Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sterling Silver & Turquoise

Exhibit A
I've been wanting to make a ring from scratch. Not like scratches on the silver, but like
*from* scratch. Literally.
Never mind. 
So today I cut the band for this ring and proceeded.
I'm sure you already know that you can buy all kinds of
bands of silver to be used for the shank, but it was fun making my own.

All the Parts...well, most of them.

The Foredom flex shaft saved me a TON of time with the sanding.
It went soooo much faster than doing it all by hand.

Casting Grain used for Trim

A bit of design was added to the band with my stamping sets and a 
bit more was added by soldering on a few balls of silver casting grain.
The stone is a 6.5 karat Turquoise...with a very high dome. I helped it
sit up a little higher by putting a step under it.

From this view you can see more of the design on the band in addition to the
little balls of silver casting grain to the sides.  In this shot, it has also been dunked in
Liver of Sulfur for some dimension.
And I even got to use my .925 stamp for the first time.

It's just so much fun playing with metal.
And *bonus* --- the assembly was smooth & the ring fits! I thought
the band might feel too wide, but it doesn't. It's 6mm wide and very comfortable. 
I'm trying to find a happy medium between brushed and shiny for the finish. 
I think I'm almost there. 

Next week I get to go to a Gem & Mineral show. I can't wait!

So that's my Sunday.
How was yours?

Carpe Diem!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Fish & A Work in Progress

I've had a stash of African beads, carved pendants, crosses, etc.... for many years. Some I picked up
in Taos from a trader many years ago and some I found at a bead shop. This was back in the late 80s or
early 90s and African beads were hard for me to find then.

African Brass Bicone Beads set off a hand carved African Fish Amulet

To some, the Fish charm represents prosperity, virility and good fortune. I'm good with that. :)
I've knotted the deerskin lace leather between each brass bead. I love that's soooo soft!

In addition to the Bicone brass beads, there are brass tube beads - which are normally hand crafted in Ethiopia.

Also, the clasp is hand made from heavy gauge brass wire and you'll see a couple of other trade beads thrown into the mix as well.

The fish amulet was stained when I bought it. It helps to bring out the details of the carving.

And here's a little work in progress - I've had this vision in my head...but it's not working so far. I think I need to replace the large crystal drop with the smaller one.  I'm hoping it will work to use the bead wire in this manner. I like being able to split it at the top of the drop area and complete the necklace. I think I want more blank  s p a c e between the crystal beads and pearls though.......   tired of listening to me think out loud yet?   Of course then.... I think I'll need smaller components...hrm....

And there you have be or not to be.

Carpe Diem!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tranquility :: Heavenly Peace Gate

Hand formed BRONZclay™ Pendant - stamped with the Chinese Character "AN."

This character and even the pronunciation was borrowed from Chinese and absorbed into both Japanese Kanji and Korean Hanja. In all these languages, this character is pronounced like "an".
We see the character for AN in the name Tian'anmen Square, which, like many Chinese place names, contains the word meaning tranquility or peace. 
(Tian'anmen means literally Heavenly Peace Gate.)

This character contains a remnant of Chinese society at its most traditional. It shows a pictographic woman, arms folded in ritual pose, under a pitched roof. Another character representing the idea of tranquility, TO, shows a hand placed on a woman. 

Tranquility: The feeling that comes when all is complete in your world.

The pendant was fired and became solid bronze. Patina was
added to give it an aged look.

This character is used in a lot of compound words in the Chinese/Japanese/Korean world.

The AN character has an addition of 18 Karat Gold Leafing Finish.

Alone, this character has a broad span of possible meanings. These meanings include relaxed, quiet, rested, contented, calm, still, to pacify, peaceful, at peace, soothing or soothed.

A handmade clasp finishes the red coral beads (dyed) & African brass bead choker necklace. 

This necklace went together by itself. Don't ya just love it when that happens?

And speaking of Peace...if you haven't visited the 'flags for peace project - 2012'
then please go visit.  It's such a wonderful project - and I felt honored
to be asked to post to the blog. Perhaps you'll want to be a part of
this project. I hope so!

