3 Ways to Boost Creativity!

For most people, the new year brings new goals and fresh starts. I want to provide some inspiration for letting the creative flare roar this year. Here are my top three suggestions to lead the way!

1. Conduct a workspace tidy-up

Creativity tends to get messy at times. The new year is a great time to conduct a tidy-up! Many of you may ask, “but isn’t the chaos where most creative minds get their inspiration?” I say yes…and no. I am the first to admit I thrive in organized chaos. Below is a picture of my workspace following the holidays. A lot of new designs and elements left this space in pretty wrapped gift packages.

messy-desk

However, at some point, the inspiration and new ideas are repeated enough to become ordinary. This is a good indication it is time for me to wipe the slate clean and allow a fresh space for the process to start over.

Perhaps that is why January 13th has been declared National Clean Off Your Desk Day? Take this opportunity to give yourself the gift of a clean workspace in order to rejuvenate those creative juices.

clean desk

Be sure to share your workspace tidy-ups with us on Facebook! You could help inspire others!

2. Commit to learn something new

There are several studies proving the benefits of learning something new has on the brain. From fighting off dementia to improving your self-esteem, the benefits are numerous.

Gardening Gloves Cradling Baby PlantsWhether you decide to make jewelry, cook a new recipe or read a book about gardening, introduce yourself to something that is intriguing to you. Research has found our brains make connections across all fields of interest. Learning something new in one category, can trigger ideas in a completely unrelated interest.

Whether it is once a week, month, or quarter, make the commitment this year to learn something new. You never now how it will influence and translate into a phenomenal new jewelry creation!

WubbersU with T words

To help you get started, check out our free classes on Wubbersu.com!

3. Dedicate your time

Night and day

How easy is it to come to the end of a day and wonder where exactly it went? I will be the first to admit I loathe the words “time management.” My days can be demanding and pull me in several directions. Before I know it, I can go almost an entire week and realize I have not stepped one foot into the studio.

For me, it is important to carve out specific time dedicated to creating in the studio. This might mean planning ahead with that dreaded phrase of “time management,” but every time I do this, the payoff is wonderful. I am happier and feel more accomplished. My creative juices have their outlet to run free!

Smooth Stacked StonesKeep in mind, we are all different. For some, the struggle may be dedicating too much time to creating. This isn’t the same concept is being “in the zone” and cranking out masterpieces. I am talking more about when you spend so much time making jewelry, you catch yourself squinting and causing eye strain. Or, the bail you just tried to solder melts for the second time. Both of these examples are a good indicator it is time to take a break.

As the saying goes, the key to keeping your balance is knowing when you’ve lost it. If you have lost your balance, perhaps it is time to take a break and go find it again.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure it works for you. I look forward to sharing a creative year ahead with all of you!

~ Laura

View More: http://carriescreationsphotography.pass.us/laura--patti

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Posted in Creative words of wisdom, Handmade Business, jewelry making, Tools

At The Makery with Francesca and Robert

The Hill Country was calling and Patti and Laura had to go…

to the cozy downtown of Bulverde, Texas. With it’s charming Hallmark feel combined with the friendliness of the locals, this small town made us feel like we hit the jackpot for a girls retreat. We were eager to explore Francesca Watson’s lovely studio and store, The Makery.

sign

Francesca welcomed us into her spacious studio for a three day workshop with none other than Robert Lopez of Robert Lopez Designs!

instructor

If you haven’t been introduced to Robert Lopez, he is as cheerful and exuberant as the vibrant colors he creates in his metalworking.

Robert's pieces

Several of Robert Lopez’s pieces.

Well known for the use of titanium and his mastery of fusing Argentium, Robert brings a raw and organic element to the jewelry industry.

The Fractured Mine

This beautiful piece by Robert Lopez titled The Fractured Mine is what he taught us to make in the three day workshop!

Robert's

The Fractured Mine by Robert Lopez

When I (Laura) first saw it, the colors mesmerized me. The bottom disc of the necklace is titanium set in Argentium. I was ecstatic to learn how to achieve the vibrant colors in the titanium as well as in the top portion of the pendant which is fused Argentium.

