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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Book report of a sort.

I often buy books to learn more techniques. This book was suggested by someone and it turned out to be well written and had an interesting group of projects within its pages. My way of testing a books value is to follow one of the projects and see how easy or hard that project goes together. I saw a pearl ball described and what follows is how I created my own take on that design.
The basic materials are ball pins and two sizes of beads. I also used a looping pliers to create each element. To complete this I made 24 elements and a large jump ring.
Place the beads on the ball pin with the larger on second.
Pass The ball pin through the hole in the looping pliers and begin to squeeze the handle.
Complete the squeeze and the excess wire is clipped off leaving a tight loop
I left some room on the wire for the beads to move which makes following steps easier.
Make up as many elements as you wish . I used 24. You could use other methods to make a loop and wrap to hold the beads.
Fine flexible beading wire makes a strong base for the construction. I used about 6 inches.
To create a bail a length of half round copper wire was soldered together. The beading wire is passed through.
Next all the segments were added on both sides of the ring.
Pass both ends of the beading wire  through a round crimp of your choice. One wire through each direction.
Then pull the ends of both wires to close up the structure. Next when you have the structure somewhat tight crimp with the appropriate tool and trim the ends of the fine wire close to the crimp. I applied a tiny drop of superglue on each end of the crimp.
This is the result. This project was designed by Kate Mckinnon.  I added my own style by choosing Spectra beads from B'sueboutiques and Rollo chain with a copper hook closure. Try the project or buy the book you will be happy with both.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Lyrical Line In Copper

This is not so much a tutorial but an example of a ring made in what I call the Lyrical Line Form. A single piece of 10 gauge copper square wire from WireSculpture.com is used to create this piece.
Let your eye follow the sensuous  curve of the metal around the form.
No place has a sharp or square turn.
It is some what like the track of a roller coaster. This piece is not finished but the curves are in the final forms. To make a piece like this first anneal the wire and begin with 2 loops around the mandrel. Then let your mind show you where to move the metal.
The best way to proceed is to anneal after each big bend.
I chose to end by soldering the ends together . You can see that much work remains to straighten out the wires in the shank and to smooth small nicks and blemishes in the wire. Textures or coloring may occur. Two tools besides the torch were used. Parallel pliers and nylon jawed pliers. I will use rotary tools to finish the ring.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A little ressurection

These unrelated pieces called to me.
The slightly over sized head seems just the thing to bring this to life.  I used Apoxie Sculpt to attach the body and head. Next a mold was prepared and the form cast. Wings from a bird were added and the result is a gentle little fellow.
Bright colors seemed right for this little red head.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Time travel with me to the late 1960's and lets make a classic repurposed spoon ring.

This is a demitasse coffee spoon in sterling silver. I purchased a set of these to repurpose into jewelry. The first step is to use a jewelers saw to remove the bowl of the spoon.
By cutting carefully around the embellishment on the handle I am left with a nice pattern like an arrow head. The next step is to anneal the handle to soften the metal. When spoons or other flatware is created in a press it makes the metal brittle. In order to bend it successfully annealing is best.
Placing the middle of the handle on the desired size on the ring mandrel we can begin to bend it around the mandrel by hand.
Here you can see that the top of the spoon has a reverse curve. This will need more annealing with a torch to soften it up for the next step.
Nylon jawed bracelet pliers are my favorite to apply gentle pressure to curve embossed metals.
Place the curved spoon straight on in the jaws and give it a good squeeze.
This will bring it around to begin to conform to the ring shape.
At this point the ends nearly meet and we can decide to make this a fixed size or leave it as an adjustable ring. You could solder the tail to the head to close the ring. Next the spoon ring is placed in the pickle pot in a hot acid bath where all the fire scale will be removed and a layer of pure white silver rises to the surface. I like the matte look of the silver at this point.
Here you can see the matte look and the markings in the shank  showing it to be sterling.
I chose to lightly rub the silver to bring up some highlights using a sunshine cloth.
The bottom of the shank shows a light pattern with just the high points polished.
And here is the finished ring. Or maybe not.  I may tumble polish it for a while, or buff out the flowers a bit more. And polish down the bowl end a bit. It always is good to let a project for a few hours and take a fresh look to see if improvements can be made.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Thinking about design. Ideation 101

I love to browse through the listings on Ebay , Etsy, Ruby Lane , and other sites to discover the fuel for my imagination. I often borrow photos to work with in both photoshop and my sketch book. It helps me create new things from old. This heart is some one's hard work from the past. I wonder what they were thinking about when this was designed. To copy it exactly is easy but that does not add new ideation or substance to the world of art jewelry.
This heart informs us that texture juxtaposed to gloss is powerful. It is interesting. The forms contrast with undulation and roundness.
This little piece is just bad design to me and yet it created a thought stream in my mind about the flow of line that says heart.
This exuberant piece from the past says sun or star. To me it said etching, and with a little thinking and photoshop work it became the graphic below.
This will get transferred to PnP blue and set on copper or bronze for etching. Possibly bronze for the outer and copper for the tree making a two layer/ two color piece.
This is a page from a sketch book that is the result of thinking about the hearts above. From cast metal to wire work with the stroke of a pen.
This is what I call ideation the stream of consciousness thinking that leads from one place or object to another. Now I will try to realize the potential and create a piece of jewelry from the sketch.
Check back for a peek at how I make the heart . And put your thinking cap on.