Friday, May 31, 2013

Domed Floral Copper Pendant

I love this little piece - it was an experiment/teaching piece during the Cold Connections Workshop weekend, and it turned out really well:

Domed floral copper pendant

I cut the copper circle out with the disc cutter, then cut 3 very small "flower" shapes out of the sheet copper. My intention was to color the flowers, somehow, and attach them to the domed copper circle.

The circle itself is less than an inch in diameter, so these little flowers are really small. I puzzled over the patination and the flower attachment. I had several options for getting colored flowers: alcohol ink (quick), Gilder's paste (unreliable and messy), perfect pearls (often gives me the best result), and colored pencils over gesso (takes longer than I intended to wait!).

My issues were:
  • I feared the attachment process (I intended to rivet the flowers onto the copper) would destroy any patination I apply before riveting
  • But if I waited and tried to color the flowers after the riveting, I knew in my heart that no matter which method I chose (except, maybe, the colored pencils) - I wouldn't have enough control, and the color would go everywhere: onto the other flowers, onto the copper disc.

So, what's a girl to do? I sat and pondered, and worked on other stuff.

I finally decided to suck it up and proceed. 

I alcohol inked the flowers, and got beautiful, vibrant colors (I surprised myself). I sealed them with 2 coats of Krylon. (lots of time here, waiting for the Krylon to dry - I forgot about that part in my estimation of how much time each patination method would take.)

I inserted copper rivets (one at a time) into the center of each flower, turned the piece upside down, and placed it on top of a stack of about 10 paper towels on top of the bench block. One by one, I riveted them, and no color came off. (I surprised myself, again.)

I put a sock inside my metal dapping block's cups, and domed the disc, flower side down. The disc domed almost perfectly - no flower damage at all (surprise, again!). At the bottom of the pendant, one of the flowers caused a slight dent in the copper dome (under the purple flower). No biggie. Hardly shows.

I used chain nose pliers to slightly bend out each petal of each flower.

I drilled a hole in the top for hanging.

 Multicolored floral copper pendant

Inside of the pendant, showing the rivets

I decided not to push my luck by tumbling the pendant: what if THAT was what finally removed the color? So the inside of the disc is splotchy looking, but I polished the front, and that's what shows!

It's available on Etsy!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Woven Mixed Metals Pendant

Mixed Metals Woven Wire Pendant

This is my favorite piece out of everything I made during the Cold Connections Workshop I taught last weekend.

It started with sheet copper, which I cut and sanded, and then fold-formed. This is how the copper looked when the folding was finished, after multiple annealings with the torch, a soak in the pickle to remove all the fire scale, and after I drilled all the attachment holes. (compare the finish on the copper below with how it looks after tumbling (above).
fold-formed and drilled copper

Next, I cut 4 pieces of 16g sterling silver wire, and hammered them into "paddles." Then I attached them to the folded copper rectangle, one at a time, by coiling and weaving 26g sterling silver wire around the paddles and through the holes in the copper. It would have been very handy (no pun intended) to have had 3 hands during this step - the pieces wanted to do everything, and go everywhere, except where I wanted them to be.

Mixed metal woven pendant

I drilled holes through the tops of the side paddles, and added silver jump rings, so this piece is ready to hang from leather, ribbon, chain, etc. - or to be incorporated into a fabulous jewelry design of your own!

Here is the back of the pendant, showing a bit of magenta heat patination from all the annealing:
Back of the pendant, with magenta heat patination.

It's available in my Etsy shop!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I Upcycled the Lid from my Felted Vessel to make this Pendant

Shiny aluminum pendant with upcycled felt in the window. Peek-a-boo!

Remember my felted vessel?

 embellished felted vessel

I had a 4 inch circle of felt leftover after I cut the lid in the vessel, and I've been hoarding it. I had no idea what to do with it, but I worked VERY hard to make it, and I couldn't just throw it away!