Under the direction of Robert, Patti and I were taught several techniques using the torch and liver of sulfur. It was amazing, and fun!!

fusing

Patti with the torch

Did I mention Robert was a master at fusing Argentium?

Argentium is Patti’s and my favorite silver to work with. When you fuse it, there is no need for pickling. It is also very fragile! You must always let Argentium cool before quenching it.

fused

Patti’s Fractured Mine piece

Due to it’s fragility, Robert was able to show us how to use that to our advantage in our designs. This is Patti’s fractured Argentium piece she fused her faceted nuggets to. Yes, we even got to learn how to make Robert’s faceted Argentium nuggets!

The finished piece! 

After three days of concentrating, learning, laughing and eating yummy food, I finished my masterpiece. Okay, don’t look too closely…I never said it was a perfect masterpiece, ha. I will, however, be able to transfer what I learned from Robert into my own designs and jewelry making.  I would love to take another class of his if the opportunity so happens. His classes sell out fast!

Laura-finished-necklace

Laura’s finished Fractured Mine

If you are curious as to how we achieved the texture on the back-plate of the top portion of the pendant, it is all thanks to Rolling Mill Resources paper patterns.  Our friend, Gwen Youngblood, not only owns Rolling Mill Resources with its plethora of patterns, but she was also able to attend the workshop with us!

friends

Laura, Francesca, Patti, and Gwen

Gwen even supplied every student in the class with free samples!

Gwen texture samples

We could not have had a better weekend. An excellent workshop full of engaging and intriguing ideas, good friends, warm hospitality…the perfect girls getaway!

friends wubbers

If you are ever in the area…

We highly suggest you stop in The Makery. Say hello to Francesca. Perhaps even take one of the many workshops offered there. Then hop next door for a one of a kind leather handbag, maybe even cross the street for some pumpkin chocolate muffins. Whatever you decide to do, continue to find the joy in creating!

~Laura

View More: http://carriescreationsphotography.pass.us/laura--patti

Visit us on WubbersU.com for free tutorials and helpful tips!

Enjoy our newest tip from Laura.

What are Francesca and Robert up to now? Here is a sneak peak!

Robert and Francesca are collaborating their talents, time, and supplies to raise money for the Semper Fi fund! Semper Fi’s new Welcome Home Fund program is specifically geared towards supporting Vietnam-era veterans. The veteran population is near and dear to both Francesca and Robert.

Elements (1)

The final piece they create together will be auctioned off before Christmas, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Welcome Home Fund. As an added bonus, the Semper Fi Fund has received a pledge of a matching grant from the Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation – so any funds raised through the auction will be matched dollar for dollar!

Lace-and-Shields (1)

To see the current progress Francesca and Robert have made and the final piece, visit recent posts on The Makery’s Facebook page.

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Posted in Gwen Youngblood, jewelry making, Patti's Jewelry Travels, Tools

When Bikers Wear Jewelry

View More: http://carriescreationsphotography.pass.us/laura--pattiThere are pieces of jewelry we design for fun. There are pieces we design to sell. Then, there are those special pieces. The ones we design with purpose and meaning. They can be some of the most challenging to make, but oh so worth it.

Allow me to share…

My good friend and her husband recently joined Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA). Working in conjunction with local and state officials, BACA members provide protection for abused children and create a world in which they can feel safe.

When BACA members make the initial ridbaca-logoe to meet a child, 20 to 30 bikers go together to deliver gifts. One of the gifts is a teddy bear. All of the bikers hug the bear and fill it with love. If the child is feeling low on support and needs more hugs, the bikers ride out again and fill the bear up.

If a child has to testify against his/her abuser, BACA members assemble and are ready to ride. They will escort the child’s car all the way to the courthouse. Can you imagine the confidence the child feels looking out the car window seeing these bikers by their side?

Then my friend showed me a small marble.

It was a marble she obtained on her first ride, symbolic of all the tears of the child they were going to “catch.” My heart let out a sigh. She asked me if I could somehow take the marble and incorporate it into a pendant held together by chains. The chains are symbolic of the bikers being united in their cause. Yes! Most definitely I would make this pendant! Marble

Little did I know how challenging encasing a marble with tiny chains can be! 

