Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Little Flower...

I love how it is possible to create just about anything in metal with a saw, a hammer and a flame. This little ring is the beginning of what I hope will be a series of jewelry embellished with these sweet little golden flowers. The flower here was drawn freehand onto brass sheet, they sawed out with a jeweler's saw and hammered and shaped into a wee little buttercup with a fine silver ball in the center. The ring shank has a fine satin brushed finish that really doesn't show up in the photo. Jewelry photography is an art in itself, and I have a long way to go in this area. I'll be calling a professional if I ever need "real" photos! And I just might - one of these days I'm going to get organized and publish a catalog as a sales venue.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Just a bit of practice....

I took a class in the process of reticulation in November. Reticulation is a fun (and a tad lengthy) process that creates a very cool wrinkled texture on the surface of silver. This piece of sterling was one of the "experimental" pieces. I am not the most patient of souls, and I was anxious to put the torch to this piece instead of doing a few more cycles to make the fine silver skin a little thicker. I was also curious to see how a thinner skin of fine silver would affect the process. This very gentle dapple is the result. I kind of like it, even though it is not nearly as dramatic as the other pieces. I set a little oval of lapis into it to play up the shape of the ripples. I have many plans for the other pieces, too... stay tuned!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Back to beads for a minute.....

Wow, I've been busy and no time to work on my metal projects but I *needed* to make something. So, inspired by the lovely rust colors in a photo posted for a challenge over on !Wet Canvas Wearable Arts forum, this little set was born tonight. I don't make much in these colors, but I really do like this one.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Nevada Variscite Pendant

Now this one might be my new favorite! This is Nevada variscite with a handmade bezel setting on hammered and brushed sterling. I had never seen this stone before, and I really love the color, a lovely soft sagey green. This is my first handmade bail, sawn out of sterling sheet, and accented with a little piece of twisted wire. This piece took a while to make, but I really love it - I'm having such fun designing and making pieces to show off these pretty stones!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Green Chalcedony Ring - Yummy!!!

Oh, I love this stone! This is my favorite thing I've ever made, I just love this and I'm soooo keeping it! The shank is made from low-dome patterned wire, and the bezel was hand-made and accented with twisted wire again. This time I also made a little ball and soldered it to the top for a little added accent. I just think this piece of chalcedony is the prettiest one I have ever seen. It is from Peru, and is called "Chrysoverde" chalcedony.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Autumn Leaf with Brass

This was a little sawing experiment - a little oak leaf set on a forge piece of brass. I'd like a more matte finish on this one, but for now, it is done. I think I'mn going to make a bunch more of these little leaves in various shapes and make earrings and maybe even a charm bracelet - we'll see......

Bezel set onyx ring

I decided to try fabricating a ring with a bezel set stone. I have a bunch of square cabochons that I've had for 10 years, so I'll be using these up in practice pieces. This ring was made with a plain low-dome silver wire for the shank, the bezel setting was handmade with fine silver bezel wire and a sterling backplate cut out with a saw and soldered to the bezel. I then shaped a piece of twisted wire around the bezel for an accent. I really like the way this one turned out - quite a bit neater than my first one. I think it's a lot of fun to make the bezel settings and I can't wait to try a different shaped stone now. I got a parcel of lovely stones from Out of Our Mines in California, and I'll be using these in the next piece I do - Here's the little group....

Sunday, October 7, 2007

My first bezel pendant

Finally got a chance to try a bezel. I got so excited about setting the stone I forgot that I wouldn't be able to solder a bail on after the stone was set. Also, the bezel wire that I used was a little high for the stone, so I may take it apart and redo it at some point. I do kind of like the simplicity of the piece, though, and I think the crystal drop gives just the right accent to the lace agate stone.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Pieces I made at the retreat