Finally, while teaching the Cold Connections Workshop last week, it hit me: work it into a piece of metal jewelry, somehow. That's about as fully formed as the inspiration was when it occurred to me, but after playing around for awhile, this is what I came up with.

Shiny aluminum pendant with upcycled felt window

I loved the blues and reds in the felt, and I just really thought they looked better with silver than with copper. Using silver metal creates a couple of problems I'm still trying to overcome - sterling is awfully expensive, so I'd rather not use it. Aluminum is fairly inexpensive, but it won't etch (more on that later this week), and it won't take liver of sulfur patina. So, while I could easily texture the aluminum with hammers, or stamp on it, I still couldn't accentuate the texturing/stamping with LOS, so it really wouldn't show up very well.

So, if I was going to use aluminum, it was going to untextured - and I decided if it was going to be shiny, it was going to be REALLY shiny, so I tumbled it (before the felt was added), and after the whole pendant was finished it, I polished it with the Dremel and the radial discs, so this pendant has a brilliant mirror finish. So shiny that my camera lens is visible in almost every single pic. How do professional photographers get around obstacles like this? Beats me.

After cutting and prepping the aluminum, I used my disc cutter to cut the circle in the front piece of aluminum. I put the 2 pieces together, with the felt in the middle, and grommeted the stack together with matching blue grommets.

The back of the shiny aluminum pendant, reflecting my camera lens nicely! :(

 It's available in my Etsy shop!

I have more blue felt leftover, so I plan to make more jewelry with it - just need to figure out some more ways to incorporate the felt. After all, this window design is so last week, literally (LOL!)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tangle Tuesday

Tangles I used in this design include:

  • cracked
  • checkered zag
  • hached
  • peaks
  • queen's crown
  • florz

 More pictures of new jewelry designs tomorrow!

Monday, May 27, 2013

2 New Resin Pendants

Happy Memorial Day!

These are 2 more of the pieces that I created during our marathon Cold Connections Workshop last week:

Metal dragonfly and blue flower resin pendant

  • A gold striped metal dragonfly (with gold rhinestone head and thorax!) -  (scrapbooking dept, naturally)
  • An iron flower, which I enameled bright blue
  • A paper branch with leaves (more from the scrapbooking section)
  • A bright red 6/0 seed bead for the flower's center

After cutting and prepping the copper, I placed all these objects where I wanted them, and added embossing powder. I tried to get fancy, and added a little green glittery embossing powder around the edges, but it all disappeared.  I love the mirror finish I got on this one - it is incredibly shiny (so shiny that I couldn't even get decent pics: every pic shows the reflection of my camera lens. Boo.)

This dragonfly pendant has 2 holes (and 18g copper jump rings) for hanging, and is available on Etsy.

Green quilled paper butterfly resin pendant

I chose a green quilled paper butterfly for this copper pendant, and I think it's really cute. It also has 2 holes (and 18g jumprings) for hanging, and is available on Etsy.

I still have lots more pieces to show from the Cold Connections workshop - stay tuned!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Copper and Dichroic Glass Bracelet

It's finished!

I really intended to sell this one until I put it on - now I think it's a ME bracelet! LOL. Not really - it's gorgeous, and I love the colors, but it's available in my Etsy shop.

Here is one pic:

and here is another:

As usual, I decided it needed a little ... pizazz!

This is a side-by-side comparison:

Which do you like better? A (unembellished) OR B (embellished with Swarovski crystals)? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Here are a few more photos:
Copper and Dichroic Glass Bracelet

Copper and Dichroic Glass Bracelet

Copper and Dichroic Glass Bracelet

Friday, May 24, 2013

Copper Bracelet Update

The copper bracelet I've been working on all week is done - basically. It's in the tumbler, and I'd like it to tumble for 4 or 5 hours before it's really, truly, shiny and done, done, DONE. So no peeking yet!