I made a prototype. Remade the prototype. Remade it again…. So many times I just wanted to break the chains, bust out the torch, and solder together a silver cage for the marble. Each time I struggled to get the chain to close and hold its shape, I was reminded to honor the symbol of love and sacrifice my BACA friends were giving to these children.

Realizing they would ride 30 minutes to a scared child’s house in the middle of the night and surround the house to keep the “bad guys” away, my heart let out a bigger sigh.

Then finally it came together…

hanging

The marble of tears caught; held in chains that were meant to be tough enough to withstand fear and violence. Encased in love. Worn with compassion. Oh. So. Worth It.

 

Finding joy in the journey,

Laura

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Posted in Interviews, jewelry making, Wubbers Cares

Lucky Faux Pas?

Who knew Faux Pas could be lucky? 

With a pair of Baby Wubbers and a little creativity, one Austin artist was determined to make blunders work in her favor.

baby-wubbers-pliers-faux-paw

It all started when DeeAnne and her friends had the opportunity to attend a party, dressing up as “Fashion Faux Pas.” DeeAnne thought it would be fun to make imitation rabbit feet as party favors and call them “Faux Paws” to go along with the theme of the party.

lucky-faux-purse

But she didn’t stop there…

After the party, DeeAnne kept making the Faux Paws. They were an instant hit with her friends and family. Soon after trademarking the name Lucky Faux Paw®, DeeAnne was busy in her studio making and filling orders. As she worked to perfect the product, the idea came to her to give them their own website and open a shop. In 2018 she did just that.

lucky-faux-gift-box

You can find her Lucky Faux Paw® on luckyfauxpaw.com and at her Etsy shop, etsy.com/shop/iowamaples. Iowa Maples is the label that she has created to name all of her finished crafts.

Oh and speaking of names, did we mention her last name is Bullard?

That’s right, DeeAnne is one of the three Bullard women. She is daughter to Patti Bullard, the owner and designer of Wubbers tools, and the sister to Laura Bullard Scott, President of Wubbers. 

deeanne-lucky-faux-studio

DeeAnne has always enjoyed crafts.  Embroidery, crochet, polymer clay, sewing…She has made puppets, stuffed animals, handbags, tea towels; she likes learning about new materials and new things to make with them. It was only befitting that she would naturally fit into the Wubbers family.

How about you? 

What are your favorite things to make with your Wubbers? Tag us on Facebook or drop us an email (info@wubbersu.com) to share with us. We would love to hear from you and see your pictures too! 

Wishing you all the joy of creating,

Patti and Laura

View More: http://carriescreationsphotography.pass.us/laura--patti

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Posted in From Making to Marketing, Handmade Business, Tools

A little Splash of color!

Splash

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Posted in Creative words of wisdom, jewelry making, Jewelry Tips

Rectangle Links with Wubbers Parallel Mandrel Pliers

Making your own chain opens up a lot of new design possibilities, and guess what?  It is no longer tedious!  This tutorial is about the mechanics of forming rectangle links.  For information on fusing Argentium® Sterling Silver, adding texture to your creations, and finishing techniques, be sure to check out the other Wubbers University tutorials.

ACutting Square Rings600

Using 14-gauge dead soft Argentium® Sterling Silver, roll the wire around the jaws of the Wubbers Rectangle Parallel Pliers (8 x 4mm), forming about 4-6 links at a time.  You can saw the links, but a good alternative would be to cut the links while the coil of wire is still on the jaws of the pliers with a pair of Lindstrom shears.

a Cut Rings600

You will notice that the links are not perfectly squared at this point, but that’s OK because that can easily be done with the Wubbers Rectangle Parallel Pliers after fusing or soldering the links.

aAngled Cut 600

The Lindstrom shear will most often leave an angled cut.  As long as the link closes well, the angle will not cause a problem.  When using 18- or 20-gauge wire, the link will close very well.  However, when using 16- and especially 14-gauge (as shown above), there is often a small v-shaped divot missing from the wire.  When working with Argentium® Silver, then often the small divot will not be noticeable after fusing, hammering, and texturing the link.  However, sometimes it helps to “clean up” the cut ends of the wire.

