Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Natural Beach Stone Wind Chime

Natural Beach Stone Wind Chime by Coast Chimes
Natural Pacific Beach Stones Wind Chime

It is really nice having these beautiful natural materials available from local beaches: driftwood, beach stones, and sometimes glass. While the materials are free, it does take time to find good things. But I seldom object to a long walk along the beach!

I discovered during the Sunshine Coast Art Crawl, when so many people visited my studio, that it was not clear to them that I make pretty much every component of my creations. No, I do not buy mass produced chimes from distant lands for pennies! I use raw brass and copper for my chimes, and they are very labour intensive to produce-- there are so many steps! But the results are worth it. Also, I never skimp on the materials that I do buy. For example, instead of using something like cheap fishing line for my chimes, I use, for the small ones, 49 strand nylon coated stainless steel with sterling silver crimps: that's quality! For my large copper chimes, all the chimes are hung with handmade copper rings-- those will never break.

The beach stone chime pictured above is available on my website at Coast Chimes (and it's a great deal, at only $75.00).

Friday, November 14, 2014

Picture of My Creations

Coast Chimes Kaleidoscope Glass and Copper Wind Chime
Kaleidoscope Glass and Copper Handcrafted Wind Chime
Ever since we moved to our new house, I have struggled— really struggled —with taking decent pictures of my works. Now, after more than a year, I discovered that morning light coming through the semi-transparent metal fence, with the ocean far down below, makes for a very interesting background. How could this possibly take me over a year to discover? I don't know-- I am just happy to have found it.

As soon as I realized how much better the pictures could look, I spent a week retaking almost all my art work. Thats over one hundred items! You can see the updated images on my website, at Coast Chimes.com.  I'm very proud of my designs, and now I am a little proud of my pictures.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Sunshine Coast Art Crawl

Banner Signs, Coast Chimes, Sunshine Coast Art Crawl, 2014
Banner Signs at my Home for the Sunshine Coast Art Crawl

Coast Chimes, Tree Ornaments, Sunshine Coast Art Crawl, 2014
Tree Ornaments for sale for the Sunshine Coast Art Crawl, Coast Chimes

Sunshine Coast Art Crawl

Between moving into the new house, getting the workshop organized, figuring out how to photograph my creations at this new location, and, not least, enjoying summer walking to the beautiful beach and warm ocean steps from our house, I just never had time to give this blog any attention. Maybe now that it is dark, wet, and cold, I can do more.

I just participated, for the first time, in the Sunshine Coast Art Crawl. This is a three day event, and boy, way it busy! On the Sunshine Coast, there were 141 galleries participating, 320 artists, and 21,000 studio visits. Coast Chimes attracted a great deal of attention. People seemed to enjoy seeing a bit of our new house (it is different!), the garden, and my work. It is a funny thing that I have been making wind chimes and suncatchers for 23 years, but almost all of them have been sent to the USA, through my online sales. I believe more have gone to Europe and Australia than to Canada. Since prior to the art crawl I did zero local promoting, there was a lot of fun in seeing people discover that someone is doing something really unique here on the Sunshine Coast. I was very happy with the sales.

It was even more fun to hear what people had to say, face to face, about my work. Yes, I enjoy praise! I think I deserve a bit of praise, too, having invested so many years exploring, learning, designing. I am very proud of my creations.

Oh! I also gave my website a major facelift. Based in large part on what reviewers at Peek (free, online, video reviews for websites-- an excellent service), I listened to what several people had to say, and fixed what they found troubling. Please visit Coast Chimes, and see for yourself. I think it is way better, so thank you Peek!

Monday, August 04, 2014

Raw, Rough Red Cedar

Rough Red Cedar Boards
Ten 2 X 6 Rough Raw Cedar Boards
Pictured above, drying on my sun deck in the morning sunlight, are 10 reclaimed old growth red cedar boards, 2 X 6 by 10 feet long. This will be my fall and winter supply of wood for making kaleidoscope wind chimes, suncatchers, and probably a few four sided deluxe red cedar bird feeders. In other words, each board will be cut many, many times to produce the small dimension wood I use in my projects.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Blue Glass, Copper Handcrafted Art Wind Chime with Beach Pebbles

Blue Glass with Copper Wind Chime with Beach Pebbles
Cobalt Blue Glass with Copper Art Wind Chime, with Beach Pebbles

Few people have any idea of the process for making even one of my more basic wind chimes, such as the one pictured above.

Every single component, from the glass to the chimes, is totally handcrafted.

I find the rough glass, carve it, process it, drill it. I order bulk long tubes from New Brunswick for the small chimes, cut them, polish them, treat them to an antiqued finish, and polish again. I go to the beach and hunt for suitable beach stones, drill them, mount them. I bend copper wire and solder it for the glass, and to make the chime holder, and to thread the stones. Also to make the copper hanging hook. Then there are photographs to be taken. Listings on the various internet sites. 

When it sells, packing is an art in itself: getting the bought item promptly to the customer in great shape. 

My customers may not generally know just how much goes into their purchase, but I do know that they are very appreciative, judging from the emails and feedback I receive. And I appreciate that, more than anything.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Perforated Sheet Metal Fence, Metal Roofing Raised Garden Beds

Perforated sheet metal fence, galvanized roofing raised garden beds
This yard was scraped earth several months ago.

A while back, I had pledged to make at least bi-weekly blog postings. It turns out moving into a new house takes some time to adjust, and so many things had a higher priority than writing this blog. We are loving the new house, and my wife is fully responsible for transforming our scorched earth back yard to what you see above. Well, I do take credit for the design of the perforated metal fence, and for the design and building of the raised garden beds, which are made from leftover scraps from our house siding.

Between running my wind chime / suncatcher business, there is always a little something to do to the final touches on the house. This week has been painting the final drywall in our basement. I absolutely detest painting, so I am really happy that is done!

Now I am trying to box a very large wholesale order, shipping out to New Mexico. There are so many heavy beach stone wind chimes! This is going to be a nauseating postage bill, but I am happy to have so many fine works going to New Mexico-- one of my favourite states.

I hope to find time to do more blogging. Much more enjoyable than painting ceilings!
View of perforated sheet metal fence and raised garden beds, designed by Coast Chimes' Tim Kline
Another view of the back yard, with the semi-transparent perforated sheet metal fence, and the raised garden beds, all designed by Coast Chimes artist Tim Kline

Friday, May 09, 2014

Freestanding Wind Chime

Large freestanding double wind chime made from glass, copper, beach stone
Freestanding Double Wind Chime
Glass, Copper, Beach Stone

I always love it when customers from the past resurface. I had been putting off making any of my very large, heavy, freestanding double wind chimes since moving to our new house. They take a lot of energy and concentration to make, and they are truly a nightmare to pack and ship. However, I did have the idea in the back of my mind. My wife also wanted some for our small yard. But I would still be putting it off if a customer who got one years ago did not email out of the blue asking if I could make one for her. That got me going.

I'm very pleased with the result: probably the finest one that I have ever made. After I get it packed and shipped, and recover from the effort, I guess I will just have to go and make a few more!

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Picture (almost) Perfect

Blue glass with copper wind chime, Coast Chimes
Cobalt Blue Glass with Copper Handcrafted Wind ChimeView at
Coast Chimes

The picture taking struggle continues — the never ending story! However, I am happier these recent days than I have been in a long time, regarding taking pictures. We finally have our new fence, and a very fine fence it is! It is my own design, and features perforated metal and cedar. This creates an unusual effect, as the fence is slightly transparent! That makes an excellent backdrop for my pictures.

