Lots Going On Here!

•October 18, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Workbench 10-18-19

Lest you surmise that I’ve spent the last few weeks lounging around, eating bon-bons and drinking champagne, this should set the record straight…my
workbench has been a hub of creativity!  I’ve been making components galore that will eventually be used in neckpieces, bracelets and earrings and I’ve been working on several ring designs, some of which will be set with cabochons and others will sport resin faux crystals. Many pieces are in process at the same time as my butterfly eye flits around my workbench surface that is overflowing with geodes, semi-precious stones, vintage pressed glass cabs and tools.  No matter how pristine my work area is at the start of a workday, it inevitably ends up with every inch blanketed with tools and components!  Presently I’m using a lot of square silver wire in my work.  As I have coils of round wire in stock, I’m using a square draw plate (shown center bottom of the large photo) to pull the wire into a square shape and smaller gauge. Works in progressAs much as I love wearing jewelry, I find the process and many challenges that comprise the creation of jewelry to be most exciting!  It’s what makes me want to dash into the studio each and every day!  What’s a weekend?  It’s more time to spend in the studio!  I’m eager to show you finished pieces!  Stay tuned. All in good time!


•October 12, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Fretz Hammers for Steelwork

That’s a slang term for inebriated, but in this case I’m referring to feeling intoxicated by just looking at these architectural and stunningly beautiful Fretz hammers specifically designed for use on steel sheet and wire.  Collaboratively designed by Brenda Schweder and William Fretz, not only do they serve as hammers, but they also have built-in stakes at the ends of the handles for use in texturing, forming, tempering and fold-forming! I love jewelry-making tools and have a large assortment of Fretz hammers with gorgeous rosewood handles that are intended for use with non-ferrous metals (silver, gold, copper and other soft metals).  Steel is an incredibly hard metal and would easily damage and ding tools made specifically for softer metals.  As I have recently been doing a lot of metal work making bangles and neck rings of steel, these hammers will get a lot of use!  These beauties are available in Brenda Schweder’s Etsy shop.

Hunkering Down…

•October 3, 2019 • 3 Comments

If you’ve been looking for me or wondering what I’m making of late, here’s your answer.  I’ve been in my metals studio immersed in creating jewelry components…silver bezels that will hold cabochons of gemstones, resin and polymer clay, real and faux druzies and crystals.  Having been hit hard by the recent loss of Peekaboo, I find the best way to work through grief is to get down to the business of making components for future projects.  At present, my thought process is a bit scattered and I’m experiencing “butterfly mind” with my brain leaping from one idea to another, which explains the displayed chaos of materials on my workbench.  Some days I accomplish little other than soldering bezels or forging and forming wire but all will come together eventually in collections of pendants, earrings, bracelets, and rings.  Thankfully, I do not have the pressure of commitments to fulfill.  Instead I have the freedom to work on whatever I wish and that is a blessing indeed!

Joy and Sorrow…

•September 19, 2019 • 4 Comments

This past week has been one that is both bittersweet and emotional.  I rode high on a cloud of excitement and inspiration upon returning home from a three-day jewelry-making workshop.  I was fired up with energy and new ideas…ready to jump into creating new mixed-media works!  But on Wednesday, just two days before my birthday, our sweet seventeen year-old kitty, Peekaboo, took a turn for the worse and had to be put down. Her health had been declining over the past few months so it was no surprise. Still parting with a beloved pet is absolutely devastating and the accompanying sorrow clouds one’s thoughts and zaps energy like nothing else. It will understandably take some time to recover emotionally and to feel creative again. So I will leave you with this new photo of the piece I made in Susan Lenart Kazmer’s class at Shakerag Alley in Mineral Point, WI.  I had finished the pendant in class, but upon returning home I took time to make a neckring. The nailhead embellishment is an interesting alternative to decorative balled wire ends and integrates well with the nailhead theme used in the caged wire bezel surrounding the 40mm x 30mm red jasper cabochon. One of the highlights of the class was experimenting with torch-fired enamels and lusters on copper. I felt that an enameled accent focal to coordinate with  the cabochon would be a great addition to the pendant. I fabricated from copper sheet a cone-shape that folds in on itself.  Then I just had to decide what color(s) of enamel to use!  Unlike hard, medium and soft enamels, liquid enamels can be mixed to form new colors and they can be painted on rather than sifted. After several firings using a mixture of opaque orange and red over areas of white and black, I was able to achieve colors that work very well with the jasper cab!  Forged wrapped wire and rings were used for attachment and the entire piece was dipped into a bath in liver of sulfur until all silver surfaces darkened to a rich black.  The finishing touch was a brisk polish of the sterling silver with a steel brush.  Measuring 8″ (20cm) in length, I’ve titled this pendant “Relique”.


