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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

We are our Own Worst Critics

My newest pendant
 A few months ago I completed a project for my friend Kristy at Veggie Beauty.  (Visit Pumpkin & Poppy Cosmetics for earth friendly, cruelty free vegan cosmetics)  It was a promotional piece for her Game of Thrones inspired collection (available HERE!)

Skip ahead to last week when my friend discovered the picture on my Facebook fan page and shared it on her timeline.  Her fiance took notice, and sent me a private message, asking if I could make the same necklace for her.  The truth is that each of my pieces is unique, and other than my Bold Swirl Ring I cannot replicate a piece. But, I told him that her necklace would be inspired by the original piece.

Let me tell you, it wasn't easy.  I had a gorgeous labradorite stone that I've tried to wrap before and caused me nothing but frustration. The difference is that this is a stone and not a cabochon. A cabochon is flat on the back. This was definitely not flat on the back, so the pendant wouldn't lay flat, and I had to figure out how to position the bail so that the pendant wouldn't turn sideways while being worn. I was happy with the decoration around the bail though, but I made the mistake of asking some opinions of some fellow artists who are in an online group where I post.  Everyone was very positive about the piece. One person did make a suggestion to make some changes, and it happened to be a very renowned artist who writes books and teaches courses.
Game of Thrones Collection from Pumpkin & Poppy
LOOK at how the colors perfectly match the necklace!
  Suddenly, I panicked. I started rearranging things. And, the truth is that I should have left well enough alone; Instead, I overworked the wire.  You may not see the flaws, but I do, and I can't help but beat myself up over what I see.  You see, I'm such a perfectionist and I set a very high standard for myself.
  I don't think the revised version is as good as the original version of the pendant. But, I'm glad to report that the customer's fiancee loved the necklace, which was an incredible relief.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Nipomo Marcasite Agate wrapped in Recycle Copper

Here's my latest weekend project. This one is tiny, the stone isn't even an inch long!  It's always a challenge making dainty jewelry, but this one has a lot of detail. I even made balled details on the end clasps. They're 14 gauge copper, so that took A LOT of heat.

It sold within a few minutes of posting.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Great BALLS of Fire!

There's a certain technique in wire/metal work in which you take a blow torch to the metal, and it melts into a ball. When I was in high school jewelry/metalsmithing class we used to do this with silver. This was back in the early 90s when silver prices were 1/5th of what they are today. I mean, they gave the stuff to high school kids and I'm pretty sure there wasn't a fee to take the class or I wouldn't have been there.  I used to hold the torch until the ball would form, and then solder the balls in clusters onto the shank of a ring. See, jewelry making is something I've been doing for the past twenty years!

I've admired some of the lovely work from some of my favorite artists and peers and their use of balled up metal in their designs.  I knew that this was achieve by the use of a torch, but for some reason I could never figure out exactly how to make it work outside of my high school art class. I would hold the torch on the end of the wire, it would turn bright red, but it would never melt. But, like most of the techniques I've experimented with suddenly I figured it out. I wasn't holding the torch at the right angle. Once I learned how to hit that metal in the right spot it started to ball up, and boy did it happen fast.  Waving the torch back and forth prevented pointed ends.  I was doing it!  And, I needed to incorporate the technique into something new and different.  I had the perfect stone, a gorgeous Labradorite with bright blue flash.

This one is already sold, in fact I sold it within an hour of posting it online. 

I definitely plan to incorporate this technique into future pieces.