Monday, August 30, 2010

First Place

I went to one of my regular thrift store stops this afternoon, looking for something specific.

I did not find that specific thing but instead found this platter for $3.98 which will be cut up for components in future jewelry projects. I already have several similar platters in my supply box, but this one has a unique detail that made it irresistible.

I love this central engraving detail that suggests a story full of wonderful details. Stone Harbor is a shore community in south Jersey (that's New Jersey for those of you who do not live in my area). I was a kid myself when this Baby Parade took place (but not young enough to have been a participant).

The creative wheels are spinning, and I already have ideas of how 'Baby Parade' will be put to use.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

More Colors of Autumn

Even though heat wave number 8 of the season is heading in tomorrow, the early signs of autumn are everywhere. Acorns and walnuts are dropping, the first blush of color is showing on the leaves of the dogwoods along our driveway, and school preparations are underway.
I am continuing to focus on warm, autumnal colors with some of my jewelry pieces and finished these necklaces this weekend.

Irregular beads of faceted citrine were strung with faceted briolettes of carnelian and sterling spacers and connected to a chain of soldered sterling rings with a sterling clasp.

I have been holding on to a string of large jasper beads, waiting for the right inspiration. I finally put some of them to use in this lariat-style necklace. I love how the patterning of the minerals resembles graining that might be found in some wood species. The jasper was wrapped with sterling wire. Faceted carnelian beads dangle and small garnet beads were used to connect the sterling chain to the sterling ring.

Friday, August 27, 2010

First Bezel

'Rings & Things' comes to my area twice a year with their travelling bead show, and I usually arrange my schedule so that I can get there to stock up on supplies. I made it to the recent show intending to only buy the sterling findings that I needed, but I was seduced by some of the beads.

I bought this strand of green amethyst which was quite expensive, but the stones are so completely lovely. I've already made one pair of earrings with two of the stones and am plotting out some necklace ideas.

I also saw a few strands of beautiful Australian painted jasper beads. I've never used beads like this but found them to be so uniquely fabulous. I bought one strand with no idea of how I would put them to use.

Even though these stones are drilled to be used as beads, I thought I would use one for my first attempt at a bezel. I liked the idea of creating a bezel frame for the stone to best highlight the intricate patterning created by the minerals. I considered this to be an experiment and used some scrap copper that I had milled with lace. I also used this copper to test stamping with my dismantled typewriter striker keys. A strip of fine sterling silver was used for the bezel. I'm happy with the 'fit' that I was able to make for the stone.

Because both sides of these stones are interesting, I chose to cut out a window in the copper. I don't think that the floral patterning of the milled lace is especially compatible with the jasper, but being a test piece, I can live with it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Preparing for Autumn

With signs of Autumn appearing, I'm starting to focusing on materials that complement the colors of the season. This weekend, I chose green disc pearls and faceted garnets and sterling for a necklace. The pearls and garnet beads were wrapped with sterling wire and joined with links that I shaped with 18 gauge sterling wire.

I assembled two lengths of the pearls and garnet which were attached to sterling chain with a clasp. At first, I thought I was done but seeing the necklace on the display form left me underwhelmed. There was not enough substance, but I didn't think that I wanted to add another layer of pearls and garnet beads.

Instead, I chose to add a length of sterling chain.
Much better!

When making links for a specific project, I usually make practice pieces to determine the length of wire that needs to be cut for each link. With the price of sterling silver being what it is, I avoid waste whenever I can.
I discovered Parawire a number of years ago and always have their products on hand. I used their 18 gauge wire to make test links, finding out after a number of attempts that 1 3/4" was the length that I needed for my sterling links.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Display Redo

I have events coming up in September that will require having inventory at a couple of locations over the same weekend. I've been working at producing enough work to adequately stock both shows, and then realized that I needed another display piece. I pulled out a display that I had assembled around 10 years ago and put into retirement around 4 years ago when I decided it no longer spoke to me.

I like to think that my work has evolved over the past 5 years and my displays have also evolved. Since much of my jewelry incorporates recycled materials, it is important that the displays do the same. I rescued this window frame from the curb. After removing the glass, I infilled the openings with pieces of wire grid backed with black fabric. I inserted some circular brass hooks along the outer part of the frame for hanging necklaces.

Overall.....the best I can say is that it's not horrible. It's too dark to properly highlight pieces of jewelry on display. This is a very sturdy window frame , and I thought it was worth the effort of making some revisions to make it useful once again.

I removed the wire grid and black fabric and then used my electric sander on the surface. I thought that the battleship gray paint was too flat and wanted to get more of a distressed look.

I like how the grain of the wood became visible in some areas. Also, the ghosts of hardware past could now been seen which adds to the character.

While I know this look will not appeal to everyone, I like haveing areas where the wood peeks through different layers of paint. As with the recycled materials that I use in my jewelry, this window frame has a story to tell.

I love the way many layers of paint create an intersting patina for this beautiful lock. I thought of removing the paint, but quickly dimissed the idea. I decided in favor of letting the window proudly show it's age.

I bought a few yards of cream colored burlap, attaching it to the back of each opening with a staple gun. One layer of burlap let too much light through, so I added a layer of polyester batting and then covered the back with another layer of burlap.

I can display earrings directly on the burlap. I usually display my earrings on business cards, but think this may be a more inviting presentation.

I can also display my pins more effectively.
Now I'm thinking that I need more creamy burlap for a total display makeover!