Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The finished steel necklace

Well, here is the completed necklace. I added a beautiful pewter focal (actually a button!) and some more dangles from the focal - a couple of vintage crystals, a vintage pearl, a ceramic leaf and a few other things. I also took some of the beads off the right side - although I loved the look of two beads per loop, it seemed to make the necklace a bit lopsided.

A fun necklace to make!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Stainless Steel and Jewelry

There has recently been a lot of discussion in a wire group I belong to about using steel wire in pieces of jewelry. I have done it before ( here, here and here to name a few) but the whole discussion kick started my creative process, so yesterday I sat down with some 19 gauge stainless steel wire (found in my local Ace Hardware store in with the "picture hanging" wire), some really cool old typewriter keys and some red/orange drop beads I found at my LBS.

Lately, I find myself being influenced by the style of jewelry artists such as Mary Hettmansperger (Wrap, Stitch, Fold and Rivet; Making Designer Metal Jewelry), Richard Salley (his website), the work of (blog) Deryn Mentock to name a few. I am drawn to the mix of metals, wire, found objects and beads and fibers that get incorporated into each piece, and how, in spite of the fact that it would seem chaotic, it ends up being a soothing, inspiring mix once it's all put together.

In making this necklace, I tried to be more creative with my connections, more open to mixing shapes and textures of wire and attempting to assert asymmetrical-ity when I normally would not have. I love working with stainless steel - although it is a VERY tough wire to wrap with, unlike some other wire, the more it's worn the better it looks.

I have not finished the necklace yet, but here are a couple of pictures of the work in progress.

I spelled out SING using the antique typewriter keys, with a different connection joining each letter, a lot of 12 mm steel rings; some flattened and closed with a spring formed by coiling some 24 gauge sterling silver wire around a piece of 16 gauge wire and slipping it over the join in the ring, others left round and to them I added some delicious drop beads I found at my LBS - the color goes from garnet red at the top to a faint yellow-orange-red at the base.

I have a few other things to add to the bottom as dangles - I made a Spiral 'S' clasp - it closes in front - and for now have some steel and bead connections as a dangle. It reminds me of the fruit of a pomegranate - the right shape and the right color - mmmmmm yummy!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The People Have Spoken.................

.........and asked for more of my "elegant jewelry", (their words, not mine) - so in the spirit of democracy, and because it is election day here in the good old USofA, I created a nice, delicate, sterling silver, pink pearl, garnet confection (but of course, the silver connectors were BEATEN with a HAMMER)which just happens to be very elegant. Well, that's how MY dictionary defines elegant........heheheh.
I created the wavy connectors with some 18 gauge and 20 gauge round sterling silver wire. I used my round nose pliers to form the wavy shape, then flattened them. I used some 24 gauge sterling silver wire to create the pink pearl and garnet rosette - as you can see it needs a little tweaking; then I added the pearl, garnet wrapped beads and a nice sterling silver lobster clasp.
Just my interpretation of elegant!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Another experiment.......

Not too long ago, I bought a wooden doming block (from Magpie Gemstones, of course!) because I like the look of domed, curved metal - and to tell the truth, a new tool is always a great thing!
I had some old pennies (the pennies from 1982 and earlier are the ones to use, those minted after are only a covering of copper over a base of zinc) so I started with those. I found some information on the internet to guide me along on this journey, and got to work.
I found out soon enough that the lip along the outside of the penny is heavy and although not a seam, it is thicker at the edge - and so because my doming block is wood, it created ridges in the curves and now my curves have dents. Will definitely have to upgrade to a metal one to do more pennies.

I also experimented, using other things to pound with besides the wooden punches that come with it - they work great but I was just looking for some other tools that I could use. I found a couple of bolts with round smooth heads, one was about 12mm and the other one was about 20mm. I used the bolts on some pennies instead of the wooden punches and, as you would suspect, using the steel bolt as a punch worked oh so much faster than using the wood. So I found two 1963 pennies, domed them, drilled a hole through each one, wired up some freshwater pearls and some green stone (I got them from Magpie Gemstones - I am not sure what the stone is I got it in a multi-stone rondelle strand) and then crafted a sterling silver (with a coil of thin copper wire) earwire and, there you go............"My Two Cents"!!!!!!!!!!