Tuesday, September 23, 2014

TWISTED WIRE BANGLES

One of my friends and I get together often and work on new projects. Yesterday's project is sure to inspire many of you ... Twisted Wire Bangles. Here is a YouTube video by Soham Harrison showing the procedure very clearly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1w-uFLzR5c&app=desktop

I tried this a few days ago with 12 gauge wire, but yesterday we tried a thicker 8 gauge. And later in the day we drove to Lowe's and got another thickness from their electrical section.

Here are two 8 inch pieces cut from the 6 gauge wire we bought yesterday. First, the pieces were annealed, then marked ... one where I'll twist only in the middle, and the other where I'll twist three times.

The wire is in the rolling mill with the middle mark centered between the rollers. You simply rock the handle back and forth, tighten, rock back and forth, tighten, and so on. You can check your progress by pulling out the wire.

The wire was rolled until the marked part was half the thicken, shown in this photo. Of course, if you do not have a rolling mill, anneal the wire and get out your hammers!

Then the wire was annealed only in the rolled part. One end was secured in the vise, the other end held with locking pliers. All you have to do then is twist in one direction until you like the result. In case of wire you rolled in three places, if the end being held in the vise is not twisting the same as the end closest to you, reverse the ends in the vise and pliers and twist it more. Be careful .... as you can over-twist!!

A blurry photo, but you can see the twist.

Here is the wire with one twist and the other with three. They started out as 8 inch pieces. See how they have grown? Interesting!


Here are all my experiments so far. From the right, the first two wires are the 6 gauge, then the 8 gauge, and the thinnest 12 gauge. The thinnest wire isn't thick enough for bangles, but wouldn't it be perfect for hoop earrings? I'll work on these and show my finished projects in a future post. So are you inspired to try this?!! I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Screen Printing on Glass -- Success and Failure!

I haven't posted in a while because it's been so busy around here. But with our present heat wave in Southern California, there's time to take it easy while staying indoors and trying to keep cool. My latest adventure has been screen printing on glass. A dear friend has been successfully screen printing for the past years, and it's taken me a long time to gather up courage to try. I wonder why we are like that?!

The first thing I had to do was make a stencil. With my Cameo Silhouette, I was finally able to cut a few stencils using the product "Mask-Ease". It's easily obtainable from Blick's or Amazon. I had my enamels from Fusion Headquarters and Kaiser, and the screen printing frames from Blick's. If you are interested in my exact brands and product information, let me know and I'll be happy to share. But for this post, I want to show you my results, successes and failures (sob).

The printing on glass itself has been a great success. No problem. It's the kiln firings that have caused the problems. I first did some smaller 5" square plates with a three feather design.


These came out well. But in the slump firing, one of the plates failed for unknown reasons. The bottom of the plate was not smooth, like it had had some trauma. I photographed it with another plate from a previous firing last year. They were both fired in a mold with a hole drilled in the center. There must have been air that had been trying to escape ... what else could it be?
Then I graduated to larger pieces of glass. And a different stencil with two feathers.

In the next photo, a real disaster happened in the firing. See the plate on the right side and how it is deformed? The one on the left is perfect! It was suggested that my kiln shelf was not level. I checked and it was a little off. But I can't believe it caused this problem since that shelf has been the same for a long time. Anyway, I did shim the shelf so now it is level. Looking at this photo now, it appears that the mold on the right is leaning to the right? It could be the camera angle or .....

Then I fired two more larger plates which I had printed at the same time as the last two.

In the slump firing, one of the plates fired perfectly, the other had an enormous bubble in the center!!!!! .... What next.

I thought about drilling a third center hole in this mold, because this problem was caused by air being trapped under the glass that couldn't escape. I goggled my question on a glass site, and sure enough, someone else had had the same problem, drilled another hole in the mold, and saved her plate. I did the same and got a good result! The sides are not perfectly straight, but it is a nice plate.

I could cold work the deformed plate and this one to straighten the edges, but the first one is "mine" to keep, a one-of-a-kind piece, and the second one I feel definitely went through enough trauma! I've got more stencils made and am looking forward to a cooler garage to continue experimenting.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Delicious "CHILI VERDE" !!

