Monday, February 29, 2016

Still Setting Those Stones

Following the recent completion of my new jasper necklace, I decided I should continue my momentum and repurpose another of the Bead Fest acquired pendants.
I still felt the need to create a unique setting so that I could ditch the cheap, uninspired bail that came with each stone.
The pendant 2nd in from the left in the top row became the new candidate for pendant/necklace #2.
I took my time in planning out the setting because I decided I wanted to make the piece using only cold connections.
Thoughtful decisions had to be made so that each step would prepare for the next.

A template was made of the stone, and using my jeweler's saw, I cut the shape a smidge larger from a piece of 16 gauge nickel that I had etched with a cheesecloth pattern.
Like the previous necklace, I decided to use two formed bails to create a nice stability for this 2 1/2" wide pendant.
Strips of roll printed brass were cut and shaped with my large bail pliers.
Using a piece of 20 gauge brass, I cut out the shape of the stone with six extended tabs.
That piece of brass was riveted to the etched nickel base with four sterling rivets.
With the two layers secured, I was then able to situate the two brass bails, each fastened with two sterling rivets.
The tabs were then bent with flat nose pliers to secure the jasper stone in place.

A fine grit sanding block was used 
to make sure that the rivets were smooth,
and a bezel setting tool was used to tighten the grip of the tabs.
The new pendant hangs on a simple and graceful cable of stainless steel, 
finished with a sterling silver clasp.

Weekend Workshop

When I decided that 2016 was going to be my year,
part of the intended goal was to keep advancing my jewelry and painting skills.
This past weekend,
I was able to take part in a one day oil pastel workshop at Wayne Art Center with the talented
Nicole Michaud.

I left at the end of the day with three pieces...

and a better understanding of how to move in a new direction with my oil pastels. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Labradorite Necklace

A few days ago, I had some success at the soldering bench.
(all right, some of it was a tad sloppy...the bee...whoops)
As is typical, I had no specific plans for the pieces I made.
Luckily, having no defined idea of where I'm going has never been a problem for me,
so I got to work with the bezel set labradorite.
I was already feeling good that I had the stone securely set since I had to make my own bezel wire due to the depth of the labradorite.
A strip of copper was cut, textured with some of my steel tools, annealed and recut to ensure consistent edges needed for the soldering to take.

Using my jeweler's saw, some of the base was cut away to highlight the shape of the stone.
Texturing was added with one of my old chisels,
connector holes were drilled
and all edges were filed and sanded.

Some of my recently etched copper was used for the base
so that the back of the pendant would have something of interest.

Recycled copper wire was used to make a variety of links
as well as the clasp.

All pieces were wire wrapped
with faceted tourmaline and smoky quartz.
This necklace and a small grouping of selected jewelry pieces will be on display at the 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Those Stones Are Getting Set

As I prepared for my display of paintings at
Wallingford Community Arts Center,
I also kept busy at my workbench determined to get the pesky jasper stone set in my make-it-up-as-I-move-foward bezel.
Picking up from where I left off....
two additional sterling tabs were soldered onto the back of the etched base.
I had the great idea to solder two sterling, oval shaped links that I had previously made which would provide a way to link an eventual chain.

That's when my soldering problems began.

Compared to the other parts of my assemblage, the links were pretty fragile.
Meltage happend.
Melting a part of your piece is never good and can lead to sighing and sadness.
After a couple of failed attempts, I said, 
"Forget it."
Actually, I said something else, but I don't think it's wise to reveal that.
My attempts to remove the failed links left a bit of a ghost.
I decided to accept the ghost partly because it tells part of the story of how the piece was made,
but mostly because I didn't want to risk making the solder of the tabs flow again.

I still had a couple of segments from the sterling braclet that had been used for the tabs and decided to shape them into loops that could be riveted to the base.
Sterling rivets were made with 14 gauge wire.
With all the necessary metal in place, I could finally set the jasper.
The sterling tabs were cut back to reveal as much of the jasper as possible while still concealing the pre-drilled hole.
After a treatment with liver of sulfur, my new pendant is ready to become a necklace.

Other efforts to set stones continue.
Wanting a stash of material to use as a base for future bezels,
I etched pieces of 16 gauge nickel and copper.
The thickness will help me to avoid any warping as heat is applied during soldering.

Sections were cut...
filed and sanded.
Sterling bezels were soldered into place...
two beautiful labradorite cabochons 
and one yellow cabochon of unknown pedigree
were set in place,
also ready to become necklaces.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Making This My Year

I decided that 2016 is going to be my year.

Crafting a life in the world of the arts can be a tricky thing to navigate,
but one must take control, set goals and work to meet those goals.
The work to make this my year began last year.
Many calls were made, messages and images sent while I worked at my easel and my  jewelry workbench.
Before the New Year rang in, I had lined up 4 shows to exhibit my paintings.

Today is the opening of my first show for 2016.
Earlier this week, I was at 
Wallingford Community Arts Center
to hang a selection paintings.
 My display is on the walls of BeaDazzle,
 the Community Art Center's gift shop.
Some of the paintings are nestled along with pieces of my jewelry.

The Duke Gallery is featuring the inspired work of Dale Roberts.
A reception will be held on Sunday, February 21 from 2pm to 4pm.