Sunday, August 14, 2016

SMASHED BUTTON EARRINGS

I got out my button box and found a combination of matching buttons to make a pair of earrings ... to replace a pair that just sold in my Etsy shop. What fun! Copper disks. Sterling silver wire wrapping and handmade ear wires. They measure 2-1/4" long.

Here are photos of the front and back. Or the back and front. They are reversible!



But it always takes such a long time to find the matching buttons as there are SO MANY sizes and colors to weed through. I need to get them separated into groups. Another project to add to my TO-DO LIST!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

TWO NEW CONCHO RINGS!

In one of my last posts, I mentioned loving the concho that was on the back of my Boheme ring from Leslie Kail Villarreal's class ... and why didn't I make rings using that concho on the front side? Well, I finally made two rings, and I love them! They both are so comfortable to wear ... 15mm wide, size 8 (in case you are interested!). Maybe I'll part with one and put it in my Etsy shop soon.

And best of all, I textured them with my new Pepetools rolling mill. I didn't really need a new rolling mill, but you have to give yourself a present once in a while for being a good girl, right? Actually, I have given myself too many presents lately and it has to stop! But considering I had a bad start to the year ... tripping over Charlie, spending a month in rehab, shoulder surgery, still in physical therapy ....

The reason for this present is: I have an economy mill that has really been a workhorse for many years. Recently I tried to roll a texture that had a straight edge, not an overall design. The texture curved. It got so frustrating that I decided to start looking at my options for a new mill. Both Melissa Muir and Nancy L.T. Hamilton reviewed the NEW Pepetools rolling mills, and they had very good things to say about them. I decided on the 130mm Ultra Series Combo and found the best price at A&A Jewelry Supply in downtown Los Angeles. When I first started making jewelry, it was my place to go. But this time because I'm older and wiser, instead of driving the 30 minutes and paying for parking, I had them ship it. It arrived at 10:00 a.m. the next day!

Have you ever wanted to try something new ... but kept putting it off? I've had patterns and designs that are laser cut for the rolling mill from Rolling Mill Resources on Etsy and have never tried them. Yesterday was the day. Cooler weather, cooler in the garage. Yay! I was really excited as I tried a couple of the earring designs on sterling silver and got wonderful impressions. I'll show you my new earrings soon!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Sunday, July 10, 2016

1ST BOHEME RING IS FINISHED!

Finishing my spinner ring yesterday inspired me to work into the night and set the stone in the Boheme ring. This ring was a challenge. Leslie said you could make one in a day or two .... and so many of her students have. How about a week or two? To start with, I think my bezel was too small for the stone. Why didn't I just cut out a new bezel strip and start over? No, I guess I would rather just fiddle and fiddle with it, lose sleep, swear a lot ....

Anyway, I have set the stone. This ring is finished. On to my next project.

The front.

The back.

I love the back! How about a new ring with that concho?!!! WINNER!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

MY FIRST SPINNER RING

Leslie Kail Villarreal has a new BOHEME Ring class. Unfortunately I have not been able to complete one yet ... I'm having trouble with pushing the bezel over the top of the stone. Ouch! It's my hands ... and remember my right shoulder and recent rotator cuff surgery. Yesterday I received the Foredom H.15 Hammer Handpiece and a set of tips, which hopefully will do the job. But will have to practice first. I'm guessing it's like a mini jack hammer!

In the meantime ... I made a spinner ring which also uses the anticlastic shape of the Boheme Ring. I started by rolling out a pattern on sterling silver using the rolling mill. Then formed and soldered three rings to loosely fit the ring.

Then after annealing again, used a doming punch and hammer to carefully shape both edges of the ring. That's pretty scary, because if your seam is not properly soldered it will split.

Everything worked out well and I made my first spinner ring! It's so comfortable and so cute.

My friend was over and used copper to make her ring. She also used three sterling silver spinners. This is as far as she got, as the seam split after three taps with the hammer. Things happen ... but we had so much fun! Another attempt today or tomorrow to fix the seam.


Monday, June 27, 2016

POWDER PRINTING CLASS

I just finished a 2-1/2 day Powder Printing class with the awesome Stacy Lynn Smith at the new Bullseye Resource Center in South Pasadena. So much information, such a great teacher. It was intense. We learned how to turn a colored photograph into a black and white image using Photoshop (a 14-page handout!!!). We learned how to apply emulsion to a screen, print our photos onto positive film, expose the films to the prepared screen, and how to use powders with the screen. Doesn't that sound exciting? I'd like to jump right into the process, but first I need an exposure unit! The instructor promised to email notes on making one, as well as a link for buying one.

The first day we did four pieces with the same patterns and powders. They were fired at different temperatures so we could understand how heatwork affects the texture and colors. Those pieces look basically the same, but since you cannot FEEL the textures, I won't post the photos.

Then we printed an image onto glass (two feathers). That was fired to a full fuse. The next day we printed an image over the piece (mission), and this time it was fired at a lower temperature so the top image still had texture.

