Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Sterling and kyanite coin earrings

I seem to get really involved with what I am doing.. a lot. LOL I must be like an artist or something!

This is another case of trying to make a set of process pics, but not managing because I forgot to pause and take them.

I made these with 24g sterling base wires, and 32g fine silver weaving wire.

So here I show part of what I was doing when I was trying to make a set of earrings. I don't do woven earrings much, because I find duplicating what I do, very difficult. I even try doing the same movements on each earring as I go, but even then they still end up not matching to my standards.

 I think that because of this, I have developed the notion that if I have a really hard time duplicating what I do, then I would assume others do as well. This is why I put everything out there and don't worry about design copyrights as much as the next artist. If you can duplicate what I do, more power to you! It's not about the money, it's about the art. :)

I'm not much for measuring, and that's one of the things I think you need to do, to get the matchy-matchy right.
As you can see, I duplicated, weaving as far as I could, and then trimmed all of the wires to be exactly the same length. This part isn't very hard to match.

You can see with these next two pictures that I really didn't get them as matching as I could have. I took a shot of them both laying the same way, and one turned over, to show what the "front" and "back" look like.

Unlike a lot of people, I and not a firm believer in the fact that earrings have to be mirror images of each other, but because that is popular, I tried to make them at least look a little bit mirrored when they swing. Oh and swing they do! that 6mm bicone was the perfect addition, and sparkles like crazy when the earrings are on.

These are almost shoulder dusters.

On a photography note.. I take all of my pictures with my cell phone. If you were looking at the colours of the photos, you would have noticed that my skin tone (yes it's always my hand) looks different in almost every pic, depending on how the light is shining on it. This is why I mangled an old cardboard box to make myself a little light box. At least in that somewhat crappy little thing, the lighting is consistent, and so is the background.. much easier to fix things in post processing when your colours are consistent. :)

Thanks for reading!


Monday, 28 April 2014

I love labradorite!

This post is all about a pendant I made with one of my favorite stones :)

Yay for a fab lab cab! (because I am excitable, and this pendant was such an interesting one to make)

 Once again I got too involved to make sure I took all of the process pics that I should have, and I am sorry about that LOL.. and this is why I haven't finished writing a tutorial yet.

This is the first labradorite I have ever had, that had the lines in the schiller like this.. the cutting and shaping of this cab was excellent. I am pretty sure I got this one off of facebook (here). I spend a lot of time looking at rocks, but I only buy the ones that speak to me.

So I started off doing a 6 wire 1/2 ladder weave (which means six base wires, with one revolution on the climb up, and two times around when you bring the wire back down) with 20g sterling silver wire wrapped with 30g sterling silver wire.
 Once I had woven the panel the height of the cab, I gave it the appropriate curve and balled up the ends of some of the base wires. Then I pulled the wire furthest from the cab over, both on the top and the bottom.. but on the top I hammered, annealed and then shaped and attached the wire.. and on the bottom I did the same, but added a swirl, attaching that together with another of the wires from the bottom that I had coiled around.

At this point I could have left the cab in while I constructed the pendant, but normally I prefer to leave the cab out until I can't anymore, as it makes some of the tight spaces you have to work with.. even tighter.

 I pulled one of the four remaining top wires down and over, but I didn't attach it until after I had worked on the bottom some. On the bottom I took three wires and wove them together, shaping them to look nice with the swirl and the bottom of the cab, then I wove the three together up until you see the curl on the side and then two together from there on. The curl is where one of the wires ended, so that is where the weave ended LOL

On the top I now had a couple more wires to work with, as the two I had just woven up the side to hold the cab tight in place (which at that point was put into the frame permanently) were fairly long. I kept weaving up until a little ways from the end of the wire. I attached the wire I had pulled over and formed earlier in the process, echoing the hammered wire's shape. Then I decided the bail was going to be done with 2 wires, so I coiled the last top wire and shaped it in a couple of swirls (see later pictures). I did a figure 8 weave up the bail wires for a bit and the grabbed the 2 wires that had been woven up from the back/side and curled them around the base of the bail. At that point I went back to the bottom and pulled the last wire over that was left.. wrapping it around the back and up again at the spot of the curl on the side, curling it around as well to decorate.

I pulled the bail wires down and wove around the curve I bent them into, using the weaving wire to secure the curled balls end down.

 At this point in the process I realised that the side was calling for a little more embellishment, so I grabbed two more wires, balled them up, and wove them into and interesting shape for the side and front. I attached them by curling the balled ends around the hammered wire, as well as using the weaving wire to anchor and add a bead. I continued up the side a little to give it the shape it has in this picture, with a coil and a swirl to anchor at the top.

In this series I took quickie pics from all angles to kind of make up for forgetting to take involved process pics.

