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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Taking it to the Streets

I was approached by a friend about doing a small market on July 20th. There would be several art vendors. I haven't done a show in probably six or seven years and I don't have a lot of stock. My friend said she could help me gather some displays so I decided to go ahead with it. I'm really nervous.

I took out my jewelry to analyze it in a different way, through the customer's eyes.  I saw some flaws that I may have overlooked before.  I have to admit, it was very discouraging.  I work very hard on my jewelry and I am a perfectionist in a lot of ways, so when I saw all of my jewelry laid out before me, I wondered if I was really ready to participate in this event.

  Until July 20th, I'm in the process of tweaking some items just a little, doing some polishing and tumbling, looking for tool marks and trying to file and sand them out, and in the case of some pieces, I'm doing a complete revamp.

This kambaba jasper pendent was just begging for a makeover.  For the first time I made and used a toggle in my design.  I like the after much better, it shows off the intricate weaving that was hidden in the back of the pendant. I'm not sure I'm still working on balancing the necklace. It kind of leans to one side when you're wearing it.  If I can't get that right, I'll have to wait for the next show.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Thor's Mjolnir (A Custom Order) UPDATE

Custom orders are always challenging and a bit scary. What your customer envisions may not be what your hands are able to create. Yesterday I was approached by a customer asking if I would be able to make Thor's Mjolnir. Of course I had to Google that one having no idea what "Mjolnir" meant. I saw lots of pictures of what looked like sledgehammers. Eek. What was I going to do?  So, I asked my customer to send a picture of what he had in mind. I used the shape of that as the pattern in which I ultimately crafted the mjolnir. I suspended the pendant on viking knit (double strand double knit), and black leather cord. Everything here is handcrafted. Hand formed. The hammering, the bending, the filing. And, here is the result. I'm very pleased and I certainly hope he is too.

UPDATE:  The customer loves it. He sent me a message declaring that he "f***ing loves it," actually.  I'm so happy.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Strong Enough for a Man...

I set out to make a necklace for a man. I asked my husband what he thought of it and he said it was "rad." I'm going to assume that means I accomplished what I had set out to do. This awesome necklace features a Russian serpentine nugget wrapped in copper, suspended on a section of hand woven copper wire knitting (known as Viking Knit.) From the viking knit are hand wrapped endcaps, then necklace continues in black 3mm leather and then capped off with more hand wrapped endcaps and a hand formed and hammered hook and eye closure. It was oxidized and hand polished for visual texture and contrast.

It's approximately 19.5" long from tip to tip. The hanging stone pendant is .69 inches from bale to tip and .69 inches from side to side.

This necklace as well as all of my other handcrafted jewelry is available directly through me, or on Etsy.

Click here for my Etsy store:
Leah Hoffman Jewelry Design

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Some New Items

I'm always making new things. Here are a couple items I have just listed.

This necklace is a simple Rose Quartz drop wrapped in raw copper and oxidized and hand polished. It's a timeless design with a Leah Hoffman flair.  I made matching end caps and hand made a hook and loop closure. It is suspended on leather cord. It is 22" long. The pendant is about 1.25" long and about .75" wide.
It is available on Etsy, or directly through me. If you order through my blog you get free shipping. (PayPal or Dwolla orders only.)

This next beauty is a raw copper wire weave cabochon wrap. The stone is adventurine. It's said to be good for balancing out female and male energy, for good luck and for Leo and Aries.  I think it's good for looking at, as it's such a beautiful shade of green. 

 It is suspended on a copper plated chain. It  also features hand made hook and loop clasps and end copper end caps

Metal Mix

I had some 24 gauge silver, just enough to do a single strand double-knit Viking Knit bracelet, but I didn't have enough 16 gauge silver to do end caps.  Feeling inspired but a little lost as to what I should do I consulted the ladies (and men) in the two wire wrapping artists groups I belong to on Facebook. The consensus was pretty unanimous, put some copper with the silver. That was the recipe that got my creative engine fired up!  I love this bracelet so much. It is probably my favorite Viking Knit bracelet to date. It's so fun and funky. It features large hole "Pandora" style lampwork beads and a 12 gauge sterling silver hook clasp, 16 gauge copper end caps, single strand double knit sterling silver, and it's been oxidized, tumbled for 24 hours, and hand polished. 89.95 Priority shipped in the USA (international orders please contact me for shipping price.)

Conquering the Viking (Knit)

I love doing Viking Knit, I wear one (or two) of my Viking Knit bracelets everyday.  Since my audience has grown quite a bit lately, I've decided to focus some attention on these pieces to try to get them noticed a little more. Taking new pictures of old products is a great way to breathe life into something that's been hanging around for awhile.  It's also a good way to see something that you may not have noticed before, such as a tool mark, or a clasp or a bead that just doesn't fit the way it should.

You see, in jewelry making subtle changes can make a huge difference. I tightened up some jump rings, sanded and filed off some tool marks and burrs, I placed each Viking Knit bracelet on my mandrel and hammered the hook and loop end clasps to a soft curve so it fits better on the wrist.  The biggest change I made was to my .925 Sterling Viking Knit bracelets.  I replaced the guts (so to speak) with a thicker, stronger gauge of sterling, took away a useless bead in one case, and on both I replace the closures. From 16 gauge to SUPER heavy duty 12 gauge sterling silver! Forging those twelve gauge clasps (without annealing because I don't have the tools or the expertise) with tools and a hammer was no easy feat, but it added 3 grams of valuable silver to each bracelet and what a difference. They're virtually indestructible. I'm even more confident in my Sterling Silver Viking Knit bracelets.

