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!!