Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sherri's on Jewel School!

Two bits of great news!

Sherri will be on Jewelry Television tomorrow from 10 - 12 Eastern Time. She will be demonstrating her ITS image transfer solution and the E3 Etch system. There will be great deals on special packages not available anywhere else. Find your JTV channel here:

Also, if you want to watch segments of Sherri on Jewel School, you can learn how to use ITS and make great personalized gifts for the holidays, and also how to rivet and how to etch with the E3 Etch system. It's like getting classes from Sherri for free! Here is the link to Jewel School:,default,pg.html#top

Scroll down to the icons with the episodes on the site and you'll find Sherri's classes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bead Unique Review: Sherri Haab Inspirations

If you are a fan of Bead Unique magazine like we are, you may have seen this review of Sherri's book, Sherri Haab Jewelry Inspirations. Besides the wonderful review, this issue is filled with lots of great ideas for inspiration.

If you're not familiar with Jewelry Inspirations, you should definitely check it out. See Sherri at home in her studio and the people and things behind her ideas. Truly an inspiration!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Electroforming Tips - Keep it Moving, Keep it Warm

On a recent visit to the studio of jewelry artist Nancy Worden, she was gracious enough to educate me on some of her valuable tips for electroforming. Nothing can replace the years of experience she gained through her labors, and with plating there are no easy shortcuts. I am anxious to pass along a few vital steps I learned from her:

KEEP IT MOVING: Agitation reduces the sharp and uneven build-up of copper particles on your piece. This is especially true for pieces that are left to be electroformed for long periods of time. If you have ever left a certain piece to build a heavy layer of copper for a long time, you may have noticed that the edges or protrusions feel sharp or rough. By providing a way to circulate the free floating copper particles, the result will be more rounded edges which do not feel as sharp. It may be of interest to note that Polypropylene anode bags also play a role in keeping the particles from forming sharply.
A simple solution? An Aquarium air pump. To make your own bubbling device, drill holes in a piece of tubing to be fitted to the pump. In this photo you can see how a slightly larger tube was drilled and fitted over the longer green tube which fits snuggly to the pump. The end with holes in it is placed in the electroforming solution about 30 minutes to an hour after the initial coat of copper is formed. Turn the pump on to provide agitation for the remaining time necessary for electroforming.

KEEP IT WARM: Optimal temperature for electroforming copper is between 75 and 80 degrees fahrenheit. Nancy Worden has found through years of experimentation that this produces the best results. You can use warming devices such as an electric heating pad to heat the tank, especially in winter. Use safety precautions when using electric devices near water.

MAINTAINING THE ELECTROFORMING SOLUTION: There is no easy answer for this one. This can get very complicated, and frankly dangerous, if you start adding acids or experimenting without some knowledge and respect for electrochemistry. Artists like Nancy have their own protocol for maintaining and attending to the plating bath. As every situation is unique, you have to take responsibility for deeper education and study. There are pdf's and books online that are written for associated products from the plating industry for detailed information. You have to decide at some point whether the goal for using the solutions is for a personal hobby, mass production, or an industrial studio set-up. The latter involves getting to know the chemicals and developing a personal knowledge for how and what to do to keep the plating solutions clean and filtered, and the ph levels even. Most solutions sold for small studio or hobby use are sold with the premise that they will be used until exhausted (at a certain coverage rate) and then replenished as needed.

SOME METALS DON'T PLATE: With any art or science like electroforming, there are always new things to learn. One thing I learned recently is that there are certain metals which will not successfully plate with copper without pre-treatment. Steel, iron, or metal with tin in it will not plate well.

 - Sherri

Friday, August 5, 2011

ITS on Tile part 2

Yesterday's blog introduced using ITS on tile. Above are image from my stepson Chris' and Hailee's wedding. I decide to do these in color because the orange and turquoise color scheme really pops. You can see the imperfections in the images, but that's part of their charm.

Image transfer, especially on tile, is not an exact science. It’s best to make a few extra copies of your images in case they don’t turn out the first time. Your images will not be perfect, but will have variation because of the natural contours of the tile, the saturation of the photo and other variables. That’s the beauty of this kind of image transfer, though. Each tile is unique and a has a special character. If you do need to re-do a tile, just soak it in water (before you put on the sealer) and then use coarse sandpaper to sand off the image.

Depending on your image, you may want to tear the edges so it doesn't have a hard edge. Above is the difference between a straight edge and a torn edge. If your photos are black and white, the light parts of the photo will naturally disappear, creating a soft edge even when the image is cut straight, such as in the image below.

The tile below has a lot of white spots because the paper bubbled. Sometimes, like in this tile, they turn out looking great. In general, though, you want to avoid bubbling because if you get a white spot on someone's face, or an important part of the picture, it's a do-over.