I learned to solder, a skill which is definitely an ongoing learning process. Turns out the hardest part is not the soldering itself, but getting things stabilized and flush-fitting so that soldering will work like it should. I have much to learn, but I was thrilled with my pieces, nonetheless. I had also wanted to try making a loop-in-loop chain so that all parts of my jewelry are handmade. Turns out I really love this process, and I spent a luxurious day and a half making a full necklace and bracelet set with handmade chain. It is made with 20 gauge fine silver wire, which is wound into a coil, cut into rings which are fused closed. The rings are then shaped into ovals, pinched in the middle, then woven one-by-one into a chain. The chain is then "trued" to make sure that each and every link is shaped perfectly. I also made a couple of simple band rings (no pics, oops), a pair of copper dome earrings, and two mixed metal pendants, one of which I attached to my handmade chain. I didn't get a chance to do any bezel setting, but I'm ready to try it as soon as I get time.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Back from the Retreat!!

Wow! I learned soooo much. Here you see us hard at work on the back deck, and the lovely view of the water from the same deck. I loved getting to watch how other people do things, and having the time to practice and play with new tools and techniques. I have been afraid to try stuff like acid etching and patinas without seeing it first, and this gave me a chance to try (and smell!)these things. I was also able to see the Koil Kutter in action (I now have one so I can make jumprings for handmade chains) and was able to try a rolling mill and Foredom flexshaft as well. I can't afford a rolling mill yet, but I did buy a flexshaft which I can't wait to start using to drill holes and polish with. And, of course, the best part of the whole experience was that I made some wonderful new friends that I really look forward to seeing again at the next retreat.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

My retreat piece

We are all bringing a piece of jewelry with us that was designed on the theme of "mountain retreat". I just received some of my new tools, specifically a jeweler's saw, so I thought I'd try it out and make something. I cut c corner from some of my new sheet copper and made a little necklace I call "gecko mountain". Forged copper, pewter gecko charm, and fused silver swirl all hang from a necklace of matte blackstone beads with copper accents.

Jewelry Artists Retreat

I am sooooo excited! Last winter I signed up to go on a week-long Jewelry Artist's retreat, and at long last, the time is almost here!! I'll be leaving on the 23rd of September for a blissful week of nothing but making jewelry and learning new skills. I've been dying to learn bezel setting, soldering, etching, and numerous other silversmithing skills, so I just can't wait to go. This will be a gathering of artists hosted by Janice Fowler of Doxallo Designs and founder of the Jewelry Artists Network forum. She is a very talented metalsmith, and I am really looking forward to meeting and learning from her. Check out her great work here.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Hand-forged Swirl Ring

I ordered some heavy gauge fine silver wire for fusing links and such, and decided to make myself another swirl ring with a little more "substance" than the first one I made last fall.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Chunky Turquoise and Clay

I've had this big chunky Chinese turquoise donut for quite a while and just haven't been able to decide what to do with it. Then I noticed the veins in the turquoise were the same color as these cool clay beads I got at our local bead store, Jane's Fiber and Beads. So, I paired them up with some African turquoise (really a treated jasper, not turquoise at all) nuggets, and have a bold necklace that makes a real statement! I made a toggle clasp with a primitive stamped texture to mimic the texture on the clay beads to finish it off.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Little glass leaf

My "bead buddy" on the !WetCanvas forum sent me these purple glass leaves, and I made this little pendant from one of them. It hangs from a simple fused silver circle, and is accented with a tiny silver dragonfly and moonstones.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Another Lovely Sapphire bead with pearls

Back in March I got two gorgeous sapphire beads. The first one found it's way into a pearl bracelet, and now I've made a matching necklace with a sapphire teardrop bead hanging on a hand-forged fine silver swirl, and nice big, white rice pearls between curved sterling tube beads.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

And now for something a bit different - Black

Still fusing silver circles, but now we're going a bit more bold. Large circles hanging on smooth, shiny little nuggets of onyx. This one feels really good to wear, and looks great with a white shirt and black pants.

Monday, August 20, 2007

And a little more moonstone...

