Chain – an essential for jewelry

Chains for my art jewlery

Everybody has chains in their jewelry armory.  You can wear them alone…  layer them… add a pendant.  They really are essential.

And there are thousands of commercial chain styles out there.  

Sometimes I buy chain by the foot to put with handmade pieces of my art jewelry.  I then add my own clasp or I segment it with handmade lampworked beads.  Buying commercial chain helps to keep the cost down of the piece of jewelry I am fabricating.

But sometimes a piece of art jewelry I make screams to have a special handmade chain; and for the last couple of days I have been hand making one for a pendant.  It is time consuming.

Cut the wire
Form the jump rings
Saw the jump rings (tedious)
Solder the jumprings
Make the clasp
Put it all together
Tumble it in shot for 8 hours (I don’t like to polish chain on a machine as it can be dangerous)

Here is a chain I am working on now.  Had to stop to order more wire…..  (It hasn’t been tumbled yet.)

chain

But I love the end result.

creating the desert in glass and metal

Desert Inspiration

It’s springtime in the desert and all of the plants are really showing off this year…..  and blooming early.

Inspiration on my side porch

We have a small porch off of our bedroom and when I first moved into the house in Tucson I nicknamed it the Margarita Porch.  It faces west so I thought sitting on that porch watching the sunset with a margarita would be absolutely nirvana.  But as it would happen sipping the margaritas from the pool or hot tub became the place instead.

So this little porch has sat unadorned until a few weeks ago my husband thought it would be a good idea to create some container gardens….

For the first one we got some cactus and succulent plants and this is what happened this week.

desert inspiration

 

 

desert inspiration

WOW!

The plant is called Echinopsis.

It’s nickname is Easter Lily Cactus

the flowers … they are extraordinary. Often 4″, 5″ or even 6″ in diameter

and frequently much larger than the cactus that produced them. 

Such a shame the flowers only last a day after opening,

but I am thankful to have captured its beauty

Echin” comes from the Greek word “Ekihnos,” which meant both sea urchin and hedgehog.

The “opsis” at the end of Echinopsis is another Greek word, one which means “resembling” or “appearance.” 

And it is definitely desert inspiration for some art jewelry.

creating the desert in glass and metal

Have a superb weekend!!

Organic Metal – Highly Textured Metal for my Art Jewelry

Textured Metal 

So I have said this before.  I love textured metal.  One of the most beautiful textures is simply striking metal with a hammer.  

But I like to experiment. 

So today I worked on a more organic look for my metal.  I modified some sheet metal by fusing wire to it and then rolling the fused metal in my rolling mill.  It took me about two hours to produce a piece of metal 2 inches by 3 inches.  I think this piece will be used in a bracelet.

textured metal for art jewelry

Right now I left the design slightly raised.  I think I may want to give it a few more passes in the rolling mill which will flatten the design even more.  So this is definitely just a work in progress..   More later

creating the desert in glass and metal

Art Jewelry Pendant with a Lampworked Bead and a Sapphire

An Art Jewelry Pendant – what I made in the studio this week

I was lucky to spend some time in the studio this week.  First I made some lampworked beads.

art jewelry dot beads

I really love these beads.  They look like prong set stones all around the disk.  

Then I fabricated some silver settings – one for the glass bead and one for a sapphire slice

art jewelry - wip

I made the setting for the sapphire slice so it would fit into the hole of the glass bead – which would be set on it’s side.

The glass bead was set into a sterling silver back that I had soldered some wire that would become prongs to hold the glass bead in place.  

All finished….art jewelry pendant

art jewelry pendant

Signed!

art jewelry pendant back

Another fun week in the studio.

I would also like to wish everyone a Happy Easter weekend.

 

 

creating the desert in glass and metal

Giving Back – Art Jewelry for the Humane Society

I love creating my beads and art jewelry.  I’m really not sure what my day would be like if I couldn’t do something creative.  So to give back to the community I have several organizations that I support.  Today I want to talk about the Humane Society of Southern Arizona.

Art Jewelry for the Humane Society

My husband and I started to volunteer for the Humane Society here in Tucson last year.  We have taken several classes on dog handling and dog walking, so every Saturday morning we get up early to help walk the dogs.  It’s a no kill shelter so the animals stay until they find their forever homes.  And it’s really nice to see what a great job this shelter does both taking care of the animals while they are there as well as finding the right home for the dogs and cats.  I am proud to be a part of this organization.

