Thursday, September 26, 2013

Etching Workshop

This is our 3rd or 4th etching workshop- always an adventure etching metal in acid!!

Thanks to Sharon, Bodil, Odaybea, Caroline, Ellen K., and Ej for coming out today (and me, Dana!)

We used 2 methods to attach PNP to the metal- irons and a laminator. We had mixed results with each. We joked there is no one method that works flawlessly. And that we should come up with a product that consistently attaches PNP and we'll get rich!!

Odaybea carved  a dragonfly body into a ring shape out of wax. She then etched it's wings and will attach them once the body is cast. Very very cool! 

Aren't Sharon's robots cool? She had success with both ironing and laminating- and failures with both.

Ellen's hamsas etched very well in nitric acid.

Bodil had no problems today and made a bunch of great pieces!

Ej's lion is almost completely etched in ferric chloride- took 40 minutes with Ellen's agitator!

Here's some of Dana's projects ready to etch... 5 minutes in nitric acid and they'll be ready to complete.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Etsy Shop Photo Shoot

Today the Etsy shop-building team met to have a photo-shoot. We set up light boxes with a variety of background papers and did some experimenting.

Thanks to Brenda for hosting, and to Karen, Caroline, Ellen Y., Karina and Sharon (and me, Dana!) for coming!!

First, some recent work. Here's a series of pics taken on Brenda's ottoman of the participants recent work that they wanted to photograph:

Karina's brass castings just came back and are amazing!!

This is Ellen's beautiful piece.

Recent gorgeous work by Sharon!

Karen's fun skull earrings!

Okay, now onto the PHOTOSHOOT!!

These lovely earrings by Ellen were taken with her iphone!!!!

Caroline's necklace, also taken with her iphone, came out great! IMHO, the best photos came out on a mid-tone background. The pics taken with background papers white or black, suffered a bit from contrast issues and camera confusion!

Caroline's gorgeous earrings.

Caroline's necklace and earring set. A great composition and a nice shot WITH HER IPHONE.

In fact, many of the pics were taken with iphones, which surprisingly did very well! Look at Karen's comparison:

Karen did the above comparison...  "It doesn't have the depth of field, but the iphone photo is pretty darn nice!"

The iphone also has a lens available, called the Olloclip (at Apple stores or at the Apple online store) that helped get closer to objects and still have them be in focus- it has a macro/wide angle lens, as well as a fisheye lens.

Here are some links:

Light box use was really important. Hard to count on natural light being available or convenient. Also, don't use incandescent lights- too yellow! Use these specialty bulbs made to mimic natural light:

Good pictures came not so much because of a good camera, but more because of the nice diffused light from the light box (even a handmade one by Karina!) either purchased or made. Mine was a structure of PVC piping (see earlier post) with a white sheet hung over it, then lights shone at it from either side. Here's directions:

Karen used a clear Sterilite bin and draped a white lacy cloth over it to diffuse the lights on either side.

Background paper was also important. Most of us liked the grey to black gradated paper that you can get from this link:

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Strathmore visit- Creative Crafts Council Show

Today we visited the Strathmore Mansion in Rockville, Maryland to see the Creative Crafts Council Show. Our own Sherry Terao has a piece in the show and won 1st prize for Metals!!! Congratulations, Sherry!!!!!

Here we are congregating, waiting for everyone to arrive... 

A cool pic by Karen of the interior of the mansion....

Another cool pic by Karen- a marble frieze.

Inside the mansion- there were jewelry, quilts, glass, stained glass, fiber, art, and more... (Jowita, Brenda, Bodil & Karen)

Another view in the mansion...

Upstairs taking a breather- Bodil, Mimi, Sherry and Jowita. Pic by Karen.

Pic of the interior by Karen.

A badly taken pic (on my part!) of Sherry's winning piece!

Our group for lunch: Bodil, Dana, Odaybea, Jowita, Brenda, Mimi, Karen and Caroline. Sherry and Ej couldn't stay for lunch...

Look here for more information:

Friday, May 10, 2013

Wax Meeting

Today's meeting was at Odaybea's house and we talked about all things wax!

Odaybea showed us her Matt Wax Gun (from Rio Grande and Metaliferous about $150). It looks like a glue gun and gets plugged in; will heat to 3 different temperature settings. It comes with 2 different-sized tips.

Also are available are these wax pellets- 3 different hardnesses are available. And yes, you load it like a glue gun...

Here she used the gun to wrap around a mandrel. It's ready to send off to the caster!

It can also be used in a tray of water- so the piece remains round ALL THE WAY AROUND. One can 'draw' with it, even making monogrammed names, for example, for custom name necklaces, etc... Of course, you can also 'draw' with it on your kitchen counter.. but the back will not stay round!

Here is Odaybea's famous 'Hand Ring'. Yes, it's famous. Sorry I forgot to shoot the silver version with it holding a pearl in the palm and seed beads creating a bracelet around the wrist...

Here are some pieces Karina is working on- very very cool! She's thinking she may want to hollow out the shapes lest they be too heavy and cost-prohibitive.

