MANLY ARTISANRY for city boys

Nowadays, with Custom wrought iron pieces costing thousands each, try studying IRON WRIGHTING, BLACK SMITHING. Or find artisans out in the sticks who know how to do this nearly lost art. In Mexico, every corner has a smith; you can custom order inexpensive wrought iron items. GOOGLE these terms on the IMAGES page

Any university extension, adult high school has a sculpting class where they send off your clay work off to the foundery to become a brass sculpture. (Say, the horse above.) Then you smith the rest. If smithing is your hobby and you live in a brownstone, don't tell your landlord! SMITHING can be done in a rented home, in a dettached garage but only at 2 in the morning when neighbors sleep as you need a fire source. Neighbors may sleep through, ergo tolerate a SMELTER, (FIRE OVEN), charcoal and bellows but they sure won't tolerate the hammering. If you think that you could make thousand dollar weather vanes like these, it would be worth it to rent a farm out of town, build a shed at least 50 feet from th ehouse and start an online SITE, SEYMOUR the SMITHIE.COM. An ALTERNATIVE: give designs to a village smith down in the rural South, ship them to New England where they'd sell by the dozen to folks in Connecticut and the Hamptons.

CEMENT POTS. Had a chum named John  who created a business doing cache pots ( Martha Stewart hefty type planted pots.) His pots had a swirly Renaissance design and he called his company "Stolen from the Vatican." Hilarious guy, ran around with the super rich who were clients for his stuff..DuPonts and such. If you have a small cement mixer, you could do something along those lines. Wholesale them to landscapers or sell them planted up with annuals at the local FARMERS market. Give bigtime pricey decorators a dozen, planted, for a special price, so they don't have to haul trucks, dirt, plants and get their fingers dirty. $250 a pot, planted should do it. cement used for pots, a picture

These are big pieces, with big price tags.  You want to check out EVERY single page of custom cement designs  that you can google up...(bathrooms, walls, cement tables, kitchen dividers, free standing bars, architectural details. )

ODD DESIGN BRICKS, Landscapes would go crazy to have some new choices.clay paving stones New mixtures of cement, straw and dyes can create unusual bricks, useful for cottages. Guest rooms. Charming Work sheds. Patios. Faux Rustique Pavers. 

CARPENTRY. Everybody needs certain items, like bathroom shelves and kitchen cabinets. Where you stand out and deliver is giving them something they can't get at IKEA. RUSTICITY is appreciated these days. GOOD WOODS, sandblasted grains for shelves in the bath, maybe the grain brought out, enhanced by being drystroked with country white paint, what do they call that? Pickled! A great look. Armoires in this finish are KILL. Ask your sandblaster which kinds of wood accept sand blasting best. Investigate COB blasting. Shredded Corn cobs are used lately. Use RICH REDDISH STAINS to bring out wood's beauty. 

SHABBY CHIC is in! Beat up, ANTIQUE FURNITURE is found at thrifts, garage sales and no matter what color it is, it is re-painted in a cottage white enamel. It is antiqued by removing paint from corners. Called DISTRESSED Here is a detail of a distressed vanity bench. 

THIS BUREAU has not been distressed so it's not truly SHABBY CHIC yet. "GET OUT THE WHIPS AND CHAINS MABLE!"

AND OLD WROUGHT IRON pieces are incorporated in furniture.  Such pieces are available at demolition warehouses.VERDIGRIS is the best color though this ochre yellow works.

GOOGLE the words "SHABBY CHIC" Google will give you an education on funk found. Art Trouveau. Find books on this style of decor used at
Get the books of JOCASTA INNES. at that used book website with ten thousand vendors. The books are usually a buck each.

OLD MIRRORS - You find them at thrift stores, garage sales. You can make a frame yourself. Repaint them with the shabby chic tones. Pastels or white, and always DISTRESSED. Or use primitive colors of enamel. Antique the finished item, maybe with Brown oil paint mixed with old fashioned soapflakes. 
MOSAIC MIRRORS done with vibrant glass is another high cash drawing artform. To imagine it, at its best, see the exquisite design and work of a genius, Tamaris Landsman  Her website has many designs, many even prettier than this one!

