Off to Synergy Conference 2010...How About You?

The countdown begins for Synergy Conference 2010 in just 12 days. Held in Baltimore, MD, every 2 years this conference pulls together an amazing group of polymer artists. In 2008, I got the opportunity to meet Alison Lee from Craftcast, Cynthia Tinapple from Polymer Clay Daily, catch up with Tim McCreight, Robert Dancik, Cindy Silas, Kelly Russell and many more incredibly creative artisans!

It’s a unique chance to absorb the great ideas of designers such as Dan Cormier, Ronna Weltman, Lisa Pavelka, and Kathleen Dustin. Get your color fix with Maggie Maggio, Lindly Huanani, your passion for pattern with Sarah Shriver, and even learn about metal clay from Tamara Honaman, to name a few.

If that wasn’t enough, stay or come in early for the American Craft Council Show happening at the same time. Plus you can rub elbows with Ford and Forlano at the cocktail event! There’s even a vendor room to scoop up the latest and greatest in materials, books, and tools. I’ll be there representing Whole Lotta Whimsy. Stop by and say hi!

Master Muses Spotlight: Barbara Becker Simon and Vickie Hallmark

Since the last newsletter, our blog,, has featured Master Muses Barbara Becker Simon and Vickie Hallmark’s clasps. They were innovative in their connections, engineered construction and engaging design. There was carving, textures, creative connections, and a sense of playfulness in both!

3 of the 5 clasp challenges have been featured. The two artists left to be featured in this team, are Angela Baduel-Crispin and Patrik Kusek. We hope you’ll take a moment out of the middle of your week, to take a breathe and absorb the inspiration that these artists provide. What could be a better treat in the middle of your week? Better yet, scoop up your materials and tools and take the challenge along with them. It gives you two days before the weekend to get your materials and tools rounded up. Stretch your skills and build your confidence by trying something new. Visit the blog this Wednesday for a spectacular visual treat by Angela Baduel-Crispin!

Also, in just 3 weeks Whole Lotta Whimsy will have the first tutorial by Anne Mitchell available for purchase. How exciting!

CHA: Craft and Hobby Association Trade Show

We recently attended this enormous and exciting trade show in Los Angeles. The show takes 3 days just to walk by each booth, and that doesn’t account for time to visit and see what each one has to offer. Manufacturers and designers from all over the world attend to show their newest inventions and materials.

I remember Robert Dancik commenting in class that he likes to go to the hardware store to go up and down the isles and imagine what he can do with parts that are meant to be used for other purposes. That’s how I approach CHA. I look at materials not meant for jewelry applications and figure out how my customers can use them and if they would innovate their work. At dinner each night you can hardly keep me from exploding with ideas and exuberance from all that I have seen during the day!

So be on the lookout for lots and lots of new products coming to Whole Lotta Whimsy. That means that over the next month you’ll see lots of older products go into clearance so we can make room for the new stuff. This translates to great deals, extra bucks, and maybe you’ll discover a new material or tool that can make your work that much better!

Tucson Gem Show

Oh boy! January and February are just a blur for me. The holidays whoosh by and then it’s one trade show after another. Today is the last day of the Tucson Gem Show. I’ll be there when it opens scrambling to buy a few last minute things for Whole Lotta Whimsy.

This year, big is in style! Recession = big beads and statement jewelry! Last year it was big chains and this year, it’s big beads. Add to big and bold, bling! Crystals, large cocktail rings, sequin studded pieces, and opulence seemed popular. Cuffs and ethnic designs are fashionably in style as well. Don’t forget bold colors and combinations too!

Diamonds in every color were prevalent as well as new slices of diamonds bezel set or channel set in earrings and pendants. Gary Wilson’s booth full of unique and beautifully cut stones were very popular. I scooped up fossilized turtle shell and other textured pieces.

There were lots of shoppers and it seemed busy.

Since we are speaking of trends, here is pantone’s color forecast for spring:

violet, aurora (yellow), turquoise, fusion coral, tomatoe puree, tuscany (beige), amparo blue, pink champagne, dried herb, ecualyptus