This is a kistka, or an electric wax pen. Pysanky is the art of polish egg decorating and this is the tool that's been used for generations- electrified. The old version would be held over a candle in order to melt the wax. I've been using it to create wax granulation. It has a smaller, finer tip than the Matt Wax Pen. I use the medium #2 tip.  It's about $32. Here's a link:

You also need to buy wax to fill it with. I bought wax 'wire' strips and cut them 1/4" at a time and feed the tip that way.

I made this ring above by using a rod of pre-formed wax and attaching the ends with hot wax, then used the kistka to attach granules. Fun!!

You can also use it to create a nice surface texture without having large granules- these are more like bumps. You could also 'draw' with it to get a low-relief detail.

And here we all are- it was a lovely day so we sat outside- Nina, Lucia, Bodil, Karina, Caroline....

...Odaybea, Mimi, Brenda (who looks BEAUTIFUL by the way!), Sharon, Karen, and me (Dana) not pictured.

See you all next time!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Winners of the Ladysmiths Raffle

A big THANK YOU to all the lovely customers who attended our show at the Ratner Museum last weekend. Here are the lucky winners who won a piece of jewelry in the raffle:

Debbie Oakley
Cheryl Alfred
Sally Dorsey
Jan Solomon
Vicky Guindi
Mary Prettyman
Mary Ellis
Emily Glazer
Kathy Sommerkamp
Trish Brooks
Dawn Sinsel

A big thanks from all of us to all of you! See you next year!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

More Beautiful Items to be Raffled at The Ratner Museum

In case you missed this, we're saying Thank You with an amazing Raffle at our our Ladysmith Show at The Ratner Museum, April 27-28.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Raffle Items for The Ladysmiths Art Jewelry Show at the Ratner Museum

Hello Lovelies,

The weekend of our show is just around the corner. We are gathering some of our favorite items for you in a raffle we will be holding at the Ratner Museum.

(The details of the raffle will be defined for you soon...and there will be more items added the closer we get to the show)

The purpose is to give a huge ~Thank You~ sweet customers for supporting our second show!

Here are a few of the items to be raffled-
(please click on photo to view in separate window)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fleur-de-lis Earrings by Dana Evans

Today I finished a pair of new earrings and I thought I'd give you all a sneak peak....

They include a pair of Australian opals I got in Tucson last month- I knew just how I wanted to use them!

The sketch on the left is of a pair of earrings I've been wanting to make for a while- this sketch is probably over a year old. Just didn't have the stones yet to make them. Here they are- I'm assembling the parts. The wire at the top is 16 ga. square Argentium silver that will have some balls fused to it. I already made the bezels for the stones, and took a while creating the paper template for the bottom fleur-de-lis shape. I fuss a lot on templates because I want to get it right. This was my 3rd or 4th one, and I still fussed to get it just right.

Here I fused the balls onto the square wire and traced/cut out the silver fleur de lis shapes at the bottom. I'm trying the stones out, but of course I remove them when I solder things together...

After this step, I needed to solder the bezels to a back plate.....

Which I did here.... I also cut out most of the backs of the stones (because they're transparent) but left a seat. Additionally I left little tabs on the tops and bottoms of each bezel so the fused wire and fleur-de-lis pieces could be soldered onto them and join all pieces together. Before I did this, however, I soldered an earwire to the back of each fused wire segment to be folded later on...

Here they are above ready for keum-boo. I cut a pattern of what shape I wanted, used that to transfer to the gold foil, and cut them out. I put them on my electric burner and burnished the foil so it 'stuck' to the silver. (see my earlier post on keum boo for more info!)

And here are the oxidized finished pair. I discovered that it was challenging to hammer/punch close these bezels because they had some of the elements soldered to them, which stiffened them quite a bit. In the future I will use thinner-walled bezels if I have elements soldered to them.

I'm not putting these in my Etsy store just yet- I'm keeping these for the Ratner show next month!!

You can see more at my website:

Monday, March 18, 2013

A series I'm working on: leaf earrings- inspired by a cluster of leaves my daughter found in the parking lot at the new Denver Ikea. She held up the leaves and said, "Mommy! You should make earrings like this!" She's a great idea girl! She's since made me a list of 24 other inspiring things I can use to make earrings.  7 year-olds have some of the best ideas! (Be on the lookout for Candy Corn earrings soon!!)

Odaybea's most recent work: 925 silver ring with South Sea Pearl

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Ratner Museum Show

The Ladysmiths will be showing and selling their work at The Ratner Museum this April 27-28. Please see the postcard below. Click it for a larger image, it will open in a new window. Last year was such a huge success we are expecting this year to be even better. There are 12 of us this year.  We are lucky gals to have this opportunity! If you live in the DC Metro Area please come by! If you are planning a visit to DC this would be a fantastic show for you! It's never too late to start holiday shopping. (and you won't find these items mass produced because they are all hand made)

Carolyn's latest work in progress
(these will be rings and pendants when finished)

We recently met to discuss marketing. Most of the focus was on Etsy, everyone had some great tips to offer, Evie brought an array of very forward-looking jewelry business cards from a recent show. Karen showed us some creative marketing books, Bodil shared what it's like to sell from B&Ms (brick and mortar stores). Sharon was very up on all the Etsy changes for sellers and buyers. Let's just say we all couldn't stop talking!
 (Carolyn hosted this time around)

Also, some of the ladies have been taking a wax carving class at The Art League in Alexandria, VA. I'm sure there will be some great results to post here.