Saturday, April 23, 2011

ME: The Eight Way Tie

As I mentioned before, it is amazing how much "stuff" goes into a chair... literally. Well, not so much newer chairs (most are just plywood with foam glued to it) but my antique chair has guts.

So, I started with the chair frame...

(it looks so tiny... and empty... and a little sad.)

Then I stretched the webbing and tacked it on...

Now... this was one of those points where I ran into an issue and we had to change things up a bit. Because the wood is so brittle and, well, dug up from being upholstered multiple times, I had to move to staples. I really wanted to do things the old fashion way (tacks) but they kept popping out. So, I modernized a bit and moved to staples... lots of staples. And then I added a few extra straps of webbing and attached them to the side of the frame for just that little bit more support.

Next, I added my NINE seat springs (my instructor, Seymour, said the person who made the chair must have had stock in a spring company, because there was no reason for nine giant springs in this tiny chair) and used a clinching tool to attach them to the webbing. From there, I started my eight way tie...

First was back to front. Next was left to right...

And finally, the diagonals which makes the 8 way tie ...

(Notice the front spring is tied in 8 different locations... that's where the name comes from.)

When dealing with the back (which only had 6 light springs) you don't have to do the full eight way tie, just four is sufficient since it carries less weight than the seat.

And there you have it! The beginning guts of my chair!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

ME: One of These Things is Not Like the Other

It's been a while since I have updated you on the chairs... which are going slow but steady! It's tough with only a couple hours a week of class time to work on them, but they are coming out great and should be completed soon!

We did run into an issue, tho. It's a minor issue, but I know it will drive me nuts for the rest of my life. So, let me back track a bit.

I found the chairs at a Goodwill, looking very 1950's. And then after I started stripping them fabric off them, we found out they were from the late 1800's to early 1900's. Major clues came from pulling out materials like horse hair and straw, but also the condition of the wood.

See how (1) dry and (2) damaged it looks. The chairs have been upholstered and reupholstered many times over (the holes are from where the tacks were pulled.) Dealing with the wood in this condition takes a bit more finesse, creativity, problem solving and time. And, to be honest, this should be the last time they ever get upholstered (that's a lot of pressure for me to get it right.) They had already been repaired probably in the 1950's - 1960's or so when last upholstered (notice the lighter, more solid wood added in for support)...

So, after seeing this, I had to try to figure out how to refinish the legs. I didn't want to use stripper, in fear of damaging the wood further. That meant good old fashion elbow grease and sandpaper (sigh.)

And it took quite a bit of time since front legs were covered in some type of milk paint while the back legs were covered in schlack (probably home made including who-knows-what in the mixture.) As the sanding went on (and I worked on one chair at a time) I realized the front and back legs were different woods (one was possibly better for turning for the decorative legs?) At this point, I named them "Frankenchair 1 & 2" and decided I needed to give them a bit of a color to tie the legs together.

I decided to go with a pickling finish, to lighten it up and kept some of the dark paint/schlack in the groves to show the age. As I went to finish the chairs (still working on one at a time), I noticed the two were taking the finish differently. I just couldn't figure out why. And finally... FINALLY... I happened to put the chairs next to each other and what did I discover...

THEY DON'T MATCH! One chair (left) is nearly 2 inches taller than the other and made from different woods. HA! I have no idea if they were intended to match or made at different times or what.

Sooo... what to do, what to do. If they were different, yet similar, fabrics I could live with them as a pair. But I already purchased so much fabric, I can't justify buying more. And after much discussion with Sal, I decided I will break up the pair and sell one when I'm done. So, if you are looking for a fully restored antique chair finished in a French Country style, let me know! If not, I'll put it on consignment in a local decorators shop or something or maybe on Etsy.

But this is still a fabulous adventure! And it is really helping my understanding of the craft because I'm working on one at school and repeating the steps on the second at home. And I'm tempted to mix it up a bit, play around with the 2 fabrics, and see if I can come up with a slightly different design for the second chair. But I'm not sold on the idea yet... we'll see!

More photos soon!

Monday, April 18, 2011

GS: Noodling Around

Think back... what was the first piece of jewelry you gave your mother? (And jewelry that another family member paid for doesn't count.)

Nine times out of ten, it was a macaroni necklace. And even though you painted it green and covered it with glitter, and turned your mother green and covered her with glitter, she wore it with pride. Well, it's time we bring it back... just a more adult version (and it won't turn her neck green either.)

I'm very excited to introduce, just in time for Mother's Day, my macaroni necklace! It's simple, it's whimsical... it's a gold elbow macaroni. Just the idea of it makes me smile!

Now... if you want to make EXTRA fancy (come on, it's for mom... of course you want to make it extra fancy!) you can add some glitter. And by glitter I mean flush set diamonds.

Or make it into a true "Mother's Pendant" and flush set the different birth stones.

I am offering them in my Etsy store, and they are made to order! They are available in 14K or 18K in yellow, white or red gold. If you want them by Mother's Day, place your order by April 25, 2011 for a pendant with stones and by May 2, 2011, for a plain pendant. And until Mother's day 2011, I am offering them at a discounted intro price.

So, get one for the special mother in your life. Or anybody that will appreciate the joy of wearing an elbow macaroni. Better yet, get one for yourself.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

ME: Breaking it DOWN!

It's amazing when you rip apart a chair. Not only for the fact that it's cathartic, but that when you break it all down there really isn't all that much to this piece of furniture.

So... we started with this...

And after a couple of hours of ripping you end up with this...


So, when you get down to the nitty gritty of it, an upholstered chair has a very basic wood frame. That's it. It's hollow and empty in the sense of space...

... but so full of potential!

I have been slowly building back up the chairs and it's amazing when it starts to actually LOOK like a piece of furniture again! More photos soon!

Friday, April 01, 2011

GS: No More Custom

Well, after a great deal of thinking and talking with Sal, Green Spot Studio will no longer be making anymore custom jewelry.

Right now the cost of precious metals are insanely high and I'm having issues finding a balance between providing clients with a decent price and making enough income to keep my business afloat. And, to be honest, weeks go by without sitting at my bench (hence the lack of photos and posts.) I find myself spending about 40-60 hours a week meeting with, emailing with and talking to clients about money.

I can't tell you how many pieces of jewelry I have designed, at no cost, that never get built. I have even reached the point of agreeing upon a price, sending out contracts and invoices and then never hearing from those clients again. And, honestly, it has all just beat me down. I've always prided myself in being an artist first and a business woman second and all of this has made me despise my craft.

But don't worry, I'm not closing my doors. I'm just changing this up! You always have to keep reinventing yourself if you will survive in this business! So, I will continue making the pieces I sell on Etsy and maybe work on a small line? Who knows, only time will tell.

You should still expect some jewelry photos over the next couple of months while I'm finishing up all the jobs I promised to do (a couple wedding bands, some engagement rings, etc.)

Now, I'm sure you are wondering what will become of this blog? Well, I think I'm just going to start blogging about the new adventures that are in front of me! I'll keep posting on the process of my chair, maybe some cooking, of course lots of Jupiter photos... and possibly a few other big adventures.

So... stay tuned for new and fascinating adventures in my shiny & sparkly gem of a life.
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