Monday, June 22, 2015

When Life Gives You Lemons . . .

I had an idea in my head, and things were going pretty well. Then I screwed it up. Damn. I even asked my husband, who is always supportive of my jewelry efforts, what he thought of it. Good man that he is, he shook his head, cast his eyes down, and mumbled, "Nope."  Too much time and effort had been invested to scrap the whole thing, so I stuck the project in a corner of my studio table and moved on to something else. Then I saw this posted on a friend's FB.

List item #3 applied to my situation. It was time to make lemonade out of the lemon that was taunting me from the corner of my studio table. So here is the culprit . . . 

This annoying little piece of copper that I cut, filed, and then RUINED by texturing and glazing with patina.  Grrrr... so how to rescue these things? (There are two of them. Why I didn't just stop after screwing up the first one is a mystery.)

A while ago, I was faced with a similar dilemma when I embossed a piece of brass. I forgot to flatten the metal first and ended up with a blank section in the middle of the pendant. Looked awful! I solved that problem by riveting a filigree flower over that space. Maybe that would work again on these charms.

So I pulled out rivetable copper things - gears, shell charms, connectors. They needed some color and texture. I could tie them on with waxed linen! Yep, that might work to spruce up my lemons.

The finished earrings - kinda funky, kinda cool, and definitely satisfying lemonade. ;)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Uh, oh to OH!

Every once in a while life throws a curve ball. When I opened the cabinet where I store my chain, I noticed an interesting development. 

See the empty space on the bottom right section of the shelf? That is where I stored oxidizing solutions - liver of sulfur gel and Novacan. Mind you, these containers were triple-bagged in sealed zip lock bags. Bet you guessed the next thing I will say. The spool of silver-plated chain had tarnished in spots, which was easily removed with a brush of steel wool.

Now, here's the interesting thing. I never really liked the bright silver of this rolo chain; I always wanted antiqued silver. However, the supplier of this chain did not carry antiqued silver chain.  So I dipped some of the chain in a liver of sulfur bath, and here is what resulted.

I realize that all this did was remove the plating to expose the copper beneath. I didn't think LOS would oxidize plated metals.

However, I kinda like the vintagy look of it after a brushing of steel wool and a swipe through some polish pads. 

I'll try these sections of chain in a couple of leather cuffs and see what I think of it. 

If I end up not liking this look, my backup plan is to paint them with Vintaj patina.

All of this is in preparation for a jewelry-making demo at the Tillamook Cork & Brew tomorrow night. I plan to make some leather and chain cuffs, which don't require schlepping around a bunch of materials. Maybe I'll throw in some hemp and beads for some beach bracelets.


I made three bracelets during my demo (pictured below):

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

We're All Ears :: June Reveal

Tide pools was this month's theme, chosen by our blog hostess Erin, who posted the following illustration as inspiration for this challenge.

The Inspiration

Living here on the beautiful Oregon coast, tide pools are a constant inspiration for me. To really do this right, my husband and I decided to have an adventure in Oceanside, a beach south of where we live.  Though it was 90 degrees in Portland on this day, it was foggy, cool, and windy on the beach.  Since there was a minus tide, we could hike to remote parts of the beach usually inaccessible. For example, waves usually crash up on this rock outcropping (below). On this day, however, we could just walk around it. Cool!

This is a view of the sea stacks, with countless tide pools. 

The tide pools are full of fascinating life - barnacles, mussels, urchins, starfish, anemones, and kelp. 

The sand is home to so many treasures - agates, jasper, shells, and sand diollars - that we had to remind ourselves to look up. When we did, we were dwarfed by the sea stacks towering above us.

We made quite a nice haul of shells and rocks. Lots of beautiful agates.

The creative process for me: chaos. Always.

The Earrings

* This month's experiment in photography staging involved some new locations and props - a piece of driftwood, sand, and shells on the beach.

I was on fire these past two weeks!  So many earrings to share. I'll limit my text and let the photos do the talking.

I was determined to make something organic and asymmetrical. Took some thought but very satisfying when it works.

Tiny pieces of beach driftwood wrapped in oxidized copper wire.

 Beach agates caged in gunmetal wire.  

  Beach agates caged in oxidized copper wire.

(This picture below better captures the color of these earrings. Looking at it now, I realize that one of the caged pieces is a shell, and the other is an agate.)

These links were repurposed from one of my mom's necklaces. 

The soft blues in the sky and water and the greens of anemones. Matte amazonite is one of my favorite gemstones.

Last, some brass starfish charms I picked up in a local vintage shop and patinated. Cute and whimsical.

Thanks for joining me on this trip to the beach, and, as always, thank you Erin for the best inspiration ever. To see the tide pool earrings created by other jewelry artists, Click Here.