Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Two New Rings

Here are two rings I just finished. The top images show a front and back view of my "crop circle ring". The ring holds a beautiful peach and pink ocean jasper. It is bezel-set into a completely hand-fabricated mounting that allows the back of the stone to be seen.

The ring to the left is just a simple bezel set stone held by a single split shank.
I'm cranking out more new work right now and will hopefully be able to post my progress on Thursday, (my next studio day). I just committed to a show in mid August, so I'm going to be very busy getting my stock up! I'm excited for the new designs...and I'm crossing my fingers that I don't get too anxious and melt 'em all!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Etruscan Chain- A Kick in the Pants

My Etruscan chain... So beautiful, so time consuming. After two years of looking at this chain, I don't know what to do with it. Maybe a little post about this tedious, and intimidating project will help me to finish it.

This 7 .5" fine silver bracelet took about 3 dedicated months to weave between my full time job, and school. Each jump ring was shaped, and fused by hand. Hundreds of rings- a good number melted. Hundreds of links-many which snapped, and hours of weaving, loop, after loop, after work-hardened loop. It is a masterpiece, an ancient technique replicated by my own two prematurely arthritic hands.

Now, just what the heck do I do with it?!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

My Talented Little Sis.

Sweet little Laura is all grown up. She just finished high school and is on her way to college. This is the incredible dress that she made for her senior prom. She knitted the bodice, and then Mom helped with the lining and the skirt. What a unique work of art! I'm so proud of her. She is quite the talented and beautiful girl. (It must run in the family :P).

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Garnet Ring

I finished the garnet ring! This matches the earrings I posted on June 3rd. This ring, as well as the earrings were completely fabricated using up remnants from my silver scrap bin. For the ring, I used a segment of wide diameter sterling tubing, roll printed silver sheet, and sterling wire. The main part of the ring is hollow and capped with a tube-set garnet. It turned out beautifully. If only I could keep the set for myself...*Sigh*.

Sanding Saver

I'm not sure if this is common knowledge among metalsmiths, but I just ordered a boat load of silver and thought I would share this time saving tip.

Sanding the scratches and nicks out of your silver after it has been shoved around your bench top is a huge hassle, and a waste of precious time. To prevent this, I prep my metal right after I receive it to eliminate unnecessary sanding.

First, I glue cheep sketching paper to each side of my silver sheet while it is still pristine and scratch free. I use rubber cement because it stays on while you cut out your projects, and then removes easily without having to burn it off. Then, after applying the paper to the first side, cut off the excess with a razor blade. Make sure to get a very close cut, or the paper will peel when you're sawing out your projects.

Once the first side is done, then I do the same to the other side.

Now that the sheet is protected, in one corner of the metal I mark the gauge of the sheet, the price per inch, or per gram that I paid, and also the invoice date- in case I need to reference back to any other information. Then when I'm ready to use my silver, I draw my pattern right on the protective paper. Quick and easy, and no heavy sanding!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Superhero Cleavage ring

Sometimes- er, many times, while I'm working in the studio I do things without a plan. I'll sketch out one big project and have great drawings and diagrams for the construction process, and then work on a bunch of fun fiddly pieces on the side. I've always got about 3 or 4 pieces in the works- at least. These little experiments are just a way to explore my materials, and maybe challenge myself without the pressure of making the exact piece I intended to.

Well, this ring was one of those. My superhero cleavage ring was a sibling of the jiggly wart ring I had previously posted. I started out with the same body, and had two pink stones I wanted to use up. I started playing with the design and it ended up looking like the bust of a well-endowed superhero.

Poor girl, they're spaced a bit far apart, but her stones are lovely.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Jiggly Wart Ring.

So here is a silly little ring that I had a lot of fun making. It is all fabricated from sterling silver.

The main body was formed from a segment of tubing which I flared open on each end. I soldered some wart-like features to the center of the piece and filled it with balled up lengths of wire. Five of the wiggly-wire legs are oxidized black and one was left silver, just to mix things up.

The jiggly little legs are free to slide back and forth. It's fun on your finger, and reminds me of an Ugly Doll, a Jim Henson Muppet...and a Tim Burton-esque bow tie.

The shank is lemon- shaped. I like to make the shanks oblong because my rings are typically top-heavy. The ring is put on sideways to get over the knuckle. When it is turned right side up on the finger, it stays in place.

This is what happens when I experiment in the studio. Wierd. I love it though!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Coral Fossil Pendant, And Then Some

I finished the coral pendant I was working on. It turned out very well in my opinion. The majority of the pendant is argentium sterling silver with accents of 14 karat yellow gold. The center is a coral cabochon, and the two bottom pieces were found by Mike and I on our fossil explorations. I have the pendant displayed on a rubber cord, but I'm not sure if that is what I'll keep it on.

The second accomplishment I am excited to post is a pair of delicate garnet earrings that were composed of scrap silver I had laying around. At one point I had roll printed some copper mesh onto sterling silver. This silver now forms the backing of these lovely little earrings. Soldered to the backing of each earring is a circle of round wire shaping the earring. Boldly placed in the center of the patterned circle is a tube-set cabochon garnet. The ear wires were hand made from 22 gauge wire.

I'm still working on the projects I have previously posted. It is very typical for me to start out with 10 pieces and end up with half that turn out successfully.... Alas, I'll keep plugging along and post them when they are just right.