Here's my process for setting the glass cabochon in the copper:

1st, of course, I created a mock-up on paper. The one below is actually either the 2nd or 3rd paper model I created, because I ran into some design problems on the first few (thank goodness they were on paper!), plus, I was stubbornly insisting on drawing on the paper with Sharpie, instead of pencil, so I kept having to get fresh paper. You can even see some of my Sharpie missteps in the model below - the rectangular markings across the middle of the "cabochon" had to be relocated, because they ended up interfering with the hole placement.

paper model of copper bezel (with errant blue thread from who-knows-where)

I take my paper models to the extreme - for this one, I cut out all the bezel tabs, and actually "set" the cab in the paper model, to make sure all the cuts were in the right places before I took saw to copper.

Here is the copper bezel, with the tabs sawn out and bent, and the connection holes drilled:

 copper bezel (no solder)

Next, I shortened and shaped the 4 tabs, so that as much of my pretty Picasso-style dichroic glass cabochon shows as possible - no point in covering up the pretty with excess copper!

copper bezel with dichroic glass cabochon

I'll be back to show you the finished bracelet tomorrow!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Copper Bracelet Set-back, or, Oops, I Made a Boo-boo

I was doing so well yesterday ... I had started off by deciding to go ahead and make an etched toggle to match the bracelet, so I cut some copper pieces and got them into the acid.

I began drilling holes, stopping off and on to help customers, etc. Then my pieces were ready to come out of the acid, so I stopped the hole-drilling (so tedious) and started on the toggle. I sawed out the center of the toggle ring, smoothed all the rough edges, and set out to solder a loop onto the back of the toggle bar. Naturally, that took way longer than expected. But here is my cute custom toggle (it still needs to be tumbled):

 etched copper toggle

etched copper toggle

Once the toggle was finished, I started drilling (and filing) holes again. There are a LOT of holes on this bracelet!

With 3 pieces remaining, I started drilling this piece:

copper connector before the drilling accident

and this happened:
oops - drilled too close to the edge!

I got too close to the edge, and there is just no working around this.

After some chosen words, I cut a new piece, prepped it and stamped it, and packed up for home.

This morning, I plopped the newly stamped piece in the acid, and I just hope it looks like the rest of the pieces when it is done (same degree of etching, same patina with the liver of sulfur, etc.) - it's nice to make all the components of a particular jewelry design at the same time, to try to control all these variables. Oh, well!

So, while my new connector is etching, I listed 2 pairs of the earrings I made last weekend on Etsy:

Stay tuned for further adventures in copper bracelet-making! And I'll also reveal more of the pieces I made last weekend!

Drop me a comment and tell me about some of your boo-boos!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Copper Bracelet WIP update

I didn't get much accomplished yesterday, at least as far as jewelry-making is concerned.

I got my "paper bracelet" laid out (above pic) and started marking my hole placements. The glass cabochon is still not set.

Here's another look at the paper version - they're pretty similar!

Today, I hope to get the holes drilled, and the sections connected. I'm contemplating etching another piece of copper with the same pattern, and making a matching toggle and bar. Maybe. I also need to set the glass cab, but we'll see what develops.... My plans somehow always seem to go awry, so I don't want to put too much on my To Do list!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cold Connections Weekend

I spent Saturday, Sunday, and Monday teaching a Cold Connections workshop, and we all had a really fun time - but I am absolutely exhausted!

Here is a bit of what I accomplished, in between teaching duties - a lot of these pieces still need finishing touches like some jumprings, or earwires - etc., but all the metalwork is done:

busy metal workshop weekend!

This was just a quickie pic - I have a lot of post-workshop clean up to do today, and once everything is back in order, I'll sit down and finish these pieces, and take better photos (many of these will end up on Etsy). I'll post better pics and more details about each piece as the week goes on.

Here is another WIP from this weekend (naturally, it started out as a paper mock-up:
my paper bracelet

I started freehand drawing the individual sections on Saturday, adjusting their sizes and shape so that the finished bracelet would be the proper length. I knew I wanted to use one of my Picasso fused glass cabochons as the centerpiece.

