Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Tuesday - Copper Love

First off, as a follow-up to my last post, both my mother and I have each been wearing a pair of these post earrings every day.  We take them on... we put them back on again...we take them off...put them back on....all day long.

In fact, I have repeated this process at least 12 times today, and those posts are still snug as a bug on those earrings!

Anyway, I made a quick pair of earrings today.  I bought a bunch of gemstones a while ago, from Dakota stones, including a strand of Pyrite...love this stuff!  It has a brassy luster, and the stone is sometimes referred to as "Fools Gold".  I paired them with some jasper and a couple of textured copper connectors that have hand set rivets.

Another piece of jewelry that I just cannot get a good picture!  The picture below does highlight that brassy gold luster just a bit better.

Also in my last post, I shared a picture of copper cone bead I made, with the intention of making a necklace with fringe.  

Well, I made the necklace and the fringe...but I did not use the cone!

The necklace features yet another one of the large - exceptionally gorgeous - lamp work focal beads by Sarah Moran of ZBeads. Every time I looked at this bead, I saw a drum! It's not really a round bead - as the top and bottom edges are flat - like a drum. This particular bead is lined with shiny purple foil, encased in clear glass, and has wonderful thick stringers of orange and red.  So pretty!

Still thinking that bead reminded me of a drum, although not a true Clef, like this...

....I made a swirl out of 14 gauge copper and soldered that top hoop closed for security. Added a little texture, and then some bits of silver to serve as the fringe - drumsticks maybe?  I am so NOT musically inclined!

The focal hangs from a copper chain, with a hand wrought hook and clasp.  Simple, but I like it.

I still have to think of some way to use that cone!  

I made a pact with myself to start using the HUGE stash of lampwork beads that I have been collecting.  So, I started to make what began as a very simple bracelet with lovely, earthy beads by Judith Billig.  Once I had the beads wrapped, I decided to make this a multi-strand (well - two strand) bracelet, so I wired up some handmade chain. That morphed into making a focal toggle for the bracelet.

The picture makes the toggle look HUGE  - it is large - about 2" x 1 1/2", but the details on the metal look so cool!  Instead of just punching a hole in the toggle, I decided to solder on a round of wire on the back - hiding the connection of the two chains.

Can you see the large (12 gauge) ring in the picture?  First I flattened one edge of the ring slightly with a file so it would sit flush on the toggle, and raised it a bit before soldering.  I wish I had taken a picture of my solder setup -  there was so much stuff on that charcoal block keeping everything "just so" prior to hitting it with the flame - it was comical!  But hey, it worked!

I had fun shaping the toggle - it's rather organic...on purpose ... and it truly hugs the wrist when worn.

Judith named these beads Sediment Rustica - love that name!

That's about it for now.  I have no idea what my next project will be.  I am NOT a planner when it comes to jewelry design.  Just like the necklace in this post, I create as I sit down (though I actually work standing up at my bench). Sketching - for me - DOES NOT WORK.  I wish it did, as I gets lots of ideas on the fly, usually when I am doing some mundane task like laundry or cleaning.  If I just took the time to do a quick sketch, perhaps those ideas would come into fruition.  But, the rule "old dog/new trick" applies here.

So tell me - do you sketch?  If you do, do your final designs even remotely resemble those sketches?

Thanks so much for stopping by today!! 


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Post Earrings Trial

I am not sure if I have mentioned it here on my personal blog, but I did mention in a post on the Love My Art Jewelry blog spot that I don't have the opportunity to take jewelry classes. So, I peruse way-too-many You Tube videos, and I purchase online videos here and there, usually through Craftsy (link here).  I almost always purchase these videos when they are on sale - usually half price, and I think they are a good deal.  One can access the video ANYTIME - there is no expiration - and if you are like me, you can replay a "scene" often.  Many times, I have purchased a class and do not even view it until I am at a loss for inspiration, which was the case here!  

The class Fabricating Dimensional Metal Jewelry, with instructor Lisa Colby (link here), focuses on fold forming, hammering, and basically, shaping sheet metal into wearable art.  I haven't finished viewing the class yet, but, I was intrigued with one of the projects - a post-style hoop earring.  

This is truly a classic style - and not difficult to make.  The tools required include a wood dapping block and the round side of any chasing hammer (like this one). The website's class materials includes a template for cutting out the basic hoop shape from sheet metal. The basic earring design does not add a lot texture - just a slight hammered textured finish.   Really pretty, but I wanted to try to texture my metal first.

Although the video did not address this, I already knew that if I first textured the sheet metal, and then attempted to create the hoops shape with a metal chasing hammer, my initial texture would become distorted by the chasing hammer. So, first I textured my metal, annealed it, and then I used this nylon hammer to create the hoop shape (link here)

Another note before I show you lots of pictures - the class includes a down-loadable materials list, along with a template to create the basic shapes.  I actually thought these earrings were a tad on the large side, so I reduced the template by 15%.  It was a little bit more difficult to get my hammer in side the smaller metal shape within the the dapping cup, above, but I persisted!

By using the nylon hammer to manipulate the metal in the wood dapping block, the texture stayed true.

My favorite pair - brass - antiqued just a bit.

I know that these appear to be on the large side - but the longest pair is only 1 3/8" long...and they are post earrings!  I am wearing a pair as I type this, and they are extremely lightweight.

The hardest part is soldering the teeny tiny earring post to the end of the earring.  I actually want to test-fit these for a bit before even considering offering them for sale.  I would just die if that post fell off! :)


In my last post, I shared a picture of some gorgeous focal beads by Sarah Moran of Zbeads.  I have an idea to create a sort of fringe, with chain, but could not find a cone in my stash that worked well with the bead.  So, I made my first cone!

I envision a mixed metal-type necklace, so I made the cone from copper that I textured with a hammer, and then I soldered on a teeny tiny sterling silver bead made from my shot plate. 

I am still in the thinking stage here, but the fringe of chain will hang from inside the cone...at least, I think it will! Stay tuned! :)

It was a very busy week here, personally, so not much else was accomplished.  Monday through Wednesday will be much the same - two days will involve more visits (yes - plural) to my dentist....again.  Sigh.  Hopefully, by my next posting, I will have taken this design just a bit further!

Thanks so much for stopping by today - hoping you have a wonderful week!