• Chris Anderson: Tool Maker, Jewelry Designer, Lapidarist and More

    Fine silver foxtail chain with pendant featuring an Ellensburg blue agate
    chris anderson - tool maker, lapidarist, jewelry maker

    In This Episode of Heart & Hands of a Maker

    We’re talking with tool maker Chris Anderson of Lion Punch Forge. Chris has been a maker nearly all his life and embraces new paths and challenges without fear. Not only is he a tool maker, he is also a jewelry designer, lapidarist, and so much more. Chris is a voracious reader and applies all he consumes to all facets of his life. His knowledge serves him in his pursuits including all he does to help others with their businesses, tool needs, and more.

    Tool maker, lapidary artist, community leader

    Through this in-depth conversation, Chris shares the value of building a business around a community that supports (and protects) each other. He highlights the importance of meeting customers where they are and providing support for their needs. Chris shares his perspective on success as a journey. He also discusses the importance and value of networking with other businesses.

    To find Chris and Lion Punch Forge:

    Be sure to also read this fascinating “welding in a small studio” article by Chris, published in Southern Jewelry News.


    excerpt: “
    A welder can be used to tack (lightly attach) a complicated soldering operation into position, saving set up time and increasing the success of that operation. Combining solder and welding can yield very successful and timely results. A welder can also be used to create complex jewelry forms that may otherwise be out of reach using just a solder join.”

    tool maker, jewelry designer, lapidarist Chris Anderson of Lion Punch Forge

    Key Episode Takeaways

    • Be adaptive and willing to change in order to succeed in business.
    • Find inspiration in your surroundings and incorporate it into your art.
    • Embrace mistakes and persevere to create beautiful results.
    • Spread positivity and hope through your art and interactions with others.
    • Take risks and be unique in your creative work.
    • Attend shows and events to make in-person connections and learn from others.
    Fine silver foxtail chain with pendant featuring an Ellensburg blue agate
    Fine silver foxtail chain with pendant featuring an Ellensburg blue agate. "The general construction of this necklace isn’t very complex. The complexity occurs when it comes to the stone setting. In this case the bezel setting is inside the hollow form and suspended." By Chris Anderson

    Chapters

    (times are estimates)
    00:00

    Introduction and Background

    01:23

    Jill’s Creative Journey

    03:12

    Discovering a Passion for Teaching

    04:06

    Starting an E-Learning Company

    05:05

    Transitioning to Making Dog Wear

    08:19

    Embracing Technology and Overcoming Fear

    11:04

    The Rise of Makers and the Importance of Handmade

    12:46

    Creating Custom Fit Dog Wear

    15:10

    Teaching Others to Make Dog Wear

    17:29

    Marrying Passion for Making and Teaching

    19:25

    Advice for Those Starting Out

    21:39

    The Importance of Goal Planning

    23:58

    Dealing with Imposter Syndrome

    25:22

    Balancing Work and Pursuing a Passion

    28:10

    Taking Time for Yourself

    29:23

    Believing in Yourself and Overcoming Fear

    31:38

    Transitioning from One Business to Another

    32:08

    Dealing with Imposter Syndrome

    33:34

    Finding Joy in Creativity

    35:32

    Creating New Designs and Overcoming Fear

    39:24

    Teaching and Empowering Others

    40:43

    Closing Remarks

    two finger hollow form ring in sterling silver, adorned with leaf shot made with Kevin Potter's plates. The ring itself has 11 set stones including amethyst, vintage tourmaline leaf carvings, citrine, and peridot.
    "A challenge ring" - two finger hollow form ring in sterling silver, adorned with leaf shot made with Kevin Potter's plates. The ring itself has 11 set stones including amethyst, vintage tourmaline leaf carvings, citrine, and peridot. The challenge was I dedicated myself to doing the construction with a plumber's torch. By Chris Anderson
    Titanium solder pick made by Lion Punch Forge, personalized engraving
    Chain. By Chris Anderson

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  • Historical Look Back at Tucson Gem and Mineral Shows

    Tucson Gem & Mineral Shows Attract Collectors and Then Some!

