Thursday, April 26, 2007

Week 17: Happy Fish

OK, Had problems coming up with an idea for this Weeks's theme-- Fishin', Scary Sharks, or Friendly Dolphins. Fish, sharks and dolphins don't really excite me, friendly, scary or neutral. I finally decided just to make a fish with beads and wire... thinking "hey, I'm running late this week, and I have a show this weekend, I need to get this done...." I'm thinking maybe an hour's work right??? WRONG!! It took me hours to get the wires to lay right and straight, and to get the shape to suggest a fish. This is probably my 10th try.. good thing I thought the Multi Brioche agate bead looked good with copper, I shudder to think of the wasted wire if it had been sterling!! Once I got it done, then it's like, OK, do as necklace? I do like my smile on the beast.. hence " happy fish". That and the fact I'm soooo happy it's done! Also, if you click on the picture to see it closer, the fish actually has an eye.. alittle bit of dark druzy, which helps give the suggestion of a fishy-face. Decided that it made a cute pin, so I added a pin back.. that was also a challenge, and in the future I think I"ll try to make the pin while I"m making the piece... and I bet my original estimate of an hour or so would be correct... despite the simplicity of the piece, I learned a great deal in the construction of it. I really love this challenge!!! Yeah YOJ!!!! wooo hoo!
Ok for something completely different!! I actually made this a few weeks ago, just wanted to do something all swirly-graceful. I keep seeing this 1 style of earring with pearls and large swirly-swoops, so I wanted to make it on a larger scale. I settled on a bracelet, and then had to figure out how to make it look good but make it easy to take on and off... after a few trials and errors, I came up with this hinge type arrangement. I test drove it for a few hours.. and it's pretty confrontable and easy to do and undo.. I tumbled it for pretty, pretty, shinny, shinny.... then I had to decide what to embellish it with. Due to the weather being soooo darn inconsistent ( ie, snow on Tues, 70's on weds etc.. life in the Midwest! ) I started to think winter... so pearls it was.. originally I was going to do stones or something. But it made me think of a crown... so Winter Queen's Crown it is. I'm very pleased with it!! and It's easy to make it adjustable-- just add rings for bigger and cut down and re size for smaller! That's a design issue I'm always struggling with... you want to make it fit your customer, but when you are working with wire, options can be limited... normally you can't just add beads like on a stung piece. I"m trying very hard in my wire work to leave at least some wiggle room on sizing.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

YOJ Week 16: Ripples, Easter Treats for the daughter or why she will never be fat & a few random pictures

This weeks' topic is Ripples, Depths and shadows, I choose Ripples. In fact, I've had this idea swirling in my head since I first saw the list of themes! However my ideas do not quite match my abilities yet. My original idea was to fuse the rings, then hammer them to look like water reflections. (I am using fine silver) Now while I hope to get into alittle metalsmithing at some point, ( metalsmithing lite? ) right now all I know how to do is make headpins. Well, after experimenting with these rings, all I know how to do is still headpins!! Now, I have a lamp working torch, I suspect part of my problem is the flame is 2 diffuse to really fuse metal, or maybe I didn't try it long enough. I don't have solder ( well I don't have solder for silver) so I thought using fine silver I could just melt the ends together. I realized it probably wasn't quite that easy, but well, hope springs eternal. So I gave up on fusing and just hammered and butted the ends together as evenly as I could. Overall the effect is nice, perhaps sometime I'll have the patience or the right torch and try again. I made 2 for earrings, with a black crystal as the "stone" that starts the ripples. I also tumbled them for about 3 hours, so while it doesn't show it in the photo, they really shine and the texture really does look like water reflections, so I'm very happy about that part.
Next is a picture of my Daughters chocolate Easter "bunny" which just happens to be a pig. She loves pigs!! anyway, this is why she will never be fat she just ate the parts that were "fun" to eat, then didn't want anymore. It took her 3 days to eat this much BTW. There is a lesson here isn't there?
I've been trying to built a picture catalog of my jewelry, mostly for my own records but also to update the website, this blog etc. As I make jewelry in the future, I hope to get photos taken before they are added to the inventory. Anyway, this pendant I made a couple of months ago, experimenting with larger wire in a simpler style. It fits the irregular features of the cab. The rock is tumbled agate from a rock show last year.
Last pics are from a commission I had to make a bail. The original bail was pot metal and fitted over all three strands of the necklace. I could have sworn I'd posted pictures of this before but I guess I didn't get around to it. It was fun to do, i just sort of made up a pattern. the only direction I was given was to make it "sparky" and match the cross. what's more sparky that crystals?? The client loved it!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

YOJ: Week 15 Sea Foam

Not so much to say about this piece, I like it but I didn't get the "buzz" I got from week 14. I loved the materials I used... pearls ( got to love pearls!!! and what better to use on a sea theme!!) Japanese triangles for spacers, adventure 6mm rounds, and these great, irregular Chrysoprase triangle drops!! OK, so maybe I liked it better than I realized -- LOL! Oh and some crystals, just a few for some sparky. I love the clasp, I bought it at B & B last year, I only bought 2 or 3.. wished I bought more, they are so elegant yet with a modern flair.
I guess the different between last week and this week is last week I was really trying something new.. working on making the asymmetrical slant look just right. So I really got into the process, the techniques of making it. This necklace, I couldn't get a firm "hit" off the imagery of the challenge.. Drifting, Sea Foam, Rolling Waves. I finally remembered the chrysoprase I bought in Feb, and looking at them it did make me think of sea foam.. irregular shapes, the colors, the rocky, "dirty" parts... and I went from there. I'm really excited about next week: Ripples, Depths and Shallows. I've already got a couple of ideas, and one really good sketch of what I want to do, just not sure if I can do it like it's in my head. If I turns out like I like it will be me learning how to do something completely new to me! Can't wait to start!!! Have to though... life is dead center in the way right now, hopefully this weekend!!!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

YOJ: Week 14: April Showers

Well if your weather is anything like ours has been, gentle the rain is not!!! So April Showers to me meant cascades and sheets of rain, which gave me the idea for the necklace. I like the basic design-- and this is the way kewl part of doing YOJ! -- but I've got a ton of ideas now on similar but better ideas. I've got at least 3 variations down in my sketchbooks so far.. and more boiling around in my head!! In fact this weekend I'll probably redo the clasp, maybe make one, because I don't like the pewter on this piece... which is why I didn't take photos of it directly. But I wanted to get this posted, cause with the holiday and family plans I don't think I"ll get time til Sunday night, and I didn't want to post my first official week of YOJ late!!!! I really feel about about the asymmetrical design, I don't usually design like this, it's fun actually! The large drop crystal is vintage, and it's another first for me.. it's half drilled. I made the bail using 20 gauge wire, I did glue it in but I think the wrap is holding it as much as the glue. The seeds between the fire polish beads is vintage also.. satin cuts probably from the 20-30's. I love my vintage beads!!