Monday, October 19, 2009

Fire Agate and Vintage African Focal

Earlier this year I received a wonderful gift of some vintage African beads and components from a woman who lived in Africa for a decade or so. One of the amazing things I received (I blogged about the other pieces here)is this leaf - formed from brass and stamped with a lovely, simple design. I knew it would make an awesome focal but I also knew it had to be paired with the right beads and the right components. I used some 10 gauge brass wire to form the bail - hammered, of course...................
.........and while at Caravan Beads earlier this year found these fire agate beads -some big colorful roundels and some smaller rounds that I knew would work wonderfully with the brass. As links I used some brass washers (nice thick ones - heavier than what you find normally - these were a great find for me from my favorite closeout store here in Maine - Mardens) that I sawed using my jewelers saw. (Beading Daily had a great how-to article that made me want to pick up the saw and work with it again......if you have any hesitation or fears about sawing I highly recommend reading the article)
While I had the heavy gauge wire out to make the bail, I made two swirl components to add a bit more interest to the front of the necklace - also formed and hammered...........

I am really pleased with how the necklace came together..............
It can be seen in the April 2010 issue of Bead Trends magazine!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lets Talk Embellishment

Talk about never ceases to amaze me how creative people all sorts of different ways! Check out the beaded auto in this video - ya gotta wonder how long it took!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Another (just like the other) beachy-summery-sparkly necklace

A simple summer necklace using some black ice fishing line, sparkly aqua AB crystals, Karen Hill Tribe silver beads (some rounds, some tubes, some squares), hand knotted along with some gorgeous coin pearls, some mother of pearl rice shaped beads..... and joined with a simple nautical themed sterling silver toggle clasp with a large heart shaped mother of pearl shell focal

Swarovski, silver and pearls, oh my!

A light summery silver necklace with a little of everything in it.......some freshwater pearl buttons, some of those fabulous pearl coins, Swarovski crystal in two different shapes and three different sizes, some seed beads and a myriad of sterling silver beads - tiny Karen Hill Tribe rounds, liquid silver, daisy spacers, bali-inspired starfish..........
a REALLY fabulous sterling silver sun shaped toggle clasp (I mean, what would the beach be with no sun?!).... and a big beautiful Swarovski crystal starfish. Three strands of varying lengths captured in sterling silver cones on each end - perfect for any time of day or night.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Turquoise nuggets and red brass wire

I was playing in my "stash" today and pulled out some of the turquoise nuggets I got from Turquoise Magpie - they are a very beautiful shade of blue with some wonderful browns and greens all through them. I wrapped the turquoise with some 20 gauge red brass wire and connected them with some handwrapped coils. In the stash I had a nugget shaped almost like a heart so I added that as a dangle I wrapped and coiled on one side. Here is the finished bracelet - destined for Vicki "the Reiki Goddess".

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Coin Pearl Earrings

It feels good to have the time to make some jewelry again. Using some more of those gorgeous coin pearls and some of these luscious rubie rondelles wrapped with gold filled wire. *Congratulations and have a great summer Darcy!*

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

New Work

Well, not really new work - this is actually a bracelet I made for my mother for Mothers Day. (*note to Mom - here's your new bracelet - sorry it's so late*) Gorgeous wine fluorite rondelles (from Magpie Gemstones, of course), some small (3mm) round gold filled beads....Wonderfully lusterous coin pearls with a nice easy to close ball and hitch clasp.

I had a request for a "silver ring with a light green stone in it - something cute" - so I used an oval peridot gemstone in a simple silver setting.
While making the custom order, I also made this ring - mostly because I really like emerald cut stones. Once again, emerald cut peridot gemstone in a simple silver setting. Tres chic!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A mothers bracelet - of sorts

I got an order for a "typewriter key bracelet" for a woman who wanted the piece to have the first initial of each family member. In addition to the antique typewriter keys, I used 19 gauge stainless steel to create the coil components............
the spiraled "S" clasp, and the jumprings.
I used 22 gauge stainless steel to wrap the gy-normous and gorgeous Amazonite rounds (I got them at Magpie Gemstones, of course!)
All together a very funky, different sort of mothers bracelet!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