I love Mexican food, and I love trying new recipes. I found a WINNER the other day when I made Chili Verde from an old issue of Martha Stewart's Everyday Food, which I don't think is in print any more. It turns out like a stew with broth, but the meat itself could be used in tacos or burritos. You can drink the broth, it’s SO delicious!

CHILI VERDE
3 pounds pork shoulder, excess fat trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 cup green tomatillo salsa (I used Herdez Mexican Cooking Sauce — Tomatillo Verde)
1 can (approx. 14 oz.) chicken broth
Salt and pepper, if needed
Fresh cilantro and lime wedges, for serving

In a large Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot add pork, onion, salsa and broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer until pork pulls apart easily 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Skim fat off top. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Top with cilantro and limes to serve.
Serves 4 to 6.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

New Enameled Beads

There's something so rewarding about torch firing copper beads. It's immediate. You have a finished bead in minutes. You can refire to correct a flaw. They are so funky and fun to make! Here are photos of four sets of enameled beads in my Etsy shop.

Robin's Egg Blue

Pumpkin Orange

Lichen Green

French Blue

Monday, July 21, 2014

Bird's Nest Pendants

I finished a sterling silver bird's nest pendant today. The wire is wrapped and interwoven around three white freshwater pearls. So much fun to make.



Here's one out of copper wire:

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fold-Formed Copper Leaf Earrings

"Foldforming" by Charles Lewton-Brain. This book is full of exciting forms and ideas by the man who discovered the concept. The earrings I listed in my Etsy shop are very simple ones done by foldforming. They were cut from copper sheet, folded, shaped and textured. They were then annealed to soften the metal so the fold could be opened. The beautiful patina is a result of the annealing process. The earrings were completed with my own lampwork beads and handmade sterling silver ear wires.



Saturday, July 5, 2014

Raku-Fired Clay Whistles

Making a clay whistle work is magical! I should say it has to be made perfectly or else it won't whistle. When you blow into it the first time and it works .... Wow! Right now I'm waiting for our heat spell is pass so I can fire more whistles outside. Here are two that I listed today:


Friday, June 27, 2014

More Broken Bottle Glass Plates

Let me tell you my right shoulder has been taking a beating with the smashing of heavy gauge wire and glass bottles! I need to stop for a few days. I'm sure my close neighbors will also appreciate it! Someone gave me a few large cobalt blue vodka bottles. These are bigger than regular wine bottles, so I wondered if I could get two plates out of one bottle. I did. The first plate got the larger of the broken pieces and the second one got handfuls of tiny pieces. Next time I'll know to divide the sizes evenly for two plates. But they both fused and slumped well and look great.



And here's another plate made from the beautiful green mineral water bottle!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

BANGLES!

I recently ordered a bangle bracelet die from http://www.wubbersushop.com and it came with two options, a small wave pattern and a large wave pattern. I didn't know what to expect, but had seen their video and hoped I could make their wonderful bangles. Guess what .... I did!

I had a roll of 12 gauge copper wire and cut three 7-1/2" pieces. I smashed one flat on both sides and used a texture hammer to finish it. The texturing added 1/2" to the wire.


Here's my favorite texture hammer:


After flattening and texturing all three pieces, the wires were annealed and formed so that the ends met perfectly for soldering. I used my copper solder for the first time and it worked well. The pieces were then shaped into rounds using a bracelet mandrel and a rawhide hammer.

Then came the exciting part ... using the bangle dies. The dies came with a special weighted hammer. Each shaped wire was centered inside one of the dies, the top was added. Then the hammer blows formed the bangles.

Here are the dies ... first the small wave pattern, then the large wave pattern.



And finally, the three bangles which came out perfectly!

The three look so good worn together. I want to try brass wire next ... and eventually sterling silver!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Recycled Metal Button Earrings!

Inspired by the wonderful work of Christine Marie Davis, I had to try smashing a few metal buttons! http://christinemariedavis.blogspot.com It was so much fun. I made a few earrings using textured brass discs, buttons and sterling silver wire. They are held together with a center eyelet. Here is one pair.