Monday, October 27, 2008

New Earring Monday - 10/27/08

Today's earrings were actually a boo-boo I did at the retreat. I picked up tiny 4mm bezels instead of the 6mm, and didn't notice until after I had soldered them to the domes. I set little onyx stones instead of the 6mm denim lapis I had planned, but I thought the stones looked way too small, so I kind of set them aside for a while. However, the more I looked at them the more I liked them, and now I'm keeping this pair for me! I've decided they look a bit zen-like in their simplicity, and I really like the way they look on the ear. Soooo, they became this week's new design. I'll be making them with different colored stones - nice little red garnets, iolite, jade, moonstones, and whatever else strikes my fancy, or comes my way as a request. I'm making a pink rhodochrosite pair for my Mom - she likes them too!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Morning Coffee and Etsy - 10/26/08

I might be single, but I don't live alone, ha ha! I have a whole herd of critters - 3 parrots, a kitty, and a sweet dog. I couldn't live without any of them, each one is a special personality. Of course I think they're all beautiful, but today I'm featuring my dog and official office assistant Roxy(pictured here, performing her most important, um, "duty") along with a great Etsy shop, Annie's Sweatshop. You'll find everything for the well-dressed and ecologically-minded dog in her shop. I especially love this great blue bandana collar.

Roxy looks really great in black, though, so I'm also thinking about this chic black polka dot matching collar and leash.

Annie's products are not made of the usual nylon, which is a petroleum product. She uses renewable cotton webbing, and also gives a $5 rebate if you send in your old collars and leashes.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

If I had a hammer....

I want forging hammers!! I'm so tempted to just go and buy Fretz hammers so I can get started right away, but they are sooo expensive, gotta watch my spending more carefully now that I'm a full-time "starving artist"! So, I'm going to Lowes and look for cross-peen hammers that I can adapt myself, thanks to Lisa's instructions. I'll be checking out bench grinders to use for shaping the hammers. I can get a whole bench grinder for less than the price of one Fretz hammer!! (I'm definitely putting Fretz hammers on my Christmas wish list, though). Here's a closeup of Lisa's hammer that I'm hoping to re-recreate....

Mid-week Bench Check and More About the Retreat

Whew - Thursday already?! Wednesday just skipped right on by - so I'm a little late on the bench check this week. It took me a while to recover from my week at the retreat - I miss all the great conversations and laughter (and the chocolate, ha ha), but I brought the inspiration home with me. I can't say enough about how wonderful it is to spend a week creating with so many other talented artists. I learned tons, even though I didn't get as many new pieces made as I did last year. I was part of the "garage girls" - we all set up our worktables in the garage, and there was also a huge workbench with a bench shear, rolling mill, big vise and stakes for forming, and a flexshaft. Along with the music and the laughter, it was the perfect environment! That's my table in the foreground with Lisa's forging hammer - I made my dragonfly leaf with that hammer. Angela and Christy are at the other busily working away.

I bought a rolling drawer caddy while I was at the retreat, which is the start of getting my workbench better organized here at home. I'll be getting a couple more of these to get the rest of the clutter off my tables, and then I'll be starting on a hanging system for hammers, pliers, etc. Here's my bench all put back together at home. I can't wait to turn this pitiful space into something a bit better than the basement dungeon it is now - starting with white paint on the walls, that will go a long way in getting rid of that dungeon look!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Back from the Retreat!

What an amazing week it was! Non-stop talking, learning, creating and eating - lots of eating!!! I learned fold-forming and anti-clastic raising, and am busy buying hammers and figuring out how to get a wooden stake made so I can get busy making more pieces. My Etsy shop hummed along all week, too, so I am busy today getting my bench back together and getting orders out. Here is a quick peek at my fold-formed leaf piece from the retreat. Copper leaf, with a brass dragonfly, and tiny little bezel set peridot. Already sold!! I'll be back soon with more pictures and details about the retreat.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday Morning Coffee and Etsy - 10/12/08

