have everybody pull together to make this season profitable for all. We will be fighting increasing gas prices, higher food costs, lay-offs, and foreclosures; all events that cut deeply into the budet of our potential buyers.

It would be the easy way out to do the same as the supply companies are doing but I won't and I will encourage my team to stay strong and believe in themselves even at times when one can hear a pin drop. I am wearing a little thin with the latest dry period myself, but I know that the last time this happened I began to make my most expensive line and lo and behold somebody bought two high-end bracelets within just 2 months of each other. I'm sure there were some who thought I was nuts for taking such a risk, but it paid off in the end because although I have jewelry in price-ranges from $8.50-$900, it was not the line at the lower end that people wanted (although I made that line with the same standards of workmanship as the other).

With a little thought and planning I feel that I can do that again this year with my new pictorial line and the seedpods I'm currently working on, and if the team follows my lead and comes up with their own exciting and daring designs they too will see the fruits of their labor. Once the website is completely built and up and open for business then all members will need to throw the skills they have into the common pot to advertise and promote it. Then we may be pleasantly surprised at the kind of sales we bring in. Our street team is growing larger and larger and there is alot of manpower there to be tapped into if each member gives of themselves.

My seedpods are coming along, although right now they are very delicate with their paper lantern-like covering. They need to be coated with 15-20 layers of fine silver (metal clay) slip and must be fully dry between each coat so that previous coats don't flake off. The drying time is what is the most time-consuming. Right now I have 3 coats on them.

You can see them from several different perspectives here, from the side, from the top, and head-on. If you have never seen metal clay in its un-fired state it looks alot like spackle or plaster.

The wet slip is applied with a paintbrush over an organic item from nature such as a leaf, stick, or pod. It is best to mix in just enough water to make a mixture that's about the consistency of thickening pudding or slightly thinner depending on what you're trying to cover. You want it to be thick enough to adhere well but not so thick that the surface is too lumpy or loses the detail you want to maintain of the object.

If you want to fill gaps and perfect the shape of the piece you're working on you will need it thick enough so that it does not roll off the gap; just the right thickness to fill it in as it dries. Using a hair dryer can help dry your object faster, but if your slip is fairly thick it may still need to dry for a few hours or even overnight to be sure it is dry underneath as well as on top where you can see it. Often it looks dry but moisture can sweat through and still come to the surface over a period of time if you're not careful. As the water dries the layers compress and it seems as though you've made little progress, as each layer when dry is quite thin, but after about 3 or 4 layers you will notice the piece taking on some weight.

Doing hollowforms can be tricky and takes practice, and firing them can be challenging, the deeper they are the more diligent you must be in making sure all sides are heated fully. Some people use several microtorches at the same time to do this if they do not have a kiln. When firing on a stove on top of a metal grate or screen the piece must be turned periodically. If you're adding other parts to it, multiple firings are necessary to ensure durability.

I still have not heard back from Dr. Norwood regarding the anticonvulsant for Carmella and whether he made contact with Dr. Sears or Dr. Muller.

On one of the Distemper messageboards there's a woman from Texas whose dog has had the NDV given to treat the body but now he needs to have the part Carmella just had; in the CNS. I've been in contact with her and am trying to get her hooked up with Dr. Muller so that he can talk her vet into it locally. She doubts that she can travel to Atlanta, but may do that if there is no other choice and her dog gets worse. She thinks her vet can be talked into it if Dr. Muller explains that it was not any harder than doing a spinal tap, however I had one or two vets I thought would say yes eventually and they didn't. Had I not found Dr. Muller when I did I may have only had two choices; Indonesia or the Phillipines (and there would have been no way I could have come up with the money fast enough for such a trip). Even so, I would have traveled within the US just about anywhere if that's what it took. I hope that this dog will make it and end up another success story like Carmella. Apparently Dr. Muller is out of the office until Monday, but I hope he'll get back to this woman and her local vet soon.

Carmella has been very feisty today and wanted to wrestle so I figured I'd indulge her so that she'd get tired and calm down. She was tackling my foot and chewed a hole in my pants leg. Luckily these pants aren't new or I would have been pissed.

I took some more pictures of her tonight in the kitchen, most of them of her with her mouth gaping in one position or another, or of her chewing on her rawhide chew stick.

After about an hour, finally she was exhausted and crashed. She sacked out below the oven, her right paw jerking.
Even so, I think I notice a slight little bit of improvement! Usually when she has been asleep for a long time it is really severe, but tonigh I see a slowing down of the movement and some pauses in-between. It goes through periods now where it is not as severe. If so, then we are already about 3 1/2 months ahead of predicted! Keeping my fingers crossed that the improvement continues! Be sure to watch Carmella live on Carmella-cam!

1 comment:

blackfeatherfarm said...

Good luck on the seed pod jewelry, they will be so interesting ! Keep improving Carmella !!!