Saturday, March 29, 2014

Mykonos Findings

New jewelry supplies arrived today - Mykonos findings with green patina. Excited to play!

Before I use the new stash, I'm using some of the verdigris findings I already have. 
* magnesite, bronzite, antiqued brass, silk ribbon

* magnesite, bronzite, antiqued brass, Mykonos scallops, handmade earwires
* Czech glass, sponge coral, antiqued brass, Mykonos fish charms, handmade earwires

Monday, March 24, 2014

Bracelet Design

Once I find a design that works, I enjoy fooling around with differing materials to alter the look of the piece. Ribbon bracelets have captured my design fancy lately. Today I discovered that texturing brass sheet with a window screen, whacking it with my brass hammer, and then antiquing it creates an interesting look.
Then I experimented by using leather in place of ribbon and a focal from a thrift store bracelet. The only way I could secure the focal to the rectangular jump rings on either side was by wrapping it with some teal waxed linen. I tried to add patina to the focal but didn't like it. Not all the patina came off, leaving it looking a bit funky. Good thing I like funky!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Tooling Around

Can you ever have enough tools in a jewelry studio? Each one opens up a new world of possibilities. For years I have been coveting disc cutters. When my new disc cutter arrived last week, I couldn't wait to punch out some discs and washers from my vintage tin collection. Prepare work area. Safety glasses - check. Circle template - check. Brass hammer - check. Lubricant - check.  Instructional video - check. Disc cutter - check.

The directions on the company website said, "This Ikohe set is made for easy separation, as the top can be removed completely by unscrewing the center hex nut.  A hex key is provided for this, and the top portion has textured grips on the sides for ease of removal." Easy separation? Nope. Those two pieces, sealed tight with oil, weren't separating no matter what I tried - twisting, prying, whacking with a brass hammer, even throwing it on the floor. That was some mammoth suction! 

After countless unsuccessful attempts, the situation began to resemble a SNL skit or one of those punked-type shows. Give a girl a new cool tool but seal the plates so she can't even open the sucker. Let's see how she reacts. My resulting temper tantrum was not a pretty picture. I whacked it hard enough a couple of times with my brass hammer that the little company label fell off of it, but the damned plates still didn't separate. Finally, I took a sharp knife, slipped the blade between the plates, and pried.  To my surprise, it opened!

A work table with a pile of tin discs, washes, and crescent shapes is a beautiful thing. I am most definitely smitten with this new tool! I can now punch perfect circles, washers, and crescents. My first experiment was a pair of earrings with a tin disc that I domed in my dapping set (another awesome tool). 

Next, I punched a disc, domed it, and glued it in the hole of an beautiful antique doorknob plate. I added other elements (aqua terra jasper, brass chain, brass gears, leather, textured and antiqued brass sheet, and a brass pin) to create the rest of the necklace.

I added another pair of earrings with some gorgeous pieces of aqua terra jasper.

Here are some wild earrings that utilize my first disc-cut crescent shapes. 

This disc cutter was totally worth the wait and the frustration. I am in new tool heaven!

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Slurge

My obsession with collecting vintage tins gives me a focused mission on my trips to local thrift and antique stores. I am always searching for ways to use tin pieces in my jewelry, and I am currently hooked on designs with crescent-shaped drops. Cutting discs into crescent shapes with my metal sheers has been tricky. I can't find a way to cut a decent rounded top, so I have to resort to a notched look. Definitely one of those "handmade" things. Here are some earrings I made yesterday that illustrate my point.

Solution: For years I have been drooling over disc cutters. Having done my research and finally making the decision to go ahead and splurge on a new tool, I was met with the frustration of having every single supplier of the cutter I have been coveting declare the item "out of stock."  Back to the research. Arriving tomorrow will be my Ikohe 11-piece disc cutter. Can't wait!

Friday, March 7, 2014

We're All Ears :: March Reveal

Pen and watercolor by Beatrix Potter
from The Tailor of Gloucester from the collection at the Tate Museum

This sweet picture sent me back to the simplicity and innocence of childhood. I was immediately drawn to the color palette of the pinks and blues, those soft colors of youth. My jewelry is seldom simple, but I wanted these earrings to be mimimal. The vertical lines and texture of the tree trunk inspired the brass rectangles. After cutting, texturing, and antiquing some brass sheet, I added a flower dangle of pink Czech glass, creamy bone, and lovely flowered brass bead caps to mimic the flowers in the illustration. The needle and thread in the photo kept screaming at me to add some sort of fiber, so I wrapped some silky soft sky blue C-Lon around the brass. Simple and sweet. Like those childhood years.

Anyway, here are the earrings I created for the March challenge. Fun project. You chose a sweet and inspiring illustration, Erin. Thanks for posting these challenges. 

Now off to the hop! Check out these other earring creations.

New Wrap Bracelet

New Wrap Bracelet

This custom-ordered bracelet is on its way to a new owner. I must say I am sad to see it leave the studio, as I had grown quite fond of it. Not only is it a five-wrap bracelet, but it can be worn as a necklace, too. What a fun project!