Tips for lampworkers on how to promote yourself and your art.
I like shooting beads on a white background. It provides a uniformed look with other photos, background colors don’t interfere and it allows me to easily isolate the the bead in Photoshop for compositions like ads or banners. But one problem I come across from time to time is losing the details in the edge of the bead. This usually happens because the bead itself is pale and it looks like the white is swallowing the bead.
After some experimenting I came across a simple solution. I place a large piece of black cardboard behind it out or frame. By doing this it ads enough dark reflection to define the edges on the light background.
As you can see in these examples the edges are more defined. Which makes it easier to adjust the contrast with out losing detail.
What is a Cotisso? Having never heard the name Cotisso before, I had to do some research to find out what they were talking about at the Effetre factory. It seems that this is the name they use to refer to a chunk of glass that here in the U.S is called glass cullet.
So why am I talking about cotisso’s (A.K.A. cullet)? Because when Mike went over to Europe last October, he got the factory to let him pick out a bunch of different colors of these intriguing chunks of glass and Frantz Art Glass is now offering some of them up for sale.
I think cotisso’s are fabulous looking and look like surreal chunks of precious minerals. I got a big batch of cotisso’s a decade ago after pestering the factory manager endlessly to let me pick out some chunks to include in the glass shipment we were working on at that time while we were on Murano, Italy.
I love the cotisso’s that I have and I set them on my worktables, in windows in my studio and house. I also manicured several choice chunks by smoothing the sharp edges with a handheld dremel and I use them in my booth display when I sell my beads because the cotisso’s add such a delicious splash of glistening color to my bead display.
You may ask why I smooth the edges of the glass chunks I have in my bead display and it is because they are so beautiful, people want to touch them. To prevent anyone accidentally cutting themselves on a shape edge, I took a grinding tip mounted in a dremel tool and smoothed the less friendly edges off the glass chunks.
Another question I kept asking the manager at the Effetre factory is what do they keep them for? The answer turned out to be very interesting! When they measure out a new, from scratch batch of glass ingredients, it is all in powder form and is very slow to warm and melt into glass. They introduce a few chunks of cotisso’s of the color that is being melted and the solid mass of the cotisso heats up much faster than the powder and speeds up the entire melt.
When the factory is done pulling rods from a new batch of glass in one of their furnaces, they move the last of the glass batch to a shallow cast iron bowl while it is molten hot and they set it outside on their patio and let the glass air cool. The glass naturally fractures while it is cooling in the iron bowls and when it is completely cool, their turn the bowl over and dump the chunks of glass out onto the concrete patio.
Sometimes, the piles of cullet are very tall and they look especially beautiful when they are transparent and the sun shines through the glass sitting in the sun.
Don’t miss this chance to get a beautiful unique cotisso for yourself.
I just wrapped up my Photoshop for Lampworkers DVD and just finished the cover artwork. I want to show you the process of how I created a cover. I thought it would be helpful to those of you who want to create your own tutorials, Ads or promotional graphics like fliers, ads or web graphics. My Goal for the design was simple, clean but not boring. Read more
The new shipment of “Odd” neutral colors from Vetrofond are a fabulous base color for working with many of those expensive silvered glass colors made by Double Helix, Trautman Art Glass and Precision 104. Read more
Frantz August Bash: 9:00pm – 4:00pm Food Schedule: Pizza and Salad will be served from 10:00am to 2:00pm Store hours: The August Bash: 9:00am – 4:00pm . The store will close for lunch 12:00pm – 1:00pm Read more
Frantz Art Glass is currently having a special sale on selected Vetrofond glass rod colors that I thought I should point out because the sale prices are so good. Read more
Weather you have a website, or not I found an online resource that can help you out. Wix.com provides you a flash website with a ton of bells and whisltes for FREE. When I found it i had to try it. Im not going talk about how to use it because the Wix.com provides videos that are way more helpfull than I would be.
I slapped together a quick example. You can see it if you click on the “Wix Gallery” Page. I just scratched the surface of what it can do.