I didn't even finish all the little paper segments the first day, and every time I got up to help a student, the pieces would get blown around and lost under other stuff. I'd sit back down, and wonder aloud where my "paper bracelet" had gotten to, so pretty soon everyone had taken to calling it the "paper bracelet."

Some time Sunday I finished the paper model, and took them home with the shears and the sheet copper, so I could get them all cut out.

center segment of the "paper bracelet" - stamped and ready for etching

This is the center copper segment - this is the pattern I etched on all the pieces.

I got them sanded, stamped, and into the acid yesterday morning, and was starting to set the cabochon as class ended last night. I still need to finish the stone setting, and punch holes in all the links for jump rings, and figure out what kind of clasp I'm going to use. So this one is a little bit away from being finished. I'll post some more pics of its progress later this week.

Have a great day - I'm off to put away all my "toys" and clean up! 

Friday, May 17, 2013

10 chances

I picked up 5 MegaMillions tickets and 5 PowerBall tickets this morning on the way to work. According to a large number of sources (which I will not cite here) I have a better chance of being struck by lightning than I do of winning the lottery.

Well ... tell it to Lady Liberty. I'm pretty sure* I purchased the winning ticket. So don't even bother buying any for yourself! Save your money!

*as in, not sure at all.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tangle Tuesday, and a bead show

We almost didn't have a Tangle Tuesday this week .... stay tuned for details (below). But I knew how you guys LIVE for seeing my weekly tangles, so I just had to come through for you :)

To begin with, I used something I call an "amoeboid string." It meanders around with lots of enfolding loops, similar to the pseudopodia on an amoeba. I really like the way it turned out!

Some of the tangles I used here include:
  • static
  • corn rows
  • zewm
  • waves
  • warped eggs
  • Hollibaugh
  • aura

Last week was crazy - I was out sick Tuesday and Wednesday (sorry beaders - bead shop closed) with a killer 3-day migraine - I had it Monday, too - on my day off :(

It was one of those bad, bad headaches where it hurts too bad to sleep, and you can't concentrate. Can't watch TV, can't read, can't work on the computer. And SO much nausea. You just kinda want to die after a day or so ... much less, 3 days.

Then a crazy busy day Thursday at the bead shop, and then the bead shop was closed (again) so we could road trip to the big Franklin Gem and Mineral (BEAD!!!) show - where more craziness ensued.

It was interesting to see all the new beads, and what beads are trendy: the big thing was gemstone rounds with a "belt" of pave rhinestones set around the widest part of their circumference. These were absolutely everywhere, in every color imaginable. I finally asked one of the vendors what they were called, since I haven't even seen these in the beading magazines. He said "agate." (In my head, I said, "thanks, Sherlock") - I'm sure these trendy paved beads have a name, but you won't learn it from me! (I just searched Google, and can't even find a pic of them.) I actually thought they were the next closest thing to tacky, and didn't buy any of them. Not a single strand (which means they'll be on the front page of Bead & Button next month, and 250 people will be asking for them before the month is over.) But I got hundreds, and hundreds, and thousands, of other cool beads, focals, and findings! I'll have to take some pics and post them here!

I spent all day Saturday and Sunday restringing and pricing them, and will now be spending however long it takes to get representative samples of ALL of them put out in the shop.

So that is why we almost didn't have a tangle today - I seriously did not think I would finish on Sunday, and would be at it all day yesterday (Monday, which is my tangling day). But I was on a streak, and my DVR was storing Once Upon a Time, Revenge (2 hours!), Mad Men, and some other stuff WHILE I was watching Celebrity Apprentice (Go, Penn!) - so I just kept watching recorded stuff while stringing and pricing, and before I new it, I was on the last show (Mad Men), I priced the last strand, with 15 minutes of Mad Men left to watch - and it was 4:30AM.

Finished Mad Men (wherein Don Draper is more of a shit than EVER before), went to bed, slept very late, and finally got up. And tangled!

