Friday, July 17, 2015

Book Review!

Today is my day to post over at the Love My Art Jewelry Blog.  A couple of weeks ago, I received my copy of Handcrafted Metal Findings, by Denise Peck and Jane Dickerson.  This is a wonderful book, chock full of ideas for creating the bones of a design: headpins, bezels, bead caps, connectors, etc.

I SO prefer to make my own findings as opposed to using the mass produced ones! I managed to make a few completed designs, utilizing some of these techniques.

Hop on over to the Love My Art Jewelry blog spot for more details!

Have a wonderful weekend...thanks for stopping by today!!


Monday, July 6, 2015

Where have I been???

Oh my, but it has been a while since I have blogged!  Shame on me!

Well, my niece, her husband, baby and their precious pup Griffin moved out of my house and into their new home last week.  Their home is absolutely gorgeous, and I wish them many, many years of happiness in their new digs!

While my blogging has been sparse, I have managed to make a few new things, though, including a few new spinner rings.

The brushed sterling silver, below, is a new favorite texture!

The bracelet below was tough! I was feeling brave and wanted to try and make a sterling silver bangle from 6 gauge wire - the thickest wire I had ever used in the past (silver) was 8 gauge.  Oh my - it was touch and go there for a while - lol!  Lots of annealing was involved in forming this baby.  I thought the hard part was going to be torching - wasn't sure the heat was hot enough with my torch - but the soldering was the easy part!

I wrote a blog post today on the Love My Art Jewelry blog, where I discussed working with copper tubing.  A hollow bangle!  But, the walls of the tubing are not thin nor weak- I had a lot of fun wrangling this into a bangle!

The necklace in the next two photos features a focal made with copper tubing, and a new-to-me technique involving sterling silver cross-pins.  Truth be told, the first few attempts were a complete fail, but I was determined!

I wanted to use that focal piece in a bracelet with wire - but with the cross pins, you cannot put wire through the focal!  So, I had to dig (and I mean DIG) out my beading wire and crimps - a technique I have not used in a long, long, time.  That necklace was 4 different bracelets before it ended up in its final state!

The earrings below are my favorite!  Since the "copper tubes" are not curved and only an inch long, I was able to maneuver the sterling wire around the cross-pins. I also soldered little jump rings to the ends - love this mixed metal look! These remind me of bullet casings.

A few weeks ago, I made a few hollow sterling silver beads - waiting for the "next perfect match" to make a necklace.  Well, they went into this bracelet instead.  Gorgeous purple-hued Ammonite lampwork beads by Sue Kennedy (her shop is here).  My love of "no bead the same in a set" continues! The hollows remind me of clam shells, so I think this is a perfect "Beach" bracelet.

Lastly, one of my favorite new necklaces, featuring lapis, sodalite, sunset dumorlierite, some more hollow beads, and an incredible pewter cross by Vincent Cav (his shop is here). 

I am sure that I have made more jewelry since my last posting, but I don't want to bore you with all those pictures!

Since I usually end my posts discussing the weather (why do I do that??), let's just say it is Summer - Hot, Humid, Sticky...yuck!  We have had an inordinate amount of rain here in Northern Virginia, usually in the form of nasty thunderstorms.  Sarge DOES NOT appreciate this!  Wish I could send this rain to California!

Thank you so much for stopping by today!


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

There are days I sit in my studio in a complete stupor - there are so many techniques/tools/beads - you name it - that I want to try, but there is no mojo. None. Zippo. Zilch. It can be so depressing. Today was NOT one of those days.

So, I have had these beads by Judith Billig sitting on my bench for about 4 months now.

Photo and Beads by Judith Billig
I am not a pastel person, by any means.  But these colors are truly fabulous.  What I like about this set is that there is more than one color in each of the beads, yet all of the beads are different.  I did not want to "over design" this one, but I knew the end result had to be special - I mean....those beads!

I truly felt patinated silver was THE metal to use, so I looked in my stash for some sterling accent beads.  Not. A. Single.Bead...that would work (believe...I am not lacking in beads-it is a sickness I have!).  So, I made three hollow beads instead.  I love this texture - it reminds me of reticulated silver - kinda melty and "touchable" by the texture.

See the striations of color?!  And, Judith gave these a matte finish, so appropriate with this pastel palette.

I really, really like how this piece turned out!

While the silver elements were tumbling, I decided to re-visit a hoop design I made - only once before.  Kept my fingers crossed that I could solder this design again, and so happy it worked (did you hear my screams of joy about 10 AM this morning?!)

The last time I made this design, I did not texture the sterling. But, I knew I was using these gorgeous turquoise beads and went at it with the hammer. I think these have just a bit of Southwestern vibe going for them.

