Sunday, February 24, 2008

YOJ Week 8: Tango

Week 8 is Argentina Culture. First thought off the bat was Latin dancing, specifically the tango. I sketched some ideas, but nothing really caught my interest. I did some research, and still really couldn't come up with a better thought than tango... but I couldn't imagine a workable idea. Then Monday or Tues, bored out of my mine doing something else, I started to sketch dancers in my book. Now I'm not great at drawing, but something seem to click, and I thought, what about a pendant with tango dancers drilled down the the simplest, fewest lines? Could I make something that looked abstract but if you looked closer, like a stereoscope picture, morphed into an actual image?? I bet I sketched those dancers 20 times, each time taking away something, trying to get it as simple as possible.

It was working on paper, so now I had to do it in wire. I'm very pleased with my results! I used 14ga copper for the gentleman dancer, and and 16ga for the lady. I hammered the whole piece lightly, for strength. In the dance the man supports the woman, and the woman is graceful and flowing. . The woman's hands and feet end in small spirals to help create that feel, as well as I hammered the Male's feet. I've watched enough "so you think you can dance" and Mary Murphy to know that competitive dancing seems to be about extension and straight lines. I tried to convey that as well in this piece.

Here is another recent piece. This necklace I call "crystal tree" It originally started out with a full hammered oblong around the crystal, but it didn't look right. So in the spirit of working on a piece until I"m actually happy with it I took a leap and cut that out, and the piece changed dramatically. I added more binding wire to give it a little better stability but I'm very happy with the look. Matching earrings of course.
Last "bonus" piece this week is a necklace and earring combo I made using lamp work beads.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

YOJ Week 7: I love you

This week is simple but not so quick. In further explorations of using sheet metal, I used bracelet wire in sterling ( I think it's around 12ga, but it's about 1/4 inch wide) I cut it down it 1-1/4th inch, then used files to make rounded edges. I used my hole puncher to make the holes, and stamps to make the "I love you". Vintage ruby AB Swarovski seem appropriate with the theme. I used sanding sticks to try to polish out some of the file marks, I wasn't completely successful, it's something I need to work on. Over all I'm very pleased with these. I might try these again, but if I do I want to experiment with stamping on both sides, maybe "love yourself" on the back, and the " I love you" on the front.... I imagine these being a cherished and favorite Valentines day gift given to a woman by her hubby or BF. I've been playing quite a bit the past month, here are a couple of more things I've been making besides challenge pieces.
I've been wanting to explore the hinged bracelet for some time, and digging around in my trove of treasures ran across these Chinese crystals. They are vaguely triangular, which fit the idea nicely. The bracelet has lots of movement, very fun.. something to work on more in the near future I believe!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

YOJ Week 6: Aquarius

I'm not really happy with this piece. This weeks' theme is Aquarius or water carrier. Once again I'm having problems with sizing the pendant correctly.
This is huge! like 4-5 inches wide. While the design of aquarius is abstact to begin with, the way this turned out no one gets it. Jerry suggested a swashed spider. One of the gemstones for Aquarius is Lapis, so I made the dangle and the necklace out of lapis and sterling. I actually like that part. The pendant is 14 ga sterling that I wacked the heck out of, and then used my textured hammers to texture like the refections of a pond. That part I like... course any excuse to whack with the hammer is a good one! I used a metal hole puncher to make holes and chain to create the double wave. Matching earrings of course.

Now that I've got this posted, I'm seriously thinking of redoing it. Since it's "abstract" already, why not really go abstract, and redo the pendant. The worst that happens is I restring the lapis as just a necklace, and my silver scrap pile grows. If it comes out well I"ll post pictures, I'm hoping to redo this next weekend when my friends come to town to visit and have a weekend long beady session (hi Cathie! Hi Sue! I can't wait!! ) So if some Aquarius out there likes this, yell quickly ok?
I've been on a major art glass kick also, here is a springling of art glass pieces I've made this week. I really love the charm bracelet, I call it "black and white can be so charming". I started with chain, and added each link with left over scrapes of silver. A bunch of art glass, and a bunch of crystals, and some extra sterling dangles here and there... the clasp on this is interesting... when I tested the bracelet for strengh and wearablity, the ring on the toggle broke off!!! So I wired it on the chain, and actually I think it looks better that way. Major "cha-cha" factor on this bracelet!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

YOJ Week 5: Mardi Gras

I"m soooo jazzed by this piece!! I"m taking a metal smithing class, and this is the first piece of jewelry I've made by using sheet metal. I wanted to make this a broach actually, but didn't have time in class to solder a pin back.. I made 2 masks so the other one will be a pin at some point, but to get this done on time I turned this one into a necklace and earring set. I"m very pleased how it's turned out!! I started out with copper sheet in 24 ga, I used tin snips to cut out the mask shape and a jeweler's saw to cut out the eye holes. I used a metal hole punch to make the holes. I hammered and shaped the metal into the mask shape, cleaned it up and tumbled it. (it's not as polished as I hope to do in the future, but overall for my first metal piece I"m estatic! )

I Used a variety of pearls, crystals, and seed beads to create the necklace and fringe. Best of all except for the nose being 2 roundish, it's looks exactly like I imaged it in my head!! I used a purchased s clasp, but made the spiral for the loop.

Matching earrings which hopefully capture the flavor of the necklace.