Have a great week - enjoy the tangle, as there most definitely won't be one NEXT Tuesday, because I am teaching a 3-day Cold Connections workshop this Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Crazy!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Monday, May 6, 2013

Brass Byzantine Earrings and Bracelet: companion pieces

Remember the pretty chainmaille necklace I designed as part of the 5x5 challenge?

I had a few tourmaline nuggets left over, and quite a few brass jumprings, so what's a girl to do?

Make matching bracelet and earrings!

Brass Byzantine bracelet with tourmaline links and dangle

Brass Byzantine earrings with tourmaline dangles

The bracelet and earrings are available separately in my Etsy shop.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

5x5 Metal Component Challenge Reveal, Chapter 4 (the filigree "diamond")

Welcome to Chapter 4 of my 5x5 Metal Component Design Challenge Reveal
(Chapter 1, the filigree ring, is here;
Chapter 2, the copper square and the "X", is here;
Chapter 3, the copper disc, is here)

Here's the component:
I have no idea what this really is; I put it off until last, because I was totally uninspired by my initial design ideas, which were:
1) bead it
2) wrap it around a mandrel, make it a ring, and then either bead it, or wire something onto it.
3) find a small flat bead or cabochon, and bend the filigree "diamond" around it to form a bezel

After finishing all the other challenge pieces, I kept fingering this remaining component, and eyeing all the little holes it had for inserting stuff, and dangling things from ... and subconciously I guess I was still hung up on wanting to make some earrings for this challenge, because it suddenly hit me - let's cut this sucker in half!!

This worried me a little - remember: I only have one of these, so there is no margin for error! I would have to carefully cut across the middle, never deviating, so that all my little spaces for dangling still remained after the cut!

Nailed it! This pic was taken after I had carefully filed all the rough edges with the Dremel.

Next, I used the roundnose pliers to turn under the tops of the halves, so they would more easily attach to earwires.

Now - on to the dangling!

I decided the center dangle needed to big enough to balance out the filigree chandelier I'd created, and I settled on some metal flowers that I have set aside for enameling. I fired up the torch and enameled 2 of them in mauve and purple, one of my current favorite color combos.

Next, I added some matching Swarovski crystal dangles on either side, and one hanging from some Vintaj Natural Brass chain in the center of the enameled flower (as a stamen).

bronze filigree earrings with Swarovski crystals and enameled flower dangles

After attaching all the dangles, I decided I needed to turn the edges of the filigree chandelier under just a bit, to balance the shape of the enameled flower.

bronze filigree earrings with Swarovski crystals and enameled flower dangles

Happy "accident": These earrings make the most beautiful wind chime sounds when they move! They are absolutely delightful; I think they are my favorite pair of earrings, ever.

These beauties are available on Etsy!

That does it for my 5x5 Design Challenge Reveal. Here are the previous installments, if you missed them:
Chapter 1 (the filigreed ring)
Chapter 2 ( the copper square and the "X")
Chapter 3 (the copper disc)

And don't forget to check out the May issue of Bead Chat Magazine - our feature is on page 21-26!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

5x5 Metal Component Challenge Reveal, Chapter 3 (The copper disc with the strange cutouts)

Welcome to Chapter 3 of my 5x5 Metal Component Design Challenge Reveal
(Chapter 1, the filigree ring, is here;
Chapter 2, the copper square and the "X", is here)

Here is the copper disc component:

  • It is BIG - 38 mm in diameter
  • It is domed
  • It is shiny and polished on the convex side, but dirty-looking and dull on the reverse
  • It has a large, pre-drilled square hole in the center
  • It has bizarro, offset triangular cutouts on the side

My initial plan for this piece, before I received it, and realized how big it was, was to use it as a beadcap.

Then it arrived.

True confession time: I hated those cutouts, and could NOT see past them - all I could think about was getting rid of them, or hiding them. They were THE ENEMY.

