Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Art Jewelry Elements November Component of the Month Reveal

I have long been a follower of the Art Jewelry Elements Blog and been inspired by its talented contributing artists. After all of my lurking, I have no idea what possessed me to put my name in the hat for the monthly component challenge and giveaway. I mean, sheesh, these artists are like jewelry rock stars. When it was announced that I was one of the winners of the components, I was elated;  however, when they arrived in the mail, I felt intimidated. (Did I mention the whole rock star thing?) These cute beaded Twin Rings, created by Kristen Stevens, stared at me from my studio work table . . . forever.

No ideas came to mind, and the week of the reveal had arrived. My dreams started featuring jewelry with Twin Rings. Earrings seemed too obvious a choice; I dreamed of these lovelies in a necklace or a bracelet. I pulled out supplies, and soon my studio looked like this. 

The Peruvian opal that I have been hoarding forever finally saw the light of day. After wire-wrapping a bead into the middle of each ring, I hit a wall.  Now what? 

I knew I wanted to use the copper scraps I scored from the recycling center and some leather. After a flurry of texts and photo exchanges of ideas with my cousin Kathie, a wonderful jewelry artist who lives across the country, I had a plan: cut a bracelet blank from copper, texture, bathe in LOS, punch two holes, and wire the beaded ring to the blank. Ditto for a necklace pendant.

Wanting to pick up the color of the opal, I painted rivets and spacers for the bracelet with some Vintaj patina. I hit a snag when I discovered that I only had brass and silver ribbon crimps. With no time to order copper ones and no nearby store to purchase them, I had to get creative. Vintaj patina to the rescue! 

For the necklace I decided to keep it simple, allowing the pendant with the ring to be the star. I strung crow beads, old Padre trade beads, aged picasso Czech glass beads, copper washers and spacers, and the pendant on knotted deerskin leather. Loving options for necklace length, this type of adjustable clasp works best for me.

Of course, the set wouldn't be complete without a pair of earrings. I happened to have some practice links that I made from Cindy Wimmer's wonderful book The Missing Link, so I added a simple dangle of Peruvian opal, Czech glass, and copper. After all the planning, metalwork, filing, riveting, oxidizing, and painting, it was refreshing to just do something easy, and I like the way these round coiled links mimic the shape and texture of Kristen's beaded rings.

Now that I sit back, look at this set, and reflect on the process of creating it, I feel satisfied and proud. I love the colors and the contrast of the soft leather and hard, hammered metal. (Note to self:  I secretly feel kinda like a jewelry rock star right now.)

Kristen, thank you for selecting me to participate in this challenge. I loved designing with your cool beaded rings, and I am really looking forward to seeing the creations of other participating artists. (Blog readers, click on the link to Art Jewelry Elements Blog to see the work of other artists.)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Fringe Benefits

In the world of fashion accessories, keeping on top of trends is probably a smart idea. I don't usually think about styles that are trending when I make jewelry. I just make what strikes me at the moment, and at the moment, I have a pile of deerskin lace that wants to be used. Utilizing leather lace in bracelets and necklaces is a no-brainer, but what about earrings? In the book, Bohemian-inspired Jewelry, there is a pair of earrings by Lorelei Eurto that uses leather as a hoop from which jump-ringed dangles are hung. Nina Designs posted a blog entry today about the trend of fringe jewelry. TierraCast also posted a design idea using rivets to secure the leather loop. All of the sudden, leather fringe is everywhere, so I guess I had better start some designing.

Here are some of my attempts to be trendy with leather-fringed earrings:

Aged picasso Czech glass, Indonesian glass, brass hoops and rings, brass rivets

Indonesian glass, silver discs, jump rings, silver rivets

Beautiful black-gray Botswana agate, silver spiral connectors, jump rings, silver rivets

Carnelian teardrop beads, brass bead caps, hoops, and rivets

Jasper, brass hoops, beads, and rivets

Here's a different style. I love using mixed metals.

Finally I used the Peruvian opal I have been hoarding for years. Love this color combination.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Blue Skies

The sun is streaming through my studio window, and the cloudless blue sky lifts my spirits. Even though it is bitterly cold outside, it is heavenly in here. 

After a brisk walk on the beach, I settle down to play with stones and metal, hoping to create something reflective of this beautiful day.

The divine blue of these chalcedony stones captures this "blue sky" day perfectly, with the addition of some whimsical blue lace agate. I still have thousands of copper washers to use!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Aging:It Can Happen Overnight!