Just a quickie this morning, since I'm in the middle of packing for the retreat! There are tons of great things to eat on Etsy. Not the least of which are these fabulous caramels in unique flavors from Earcmra's shop. The last two that I tried were Pumpkin and Chocolate - totally, totally, scrumptious!!! They are my two new favorites. And a close third is the licorice - yep, that's right, licorice flavored caramel - try it you'll like it!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

This week's work 10/11/08

It was a good week! I've finished up the wholesale and gallery orders and am starting on new ones after the retreat. I finished up my retreat gift exchange piece (shhh, it's a secret), and made a new pair of fall earrings that I've fallen in love with. I had some little copper discs left over from another project sitting on the bench, and I made these little acorn earrings while I was waiting for some pieces in the pickle. The texture on the background is made with one of my new chasing tools. Hoping to get to try some chasing and maybe some repousse at the retreat.

Can you tell I am excited about the retreat? I've had to delay leaving from Sunday to Monday morning due to a problem with my house/sitter and parrot watcher's schedule, but that may be a blessing in disguise since I'll now have time to pack carefully rather than throw everyhing in the car and run! Ha, ha, I'll probably forget twice as much if I have too much time to think about it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mid-week Bench Check - 10/08/2008

Just getting this one in by the skin of my teeth - still 20 minutes left of Wednesday! Today was a good day, I finished 5 1/2 pendants, 3 pairs of earrings, 2 sets of stacking rings, and prepared ring shanks for 2 of tomorrow's pieces. I am officially in full panic mode trying to get everything finished before it is time to leave for the retreat!

I must say I'm actually having fun trying to streamline my process and become more efficient. The better I get at this the more time I'll have to create new pieces. i wanted to get at least two new one of a kind bezel set pieces done before Saturday, so that means I need to get a LOT done tommorrow. Here are a few shots of today's work in my new favorite stacking ring set - a gorgeous center-line Tiger Eye is the centerpiece. I put it in the Etsy shop today.

Monday, October 6, 2008

New Earring Monday - 10/06/08

One of my goals now that I am a full-time jewelry artist is to make sure that I am productive yet still fresh. I'm always thinking about new designs and sketching them, but they don't always become reality when I am busy filling orders. Everyone loves earrings, including myself, so look here every Monday for the week's new design. Today we have Casual Swirl earrings in handforged fine silver. They are just about 1 1/4 inches, and are great little everyday earrings, yet still a bit different. I put them up in the Etsy shop yesterday.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday Morning Coffee and Etsy - 10/05/08

Good morning all! Hope everyone had a great week. I had a busy one, that's for sure. Still working on getting extra things made before I leave for the retreat next week. So busy I didn't get my Saturday "This week's work" posting up. I'll be doing that later today.

So, on to the Etsy lovlies for this week.....With the weather turning cooler, my thoughts have been turning to comfy, cozy and warm mode. I've come across a couple of wonderful shops on Etsy that do beautiful jewelry with merino wool. The first is a new shop, AmyAmbros, with beautifully made felted and crocheted shawls, scarves, bags and bangles. I've got my eye on these gorgeous technicolor bangles....

Another shop I love is EasternSky, with tons of beautiful bracelets and necklaces made from merino wool and vegan cotton beautiful mixed colors. I bought top bangle of turquoise in this photo, and can't wait for it to get here.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Countdown to the Jewelry Retreat!

Wow, only 9 days left before I leave for my annual Jewelry Retreat with a wonderful and inspirational group of jewelry artists from all over. This is one of the highlights of my year, and I can't wait to see old friends, make new ones, and, most importantly, learn new techniques! I'll be trying Kumihimo for the first time, and perhaps silver clay, as well as new stone setting and metal forging techniques. Ha, and hopefully I'll remember my camera cable this year so I can post pictures while I'm there!

Needless to say, this week I've been working hard on getting extra pieces made for my gallery and wholesale accounts, and staying caught up on customer orders. Hope no-one noticed the absence of the mid-week bench check, oops! Nothing new is actually finished yet, but working on a new pendant and earring set design that I will be posting later today.

I also have gotten in some gorgeous new cabs that I'm determined to have set, along the pink opals I mentioned earlier before I leave next weekend - here's a sneak preview of one of them: