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.