    Tucson, Arizona, a city found in the beautiful Sonoran Desert, transforms into a global haven for gemstone and mineral enthusiasts every late January early February. What began as a small exhibition in the 1950s has burgeoned into the largest and most renowned gathering of its kind.

    amethyst geodes

    The Genesis

    The Tucson shows date back to the mid-20th century when the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society (TGMS) laid the cornerstone. In 1955, the TGMS organized the first showcase, intended primarily for local collectors and enthusiasts. Held at a local school on East Glenn, this humble event laid the foundation for what would eventually evolve into 45+ shows that take over the whole city!

    amethyst slices on display
    amethyst slices on display

    Over Time

    The first Tucson Gem & Mineral club show was a success and moved to the local fairgrounds for the next decade+. The show continued to grow, attracting more exhibitors and more visitors. In 1960, the curator for the Smithsonian was invited to exhibit—and he said “yes!” The curator brought with him an exhibit and, it is said, this changed the course of the shows from their forward.

    Tucson-Skyline

    Pivotal Growth

    By 1970 there were 100 exhibitors and $2 million worth of collections on display. In 1973 the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society hosted their club show at the Tucson Convention Center. This was a significant milestone and offered them space to accommodate the swelling number of participants, including international vendors and attendees. Change from here forward was exponential.

    Gemstone strands as seen in the Dakota Stones booth during the Tucson Gem & Mineral Shows
    Gemstone strands as seen in the Dakota Stones booth during the Tucson Gem & Mineral Shows

    Time Marches On

    Each year, the Tucson Gem and Mineral Shows continue to evolve, welcoming new technologies and trends. The rise of e-commerce and online platforms has influenced the way business is conducted, enabling the show’s global impact to extend far beyond its physical location. However, the in-person experience remains irreplaceable, as it offers a tactile and immersive encounter with all that can be found in this beautiful city.

    Cabochons carved by Joe Jelks of Horizon Minerals
    Cabochons carved by Joe Jelks of Horizon Minerals

    Nature on Display

    The shows also celebrate the artistic aspect of minerals and gems, showcasing the natural specimens as well as craftsmanship of lapidary artists who transform raw stones into juicy pieces of art ripe for your next jewelry making endeavor. From intricately carved cameos to beautifully faceted gemstones, these creations add a layer of artistry to the event, elevating it beyond a mere trade show.

    American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) show held inside the Tucson Convention Center
    American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) show held inside the Tucson Convention Center

    Culmination

    To this day the shows attract visitors, collectors, and dealers from every corner of the world. The Tucson Gem and Mineral club show is still a cornerstone of the Tucson Gem and Mineral shows and it is still held at the Tucson Convention Center which also houses the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) show. The AGTA show is held early in the weeks the shows can be attended and the TGMS shows runs the last few days of the cycle and it remains a “must see!”

    During the MOJO event, l to r: Katie Hacker, Meredith Roddy, Sandra Lupo, Wyatt White, Tamara Honaman, Deb Floros

    Tucson Gem and Mineral Shows Offer More Than Gemstones

    The Tucson Gem and Mineral Shows (as a collective) is more than just a commercial event. The shows are a melting pot of cultures, knowledge, and artistry. The shows play host to a diverse array of exhibitors, from individual collectors, dealers showcasing their finest gemstones and minerals, finished jewelry pieces as well as raw stones, fossils, lapidary art, and the latest finds, fresh from the Earth. You can also learn how to make jewelry while in town! 

    Tucson’s geographical setting plays a significant role in the show’s success. A hub for “snowbirds,” there are many more who like to escape winter and flock to the desert southwest! There is also great food to be had, friends to connect with, art, and culture, too.

    For a more in-depth look, be sure to read Terri Haag’s account of the shows history. 

  • Milagros Rivera Mixed Media Artist

    Meet Milagros Rivera a Mixed Media Artist and Instructor

    Milagros Rivera is, at her core, an artist. She breathes life into any material that speaks to her and empowers others through her words and imagery. Mixed Media is her passion!

    Milagros is also a business woman, operating The Paper Boutique Scrapbooking Studio in Puerto Rico since 2006. Here, she hosts in-person workshops as well as live workshops and education sessions. You can also shop with her, in-person or virtually.