I tried wrapping stuff around the disc, using the notches as guides. I tried wire, wire with beads, sari ribbon, and probably other stuff (it is all a blur........) Nothing really worked for me.

I made a paper mock-up of the disc, and started playing - I cut out more triangular wedges. And more - soon, I was left with a funny-looking flower: the copper center with the predrilled hole, and skinny petals (all that remained after I cut the final wedge out of this piece). I didn't care for the looks of this weird flower at all.

Back to square one.

Pulling from my design inspiration for the filigree ring, I started strolling around the bead shop, trying to see what could fit inside the disc (and cover up those dang cutouts!). I found a gorgeous handmade blue lampwork button - it wasn't quite large enough to hide the cutouts, but it was close!

The button was mostly blue, but also had some seafoam green, and flashes of reddish-purple (the center of the button contains dichroic glass!) - it is a gorgeous work of art.

I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out the best way to attach the button to the disc. The disc had the pre-drilled hole in the center, but nothing on the back to attach wire to. I didn't want to carry wire around those cutouts just to attach the button. Think...think....

And check my secret stash again .... and there it was: a copper Susan Lenart Kazmer pendant I had purchased (impulse buy!) at Michael's years ago. At the time, I knew I could make a similar copper pendant, and probably should save my pennies ... but then I rationalized: she already did the hard work; why should I? (When I take on projects like this, they always take WAY more time than I thought they would, so I figured this was a great investment, time-wise!) And after I bought it? I squirreled it away for a special occasion, and soon forgot about it. Sounds familiar, right?

the disc, the pendant, & the button

The disc is the perfect size to attach to the U-shaped middle portion of this pendant! This pic shows the dingy, dull appearance of the concave side of the disc; I used my Dremel and radial disc to polish this up to a gorgeous shine before I started wiring.

In looking at the pendant, I felt like I wanted to" soften" the overall appearance of hard glass on hard copper disc on hard copper pendant. The pendant had that nice curly "tunnel" across the top, and I had some pretty blue sari ribbon, so I decided to see if I could incorporate a little sari ribbon into the design. (I am all but clueless when it comes to sari ribbon artistry!)
sari ribbon in the tunnel - I like it!

To attach the button and the disc to the pendant, I decided to use the same blue wire I used on the filigree ring necklace, because I wanted it to show as little as possible on the front of the button, and it wouldn't show at all on the back - so color didn't matter there. When wiring the button to the disc (and the pendant, since it was all done in one step) I added a 4 mm Czech firepolish bead in the center of the button (in a deep indigo color that matches the blue around the edge of the button) - I wanted as little of the wire to show on the front as possible.

the copper disc and button wired to the pendant

Y'all know I couldn't stand those triangular cutouts - I decided to stick a small piece of sari ribbon behind the button - and just like that: no cutouts! Victory! Aren't these colors and textures fantastic?

Since there was only a single hole drilled through the copper disc, it took a lot of wiring to get the disc and button securely and stably attached to the pendant.

Detail of the wire attachment:

And now - I'm in the home stretch on this one. I wanted to make a simple necklace for the pendant, because the pendant has a whole lot going on. I envisioned a simple copper chain, with some dangles for movement, color, and interest.

It's a little hard to tell, but the dangles include more of the beautiful tourmaline from yesterday's necklace, plus some kyanite, peacock freshwater pearls, tanzanite-colored Czech glass, and a few of the deep indigo Czech firepolish beads I used on the button. I clustered all the dangles at the front of the necklace, and saved one kyanite dangle for the back.

The necklace closes with an S-hook, and I left a generous length of chain so that the length is widely adjustable.

I absolutely love this necklace, but nevertheless, I'm letting it go: it's available in my Etsy shop!

Stay tuned tomorrow for Chapter 4: the filigree "diamond".

Looking for Chapter 1 (the filigreed ring)? Here it is.
Looking for Chapter 2 (the copper square and the "X")? It's right here.

And don't forget to check out our feature (pages 21-26) in the May Issue of Bead Chat Magazine: