Tuesday, October 27, 2009

logo a go go

bzap logo circle
Originally uploaded by cosmosmoonjewelry
My maker's mark - or Logo....Mark this one up as another thing that I've put off and delayed and never could decide....For the past 10 years I have gone without, making my mark on my pieces with a hand engraver, which works ok but is not the level of craftsmanship I want for my work.

I had a stamp for my metal work made years ago...it was from my years with my original last name- and fine for that period of my life....but ... (yawn...) boring design, and wrong initials as of Dec. 1995 (when Guido and I got hitched)

with a last name like Brusa Zappellini you can really Design something!
But what???I decided that I would work with my abbreviated signature. "BZap" and make it similar to how I initial my work currently...

BUT...can I be certain that I am going to like it / use it for the foreseeable future?what if I get sick of it? would it look like I want it? do I have an extra chunk of money to get this made? Questions...uncertainty...and the monster- INDECISION!

ahhhh indecision! be gone!

yeah, that's right indecision...I've got weapons against you now! HA! First I pull out my EtsyMetals team...a gaggle of talent and design wizards they are...and I ask opinions on my two designs from them.....
(the votes are coming in - but I won't divulge the preference just yet, as to not sway the vote)

Then, I get my twitter tool going and post a couple of links to these images I posted on flickr...(still waiting to get response...sometimes it's like that..)

and of course, I am a Facebook addict, so I post these to my profile.
But I wasn't done yet! here's my chance to glean a bit of blog power too!

Yes, I'm asking for opinions here as well- sorry to make you work and read, but I'll make it simple- you can comment simply by saying circle or letters...and that would give me your vote-
And with this, we can work together to beat back indecision, and celebrate professional progress!

once more into the blog good friends! tally ho~ M

Saturday, October 24, 2009

atmospheric perspective

There's just something about this image that makes me want to fly...
I am reviewing my pics that I have been taking this past month and I am struck by the beauty that is southern Arizona this time of year.

Down here in Tucson we are in such good moods these days- the heat has finally broken and we are once again emerging from our air conditioned and swamp cooled houses...picking up rakes, taking bike rides, going to the park, and just enjoying being comfortable without artificial cooling.

Now we can enjoy 5-6 months of incredible weather- having paid our dues all summer long with brutal heat and violent storms.

I have lived on New Hampshire and Boston (and still consider myself a New Englander) and I can sympathize with those of you who are staring 6 months of cold grey winter in the bearded face...so I'll be kind and not rub it in too much....but I'll take AZ summers over NH winters anyday!

I'll keep posting pics of my Desert world for you- stay warm, keep reading, and start socking away money for that escape to warmer climes in February (if you plan on coming to Tucson I'd book your hotel and trip now....the gem show usually takes up most of the town-)

ciao for now- Maureen BZ
aka Cosmo's Moon

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Metals Mania

Sometimes I like to think about why I use certain materials, and try to explain my reasons- here is a short explanation of the diverse metals that I use, and why I use them. Basically, an explanation of the madness behind the metals....

A little information about the metals I use (and why I use them):

You may know by now that I mostly make work in Sterling Silver, (sometimes Gold)
But I also like to play with "alternative metals" like White Bronze, Mokume Gane, Aluminum Copper, Brass and Pewter.strap bracelet 2008
Mostly Sterling Silver, with a touch of 18k yellow gold

Each metal has their own specific properties that lend themselves to designing and making diverse types of work:

Sterling Silver is the metal that I use the most- A good white colored metal, it has a springy medium hardness, and when annealed is very malleable when forged or moved by chisel. Silver is the metal that I was trained in and it continues today to be my preferred material.Though it's price has increased dramatically in the past two years it continues to be relatively affordable and desired as a jewelry material.

Gold- when I do use gold I love the depth of color in 18k yellow gold.and conversely, I love the mellow suede color of 14 k palladium white gold . Because of it's expense I work with gold rarely these days except for special orders- I use it in really special pieces like wedding bands or some other piece that commemorates an occasion (charms, pendants or even special gold components for my popular strap bracelets.)

a detail shot of mokume Gane

Mokume Gane- is a Japanese technique that produces a beautiful patterned surface made of layered metals- I like to use this in really simple pieces, where the drama of the pattern becomes the focal point. One of my more popular custom items is Mokume Gane ear plugs- they really highlight the drama of the patterning, and it is a unique and exciting type of metal for these more edgy pieces.