It should look even better as the garden starts to grow and green. In the mean time, I am busy making thing, taking pictures, re-taking old pictures that now look crummy compared to the new ones, and tweaking my website (Coast Chimes) and other sites (Etsy).

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Natural Pacific Beach Stones Wind Chime

Natural Pacific beach stone wind chime, five copper chimes, handcrafted Coast Chimes
Natural Beach Stones Wind Chime
Coast Chimes
This very large natural beach stone wind chime would be ideal anywhere, but especially a house on the ocean. This chime would never fear strong winds, rain, snow-- the stones look even nicer when they are wet. It weighs a lot, so you'd need to use a very strong hook or nail to hang it from. But once hanging, enjoy for years to come, as it is extremely well made.

Detail image of the beach stones, Coast Chimes
Detail Image of the Beach Stones

Friday, April 11, 2014

Unique Metal Fence

Perforated sheet metal semi-transparent fence by Coast Chimes
Perforated Sheet Metal Fence, by Coast Chimes

The gates still have to be made, but I am already very pleased with the perforated sheet metal fence I designed for our small yard. Because it is semi-transparent, the yard feel larger than if I had put a traditional cedar fence. Also, this suites our modern small house, which is clad in galvanized roofing, very well, I feel. I've never seen a fence like this, so I am all the prouder to have dreamt this up.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Privacy Trellis

Between thinking up new designs for Coast Chimes, and making them, I sometimes turn my dreaming to other projects. Having recently moved to our new home, we found ourselves feeling a little exposed to a neighbour and a road. I needed something to fix this, but also modern, to go with the home design. I just finished making and installing my solution. There will be evergreen clematis growing up this red cedar trellis, soon.
Trellis for a deck, red cedar
Privacy Trellis, Red Cedar

Red cedar privacy trellis, modern design
Modern Design Privacy Trellis

Detail image, privacy trellis, red cedar.
Detail Image, Privacy Trellis

Friday, March 28, 2014

Short Holiday, Jacksonville Florida, New York City

Endless beach, Jacksonville Florida
Jacksonville Florida
Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, Towards Manhattan, New York City
Brooklyn Bridge, New York City
Just back from a quick visit to my sister and brother-in-law in Jacksonville Florida, and then three nights in New York City. The contrast is dramatic, as seen in the two pictures above.

It was terrific fun to visit with family in Florida. New York City impressed me enormously. We saw the play, The Book of Mormon, and that was so much fun. MOMA was a treat. The food, the accommodation, the liveliness-- all wonderful. I'll be heading back to New York City as soon as possible. What a remarkable city!

Monday, March 03, 2014

Making a Beach Stone Wind Chime

Beach stones and copper wire.
Raw Pacific Beach Stones and Heavy Copper Wire

Soldering the copper hook
Soldering the Copper Hook

Drilled beach stones and soldered copper hook
Drilled Beach Stones and Soldered Copper Hook

Finished Beach Stone Wind Chime, Coast Chimes
Finished Natural Beach Stone Wind Chime
Available at Coast Chimes

There is more to putting together a beach stone wind chime than some may think. It all starts with the stones, and that means a trip to a beach with good stones. That is not just any old beach. Although there are a lot of stones on the beach just a few minutes stroll from my house, those are not suitable. I need to drive to Sechelt, half an hour away, to get the really great stones I use.

Once I have great stones, I need to sort them out into a pleasing combination, and then drill them with diamond bits. I write 'bits' in the plural, because these stones are very hard on the diamonds, and it frequently takes several bits to cut the seven stones.

After drilling the holes, the rest is relatively easy. I bend a copper hook and solder it. I form a copper hooklet wire to string through the stones. I string the stones, and form the bottom hooklet. Then I just have to hang the chimes (making those is another whole story!), and take my pictures.

