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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Earrings mounting made simple.

 Last time I showed you these earring mountings. I hope by showing you a new to you old tool of mine, the ring clamp, I can give you confidence to set stones yourself. This ring clamp is 40 years old and is still available through RioGrande and other tool suppliers. It has leather jaws that won't mar the finish on the mountings. A wedge is pushed into the bottom of the tool to secure the mounting.

 This lever back is ready with stone dropped in and sitting flat. You can use almost any thing to push the prongs down over the stone. I use the rubber handles of a pair of pliers. Start in one spot then cross to the opposite side. Then repeat. Push the prong down smoothly to sit against the stone.
 You can see the prongs tight against the crystal. No glues are involved, just the prongs.
 To set a post back, I moved to a side position in the clamp.
 Here is the cup toll from my last post set to fold down the prongs all at once. It is fast and even.
 After one push and a bit of rocking these are set for good.
 This is Swarovski's newest snowflake design with matching mount.  There are 3 prongs to hold the star shaped snowflake.
 Holes around the base allow for wiring or stitching this setting to your project. I chose a head pin with a heart and started a loop on top.
 Finishing the loop and wrap with looping pliers.
 The finished unit ready for stone and hooks.
Here I held the mounting in my hand and pressed with a wooden stick against the 3 prongs Which fold into grooves on the snowflake. 
 You will notice I clipped off the first pin and added a 4mm crystal round to add a bit of extension.
20 minutes, 12 39ss 8.5mm Swarovski custom aftermarket round chatons, 2 snowflakes and mountings are all set.  Simple, profitable and attractive pieces ready to list. Give them a try. The clamp is available here http://www.jewelrysupply.com/Ring-Clamp-Nylon_p_11432.html

Saturday, August 8, 2015

 The follow up from my last post is this bracelet. All the stones came in and I picked these to fill the cups.
 To mount these stones I chose to get this cup tool. The concave end will bend the prongs quickly and evenly.
 The tool has a comfortable handle and makes the job go quickly.
 Place the tool over the cup with the stone centered. Make sure the setting is on a firm surface. I grabbed a magazine this time and will use a bench block next time.
 The finished product is attractive and should sell well. If you are wondering what happened to the big necklace, it was found to be made incorrectly and the stones could not fit without overlapping.
Matching earrings, lever back and post. Next post I will show how to hold these for mounting.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Empty cup chain jewelry, quick road to bling.

 What you see here is manufactured empty cup chain jewelry. On the left is a piece called Empty Large Statement Necklace it is in silver ox and uses 2-14mm rivoli stones,1-18 mm rivoli, 2-18x13 octagon stones and 2- 20x15mm octagons, and an oval 25x18 . The gold plated bracelet has room for 128.5mm round rhinestone and a 12mm square. Just think of all the different combinations you could invent with these.
 The 18mm rivoli is a deep blue and I have many other colors to pick from. to fill in the remaining spaces. Almost instant bling.
I filled in a few stones in the bracelet with clear crystal. The center is called Blue Shade. These are easy to mount. Just push over opposing prongs with a pusher or like I do with a 1/4 inch square wood stick. If you slip soft wood does not hurt the glass. The nice thing is you can play with colors without mounting any, just set the stones in place. The quality is good and the price can be what you choose, as you source the rhinestones in this case 39ss or 8.5mm. When the other stones come in I will finalize the color design and post the designs for you to see. Average time to assemble the bracelet is 8 minutes. A bit less for the necklace.
Empty cup chain jewelry is fun to work with. Ends and clasps are usually included. Give it a try you wont be disappointed.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thinking out loud on paper AKA designing Inspiration from Math, Magic, and History