Carpe Diem!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mannequin MakeOver & Stuff

About a year ago I thought it might be possible that I'd eventually
be setting up an Etsy I started shopping for a mannequin.
I found this little lady at an antique mall & the price was acceptable..
at least when compared to what I'd found online. She was in excellent (like new) condition 
and covered with neutral linen. But every time I put  jewelry on her, it seemed to die before my eyes.
DEAD I'm telling you. And, yes, I'm blaming her...I'm sure it wasn't my jewelry. Ahem.
I decided she needed a makeover.

Maddy the Mannequin
Collage is my answer to every coverup. Wait, that didn't sound right.
I set out to collage this lady - so I first painted her with Gesso.
Gesso is used to prime canvases for painting & I wanted
a white base layer to work with.


I allowed that to dry overnight & then covered Maddy with
selective pieces of a McCalls pattern. I collaged the pattern on with Liquitex Matte Medium.
My overall plan was to white wash the collaged layer with white acrylic paint.

And that's exactly what I did.


Hand forged Sterling Bubbles

The clasp on Sterling Bubbles

What do you think?

Hand Forged Fine Silver Chain 

I'm happy with the result & my jewelry doesn't DIE anymore!

The collage technique left just a subtle hint of an under layer of textures and designs.
And the white really sets off pieces better than the natural linen
IMHO of course. ;)

Maybe one of these days I'll get up the nerve to set up that Etsy shop. 
Right now I'm just enjoying learning new techniques and adding to my own jewelry collection.

Carpe Diem!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Earrings and Earwires and Earrings and Ear Wires

More Earrings recovered from the Lost City of Atlantis
I don't know what it is about earwires, but they're a big challenge for me. 
And there are so many styles out there, that I'd really like to come up with my own. But I think it's all been done. Seriously. I made the earwires on the Atlantis earrings above by balling the end of sterling silver wire. We all know how those are made. I then flattened the curve a little with my chasing hammer. I love that hammer! I didn't add any patina to the earwires...just seemed like they needed to be all shiny. The Atlantis earrings are upcycled - The patina part used to be shiny silver. They are very light weight. I don't know if they are sterling or not, but they really cleaned up shiny silver before I started applying the JAX patina. I punched the holes and added the hand wired fresh water pearls. 
They're so light..I love how they feel on.

What gives me such a challenge is making the earwires match in shape. I guess I need to get one of those mandrels and see if that helps.... instead of the ink pen I'm using. :)

Sterling Silver handmade earwires with Liver of Sulfur Patina
More Sterling earwires I made today. I've got
to figure out how to make that little circle
at the bottom actually round.
Copper Stick Earrings
The copper stick earrings are made with upcycled bone beads
and those tiny golden (melted glass?) African beads.
I've had those tiny brown beads since I used to
make assembled tribal jewelry and sold it locally (years ago!) I love
those little beads...they're a clear golden color. The earwires here
are Vintaj Brass...but I whacked them a little with my trusty hammer. :) 

Just some earwires I purchased...but I added Liver of Sulfur patina and love how they turned out.
Another pair of purchased earwires that I whacked and doused with patina.
Dwelling in Harmony

These earrings are stacked with tiny glass beads and what I 'think' are off white
coconut shell beads. I've had them so long, I don't recall what they are for sure. 
Anyone know? Whatever the case, they're all stacked up on gorgeous
Artisan Made Lampwork Headpins from the very gifted and                                                                            generous  Kim of Numinosity Beads
These are also hung on Vintaj Brass earwires that I've whacked with my favorite hammer. 

Beautiful earrings and earwires from the Über talented Mary Jane Dodd.
I feel so lucky that I'm the owner of these gorgeous earrings.
Doesn't she do beautiful work?!  She took that great photo too!  
And just look at those earwires.
I need lessons from this lady. Are you listening, Mary Jane? ;)

And before I go....I have a question for you people....

Is it "Earwires or Ear Wires?"

Google doesn't know.
It likes both. :)

Carpe Diem.