The Right Stuff…

•August 22, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Just as every good cook likes a well-equipped kitchen, every metalsmith will find it advantageous to have good tools.  Over the years I have accumulated  beautiful hammers and stakes, files and other jewelry-making tools, but when I saw these new tools by Jay Whaley, I knew these would be important additions to my collection and that they would be extremely helpful in jewelry-making tasks.  If you cut bezel, hammer rivets, saw wire and tubes, cut ring shanks, etc., you might find these tools of interest.  Jay has videos that demonstrate how to use the ring gauge, sliding hammer, hand vise, and bezel shears (shown here) as well as other tools.  I bought these tools at and I know they will save me a lot of time, effort, and frustration.  Of course, I’ll have to clean my workbench first…it’s next to impossible to find anything in this clutter!

Remember the Polymer Clay Components Shown in My Last Post?

•August 13, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Several of you have inquired as to whether I will have these polymer clay beads and components for sale.  The answer is Yes…I’ve just assembled several assortments of beads and rings and listed them in my Etsy shop along with a polymer clay faux river stone pendant, a faux ivory oval bead component, a mixed-media necklace, and a pair of earrings.  Each assortment contains twelve faux ivory beads, three faux ebony beads, and two faux rattan rings.  Accented with a faux river stone pendant, the above necklace is composed of faux ivory and ebony beads and sterling silver and steel links.  The necklace measures 24″ in length but links can be removed to shorten it as shown in the photo below.  Faux rattan rings dangle from sterling silver links in the earrings shown in the above photo.  The faux rattan rings are actually coiled like split rings so they can be interlocked and used to join chains as well. Colorful Polymer clay split rings in different sizes are next on the agenda.  Am I having fun?  Yes, indeed!

And Now…

•August 7, 2019 • Leave a Comment

It’s what’s on your work table Wednesday!   I’ve been working with polymer clay this past week and these faux ivory, bone, ebony, and rattan components have just come out of the oven.  Next on the agenda will be polishing some of these beads.  I generally prefer a matte surface on polymer clay, but I want the faux bone and ivory  to have the look of old, much worn and treasured beads from a by-gone era. These will go into my stash of components to be used in mixed media jewelry.

My Task For The Day…

•August 2, 2019 • Leave a Comment

I’d rather be in the studio creating today, but upon receiving an Etsy order for the “Carnival” Geometric Beaded Bracelet kit, I found that I had totally run out of stock.  Composed of thirty different colors (twenty-seven Delica colors, two 11/0 seed bead colors, and one 6/0 color), the kit takes an especially long time to assemble.  As I don’t want to tie up stock that I may need for filling orders of other designs, I usually make up only four kits at a time.  Still printing out the patterns, assembling the jars of beads for measuring and weighing the beads and then labeling and packaging them into one-hundred-twenty packets will certainly take up most of the day.  It all comes with the territory.  This artist can’t just create and play all the time!  I really have to be a jack of all trades; shopkeeper (even if I don’t own a brick and mortar store), bookkeeper, editor, secretary, inventory taker, website guru, PR rep, cleaning and maintenance service, packaging person and office manager, etc.,…good grief, it’s a wonder I get any art jewelry made!


•July 24, 2019 • Leave a Comment

It’s just too beautiful outdoors to be in the studio right now.  Thus far we’ve had a miserable summer with humid, sweltering hot weather day after day for weeks on end. However, yesterday and today have been absolutely gorgeous with temperatures in the mid 70’s, cool breezes, and no gnats!  Our summers are too short here in the Midwest so I’m taking advantage of this brief, but much deserved cool spell and spending it out on the screened porch.  Birds are singing their sweet tunes, bees are buzzing, and Mama Doe just sauntered by accompanied by her baby Bambi as they nibbled on the vast salad bowl in our prairie…so adorable!  It is the perfect day to sit back with an iced coffee and a good book, but as usual, my fingers are itching to be busy. Of course, doing metal work
is not an option outside of the studio…at 250 pounds, my workbench is far from portable as is all the equipment I use for metalsmithing!  Instead I’ve decided to take a tray of Delica beads outdoors as I want to experiment with stitching an Exploding Geometric PodCast Bead.  I’ve been watching a Kate McKinnon instructional video but haven’t yet gotten to the exploding portion of the bead, which I’m sure it will be very interesting!  If tomorrow is as lovely as today is, I will most likely bring out some baked polymer clay and hone my carving skills…something I’ve been wanting to do for a while.  Peekaboo will be snoozing under the bed, but Jackson and Cooper promise to keep me company!

A Great Find!

•July 19, 2019 • Leave a Comment

I’ve fired up the torch, polished my tools, and am back at my jeweler’s workbench and while looking through drawers and in storage boxes I’ve made a great discovery!  I have so many bits and pieces of wire, cutout shapes from silver and bronze sheet, bezels, stones and other components that I’ve made and accumulated over my years of working with metal!  This is rather exciting because I’ll be able to utilize many of these in new works!  Ideas for bracelets, pendants, rings, earrings and more are dancing in my head!  The downside is that there are so many components here that my mind is jumping from one idea to the next in rapid succession.  I envision a pinball machine in my head…rat-tat-tat-tat-boing-boing-boing back and forth!  My focus hones in on an idea for a particular piece and then, like a kid in a candy store distracted by all the goodies, I jump to the next idea.  Presently, I have six metals projects in various stages of process.  On the bright side, it’s probably better to have too many ideas than none at all.  There are times when my muse has temporarily taken flight to parts unknown leaving me high and dry in the creative arena and I’ll take having too many ideas over that scenario any day!

Of Course…

•July 12, 2019 • Leave a Comment

You’ve heard the saying “Use it or loose it” and the result of devoting the last few years solely to beading is that my metals skills have suffered.  Presently I’m in a period of discovery and relearning.  I haven’t fired up my torch in so long that it almost seems like a foreign object!  The ring (shown above) and necklace (shown below) were the last pieces I made in metal and that was two years ago.  As I want to add handmade sterling components to the polymer pieces I plan to make, I’m now back at my work bench going through my stock of sheet metal and wire and reacquainting myself with my hammers, bench sheer, hydraulic press, and other jewelry-making tools.  I have become “rusty” (pun intended) in my metals skills and realize it will take longer than anticipated to create the finished pieces I have in mind.  I view this period of adjustment with a positive attitude and am indeed looking forward to regaining and honing these skills once more and to the serendipity of what I may discover in creating new metal works!





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