The next project .... The glass was covered with powder through a clean screen. Then we used our image and added powder to the top. In my case I used two different blues to make a gradient. I love this effect!

Then we made a wafer. First we had to make a template out of black paper, which was printed on the positive film just like any photo. This would be the bottom layer of the wafer. It was exposed to the screen we made earlier, along with the image I wanted for my wafer. We made this project directly onto a primed kiln shelf. My bottom layer of powder was applied to a thickness of around 1/4". Then the top layer. Off it went into the kiln and low fired. The last day of class, Stacy showed us how to glue the wafer (it was sooo delicate) onto a piece of steel that was provided for each of us. It makes a beautiful presentation!

An image I have on my screen is an old photo I scanned of myself (on the left), my sister and father with our accordions. I completely forgot about it and did the project with the four feathers and the gradient technique instead. Since it has been exposed to my screen, I can make tons of pieces with it. This will be so much fun!

One of the last things Stacy showed us was how to clean your screen using emulsion remover. In my case, I wanted to keep my images so I could reuse them. If I ever get an exposure unit, then I could clean my screens and keep reusing them since the images are safely on positive film.

Monday, June 13, 2016

BOHO CUFF FINISHED!!!

I DID IT! This is the cuff I started in December and yesterday finished!! It's beautiful. I had come home from OSH on New Year's Day after buying a trailer ball hitch to form the cuff ... opened the gate, out charged the dogs, and that's when I tripped over dear Charlie. But all is well ... physical therapy is twice a week, and there is continuous improvement. I have a second cuff to work on, plus a couple of pendants. And just signed up for the new RINGS BOHEME class with Leslie Kail Villarreal.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

IMPRESSING METAL WITH THE HYDRAULIC PRESS

I have been accumulating an assortment of metal dies that you can use with either a hammer or the hydraulic press. Some are for impressing a pattern on thick wire to then form into a bracelet. Some are shot plates that use a formed metal ball stuck into the impression, then hammered. These become embellishments soldered to your jewelry projects. I recently ordered a lovely brass Indian die from Ebay and wondered how I could use it with the hydraulic press.

Richard Sweetman in his DVD "Crushed Metal Cuff and Hydraulic Press", showed how to use pieces of bicycle inner tubing to press into the form. I had an inner tube I had picked up last year from the local bike shop and wanted to give that a try. I cut five round pieces, the same size as the metal die. Scotch tape held together my little package of die, annealed metal and five pieces of inner tubing. The result was a wonderful impression! I was so excited! I have to tell you I woke up at 3:00 in the morning remembering this part of the DVD, and was dressed in no time and preparing the stack to try with the hydraulic press. Here's the die with impressions in both copper and sterling silver.

Those inner tube pieces were destroyed!

Yesterday I visited the local bike shop again and came home with a lifetime supply! I'll be sure to post more photos of my impressions soon. Can't wait! For those of you without a hydraulic press, the video also showed the same method of impressing metal using a vise.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

PENDANT #1 .... ALMOST FINISHED!!

Physical therapy has really helped my arm get stronger, and I've been able to get back to doing some jewelry projects. I signed up for Leslie Kail Villarreal's Boho Pendant class, not knowing if I could complete one of the projects. I CAN DO IT! I CAN DO IT!

Here's a photo of my pendant so far. It actually looks better "in person". I still need to clean up the imperfections. Let me tell you, this one was a really hard project for me. Making the bezels to fit the tiny tiny stones was challenging. Will they fall out? Time will tell .....


My next pendant will be simpler. I have four oval turquoise pieces with the high domed center piece. It should be easier. The one after that has the ovals and teardrop shapes ....

Two more weeks before the cuff class starts. Remember that I was working on my cuff ... went to OSH on January 1st to buy the trailer ball hitch for shaping the cuff when Charlie and I met each other in the driveway. I tripped over him and I fell. Not his fault, as he was so happy to see me! Have you ever met Charlie? He is so sweet, a rescue dog I've had for about three years. He's a Tibetan terrier. Check out his front teeth and smile! HA.

Monday, May 9, 2016

SURGERY UPDATE

It's been a long time since my last post. I had rotator cuff surgery on March 2, wore a sling for six weeks, then started physical therapy. Improvement finally showed during the last couple weeks where I could start working on a few easy jewelry projects.

Leslie Kail Villarreal offered a new on-line pendant class which I am now working on. Very frustrating, but so much fun at the same time! Here is a photo of HER pendant below. We are learning how to make oval and teardrop-shaped bezels, as well as tube settings, and then setting the stones in them. These are TINY TINY stones ... 6x8mm ovals, 6x9mm teardrop shapes and 5mm rounds. Luckily there is a product called "sticky wax" that picks up these stones easier than using your clumsy fingers!

I have my pendant shape etched and filed ... actually I have four of them. I've soldered on a center accent piece, and have spent the last four days working on the four bezel shapes. Holy Moley! They look right, but are they? I'm going to give them a try and solder them to the pendant this afternoon. It's only SILVER ($$$), right! I'll keep you posted.