Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Fireflies - the AJE Themed Challenge Reveal

Example of amazing photography from Firefly Experience. 

I saw my first fireflies Sunday night while doing a 3 mile run around the neighborhood. It's been unseasonably cold and rainy this year, chasing us indoors. How appropriate just a couple days later we have the June reveal for the AJE firefly/lightning bug theme design challenge, which is open to jewelry designers AND bead/component makers.

Take a look at how this month's theme inspired our participants:

Guest Designers:
Melissa Trudinger - https://beadrecipes.wordpress.com/
Mary Detray - http://www.brassrabbitstudio.com/blog

Keren Panthaki - https://vasdea.wordpress.com
Tammy Adams - http://www.paisleylizard.com/
Veralynne Malone - www.veradesigns.blogspot.com
Terri Del Signore - http://artisticaos.blogspot.com/
Heather Powers - http://www.humblebeads.blogspot.com
Susan Delphine Delaney - https://susandolphindelaney.wordpress.com

Monday, June 29, 2015

July Component of the Month Giveaway!

Hello wonderful people, It's time for another Component of the Month giveaway and July is my turn to host, so of course it had to be coin related....

Farthing Coin Beads and Clasps
Up for grabs this month is a selection of coin beads and coin clasps. Each one of these have been handmade from beautiful old farthing coins from the UK.

Wren Farthings
They all feature the lovely wren design (one of Britain's smallest birds) which was in use from 1937 to 1960 and have such a lovely warm colour.

Farthing Coin Bead

Want to play along? Here are the rules…

  • I will giveaway 1 coin bead or clasp (chosen at random) to each of the 3 winners selected randomly from those who leave a comment below this post. Your comment MUST included your EMAIL AND BLOG address so we can contact you should you win.
  • Please — only leave a comment if you can commit to creating a finished piece and blogging about it on the reveal date.
  • The names of the 3 winners will be announced on Friday, July 3, 2015.
  • This giveaway is open to US and international countries, but please be aware that these will be posted from the UK and international addresses will have longer postage times… sometimes up to 3 weeks.
  • The blog reveal will take place on Friday, July 31, 2015.

Good luck and have a wonderful day!

Bits by Niky
Artisan Jewellery by Niky Sayers

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Riveting Show & Tell

A couple of weeks ago I splurged and ordered this set from Interweave.  I was lucky enough to see a FB post reminding me that the Interweave Store was offering a limited 40% off sale.  Wow, I thought that was too good to pass up.

My physical haul from the kit...plus my earrings!
 The kit arrived and included everything you see here...the first obvious perk is a wonderful little Fretz riveting hammer.  I have to admit, this is my 1st Fretz and it is so sweet!  It also included the DVD by Tracy Stanley, Making Jewelry with Metal Tubing, a Bead Smith punch and riveting tool, 2 packages of hollow rivets to use with the tool and a variety of Vintaj blanks to play with.

Earrings made from Vintaj blanks and brass stampings...riveted with sterling.
The kit also included 3 digital products, Making 3 Perfect Rivets and Riveted Earring Project, both by Tracy Stanley, and Bodacious Copper Bangle Project by Kim St. Jean.

Now, I have done rivets before, but am by no means a pro at it.  Tracy made it look so easy and was really engaging in the videos.  I had to put it all on hold until I got back from my beach vacation, but this week I played a bit.  The above earrings are Vintaj blanks from the kit, raw brass stampings I had on hand that I riveted with sterling wire following Tracy's instructions.  The Fretz hammer worked like a dream and I think made all the difference.  These are still a bit rough!

Next, after watching the Tubing DVD, I decided to try a bracelet, but didn't want the dangles, so I opted to streamline and make a bracelet bar with chain.  I had 1/4 inch copper tubing on hand, so that is what I used.

My 1st riveted bracelet!
 I flattened the tubing and textured it as in the instructions.  I opted to shape the ends, rather than folding over, as Tracy did in the DVD.  I was going to create the chain with my own links, but when I found this big copper rolo chain, I opted to use it instead, just adding my own sterling connector links and clasp.

Wow, the Fretz hammer even makes a great prop!!!
 I didn't want this novice piece to be blingy...I knew it would be staying with me, and I don't really do bling!  Mixed metals?  Yes, please :)  I decided to add 3 of my white copper metal clay components,,,2 flowers and a heart.  As you can see, they are askew, but Tracy says in the DVD, "you meant to do that"!

How it hangs on my wrist...don't like the big jump rings at the sides....must. fix. 
I have to admit, these wire rivets were harder to do than I remembered from ages ago.  A couple of things I would take away from the DVD and Tracy's other video...make sure your hole punch and wire match!  The wire should barely fit in the hole!  I made a few mistakes and am not showing the back side because of that!

