Monday, October 7, 2013

Lucky Charms!

The last weekend of September was a special one for lots of  jewelry artists in the DC-MD-VA area, as well as others that drove/flew in to participate in the 4th ArtBliss Workshops in Northern Virginia.  Co-hosted and founded by 2 of the sweetest, most talented designer/entrepreneurs out there, Cindy Wimmer and Jeanette Blix-Ryan, this workshop has become a wonderful retreat for those of us in the DC metro oasis in a previously desolate area!

The lovely ArtBliss mannequin and co-founder Jeanette Blix-Ryan,  deep in thought!

I was priviledged to be a part of 2 classes this year...a wonderful polymer clay class with Christine Damm and a fabulous torch-fired enamel ring class with metal-smith extraordinare, Richard Salley, assisted by none other than Rosy Revolver, Jessica Jordan!  They were  the bomb, and I will talk about both of them in a post on my personal blog this week.

Today, I want to share with you the wonderful tradition of art charm swapping!  This is my 4th year to attend ArtBliss and it is also my 4th year to participate in the charm swap! This lovely and sweet tradition happens at lots of venues...registered class-goers sign up to create charms to swap with other participants and everyone brings home a cherished batch of souvenirs from the retreat.

This is the haul I brought home after last weekend!  "Your Heart's Desire" was the theme and there were several hearts in the mix.   Sorry not to have them tagged, but I will come back and do so once I pin them down!
In my experience, participants really go out there to create something to show off their skills for these swaps.  I know in my case, I have gone from simple wire-wrapping Czech glass beads, to enameling, fold-forming and more.  I have seen such growth and thought among participants that have been a part of this throughout the past years!

These are the charms from our talented AJE team that attended ArtBliss!

Love the teal and rust color in this leaf charm by Diana Ptaszynski of Suburban Girl Studio.

This gorgeous bronze leaf charm was created by Karen Totten

Sue Kennedy of SueBeads created these sweet lampwork birdy the bumpy hearts!

Jenny Davies-Reazor created these double-sided charms with polymer clay and copper.  AB 13 - ArtBliss 2013!

My charms - mixed metal hearts 
I thought I would share how I created my charms with you today.  Even though I don't have step by step photos, here is the basic idea.

  • 22g brass sheet was cut into heart shapes using shears, then filed/sanded.
  • I then ran them through my Big Shot with an embossing plate to give them depth (optional)
  • Using a 1.8 mm punch tool, punch a hole in the center.  
  • Dap to desired shallow curve.
  • Cut small discs from the remaining brass sheet (approx 1/4 inch)...punch a 1.8 hole to match the heart and dap into desired cup shape.
  • Using round nose pliers, flute edges of disc up and down.
  • Form balled copper headpins in a butane torch to connect.  Using chain nose pliers,  bend the headpin over the back tightly, then coil around on the back. File end to remove any burs.
  • Add desired patina, attach jump ring and tumble until shiny!
Happy Monday, thanks for reading!  Go forth and create :)

Melissa Meman


  1. Love all the charms and what a cute one you did. Thanks for sharing the how to. I love it!

  2. Great charms! Thanks for sharing how you made yours.

  3. I love all the pieces that came out of Art Bliss! I wish I could go sometime!

  4. Love charm swaps! Lots of talent on this one. :)


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