In combing through my stash for a silver accent bead for the sterling necklace above, I got side tracked and went through my own handmade findings box.  It's a mish-mash of copper and sterling - beads, toggles, clasps, jump rings.  I forgot about these hollow copper beads I made quite a while ago.  See...distraction is a good thing!

This is another amazing lampwork set by Judith.  You need to zoom in on the pictures - rustic turquoise!  This is actually my favorite piece today - the beads are just so intensely colored.

See?! :)

So, today was a blissful day in my studio.  I am grateful for days like today, where everything seems to fall into place.  They do not happen very often, and I hope I have more of them!

Thanks so much for stopping by today!!


Friday, June 12, 2015

It's finally Friday!

I had a couple of hours to spend in my studio this week.  I spent of an hour or so fiddling with my still-new-to-me rolling mill and it is getting easier to create an impression on the metal!  One of these days, I am going to find some bravery and slip some sterling through this thing...that day has not yet arrived!  However, the copper is working!

I made a couple of nice long sheets of patterned metal.  So, I cut some small tabs, added a hand cut and set tube rivet, and then added a slight curve to the tab.  They look wonderful with these gorgeous Lapis Lazuli rounds, don't they?

I can actually "feel" the texture on the copper - which makes this girl very happy!

After these were complete, I was itching to go back "to my basics" of wire wrapping.  So, I pulled out this incredible strand of lampwork beads by Judith Billig.

Judith named these beads Batik Sherbert - isn't that name perfect?  My mother, the quilter, uses lots of batik fabric, and this title reminds me of that beautiful textile.  I did not want a complicated design, as I want the eye to follow the beads.  After vacillating between using copper or sterling, I chose copper - to complement the pale orange of the beads.  Instead of just plain-old wire wrapping, I took a bunch of copper wire and twisted it first, prior to wrapping.

Note - twisted wire becomes quite fidgety when wrapping!  Definitely not a quick project, but I am so glad I went this route!  The texture created from the twisted wire is what I was after. The focal is wrapped with square wire - twisted - while the beads are wrapped with double strands of round wire. I found a perfectly shaped ornate copper bead and paired it with one of the larger lentils to create a small pendant.

I also used two strands of wire - twisted - for the clasp - and fused the ends for a smooth finish (don't want that to unravel)!

I just love how this necklace turned out!  If you are reading this Judith, thank you for your art!!! (This necklace has sold - thank you!)

I am headed out the door shortly - taking my mom to get her first contact lens!  I used to be a contact lens wearer, until I was around 35 years old and my eyes decided to never create tears again.  I sure hope she can get that sucker in and out of her eye without my help, as I may prove useless!

A scorcher weather-wise - cannot wait to get back home to my basement where it is so cold I need to wear a sweatshirt to keep warm!!  Thank you so much for stopping by - have a fabulous day!


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Slowly getting back into the swing of things...

It has been a busy two months around here!  My niece and her family have settled into our house and will be moved into their home at the end of June.  I am not a Mom (well, dog mom counts, right?), but it has been such a pleasure to have this little guy hanging around the house.

Yesterday Gavin and his folks were out and about and I headed to the studio.  I was attempting to make a Spinner Bangle.  I say attempt, because the first two copper bangles split at the solder seam ON THE VERY LAST BANG OF THE HAMMER.  Frustration!  Well, when I was forming the bangle the third and last time, I remembered why it split!  I had used copper solder on the first two bangles.  Now, copper solder is great - it's a good color match to the copper and holds just as well as silver solder...unless I have to further shape the bangle and apply pressure with a hammer!  I learned this the hard way a few months ago, but I had not made a bangle in a few months and simply forgot.  Well, once I switch to tried-and-true hard silver solder, it worked!

Of course, other metalsmith's may not encounter this problem...but I do each and every time.  Same for spinner rings - I always use hard silver solder.

While the first spinner bangle was in the tumbler, I wanted to see if I could make anticlastic cuff. This is 18 gauge copper - it's thick. The edges looked fine "folded", but I wanted a cleaner look. So, I melted a bunch of scrap sterling silver into balls, and soldered them onto the ends of the cuff.

The hardest part was creating a perfect flat spot on the ends, where the balls are soldered.

I really like this cuff, as it is adjustable and can fit just about any wrist size.  It goes on similar to a bangle - over the hand - and then lightly squeeze it to conform to the wrist.

I recently acquired a beautiful strand of turquoise. I love this gemstone, and the blues and greens in these barrels are exquisite. I paired the turquoise with some tiny hand cut copper tabs. I textured the copper with my rolling mill, and added tube rivets.

It was a good day!

It is gorgeous outside today - I am going to attempt to get out there to enjoy a bit of the sunshine! My allergies, which I apparently now have at the ripe young age of 54 (go Allegra!), may say otherwise and force me back inside!

Thanks so much for stopping by today!!