10 Fun Vocabulary Words

1. Unity and Variety
When design elements relate to one another with enough commonality to hold the space together and enough diversity to make things interesting.
“The tasks of artists is to organize elements into a comprehensible whole by simplifying, organizing, and unifying.” -Kenneth Bates
2. Vernier Caliper
An additional scale which allows a distance or angle measurement to be read more precisely than directly reading a uniformly-divided straight or circular measurement scale. Handy for quick reference and can be precise if it gives a digital readout.
3. Work Hardening
Metal consists of irregularly shaped larger crystals held in what’s called a space lattice. When metal is shaped, hammered, bent, etc, these crystals are broken into smaller ones. This can also happen when metal is rapidly cooled. Work hardening creates more grain boundaries. The metal is then tough to work with and can crack or break.
4. Zinc
A white metal mainly used as a constituent of brass and other alloys. Used in solder, this metal controls the melting temperature. The higher the content of zinc in the solder, the lower the melting temperature. When making solder, take care to avoid over-heating because the zinc will go off as a vapor, changing the proportions. Each time solder becomes fluid, it’s melting point is raised. Overheating a previously soldered joint will burn out the zinc and can leave a pitted seam. Pickle can also attack the zinc in a solder seam so take care not to leave your pieces in the pot for prolonged periods. Zinc’s melting point is 787°F.
5. Alloy
A homogenous mixture or solid solution of two or more metals, the atoms of one replacing or occupying interstitial positions between the atoms of the other: Sterling Silver is an alloy of fine silver and copper.
6. Beauty
The quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations, a meaningful design or pattern, or something else
7. Champlevé
An enameling technique that involves cutting chambers or cells in sheet, and then filling them with enamel. The term, in French, means raised field. It’s one of the oldest forms of enameling, found in Egyptian art. They would pour molten glass into the recessed areas of the metal. The recesses today can be made with texture, chasing, embossing, etching, casting, etc.
8. Design
An arrangement of visual elements in space. To arrange visual elements in space. Anytime you are engaged in arranging elements you are designing.
“Design is the conscious and intuitive effort to impose meaningful order.” --Victor Papanek
9. Etching
The controlled corrosion of a surface using acids to create decorative or textured patterns.
10. Former
A structure, generally made of steel, used to support metal while it is being formed.

Stretch Your Moolah: Clearance

January and February are big months for companies releasing new tools, supplies, and other products. In order to make room for new things well be bringing in to the warehouse we are putting on clearance many items. Time to clean house! This is a good news for those of you looking for exceptional deals!


Don't forget to visit our SALE page. These are items that are overstocked. Wed like to clear out a few and when those are gone, they go back to their regular price. Take advantage of these prices.

Suggestions? We Want to Hear Them!

We'd love to hear from you if you find this newsletter insightful or if you think it needs improvement. Tell us what we could do to make it better. Have an artist that you would like to have interviewed? Let us know! Have a request for a product to be shown in our video tutorials? We are always wondering what products need to be demonstrated to be better understood. That's what spurred the tutorials in the first place. We are open to your suggestions and comments. Send them to

New Items for February

Click on highlighted index categories to go see those website pages

Beading Supplies and Chains

  • Earring Card
  • 4.0mm Leather Bracelets with Stainless Steel Clasp
  • 4.0mm Leather and Sterling Braided Leather Necklaces
  • Magical Pick w/ Adhesive Resin Tip
  • Beader’s Mini Travel Kit

Books, Magazines and Calendars

  • Mixed Media and Color
  • Zentangle 2
  • Zentagle Basic
  • Fabulous Fabric Art with Lurtadur
  • Beaded Opulence
  • Wood Jewelry
  • Layered, Tattered, and Stitched
  • Beaded Colorways
  • Creative Time and Space
  • Objects of Reflection

Elemental Vintage D: Copper Components

  • Copper Round Tube Bail

Firing: Kiln and Torch Supplies

  • Fire Brick
  • Butane Fuel 1.5oz Triple Filtered
  • Heavy Duty Torch

Supplies C: Surface Coloration Products

  • Tranz IT Rinse Away Paper (5)
  • Doc Bailey’s Leather Clear 5oz
  • Doc Bailey’s Leather Restoration and Re-Dye Repair Kit

Supplies D: Mixed Media

  • Antique Lock and Keys
  • Fast2Fuse Heavycraft Pack
  • Lurtadur Mixed Media Sheets
  • Timtex Craft Pack
  • Lustre Cleaner for Pearls and Stones
  • Precious Metal Liquid Jewelry Cleaner

Tools B: Textures, Molds and Stamps

  • Texture Sheet Group J
  • Jewelry Diamond and Round Earrings Mold
  • Jewelry Scroll Heart Mold
  • Jewelry Small Abstract Shapes

Tools D: Templates and Cutters

  • Makin’s Cutter Set
  • Makin's Heart Cutter

Tools J: Hammering, Sawing and Forming

  • Wood Sawblade Holder

Tools K: Wire Work and Shears

  • 4 Shapes Multi Mandrel Set
  • 2-pc 5 Step Mandrel Set
  • Gemsetting Plier

Tools L: Miscellaneous Bench Tools

  • Metal Atomizer

Tools M: Mixed Media and Surface Treatments

  • 18 Watt Transfer Tool
  • Butane Powered Embossing and Wax Finishing Tool

Tools O: Organize and Magnify

  • Bead Container with rectangle inner containers
  • Craft Storganizer