Thursday, March 26, 2009

Materials and future pieces

Materials we like and why:

We thought we would share with you some of the materials we like to work with. All of the beads pictured are materials we currently have on hand and would like to use in pieces in the near future.

Semi Precious Gems - We like them because they have natural beauty and come in a lot of great colors. They're also generally durable (depending on the specific stone), and if well cut and polished, don't break easily. Pictured here are rose quartz (clear pink), sodalite (dark blue), tigerseye (golden brown), and lapidolite (purple), among others. Semi-precious gems are a good combination of quality and price as they are generally very affordable.

Freshwater Pearls - We like them because they have a shiny, soft and almost silky appearance. They look elegant without being boring or stuffy. Pictured here are white rice pearls (center) and mauve potato pearls (center). Pearls can range in price quite a bit depending on size and quality. The pearls pictured here are very affordable.

Swarovski Crystal - We like it because it's sparkly and fiery but still has a very clean appearance. Lines and shapes of crystal beads appear very well defined because of the way they refract light. In addition, Swarosvki is an instantly recognizable name, and they have earned their reputation by producing high quality lead crystals for over a century. Crystal is more expensive than some other materials, but it has a similar sparkle and apperance to high quality, well cut precious gems, and is much lower in price.

Czech Fire Glass - We like it because it's sparkly, soft in appearance, and more affordable than crystal. It also contains no lead.

Above is a comparison of Czech glass and crystal. The top, blue bead, is Czech glass and the bottom, pink bead, is crystal. Both of these beads have an aurora borealis finish.
As you can see, they both have their own unique qualities and, as a result, have unique applications. In some instances, they can be substituted for each other depending on preference and budget, but certain situations call for one over the other.
If you're looking for maximum flash and refraction, crystal is the way to go, but if you are trying for a nice sparkle without sharpness, then Czech glass is great for that. Czech glass goes better with stones with a more "natural" look such as freshwater pearls or semi-precious gems. Crystal, on the other hand, goes well with other beads with clean lines like saltwater cultured pearls and Swarovski crystal pearls.

Examples of Work with These Materials:
All of the materials we talked about today make exceptionally nice prom, anniversary wedding and family jewelry.

Above is a necklace set Hillary made for a bride. The two stones are the bride and groom's birthstone.

Above are a pair of earrings and a matching pendant made from Czech glass. They were Christmas presents on two separate years from a husband to his wife. The colors chosen represent the birthstones of the mother, father and child.

Materials we would like to obtain in the future:
High quality precious gems. They are beautiful, very sparkly, and highly desired by many. They provide clean lines, and unique, natural colors.

South Sea and Cultured Saltwater Pearls. They have the same shiny, silky appearance as the freshwater pearls above, but the lines are cleaner, they perfectly round, and they are uniform in appearance.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Our Donation to Arty Party

We are working on a post about materials and plans for some pieces for the future, and hopefully it will be ready for next week. In the meantime, we thought we would go ahead and share with you the piece we will be donating to Arty Party, a fundraiser for Birmingham AIDS Outreach, a local AIDS service organization.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Call for Art for a good cause

Every May, Birmingham AIDS Outreach hosts "Arty Party", a silent and live art auction benefiting local the agency, who provides much needed services to HIV positive individuals and the public. The services BAO provides include case management, food pantry, clothing closet, medication assistance, and medical item assistance to those individuals who are HIV positive. BAO also provides HIV prevention, education and testing services in the community, schools and prisons. The money raised from "Arty Party" helps them continue providing these services.

Birmingham AIDS outreach is currently accepting donations of art of all types for the auction. Art can be dropped off at the Birmingham AIDS Outreach offices or you can contact the Events Coordinator to arrange a pickup. The only restriction on the art is that it needs to be able to fit in a small u-haul truck, or in a small car if it is going to be picked up.

To donate art or arrange a pick up, contact Jamie at 322-4197 or Birmingham AIDS Outreach is a non-profit organization. All donations are tax deductible, and the agency is able to provide you with the necessary form for your taxes.

Artful Unity, and our sister site, Happy Hippy Jewelry, will each be donating a piece to the auction. We will reveal more details about the piece in a later blog post. We hope you will join us in supporting this hardworking worthwhile agency.