Aluminum- I use because it is light and responds well to pressure patterning techniques (like roller printing, stamping)It works really well as a lightweight material for big bold earrings.

Pewter urn with spiral top 2009

Pewter- terrific for building large containers and urns, fast to work with due to it's low melting point (470* f)really well suited for small production casting

White bronze- great for casting, a strong attractive metal with great durability- it can be a good color alternative metal to silver, when you are more concerned with the color than metal's intrinsic value.

Brass- yellow brass has such a great color- when I need a yellow (and don't want the expense of gold) I reach for yellow brass.

Copper- with it's softness and color Copper is lovely to use in mixed metals. Also- copper is a great base for enamels- the torch fired enamels are especially deep and rich when on copper. copper also patinaes easily, and is really gorgeous when oxidized by natural elements.

OK- I hope this gives you some understanding of the madness behind my methods-
I look forward to this week of studio work- I am starting a new collection of strap bracelets- in which you can count on many diverse types of metals, techniques, shapes, textures and patterns!

Have a great week everyone (and please spread the word about Cosmo's Moon!)

I truly appreciate your support- thank you!
:-) Maureen

Saturday, October 17, 2009

scam a lam a ding dong

so- it was a dark and stormy night....no, not really, it actually was yesterday

what has happened is that we discovered that we have a leak under our house and
I called a plumber (from a big company). we live midtown and have an old home
with old pipes- we know that-

the plumber tells us that we need a complete re-pipe- which we have been
anticipating- and then he proceeds to tell us that they are now connected with a
restoration company that they would call for a free estimate- ok- we said, sure-
we need to make sure our home is not riddled with mold-

so they called the restoration co- (who showed up within 15 minutes!) and then
the restoration guy starts telling us that that we absolutely should not call
our insurance company until they got rid of any mold that may be there (like
they are going to doctor the site so that the insurance pays more or something
like that)-

At this point my husband and I are completely freaked- they have
dropped comments about spores possibly damaging our son's health...) And my
husband (sigh) signs their agreement saying that they can start working on
drying out the crawl space tomorrow....

they leave, then are back within 5 minutes with another crew of guys who come in
with this huge de-humidifier, stick it in our kitchen, and tell us they will be
back tomorrow at 8 am.

ok- so Guido and I are left thinking, HUH? this doesn't seem right....it sounds
like they are wanting us to lie to our insurance - isn't that FRAUD??? so, what
happens if we did (which we won't- we are really not that kind of people) what
happens is that the insurance adjuster comes out, sees that things have been
done- refuses the claim , then cancels our policy for fraud-
(and we go to jail for comitting fraud)

Yeah, NOT going to
happen. no way.

the restoration company is coming to our home this morning at 8 am and we
are going to tell them that we don't want their services- My fear is that they
will wave their contract and claim that we cannot get out of the agreement
without some major $ being put out-

But they don't know that I am blogger girl- and ready to open a can of
bloggers whup ass on them if things get ugly.
yup, I tweet, I blog, so don't mess with me!
excuse me , now I have to go and put on my blog girl superhero costume...

1 hour later...and we have dispatched the scum successfully ( or so it seems)
I wouldn't be surprised if they tried to do something else-
I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Annual Telescope Trek

Last Saturday we went to visit the telescope that my husband works on- it is located in Safford Arizona, on the top of Mt. Graham.

The Large Binocular telescope (or LBT as it is commonly known) is just beginning to gain acclaim in the astronomy world and beyond, It was one of the featured telescopes in a recent National Geographic magazine (click here). Guido has been working on this project on and off since 1990- both for the Italian team in Florence Italy (where he grew up and went to university) and also at the University of Arizona (Tucson) where we live today.

The Annual friends and family gathering is usually held in October- just after the scorching southern Arizona oven is turned down for the fall. The drive there from Tucson is a couple of hours of desert, followed by an hour and a half of mountain road. Our son Cosmo is learning how to deal with car sickness on that road.....now, thankfully, he knows to request a short stop - so we pull over and get out of the car until his tummy stops swirling and we get a good breath of mountain air.

We reach the summit through an iron gate flanked by yellowing fall aspens- and from there it's a short drive, past the Vatican telescope, and the German SMT (Sub Millimetric Telescope) to the tippy top, where the imposing 200ft tall LBT telescope is seated.