PAPIER MACHE MASKS - Turn old newspapers, glue, varnish and paint into 100$ bills. Easy to do, see the MASK MAKER CLASS,   online

Do PAPIER MACHE OVER BOXES. I observed Gemma Tacogna and Jeanne Valentine, the two premiere gals in this field, both in Mexico in the sixties. I saw their work secrets. Take a lot of newspapers. Wet & squnch them up into a ball. Let wrinkled up ball dry in sun. Pull the ball apart. The papers are wrinkled. Pull them semi flat and now tear, don't cut, tear into 2 x 3 strips or squares. Take glue, paste, flour water and stir until you have some thin paste, like cream. Wet a strip or square of paper, stick down on box. Overlap strips or squares. Wrap around edges, into interior of box. Let dry. Paint outside and inside with flat white tempra or water paint. Let dry. Now paint design, using flat tempras, school type paint. If you do a face, make it smooth as silk with white paint, don't use wrinkley paper there. Regarding BOX: You don't have to paint interior, or you can. You could put fabric in it, glue it on, or paint inside. On outside, you can set phony jewels with soft, cotton string gooped up with paste, glue string around each jewel to hold it. Paint w. colors. Varnish with any good, clear varnish. Mix detergent soap with a little umber brown paint. Brush on, especially in crevices. Let dry a short while, then with soft cloth, rub off, leaving a little 'antiquing' in the crevices. Made of acrylic paint in burnt sienna, soap flakes and water. The great thing about making masks is that children over age five do very well. If they make ten masks a day (in assembly line,) and we get 10$ a mask wholesale, that child is making l00$ a day toward your huge mortgage with those variable rates so that you don't have to sell the house.

LAST, Play around with mosaics used as borders in bathroom design. And learn TILE SETTING. Look at the work of   LAPIS TILES, where an amazing gem turns into tiles to trim bathrooms. I would personally tear down the wall in my tub area with my fingernails to hang some of THOSE.  See the even more astounding  INTERNATIONAL TILE and MOSAIC CORPORATION AGAPE TILE, a business which works for the billionaire set doing custom tile jobs using glass, ceramic, seashell and gem stone tiles. (Promise me you'll surf all their pages, see the abalone tiles which knock me out!) They do kitchen backsplashes, pool interiors, tiling. CUSTOM TILING is for the very rich but allows you to always make a huge living irrespective of the economy cuz even during recessions the super rich are building new bath houses for their pool gardens, new fountains.  Mix tile setting with polishing sea shells and use ABALONE CHUNKS, (MY PC too old to Click on the FLASH of BYTHEBAYTREASURES.COM, the dealer,) and use glass mosaics which they also sell. THE old BY THE BAY TREASURES WEBSITE USED TO KNOCK ME OUT so hope you can see it, if you go there. Check this website well. If you have a hubby and three sons, send them to trade school for a semester, once they're GROUT savvy, jump your way into a bathroom mosaic and tiling biz. Get lapis dealers, abalone dealers and such, and get a resale number to get their product wholesale. Finally, get a job rep in the DECORATOR's DISTRICT which every big city has. That person just books you for consults, estimates. So you do not even need to open a store. Of course, you have to be GOOD.

By the way, guy who tiled for my landlord spoke no English, just knew dry wall, cutting it, screwing it in, doing mastick then tiles, grouting and watching him once, you could do all of it. He got 350$ a shower stall, 400$ a tub stall. From that I deduce a whole bathroom would be a grand and a half. He rides to work on a bike! Mex couldn't get licenses here if they were wetbacks, now they can. Your rates could be double his, easy. Let a Home Depot clerk teach you the whole riff. Advertise in Craigs list. Well, are you interested in a CAREER as an artisan?