Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Website alive and a show this weekend unveiling unique lines in fused glass....

This week I spent time reviving Kuukivi's website.  It still needs a lot of loving and caring but basic website is up.  The last animation I had was all white background and the images of necklaces seem to float on that white.  But this time around, I am taking pictures on different backgrounds, so it was difficult to make it work.  I need to redo the animation in a different way but it has to wait till after the holiday season.

We have a show this weekend.  On Dec 8, Saturday, we will be at Santa Clara Library Holiday Craft fair from 10am - 4pm.  I am excited to unveil my new line of glass jewelry there.  I will have glass pendants with designs hand painted with 23k gold and Fine Silver.

 I will have some glass pieces that are enameled with Fine Silver cloisonne which are very unique to Kuukivi.

 I will also have some wine bottle stoppers and keychains with fused glass pieces.

Apart from glass, I will have some Fine silver pendants enameled and copper pendants enameled with Fine Silver cloisonne.

I am definitely excited about the new collection and seems like I am moving more and more in the direction of working with enamels and a few art pieces.

I participated in a "Ornamental my dear" challenge by Metal Clay Today.  Today is the last day to vote for the pieces.  Next blog I will post pictures and details about the project...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Touching and emotional

Today, I went to meet a couple in a coffee shop in Los Altos.  Background for this meeting:  During the long weekend, I got a message via Etsy from someone who wanted to get a fingerprint pendant made.  She mentioned that her husband is dying of ALS (the same thing that Stephen Hawking, one of my favorite scientists of all time has) and would like to get his fingerprint on a pendant as a beautiful memory.  We chatted a bit and decided on meeting today.

Usually I like to go the decided venue before the scheduled time, secure a nice table to sit, relax and wait.  Today, I got caught up in doing some enameling work at home and reached just in time.  I see a couple at a table and immediately felt they have to be the folks I came for.  I must admit I was a bit nervous going in as this is the first time I am creating a memory pendant with adult only.  But within a few minutes, we were chatting away about everything in the world.  Both of them are so nice and open, sharing stories and information about ALS.  His outlook towards life is soo amazing.  I can only imagine how hard it must be for him knowing and dealing with it and his wife for going through all this and be there for him anytime he needs.

While deciding what shape she would like the pendant to be and what texture would be nice for that pendant in the back (and he decides which one would look the best which was sooo cute), he was sharing stories about his stay in Japan and how his grandfather used to work and lived close to Mumbai (Bombay in those days) and how parents should love their children unconditionally and be there for them no matter what.... Even while getting the fingerprint done (had to do it twice), he couldnt help but joke about not having perfect fingerprints:)  Between him teasing his wife and her responses, one can see how much love there is between them and it just touched my heart to see that.

After the pendant is done, as usual, I was sitting for a little while for the pendant to dry before transporting.  While chatting, he looked at the enameled pendant I was wearing and mentioned that he would like (and he suspects most ALS patients would like this) to have something (cant call it a pendant for a guy right) that has 3 letters DNR written on it (for Do Not Resuscitate) and was explaining to me why he would not like to be resuscitated if something was to happen to him and he is paralyzed.  He explained why he would not like to be which I wont go over here.  I understood what he was saying but at the same time looking at her face also understood why it would be the most difficult thing for her to do.  I told him, for myself, that's the decision I would take too but if it is for someone I dearly love, I am not sure it would be that easy.  For that, he said that we are not logical and I told him that yes, we are women, and sometimes women are more emotional than logical.

Irrespective of whether I am emotional or logical, I decided to do one for him in copper with red enamel (he wanted to be big and eye catching) with the letters DNR on both sides (at no charge ofcourse).

Just before leaving the coffee shop his comment was "you are fun for a girl"and I told him I will take it as a big complement.  This is the most touching and emotional experience I have had with Kuukivi.  I came out with more energy than I went inside.  People like this couple share their goodness and positive energy around wherever they go....May he live like Stephen Hawking beating all odds....

Monday, November 19, 2012


I just saw a wonderful complement from Liz on her facebook page regarding the pendant I posted in my last blog.  I love getting feedback from customers.

Last week I was working feverishly towards finishing up a piece for MetalClay Today challenge - Ornamental piece.  I managed to finish, photograph and send it out 2hrs before the deadline:)

Thought I will share something not related to the jewelry I make.  Our family is a bit crazy about legos. We have a small townhouse but legos have their own room in it (admittedly not a full size room but a storage/play space under the stair case but still...).  Last year my husband and I wanted to build a lego model of our son's face (2D ofcourse).

There is an app on iPhone that actually converts any photo into lego photo (and I used it to make lego photoframes into our sons lego birthday goody bags).

But this project needed a little more help. While we were in Europe we found this software which does a better job than this iPhone app (but for some reason the software was strictly for Europeans only!!!) Luckily we used it there so we tried out a few photos to see which one works best and settled for one that gave us the best results.  It gave us what and how many colors/legos we need.  Finding all the colors and different size legos was not an easy job. I had to order from multiple sources and substitute sizes sometimes.

But ofcourse we procrastinated the actual build process by almost a year.  So, finally decided we have to do this before Thanksgiving.