So I was happy to see that they will be having a big fund raiser on April 22nd called “Putting on the Dog”.  Music, food, auctions  – a fun event to support the Humane Society.  So I thought I would donate a special piece of art jewelry to support the cause.

art jewelry - giving back

This pendant necklace just got dropped off.  I made the bead based on a book I have by Claudia Trimbur Pagel.  She shows how to make several beads and one of them is a “dog bead”.

It felt good to make and even better to give to the Humane Society.  I hope it finds a forever home on April 22nd.

creating the desert in glass and metal

REST IN PEACE

Homer

Homer

2003 – 2017

I miss you

A Brooch – Would you wear one?

So last week I showed you the lampworked disk beads that I wanted to use in a piece of jewlery.  And later I showed you some glass headpins and a silver disk for the project.  

Today, I finished the piece – and it’s a BROOCH.

In the past I have felt that brooches were perhaps a little old fashioned.  

But lately I have been wearing them on jackets and coats.  

I am even working on a T-shirt brooch!  Very cool!

Leave me a comment – would you wear a brooch?

brooch - designer art jewelry

brooch - designer art jewelry

brooch - designer art jewelry

 

Art Jewelry Inspiration – Spring Blooms in the Desert

desert inspiration - designer art jewelry

Desert Inspiration – Spring Cactus Blooms

Everything seems to be blooming a little earlier this year here in Tucson probably because we have had lots of rain.  So my art jewelry inspiration in the form of cactus blooms is just beginning.  This hedgehog plant with it’s majestic magenta blooms just started blooming in my yard.  Hedgehogs are the first cactus to bloom every spring.  And like many other cactus flowers, these blooms are really short lived – lasting for only a day or two.  Luckily the plant has many blooms that seem to take turns showing off so I can enjoy them for about a week.  

I really need to try to create this color in glass.  But I have found that difficult.  There is one glass that comes close called rubino but it is difficult to work in the flame and sometimes you end up with a nasty scum on the glass.  Did you know that glass is “colored” by adding minerals and metals.  Some of which are not too healthy to breathe while working in the flame.  Pink and red glass gets it color by adding gold metals.  So it’s really expensive too.

Another technique I have used to get this color is to fume 24K gold onto clear glass.  You end up with a vibrant pink color with a metallic sheen.  Thank goodness for my ventilation system in the studio as breathing gold fumes can lead to heavy metal poisoning.  I also wear a respirator.

creating the desert in glass and metal

 

I’m out in the studio creating art jewelry

creating - art jewelry

A Work in Progress – creating jewelry

So last week I showed you the disk beads I made and many of you emailed me to ask what I was going to make.  

I chose one disk bead and started creating a piece of art jewelry around it

The design is sketched (I’m keeping that secret for the moment)

Other elements ~

a large sterling silver disk

some glass headpins on copper wire that I made yesterday

later today I will research the closure I plan to use – and I might just fabricate it in copper before I make it in silver

I like to make my mistakes in cheaper material; plus I will learn if I need to make any adjustments in the design

Tomorrow I will begin fabrication in the studio

If the final piece makes me happy I will make 2 more quickly with the other 2 disk beads

Studio Atmosphere

I like to listen to music while I work.

Recently I bought a new album and I plan on listening to it tomorrow…  

Of course its not a record album but digital music on my ipad….

creating and listening to music

It’s DION – I remember him like this

creating and listening to music

Oh it’s gonna be a great day

creating the desert in glass and metal

 

Lampworked Disk Bead

What I love about lampworking glass beads ~ besides being mesmerized by the flame ~ is that I can sit down and make any shape bead that I want and any color bead.  Possibilities are overwhelming.  I have been lampworking for 21 years – omg – that means that some beads I still have are of drinking age…

Shapes for my designer jewelry

A popular shape for a lampworked bead is a disk bead.  Sometimes a disk bead is made by carefully wrapping the hot glass in a single thin coil without melting the coils in.  And sometimes the coils are melted in for a nice smooth disk bead.  And of course my disk beads take on a more organic shape.  I used to find these shaped beads a little challenging to use in my jewelry designs.  Sometimes with this type of bead it is best to showcase the “side” of the bead.  But I have now designed several designer jewelry pieces around this shape.

Recently, I found this drawing somewhere on the internetdisk drawing

So I immediately went out to the studio and made some disk beads.

disk beads for designer jewelry

Jewelry next………………………..

creating the desert in glass and metal

Tuesday Ta Da

Just a Sneak Peak

I’m developing a new line incorporating my lampworked glass beads, metal, and desert inspiration.  I talked about a hollow bead last week where I had ground off one side.  To me it is reminiscent of a pod especially those prickly pear pods.  So here is a sneak peak of the finished piece……

ta da

 

And the inspiration…………..

ta da inspiration

creating the desert in glass and metal