Still on the moonstone kick here, lol. And still fusing, too! I thought I'd see what happened if I fused a swirl, and I kind of liked it. Here's a necklace of sparkly moonstones, teeny dragonfly accents, and a fused silver swirl with a single grey moonstone teardrop. Then, I noticed how nicely these lovely white glass leaves I got last spring went with the moonstones, and I made some more fused circles, accented with a little bit of stamping and made a matching necklace and earring set. This set is one of my favorites in my personal collection - and it goes with everything!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Moonstones, Dragonflies and Fused Silver

Still playing with my moonstone, and I got out my fine silver and started fusing again. Feels good to be back playing with the torch! Here's a set of fused silver oval links - a braclet with matching earrings. Then I did a dainty little moonstone bracelet with tiny dragonflies and my fused silver toggle. The cool breezy white of the moonstones are just right for hot August days!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Labradorite and Moonstone, Oh my...

I love, love, labradorite, and rainbow moonstone is a close second. I snapped up these scrumptious puff coin beads the very minute I saw them, and then splurged further on some sparkly little rainbow moonstones. These two stones, as well as sunstone, are all in the feldspar family, and all have that lovely sheen known as "schiller". Very simple little bracelet and earring set meant to show off the stones in all their glory. Handforged earwires and Hilltribe silver toggle finish off the set.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

And now.... we resume our regularly scheduled blog!

Every year it happens at some point - I take a little vacation from making jewelry. My muse disappears, and I indulge in other things. This year I concentrated on my garden, and joined the Southern Appalachian Plant Society. A wonderful organization full of fun people that love gardening. I also started using (and selling) organic gardening products from The Happy Gardener . Great stuff! I did an organic gardening product booth at the SAPs statewide convention in June, had a lot of fun talking to people, and even sold a few things. Got my feet wet at doing a show, and even met a couple of jewelry folks - who'd have thought there'd be jewelry at a gardening show! I may have to actually try a doing a jewelry booth at a show one of these years - we'll see. Anyway, my jewelry muse finally returned at the end of July, so I am getting back to creating again. We'll see where we go from here.......

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Hammerin' and Stampin'...

Wow, where has the time gone? I can't believe it has been 10 days since I last posted! I have been busy playing with metal. Got some new stamps, and some lovely 18g copper discs. Here is a pair of earrings - 3/4 inch discs which I hand stamped with my new dragonfly stamp, then textured a bit with a hammer. Made some sterling silver wires to hang them on, and accented them with a little bali-style copper bead and a tiny sterling bead. I love these, and may just keep them for myself! I really like copper and silver together. Have also been making some chains from fused links - much fun. Have made a bracelet, and am working on a necklace to match. Stay tuned - hope to have these posted in the next couple of days.

Saturday, March 3, 2007


Sapphire is my birthstone, and I have always loved the classic deep blue gemstones. Until I started using semi-precious beads to make jewelry, I had no idea that you could get sapphires (or rubies, emeralds, or any "precious" gemstone) in any other form than the standard transparent faceted gemstones normally seen in jewelry. I have since discovered that often the "lesser quality" semi-precious versions of these gems are quite beautiful in their own right. A good example of this is the milky aquamarine that I posted about earlier. Another good example is this lovely sapphire bead - a deep rich navy blue with interesting "flaws". I think it is gorgeous with classic freshwater pearls. I dream of being able to afford an entire string of sapphire beads, but for now, this will have to do.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Silver Swirls.....

I've been dying to do some filigree, but don't have the tools required yet. I was playing with my fine silver wire last night, and these swirly earrings happened. I love them (so much that I'm keeping this pair!) and they are fun to make. I think these will become a regular item on my web site. Tonight I'm going to take the hammer to a pair for a little different look. Stay tuned....

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Antique Soochoo Jade - Yummy!!

This jade has got to be one of the most beautiful stones I have ever used in my jewelry. Each piece is a miniature abstract watercolor with muted tones of sagey greens, peach, olive, and gold. The pendant here reminds me of a sunset, and is my favorite of all the stones in my last purchase of this treasure. The necklace pairs the jade with the muted tones of rhyolite nuggets, and freshwater pearls. I really think this is my favorite necklace I have ever made!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Speaking of the spring garden....