More good news for my customers is that the price remains at 119.00 shipped (US only) and I do accept international orders for a discounted shipping fee.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Loyalty Card

A very loyal and supportive customer asked me if I could make her a business card holder to display her card on her table when she sells her jewelry (Avani Priya Malas and Jewelry) at market next in July.  I just knew I had to make something really special for her, as her and her husband have been some of my best customers over the past year or so.

I also used this as an opportunity to photograph my business card in a setting that really showcases some of  my best work. I am very happy at how this turned out.

Here are some other views

Monday, June 10, 2013

Ode to Joy

I have no idea how I did this.  Last night someone asked me if I did wire names. Now, I don't know how to do wire names, and the ones you see sold in the mall kiosks are usually a stock design in which the makers are trained. But, I decided to give it a go.The name Joy flows so well, it lends itself rather nicely to this medium.   I'm kind of stunned at how good it turned out. I made two, a larger one in 12 gauge (which she opted to buy as a keychain) and the necklace in 16 gauge.

Honestly, I'm not sure if I'd ever be able to do it again.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

This Ring Needs a Name (Contest) UPDATED

Currently I'm promoting 50% off any one item in my Etsy store to anyone who can come up with a name for my new ring design. Click Here to go to my Facebook page and suggest a name for this unique, one of a kind ring. It's gotten a lot of  hearts on my Instagram.

This is a new twist on a bold copper ring. It has soft curves and a hammered shank. Made from ultra thick ten gauge copper, this strong ring has substance. I took extra care in making sure this ring would be smooth and rounded, and comfortable to wear. At the finish I dipped the ring into a patina solution and then hand polished it. This patina gives the ring a rich textured look.

It is a size 6.5. With purchase of this ring I include a special polishing block to lightly buff and polish your ring so a mirror like shine.

I am happy to announce the winner of the 50% off discount who had the most votes.Erin with the name "Entwined", which I thought was pretty genius (and so did a lot of other people.)  

Thank you Erin.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Bold Swirl Rings, Pricing and Gauges Explained

My signature piece is my exclusive Bold Swirl Ring. It's a beautiful spiral ring that's handcrafted with no electrical tools.  I use copper and sometimes sterling silver, your choice.  If you choose sliver I do require a deposit.  Each Bold Swirl Ring comes with a polishing block to keep it shiny and gleaming for years to come.  A 14 gauge swirl ring is standard for a woman. Most of the rings I sell are 14 gauge BSRs.   
 This is an example of a shiny copper Bold Swirl Ring in a 14 gauge.  The Sterling BSR is 119.00.

 They are 49.00 (on Facebook only) shipped.

A 12 gauge Bold Swirl Ring is a bold statement for a woman, or a nice ring for a man when done with three or four strands.  It's a little thicker, has a nice smooth shiny finish. This sterling silver Bold Swirl Ring is made with 12 gauge sterling silver and is 139.00, postage paid. The copper 12 gauge Bold Swirl Ring is 59.00, postage paid.

A 10 gauge Bold Swirl Ring is the largest ring that I make. It makes a great right for a man but can also compliment a woman's hand. This ring is very difficult to manipulate but the results are worth the trouble. A lot of work goes into crafting this ring.  It's 79.00, postage paid.
Here are some examples of the 10 gauge Bold Swirl Ring.  

Bold Swirl Rings are also available in 16 gauge, a more petite look for a smaller hand or someone who likes a smaller ring.  39.00 for 16 gauge copper, 99.00 for 16 gauge sterling silver.

  All silver rings require a 25% non-refundable deposit toward the final price of the ring and are shipped free US Priority Mail. 
If you are interested in obtaining some of my signature rings for yourself or someone you love, let me know. I can make them in virtually any size, from 4-14 and I usually ship within a few days of receiving custom orders.  

Copper Wrapped Rhodonite Nugget on Leather Cord

This beautiful wrapped pendant is suspended on a thick leather cord with handcrafted endcaps and hook and eye clasps. 

The stone is wrapped using weaving techniques including very fine 28 gauge wire. 

The necklace from tip to tip is about 17.5" long. The pendant measures 2.25" long from bail to tip and 1/2" wide.


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It's Been Awhile...

It's been a while since I've posted. I'm happy to announce that we bought a house in February and that's where most of my creative energy has been for the last few months. It's a simple little ranch house and we got a great deal on it. My son has a yard to run around in and we have a lot more space than we had in the apartment. I love the kitchen. I'm also happy to announce that I have set up my workspace facing a window in a sunny little room. I love working by natural light. I haven't felt this rejuvenated or creative in a very long time.
My "office."

I have made a lot of new items in the past month that I am really proud of, including some variations on the Bold Swirl Ring and I found a nifty way to use up some 18 gauge silver filled wire I've had hanging up for a while. I've been making some more "Dainty Swirl Rings" but these ones are stronger and of much more superior quality than the ones I've made in the past. I have also been working with really THICK 8 gauge wire, making Bold Swirl Bangles and a Bold Swirl Pendant which I suspended on thick leather cord.  It's different than anything I've made before.

I held a contest on my Facebook Fan Page to win a Bold Swirl Ring (in copper) and that really helped bring in a lot of traffic. I've had close to 10,000 page views in one day.  If you haven't become a fan on  Facebook, come "like" my page and tell your friends.