•September 12, 2019 • Leave a Comment

I’m off to take a three-day workshop with Susan Lenart Kazmer!  I know I will learn so much!  Friday will be spent doing a full day of enameling.  Years ago I worked with sifted hard enamels and created cloisonné pieces fired in a kiln, but she’ll be teaching techniques in torch firing on copper using liquid enamels and sgraffito.  I love the idea of watching a piece magically transform from a dull painted surface to a colorful object during the torch-firing process!  The following two days will be spent exploring and building cage-like bezel forms using an open form technique created from forged wire to encase the enamel components we’ve created or optional stone druzy or other objects if we wish.   Looking at Susan’s photo (above) you’ll get an idea of what we’ll be doing…really fun stuff!  I love the paddle-like sterling silver prongs on the above pieces!  I’ll be coming back to my studio filled with new ideas and inspiration!  It always happens after I’ve taken a class from Susan!


•September 7, 2019 • Leave a Comment

What have I been working on this past week?  You guessed it…a slew of bangles.  I’ve been filling orders for them and have also managed to a create enough to fill my wrist for 2”.  Considering that each bangle measures 2mm in width, that’s quite a few!  Of course, I’ve added polymer clay coils to several so those end up being about 5-6mm in width.  I love the versatility they afford!  With jump rings I can attach charms or other components, wrap copper, bronze, brass, or silver wire coils on them,  add a geometric beadwoven tube or warped square, dangle a wire-wrapped crystal or gem, etc.  They are a perfect vehicle for creativity, but of course, they look equally great by themselves!  You can find them here.

I Never Thought I’d Be Saying This, But…

•August 30, 2019 • Leave a Comment

I LOVE steel wire!  The blue-black flashing that results with torching contrasts with silver and bronze so beautifully and hammered textures look wonderful.  And the cost of steel wire is far less than precious metals so one can afford to make mistakes without breaking the bank!  Shown above are my recent efforts.  The three-part neckpiece was designed to relieve tension that is placed on the wire each time the neckpiece is put on and taken off.  I think it adds an element of interest as well.  The three steel sections are joined by ball rivets of Argentium Sterling Silver.  I’ve made a textured sterling silver carnelian pendant as the focal piece, but I can interchange numerous other pendants to wear on it making it a very versatile piece indeed! FYI…I’m offering the steel neckpiece (without component and pendant) in my Etsy shop and it is available in 16″ and 18″ lengths in two join styles (Argentium Silver ball rivet join and Argentium Sterling Silver jump rings).  Shown at left, the neckpiece looks great with a Geometric beadwoven oval component that I’ve made from my “Geometric Oval Component Drop Earrings” tutorial using Delica beads in a slightly different color combination (The beading kit for this oval component is also available).  I’ve created an elongated steel hoop from which to hang this pendant, although a large jump ring would work as well.  As for the bangles, each  of the five sports various components and/or charms that I’ve made using fine and sterling silver, bronze metal clay, bronze wire, and polymer clay and found objects.  I intend to make many more bangles…I love to wear them stacked on my wrist!

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