Friday, July 24, 2009

Thrift Store Lamp Jewels

I found these lamps at my local thrift store. They are not quite my style, so I did not want them for my living room. I did find myself wondering what the living room where they presumably were prior to the thrift store might have looked like.

I wanted these lamps for all the emerald green cut glass dangles. For the 'firm' price of $5.00, I could get a reasonable number of future jewelry components.

I dismantled the lamps and have this lovely pool of green pendants and links. The brass portions of the lamps have been put away for some future, undetermined project.

This pendant has been wrapped with brass wire and can now be worked into a necklace. Maybe that will be one of this weekend's projects.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Recycled Copper Wire

Because of my landscape design business, I know a variety of contractors who are wonderfully talented in their particular areas of expertise. They are also sometimes wonderful suppliers of leftovers from their projects. This tornado of copper wire was the leftover from a large spool on a construction site. It would have been taken to the construction material recycling facility, but it was my lucky day- the contractor gave this bundle to me. I think that it amuses some people that I look at construction site debris and see jewelry making supplies. I knew that I would be able to do lots of things with this wire!

I cut varying lengths of the wire and then soldered them into rings. This photo shows a selection of soldered rings after taking them out of the pickling solution. They are still fairly messy looking since I have not yet filed off the excess solder. I use a metal file to do the initial cleaning and then finish with an abrasive attachment on my flex-shaft.

After cleaning off the solder, I usually hammer the rings flat which leaves a surface texture that I find appealing. I sometimes add more texture by hammering an old chisel into the surface as shown in the top left ring. There are two small dimples on this top left ring made with a center punch. These are the points where I will drill to turn the ring into a link.

Here are some ways that I have used the recycled copper wire. The largest rings were sized to be bangles. I joined two of the bangles with a smaller soldered ring that holds a wire wrapped lampwork bead. The open ring on the pin to the right is similar to the ring in the above photo. Here, I riveted the ring to a textured brass base. At the bottom is a link that I will use in a future piece. With this, I sandwiched a disc that I cut from a tin that was covered with vintage images. I drilled 4 holes into the copper ring and lower base- 2 for riveting and 2 for future linking.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lamp Base Earrings

While there is a fair amount of variety to the type of jewelry that I make, I have the most fun when making pieces that incorporate recycled and/or found objects. My family is committed to recycling and I find it very satisfying when my jewelry reflects that commitment. I search the local thrift stores and flea markets for interesting metal and old costume jewelry that I can take apart, cut up or otherwise manipulate to create something new. I like to think of it as continuing a storyline that someone else began.

I found the above piece at a thrift store. This was the lone survivor part of an old lamp, and I was drawn to it because of the lovely pattern on the sides. The base was so filthy that I couldn't identify what type of metal it was, but I was hopeful that cleaning would reveal something that I could use.

Some light sanding of the surface brought out the detailing of the patterning and the color of the metal suggested that it was possibly nickle.

I began to cut apart the base and decided that I wanted some small bits that could be used for earrings. The small bit at the bottom of the photo has been filed and sanded.

My metal shears and my determination let me cut out sections of the base.

Some of my lamp base small bits were soldered onto brass that I had previoulsy etched. This picture captures the problem that I sometimes have when soldering. At the point when the solder flows, part of my piece unfortunately flows as well and goes wacky out of kilter. ARGHH!

These lamp base bits were soldered onto pieces of copper that I had cut using my metal guillotine. The copper was filed, sanded, polished and then drilled for the connector jump rings. Swarovski crystals were wire wrapped with balled sterling wire.