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Friday, September 19, 2014

Queen of the Woods necklace construction sequence.

 These are the basic components for a new necklace I created this week. The metal parts come from http://www.bsueboutiques.com/
and the head is from my shop at Etsy. https://www.etsy.com/listing/203394408/excavated-antique-porcelain-german-doll?ref=shop_home_active_13  I have hundreds available in almost every style from 1850-1910 in age. This head is from 1850-60 and is soft porcelain.
 In the first operation I formed the back a bit to accept the head using a dapping block and punch.
 Next I notched the side rails to allow the head to fit back into the frame.
 Here it is partially fitted and the bottom edge of the doll is smoothed with sandpaper to clean up the line along the edge.
 The metal needed annealing with a torch to soften the metal for bending around the front piece.
 It is also fitted to match the groove around the head and the overlapping is crimped with pliers. I wanted a clean look with a bit more elegance to the top so this next addition gives that and a place to hide the chain connection.
 Fitted under the back and behind the front with a little glue and a rivet it will be strong and give that extra interest to the top.
 The rivet has been set and rings added to hold the necklace.
Side stations in vintage glass flowers and twisted pearls were added for a bit of interest.
 The chain is attached and one of my signature tags is added.
And here she is the Queen of the Woods. I hope you enjoy seeing my methods and materials. You can create this type of necklace so easily. And should you want to buy the original it is listed in my shop on Etsy.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Some musing and projects from summer to share with you.

 It's been a good summer. Busy with all kinds of projects and gathering both new and vintage materials. Also a lot of ceramic work in handmade and molded items.  These filigree pieces were sold to me as Miriam Haskell components. Certainly vintage what ever the origin. I acquired a large lot of fine findings all from the 1940-1970 vintage. They are more delicate and filled with lovely details. The aged patina on these is a coppery gold and to make them into something new I simply added bronze ear wires.
 This transforms them into earrings and doesn't alter the original permanently. If a buyer were to buy these and toss the hooks and say make a bracelet, well that would be fine. That is the beauty of making simple things that can appeal on one level as jewelry but be available to become in some other person's hands something else.
 These are a few of my ceramic pieces from the recent past. I have fired and sold all but the Mother Nature piece. I am still trying to decide on what colors to use and whether to make a realistic or wild colored piece.She wont be a one only but part of a small series of doll adaptations with animals and cherubs. The doll is from an antique mold from around 1890. The birds are from a 1962 mold and remind me of Disney birds from cartoons.
 I featured two of them in these earrings. The nests are commercial wire beads in steel. The birds are glued to the nest with E-6000 and wired to steel hooks.
 This is a project from a group that promotes Bsueboutiques.com Conceived on a Wednesday and finished by Friday. It has several layers of filigrees with the head pins sandwiched in between the layers. Color was added with Adirondack Inks and Lumiere paints. The skull is my handmade addition to the commercial components.
This is another piece labeled as Haskell. I know its well made and will be worked into a necklace soon. The old finish has acquired some dark patina in spots and that will have to be modified before I can add color to this leaf and flower.  As we move on into fall I will have some more seasonal pieces from my imagination to share with you.

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