Be sure to visit Coast Chimes for many styles of beach stone, glass, driftwood wind chimes.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Beach Stone Wind Chime at New Home

Beach Stone Wind Chime image sent from a customer. Coast Chimes
Large Beach Stone Wind Chime at its New Home, Customer Photograph
More beach stone wind chimes at Coast Chimes

I love when customers send me pictures of my work. Seeing my wind chimes and suncatchers in a new setting is always a little strange, for me. I am so familiar with them, but not in the new setting. I like to see how people have hung them. Above is a particularly lovely location, and very nice hanging job, too. That is a massive hook that is supporting this chime, because the chime is not small! That's a good thing, as the chime is also not light. I always include instructions to use a strong nail or hook for these beach stone chimes, and I am happy these people followed the instructions.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Beach Stone Wind Chimes

Natural Pacific beach stone wind chime, handcrafted, Coast Chimes
Natural Pacific Beach Stone Wind Chime
Available at Coast Chimes

I love using natural materials. Beach stones are high up on my list of favourites. Fortunately, there are a lot of beach stones here on the Sunshine Coast. Oddly, though, it takes time to find suitable ones. I am fussy when it comes to my stones! Not just any old beach stone will do; they need to be the right size, the right shape, the right colour... and so on.

The only really bad thing about working with beach stones is that they are exceptionally hard on my diamond bits (for cutting the holes in them). A diamond bit might easily last for many hundreds of cuts through my glass. But sometimes it takes several bits just for one chime, such as the one pictured above. On a brighter note, shipping is great. For once, I do not have to worry about glass breaking in the mail.

Also something nice-- they are popular. It makes it all the more enjoyable putting these together when they get such a positive reception.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Making Exceptional Copper Wind Chimes

Handmade parts of Coast Chimes wind chimes.
Handmade Copper Chimes, two sets of Copper Wind Chimes
Available at Coast Chimes

I sometimes see website tutorials on making your own copper wind chimes at home. They make it sound like you can read two paragraphs and make great chimes. I have to laugh. I've been making copper wind chimes for twenty years, thousands of sets, and I am still learning!

Above are some of the components that I hand make for my wind chimes. And ' hand make' should be underlined and bold. Sure, you can just saw up some copper pipes and string them onto a chunk of plywood with some fishing line. But that is not going to be beautiful, nor long-lasting.

From the old growth reclaimed red cedar roundel to the hand formed copper hooklets, these are the elements that take time, skill and experience. Most people figure out how to do something, and get better and faster at it. I have found with my chimes that I learned how to do them, and got better and slower at it. These days, I take far more care and pay far more attention to each element. They are a source of enormous pride for me, and so it's all worth it. And I know that no one is going to be reading a short tutorial and making anything even close to what I do.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Shipping Overseas

A natural Pacific beach stone wind chime, handcrafted by Coast Chiimes
Natural Pacific Beach Stone Wind Chime
Available at Coast Chimes for $75.00

I sell my work almost exclusively on the Internet— these days through Etsy and my own website, Coast Chimes. I've been doing this for about twenty years, and it works pretty well. The funny thing is, you would think that I would have it all figured out by now, that it would be natural and easy, like breathing, no thinking needed. Nope. I run into new situations and problems all the time.

An example from just yesterday. The beach stone wind chime, pictured above, sold. That's great. But then I saw it sold to someone in Switzerland. That's nice-- my wife is Swiss. But I knew right away that this would complicate things, as I had put $25 down for shipping. That is the standard price for some small, light weight package to Europe, airmail. But, sadly, beach stones are not light!

I packaged it up all nicely, cutting away every ounce of extra cardboard from the box. When I weighed it, it came in at well over one kilogram, which meant I would have had to pay nearly $100 in postage.

