Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Assembling Necklaces

These are like charm bracelets.  I love finding odd and unusual items to put together for my necklaces.  Things that have some relation to each other in color or texture or feel.   My first choice is for the focal link, in the center.  It could be a pendant I had made before but decided it needed something more, or a big foreign coin , anything interesting to grab attention.  The other links have to relate to that main one in some way.  Stone beads that repeat a color, perhaps.

Foreign coins really interest me!  They often have animals or other pretty images on them and , of course make you think of the adventure of travel.  This  one above is an example.   I think about the color of the metal when I put the links together.  Size and texture are important elements in the design, too.The little bead mosaics and colorful glass or stone beads give a little boost to the design.
In this one above, I just like to mix the different metals. The focal piece is wire formed into a
 flower shape, sligtly hammered.  I'm thinkin Spring!  I have a
new disc cutter, so it's easy to make these discs
and circles.  It takes a little muscle to hammer
them out, but at least I don't have to hand cut
them!  The mixed metals are a beautiful combin-
ation, I think.  It'a an adventure to find just the
perfect link that works with the next link.  End-
lessly interesting to me.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

I've Returned!

It's been about 4 years since my last blog, and I think I may have enough ideas to do another one, now!  I'll try to do this more often!

I've gotten serious about the lapidary work since I last spoke.  That's cutting and polishing stones.  I don't really know a lot about minerals, but I love the colors and patterns of them.  Mostly I use jaspers and agates.  My rock hound friends tell me that those are the most abundant types around that I'll be using. 

There are so many shapes that people use for their jewelry designs.  I seem to like the long, narrow rectangle shape best.  I think mostly about the pattern of the stone and just do what seems to work best with that.  I like larger pieces than smaller ones.  I mean, if I'm going to do all this work, I want them to be noticed!!   It does take time. 

After selecting a slab of stone (somebody usually already has done this step for me), I draw on it with a sharpy pen so that I can then cut it into rough shapes with an electric saw that's made for that purpose.  When that is done, I sit down at the machine with 6 grinding/polishing wheels from coarse to very fine.  Water runs over the wheels while you work so that friction doesn't build up and the slurry is washed away.  I don't do facets, just the rounded cabochon shape.  I am using my rock club's tools, so can only go once a week.  It takes a long time to get the skills that are necessary, I've found.  At least for me, anyway.  So we are talking hours of work!

After the stone is perfectly smooth and just the shape I   want, I decide what sort of setting to make for it.  In the pictures I'm showing here, I'm amazed at how feminine and how masculine the designs are, depending on how I feel about the stone!  I'm not sure why that happens, but I definitely listen to the stone, and what seems appropriate for it.  I don't always use the bezel technique
to "capture" the stone. Sometime I like a heavier "frame" around the stone and use a heavy duty epoxy to hold in the stone.  

I'm hoping those who read this blog will tell me what shapes appeal to them and what they like so I'll have an idea what other people are looking for.  I want my customers to be happy, though I do love to go with my own ideas.   Hope this gives a small idea what cutting and polishing stones is like.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Alexander Calder: an inspiration

Everybody probably remembers Calder as the American artist who developed the new modern art idiom: Mobiles and Stabiles. I remember him also, as the guy who did little wire sculptures that were so whimsical and imaginative. The Whitney Museum had a display of his "Circus" which I saw in N.Y. It just fascinated me. All that defined a circus he had made from small wire "gesture drawings". That's what they look like to me, anyway. I love the idea of capturing the essence of an animal or person with just minimal lines. They come alive with so little detail!
I am adding 2 pictures of animals Calder did and 2 little things I did. My little dog is 3 dimensional but the person is flat so it can be worn as a pendant.
Calder also made jewelry. He hammered his wire so flat that it lost all of the feeling of wire. It looked more like cut out metal sheet. I didn't know how much work that entailed until I tried something similar myself. I'm adding that picture, too. Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

New Directions: Wall sculpture, small sculpture

I think it might be fun to add a new line to the things to sell and eventually do that only. I like things for the house. Wall sculpture, hangings, garden sculpture. There's just so much jewelry and not so much original art for the wall. Not sculptural things, anyway. I am going to start this week.
I've started making a picture frame for a show I am going to be in next month. I have to frame a piece of jewelry in a 12"x12" frame. Since I use a lot of copper, I am covering and extending a nicely shaped frame I found in a garage sale yesterday, but it's too small. I'm cutting out the copper in four mitered pieces and hammering each piece to give it texture. then nailing them to the wood frame with tiny little brass escutcheon pins. I've gotten two sides done and it's coming along pretty well. Then I think I'll put an aqua patina on it . It's a pretty large expanse of copper to leave as is. I can see this as a start to the wall sculpture thing. The frame is the primary interest, then put a small assemblage in the center. I'm folding under the edges of the frame to give it more stiffness. I think this metal I'm using is about 22 to 24 gauge. I can think of a lot of ways to decorate future frames. Etch, hammer more, but that's really exhausting. I think I could buy molding to make a base for it so it would have some curviness. I would like that more than just a boxy thing...

Other materials I'm thinking about are :

concrete patch....like one I did in a Penland class. Put a little mirror on it and some ceramic for a little mosaic and strips of copper I swirled around and just the edge showing.

Hardware cloth as a base, larger squares. Repeat elements on it.

CLOCKS!!! Like the woman I did at Penland. It was a little sculpture. Slate base, copper tubing legs, copper tube face and wire hair and face. a black square of counter top sample. clock mechanism. It was so cute. I should look for a picture of it.

Mosaics as one element. especially for yard sculpture.

Collect more found objects. I need to find some junk yards. I don't want to do anything too large that would be hard to tote around or ship.

Tagua nuts: I've got to get some ideas for carving them. They're like ivory, so nesuke comes to mind. I should go google that.

Themes to consider.....primitive/jungle, animals with people, make smaller elements that can
be combined. Like the black "egg" as a seed pod with foliage around it. I wonder where Madalyn gets her brass leaves and stuff. I need to google again and also look at the metal books.

Well, this is a starting point. I'm doing this form my own use but I guess it helps to see how people work, so if it helps anyone, good.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Riveting rivets...

I did a lot of cold connections before I could solder, but I still love them. Especially since they can do connections with materials that wouldn't stand up to the heat involved with soldering. Until I figure out how to use othe people's pictures, I will just have to use mine as examples. I connected this blackened steel to the silver backing with tiny brass escutcheon pins. I couldn't have soldered the blackened steel.

This is another colored steel, but this time I colored rusted steel and did silver tube rivets in the holes in the steel strip. These rivets didn't connect anything, they were just a decorative element. I used the little brass rivets to connect it to the silver back. Instead of connecting it directly to the back, though, I used tiny silver tubes between the two pieces to give it some elevation.

This is another example of using the little silver tubes to raise the top piece above the backing. This way I could slip the shell and twigs between the two pieces and that helped contain the things.

Another thing about rivets is that they can allow two pieces to swivle if you leave a little space between the two layers to be connected. You can use a little piece of paper to act as spacer, then you remove it to allow the swivelling. I don't have any examples of this.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Color in JEWELRY

People think primarily of precious gems when they think of color in jewelry, but there are so many other possibilities.

1.patinas with chemicals, heat (makes copper red)

2.mosaic of glass seed beads.

3.Prismacolor pencils on oxidized metal.

4, Use of found objects such as colored porcelain shards
How many ways can you come up with....

Monday, February 4, 2008


Actually, the fourth picture is my little Maisy when she was a baby. She is now a year old.