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Friday, March 28, 2014

Taking Off the Veil: Revealing the Magician's Secrets

Okay, maybe the title of this blog entry is a bit melodramatic, but I thought it fit what I'm about to do. I decided to reveal some of my tricks.

I think I take pretty good pictures of my jewelry. One of my biggest pet peeves, one thing that I actually see a lot in the jewelry designing community are blurry pictures. You can't tell what's going on in them. Some pictures are so dark and fuzzy that I'm not even sure it IS jewelry. I take pride in the fact that in my photos you can see all of the detail of my pieces, right down to the tool marks and imperfections that I'd rather you not notice.  What really bothers me is that sometimes these blurry, poorly lit pictures get more sales and "likes" on Facebook than I ever get, but that's a whole other topic.

My pictures are taken with my Galaxy SIII smart phone. I use the "Macro" mode, and I never use the flash. I use GIMP (a free, downloadable program) to edit my photos. I also take most of my pictures outside, sometimes in the strangest places. A mossy stump is perfect for showcasing a piece of jewelry.  A rusty part of the back step makes a great backdrop.  I use a lot of the landscaping around the house in nice weather, and a cloudy day in the middle of the afternoon is perfect to get the filtered light I need to capture a striking image.   However, the winter can be a bit more challenging.  I've taken pictures on window sills, I've just braved the cold and taken pictures after clearing away snow from a concrete slab or a part of the driveway, or I've taken pictures in doorways.

You have to have an open mind.

The bracelet you see is a new one that I finished, but this one is not for sale. It's mine. I've been wearing one of my copper Viking Knit bracelets everyday for the past ten months or so, and I thought it was time for an upgrade. I still wear the copper one, but now she has a friend.

Sterling Silver Viking Knit Bracelet with Reclaimed Copper End Caps
Can you guess where I took this picture?

If you answered the threshold of the backdoor, you are correct!

  I also used my torch to make a cool ball on the end of my hook clasp. I haven't melted silver since high school, and I was very surprised at how low its melting point is as opposed to copper.

 I got a new torch. I haven't used it yet, but it was quite an investment. It's a Blazer GB2001 Self Igniting Micro Torch!  I'm really excited to start using it, but I have to wait until the butane in my $9.00 Harbor Freight torch runs out first.  I'll let you know how it goes. Stay tuned!

I'd also like to share another Viking Knit bracelet I made, this time for a man whom I've known since Junior High. I went to school with him. He wasn't too nice to me in school, but he's made up for it. He's a great guy, and he actually happens to be one of my biggest fans/customers.
The last bracelet I made him out of leather and wood, but his dog ate it!  So, he asked me to make a new one. This one is done in copper (which I hope is dog proof?)  He wanted me to incorporate a rune, it symbolizes "heritage."  I put it in the clasp.

I really hope he likes it.  I tried to make it as "manly" as possible.  I love making men's jewelry. It's such a challenge.

I've been doing a lot of metal work in the past few months.  All of the metal from this bracelet started off as round copper electrical wire.  The flat pieces are hammered flat.

And, finally for my "dirty" secret. 

It's what my materials look like when I get them. I don't buy nice, prefab wire from the craft store. My wire comes dirty, grungy, tangled, usually presented to me by my contractor father in law in an old paint bucket.
I strip it, clean it, check the gauge, or I just cut it off the roll as I need it.  It's messy, but I can truly say that my jewelry IS most definitely made from reclaimed, recycled sources.

I hope you enjoyed get the inside info.  If you did, write me a comment and let me know!  And, while you're at it, give me a "like" on Facebook.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Stormy: A Dyed Agate Stone Landscape wrapped in Reclaimed Copper

Yesterday was one of those rare days where everything went  without a hitch. We met friends who were visiting in town at their hotel, the kids swam, and after that we went out to The Ye Olde Spaghetti Factory for an Italian lunch.  My five year old son, who tends to be a bit extremely picky ate every bite on his plate, as well as some of ours.  He and my friends daughters got along so well that he even got a hug from the 8 year old.  When we got home my husband and my son went into our bedroom to rest. I retreated into the basement, and I got to work.

I got this beautiful dyed agate at the gem show in Des Moines last year.  It was my favorite stone, even though it isn't exactly natural.  It's been sitting on my bench for quite a while, and I finally got the inspiration to do something with it.  I wasn't sure that such a detailed wrap was right for such a highly saturated stone.  I'm still not entirely sure.

Because the stone reminded me of a picture of a stormy sky I purposely sanded down a jagged piece of wire going down to signify a lightening bolt. I hope my vision doesn't look more like the mistake of an inexperienced wire artist.  That's one thing I'm worried about in this piece.  So far though, the response on Facebook has been very positive.

I'm happy with it. I'm happy whenever I get the chance to escape the day to day monotony and mom-challenges and do something creative.  Here is the necklace:

If you're interested, please visit my photo album on Facebook for more details, price and specifications.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Weekend Blitz SALE! (March 8th and 9th)

Click on the picture to go to the clearance gallery
I'm having a BIG SALE!  Head over to my Facebook fan page, and check out the inventory on clearance. I want to make room for new jewelry.