I unwrapped the whole thing, and tried using a padded envelop. That did it; well under a kilogram. The only problem is all the time I spent wrapping and unwrapping and re-wrapping, and, more importantly, the customer will have a far less pleasant experience when receiving the chime, as I had to unhook the chimes, and also, honestly, an envelop just is not the same as opening a box. But hopefully they will forget about the ugly envelop and unhooked chimes when they hook it back together and see just how neat and beautiful it is.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Wind Chimes, Finding Inspiration from the Past

A freestanding double wind chime with glass, copper, and a natural beach stone.
Wind Chime, Freestanding, Double, Beach Stone base
Available at Coast Chimes
I seldom to never run out of ideas. There is always something I am looking forward to making, or something that I have to make (like as I start to run out of copper chime sections!). However, one neat thing that I found is to look back over my old blog postings, or, more recently, to do a Google search of images, Coast Chimes. It has been about twenty years that I have been making wind chimes and suncatchers, and posting pictures on the internet, so any search leads to a trip down memory lane.

The other night I was lazily browsing through images on Google, and stumbled across some of the design posted above. I had almost forgotten about these! They were popular, and fun / challenging to make. So the next morning I could hardly wait to get down to my workshop and put one together. I happily had a suitable beach stone for the base, and the other materials were all at hand, too. So it was relatively quick and simple to assemble. Magic!

Now I just have to remember, the next time I go down to the beach, to keep my eyes open for more suitable beach stone base stones.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Natural Light for Picture Taking

Coast Chimes kaleidoscope glass and copper wind chime
Glass and Copper Kaleidoscope Wind Chime
available at Coast Chimes
Taking good pictures of my work is definitely one of the biggest, if not the biggest, challenge. But it is so important, I know I need to keep trying.

After determining that my indoor photo studio lights were not doing justice to my works with glass (okay for beach stones, driftwood), I moved back outside to take advantage of natural sunlight. Side-by-side, it was immediately clear that natural light was far superior. So I retook all the pictures. I was somewhat happier with the resulting images-- not thrilled, but less unhappy. I thought early morning, blue sky, indirect sunlight, was the best.

But there was one last kaleidoscope wind chime that I forgot to take pictures of. So although yesterday was quite overcast, I decided to get it done. Well, it turned out that the overcast sky was better than blue sky!

Now I think thin white high clouds are the very best. Today is more thick, grey clouds, so I don't believe that would be any good. But you can be sure that the next bright cloudy day, I will be back out there, trying to capture the perfect image.
Top section, Coast Chimes wind chime
Top Section, Detail Image, Kaleidoscope Wind Chime

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Snowy Wind Chimes and Suncatchers

Snowy Wind Chime, From Coast Chimes
Customer's Snowy Wind Chime Picture

I love when my customers send me pictures. However, it is always a slightly strange feeling to see my work in a foreign setting! This one especially struck me, as we have been enjoying spring-like weather here on the Sunshine Coast for several weeks, and one tends to forget that many other places are still mid-winter.

People often do not think of wind chimes and suncatchers in the winter. But look! They can really add a bright spot to your garden-- colour just when most needed. What a beautiful contrast! And Coast Chimes wind chimes and suncatchers are truly ideal, as being constructed from all glass, copper, first growth reclaimed red cedar, they are very durable. So add some wind chimes to your winter garden, and enjoy a splash of colour!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Photographing My Work

Blue glass with copper wind chime, handcrafted, Coast Chimes
Blue Glass with Copper Wind Chime
available at Coast Chimes - inspired by nature
I am thinking of investing in an extra-large bottle of Advil. Photographing my work has never been easy for me. Back in our old house, after years I sort of figured it out. I took pictures in our solarium, which I could only do in the late afternoon for the best light. This made for a challenging time in the fall and winter, as we get a lot of rain and even more cloudy days during this period. Sometimes it would seem the sun would never shine again, as my fresh creations piled up, waiting for a little light for me to photograph them. At least when the sun did shine, I could (sometimes) get some pretty decent shots.

Then we sold the house and moved to a rental where it proved next to impossible to get any decent pictures. The light was always wrong. Also, the backdrop was not ideal. Fortunately, that only lasted for seven months.