A necklace composed of milky aquamarine, sterling silver and a huge Karen Hill Tribe silver butterfly. I really love the milky aquarmarine, and am hoping to get more of it when the wholesale gem show passes through this area again in May. This shade of bluish green is one of the "new" colors for Spring 2007 - 'ocean waves' ..... just lovely, I think. Now it's time to go page through the seed catalog for a new butterfly bush for the garden......

Over-the-top Spring charm bracelet

The !WetCanvas community is such a source of inspiration for me - I am definitely in the mood for spring now, thanks to the charm exchange I participated in. Participants in the exchange created two "artful" charms for each person in their group based on the theme chosen by each person. My theme was "the garden", and there were 10 people in my group, meaning that I received 20 garden-themed handmade charms. I, in return made 20 charms based on 10 different themes - now that kept the creative juices flowing! This project was started last November, and just finished up at the end of January with the delivery of all of our charms. I added a couple of my own charms, made a pearl bracelet to hang the charms on, and am now the proud owner of a masterpiece of creativity! This bracelet will be a happy reminder of my friends at !WC for years to come!

Another pair of hand-forged earrings....

This is a pair of earrings I did last fall when I first started forging fine silver. I'm in the mood to play with this again, and really love the look of copper and silver together, so I've decided to add a new section to my online store specializing in hand-forged pieces in these two metals. More soon!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Hammered Silver and Borosilicate glass bead set

Hand forged and hammered silver is accented with a trio of little boro glass beads for the earrings, and the necklace has a heart pendant dangling from a cluster of the little teardrop shaped beads. The pattern inside these beads reminds me of old-fashioned marbles. I'll be working on more items using these lovely bits of glass - stay tuned!

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Romantic Red

I rarely ever design with red, probably because there just aren't many really red semi-precious stones out there. I've had some lovely little faceted ruby beads for a while, and just recently saw these great cubic zirconia pendants - they sparkle like Swarovski crystal, but they are as hard as diamonds! I had some fun forging and hammering a little silver heart, and embellishing with more rubies and a lovely little fairy. Just right for Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Back to black - just a couple more...

I sold my green turquoise and pearl necklace in this same style, and thought I'd do one in black and white. I love the way the marquise-shaped stones look so elegant with a bit of wrapped wire. The bracelet uses some two-hole silver filigree beads I've had for ages - wish I'd have thought of this style sooner! Look for more to come in several different colors.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Another inspiration from !WetCanvas

Last year I started doing hand-forged frames embellished with charms and stones after being inspired by Eni Oken's style of jewelry. Now, this painting from the bi-weekly inspiration project over at WC inspired me to get back to this style. The painting is by Galina Shif (http://www.gshif.com). The pendant is wired onto a copper frame, and has just about everything but the kitchen sink! Amethyst, freshwater pearls, citrine, peridot, charoite, sodalite, blackstone, sunstone, pressed glass leaves and pewter charms. I had forgotten how much fun this style is to do - the wheels are already turning with ideas for more!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

And now for some blue....

I love sodalite, a stone that I think was just made for wearing with jeans - even more so than lapis, another lovely blue stone. This set includes some positively scrumptious teardrop shapes that are just perfectly cut and polished, and the earrings are hand-forged from .999 silver. These are really fun to wear!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

More black!

This necklace is made from onyx beads with an interesting dangle of unusual faceted banded agate. I've had this small parcel of huge faceted black and banded agates since last summer's gem show, and have just not been able to decide what to do with them to do them justice. I love this one, and think that a few more necklaces might be just the thing for these stones.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Classic black......

One can never go wrong with classic black. Onyx and pearls with a dangling initial (the initial was handmade by my friend Polly from !WetCanvas - she can write anything in wire!). More black in a rutilated quartz and Brazilian blackstone bracelet accented with a hand forged silver swirl. I love designing with black!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Back in the swing of things after the holidays

Finally getting back in the creative groove after a bit of a break during the holidays. My mind is starting to buzz again with new ideas and dreams of spring. Found a new stone (to me at least) called lemon jade, which is a lovely shade of yellow mixed with bits of cream. The bracelet is accented with a purple jade butterfly, and the necklace with a faceted pineapple quartz bead.