aClip End 600

One method that can be used to get a more perfect closure is to clip the ends flush using a good heavy-duty flush cutter.  Just a small amount of wire will need to be removed, requiring just a quick clip of a tiny point off the tip of the wire.

aGrinding End600

My favorite way to clean up the cut ends of the wire is to use a cutting disk.  After closing the link to get the ends lined up with each other, open the link slightly so that the cutting disk easily fits into the opening.  When using lighter gauge wire, I squeeze the ends together so that they both touch the cutting disk at the same time, creating the perfect join.  Heavy gauge wire is harder to manipulate.  Holding the cutting disk at a 90-degree angle to the wire, touch one end of the wire, then the other.  With a little practice, this method will work perfectly for heavier-gauge wire.

A Fused not Squared600

The link has now been fused.  Time to get it all squared up!

ASquare the End600

Because only a small space is needed for the wire, use the bolt to set about a ¼” space between the jaws of the pliers.  This will make closing the jaws easier on your hands. Simply place a narrow end of the link deep in the jaw of the pliers for maximum leverage.  Give a squeeze to flatten that end of the link.  Repeat on the opposite end.  Check to make sure that the two narrow ends are parallel to each other, adjusting as needed.

aSquare the corner600

Turn the link to square and straighten the longer sides.  Start by squaring each corner of the link, then moving toward the center.

Helpful tip: When I am doing a number of links and just happen to have the larger 12 x 6mm Rectangle Parallel Pliers handy, I use them to flatten the longer side of the rectangle.  I often use this pair of pliers to flatten metal—they have the broader jaw and even greater leverage.

aFused and Squared 600

The link is now ready for adding the texture and finish of your choice.

Rectangle Bracelet Finished600

The links in this bracelet were flattened with a domed and polished chasing hammer, then textured using the Wubbers Oval Artisan’s Mark Texture hammer.  The box clasp was made using the Wubbers 8 x 4mm Rectangle Parallel Pliers.  The jump rings joining the links are 18-gauge, 4.0mm Argentium® Sterling Silver jump rings.
hammer

Wubbers Oval Artisan’s Mark Texture Hammer

Want this tutorial as a printable PDF?  Click the link below!

Rectangle Link Tutorial PDF

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Posted in Free Classes, jewelry making, Jewelry Tips, Tools

Want a FREE pair of Wubbers Pliers???

Full Shear Side by SidePatti and Laura shared their most used and recommended shears in a previous blog post. Wubbers does not manufacture or market shears, nor are we affiliated with any brand of shears, but we definitely use shears. Along with our recommendation we made the exciting announcement we are giving away a Free pair of Wubbers Pliers! 

Here is how to enter:

Visit our Facebook page by clicking on this link and share a little bit about your favorite shears. If you don’t have any, simply post a friendly hello. If you are not on Facebook, we don’t want to leave you out, so just shoot us a quick email (info@wubbersu.com). We will combine all the names and will randomly select one person to receive a brand-new pair of Wubbers pliers. Winner will be announced in a live Facebook post on April 19, 2019 starting at 12:30 pm. 

OFFICIAL RULES/TERMS AND CONDITIONS

  1. Share on our Wubbers University Facebook post a little bit about your favorite shears. If you don’t have any, simply post a friendly hello.
  2. If you are not on Facebook, write in an email to info@wubbersu.com with a little bit about your favorite shears. If you don’t have any, simply say a friendly hello.
  3. Adults, ages 18 and older, are encouraged to enter.
  4. One entry per person.
  5. Deadline for submissions is Midnight CST, April 18, 2019.
  6. Winners will be notified through private email and/or private message on Facebook. Check our Facebook* page at www.facebook.com/WubbersU for giveaway updates and announcements.
  7. Participants must be willing for their name to be posted on our websites, social media, and/or in our newsletter.

*This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to the owner of this Facebook page and not to Facebook.

**By submitting your written entry, you are acknowledging you agree to the above Terms and Conditions.

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Posted in Giveaway, jewelry making, Jewelry Making Q&A, Jewelry Tips, Tools
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