Friday, December 5, 2014

My latest and greatest...tool!

I hate to admit it, but I am a collector - artisan beads, spools of wire (yes...I buy copper and red brass in very large spools 'cause it is cheaper!) and tools.  I can spend just as many hours scouring online websites drooling over tools that I do on artisan sites staring at beads.

After years of fumbling my way around this jewelry making hobby (it's not really a hobby, but it is not really a full time business for me, either), I feel like I have finally found my direction.  I love to look at jewelry that is strung on bead wire - but I absolutely cannot stand using crimp beads.  At one point, I wanted to learn to make lampwork beads - and I am still on the fence about trying Precious Metal Clay.  My "fear" is that I won't be able to carve out enough time, once the beads are made, to create the jewelry.  

So, I dabble in metal - and I get so much satisfaction with each piece I finish.... a toggle, a focal,  charms, bezel set cabochons, etc.  So, with the metal, comes the desire for texture.

While I have acquired quite a few tools to achieve the desired texture - nails, metal screen, any metal object for that matter - hammers remain my favorite vehicle.  I have been blessed to have acquired a few Fretz Hammers.  I bought my first one at Rio Grande and it was instant LOVE.  I am short - 5'0", and with my lack of height comes small hands.  The weight and length of the Fretz is perfect for my hands.  I have acquired a few more Fretz Hammers from Fusion Beads - they frequently have 30% off sales and free shipping, and that is when I buy them.  They are expensive, but as the saying goes "worth it"!  To be honest, I quit smoking almost 5 years ago - any time I purchase something that I don't really need but I really want, I just tell myself, "well, a carton of cigarettes is $50 - so go for it)!"

Here is my latest Fretz Hammer - it's called the Raw Silk Hammer (here is a link).  

I drooled a lot when I finally received this, and have been happily banging away.  By the way - while I use the term "banging away" liberally in my posts, it is not necessary to have a heavy hand when using the hammer.  In fact, a lighter touch, for me anyway, allows me to achieve the desired texture.

I made a few  rings - the first one is a plain wide band - I just wanted the texture to shine.

I even soldered some gold - first time for me - for the satellite ring in this Spinner Ring.  

Then I made some earrings.  I did not oxidize the silver on these earrings, just 'cause I liked how it looked. 

But the copper looks fantastic with oxidation.  I used 20 gauge sheet for both sets of earrings.  The little metal charms are small, so not heavy, and they take the texture quite well.

I even textured the back plate on this tiger eye cab, prior to soldering (those gorgeous ceramic beads, by the way, are from Karen Totten of Starry Road Studio).

And, I have been practicing with my saw - I still have a long way to go, but baby steps!  I think the free-handed heart turned out well, considering I did it!  LOL!

Thanksgiving was perfect at my house - lots of family, lots of dogs, lots of food, lots of recovery time needed afterward! :)  For now, it is countdown to Christmas!  This year, my niece's twins will be 16 months old and I look forward to seeing their faces - especially at this time of year!

By the way, I am working on a giveaway for my next post - so much to be thankful for these days ... I want to share!  So, stay tuned...

Thank you so much for stopping by today - have a wonderful weekend!!



  1. Gosh,Patti, your jewelry gets more gorgeous everyday! I love that necklace. I pinned it already! I love the texture of your new hammer. I'm not in the Fretz league. But,maybe some day!
    I'm really glad your Thanksgiving was great. Enjoy this season. Children make it really magical!

  2. Your jewelry is beautiful. It looks like you are doing the right. The texture on the ring is really a stand-out.

  3. Jealous--that texture is THE one to die for. I love how you've used it, especially on that stunner of a ring. Hope the holiday season continues to be memorable for you.

  4. I love your new hammer and what you've done with it. You are sooo talented!

  5. Love your new hammer! Great texture you got from it, to.. I'm a tool junkie, too... and am trying to be good about adding more until I produce more. Love the photos and post. You've been really doing some lovely metalwork lately.

  6. Your jewelry is exquisite Patti and the texture from that beautiful hammer is so soft and tactile. Hard to believe a texture hammer could be so fine, must be your gentle touch!!

  7. well you may drool over the hammer, I drool over your hammered metals! That ring is really friken amazing! the texture is stunning - I am in LOVE

  8. Yes, I agree, the texture is amazing! I think the heart turned out FANTASTIC! That is my favorite in this post...always so interesting and inspiring! Thank You for sharing these delights!

  9. Hi Patti Thanx for sharing. I like the pack of cigarettes angle. I drool when i look at your awesome metalwork.

  10. I love it all. I have the same it for Christmas last year and have been almost afraid to use it. Thanks for making and showing such lovely are such an inspiration for me!

  11. Love that hammer - been eyeing it myself - lovely work - love your work

  12. Your work is SO beautiful! I've never had the time or courage to break into the world of making my own beads or working with metal like this and I'm so impressed with your abilities! Fabulous x