Sunday, October 27, 2013

Studio Storage Holy Grail

I'm not one to covet other people's possessions.
I'm pretty content in the small part of the world that I occupy.
when it comes to really cool studio storage units,
I can be unbecomingly jealous.
When I see something like this....

I can obsess over it, thinking how life would be just a little more complete if it was in my studio.
Just like with many of my jewelry components, I love storage pieces that are a little beaten and weathered, with a story to tell.
I follow a few blogs of other jewelry makers and some of my favorite postings are ones that offer a glimpse of the work space, the place where creative magic happens.
I like seeing how other people manage to organize the many tools and supplies that typically occupy a jewelry studio. 
When I saw and read about the new studio space that Nina Bagley created, I found myself thinking, "That's what I want my studio to look like when it grows up."
A Welsh farmhouse cupboard? antique pedestal sink? still my heart!
If you're not familiar with Nina, her jewelry and her poetic postings, you should visit her site.
The loveliness of Nina's studio renewed my determination to find the right storage piece of my own.

And then it happened.
My sister had her own mission of finding a particular night stand for her guest room, which I found for her at a local consignment shop
When I arrived with my van to pick up the nightstand, I entered the shop through the back storage room where new and sold pieces are kept, and there it storage Holy Grail.
It's beaten up, it's paint stained, it's missing a drawer, and....
it's perfect!
The piece had just arrived in the shop and had not yet been priced.
I made sure that I was there at opening time the next day so that I could have a chance to end my search.
The price was acceptable, it fit in my van and after a bit of a struggle to get this moved into my basement by myself, I confirmed that it was just the right size for my studio.
My round bracelet and hoop mandrels and large cupola daps now sit on top.
The deep drawers have let me clear up some of my workspace surfaces.
My bangles that are ready for etching, stamping and wire wrapping and my containers of itty-bitty parts...
my templates and sterling wire...
etched and roll printed metals...
and selection of tools are now logically organized and wonderfully easy to find.
So much tucked away, and I still have empty drawers!
The search is over.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Etched Brass Cuffs

Hot off my workbench....
brass cuffs that were etched with ferric chloride.
After the etching was complete, I neutralized the etchant and cleaned the cuffs with a brass brush.
I then heated the surfaces with my acetylene torch to get a darkened, oxidized finish.
A quick sanding with a fine grit block brought out the details of the etched pattern.
All ready for delivery to Woodmere Art Museum in a couple of weeks.
Inventory from a variety of local artists will be delivered to the museum beginning November 1 in preparation for the  November 9 opening of the Woodmere Holiday Store.
If you live in the area, it's a wonderful place to find to find unique, one-of-a-kind items.
After browsing the Holiday Store, you can then enjoy beautiful artwork.
I don't think holiday shopping gets any better than that!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Etched Metal Put to Use

I have been forcing myself to use some of my etched metal that has been a heavy presence in my jewelry work tote.
It remains a real challenge for me to cut up some of these pieces of metal as I wonder if the project that I'm imagining will be worthy of the beautiful etching.
It's a completely ridiculous hurdle that I place in front of myself...I can always etch more metal.
But....there it is, and I am happy to say that I cut up a piece of etched nickel to make a commissioned piece.
A collection of small, rectangular pieces were cut using my metal guillotine.
All edges were then filed and sanded.
I wanted to be able to continue away from my workbench, so I pulled out my hand punch.
Sitting at my workbench, I would normally use my flex shaft, but this hand punch is nice to have when I can't be tethered to my studio space.
When I'm making holes for connector pieces, I'm usually very particular about the location of those holes. 
It's especially important when the components that I'm making are as small as these little etched chiclets.
If I'm more than a smidge off, the balance of a piece can be less than what I find acceptable and then things end up in my metal scrap box that I keep on the floor under my workbench.
Even though I was using this hand tool, I prepared as if getting ready to drill with my flex shaft.
I marked each hole location with a Sharpie marker and then marked each of those locations with a swift hammer hit on a center punch.
This gives me a nice dimpled indent for the hole punch to nestle into before applying pressure to actually create the hole.
The process is a little time consuming, but worth the effort...I really do not like tossing etched metal into my scrap box.
Once the holes were made, the chiclet pieces were slightly curved by shaping them on my bracelet mandrel.
I was then ready to make the necklace that had been requested.
I normally like to add a variety of wire wrapped gemstones and pearls to my chains so that I can develop interesting color and texture schemes.
This commission was for a necklace that was all metal.
I used sterling wire to wrap the etched components to very short segments of sterling chain.
The short segments of chain were included to make the necklace fluid so that it would lay in an appealing way.
I couldn't resist adding just a touch of color.
One sterling wire wrapped, faceted aquamarine bead was attached to the last ring of the chain extender.
I've had a few recent requests for simpler chains.
A man stopped by my booth at the recent Media Fine Arts & Crafts Festival and spent a good amount of time looking at my necklaces, especially this one, featuring Swarthmore College's Parrish Hall (home to my son's dorm room) in the pendant.
He finally looked at me and said, "You know....I think I could carry off this pendant real nicely, but that chain is just too poofy for me."
We both cracked up laughing and I said, "You are so right about that!"