This one first really shows the height of the cab, as well as being a good view of the swirl and anchoring/weaving/shaping done at the bottom.


The second picture is also good for showing the height of the cab, and you can see well what sort of bends went on to form things to the final shape.

These two of the back show what I was talking about early on about swirls :)

They also are good to see where I tucked ends and secured with weaving wire. If they weren't balled ends, they would be pinched flush and much harder to see LOL

This last picture is the one I did in my light box. I'm not liking the beige background so much, so if this isn't sold by the time I find the right new thing to use for a background, I will be retaking these shots.
Thanks for looking!


Monday, 21 April 2014

A twisted entry

And by twisted, I mean I feel the need to talk about one of the times when I use twisted brass.

Chrysocolla cuprite in sterling silver and twisted brass to be exact.

I had a bunch of half hard square sterling silver, which I paired with half hard twisted brass, and dead soft half round sterling. I lovelove any Chrysocolla that is mainly blue, although it's typically more turquoise or green than it is blue, and when I saw this cab for sale I had to grab it! It's by my rock artist friend, Juvy, from JC cabochons on facebook.

I found both of these half hard wires to be a real pain to work with.. literally.. my fingers were very sore by the end of it.
 I bound the middle of all 4 wires until I got to the point I figured I should be able to bend up the outside corners, and being careful not to kink or twist the wires, I shaped the bound area to the bottom of the cab, and bent over two wires in the back. I bent the "corner" wires up and over the edges, just enough to hold in the cab. I did a similar bend on the back and did a final shaping of the wires to follow the shape of the cab, then bound all of the wires together again on the sides to keep the bends in place. 

The hardest part of this, I think was when I was trying to keep all of the wires together and in the right shape at the top, so I could bind them. They did NOT want to stay. Half hard has a lot of spring to it.
 Once I got everything together, I bent my bail over and used the half round to secure the wires, and bent up the ends to a little curl on either side, pressing it against the half round to make sure everything stays in place.

Then I curled up one of the silver wires into a small spiral, and used the twisted brass wires to decorate further. I did my best to follow/accent the colour line on the stone, and I secured the swoops on the back.
After everything was secured and tweaked to my satisfaction, I bent open the bail wires.. because I like that look.

And that is the creation of this pendant.

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, 20 April 2014

Another first.. kaliediscope jasper

Another process post. I hope people like this peek into my mind :)

I didn't get much pictures taken between this stage and the next. I got involved in making, and forgot to pause for pictures LOL

This is 7 base wires, the first 4 of which are 18g sterling silver, and the top 3 are 22g fine silver. The wrapping wire is 30g sterling silver, and the weave is what I call the ladder weave. If you are a fan, you've probably seen the weave a lot, seeing as it's my favorite panel weave :)
 I positioned the smaller wires on the outside, and formed the panel to the curve of the kaleidoscope jasper. Then I wove three of the wire in a basket style weave, and bent the front two over the top of the stone. I then took the remaining wires on the bottom and gave them a nice swirl, making sure that it was the right shape to hold the stone in securely.

See that one wire coming up from the bottom? I felt the need to hit it. So I did, and I flattened it out and brought it up to the top and secured it.
 I then twisted up the protruding 22g fine silver wires and brought them across the bottom swirl and then around the back, balling up the end of the longer one. Then I started a nice curl shape at the top of the panel and brought the two sides into the position I figured they should be in. I tucked one of the wires across the top and behind the panel, and I coiled and bent the other one so it hooked under the edge of the hammered wire on the side.
 At this point I was trying to position the stone so I could mimic the flow of the colour through the stone, with the flow of the piece. It was pretty much secure and not going anywhere at this point.. so I decided it needed some embellishment on the side to help with the flow. First I balled up both of the wires, then I did a 1-over 1-around figure 8 weave part of the way up. See the really long wire up at about the height of the phone? I had no idea what I was doing with it, but I hate trimming so it stayed.
 It went around and over and through with the woven portion and I brought the balled ends up and curled them around the already anchored wires across the top. Then I decorated the bottom a little more with the twisted small gauge, enhancing the s shape, and brought it up the back and stuck it through the top so I could add an amethyst bead.

I started with the bail, weaving and curving as I went.

 I tend to use my beadsmith graduated mandrel for making bails, and I did that here. I brought the center wire back through to the front, and anchored it and decorated it with a swirl. The two side wires were balled up and then secured and anchored around other wires and themselves. I still had some weaving wire left, so I started adding crystal and sterling silver beads.
I eventually added a sterling silver bead to the side, both to anchor the swirl to the frame better, and to shape the visual of the piece.

The lady who has put a deposit on this and I talked, and I gave this a short bath in gun blue, and then polished it by hand. Not the greatest picture, but I will update this post later when I get the pretty pictures done.

