Yesterday's lighting was great, it wasn't too cold, the wind was minimal and I had a window of time where I was not required to drive anybody anywhere. I set up in my driveway to photograph this necklace that I finished over the weekend. When teaching my recent wire wrapping workshop, one of the students asked how I figure out the design of a necklace. My answer.....I rarely have the design figured out as I start assembling my pieces. As with this necklace, I'll lay out a selection of materials that I think I want to work with and get started. I knew that I wanted to use stick pearls, so they were the first item on my workbench. I then gathered some faceted prehnite rondelles (the pale green beads- otherwise known as green amethyst) and various crystals. I had the necklace underway when I thought that a darker color might provide a nice contrast to the more gentle hues that I had already selected- enter the dark champagne colored disc pearls. As the chain emerged, I thought that some kind of central feature might be nice- enter the heart.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
Textured silver nickel with pearl and bronze spacer dangles.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
When I saw the earring, I was so happy to be able to say, "Sure! No problem." I was looking at a silver and bronze disc-cut earring that had been curved. Some simple soldering of the ear clip and small jump rings was also part of the fabrication. Easy! Well, not really.
When I sat down to get to work, I studied the two disc-cut pieces and realized that when I initially said "No problem", I didn't even know to know what I didn't know. Is that confusing enough?
I realized that the curves of the two pieces were somewhat similar to the curves of a saddle- not something that I could accomplish in my dapping block. What to do?!
The books that I have in my home 'library' did not offer any help. The talented Dawn Bergmaier pointed me in the right direction. She explained that the earring in question was an example of anticlastic forming, meaning that two curves on the same surface are at 90 degrees to each other. With that understanding of what type of forming I wanted to do, I did some research and found out that specific tools were needed.
Oh happy day- a legitimate reason to buy new tools!
Instead, here's what the stake allows me to do.
I cut discs of silver nickle, textured them and punched two holes. I cut out central discs and then annealed the pieces to make the forming as easy as possible. The 3 pieces on the right were shaped on the advanced forming stake and now have that distinctive Pringles shape.
Small, faceted sapphire gemstones, wrapped with balled sterling wire dangle from the bottom of these formed discs.
When I finished these earrings, I felt a bit underwhelmed.
This pair works for me.
These discs are brass that was textured using my center punch before being annealed and formed on the stake. Faceted prehnite beads wrapped with balled sterling wire dangle. I added what I call my wrapped tornado link of annealed steel wire to connect the sterling earwire. This little tornado was sanded with a fine sanding block to bring out highlights.
My staging photo is one that I found at a flea market, and I love the ethereal quality that it suggests. I have a richly detailed storyline that I can imagine for her and appreciate what she adds to my images.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
The parade follows a route that wraps around my street, and I have learned from previous years that going anywhere in a vehicle is just not possible on this day. There are bands from local schools.
I always look forward to the Mummers string bands, something that is unique to Philadelphia.
How could you not love a group of men dressed in fantastically garish costumes, playing banjos, accordions and saxophones?
Each string band has a leader who does his 'Mummer strut', a lively and animated dance that helps to rouse the crowd.
Watching these free spirited Mummer fans is usually my favorite part of the parade.
Friday, March 4, 2011
Some of the etched metal was cut into discs. Holes were then punched so that the discs could be used in future projects as links or dangles. The etched pattern wasn't reading especially well so I heated the discs with my torch, instantly turning them black due to the rapid oxidation. I then sanded each disc with a fine sanding block to better reveal the patterning.
I love how the etched pattern resembles morel mushrooms. I also love how nobody else has discs like these.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
I pulled out one of my etched sheets of silver nickel with the goal of making a couple of new bezels. I do typically set a goal for myself when spending an evening at the workbench which keeps me on task and helps me to maintain a business-like approach to my work. The downside to setting a specific goal is the disappointment of not actually achieving it.
Get the idea of where this is headed?
The problems started and just did not end. Well.....actually, they did end, but it was not a good ending. Because the silver nickel is thin (24 gauge), it started to warp as I heated the piece to reach the temperature necessary for the solder to flow. The warping meant that the fine silver bezel wire was no longer in full contact with the silver nickel. When the solder did flow, it just spread onto the surface of the bezel wire.
No....that is not where it needed to be.
I have soldered onto this gauge metal before with success and insisted on two more attempts. Unfortunately, 'attempt' is the operative word here and the above photo is the result.
I admitted being defeated by a 1 ounce piece of metal and decided that I needed to change my strategy. I cut a piece of 16 gauge silver nickel and made a new fine silver bezel.