Friday, January 31, 2014

My Etching Week

This was a week of etching.
Preparing to make earrings or necklaces or bracelets, I etched a batch of 1" diameter brass discs.
After coming out of the etchant bath, all of the discs were cleaned with a brass brush and pumice powder followed by a vigorous cleaning with soapy water and a soaking in the pickle pot.
Those discs with a more delicate pattern were then heated with the acetylene torch to develop a heat patina. 
Cleaning with a fine grit sanding block brings out the lovely details, and the discs are now ready for whatever project fits my mood.
I also etched a strip of brass thinking that this may become a bracelet....more to come as this develops.
deciding to use some of my etched metal stockpile,
this ring was one of the projects that came off of my workbench a couple of days ago. 
Using a template, I marked and cut an oval shape from some previously etched silver nickel.
The edges were filed and sanded before I shaped the piece with my large cupola dap.
The etched oval was soldered onto a ball peen textured shank before a sterling bezel was soldered into place.
After 3o minutes in the pickle pot, the almost completed ring was soaked in a vinegar/hydrogen peroxide mixture.
Using bezel setting tools, a small disc pearl was nestled into the sterling bezel, and....
ready to wear.

Monday, January 20, 2014


The copper hearts that were on my workbench back in December....
have become necklaces.
Using a Sharpie, I traced the outline of each of the textured copper hearts onto other pieces of metal, saw cutting out those hearts.
Each pair was riveted together using sterling wire or brass tube rivets.
As is typical with many of my pieces, I made sure that the 'back' of each pendant has something of interest to offer.
Sterling chain and wire wrapped gemstones complete the necklaces which have already been delivered to Woodmere Art Museum.
And....keeping the heart theme alive....
I've been wire wrapping Swarovski crystal hearts.
Wire wrapping these sweet, little crystals has proven to be a bit of a challenge since they don't appreciate the pressure that I need to apply to properly wrap the wire.
I broke a few hearts before successfully refining my technique.
I'm used to hearts that are not quite so fragile.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Evolution of a Painting

This is what I saw in my garden when the weather was warm and my hostas were happy.
I liked the graceful arrangement of flowers on the stalk and thought...painting.

So, around 4 months after that thought, I finally got around to starting that painting.
I made some editorial decisions, choosing to delete one of the flowers on the stalk, add a flower on the right edge and alter the colors.
It never fails that as a painting evolves, I find that particular sections capture a magical atmosphere that leaves me happily satisfied.
Then there are the other parts that make me think, "Ewww...that does not look good" and I have no idea what to do to get myself to my happy place. 
And sometimes I just decide to say,
"Enough's done."

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Thrift Store Find Transformation (with a bit of careful editing)

A few month ago, I found an interesting serving dish during a thrift store hunt for metal.  I'm always searching for metal that has some kind of unique texture or pattern, and this serving dish was a standout. 
At first glance, I appreciated that there were different images separated by column-like designs.
The 'capital' of the column-like designs appeared to be a scarab, and I thought that $5.00 was a good price for something so curiously cool.
Then I started paying attention to the depicted scenes.
I started thinking that some kind of story was being told around the perimeter of the dish since each scene is different.
The setting appears to be somewhere in North Africa or the Middle East, with most scenes including camels and men with weapons, mostly rifles.
It has a very 'fighty' mood.
I can't help but wonder who the intended audience was for this serving dish.
I was quite confident that I wouldn't want to use any of the scenes of men hoisting rifles in the air (especially after inspiring someone to boycott the 2012 Holiday Show), but knew that I could still do something with those columns-like segments which I began to carefully cut out with my jeweler's saw.
A couple of those segments have already become feature pendants after all edges were filed and sanded and necessary holes were drilled.
Necklace with wire wrapped amethyst, iolite, labradorite, chalcedony and crystals.
Necklace with wire wrapped amethyst, citrine, iolite and honey jade.