Wednesday, September 26, 2012

For the Love of Crystal

I've always loved crystal.  Something about it being clear, but refracting the light into rainbows thrills me.
This particular bead isn't actually clear.  It has what is called an aurora borealis coating on it, making it more rainbowy.

But that iridescence just is way too cool for me.
The beads in the chain also have the ab coating, but they don't show as well in this picture.
Sometimes I worry that my tastes aren't sufficiently sophisticated, but then I am reminded that diamonds also are clear and refract the light in much the same way.  But without needing any coating.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Urgent Need to Create

I have so  many older pieces that I intend to blog about and then list in my etsy shop, but last night I really needed to make a new piece.

I had been thinking about this square frame idea for some time now.  I had seen similar earrings made in some other metal, and they had fringe made from some fiber hanging off the bottom.  Looked like hair to me, and it did not appeal.  The other pair also had a bead wired between the two loops at the top of the square, and I've sworn off beads for the time being, so...

..I sat with the squares for a while and finally came up with this solution.  They kinda remind me of wind chimes, altho they are silent when worn.

The Wire-Only Challenge continues!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Another New/Old Piece

Here is another piece I made a while back.  I was just getting the hang of making a beaded chain with this one.  I used some of my favorite swarovski bicones in the chain - I think there are 3 different colors.

But I hadn't yet learned how to make a wire wrapped beaded chain.  Those are a little more secure than this looped version, but I still like this version.  
The star is deliberately wonky, and this was made before I had my torch, so it is just folded over itself and hammered.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

New Props, Older Pieces

 A couple of weeks ago, I retrieved some pieces I had made earlier this year from a little shop in town that had been selling them.  
I had some moderate success early on, but no sales at all in the month of August.  The owner of the store suggested perhaps my prices were a little high for their clientele, and maybe I should think about rotatinging my stock.
I decided to just list the pieces on etsy, instead.  I might consider lowering some of the prices, as these pieces were made while I was still just fooling around, and of materials that are not the finest.  

I also decided to change the way I photograph my jewelry.  I'm done with the light green background for now.  I went out and bought this black wire dress form, which is actually for displaying jewelry.  
And I bought a bag of black river rocks.

Not sure if Shubert will continue to be used as a prop.  She's not entirely cooperative.

And the last purchase was a display board, like a student would use, as a back drop.
I've move the whole she-bang out of the studio onto the dining room table.  I've taken so many pictures and uploaded them to my computer, and now the computer is acting a little weird.  Need more disc space!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Working Improvisationally

When I got into my studio last night, I was a bit lost as to what I would work on.  Lacking inspiration a bit.  So the first thing I did was to buff this pendant.  I haven't figured out how to get a picture of the mirror finish I am putting on these pieces that I buff, but this one is really shiny.

My wire supplies are running low again, but I had it in my head to challenge myself to make some earring designs using only wire - leaving the beads out.  I love beads, but sometimes I feel like they lack sophistication.

I don't usually spend a lot of time planning what I will make - I call this working improvisationally.  I just make it up as I go along. So, using only wire without a net, I came up with these earrings.

I like the way they feel, the weight of them is nice.

Wire Only Challenge

I'm excited with this challenge I've given myself to create some wire only earrings, no beads included.  It is hard for me to leave beads out, but I am being reminded how much I like a high polish on silver.
I took this picture before I decided to use the buffer, but it's hard to photograph that high polish anyway, so you get the idea.  
I don't think these earrings are as original as I wanted them to be, but they were in me to make, so they got made.

Also, I would like to share a really bad photo with you:
A really bad photo of something really exciting: both of those necklaces are ones that I made!  And they are for sale and on display in the front windows of the oldest business in downtown Chattanooga! I happen to work there, so I have an in, but I never thought my creations would be purchased by my own store!  Keep fingers crossed.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Playing with Power Tools

By way of review, here is a picture of the big roundy links necklace (in the background) that I posted last week.  I did decide to make the necklace again using a heavier gauge wire, and that is one of the links in the foreground.  I had enough of the heavier wire to make a necklace, which is now for sale in the store I work at - yippee!
But, I did not have enough wire to make a matching bracelet, which is what I was attempting Sunday.
So there I sat, looking at my dwindling supplies, when I finally got up enough gumption to attempt to fool with power tools.

My husband has this rotary tool, a Craftsman, and I knew it had the ability to be used for polishing.  But changing out the bits seemed daunting.  He always did it for me if I wanted to try to use it, and I knew I had to learn to do it myself.
It wasn't that hard.  And it came with two wheels for polishing, a coarse and a fine, which is what I need to put a mirror finish on my silver pieces.

