Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Jewelry as an excuse

When I'm not making jewelry (or raising a child or doing chores or hiding behind a book), I like to go antiquing. It's a bit of a sickness, actually. I feel antsy if I haven't done it in awhile. Pathetic, right? So I decided to come up with a good excuse to go out antiquing every now and then: using antiques in jewelry. I specifically like old signs, graphics and advertisements, so I'm often drawn to old packaging and tins. I have a decent stash of items now, including these guys:

Currently, I'm figuring out how to use them in my work. I obviously mean for most of these pieces to be fun and tongue-in-cheek -- anti-midge cream! -- but I think it's possible for jewelry that incorporates these tins to be lovely. Exhibit A:

I found two old orange juice cans that have wonderful color and graphics. I've already cut one apart and started marking it up with my Sharpie. I have a rectangle and oval or two in there, but as you can see I've mostly marked circles. Yes, that means the dapping block is coming out. I saw a pair of earrings that gave me my first idea on how to use the cut-up juice tins, dapped to a concave shape, in a "pretty" way. I'll post them when I finish.

Do any of you marry another love with metalsmithing? I'd like to hear about it. Especially since I'm already plotting how to involve yet another love of mine: letterpress printing.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

On the "Drawing Board"- What's on Yours??

This week I'm trying to make a couple of things, since I went to the gem show this weekend and bought some new goodies. I have a lot of stones. I don't need anymore for a while. But, it's nice to have new things.This will be a pair of post earrings featuring a matched set of amazonite stones and the last of some square fire opal. I love using things up and thus clearing out space for something new in my stone box. Square stones are killer when it comes to creating bezels- not my favorite. Probably that's why I've had them for a few years! But if I get all the bezels made today, then tomorrow I can solder, set and polish. We'll see....!

And here are the finished earrings:

What's on your "drawing board?"

Friday, May 20, 2011

May Meeting

Here we all are in our gorgeousness (l to r): Karen, Ellen, Sharon, Mimi, Jovita, and Bodil (and me, Dana, taking the pic!)

Today's meeting was great- sitting around the kitchen table at Bodil's house eating, drinking and chatting! AND looking at everyone's jewelry! We talked about creating a calendar for us Ladysmiths of our work- a portfolio of sorts, and it will be created for our own use or to give away. Fun!

See everyone next time!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Next Get-Together

See everyone at Bodil's house next Friday for a meeting to chat, look at recent work, and hang out. Hope you can make it! Email me for more info...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mokume Gane Ring

This is a ring I made today for my mom, to give to her on Sunday for Mother's Day. Her birthstone is sapphire, and this is a 7 mm stone I'd bought last year for this purpose. She likes jewelry that is small and delicate, whereas I prefer bolder jewelry. I hope mom will like it! This was as small and delicate as I like to go!

The construction was straightforward, but since I was using a piece of 20 ga. mokume gane ("woodgrain" in Korean) of silver and copper, I was sure to make a template of my piece in copper first to make sure of the pattern I wanted. Mokume gane is a bit pricey, but you use small amounts of it at a time so it's not so bad. After sawing out the shape, I soldered the ends of the ring together. This is where things got funky! When I began soldering the seam closed, the seam actually opened up the hotter it got. Then when it cooled back down, the seam came together again. WEIRD! I figured it was part of the properties of this mixed metal. I actually had to use 2 sets of tweezers to hold the seam together, with the torch free-standing and the solder snippet carefully balanced on top of the seam. That "seamed" to work and when I soldered on the setting for the stone, nothing unusual happened.

I used liver of sulfur (LOS) to give the piece a patina. The problem with LOS is that it also darkens the silver. There is a solution called Baldwin's Patina (sold by Rio) that I need to buy! It only reacts with the copper and darkens that part. Once my mom tries it on, I will see if I need to re-size it, and if so then I will bang the back on a mandrel to stretch out the metal. I will also re-patina it with Baldwin's. That will really bring out the pattern and it will not look so funky as it does now.