Yucca Leaf – inspiration for the fall 2017 collection

yucca leaf

Yuccas have long sword-shaped leaves with pointed tips. The leaves are often about 1 to 3 feet in length. Numerous yucca leaves grow in a rosette formation from a thick base.  

 I tell you this because I used the yucca leaf as the inspiration for many pieces in the Fall 2017 Harmony Collection.  I am showing you a photo of a yucca necklace with a handmade glass cabochon.  

yucca leaf necklace

This yucca necklace is a series of links in sterling silver cold connected together to form a collar necklace.  It is lightweight, and very easy to wear.  This yucca necklace has a lampworked cabochon from the Desert Bloom series.

The necklace can be found here

new tag

Do you ever wonder why lizards do push-ups?

lizards

This is just one of the juicy local wildlife questions that keeps me awake at night -tossing and turning, kicking the covers off, – and making it impossible to rest.  I need to get to the bottom of this mystery.  

So thanks to the Discovery Channel I discovered it’s the male lizards that engage in this push up activity (of course it is); and all he wants is attention.

Every morning I open the garage door – this is where I do my morning weight routine arm exercises.  And there he is sitting on a rock on all fours pushing and bobbing  – up and down and up and down.

I imagine all the lady lizards are out there swooning.  Yeah, we see ya big boy!

So aren’t you glad you came over to read my blog today.  Now you too can rest well tonight.

 

Lampworked beads for my artist jewelry

So you all know that I have a real passion for creating glass art in the flame of my torch.  (20 years and still torching)

To show off these exquisite glass beads and cabochons I soon branched out to jewelry design.  Simple pieces.  The glass was the star. 

Well as all things in life change; my artistic jewelry designs have really evolved too.  I still create jewelry designs that show off glass, but I also create jewelry designs that show off my expression of the deserts of the Southwest.  Which means sometimes it’s just the metal that speaks to me and sometimes gemstones and sometimes glass and sometimes all three.

I started adding metals to my glass in the torch to give the glass an earthy feel and to create colors that were totally mine.  The colors become more muted, and I can actually make the glass look like the stones and rocks found in the desert.  

Adding pure silver to the glass (in the form of silver leaf and foil) is a favorite thing I like to do.  I take a glass rod of ivory.  Wrap silver leaf around it.  Burn the leaf off.  And then pull a stringer.  Then I use this stringer to decorate the beads in the flame.

Here is a favorite design using that “silvered ivory stringer”.

artist jewelry

I love 

creating the desert in glass and metal

 

I have been working on how to banish her

banish

 

 

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

 

Totally Handmade

handmade

Totally Handmade – what does that mean?

  • sketch the necklace – about a half hour
  • make the lampworked beads – about 2 hours
  • anneal the lampworked beads – 24 hours
  • clean the lampworked beads – 10 min
  • create a template for the silver links – 30 min
  • use template to saw the silver links – 1 hour
  • refine the silver links, and polish – 1.5 hours
  • fabricate the jumprings – 30 min
  • wire the beads – 1 hour
  • fabricate the clasp – 20 min
  • solder the clasp – 10 min
  • clean all of the silver components – 15 min
  • patina the silver components – 15 min
  • wire wrap semi-precious stones to one link – 15 min
  • connect the necklace  15 min
  • photograph the piece 30 min

It’s a lot of work; but I LOVE doing it.

Louise

Lampwork Bead Trunk Show

Lampwork beads

I will be having a trunk show of my lampworked beads on May 1 – 2.  Here is a preview of a few…..

Join me on Facebook at on Artisans Glass Open Market

Pearls

Higher Prices for Pearls at the Gem Shows

At February’s Tucson gem shows, prices of white freshwater pearls were significantly higher than in years past. I asked my favorite vendor why and he said that Asian consumers are the reason.

Top-quality round white freshwaters are the most expensive and toughest pearls to obtain. Plus, production of bead-nucleated pearls is up, as is demand for bigger sizes.

I personally like large baroque fresh water pearls with a shimmer of color.  An even though I found some beautiful pearls the price was almost double from last year.