White Film
The white film on the lower part of the image means that all the paper has not been removed yet. It needs to be polished some more with the blue 3M polishing sheet under running water.

Picture Placement
Since tile has natural dips and bumps, sometimes it will interfere with the picture. The bride's face on this tile gets lost in the natural contours. It would be best to start over and turn the picture a quarter turn.

Remember that your own images might require some experimentation. Luckily, if you don't like the first result, it's easy to sand it off and start over. I've had so much fun with this new technique, I've got more coasters than I know what to do with!

New Project! ITS on Tile

Sherri's been working for a while to perfect a method to successfully transfer images onto tile. We finally got great, consistent results after some trial and error. Above you can see black and white images from Sherri's daughter Rachel's wedding, and color images from my daughter Brennyn's wedding. I love this project because they are great handmade gifts that anyone can appreciate. The images don't turn out perfectly, and they have a quality that makes them almost looked painted on. You can turn them into coasters (my favorite use) or put them on small easels for tabletop display.

You will need:
4 x 4” tumbled marble tile
ITS Solution
ITS Paper
3M Wet/Dry 1200-grit blue abrasive sheet
ITS Matte or Gloss Sealer
Felt chair pads or 4 x 4 square of felt

1. Soak the tile in water and scrub it clean to get all the dust off. Let dry.
2. Paint a layer of ITS solution over the tile. Let dry.

3. Size your image so it is slightly smaller than the tile. Remember that the image will appear as a mirror image on the tile. Copy the image onto ITS paper using a commercial copy machine or print it on a laser printer. Use the color setting even if your image is black and white. Cut out the image. If the background of your image is dark, you may want to tear the edges for a softer look.

4. Paint an even layer of ITS solution on the tile. (The layer of ITS should be thin enough to still be transparent, but thick enough so there are no bare spots.) Place the image face down on the tile, being careful to center the image.

5. Press the image on the tile, working from the middle out toward the edges. Smooth the image firmly, pressing out any air bubbles. Turn the tile over on a flat, sturdy surface and press on the back of the tile to help the image make full contact with the tile. If there are still air bubbles, you can use a barely damp sponge to help smooth them out, or prick with a pin or point of a blade and press them flat.

6. Heat set the tile by placing the tile in a pre-heated 325 degreee oven for 30 minutes. After removing from the oven, it is important to let the piece cool thoroughly before the next step.
7. Soak the tile in water for a few minutes. Use your fingers to remove the paper, carefully rolling off layers of paper, working from the center out.

8. When you’ve removed most of the paper, use a 3M Wet/Dry 1200-grit blue abrasive sheet under running water to remove the remaining fiber. The fiber is removed when there is no longer a white film covering the image.

9. Paint a layer of ITS Matte or Gloss Sealer over the image. Wait 30 minutes, then bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes to heat set. Let cool.
10. To make a coaster, stick felt chair pads on the back of the tile, or glue on a square of felt so the tile won’t scratch furniture.

Next blog: Troubleshooting

Monday, August 1, 2011

Tune in to Jewel School

What's better than taking classes from Sherri Haab? When they're free! Sherri will be appearing on Jewelry TV's Jewel School on Thursday, August 11 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. While promoting some exclusive kits on the show, she will demonstrate both metal etching and ITS image transfer. These are examples of the projects she will be teaching you to make.

You will also want to check out the kits that will be sold on the program at a great price. The metal etching kit contains everything you need to etch, along with a bonus of all of the jewelry findings for several pieces of jewelry and a selection of transferable images designed for the copper shapes in the kit.

The ITS kit contains all the materials and findings you need to make a charm bracelet and matching necklace, a full sheet of images ready to transfer and five blank sheets of ITS paper to use for your own personal images.

Don't miss out on this opportunity to see Sherri in action and learn some exciting new skills. BUT WAIT! Of course they will be offering some special deals during the course of the show, so tune in!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Rings & Things Blogs on ITS

Cindy at the Rings & Things blog made this amazing Alice in Wonderland bracelet and teahouse pendant using Sherri's ITS image transfer solution. Besides the great example of an ITS project, her blog has a great how-to (with photos!) on a different method for using ITS solution.

She uses an iron to heat-set the image and has some other tips that will help you have great results with your image transfer projects.

Cindy also shows how she uses ITS to seal inks onto metal, like on this peacock pendant and bee hairpin. She uses alcohol inks on metal, then sets the ink with ITS to make it permanent.

You can also mix ITS with the alcohol ink to create a permanent "paint" that won't wash or rub off. Either method requires heat-setting, which you can do in the oven, following the directions on the ITS package.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

New ITS video and Contest

Are you curious about image transfer with Sherri's ITS products? Sherri and her crew have just finished a new video showing the process. Watch it here.