Waking up in the morning can sometimes be a grim reminder of the harsh reality of aging, but this post is not about that. It's about one of my passions: metal. I've long been a fan of beautifully patinated copper, that gorgeous rich green. My shopping sprees always begin with Greek Mykonos findings and sometimes end right there. Well, now that I have time on my hands, why not experiment with some patina methods?

Last night I tried aging copper using Vintaj alcohol inks. It's easy and instant, that for sure. I discovered that a light hand with these is best and that using a subtle blend of several colors looks more appealing. 

I also had a chance to play with some new purchases - aged picasso Czech glass seed beads and tubes with Indonesian glass beads.

 Next, I textured some copper washers with my chasing hammer, applied patina, and used the reliefing block to highlight the raised areas of the washers to create a distressed look.

Now that I am looking at these photos, I think I need to use some LOS to patina the copper earwires and brio wrapping. Back into the studio . . . 


Next experiment . . . alcohol inks. 

Unlike Vintaj patinas, which are like paint and provide an opaque cover, alcohol inks are transparent. I applied these inks on some textured copper washers to see what kind of effect they create. Then I sealed them with Vintaj glaze.

Resin teardrop, coral, and copper beads

Glass, blue lace agate, and copper beads

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

We're All Ears :: November Reveal

Our monthly challenges at Earrings Everyday have all been inspired by an image. As jewelry designers, we interpret some aspect of the image - color, texture, theme - create earrings, photograph them, and blog about the process. This month Erin changed it up by inspiring us with an sweet animated video. Though a collage of images from the film appears below, I highly recommend watching this short video. (I can't figure out how to imbed a video directly into blogger. Grrrrr... so, please click on the link below to watch it.)


In this wonderous exotic land 
With its amber orange landscape 
A brown-haired girl in a rust-colored tunic
Draws a bucket of water from a pristine well.
Hazy grey tendrils of fog and mist herald a new arrival 

An ethereal and magical creature,
Given the gift of flight and freedom
From pure water and a kind heart,
Unfolds soft but powerful wings
And soars into milky white clouds

I was entranced by this lovely film and knew instantly the effect I wanted to achieve. Those graceful yet powerful white wings! I had to capture those somehow.
Plan A: The bag of Tierracast copper wings have been languishing in my stash for years. I wanted to wash them with white or periwinkle alcohol ink or patina. Failing to find ink or patina at local craft supply stores, I ordered on-line and anxiously awaited their arrival. Then the bad news arrived: my order would be delayed; the item was on back order. WINGS! What to do?
Plan B: Skip the literal interpretation? No, I wanted wings! Wandering around my studio, I discovered this jewelry tin. Wings . . . the soft white and blue color palette . . . the rusty copper of the girl's tunic and landscape . . . perfect. I have been saving this tin forever.
Carefully, I used my metal shears to cut out two wing sections and filed them smooth.

Wanting to bring in the copper color of the tunic and landscape, I decided to cut some copper sheet to back the tin wings and glued them together. They looked a little rustic around the edges, but I kept telling myself that handmade doesn't have to be perfect.
That night while I waited for the glue to dry, I was mesmerized by the glow of the full moon streaming into my studio window. That made think of the multicolored moonstone beads I bought years ago and never used. (Oh, the brain birdtracks were in full bloom.) Opalite seemed appropriate, too.

I rarely allow bare copper to escape a bath in LOS and some sort of bashing with my hammer. This time, however, the freshness of untreated, smooth metal seemed to fit the mood of the video. After a scrub with steel wool and a massage with polish pads, the copper sparkled. There they were: WINGS!

Sitting on my work table was a bag of seaglass a friend brought to me from her recent trip to Glass Beach in California, a destination that has long tempted me. I wrapped two almost identical frosty white pieces of seaglass with 26 gauge copper and cut and domed some copper sheet that I dimpled with my chasing hammer and polished. (The poor hammer was sitting there so forlornly; I just had to use it.) Again, the frosty white looked so cool with the copper.

My drawers of white beads stared at me. Use us, too, said the pearls, shells, and bone beads. Okay. So I thought I could escape the LOS. Nope.

Thank you, Erin, for a magical experience in the jewelry studio inspired by a beautiful video. I truly enjoyed this project.  Check out all of the creative interpretations by other jewelry artists by visiting Earrings Everyday.