The unique luster of pearls depends upon the reflection, refraction, and diffraction of light from the translucent layers. The thinner and more numerous the layers in the pearl, the finer the luster. The iridescence that pearls display is caused by the overlapping of successive layers, which breaks up light falling on the surface.  The very best pearls have a metallic mirror-like luster.

Here is a bracelet I made with a 16mm baroque freshwater pearl with a glorious luster and lots of flashes of color.

Pearls

I added 2 of my lampworked beads and a 22K gold spacer bead and strung the bracelet on a stretchy cord.

( see my video about stretchy bracelets)

I love the ease of wearing a bracelet like this and it really adds a little class to any outfit – including jeans.  All the colors of an Arizona sunset.

creating the desert in glass and metal

Winter Collection

I have been working on a few of my best selling designs and making them with lampworked beads from the Nevada Silver and Silvered Midnight series.  These beads are from a neutral palette and work well now into spring.  I have started to update my Esty shop with these designs.  Hope you enjoy ….

winter collection

It’s a New Year

the New Year – planning

I like to spend the last 2 weeks of December broadly mapping out my personal and business plans for the upcoming new year.  This year I accomplished that while nursing a cold; planning out the first 6 months.  And even though I have resolved to add some things to 2016 I usually don’t make resolutions, but instead choose a word to guide me.

the 2016 word is….  Drum-Roll-Please

fo·cus

ˈfōkəs/

noun
1.
the center of interest or activity.
“this generation has made the environment a focus of attention”
synonyms: center, focal point, central point, center of attention, hub, pivot, nucleus, heart, core, cornerstone, linchpin, cynosure
“schools are a focus of community life”
2.
the state or quality of having or producing clear visual definition.
“his face is rather out of focus”
synonyms: focal point, point of convergence More
verb
1.
(of a person or their eyes) adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to see clearly.
“try to focus on a stationary object”
2.
pay particular attention to.
“the study will focus on a number of areas in Wales”

**************************************************************

So for the new year I plan to focus on a few things….

 

januaryFebruaryMarch
AprilMayJune

January – I’m launching the collection (stay tuned); and will continue learning with a metals class
February – shop the gem and jewelry shows, of course
March – continue learning with a glass class
April and May – enjoy Tucson and focus on production
June – continue learning metals class

So that’s the first half of the year.  Got some great trips planned for the second half.

 I wish you the Happiest New Year ever!

newyear

creating the desert in glass and metal

A challenge – but it’s finished

Nevada Silver Pendant Necklace – finished

This piece was definitely a challenge, but I finished it yesterday and I am very happy with the results.  First the sketch

sketch

The glass piece was a Nevada Silver lampworked pendant I made a few weeks ago.  I wanted to cap it with sterling silver and hang it from a silver hollow form piece that I would fabricate and then set a labradorite stone that I had purchased recently – which really complemented the glass.  Then I would finish it with a hand made chain.

Here’s the finished piece

challenge pendant

Fabricating the hollow form in sterling was definitely the challenge.  Before you solder it you must drill a hole in order for the air to escape when it’s heated and prevent the piece from exploding.  The soldering went fine.  But then you pickle it and I realized the hollow form was now filled with pickle (an acid solution used to clean the silver).  OK so I soaked the piece in water and baking soda and rinsed and rinsed and rinsed.  But of course some water was still in there; so I finally had to dry the piece on a hot plate to get rid of all the moisture.  A good solution to the problem but it took forever, and I had to do it each time I soldered.  I didn’t want to risk heating the piece and vaporizing acid!!!

I had to solder the bezel twice as there was a very tiny gap.  So I got more solder inside the bezel than I had planned.  And then the stone wouldn’t fit.  Arrrggggh! I spent a fair amount of time cleaning out the excess solder but the stone was still just a little too tight.  Luckily I had just watched a video by Melissa Muir where she forms and polishes a glass cab.  Ummm  So I ordered the appropriate wheels for my jool tool and in 20 seconds had removed just enough of the cab for it to fit perfectly.  Plus I now can finish my own glass cabs…..   but that will be another post later.

Finally I fused Argentium silver jump rings to make the hand made chain.

It took a week, but it’s done.  I learned a lot and I love the piece.  I don’t think I can part with it….  So I’ll have to make another for the shop.

creating the desert in glass and metal