    Her boutique is filled with all the materials you could need to create until your hearts content. You’ll also find her signature stamps which speak to your soul. Follow her on social to catch her lives, listen to her words, be empowered by her art. 

    In This Episode of Heart & Hands of a Maker

    Milagros Rivera, a mixed media artist living in Puerto Rico, shares her creative journey, how her business came to be, and how she navigated the challenges of hurricane Maria and the pandemic. Milagros shares the importance of being adaptive in business and finding inspiration in her surroundings. She also emphasizes the power of giving and sharing, as well as taking risks and embracing mistakes. Milagros encourages artists to be unique and authentic in their work and highlights the value of in-person connections at shows and events.

    Key Takeaways

    • Attending in-person events is crucial for learning techniques, making connections, and seeing products up close.
    • Adapting to challenges and taking risks is essential for success in business.
    • Being unique and original is key to getting published and standing out in the creative industry.
    • Building a community and giving back can bring joy and fulfillment in the creative journey.
    • Finding inspiration from the surroundings and embracing mistakes can lead to new ideas and growth.
    • Attending craft shows and in-person events provides valuable opportunities for learning, networking, and showcasing creativity. Creativity is essential for personal growth and self-expression.
    • Finding inspiration can come from unexpected sources.
    • Challenges are opportunities for learning and growth.
    • Building a community of like-minded individuals can provide support and encouragement.
    • Advice for aspiring makers: embrace failure, be persistent, and stay true to yourself.
    Be Bold; Scribble Stick and ink, by Milagros Rivera

    Chapters

    (times are estimates)

    00:00

    Introduction and Creative Inspiration

    02:17

    Starting a Creative Business

    03:43

    Overcoming Challenges: Hurricane and Pandemic

    07:02

    Adapting to Change in Business

    09:42

    The Importance of Being Adaptive

    10:32

    Supporting the Community

    12:46

    The Power of Giving and Sharing

    15:33

    Getting Published and Being Unique

    19:15

    Taking Risks and Making Contacts

    20:53

    Finding Inspiration in the Surroundings

    23:39

    Creating with Unconventional Materials

    27:15

    The Power of ‘What If’

    28:39

    Being Spontaneous and Experimental

    30:56

    Embracing Mistakes and Persevering

    36:17

    Spreading Positivity and Hope

    38:31

    Upcoming Projects and Travel

    46:22

    Preserving Puerto Rican Culture

    49:41

    The Value of In-Person Connections

    50:09

    Closing Remarks

    Espiritu Libre; watercolor by Milagros Rivera
    Yesterday is Heavy; acrylic and ink, by Milagros Rivera
    Stamps designed by Milagros Rivera

    FOLLOW ON YOUR FAVORITE PLATFORM:

  • Jill Bartlett eLearning Expert and Dog Wear Designer

    Jill-Bartlett-cover-sm

    Meet Jill Bartlett

    Jill Bartlett, dog wear designer at Scouterwear

    Jill Bartlett is the visionary and creative force behind Scouterwear and Thank Dog We Made It. Following her passion,  Jill has found a way to combine her love for teaching others while also creating with her hands. 

    Jill started out as a graphic designer and animator then launched an eLearning company, which she co-owned for  over 15 years. As the corporate chaos increased, Jill started craving a creative outlet to unwind from all the stress. Knitting, sewing, and carpentry were her salvation.

    Jill is now a dog wear designer with a line of dog wear suited to fit dogs of all sizes and she teaches others how to make their own dog wear—whether sewn using a variety of fabrics or knitted.

    In This Episode of Heart & Hands of a Maker

    Jill thrives on pushing boundaries and challenging norms, a sentiment that now echoes in every stitch of the original dog wear she designs. Jill also finds joy in teaching others to make their own dog wear. In this conversation, Jill shares her creative journey, her transition from a corporate career to making dog wear, and her passion for teaching others how to make their own dog wear. Jill shares her experiences with imposter syndrome, the importance of goal planning, and the joy she finds in creativity. She also offers advice for those starting out and emphasizes the importance of taking time for oneself.