I didn't use the punch/rivet setter yet...I wanted to on the brass earrings I showed earlier, but rivets in the kit were not long enough.  Tracy also suggests using brass escutcheon pins/nails for taller stacks, but I didn't have any in  my stash.

I lucked out and got a great discount on this set.  I think right now it is marked down to half price, but the DVD alone is a great resource.  Now, I am off to practice!

***Disclaimer...this is just my 2 cents on this kit!***

Friday, June 26, 2015

Wooly Wire Pendant Tutorial

Today I am replaying my tutorial for making a simple and stunning Wooly Wire pendant.
                                                                             ~ ~ ~
I've been having fun playing with WoolyWire, a wonderful fiber and copper wire product that is handmade by Nellie Thomas of WoolyWire Etc.  Nellie hand dyes fibers and spins them onto solid copper wire.  WoolyWire can be bent and twisted, just as you would do with any 24 gauge wire, and it brings with it so many possibilities for adding color and texture to your jewelry designs.

A couple of weeks ago I got the idea to try braiding three colors of WoolyWire and then wrapping the wire around a large channel bead to create a pendant.  I'm in love with the result!
This pedant is easy to make and the results are stunning.  Here's how.

3 packages of WoolyWire in a pleasing color combination (you won't need it all, don't worry)
1 large or medium channel pendant (available at WoolyWire Etc.)
2, 7-8 mm bicones in coordinating colors
1 decorative headpin with a 3 inch long wire, (mine is from Sue Beads)
23 inches of 1.5 mm leather cording in a coordinating color (mine is from Classic Elements)
2, 1.5 mm end caps (all my findings are from Shipwreck Beads)
1 lobster claw clasp
4, 7.25 mm Vintaj jump rings
GS Hypo Cement

Flat nose or half round pliers
Round nose pliers
Wire cutters
A clipboard
Binder clip or "bulldog" clip
Large Channel Pendant

1.  We are going to work with the full 3 foot lengths of the WoolyWire, so do not cut them yet.  Push the WoolyWire down about 1 inch on one of the wires, exposing the copper wire in the center.
 Bend the exposed copper wire at a right angle.
2. Fold a small portion of the other 2 wires down flat, so the wire end is not sticking up. (The picture below shows only one wire partially flattened.  You need to completely fold it over on both wires.)
 3.  Holding the three strands close together, wrap the exposed copper wire around all three strands, binding all 3 of them together.   Press the end of the copper wire down and tuck in, using the flat or half round pliers. I trimmed the extra fuzziness on the end, but that is a matter of personal preference.
4.  Place the three wires beneath the clip on the clipboard.  This will secure the wires while you are braiding.
 5.  Braid the wires, just as you would braid a child's hair.
6.  Stop braiding when you think you have enough braid to wrap around the channel pendant.  The length can be adjusted later, if needed.  Secure the loose ends with a binder clip.
 7.  Glue the the top ends of the WoolyWire just beneath the rim of the channel pendant. Set aside until the glue is dry. Unfortunately I don't have pictures for all of the steps, but the rest is really straight forward.

8.  Once the glue has dried, start winding the WoolyWire braid around the channel pendant.  You may like it wrapped loosely, or you may want to push the braid upward a bit so you can add a few extra wraps around the channel pendant. Adjust to your liking.  When you get to the bottom of the pendant, cut the WoolyWires about an inch or so longer than needed to wrap to the bottom of the pendant.  Push back the WoolyWire about one inch on one of the wires.  Fold over the other 2 wires, like you did on the top end of the braid.  Wrap the exposed copper wire around all three wires and glue the end of the braid at the bottom of the channel pendant.

9. Assembling the pendant:  Thread one bicone onto the headpin. Then add the channel pendant, fitting the open end neatly onto the top of the bicone.  Add another bicone on the top and make sure that both are seated firmly into the ends of the channel pendant.  The bicones serve to stabilize the pendant, by filling up the large holes on either side.  Using the wire from the headpin, create a double wrapped loop at the top of the pendant.  If you make a small loop, like I did, you can attach it to the leather cord with a jump ring.  If you make a larger loop, you can thread the pendant directly onto the leather cord.
10. After the pendant is threaded onto the leather cord, add a small drop of glue to one end of the leather and inside one of the end caps.  Place the leather end into the cap and hold in place till the glue sets. Repeat on the other side.

11.  Attach the lobster claw clasp to one end with a jump ring.  Make a short chain with the other 3 jumprings and attach them to the other end cap.  The clasp can be fastened to any of the 3 jumprings, making the length adjustable.

If you have questions about any of the steps, please feel free to ask.  I will be happy to answer your questions in the comments section.
Wear your WoolyWire necklace with pride!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

New Years Resolutions - 6 Months in

Can you believe it’s mid year all ready? The time has flown by and I’ve heard mention of the “C” word already! 

