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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Goddess Pendant with a Gothic Twist

I've been trying for weeks to wrap these gorgeous labradorite stones that I purchased.  They are stones, not cabochons so they bring forth quite a challenge for me. They're not uniformly thick and that lopsidedness has caused quite of bit of frustration for me. I think I've attempted six different wraps and each one of them just wouldn't hold the stone or looked terrible. But, in my attempts I have managed to make some pretty good stuff with other stones. Sometimes I'll be starting to wrap one of the beautiful labradorite stones and I'll realize that even though it doesn't work with that stone it works well with another stone. This is how this particular pendant came to be.

The weaving started as a possible bail for a labradorite but this red poppy jasper donut was too irresistible.  I fit the wires through the hole and I knew it was meant to be.
I added some more weaving, and some criss-crosses and a few swirls.  On the reverse is a goddess reaching toward Heaven.

The pendant is suspended on hand-woven viking knit chain.

Everything here is handcrafted by me, except for the link chain (which I buy from a fellow artisan who lives in Maine.)

I am particularly proud of the hook and eye clasp I forged. These strong 12 gauge wire clasps are made from recycled electrical wire (as all of my wire is recycled), heated, formed and hammered until they're virtually indestructible.

If you're interested in purchasing this necklace or to inquire about a price please send me a message by using the form on the left side of my blog page.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Traditional Cab Wrap

For as long as I have been making wire wrap jewelry I have had issues with what I like to refer to as the "traditional cab wrap."  I just haven't been able to master it.  Part of it is that I tend to make a lot of my own designs, meaning that I make up techniques and that I am self-taught and this is kind of an established technique.  Unlike viking knit I just could not get the hang of it, even when my good friend Cindy from CCJ Designs made a pictorial just for me. Well, you may or may not know this but I'm HORRIBLE at following tutorials, even good ones.

This tiny little Botswana agate has been sitting in my stone pile for quite a while, and on a break from wrapping this HUGE labradorite I decided to try the "traditional cab wrap" again. Usually ending up frustrated, this time it worked.  I wonder if it was the smaller size that made it easier, or like wire-wrapping in general did it just finally "click?"

Here is the end result.

Not <i>too</i> shabby.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Chinese "Turquoise" Donut Pendant on a Viking Knit Chain

This is a bit of a departure from my usual style. It decided to keep things simple this time.  The weave around the donut is done with 19 gauge recycled copper and it hangs on a handcrafted viking knit chain. Of course I hand forged the end caps and hook and eye clasps.  This necklace is virtually indestructible!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

More Jewelry for November 2013

Recently a friend from town who also is a member of the wire wrapping jeweler's group I belong to clued me in on a gem trunk show at a local jewelry supply and bead shop, Fishlips 3. I found such gorgeous specimens, including this lovely agate donut (napkin ring) with tons of vibrant and (according to the man conducting the trunk show) natural undyed colors. A customer requested matching earrings.
This next piece was one of those that I was so frustrated with, I was about to give up. I had woven a base but had no idea how I was going to apply it to the stone.  It was getting late so I went to bed.  In the morning I had my eureka moment.  I finished it that morning and it's turned out to be on of my most intricate and favorite pieces to date.

This next piece one that includes one of the coolest looking stones I've ever had the pleasure of working with. It's an "Ocean Jasper."  I got it at the gem trunk show, but it was on a strand of other stones. There were a lot of strands, but I could only choose one, and the choice was a very difficult one.  After much deliberation I chose the strand with this baby.  And, I was finally able to put the pink and gray silk ribbon I bought months ago to good use.  I am very happy with this piece.

I'm kind of on a roll this month. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

It Should Be Called 'Jeweler's Elbow' and BIG News!

October was rough. I only managed to get one set done.  If I could have I definitely would have made more jewelry but I was nursing severe pain in my elbow that radiated through my arm and down to my wrist, and weakness. I couldn't grasp the steering wheel in my car let alone a hammer. Finally I went to the sports medicine clinic where they diagnosed me with tennis elbow, AND golfer's elbow, and to add to that, nerve damage.  I was ordered to step away from the work bench for a while to let it heal.

During the month I started on a project, just to keep my sanity. I got an arm brace and I worked very gently.  My mom came to visit for two weeks from Florida so that kept my mind off of jewelry, but a a few minutes every few days or so I'd do a little more. Ideas flowing, I just can't let them expire.

It took about three weeks, but here is my October creation. And, it sold!

It's a blue agate with a crystal druzy center. I also made my FIRST pair of earring to complete the set.

November has proven to be a pretty productive so far. The elbow is feel better with rest and the purchase of a nifty elbow brace that puts pressure on both sides of my arm to alleviate the pain of Jeweler's Golfer's/Tennis elbow. I made a beautiful necklace with a Carnelian leaf I bought at the Des Moines Gemstone and Fossil Show last month. I used wire weaving and complimented the ruddy orange pendant with blue and green accents, it really popped!  I even crafted the chain with agate donuts and the same blue/green stones.

It sold immediately, like, the day after it was posted.

Currently I'm working on this. I have the pendant done, but I'm still trying to figure out what to suspend it from, I'm toying with the idea of dark brown leather cord and chain, but I need to figure out how to make it hang right.  Here is a preview:

If you come across my blog and you're interested in purchasing any of my jewelry please send me a message via my Facebook fan page Leah Hoffman Jewelry on Facebook or you can email me at

Now, I have HUGE news for my blog readers.  I have had to move my work space from a sunny green room with my workbench facing a window with a pretty view of the back yard to... the dank, gray basement with a pretty view of the wall. But I can't let the baby sleep in the basement, so the spare bedroom which was being used for my workspace was the obvious choice for a nursery. My husband and I are expecting another baby, due in June.