    Key Takeaways

    • Follow your passion and believe in yourself.
    • Plan for the future and consider where you want to be in the long term.
    • Don’t be afraid of technology and embrace the opportunities it offers.
    • Take time for yourself and prioritize self-care.
    • Overcome imposter syndrome and believe in your abilities.
    • Find joy in creativity and embrace the process of learning and trying new things.
    • Teach and empower others to pursue their own creative journeys.

    Chapters

    (times are estimates)
    00:00

    Introduction and Background

    01:23

    Jill’s Creative Journey

    03:12

    Discovering a Passion for Teaching

    04:06

    Starting an E-Learning Company

    05:05

    Transitioning to Making Dog Wear

    08:19

    Embracing Technology and Overcoming Fear

    11:04

    The Rise of Makers and the Importance of Handmade

    12:46

    Creating Custom Fit Dog Wear

    15:10

    Teaching Others to Make Dog Wear

    17:29

    Marrying Passion for Making and Teaching

    19:25

    Advice for Those Starting Out

    21:39

    The Importance of Goal Planning

    23:58

    Dealing with Imposter Syndrome

    25:22

    Balancing Work and Pursuing a Passion

    28:10

    Taking Time for Yourself

    29:23

    Believing in Yourself and Overcoming Fear

    31:38

    Transitioning from One Business to Another

    32:08

    Dealing with Imposter Syndrome

    33:34

    Finding Joy in Creativity

    35:32

    Creating New Designs and Overcoming Fear

    39:24

    Teaching and Empowering Others

    40:43

    Closing Remarks

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  • Ann Tudor Glass and Fiber Artist

    Meet Ann Tudor

    Ann Tudor is a lampwork glass artist, surface pattern designer, and avid knitter. She makes tiny creations of glass for knitters and crocheters in the form of stitch markers and progress keepers. Ann also creates notion pouches to hold her markers and all your tools. She has been a maker her entire life but knitting has been a constant thread for over 30 years. 

    After teaching many friends and family members how to knit, she is excited to share her wealth of experience in an online course for beginners: Craft Your Knitting.

    Learn more about Ann and enjoy the conversation we had on Heart & Hands of a Maker. 

    In this episode, Ann shares her experiences with various crafts and how she transitioned from making jewelry to creating lampwork glass beads. She discusses the challenges of working with glass and the importance of embracing the process of creating. Ann also offers advice on overcoming the fear of failure and valuing your work. She highlights the significance of finding support and networking with like-minded individuals. Finally, Ann shares her upcoming course on knitting and her passion for helping others learn and create.

    TAKEAWAYS

    •  Embrace the process of creating and enjoy the journey.
    • Don’t be afraid to fail and learn from your mistakes.
    • Value your work and don’t undervalue yourself.
    • Find support and network with like-minded individuals.
    • Take the time to educate yourself and improve your skills.
    Untitled design - 1

    CHAPTERS

    00:00
    Introduction and Overview

    02:54
    Ann Tudor’s Creative Journey

    06:19
    Getting Started with Lampwork Glass Beads

    09:14
    Overcoming the Fear of Failure

    10:20
    Embracing the Process of Creating

    14:01
    Transitioning from Hobby to Business

    16:56
    Finding Support and Networking

    19:17
    Navigating Changes and Evolving in Business

    22:30
    The Therapeutic Nature of Making

    25:24
    Upcoming Course on Knitting

    32:07
    Pricing and Valuing Your Work

    36:10
    Finding Support and Education

    39:26
    Ann’s Mini Course and Future Projects

    47:57
    Closing Remarks

    FOLLOW ON YOUR FAVORITE PLATFORM

  • Making Holiday Decorations & Gifts

    A Handmade Holiday
    a few ornaments made through the years
    To this day, by this time of year, I have a plan for the ornament I will make for gifting to those on our list. By plan, I mean I have the idea and maybe I’ve started gathering the materials. The making usually goes right up to the finish line. Can you relate?
    Often, the project I choose includes a new technique I want to try and is something I believe I can replicate before running out of steam. As I decorated our tree this year, it…