This week, I’ve been thinking about my January post where members of the AJE team shared their plans for the New Year. Today, I thought I’d catch up with everyone and see whether we’ve stuck to our plans, failed miserably or ended up somewhere completely different! 

Where has this year taken you so far?

Lesley Watt

Good progress with the components with more original and thematic designs... Dipped toe with the sketching and larger clay pieces but still want to do more...I've not made that much jewellery but what I have made has been more technique based...No progress on books yet. 
Ceramic Components

Art Journalling

Ceramic Sculpture and dish

Designs by TheaJewellery

Jenny Davies-Reazor

My year has been productive! New experiments and a new series developing of pendants in porcelain. New tile designs being ads to the Mythic Nature line. And shows, many shows. I have been neglecting the personal/inspirational side of things. My pile of books is no smaller, but Ive been reading plenty of fiction. My artists journal got stalled due to travel and shows. At mid year I am reevaluating and trying to reinstate my journal practice and give myself permission to read!
Reading Pile!

Ceramic Tiles 

Selling at shows

Linda Landig

-My first goal was to continue developing my skill in ceramics. I'm doing that.-Next goal was to get a feeling for my personal style in ceramics. That's def going to take more time.-Did some drawing in Oaxaca, as planned.-Haven't done much in the way of wire work, except to have made a small supply of handmade ear wires, while in Oaxaca.
Ceramic components



Karen Totten

What resolutions? I made resolutions? ::blink::
Karen’s intentions for this year were to get back to daily art journalling, but that was sidetracked when she started a new job in UX Design. It sounds fantastic and she gets to hang out with some pretty cool co-workers! 

Awesome Co-Workers

Rebekah Payne

Things are coming along for me.
Slower than I'd hoped, but progress is progress and I can't complain! New leather stuff is finally happening! No new critters yet, but I have been making new beads… and old beads in new colors to change things up a bit. Right now I'm really focused on efficiency and I'm designing beads around that idea. I'm very patient when it comes to art, but long production time is limiting to me. My goal is still the same: maintain what I'm currently doing and get more time for fun (non-bead related fun once in a while is nice!) and family.

The production Line

Leather Components

New bead designs

Susan Kennedy

A water disaster turned out to be a blessing in disguise as I was able to do a few things in my house that would not have gotten done otherwise. That prompted a large garage clean out and some other rooms were organized as well. Still searching for the creativity muse that's hid somewhere.
Clearing Spaces

New Designs 
Stunning Lampwork

Francesca Watson

I haven't made time for the drawing class I wanted to take, but otherwise I feel like I'm making lots of progress towards the other goals. I spent a whole week with Connie Fox at our retreat in March digging into the elements of design - it has profoundly changed my working process and style. I also walked through a process with her of discovering what I'm trying to say with my work - it was an intensely personal and eye-opening experience and I feel freer in my creative efforts than I ever have. As a result, I've gotten much better about scheduling and protecting my creative time, maybe because I'm enjoying it more.
Developing Styles

Hand Forging with silver
Jennifer Stout Cameron

I haven't really accomplished any of those goals as I have been too focused on getting straight A's in my college classes towards an art degree and not neglecting my family too much. However, I signed up for a drawing class for the fall semester (it helps that it's required I take drawing classes to get an art degree). I did talk to my advisor about the fact I do not have any drawing skills and that my artwork up until now has been mainly glass and metals which did not require I even be able to draw a stick figure. As for balancing school, home and studio time, that hasn't happened at all. As for journaling, I have started a bullet journal, which has helped contain everything plus encourages me to journal a few days a week.
Bullett Journal

Wall Planner

 Melissa Allford Meman

The only goal I met was continuing to play with metal clay! I didn't get a chance yet to try cloissone, but do have Pam East's Enameling on Copper Clay DVD and am getting ready to experiment with that. My personal blog has not improved!

More metal clay

Designing with handmade components

And for me? 

Caroline Dewison

Well getting back to sketching lasted for an entire drawing, I like it though and it feels good to get things out of your system when you need to. I've played with metal clay, although I was only brave enough to try out some bronze, the silver is still in the packet.  I’ve cranked up the pottery wheel and managed to practise a few times, I even produced a wobbly cup! And being more organised… well I don’t think that’s ever going to happen! I have plan in place for the rest of the year though, and that's to keep practising on my wheel and creating bigger work. I have a new kiln on the way so I can fire larger items... we'll see how that works out in another six months!

Sketching with pastels

Creating with Bronze Clay

Wobbly cup

I think we've all done pretty well so far!

So how about you, our readers? Have you managed to stick to your plans? let us know how your resolutions are working out so far in the comments!