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About Narrina

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  • Birthday 03/07/1987

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  • Gender
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  • Biography
    I was born and raised in Ireland where my parents were missionaries for 13 years.
  • Location
    Standish, Michigan, USA
  • Interests
    Reading, jewelry making, chainmaille, Star Trek, Narnia, all things Tolkien
  • Occupation
    College student
  • The year you started making chainmail
  1. Narrina

    Types of Material

    Nope, not a plated or alloyed wire. Tantalum is related to niobium so it shares the same hypoallergenic properties and its ability to be anodized, but it is a lot rarer metal. It's very pliable to start with, but it work hardens immediately so, before you bend it, you need to be sure that that is where you want the bend to be because straightening it out after will not be easy. It doesn't solder, only vacuum welding will work, but it is a very strong material, stronger than steel and it doesn't corrode/oxidize. The metals that are marketed as 'super alloys' were alloyed with tantalum. It's natural colour is a grey with purplish hues to it. Usually, it's most often used in rocket engines. It can be quite expensive though.
  2. Narrina

    What's everyone doing?

    I thought it was backed up on Onedrive, but it turned out it wasn'tšŸ˜•. I'm now going to be keeping back-ups on an external drive, flashdrive, and email.
  3. Narrina

    What's everyone doing?

    Lately, I've been enjoying my new torch šŸ˜€. Added several more silversmithing pieces into my inventory over the last few months. I'm also trying to write my second novel, or re-write to be more precise. I'd had it nearly finished in December until it met with a fatal laptop malfunction that completely corrupted the file beyond all repair šŸ˜­. On top of all that, I've also been working on my digital painting/sketching skills.
  4. Narrina

    Types of Material

    It partly depends on what market you're wanting to sell to. Some people just love aluminum and anodized aluminum (personally, I absolutely hate it), however that material is going to prove very difficult if you are wanting to sell in the high-end spectrum of the jewellery market. It's more of a low-end/mid-range market material and you often have to add heaver beads/components to compensate for the lightness of the metal as a lot of people are turned off by it. With armour, you're more often choosing the stronger metals like steel, brass, bronze, titanium, etc. (aluminum/AA is often used for clothing though), while, for jewellery, one of the biggest factors in metal preference is what market you're in. In the lower-end and middle range markets, you can make pretty much any material work, but in the higher-end market, you will be much more limited in what materials will sell best. In that market, metals like sterling/fine/argentium silver, gold (solid or gold-filled, but never plate), platinum, tantalum, titanium/anodized titanium, and niobium are often going to be your best choices. Copper, bronze, and stainless steel can also work in the higher-end markets, but your craftsmenship and artistry have to be top notch to pull it off, as does your marketing strategy. For myself, I've gone with the high-end market, and work with sterling silver and copper primarily, but also some tantalum and anodized titanium and am working my way up to adding in gold (solid). When I was just starting though, I worked in whatever I could get my hands on until I knew what I liked and what end of the market I wanted to work in. Except for galvy, galvinized steel is probably the only metal I hate more than aluminum šŸ˜‚.
  5. Narrina

    Couple of questions returning to the craft

    I regularly work in wire 16ga to 24ga (mostly sterling silver and copper, but I've also cut stainless steel and tantalum), and I use a jeweller's saw. Can't help much with the magnifiers though as I don't use any, however, I do know a lot of jeweller's that use optivizors to help them with small work so maybe they'd work for you as well.
  6. Narrina

    Seeing what works for others

    One big question to ask yourself is which do you enjoy the making the most? If one or the other bores or frustrates you, but you truly love the other and can easily see yourself still doing it for hours and hours years down the road, then go in that direction. Jewellery is likely to be the easier option for selling, but neither are really that easy and, whatever you decide, you will have to find some way to differentiate yourself from those already out there so that you don't just get lost in the crowd.
  7. Narrina

    Saw Blades vs Stainless Steel

    Stainless is a pain to cut no matter how you're cutting it. I've had blades go dull or shatter after only 5 or 6 rings, while other times I've gotten 100+ from one blade. I use a jeweller's saw with 2/0 blades. Before attaching the blade to your saw, inspect the blade carefully to make sure it isn't already slightly dull. In every gross of blades I get, there are always some that are already semi-dull. Also, if you don't already do so, always lubricate your blade. It'll make it last longer and cut more easily. There are lubricants you can buy, but I just use oils from my own skin. It sounds gross, but it works really well and will cut down the amount of friction on the blade so it cuts better and won't go dull or shatter as quickly.
  8. It will be very expensive either way, but I'd say make them. 1) You can better ensure the quality of the finished ring, 2) buying wire and making rings yourself tends to be cheaper, 3) it can be rather difficult sometimes to estimate how many rings you are going to need and the last thing you'll want is to come short and have to buy more gold,and 4) you'll have a greater range of ring sizes. As for who carries 18k rose gold, 20ga: go to Pasternak Findings. They're a supply company in Israel and are excellent. I buy all my large quantity silver orders from them. They have free international shipping for orders of $500 and greater.
  9. Narrina

    The 'nerd' factor

    I agree with many of the things posted here. Of course you're a nerd, you're here aren't you?! Nerdiness seeks out like nerdiness. (I'm reminded of a line from Alice in Wonderland: "Welcome, we're all a little mad here!"). But more seriously, I agree with Lorenzo. You haven't found the right crowd yet. Where I live, if I mention I make chainmaille I get a bunch of blank stares and people thinking I'm meaning those annoying chain letters. Then I have to explain what it is and sometimes still get blank stares. At the shows I now do, many people either recognize what it is or don't care what the technique is they just like unique jewelry. Also, while I may tell them that the technique of a particular piece is chainmaille and 'fill_in_the_blank_weave," I, for a number of reasons, market my jewelry as being historically inspired. A lot of people don't really care that much about what the technique is, they just like the finished piece. I tell people what it is because 1) some actually are interested, 2) it makes it easier for them to come back for more if they know what it is, and 3) it shows I know my trade, however, I tailor how much/what I say based on my observations of the potential customer.
  10. Narrina

    Chainmail(le) hourly wages.

