Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Sister

My oldest sister, gone too, too soon.
Robin Murray
So many hearts are breaking.
Love you!

"You are unrepeatable. There is a magic about you that is all your own...” - D.M. Dellinger

Monday, January 9, 2012


I previously wrote a posting about the source of inspiration and how sometimes, things just seem to evolve.
Such was the case with my new 'Portals' design.
During my frenzied time of jewelry making for the recent holiday shows, I had a pile of brass discs that were being prepared for earrings. I had cut central holes into most of the discs which were then domed or formed into a lovely synclastic shape.
Out of curiosity, I took one of the discs and punched it with my dapping tools.
Hmmmm....I thought that I had an interesting piece, ripe with possibilities, but I had no time to pursue what any of those possibilities might be and set it aside for future reflection.
With the Christmas decorations back in the basement and the tree at curbside, I was able to come back to the disc and liked how it made me think of a portal on a ship.
This would be a perfect frame for....for something.
At first, I thought I would pull out some of my vintage photos and create small vignettes set in resin.
I instead decided to turn my punched, domed disc into a cold connection bezel and combine it with additional pieces to make a bracelet.
Then came the challenge of finding something that would fit!
I did have some cultured disc pearls on hand which, with careful culling and selective filing, were made to fit snugly. I also had some faceted garnets that were perfect in both size and shape.
The dapped discs were riveted to solid discs to complete the bezel. Additional holes were drilled for wire wrap connections which was done with annealed steel.
Once the connections were made, the steel wire and the discs were cleaned with a fine grit sanding block.
The clasp was made with the same annealed steel wire.
Although I was very happy with the resulting bracelet, I also knew that I could make improvements.
The above bracelet is what I consider to be the new and improved version.
Sterling silver wire was used instead of annealed steel making the wrapped connections more lustrous and precious.
I realized that in the first bracelet, I had missed an opportunity to do something with the back side of each bezel component and this time chose to texture the discs with a variety of steel stamps.
While I did like the previous clasp, I thought it might be a better design to have the clasp be similar to the 'portal' components which meant using a toggle clasp. I cut a heavy gauge piece of silver and textured it with one of the steel stamps. A central hole was drilled and a wrapped connection was made with a balled piece of sterling wire.
The new bracelet has faceted garnet, faceted citrine and two pearls- a white disc shape and a champagne colored rounded shape.
Now I have a good excuse to attend the next bead show that comes to town.
I need lots more roundish, flatish gorgeous beads for future portals.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


I love those moments when something fun and unexpected presents itself.
A couple of days ago, the weather was unseasonably warm so my sons and I went for a walk.
This token from some kind of family arcade was lying on the sidewalk.
This will definitely be used in a future piece.
I love that 'NO CASH VALUE' suggests a cultural/political least for me it does.
I don't yet know what form the eventual piece might take, but I will be sure to use some form of patina to create an aged appearance.

So much better than finding actual money!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Grandma's Platter Necklace

When I go thrift store hunting for jewelry making materials, I am always looking for old metal platters that might have interesting textures and patterns.
I was so pleased to find this silver plated platter with a lovely embossed floral/ribbon pattern around the circumference for the price of $1.25.
Before I even left the thrift shop, I knew that I would be cutting out each embossed design for use in various projects.
With a total of twelve separate embossed patterns, it was easy to conclude that the $1.25 would be worth the investment.
I used my jeweler's saw to cut out one of the patterns.
I kept my saw lines close to the embossed pattern so that my finished cutout would have an interesting shape. All cut edges were then filed and sanded.
Using my new cutout as a pattern, I cut a slightly larger piece of brass that has an etched pattern on one side. After filing and sanding the edges of the brass cutout, the two pieces were riveted together and a hole was drilled into the top.
This platter struck me as something that one of my grandmothers might have used years ago and I thought it would be appropriate to pay homage to that generation.
Searching through one of my vintage books, I found a photo of a woman sitting on the porch of what appeared to be an Appalachian cabin. She was surrounded by her grown sons.
While she's clearly from a time period that predates my grandmothers, I liked the mood of the photo and thought that this woman represents all grandmothers.
Her picture was set with epoxy resin in a bezel that I had riveted onto my layered piece.
Before I had riveted my layers, I treated the brass to develop a patina.
A disc cut from another of my platters helps to create interest at the rivet point.
A sterling wire wrapped connection featuring a Swarovski pearl joins the pendant to the chain of the necklace.
A hand made clasp was made with 18 gauge sterling wire.
The rest of the necklace is made with sterling chain, hand textured sterling discs and sterling wire wrapped Swarovski pearls, Swarovski crystals, quartz, citrine, prehnite, and amethyst.