Every few months I get kind of bored with the jewelry I’m doing and so I change it up a little. I often will be inspired by another artist’s work that has a slightly different vibe than mine, and I’ll start heading a little in that direction to see what happens.
Lately I’ve been wowed by really archeological and natural-looking pieces with a wild, primitive feeling, and dark, moody metals. I started collecting beads and focals with more of this primitive, rustic feel, preparing myself to take a little side-turn when inspiration struck. Robyn and Rey of Ragged Robyn and Grey Bird Studio, respectively, have really knocked my socks off with both their imagination and their uncanny ability to create objects that feel authentically ancient or natural. I picked up a couple little things from their shops:
|Porcelain pods from Grey Bird Studio (mine!)|
|Tapered pod relics by Ragged Robyn (mine!)|
Absolutely fabulous—it isn’t easy to mimic nature, or true agedness, like this. My hat is off to these hypertalented women! I could sit for hours just looking through their Etsy shops.
I don’t work in ceramics but rather metal, so I have been mentally exploring ways to make a piece of metal seem organically grown, or naturally aged/distressed. Lately I have been looking at pictures of ancient pottery shards on the Internet, and thought, “Why not try to fake up my own broken pottery shards, but with metal? It’ll be fun!!” And off I went.
I thought I’d make different sizes I could use for pendants, bracelet clasps, necklace connectors, etc. I had too much trouble trying to draw faux-broken edges, so I just sketched the basic shape and then let my saw wander where it might.
|My freshly cut metal “shards”|
It was way harder than I expected to create random edges! But I will say I overcame my loathing of the saw—it was actually kind of relaxing. Especially once I was using the right gauge saw for my metal. And nothing beats a fresh blade and some beeswax!
My plan was to etch them, so after filing and sanding the edges, I applied my designs using digital files printed onto PressnPeel sheets, using a household iron.
|Shards ready to etch|
|Freshly etched shards|
After etching them, I tube riveted most of the holes (I have an aversion to plain holes in metal components, and I also feel a little more secure using them with linen cording if there’s a tube rivet—fewer sharp edges to cut through the cording during the normal wear and tear.)
Then I blackened them to have a nice dark base to apply my patina over:
|Shards nice and black from the LOS bath|
I thought for this first batch, I would try to suggest the idea of old glazed pottery, so I used dye oxide patinas on them rather than leaving them as bare metal. I wasn’t totally thrilled with the results—I have a hard time getting a pattern to stand out using these patinas—so I applied a whisper of gilder’s paste over the top of the finished patinas to highlight the patterns a bit:
|Finished shards ready for sealant|
I couldn’t help leaving a couple of them bare metal (I love the color of copper! In retrospect, I think I would have preferred to leave them all bare copper, just adding other small patinaed elements to them.)
|Bare copper necklace connectors|
I just got a pile of really rustic recycled glass beads from Happy Mango Beads, which I think will work nicely with my “shards,” and I still have my hoard of Petra Carpreau treasures, plus my new earth relics from Rey and Robyn—I’m all set, so stay tuned. I should have some new jewelry to show in about six months, haha!
Keirsten’s Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/lunedesigns
Keirsten’s blog: www.cerebraldilettante.blogspot.com
Keirsten’s Flickr photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lunestudio/