Wednesday, January 23, 2008

YOJ - Week 4: "First Snow"

Last week an utter disappointment for me, this week, well this week I'm good!! The theme is "blustery" ( I don't know about you, but my mind always goes to Pooh Bear and the Blustery Day.... Piglet flying with that umbrella is just a vivid imagine in my mind!) I tried to put Pooh bear aside, and think on what blustery really means to me. I started to think of swirling leaves in the air.. and then since I'm in Iowa and well, it's really cold right now, and leaves are already on the ground, under several inches of snow besides.. and I thought instead of snow whirling around you. Not the vicious stuff we are getting right now, but more like the first gentle snow fall of the year, with lovely big flakes that just seem to get bigger and bigger as they fall down. The kind of snow that you loved as a child, and as an adult it's pretty--- as long as you don't have to drive in it! That kind of magical first snow. Idea firmly in hand, I started to do some sketches.. I definitely wanted to do a necklace, that much I was sure about. About this time, sitting on my desk was a vintage crystal from a chandelier. I don't really know how old it is, but it's sort of unique, and I only have 1 ... it's round with a star type pattern in it. If you look at in with the right though in your head, it kind of looks like a snowflake. I've been digging in my stash trying to get stuff ready to sell, and found it.. and couldn't part with it. So it sat on my desk waiting for magic... and instead became the magic I was looking for in this piece! Think about how small snow looks high up, and then how much bigger it gets as it floats down to you. How close it has to be to your eyes to see even the edges of a snow flake... that 's what I wanted to replicate in my necklace! It worked up pretty quickly, especially in contrast to last week! I made matching earrings. The chain is 18 ga sections of sterling, wrapped with a mix of modern and vintage crystals in chalk white, opal and clear crystal. Each section is linked by 3 links of chain, so it moves very easy, and drapes wonderfully. the Pendant is in 20 ga. This was a really fun project!! The last pic is matching earrings.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

YOJ: Week 3: Australian Culture

OK, subject is Australian Culture. Not really having a clue, I did some Internet research (love Google images!) and hit some fascinating sites devoted to Australian Aborigine art, including Dot Paintings. I think ah ha! Perfect! I have my subject. Also ran into the Dreaming concepts, and how often the person takes on the form of animals in it.. alittle more research and I decided I would make a gecko pendant or pin, and wrap it so it looked somewhat like a dot painting. Delighted in the concept, I started to bend the wire. I should have done this in copper. $15 + dollars in sterling wire later, and I"m still not happy with my "gecko" . So much for dreaming, think nightmare instead!
My main problem is size. I wanted to create a pendant or pin, maybe 2 inches long. See the three in the picture? the biggest one is almost 5 inches long!! I just couldn't get the gecko small enough and sturdy enough, and with enough detail to satisfy me. Worse yet I kept running out of wire... each gecko started out with progressively more wire, and I ran short in 2 of them.. I finally got a smaller scale but it didn't look right.. I couldn't get the paws/claws to look right , or get the dancing look right on a smaller scale.. I wanted jaunty geckos damn it! happy dancers in the dreaming, discovering truths and creating understanding of themselves. This should be A HAPPY process at least in the end right?? arrrghghwgh! I finally gave up and took up the best looking gecko I have, which is the pic below. Jaunty dancing check, actual complete tail, check! it's like 4 inches long.. so what, I reasoned, I'll just use it as a huge pendant on a beaded necklace. So then I spend a couple of hours trying out different ideas to get the look of the dot paintings I wanted. No go. ( here is an example BTW: ) So finally this afternoon as everything went wrong both artistically and in real life ( don't ask, it's been a long day all the way around) I decided to call it a night on this theme. I spent 10 minutes hammering the buggers thin, So now I present my Gecko Bookmarks, suitable for any fine book you would care to read. I have 2 left if you are interested, my daughter has already bought/stolen/appropriated one of them!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

YOJ:week 2: Capricorn

The traditional Capricorn sign, done in 18 ga sterling silver for the frame, 22 & 24 ga for the wrapping. Doing the weaving in a circle was quite the challenge, but I think it looks ok. Onyx is one of the stones said to represent Capricorns, so the small dangle is true onyx... I couldn't find any small onyx beads in my collection, so I used 4mm agate rounds.

This pendant is fossil jasper sterling and pearls. My good Friend Michele's Christmas present. I wanted to make her something extra special as she was moving ( and now has ) to Omaha right after Christmas. I used 16 ga sterling , pounded the heck out of it, and then texturized it, all with various hammers. She's always worried about getting pendants on and off the necklaces, so I made sure that this pendant slides on and off safely.. the pearls in front are actually hanging free, so you can gently pull the loop open. It should accommodate any size necklace this way. I'm very please with how this works! Last is a Pearl and crystal bracelet. I bought a bunch of 2 holed pearls last year, and I was playing around with them.. came up with this design. I think it would look supper if I doubled the width, yet something else on my wish list to try when I have a spare century!!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

YOJ: Week 1 I can do it!!!!

Year of Jewelry 2008 has started ,yeah! This weeks topic is "I can do it"... which is a great way to start the year!!! Here are 2 wedding knot bracelets, from a recent bead and button issue. Why are they " I can do it" ?? because I made the rings myself!!!! As a Christmas present to the business, I bought a Koil cutter and a dremel, and these bracelet are from my first batches!! I wound and cut the copper first, on the theory of if I mess up the wire, it's only copper. Then I made the sterling rings for another wedding knot bracelet. I also made up enough rings to make a Byzantine bracelet, shown below. I tumbled the rings in my tumbler for about 3 hours. Really, if you plan to make chainmaile without doing nothing but chainmaile, I cannot recommend the Koil Kutter enough! It took about 45 minutes to coil and cut for the 3 bracelets, and I have left over rings of course. Next time it wont take near that long, I had to figure out how to un-chuck the dremel and attach the cutting gizmo, a 1 time lesson I"m sure. There is another system out there, called the jump ringer, which is geared for more production work. It's also 2 or more times the money. I'm very happy with the Koil Kutter!
Anyway, this weeks theme will be my personal theme for the year. Starting in late January I"m taking a class on silver smithing, I'm very excited about that! This is going to be such a fun year!!!