Monday, March 21, 2011

New Tools and Stuff

My newest gift - a third hand kind of contraption (available at Radio Shack here) that will come in so handy I am sure! It has adjustment knobs on all the critical parts and it's nice and heavy on the bottom so it won't tip over on me when I get in the middle of a project. 

On another outing on another day, I finally went to the central Maine store of all stores - the one I've been hearing about since I've lived here - the one that has three floors of shopping joy - everything from guns to wedding dresses to beer - yes the one and only...........
Husseys General Store.  I actually spent more than two hours going from top to bottom - up and down every aisle and in and out of every hardware parts drawer in the place.  It was awesome!!!! And I came away with some great jewelry making supplies - like a nice big bunch of steel shot (for under $4.00!!!!!!)

and a boatload of copper.........including some 3/16" copper tubing (6 feet for less than $3.00.......I will cut it up and use as spacer beads, tube beads, maybe even smash it flat and make a copper bangle) and some 1 1/2" round copper pipe - the possibilities are endless for uses!!

While trolling through the hardware drawers, I found these wonderful copper washers and rivet looking thingies -
and in the hunting section I found these hollow all copper bullets - which I already have a project in mind for.

A great afternoon of shopping!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Kumihimo and Beads - Experimentation

More fun with kumihimo - this time I'm experimenting with different size beads. I made three different bracelets using size 8/0 seed beads as the main part and some size 6/0 seed beads as the center beads.  Here are the results - now I just have to finish them off with end caps and clasps.

Monday, March 14, 2011

New from the Bench

I've been working with some heavy gauge copper wire lately - 12 or 14 gauge, I'm not sure.  It's been fun shaping it, forming it, beating on it and then heating it with the torch.  While going through my pile of UFO wire projects, I came across a length of viking knit perfect for a bracelet. 
I got some lovely ceramic beads with big holes that fit the viking knit perfectly.  I added three of them to the viking knit.
Added a couple of bali-style copper end caps

Fashioned a nice chunky clasp out of some of that 12 (or 14) gauge copper wire

The bead hole is big enough to move the beads and arrange them in any manner you would like.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Under the heading of Recycling.........

I love being able to use recycled items in my jewelry.  Not only does it stretch my imagination muscles, it's good for the earth.  So, imagine happening on a solid stainless steel chain link length perfect for a bracelet. Just sitting there.  Seriously.  I asked, but nobody wanted it.  For anything.  I was told it was a part that had been replaced.  It was going to be thrown out. So, what would you do? Yup, me too.  I used it. 

I love working with steel.  I've made quite a few pieces with steel wire, and while it's a tough wire to work with (oh my poor, poor little fingers) the results are worth it.  I use only the annealed steel wire, which comes in black (I get it from my wonderful local Ace Hardware - a big shout out to Audettes)..........which doesn't always match what I'm using it with.  Thanks to the wonderful and generous Deryn Boyd Mentock I learned that using some sandpaper on the black annealed steel wire will strip the black off it (leaving a nice patina, I would like to add here) so it will blend well with all you want to use it with.

As I said, the chain was the perfect length for a bracelet.  I had some turquoise rondelles, some vintage AB crystals, turquoise colored seed beads, and some Chinese crystals so I set to wrapping beads. 

Once I assembled the bracelet, it needed a clasp.  I had a lovely hook and loop sterling silver one that worked oh-so-well with the bracelet.

It feels fabulous on the wrist and catches the light at every turn.  Be careful while driving - it may catch your eye so much you forget to look at the road!!!

Oh yeah, and that steel chain.......I bet you wonder what it started it's life as?
Yep.  This is it.  Any guesses?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Copper and Kumihimo

A productive day in the workshop - I beat on some copper wire and wove some Kumihimo!
I had some thick gauge copper wire - 10 gauge I think - so I fashioned it into a freeform bangle then beat on it for a bit.  As you know beating on wire (or metal) hardens it, so to make it a bit easier to work with you have to anneal it to work with it again. To finish the copper work on this bracelet, I put it in the sand on my woodstove (which, poor thing, is working overtime this winter!) so it would be softened and easier to manupilate.  I took it out this morning and it had such a beautiful patina on it (red-magenta tones) I had to take some pictures of it.  It's not done, but I wanted to share this method of adding a patina to copper!

I also worked on another woven bracelet - this time with some wonderfully sparkly AB drop crystal beads woven with some dark bronze 6/0 seed beads and some amber shaded 6/0 seed beads. 

I added a couple of Vintaj brass end caps

and a fabulous crystal studded brass toggle clasp