You don’t have to use it to just create web pages. You can create elements for your current blog or website. You can create small “Widget” size elements to post on your blog or site. The default size is 300px x400px for a widget. But if you go to “Settings” at the top of your work area you can re-size the Wix to fit any dimension you want.
I think this is a fun and versatile online tool.
I hope you got your free account at www.wordpress.com because here is the second part showing you how wordpress can help you. I’ll show you the basics of wordpress so you can get your website.
Once you get your account, sign in to view your back end of your website. Here, all your tools are organized and easily accessed. From here you can make a new posts, pages, upload media, change themes, widgets and links. You can also change your settings for users, passwords, and account settings.
WordPress is commonly used as blogging software. Under the Post menu, you can edit existing posts, add new posts and change the tags and categories. The purpose of tags and categories is to help organize your posts. This will make it easier for your readers to search your articles.
Pages are separate from the posts. They are static and commonly used for info that doesn’t change much like a contact page or about me page.
If you go to “Attributes” menu on the right you can change the attributes of the page.
The Attributes page explains how it works:
“You can arrange your pages in hierarchies, for example you could have an “About me” page that has “Life Story” and “My Dog” pages under it. There are no limits to how deeply nested you can make pages.”
You can upload your photos, audio files, and videos. You can use wordpress for podcasts. It automatically creates a RSS feed so people can subscribe and get notified when you update your posts. Unfortunately the free wordpress accounts only allow image uploads. For a small fee they will allow you to post audio files for a pod cast. But if you are hosting WordPress you can post anything you like on it.
If you want to post an images on your site you have some choices how you can do it.
- You can post an image with out a link.
- You can make the image have a link that to the image file.
- You can make the image go to a page with information you wrote about the image.
- You can adjust the image size, position, and create a gallery
A great thing about wordpress is the amount of themes you can use and how easy it is to switch back and forth. To view your themes go to the Appearance menu on the left. Click themes and it will give you a list of themes you have access to and if you have a free account you can browse through a list of themes.
Themes come in many different designs, colors and layouts. Try them out and find the one you like.
Widgits and Plugins:
Do you have a Flicker account? Do you sell on Etsy? Do you want to link to other websites? Well there is a widget or plugin to put those on your site. Widgets are add-ons to wordpress that perform a certain function. There are thousands of them you can put on your site. Some are better than others, but they make it so you can have great features on your website with out having to write code. Just another way to customize your page. It’s as easy as dragging the widgets from the middle area to the side column on the right.
For those of you that don’t plan on blogging that much WordPress can still work for you. If you just want a more traditional static website to show off your work and use as a hub of all your online stores like Ebay, Etsy and Artfire, I can show you an easy trick for that.
First go to the Pages menu. Create a new page and call it Home and another called Blog.
Go to the Settings menu on the bottom left. Click “Reading” to pull up the reading option page.
Default set-up for Reading is to have the post page be the front page of your site. You can switch the front page to be a static page by clicking the option of “Static page”. Choose Home as front page and Blog as post page. Now when some on goes to your sight they will see a more traditional looking website.
Construction of the pages and posts:
When creating the pages and post you will be using wordpresses “Wysiwyg” (Pronounced Wiz-E-Wig) It stands for “what you see is what you get”. There is a bar of tools above the work space. There you can add, edit and format your text. You can also upload/insert media from it as well, like images.
When you are done with a page or post you are able to save as draft, preview it or publish it for all to see.
There is so much more I could write about WordPress. It is a great application. I hope you enjoyed this blog. If you do create a wordpress website for your business or portfolio share it with us. Post a link in our comments to share with everybody.
Thanks and have a great day.
How Wordpress can help you. Do you want a website but you don’t know where to start? Don’t feel bad a lot of artists are in the same boat. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good website. If you can use Microsoft word or Gmail, you have enough skills to create a professional looking website with word press. It is the easiest and most versatile Content Management System (CMS) that I have tried. Read more