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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Back to Basics

Well, the weather has definitely turned colder. I had to get my slippers out. Sandy came in warm and left cold. She also left some flooding and other messiness, but my area fared quite well, all in all. I am left now with news stories of how bad it could have been. New Jersey and New York have my heart felt condolences for having suffered Sandy. 

Colder weather means a few things for me. One, I can't cut slabs into preforms. Two, I can't cab. I may get a few stray days left to cab, but those days are pretty much behind me. So, I have plans to learn how to use my rolling mill and to work on a new tutorial. Which brings me to the point of this post.

My idea for a tute is to do a simple wrap with all the tips thrown in along the way. It won't be project driven. I want to try to explain why I do things a certain way. It won't be the end all of tutorials because everybody has different ways of doing things. This will be my way of doing things. I'm thinking it will be pretty involved. I'm also thinking it will be very helpful to have a firm grasp of the basics to build on.

There is a problem with my plan, though. I work without thinking too much about it. Recently, I made a piece and really thought about what I was doing and why. I realized that I take a lot for granted, having done this for long.

A simple piece, but how do you explain it?

So, on my next piece I tried to imagine describing absolutely everything I was doing. But, then I wondered- What do people really want to know? What is it that people have trouble with? How do I do this without being too simplistic?

What part of this do people really want to learn?

I am putting those questions to you, the reader. What is it that really needs explaining? What would you like to see? Do you want a complete walk through? Are there specific things that need to be explained? Give me your thoughts. I am too close to the subject to be objective. :)

Once the basics are down, the rest is easy.

I will have to learn a new camera, though. After much hand wringing and anxious debate, I have decided to get a new camera. My digital camera is 12 years old. It was the height of technology when new with 3.2 megapixels, but now I find I need more cowbell. My Nikon still takes awesome and incredible close up pictures. It is still a sought after camera on eBay! I hate to part with its fabulous lens, but I will for the sake of modernity. My friend Laura, CookOnStrike, who is pretty smart about cameras, helped me figure out a new one to get. I am leaving the Nikon family and joining the Canon family. I have decided to get a G12. I love the flip LCD monitor which will replace the swivel body on my Nikon which I also loved. After reading reviews and comparisons, I learned that the Canon beat the Nikon competitor. So, as soon as I can, I will be ordering the G12. I'm getting a little old to be learning too many new tricks, so I'm hoping the learning curve won't be too steep. ;)

That's it for now. Be sure to leave your thoughts about a new tute, it will help me a lot.

21 comments:

  1. For me, as someone who is somewhat experienced, but still tutorial dependent (possibly a lack of confidence, too...), wrapping cabs is intimidating. The measuring....the taping....and then the teensy tweaks to get the beautiful bends like in your first and third pictures. Wire management meaning how to keep it smooth, sure, and kink free. Those are basically my needs..... :-)

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    1. That's very helpful, Lyssie, thanks. I can definitely help there. Try a few pear shaped cabs as a confidence builder, I think they are the easiest to work. I'll keep your points in mind as I work out the tute. :)

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  2. Wrapping cabs is relatively new and intimidating for me. I hate measuring anything. You would need to explain everything for me. I love the way you capture a stone with what appears to be round wire and minimal ornamentation. Your wrapping is elegant and clean. So many literally wrap their cabs to death making them appear to have suffocated, slowly and painfully! So My question is how do you secure that stone so artistically with round or half round wire (I don't like square wire) with apparently minimal support?

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    1. Hi Zoraida, how very astute you are! Yes, I almost exclusively use round soft wire. It came form my inability, years ago, to get anything but that in copper. Over time, I got real good at round wire and like yourself, I don't care for square. It has its uses, but I avoid it when I can. I never liked the overwrapped style, either, so I taught myself how to do more with less. You'd be surprised how little you need to hold a stone securely. My wraps are very secure despite looking so simple. I think I can make that clear in a tute. I will certainly keep your points in mind. Thank you :)

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  3. Hi Tela,
    I'm looking forward to this tutorial! I would like to know how to apply this to different shaped cabs and how much wire would be needed. Even for the odd shaped cab like your middle example. Also I would be very interested in tips on the finishing touches. For example, in the last cab you showed, how to bend the wires into the cab without scratching it. Obviously that's been an issue with me! lol

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    1. Duly noted, Kate. :) I think if I can remember all this, or remember to check back here, I should say, it won't be hard to make a coherent compilation.

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  4. Tela, how wonderful it is that you are inviting requests for your "super-tut"! Without appearing more vague than you requested for suggestions, I would have to say "everything" would be appreciated. I think that you, as a superstar tut-author, would have the most difficulty in writing down what seems to be so intuitive for you. But, that is what I want...the reasons you choose to wrap this way as opposed to that, etc. I want to know what is going on in your brain that makes you choose which wire or design for this project.

    I know this sounds terribly intrusive and, even, greedy; but you asked! I have the good basic skill set that allows me to wrap securely, but not elegantly for sure. And, I despair of ever having the back of the piece look presentable while being secure. I do know that the more I do, the better I will get; but in the meantime I don't like what I am doing so much. So, maybe after reading and using your super-tut I will have the tools necessary to do more cab-wrapping and improve my wraps. In other words, when I grow up I want to wrap just like you!