Seeing as I was just dinking around, I decided to tackle this piece which has been sitting on my workbench for weeks.  I gave it a real good polish, and then decided I needed to drill holes in it to attach wires or chain to it.  Doh!

So off came the polishing wheel, and then I had to do a presto chango to get the drill bit attached.  
For those not in the know, polishing or drilling on a piece of silver creates friction, which creates heat, which is ouchy on my little fingers.
Of course, after drilling the piece, I had metal burrs that had to be filed off, which meant the piece had to be sanded afterwards and then polished again.

In the midst of all this, I decided to use up the last bit of my heavy gauge wire to make something.  It wound up being an apple.  I know this is a bit unfocused -  I wanted to show you the mirror finish I was able to put on a hammered wire piece.  It is so shiny!

And to be honest, that shiny finish on silver is the whole draw for me.  Up till now I had to take things in to my work, where there is a polishing machine, but some of the pieces I've made have been too delicate to be able to be polished that way.  

So here are the two pieces. I don't think I'll keep that red chalcedony attached that way to the apple piece.  We'll see.  And I am lacking wire  that will allow me to hang the blue chalcedony below the cloud piece.  I need to sell some jewelry, people!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Big Roundy Links Earrings

After making that beautiful necklace the other day, I found I wanted earrings to match.  I made this decision in the morning, while I was getting ready to for work.  Since I have very few minutes to spare at that hour, I had to rush the design process.
I am a very firm believer in letting the subconscious solve problems while we sleep, and although I hadn't spared a lot of thought for the idea of making matching earrings, I know I must have come up with this design in some dark recess of my mind.  It just came together so quickly.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Some Brass Content

Recently, I was fooling around with the leftovers of the brass wire I bought to make the hook and eye closure for that guy's bracelet, and these are a couple of things I came up with.  
I liked working with this wire because it was pretty soft, which means my hands didn't get the usual workout.  It also has a non-tarnish coating, which seems like a pretty good idea for brass.  But sometimes that coating will flake off if you've done too much with the wire.
I love the gold and blue combination for the earrings.  I might put them up on etsy at some point.  But the bird's nest is hardly an original idea.  I just gave that pendant to my daughter.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Big Roundy Links

I worked for many hours this weekend on a necklace made from Big Roundy Links.
I used 20 gauge wire, which is what I usually use for earring hooks. It is not the heaviest wire I own, so I might be making this again.
It has 29 links, including the closure, and it was a wrench not to put a single bead onto it. I may yet! But I'm trying to let the silver speak for itself.
Each link had to be filed for texture and shine, and then filed some more to remove any sharp edges.
It looks and feels great to wear.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Spectacular Necklace

I really enjoyed working on this piece, even though I had to wire wrap several beads - which is repetitive and can be fiddly at times.

But I feel like I'm working in my chosen colors: crystal clear and black with rainbow iridescence.
Getting those wire wrapped beads to cluster at the top of the large focal crystal was a bit challenging, but I'm pleased with the results.
I think I'll do something different with the earrings...

Stay tuned.

New Earring Style

I've been making those ear wires with the knot of wire on them for a while now, and I decided I wanted a change for these earrings.
They  hang really nicely, but the best thing about them is that they take a lot less wire.

These are a little simple, but they match the necklace I posted last time, which is a bit more complicated.

I think next time I might add more beads before the bend in the hook.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Trip to the Bookstore

Lacking inspiration, I made a trip to our local bookstore where I found several magazines and books on jewelry making.
When I was learning how to make art quilts, I would use other people's work as a jumping-off spot.  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I would always try to change the design up some way so it was really not a straight copy.

Here are some pieces I found inspiring.
These look like some of the earrings I've already made, but the way they attach to the ear wire is different. Hmmm.
I like the look of these large circular links, but I also like the way they have attached three beads randomly into a link here and there.  And look at that S hook for closure! So neat.
These large butterfly links are kind 
of interesting to me...

And I really like these square earrings, especially with the little bead at the top.  The hair doesn't appeal, tho.
And here is another way to make a beaded link that I might have to try.  Again, the big circular link attracts me.

In the meantime, here are the earrings I made to go with yesterday's necklace.  Very dangly and fun.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

My Favorite Piece... the one I just finished.  Until I make the next one...

I'm so glad I can say that, because I know what it is to be frustrated and not able to communicate what you want in any given artwork.  
Not this time!

But then the status as favorite might just be challenged by this one:
Oooh, I love me some faceted crystal beads!  Wait until I get this one done - it's going to be spectacular.