Bead Fest is in town this weekend, and with a very specific shopping list in hand, I made my visit yesterday.
Deciding beforehand what my purchase needs to be helps to keep me from being unnecessarily distracted and helps to keep my bank account intact.
The operative word in that statement is 'helps'.
In my earlier years of jewelry making, it was a struggle to contain myself when surrounded by over 100 vendors, each with a tempting variety of supplies that I was convinced I needed at my workbench.
I'm older and wiserer now.
My plan is to continually evolve, and as I define my 'design voice', I have a better understanding of what I might want to become
and of what I don't want to be.
I'm more discriminating than I was a number of years ago and prefer to do business with a small selection of vendors who I like and trust.
I also know which vendors to avoid.
Unfortunately, not all vendors are completely honest about their products.
First stop was Jewelry Tools.
I handed them my shopping list...
liver of sulfur, solder cutting pliers, bead reamer, diamond tweezers, wooden forming blocks, brass brush....
and in a few minutes an order was placed that will be shipped on Monday.
Next stop, and one of my favorites, Metalliferous.
They always come to Bead Fest with lots of wonderfully curious items that don't show up on their web site.
I regularly order some of my metal supplies from Metalliferous, and the items arrive clean and shiny, ready to be transformed.
But what caught my attention was something that I've never seen in their online store.
In their bins of patterned and embossed strips of brass and copper was a bundle of extremely grungy brass strips.
When presented with a choice between clean and shiny or dirty and grungy,
I will almost always go for the dirty and grungy.
A patina suggests that there's some history and maybe some kind of interesting story.
I thought that a bit of selective cleaning would reveal beautiful details.
Some work with a medium grit sanding block confirmed my suspicions.
What to make.....
With my jeweler's saw, I cut a few sections from the pattern.
All edges were filed smooth
and holes were drilled for connections.
Sterling wire wrapped crystals dangle from the bottom
and mini tornado wraps of annealed steel make the connection to sterling silver ear wires.