    It's through a mix of ways really. Sometimes you learn about a show via word-of-mouth, but some magazines do also give information about shows (there are actually (at least in the U.S.) entire magazines just for listing art and craft shows), and often a town's Chamber of Commerce will know about what shows are in their area (some even head them up themselves). There are also websites specifically for looking for art and craft shows. Here are a few sites for shows in Australia: www.craftevents.com.au 10times.com/australia/arts-crafts/tradeshows www.thefinderskeepers.com/markets.php www.tascraftfair.com.au/ melbourneartfair.com.au/ www.craftalive.com.au/ www.eventseye.com/fairs-organizers/expertise-events-1276-1.html And these are just a few. Try doing a Google search for art shows/craft shows/art fairs, etc. in Australia, or wherever in Australia you are wanting/willing to go to for shows, and you might be surprised by how many you get. You can also try looking on FB as a lot of larger shows will also have a FB page.
  11. Narrina

    Chainmail(le) hourly wages.

    I really would recommend getting some other web presence to help drive traffic to your shop. If you're not interested in starting a Facebook page (although they are a good thing to have if you are trying to sell online), then you could always consider a Pinterest account and pin all your Etsy store listings to your account. Google seems to really like Pinterest and can help drive traffic to your Etsy. ( I have had to sales thus far directly related to Pinterest.) If nothing else, add your Etsy store link to your signature on all the forums that you post on, this can also help to drive traffic to your store. There are also ways to promote, advertise, market, etc. your store offline. If you have business cards, give them to people when you talk to them about what you make. If your friends and family talk to others about your work, give them some cards to be able to hand out when they talk about it. Also be on the look-out for community boards where you see others leaving business cards/fliers behind and leave a few of your own. Also, every time you make a sale at a show or online, be sure to include a business card. These are just a few simple ways that can help promote your store. This is why I don't sell at my local craft shows. I used to do shows that only cost me $25-$30 for a space and most of the time wouldn't even break even. Most of the shows I do now cost me $100-$200 (although the ones I'm looking at applying to now will cost me more) and I make nearly 10x the booth cost. Perhaps try some shows that are outside of your area, but still easy enough for you to get to, or a different type of show all together. (There are many kinds of craft shows and some shows are just better quality then others, but they don't always have to be expensive to be a decent show.) For myself, I've found I do best at the fine art shows rather than at craft shows. This is true not just with chainmaille but with any art or craft based business. If you want to make your living (or even half your living) off of it you are going to have to spend a lot of time and money in order to do accomplish it. So, if this is what you want, you have to work hard at it and be very, very patient because it doesn't happen overnight.
  12. Narrina

    Chainmail(le) hourly wages.

    I charge $25-$30 an hour. At my shows, I currently display pieces priced everywhere from $15 to $1,800 (and, yes, I have actually sold a piece in the 4-digit price range); though most pieces fall between $35-$350. For me, most of my sales come from pieces between $55 and $150 with bracelets being my best seller. I sell through a combination of Fine Art shows, my website, and a gallery that started carrying my jewelry in mid-summer of this year. (The Lord has really been blessing my business the last few years. While it is not yet to where it can be my sole income, it is growing and is getting close to being equal with my part-time job.) As far as other selling venues online, if you are looking to have your own website I'd highly recommend going through Indiemade. I have my site through them and I love it! I'd stay as far away from Etsy as possible. They have a lot of issues. However, regardless of where you sell online, you will need to do a lot of marketing, promoting, and advertising to drive traffic to your shop otherwise you'll just be lost to cyberspace.
  13. Narrina

    Tarnished Rose Gold Filled?

    Try putting the piece either in a tumbler with some stainless steel shot, water, and a tiny squirt of blue Dawn dishsoap. Or, if you don't have a tumbler, a small tupperware dish (with lid) will work, just fill with water, add a tiny squirt (too much can leave a nasty yellow residue do to undissolved soap) of the blue Dawn dishsoap (only the blue as the other kinds have various chemical additives that may leave residue), and spin it around for a few minutes and it should clean up just fine. (Basically you're turning the tupperware dish into a mini tumber/washing machine). I've cleaned regular gold-fill this way and it works great (works on copper also, just takes a bit longer). I'd be very careful about using acids to clean it with. If you aren't careful, you can make the solution to strong and cause damage to the piece (I've etched copper because the vinegar solution was too strong), also, with this being gold-filled and not solid you may want to be extra careful.
  14. Personally, I'd go with the sterling silver. Bracelets can receive a lot of banging around, almost as much as rings. Also, they can get caught on objects and get torn apart. Rings and bracelets tend to be the highest wear pieces of jewelry in terms of rough treatmeant and so stronger materials are better for long-term durability.
  15. Narrina

    Help with getting into events

    Hmm. Well maybe these sites will be of help: Arts and Crafts Shows - USA: http://www.artsandcraftshows-usa.com/ Craft Master News: http://www.craftmasternews.com/Default.aspx FestivalNet.com: http://festivalnet.com/index.html Fairs and Festivals: http://www.fairsandfestivals.net/ They all allow you to search for shows by state.