With everything else that was going on, it took us more than a week to build the 1600+ piece model.  Here is a picture of it.  I need to put backing and hang it up...It was lot of fun building legos and probably the only lego project that our son didnt help build:)

That's our accomplishment for this Thanksgiving and my musings for this week:)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Back to life with making memories

Can't believe its been months since the last post.  Well, yesterday Pat Evans invited me to a challenge to write one blog a week till Chrstimas.  Here's to accepting the challenge to keep it up till then and hopefully by then it becomes a habit!.

Last one year I spent learning, figuring out what my passions are (because they change you know) and what it is I want to do for the next few years.  I realized that I like making memories especially with children, whether it is doing science experiments with them or making jewelry.  So, I am now making "mom and child" fingerprint jewelry or "imprinting childrens artwork" and loving it.   But my passion seems to be into enameling, an awesome art of adding color.

I made a few "mom and child" pendants in the last few weeks.  I especially love making these pendants because it is such an uplifting experience every single time.  Meeting mom and child, making them part of the experience.  I usually start by setting up everything while talking to them,  make the child comfortable with me, if possible give her a crayon or something to hold and play etc.  While talking to them, I let them pick the shape, talk a little about the process and explain that it might take more than one attempt to get the fingerprints.  We talk about if they want birthstone CZs in the pendant, where I might place them although sometimes, I get better inspiration for placement after the fingerprints are taken (like the one in the picture below...).  Then I roll the clay in front of the child like its playdough and getting their fingerprints... I almost always put a shallow texture underneath to get a nice reversible pendant.    Of course if the fingerprints doesnt work the first time, we try and try again.  I have had to do it multiple times sometimes to get the prints clear and nice.

It always warms my heart to fire up the piece in the kiln, patina the fingerprints and polish the pendant one more time and give it in person.  I am doing the fingerprint jewelry only in bay area for now as I really like to offer this as a wholesome experience and not just a piece of jewelry.  I do carry a fingerprint inkless pad and paper now in case I cant get the fingerprints at all but I try a few times directly on clay before  using the backup.  Besides, getting the prints directly on the clay is more secure too right..

Here's the latest one I worked on....with birthstone CZs for both mom and child.  Along with making the jewelry, I am learning how to take better pictures of jewelry too.  Although for fingerprint jewelry I want to make sure the fingerprints kinda look fuzzy in the pictures...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Art Clay Silver certification and more...

Last weekend Sadaf and I completed the requirements for the Art Clay certification.  It was cool and we made all 7 pieces, some are definitely our favourites, some not so much but was good learning experience overall.  I never did make a piece completely using syringe and it was challenging but now I know:)

At home, decided to give "plique a jour" enameling method a try and was proud when I actually succeeded in it in the first try (well, first try that actually went into the kiln).  It took a couple of tries, a peek into one of the best enamel books by Linda Darty and a deep breath to get the enamel to stick on the syringe pendant I made for certification (which has no backing).

Ordered a macro lens finally so waiting for it to arrive next week so I can take pictures and start posting the projects I have been working on, including the latest bronze pieces!!

Friday, April 27, 2012

color...color and oh yeah color.....

I have been designing and making jewelry for 7 years now.  Maybe its the 7 year itch but suddenly I became a full time student....For the past few months, I have been learning about enameling, different techniques of using Metal Clay, different types of metal clay....Yesterday I dabbed the day in playing with Glass Clay...I have to say I am not a big fan of Glass clay although I absolutely love Glass work. 

Enameling on the other hand, stole my heart.  It brought back all the childhood "wishes"....I used to have this beautiful little gold pendant as far as I can remember with two peacocks which are enameled and I always used to admire and wonder how they do it.....and to be able to learn that now is just absolutely amazing....Here's the first piece I ever enameled...

And I usually like my pendants to be beautiful on both sides especially the flat ones....and in enameling, its advisable to do counter enameling (enamel the back side too), its only natural to make the other side as beautiful as the front...

As I get more pieces ready with enameling I will post them here and soon will start blogging about how some of these can be done...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sterling Silver class by Patrik Kusek

Took an intense weekend class to learn all about Sterling Silver Clay offered by Patrik Kusek....And decided to do both the projects he was offering...a pendant and a ring:)  This is my first time working with Sterling Silver and also my first ever ring I made.  It was awesome learning new techniques and had lots of fun with all the other 'students'.  Patrik is a great teacher (Thanks Pat for referring him to us) and hoping to take more in the future.

We not only learn how to work with Sterling Silver, but also how to incorporate UV resin with Silver to make a beautiful center.  I never thought I will use UV resin into Silver but learnt how elegant it can be!

Here's the pendant I made in the class.  This pendant has a hole in the center to let light through.  And I loved the SteamPunk theme Patrik had in the example and decided to adopt that. I used Lisa Pavelka's steampunk collection of gears in the pendant.  I also incorported a piece of paper from pre-1920's printing along with a couple of pieces of gold and copper foil for color.

To test out resin, Patrik made us do a sample in a bottle cap.  This came out sooo good, I turned it into a magnet for my little one who absolutely loved it.