To celebrate the launch of the video, we're having a contest with great prizes from the Sherri Haab Shop. Show us what you've done with ITS. Send your photos to and we'll post them in our ITS album on facebook. Sherri will choose her three favorites, and the artists will receive prizes. All submissions should be received by Saturday, June 25th.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Artist Spotlight - Keith Lo Bue

While in Sydney, I met artist Keith Lo Bue. He attended my workshops at the Eclectic Studio where he frequently teaches. He also teaches in the U.S., and I have seen him at various retreats in the past, but I've never had the pleasure of talking to him about his art.

I love that he calls his art blog "Stuffsmith," because that's what he does--he makes all kinds of mixed media art out of stuff. These are all pictures of his work. You can see more at his blog here.

The electroplating really inspired him. I can't wait to see how he incorporates plating into his work.

Here is a blog post where he details the steps for electroforming a starfish. He then makes a ring with the copper starfish by cold connecting it to a broken teacup. How clever is that?

Keith's mixed media jewelry classes are very popular abroad and in the United States. If you can't catch him in person, he also sells e-books and DVDs on his website here.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Workshops in Australia

While in Australia, I taught a two-day workshop on electroforming and plating. I enjoyed the group and their enthusiasm. I especially appreciated their good humor when our copper plating solution was lacking the necessary acid needed for successful plating on the first day of class. It's not like I can travel with that stuff, so I'm at the mercy of local sources. I lost a bit of sleep that night trying to figure out how to rescue the pieces.

Luckily, Keith Lo Bue, a well-known jewelry artist and teacher came to the rescue. He was attending the class, and just happened to have some hydrochloric acid at home, which he brought in for day two. It worked great, and we were able to finish quite a few pieces. Then we proceeded to plate several of the pieces with gold, silver and nickel using prepared plating solutions. Check out the results in the photo above.

On the second day of the workshop, we etched on copper and then applied images on nickel silver. Then we riveted the pieces together to make mixed-media bracelets. I was so busy, I forgot to take pictures, but the projects were based on my sample shown in this photo.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Roz from Oz

After leaving New Zealand, I headed south to teach at the Eclectic Studio in Sydney, Australia. Roz Eberhard-Swan operates the studio, which offers jewelry-making classes in metal clay, polymer clay, resin and beadwork, just to name a few. On my first day in Australia, Roz arranged for me to take a boat tour of Sydney Harbor. The morning was perfect - clear and sunny.

In the afternoon, I walked along Pitt Street to check out the shops. Since it was Fall in the Land Down Under, so all of the new winter fashion lines were displayed. Surprisingly, I only bought one shirt, which was a good thing due to my impending luggage weight restriction to deal with on the flight home.

Since it was Easter weekend, the busiest shop downtown was Haigh's Chocolates. There was a long line just to get in the store. I checked back at the end of the day, and the line was shorter, so I stopped in. The chocolates were OK, but not much different from any other fancy chocolate shop, although none made it home to the family. Oops.

I still think places like See's Candies, headquartered in California, and Mrs. Cavanaugh's, made right here in Utah offer some of the best dipped chocolates to be found anywhere in the world, and I've done my best to sample chocolates in as many places as possible!

My one free day alone in the city was one I will always remember. Sydney is a place I will definitely visit again.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fingers Jewellery in New Zealand

On one of my free days in New Zealand, Dan and I took a bus to downtown Auckland to visit museums and galleries. Our first stop was to an art jewelry gallery called "Fingers," which features fabulous mixed media jewelry.

I had visited the online site for years, and didn't realize it was in Auckland until the night before we went there. It was exciting to visit in person. One of my favorite jewelry artists is Karl Fritsch. I am admiring his rings in the photo below.

Dan remarked to the gallery keeper, "These look like they are made from Precious Metal Clay." She shuddered and said, "Noooooo," and then explained that they were made from silver and gold (which, incidentally, precious metal clay is made from).

She is not unusual in her aversion to metal clay. Jewelry galleries often shun the material. I don't get it, because other pieces in the gallery were made from thread, old cell phones, plastic shopping bags and even wiggle eyes! Yes, the plastic ones you glue on children's craft projects. Why is a wiggle eye more valid than a hand-sculpted piece of fine silver or gold?

Despite the gallery keeper's attitude toward Precious Metal Clay, we enjoyed our visit to the gallery. The unique jewelry there was a great source of inspiration.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sherri and Dan's 25th!

Sherri and Dan celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in New Zealand on May 1st, where Sherri was teaching classes. Here is a picture of them back on the big day in 1986.

(Notice the Princess-Diana inspired sleeves!)

Sherri and Dan are an amazing team, working together for a quarter of a century, raising a family and supporting each other in their careers. Dan's day job is engineering, and he is also the brains behind the E-3 Etch and the E-3 Electroform machines. He can frequently be found assisting in Sherri's classes. Theirs is a true partnership. Congratulations, Sherri and Dan!