Getting into our new place, for a while I happily, and naively, thought all my problems were solved, since I created a photo studio and invested in some quasi-professional lights. As is so often the case with my photographs, those early pictures that delighted me became turned out to be less than optimal, as my eyes began to see many issues. The backdrop sheets were drab. The light was not bright enough to really show off the glass. Those I put new backgrounds in, like the ocean, looked phoney. Sigh.

So I started taking pictures outside, where at least there would be bright sunlight to show the true beauty of my glass. Alas, my wife decided to get an early start on digging up the small yard, in anticipation of the amazing garden beds she would make in the spring. My picture taking space shrank, and shrank. Now I have one little corner-- happily, it turns out to be the best corner!

I found many of my images were not in focus. Time to read the camera instruction booklet, and check on photoblogs. (Ha, probably should have done that first thing-- but I'm not like that.) I learned some tricks, and wish I had read this stuff years ago! Live and learn.

Now I just have to learn a bunch more, wait for decent light, hope the constant breeze we get from being so close to the ocean dies down a little-- and then, maybe, just maybe, I will get a few decent pictures. That will certainly be when my wife builds the fence-- further diminishing the quality of my limited background opportunities! Oh well. I do the best I can.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Photographing my Work

Glass and copper wind chime. Five copper chimes. Beach stone clapper. Inspired by nature.
Glass and Copper Kaleidoscope Wind Chime

Coast Chimes

Since moving from our old house, picture taking has been a major headache. It was always a challenge, but lately it has been a real problem. I moved inside to a photo studio, but the lighting was not nearly as nice as sunlight, especially for my glass pieces. Then outside again, which was okay, but I had to learn about the light on the new property. Then my wife started digging in the garden, which is very small, and I had to move again, and learn about the light, again.

I have a little corner with no dirt piles, an okay background, and on certain days, at certain times, decent light. However, we live on a hill with the ocean just below, and this, it turns out, creates interesting air currents (wind), and so it is a fun time trying to get a shot without the windsails flying around, the chimes twisting, the whole subject turning!

I have a ways to go, in my photo struggle. Right now, I am going out to struggle some more.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wind Chime, Natural Beach Stone with Copper

Natural Pacific Beach Stone Wind Chime: Naturally Beautiful!

Wind chime, copper, beach stones, handcrafted.
Beach Stones with Copper
Available at Coast Chimes

At our new home, we are only a minute from the beach. There is a walk which takes me down to the beach, along the beach, and then up back through a trail in the woods. I go several times a week.

It's an interesting walk, because one feels remote from civilization. There are several points where you do not see houses, or hear traffic. I like that a lot.

It is not the best beach combing on the Coast. There are not stones, such as those in the wind chime pictured above. Although there are plenty of stones, few are of the sort (smooth and rounded) that I like to use in my work. But that's okay. Other beaches with better stones are not far away. So this walk is for pleasure-- a break from my work. That's kind of a good thing, actually.

Monday, January 13, 2014

New House, New Workshop, New Website

Coast Chimes business location, new house.
New house, Coast Chimes

I haven't posted here since November 9, 2011-- how time does go by!

My excuse is simple: I've been too busy!

We sold our home and lived in a rental for seven months, while building a new one.

Above is a picture of our new house. The upstairs is living area; the downstairs is my workshop, and office / photo studio. It was a job and a half building it, but it is wonderful, now that it is (almost) done. Especially nice is having the entire ground floor as workshop, office, photo studio.

It was also a job trying to maintain my wind chime / suncatcher stock and sales, while all this was transpiring.

Things are finally settling down. I look forward to a calmer year.

I had time lately to completely redo my website: Coast Chimes. It is much easier to navigate, much faster, and it has a better shopping cart.

Below, a screenshot of the homepage of my new website. I hope you will have time to visit it, and enjoy the new layout.

Picture of the homepage of Coast Chimes website.
Picture of the new homepage of Coast Chimes