New Photo of Copper Patinaed Romanov

I received a comment on the last post and realized that the pictures didn't really clearly show the difference between the natural vs the patinaed bracelet. I am using a new photo editor that is far superior to my old software - and I am still learning how to use it. I took another photo of the patinaed piece, and here it is:
*sigh* - photography of jewelry is a never ending lesson!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Experimenting with Patina

I recently created a Romanov chain maille weave using copper wire and some amazonite rounds. ( see below). I loved how it came out...I admit I am a real fan of keeping the metal as natural as possible......but the jewelry I make is not for me (well, not ALL of it!) and more often than not, I see buyers are more attracted to the aged, patinaed wire in the pieces. I resisted for a while but tried the hard boiled egg approach to darkening copper. Well, it didn't work for me, and rather than order some liver of sulphur, I decided to try a different approach after reading a conversation on one of the wire wrap groups. Sherry - aka Dancingfeather - spoke about using Gun Blue (read the Wikipedia story here ) in place of the liver of sulphur. After searching high and low, I finally found it at the hardware store in town. So this is the bracelet with no patina on it.

I dipped the whole bracelet in the Gun Blue - I was a little leery of dipping the stone in the solution, but I threw caution to the wind and dipped the entire bracelet into a jar (old fancy jelly jar with a strong twist on lid)and left it there for a few minutes since I really had no idea of how fast it would work - (and now is the time to tell you that before I used the patina on it, I cleaned the whole piece in a lemon juice and salt mixture - that takes off all surface dirt and oil) but just those few minutes was long enough for the piece to darken considerably.

Close up of a link with no patina:And here's the link after the patina was added.

The "after" picture is a bit washed out, but you can see the difference. I like the darker tone the copper has taken on - makes the amazonite rounds really pop!
Would be interested in hearing about your experiments with adding patina to your pieces....what do you use? how long do you leave a piece in the solution? what do you use to wipe it down and clean it up further? I used a sunshine cloth - and then a soft clean rag to finish it off. Has anybody used a tumbler? Would love to know how that works!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cold Connections and Mixed Metals

Some big giant wire -10 gauge red brass and 16 gauge copper. I couldn't resist - I love how it looks and the weight of a bracelet that's made with it.
Red Brass wrapped around the handle of my baby ball peen hammer with some copper tube cut to length to hide the join. Tool marks are very evident, I see!
Brass links joined with 3 copper I just have to figure out what to make for a closure.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Some SERIOUS Treasures......

Yesterday I was helping out the woman that is the head of the Maine Poodle Resuce Organization - we were working on some computer things and during one of our breaks, she showed me her "treasure chest" of pieces she acquired while in Africa. She lived and worked there for a dozen or so years and loved to go to the markets - where she bought items made, most of the time, by the artists right there at the market. Her treasure chest is one to be envied......and I had a great time looking at everything and hearing the stories behind the pieces. I was overjoyed and humbled when she offered me some pieces.........I could hardly believe my great fortune.

This is a necklace of some stone - perhaps white quartz, with an amber bead, brass wire and brass clasp.

This is a string of small copper beads and a necklace which is made entirely of silver jump rings.
Some really gorgeous malachite beads.
A necklace of clay beads.
Two stamped brass leaves, some brass bells and a brass spiral.
Some really interesting blue beads - they are really lightweight - I am not sure what they are made of.
A beaded choker.
An amazing multi-strand necklace - looks like seed pods, some wooden animal charms, what appear to be wooden tubes and some brass beads - that was made, then dipped to tint it green.
Some amazingly HUGE amber beads - I am not sure if it's what is called Moroccan amber or copal amber, but it's really beautiful.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Photography - take three!

The third time is the charm......maybe! I promise, though, after this photography post I am going back to making jewelry! While it has been "fun" to take this break and do some pictures of my pieces, I am really quite done with making it an all day thing. So, here are the latest (and in my mind, greatest) pictures yet.

So, whaddya think?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Photography - Day 2

Another day.........another set of pictures with different parameters. I changed the set up of my photo box..........I sprayed the bottom of the piece of glass with black spray paint and changed the aperture settings on my camera - the color is truer, there are no overblown highlights on the jewelry so now it would seem that it's just a matter of fine tuning the camera set up and I will be happy. Maybe.