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Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Review Jewelry For All Seasons by Linzi Alford

 I buy a lot of books. Some I read once lightly and others get a lot of use. This wonderful book by Linzi Alford fits in the well used category.  She is a talented jewelry maker and writer living in the Lakes District in England. Her observations of the flowers and trees and all of nature has inspired her to photograph natural scenes. These have informed her jewelry making.  The designs are fresh and original.  And Linzi explains in detail how to create 24 bead and wire pieces.
 The illustrations are clear and well photographed. Simple enough to follow even without the well written text that accompanies the pictures.
 Original art pieces are photographed as if they were part of the surrounding landscape.
 And explanations follow that will enable anyone to follow along and recreate or grow originals from the wonderful directions.
 The printing in the entire book is top notch and really is good enough to hold my eye as art.
One can almost feel the temperature drop when this page is turned. There are countless books to gather, but this one holds treasure, visual, literary and artistic. The book is available through
ISBN 978-1-86108-956-4

It is a bargain at any price. And the book will feed your eye and creative soul for a long time.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Part of the whole greater than whole? Well come take a look

 Somethings wrong with this picture, right? The bottom is gone from the frame Separated with a jewelers saw .
 What was just sitting there on that frame has been wrapped around a ring mandrel. Because it is high quality Silver plated brass with an elegant finish, I used a rawhide hammer to form it around the mandrel. Setting the partially bent ring on a wood block and using the mandrel to hold it down while pounding with the mallet on the ends draws it around without marks.
 The lovely detail could work for man or woman.
 Even the ends seem better suited to a ring than a frame.
 This piece makes a larger size ring about a size 9-12 adjustable.
The original came from Dr Brassy's new supply store on Etsy. I think I will cut up the rest and see what other forms emerge. The whole is nice but the parts are more numerous and in this case more fun. Give a new look at your stampings with an eye to finding the puzzle pieces. They are there. Don't forget to smooth the cut edges and polish them for a smooth fit.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sharpie Doodles on Copper

 Interested in getting more out of you etching experience? This DVD and the Book below are a great way to increase your knowledge base and skills.
 Once you get some etched pieces this book has many ideas how to make them into something special.
 I started off today with some crude doodles on sanded copper. Using a permanent Sharpie in 3 different sizes, I sketched some not too elegant graffiti.
 A backing of packing tape was rubbed on and left to extend to both sides.
 Hard to see in this shot but the tape is attached to the sides of the container and the metal is just below the surface.
 I checked after about 45 minutes and the etch was adequate. The etchant was allowed to drain.
 Then the piece was set into a plastic box and covered with baking soda to neutralize the acid.
 Next the copper was washed and scrubbed a bit after removing the tape. Since the color is dull and some of the marker is still evident, I took it to the fire bench.
It was placed on top of a steel screen on a tripod and flame painted. When all of the ink was gone and some color developed the metal was also annealed.
 This is just an intermediate step as more fun can take place on individual sections. First they are cut apart with light shears and trimmed down. Now the fun can begin. Next time I will show you what I do with the little sketches etched into the copper sheet.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Searching for the bits and baubles that make jewelry fun.

Supply issues are one of the most important concerns in making art jewelry. Where to buy, whether to share sources and how to stay fresh are always topics in most jewelry groups.
I have been using 4 or 5 sources for much of my purchases the last few years.  Each has some pluses and a few negatives. My pet peeve is when the source carries something erratically. Go there once and see something interesting but when we go back to purchase it we find it out of stock or no longer carried. Unless you buy many identical pieces when you see them you are at risk of being disappointed. Having many sources for the same products is best. But that can lead to stagnation, so I constantly hunt for new sources, whether it is for stamped metal, beads, or wire.

I want to introduce you to a new player https://www.etsy.com/shop/SteampunkSupplyStore. You probably recognize the owner as an active jewelry artist.  Inventor of the trademarked and coyprighted Sightmares and growing celebrity Dr Brassy Steamington.

Dr Brassy has over 25 pages of excellent metal stampings. The stock ranges from common items in many finishes to more unusual stampings with a bit of edge.  I went through https://www.etsy.com/shop/SteampunkSupplyStore page by page this afternoon and placed an order. I was pleasantly surprised at the sensible prices and the excellent variety of finishes. Dr Brassy is carrying many colors no one else has. And many stampings I have not seen elsewhere.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/174294169/silver-plated-brass-art-nouveau-or-art?ref=shop_home_active_5   this is the background piece in my newest piece
I used a brass ox version behind this macabre necklace.

How about black wings?
Or a beautiful copper ring https://www.etsy.com/listing/182881351/black-brass-medium-bird-wings-in?ref=shop_home_active_17

Dr Brassy has many new and exciting items to boost your creativity.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Follow up on the cross project

 The first step in adding embellishments was to glue on a heart over the etched one. Then a rose was also added with E-6000 glue.Glass half drilled Haskell stock pearls were added by piercing the cross and using headpins and glue. The head pin was clipped to a length that equaled the metal thickness and the pearls depth.

The next step was to add jeweled headpins along the top of the cross. Glue was added just below the head and the wires folded tight behind and glued down to the cross. Wings and a silver crucifix were added as were beads with roses,some glass and a pair of skull beads. Finally a brass cross was glued and riveted on the back to cover the wires and add some strength.

 This view shows the embellishments and the chain to hang the cross on a wall. Of course it could be worn with a chain ans a necklace.
The back view showing some of the rivets and holes to be filled.

The whole project was easy to do and because the style is folk inspired there are really no rules. Looking back I will make the top of heavier material next time and perhaps be more lavish with the etching.
Give Milagros Cross making a try. Maybe it will foster a miracle for you

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Inspiration Translation Creation Making Your Own Statement

I was inspired by a piece of jewelry created from older religious charms to investigate the concept of Milagros or miracle charms. In the process I saw this picture of a decorated cross. It would be easy to copy the work  but I prefer to use that as inspiration and translate that sense of design to become my own creation. Taking the central cue of the heart and working from there on copper with a fine point sharpie I made this design.
I trimmed the metal close to the edge of the design and backed the piece with plastic shipping tape. Covering the entire back to prevent etching chemicals from reaching there was the next step. The piece was placed into the etchant for about 2 hours. The metal was checked and when it was apparent that the texture was deep enough I neutralized the chemicals and washed the piece.
Next I chose to use heat from my torch to add color. This I do by heating the back side of the copper with the flame and watching for color changes as the heat is removed.
This is what that stage looked like. To maintain the color near to what it showed the piece was set on my anvil to cool instead of quenching.
This is the cooled result . It is now ready to be further enhanced With beads, gems or colored dyes and patinas. The central heart was traced from an open heart charm and the rest was drawn free hand.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Tab Setting for Faceted Stones

This simple folded copper disk is to be adorned with two round faceted stones, one blue and one gold representing the double star in Cygnus called Albireo. To stay true to the primitive form I added the stones with a cut tab setting. First punch a center hole and cut six or eight radiating lines out from the center.
The right side shows how the tabs or prongs are bent up and down alternating. The downward bent ones hold the bottom of the stone while the top are the prongs.
You can see the points are bent up to match the bottom of the stone.
Here it stone is set in place and the tabs are cut across the tips to shorten them so they don't extend over the table of the stone.
Repeating the process for the second stone readies the piece .
The tabs tips are squared off and pushed over the edge of the stone.
From behind you can see I have pushed those tabs up while pushing down from above to lock in the stones.
I added a long leather cord for a necklace. It runs through a tube soldered to the back .
Finally here is Albireo The necklace representing Beta Cygni a double star.