Inside the building we go to the control room and kitchen, where everyone (and their goodies) are gathering- We then commence to pig out on all the treats that the scope folks bring. The control room is open for viewing, with a scientist there to explain each computer screen and image- Soon people start to go up to the scope chamber-
right at sunset the show begins!
We have a chance to walk around, go to different levels (even on the top observation deck, where I took this picture) then, once we all are
inside and ready for a show, they begin...

The walls of the telescope chamber begin to open........
then...the telescope begins to move....It is breathtaking, even now after I have seen this many times, how smooth and fast the scope rotates! Well, at that point everyone is really impressed, but it's not done yet....the third and fourth walls open (along with the cieling of the chamber) and then.....the building begins to rotate!

It goes around and around, with the scope moving, and the sunset brilliant in the distance...and we see Science and Nature, Technology and Trees...the beauty of nature from the earth and heavens.
and it is a wonder to behold.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

aluminum, the other other white metal

I love using Aluminum for earrings-

one of the big dilemmas we metalsmiths have when designing earrings is weight- How heavy to make an earring? Generally we want an earring to weigh no more than 7 - 9 grams, 9 being too heavy for most day wear, best kept to short "special occasion dress up" events.

Nobody wants to feel their lobes dragged down by heavy earrings (even if they are stunning) in fact- the only time I want to notice my earrings is when I get complimented on how cool they are!
Daytime? I prefer earrings that are pretty lightweight- under 6 grams is what I shoot for when designing my pieces...

(and then we get into the question of what metals....the heavier the metals are the engineering of their weigh becomes much more important..) you want to go BIG? better pick a light material!

The choice of aluminum in big bold earrings works not only because of the relative lightness of the metal- but also because it is really easy to add deep texture and the light color of the clean metal is a good base color for paint-
Aluminum- the other other... other white metal
with it's kissing cousins..
silver, pewter, white gold, platinum, nickel, palladium...........and so on..

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Canopy Epiphany

Originally uploaded by cosmosmoonjewelry
Insight- focused by insult....
that's what I would call this latest charge into the unknown....

So, here's the story...I've been a permanent artist at a well known gallery in Arizona for the past 8 years- It has always been an up and down (mostly down) relationship- I've never really felt quite at home there...

But, I stayed with it, because during those years I also
had my son, and my life and work went through some differing stages...the gallery was something I could count on...the ability to say, " I show at________" and have people understand instantly that I wasn't just fooling around, stringing macaroni on yarn...

And yet, there was that something missing, the thing that nagged me constantly- I guess you could call it independence or control or...(gasp!) sales......

On top of that I never had feedback from the gallery (and yes, I would inquire) - had no idea who was interested in my work, and have no idea why pieces sold or didn't sell...
So, fundamentally I felt like there was a major disconnect in our gallery/artist relationship.

But, I continued showing there, thinking, "well, it's got a good reputation, I have friends who show here, I can count on a few sales a month"....

but here also lies a problem- Though I was consigning the work, they insisted on an exclusive throughout southern AZ! Effectively tying my local success to a lead weight and throwing it off the boat. Countless opportunities would pop up and I would have to refuse because I had a contract with _______. And honestly, until a few years ago that worked out fine- I was spending my time, raising my kid- not much time to stock multiple venues...

WHEW! that was a very long winded and verbose way of coming to my point....

WHY??WHY??WHY?? stay in this relationship? well, I thought...and I pondered...and..

snap! that last straw broke this camel's back...in the form of a backhanded insult from the new gallery owner. (she asked me in front of other artists how expensive my materials were...implying that my work was way overpriced, based SOLELY on Materials! ..oh boy, that's
another blog post all together!*will rant about this later when I can do so without really sounding bitchy*)

Now it is clear that what is holding me back is myself- not taking charge and bringing my work to the public- relying on a broken and ineffective system to distribute my work....and the only thing that is holding me there is a (breakable) contract and(here's a biggie) the lack of a booth shot for juried retail shows..

well, knock me over with a brick- that is a FIXABLE problem- no blood drawn, and some new adventure in the wings...

that insult from the gallery has focused my resolve- and today I took a drive, spent a little money, and bought myself a brand new commercial grade Canopy....there are shows in the horizon, a ton of designs and ideas to be brought into reality , and (once I break up with that gallery) nothing holding me back!

as they say out here in the west...yeee haw!
:-) ciao- Maureen

psst- stay tuned, I'll be bringing you tales of trials and tribulations in booth design...and (eek!) my dip into the world of craft shows


FEEDJIT Live Traffic Map