A page from my scratchings.  Sometimes different disciplines come together to aid my jewelry making. Remember math class? Ratios? Comparing one thing to another? I use that in jewelry often to create classically dimensioned pieces.  Lower left is a simple design for a pin based on the "Golden Mean"
This article is about the number.
Line segments in the golden ratio
A golden rectangle with longer side a and shorter side b, when placed adjacent to a square with sides of length a, will produce a similar golden rectangle with longer side a + b and shorter side a. This illustrates the relationship  \frac{a+b}{a} = \frac{a}{b} \equiv \varphi.
In mathematics, two quantities are in the golden ratio if their ratio is the same as the ratio of their sum to the larger of the two quantities. The figure on the right illustrates the geometric relationship. Expressed algebraically, for quantities a and b with a > b > 0,
 \frac{a+b}{a} = \frac{a}{b} \ \stackrel{\text{def}}{=}\ \varphi,
where the Greek letter phi (\varphi or \phi) represents the golden ratio. Its value is:
\varphi = \frac{1+\sqrt{5}}{2} = 1.6180339887\ldots. OEISA001622
The golden ratio also is called the golden mean or golden section (Latin: sectio aurea).[1][2][3] Other names include extreme and mean ratio,[4] medial section, divine proportion, divine section (Latin: sectio divina), golden proportion, golden cut,[5] and golden number.[6][7][8]
Some twentieth-century artists and architects, including Le Corbusier and Dalí, have proportioned their works to approximate the golden ratio—especially in the form of the golden rectangle, in which the ratio of the longer side to the shorter is the golden ratio—believing this proportion to be aesthetically pleasing.
Mathematicians since Euclid have studied the properties of the golden ratio, including its appearance in the dimensions of a regular pentagon and in a golden rectangle, which may be cut into a square and a smaller rectangle with the same aspect ratio. The golden ratio has also been used to analyze the proportions of natural objects

So after all that its just a way to find pleasing shapes with a number....some would say a magical number. And that leads us to another discipline of spiritual journeys, in 2 dimension reduced to a sacred pathway or sometimes a spiral. In the upper right are sketches of possible magical pathways or mazes reduced to a pattern in clay or metal. 

That brings me to the square top right which is like the path around and up to the top of a pyramid, the path of the soul in Egyptian philosophy. And so enters the third discipline. Archeology and history. Look to all these to find inspiration for art jewelry.

And right center is the beginnings of a real piece conceived in doodles on the back of a discarded printout of a map.

I often hear voices online crying "I just don't know where to get an idea, where to start" Look away from what others are doing, pickup a magazine or look online at something you have never looked at before. Put jewelry, design and art in the intent part of your brain and look. Learn to see patterns and forms in new places. Inspiration will come. Be of an open mind so you can recognize it when you perceive it.
Most of all be creative and have fun with beautiful ideas and materials.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Customer requests vs Artistic Integrity

 A possible customer contacted me and wrote  "Hello,
This is a beautiful piece, but if I were to buy it, could the lizard be removed? I would like only the bird in the scene with the flowers.
Thanks very much for your time and reply. You have a large number of some great pieces offered..."  I had to think for a minute about a reply. Was this person asking to redesign my work, my art? Or did she see some potential that I did not? Should my artistic vision be upheld? Silly prideful thoughts for sure. I do make art and yet unlike someone pointing to a spot on one of my canvasses and saying put in a happy little cabin and I will buy it...This request actually improved the piece in my opinion. The texture and fold formed copper looks more inviting than the crowded look with the lizard.
 So instead of a stiff necked posture, I carefully removed the painted lizard.  When I sent the picture this potential customer said she would like to buy it. I hope she does. But her suggestion may have improved the piece quite a bit.
 Here is another recently sold piece that was fun to make and has now found a new home.
 This was just finished yesterday. The center is a raku clay form made from a silicone mold. The glaze colors are picked up in the copper patina of the chain.
This also became real yesterday . Combining different colors of brass,gold,silver, and the bob cat glass eye gives a fresh look. In time the brass will darken to match the ring around the eye.


Remember to keep an open mind, heart, and ears when a possible client asks for change. After all its not like asking  Leonardo da Vinci to put a mustache on the Mona Lisa.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Painting a metal flower

 This big raw brass flower has good bones, but needs a little more flavor.
 Paints and inks can add color while opalescent powders can add sparkle. Combining them is easy and can be fun if you are just a bit relaxed with technique. In art this is called a painterly approach.
 I started with a Ranger Patina in a deep green.
 Brush up the center to simulate the rib and then move out from the rib as the petals would grow.
 I next added a gold translucent paint to blend the darker color.
 This leaves a base to build on.
 Now a red orange was added .
 That again blended in stripes.
 More back and forth.
 As the richness of the surface builds I begin to use lighter and more transparent layers.
 Blending out all this in wet layers leaving streaks.
 Pearl powders added and blended then heat treated and its ready for a coat of lacquer to seal the surface.
 I picked out a domed glass bead and copper colored crown mount to cover the center. E-6000 was added to hold the mount and stone.
 A chain with lobster clasp to finish it up.
And this is the final result. Don't take this as a masterpiece, just a direction to guide your experiments. And most of all have fun.