Monday, December 31, 2007
This is the last week of 2007's Year of Jewelry project and the theme is the Promise of the Sun King. After doing some research I learned that on the Winter Solstice the (new) Sun King is born and as he grows stronger the days grow longer and brighter. So, to help him fulfill his promise I created a very, very sunny piece - one that is shaped like the sun and colored as the sun is - so even if it doesn't help him, it very definitely cheers me out of the winter doldrums.
For this bracelet I used a gold chain and added some charms I crafted out of 20ga gold filled wire, flat square gold beads and topaz Swarovski crystals. I made a charm for every other link in the bracelet - and even though there are 28 of them the bracelet is not heavy. To make each charm, I cut a piece of wire approximately an inch and a half long, put a loop in one end, added a flat bead, strung the wire through the link in the bracelet, added the crystal and another loop then twisted the wire together over the link in the bracelet. And repeated it 27 more times! It's a fun bracelet to wear, has tremendous sparkle and really makes me smile - even if I can't get a tan from it!
Happy New Year everybody!!!
Monday, December 17, 2007
An experiment is what this cuff is - but I won't say it's a failed experiment as I really love it. The theme was the ocean floor so I found a great thermal image of the ocean floor from space - etched the image into a copper cuff and then set out to add some patina to the piece. I had just read an article in "the Blue Issue" of BeadStyle magazine for adding patina to copper - a blue patina at that, and I thought that would be just perfect for what I wanted to do. It is a bit involved but truly no more involved than etching the copper is. I followed all the instructions but as the instructions weren't very involved to begin with (just about 5 steps under two pictures)I am not sure if I messed up something or skipped something along the way. The patina is very definitely blue and though the color is very consistent along the piece, there are areas where there is no patina at all. I cleaned the piece thoroughly after taking it out of the etching solution - even went so far as to lightly scrub with a scotch brite pad to make sure no oils or solution remained on the piece. I wore latex gloves when handling the copper and moving it from one step to the next, so how the bare spots came to be I do not know. BUT, I really love the color that came out on the copper and am definitely going to try this again. When it was dry and cleaned, I buffed it with some wax to preserve the patina color - although the patina seems to be really set on there.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Saturday, December 1, 2007
On a brighter note, I had an order for 10 bracelets that are going to be Christmas presents and I thought I would share a couple of them here, in case anyone thinks I only make one piece a week.
I didn't have any restrictions on what to make (don't you just love clients like that?!) except that 5 are for girls 10-15 years old and the other 5 are for women 40 years old.
I love memory wire for girls - it makes a nice splash of color and no matter the size of the wrist, you know it will fit. For my first bracelet, I used some pretty small glass cubes in multi colors and used no pattern - just a jumble of soft colors. It came out pretty good, so good in fact that the client said "more of the same!" I added a heart charm and a crystal drop to the ends so the loops didn't look so plain. The other memory wire bracelet is made with seed beads (6/0) silver lined aqua ones and crystal ones. I strung them on the wire in a pattern which worked well as now it looks very symmetrical.
I had great fun making all the bracelets as it gave me an opportunity to go through my bead/findings stash and use some beads that haven't seen the light of day for at least a year!! The really good news is that I made a few extra bracelets for the client to choose from and she had a look and decided to take them all!! (her reason being "bracelets are great gifts all year"!!! - a sentiment I agree with completely). Here are a couple more along with a really gorgeous lapis and silver bracelet I made for my sister for Christmas.
Gray pearls, vintage crystals and silver accents
Matte finshed aqua rounds with gold scrollwork, gold filled bead accents, hammered gold filled toggle.
8mm lapis beads, ornate bali silver beads, sterling silver rounds and silver rose toggle.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
A simple submission this week - I had some beautiful green and blue/green lampwork beads that I thought would go wonderfully with this theme. I staggered the more solid green among the blue and blue/green beads to echo the seas and continents on the planet. In between, I handwrapped some brass wire and added a brass handcrafted spiral clasp.