    I, also, agree that so many of the tutorials I see offer cabs that are suffering behind too much wire and intricate weaving, etc., as Zoraida spoke of so well. I love the elegant simplicity of your designs, which let the stones speak loudly for themselves.

    Thanks for doing this, Tela, and for offering us a voice in what it could become. You are just the best!


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    1. LOL! Thank you for the vote of confidence. :) I will try my best to squeeze it all in. I do understand what you are saying. You want the finer points. I have written 18 pages today and that's before pictures or getting into the meat. I am trying to cover everything. :)

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  5. Tela, I am so excited regarding this tutorial. I learned and have a good foundation in wrapping cabs with square wire but would do much more with round wire. Anything you have to offer I can hardly wait. I have a lot of cabs that I learned on but I want to use the round and half-round wire. Thank you so much.

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    1. Hi Donna, You got it. Since it seems round wire is my forte, then that is what you'll be getting. :)

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  6. Hey Tela, Sorry the weather is so chilly yet you are going to put your skills to good use with this new tutorial. I agree with so much that has been said before. I lack the confidence to look at a cab and decide how best to show it off with the minimum of wire. Any tips or tricks you have learned and wish to share would be so beneficial. The wrapping of odd shaped stones is another challenge I would love to conquer.
    Your usage of round wire and clean lines allows the stone to stand out rather than the wire. To learn how to achieve that skill would encourage me to purchase more cabs :)))

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    1. Hi Christine, you are so accomplished, I consider it an honor that you are interested in my latest little project. Because this is not project driven it will be vastly different, but I am really excited about it and have already gotten off to a great start. Thank you for your input. :)

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  7. im glad you escaped most of sandy, my thoughts and prayers are also with those who didnt fare as well. <3

    im echoing what everyone else has said, regarding the tute. ive wrapped very few cabs in my life, because, although i know the basic method, i dont want to wrap every cab the same way. (and i dont have enough skill to figure things out for myself yet) for every shape of cab, theres probably a good formula that helps you determine where you need to put the anchor points to be sure the cab is held securely. i love the look of having minimal wires across the cab; i dont like a lot of curlicues and flourishes either. and also! making the bail gets confusing to me. once youve decided where to put your wires on the cab, how do you decide which wires to use for the bail, or how do you prepare to make the bail?
    i hope ive made enough sense!
    thanks, sweet tela. <3
    denise

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    1. You've made perfect sense :) I think your questions will be answered. I'm really excited and optimistic about this. It already feels more like fun and less than work. My other tutes seemed like work. I am writing this as if you were across the table from me. Heck, with my new camera, maybe I can even get some video.... but maybe I'm pushing my luck. LOL!!!

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  8. I need to learn all the tips and info re. technique, but I really need to learn about designing. What do you hear when a cab speaks to you? How do you approach your initial drawings, before you ever pick up the wire? How do you decide when a design "works" for that particular stone?

    I hope it's not all intuitive, or I'll be out of luck!

    Joyce

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    1. Hi Joyce, I think you will be happy. :) I just finished a draft of the first chapter to address just that with lots of pictures. NO, it isn't all intuitive- though some intuition helps and we ALL have it. I can't wait to finish this, I am soooo excited and I think this will be very helpful :)

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  9. Hello Tela. How thoughtful of you to want to include all of us in your decision with your next tutorial. When I look at your work I am most in awe over your art deco pieces that are put together simply and with your style of symmetry, much like the first piece you have posted at the top of this blog post. I would love to learn to think in this style. Art deco is so appealing to the eye. I echo what Susan Roper has said about having a piece look finished on the back. That is one of my challenges and having your perspective of this written in a tutorial would be interesting.

    It sounds like you will have a fast winter with learning the camera, writing a tutorial and learning the rolling mill. It is those kinds of discoveries that make life exciting and enjoyable. I look forward to living vicariously through your adventures in your blog posts.

    ~Susan

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    1. Thanks Susan, My favorite thing to do is the Deco flavored stuff, so I think you'll see plenty of that.

      Yes, I will be busy and happily so. :)

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  10. Hi Tela,

    What a wonderful idea. There are lots of wrapping tuts out there but few include the inspiration/intuition part of wrapping. That sounds like what you are going to try to convey. I wrap in square and half round most of the time and would love to see your description of your style. Even though I wrap a lot I've seen few tuts that really cover what to do with the back of the stone. I think it's almost as important as the front since a pendant will certainly flip over at some time. I'd love to know your approach to bails and finishing in the back.

    Lots of luck with the tut.

    Lois

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    1. Thanks for your input Lois. :) I can cover the backs. Most of my backs are pretty neat, so it will be easy to show how I do it. I'm glad you like the idea of covering the design process. I'm having a lot of fun putting it together.

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  11. I'm coming late to this, work being what it is (a four-letter word), so I'd just like to say I'm really looking forward to this too. I think the other suggestions cover mine well, and I hope you're chugging along famously with this.

    More cowbell!

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts and comments.