Yes, the tone of this picture isn't the greatest LOL

Thanks for reading..


Sunday, 13 April 2014

Ornate "onyx" steampunk pendant

 Here, for your viewing pleasure, is the creation of my ornate "onyx" steampunk pendant.

Why do I have onyx in quotations there? It's because I thought it was onyx when it was given to me, but now I am not sure.

I managed to get vary involved in this one, and I haven't been able to find any earlier pictures. This is done all in raw and NuGold brass base wires (18g, 20g, and 24g), and hardware store brass (28g) for weaving. I used various antique watch gears and swarovski crystals, as well as brass beads. First built was the curve along the bottom, then the fan up the side, with a swarovski crystal in the curl... then, the embellishment/framing on the bottom and up the other side.
 You can see from this back shot where I brought over a couple of wires to be able to add gears and beads to the back too, securing the sides and bottoms of the frame to hold the cab in.
 I wove an embellishment across the top, and added an opal bead.
 I had to stop here and figure out how I was going to do the bail, so I wove and secured and then decided what was going where.
 Here is the bail, with more crystals.
 The weave kinda shaped itself around the gear, and I secured and curled, and then decided it needed something else and added a watch plate.. complete with rubies!.. and another gear on the front. There was still more wire left, and I hate to trim, so I decorated the the side with some more curls and a couple of more beads.

I went around a lot with the weaving wire while I was adding beads, and secured things down, making sure that nothing could catch and pull.

Another bit of securing got a couple more beads added to the back and I was all done :)
Thanks for reading :)


Sunday, 6 April 2014

The making of the dragon's egg.

This is the journey of my latest steampunk pendant.

I don't always ball up the ends of my wire, but I do like to do it with brass.. mainly because brass is really tough to work with, and heating up the wire anneals it enough that it's pliable. That and I like flame.

I got these bronze gear things a while ago, and I had been wanting to make something with them since then. 

 This dragon vein banded agate stone came from a friend of mine and it's been sitting around for months, while my brain/muse decided what was happening with it.

I decided to anchor it to the stone as I was working. This isn't always the best way to do it, as there is way more for the wire to kink on as you are weaving, "sewing", and coiling.
 I followed the wire across to the back and added another of those bronze gear things.
 This was the perfect piece to use this gigantic antique watch gear on!

I balled up another piece and wove it into place
  I kept on down with one wire, adding another one of those large antique watch gears, and curled it up along the bottom.

Then I wove some copper wire for a short way along, shaping it to the big gear, and then using silver to attach a small gear and a bronze bead.

I folded the wire around the side of the stone and then anchored it to the other side and brought it back around, coiling as I went.
 I added a little more copper to anchor the tail I brought over before.

Coiling away.. I did some loopdy loop things and added beads, attaching the wire whenever it met another one.
I followed the wire back around the front and continued coiling, adding on another two small watch gears, and then doing a weave thing to anchor the end of the wire to a silver wire I added on. Up until this point, all of the base wires were brass, and only the metal of the wrapping wire had changed.
 I brought the silver wire down around the bottom.
 Then I brought it up and off to the side, adding crystals and such where I thought it needed it.

No bail yet.
 So I wove a bail independently and added it on. I threaded the middle wire of the weave through the hole in the stone and bent the half woven bail over, then I wove the rest of the way down and secured it with the other side's middle wire, and the side wires.
 The other side with bail.

After aging and polishing.

I am not completely sure about the chain I paired with it.. it's a factory made surgical steel necklace. It will stay that way though unless someone buys it and wants it changed :)

Thanks for reading


Thursday, 3 April 2014

gold wire is perfect for some things!

The other day I decided to take the (expensive) leap and buy some gold wire. I bought a few feet of square, and a few feet of half round.

I tend to want to use my new wire as soon as I get it, and this is actually the 3rd piece I did with the new wire, but the first that was mainly gold. 

I added silver wire for bindings on my frame so that whomever wears it can have many options for what to put it on.

In this picture I have already lined up all of the wires and bound them together.. then shaped them to the stone and bent a couple of wires out for the cab to sit on.
At this point I had pulled up wires on the bottom and bound the stem of the bail, bending all but the two bail wires outwards.
 Here is a slightly closer shot of the same thing.
I bent over the bail and bound it, curling up the ends so it wouldn't shift. Then I twisted a couple of wires and made the center swirl. They always remind me of a rose :)

I don't always do the swoops, but I had originally planned the swirl being enough to hold the cab down.. and it wasn't, so I took two more wires and made a close swoop.
The other two wires became two swirls in the back, the top one sticking out to accentuate the font one.

And that is how the mojave turquoise mini was born.

Thanks for reading :)