Monday, November 19, 2007
What a truly frustrating week it has been. As you can see by the heading, this piece is not on theme for week 46 (themes to choose from were Mines of Moria, Stones Abides, or Bare Trees - all of which are excellent jewelry themes). I started out planning a project on the Bare Trees theme - I pictured a Viking Knit necklace out of copper with some brass and wood accents. Wow - great idea, huh? Well, the Viking Knit just did not want to be made. I struggled with it for days before admitting defeat (after having snarled up miles and miles of copper wire)and moving onto Mines of Moria. For those that don't know, Mines of Moria is a fictional place created by JRR Tolkien (yes of the Lord of the Rings fame). OOhhh, lots of good ideas from that!! I decided to try copper etching (for the first time) and wanted to use the door to the mines as my central image. OK, so I finally have an idea and a direction so I cut down the piece of copper sheet I had to create a cuff (easier said than done as I don't have a jewelers saw! - luckily copper is soft enough to cut with shears - but, please, wear gloves - a lesson I learned the hard way!). Once I had the cuff the width and length I wanted (1.50"wide and 7" long) I set out to draw a rendition of the "magical" door to the mines. In the etching method I chose to use, Sharpie marker is used as the resist. Well, somewhere between then (then being the time I used to paint) and now, I seem to have lost my ability to draw. I kid you not - I can't tell you how many times I attempted to draw the scene in my head only to have it look like some "stick figure" drawing from a 4 year old. So, at this point, I've drawn on the cuff (and scrubbed off the cuff)about 10 different renderings - none of them any good at all. I didn't have the glossy paper necessary to transfer (by heat - see tutorial here) a printed picture, so I had to draw it myself. (see above (-:) After the tenth time, I decided to do a very simple drawing of clouds over the moon with an owl flying by. See what I mean? I really had to make it simple!!! But it etched beautifully (see tutorial here) and for my first attempt, I was relatively happy with it. From there I wanted to add some depth to it, so I decided to patina it. I have no LOS (liver of sulphur) so I decided to use heat to add the color. That turned out to be the most fun I had on this whole project! Using a torch, I heated the strip of copper until I was happy with the colors I got. (and a special thanks goes to my dear SO who patiently walked me through the heating process) I then formed the cuff around a coffee mug and there you have it.
you can see more of my work on my web site
Monday, November 12, 2007
Before I added the loop at the end, I slipped on an 8mm vintage pearl and then connected them so the necklace resembles a sort of vine curling around itself and up and around the neck, and the pearls seem to float on the vine.
I added a hand formed "S" clasp and an extender chain (for added length), but once it was on it seemed too plain, so I added three lengths of curved, hammered steel, staggered in length, each with a pearl, to the center unit. When on, the necklace sits on the collarbone and the center dangle rests just at breast level.
you can see more of my jewelry on my web site.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
This weeks theme is 'think pink - breast cancer awareness'. I wanted to somehow communicate the courage and determination I have seen time and time again in people I know that are battling this disease. I used some gorgeous soft pink peruvian opals - 8mm rounds and a beautiful focal - and paired them with some black annealed steel - the wire of strength. The opals are linked by "spring" components - each wound and formed by hand - they represent the tough yet flexible spirit of each person battling the disease. The clasp is also hand formed - the pink opal wrapped in steel and the S hook of steel - the look of delicacy with the strength of steel. Once I had the necklace finished, I realized I had used my sister in law as inspiration for this piece. Here's to you, Pat!
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Week 41's theme was seeds and germination. Can I tell you I had no clue what I would be doing? I started working with some copper wire - tried to fashion a leaf (I now know SO many ways not to make a leaf)but halfway through that 'exercise in agony', I decided I was going to try some wire weaving. I have seen it on a few pieces I really loved and wanted to try to re-create it. After a bucketload of tries, I finally fashioned a small curve of woven wire - and from there I knew what I wanted to do. I used 16gauge copper to form a neckpiece - I then wrapped the neckpiece with fine gauge (26) copper wire and some really pretty amber and light green rounds (with AB finish) from one end to the other - so the beads spiral around the collar. The copper curve had magically become a pod - and in the middle of the pod I strung some light green rounds on a head pin and once I put those in the pod, they became the seeds. I finished it all with a small 'leaf' for the clasp.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
You can start to see the form of the bracelet already! Once the 4 rows of bright aqua were added, I then went back to the 8/0 gold lined aqua for 3 rows and the 11/0 matte gold delicas for 7 rows and started the bead changes all over again. I continued this pattern until the bracelet measured 7".
I like the look of the spaces between the increases, but that is a personal choice. You can certainly add less rows of the smallest beads so the ridges are closer together. For that matter, each of the bead increases can be less or more rows depending on the look you want to create - it all depends on your own personal taste. If you need help starting the peyote stitch, there are great tutorials on the internet (check out http://beadwork.about.com/od/peyotestitchbeading/Peyote_Stitch_Beading_Tutorials_and_Lessons.htm for a really good one), and there are also some great books out there, too.
Next, we add a clasp.