30 September 2009

Chaos Earrings

I began making this style of earring last winter on a whim, almost, and have become quite enamored of the style. I make the frames by soldering (yes!) a ring of wire (18 or 20 gauge) and then shape it into a teardrop shape. The bottom of the teardrop is then wrapped - chaotically, for me at least - with 26 gauge wire on which I've strung a variety of gemstones. Both ends of each piece of 26 ga. wire are balled with a torch. The top photo shows a pair made with faceted carnelian, red agate rounds, and faceted "pineapple" quartz. The most recent ones I made, shown below, were done specifically for a monthly challenge being run for members of the Minnesota etsy Street Team, in recognition of October as Breast Cancer Awareness month. This pair is packed with freshwater pearls, faceted rose quartz, and faceted pink sapphires. I really like how they turned out and am inspired to make a companion pendant and necklace. I should have time to work on that next week and will post photos when finished!

Both of these earrings, and others, should be posted in my etsy shop by the end of today (Wednesday)!

24 September 2009

A Happy Customer!

When at the Wells Street Art Fair in Chicago last June, I had a special order to make this necklace. I was staying in Chicago for the week so was able to finish it and hand-deliver it to my customer within a few days. I just received this email from her:

"If you recall, you customized that gorgeous gold wire and bronze pearl choker, and delivered it (thanks!) to me at work. I would just like you to know that everyone LOVES it! I even had a vendor at the Gem Show ask about it. It has become one of my very favorite pieces in my quite large collection of jewelry, and there is almost nothing I cannot wear it with: jeans, dresses, t-shirts.

Thanks so very much for a wonderful piece...it gets worn more often than most things I own. Both the workmanship and your generosity in delivering it are very much appreciated."

I feel so gratified that I have a happy customer! Thank you!!

23 September 2009

Copper and Silver Riveted Heart Pin

Last winter (!) I attended an online workshop with Robert Dancik on making cold connections -- wire and tube rivets, among other techniques. It was great and I was fired up to try something new. I also bought a jewelers saw (finally) and sheet silver and copper to add to my stash. I worked away on a heart shaped pin and then completely lost my momentum. So it languished for 8 months, needing ONLY two rivets to finish it. I even saw it every day! Still, it sat there. Until today! I finished the rivets and polished it up (well, I want the scratchy matte finish, actually) and here it is with all it's imperfections.

I had originally envisioned the center portion as being more of a regular weave, but was having a hard time engineering the attachment, so I just put a bunch of bends in a long length of silver wire with round nose pliers. I cut both heart shapes with my new saw and did not break a single blade, so I guess my years of experience with a carpenter's coping saw paid off! The rivets were meant to be flush on both sides, but I did not do a good job of drilling through the silver without reaming out the hole, making it too big for the 16 ga. wire, so I balled the wire for the silver side instead. I think I like it better. The weakest part of the entire piece, in my mind, is the latch mechanism. I did this last January and right now I don't know what I was thinking! Fortunately, this piece is mine and I don't mind how the back appears, I just know it looks good on a sweater!

A long absence....

....for no good reason. In my head, I have written many blog posts documenting my recent show experiences, booth redesign, jewelry experiments, and personal upheavals. Unfortunately, there is no way (yet) to directly transfer my thoughts to the web. If there were, you all would have gotten an earful this summer! So here is the condensed version: The Uptown Art Fair (Minneapolis, MN) went well and I had decent sales, but the crowds were definitely down from previous years. Uptown also saw my first thefts (two bracelets) of the year, which is pretty amazing since at this point last year I had had several items walk off. I spent almost all of my August working hard to increase my inventory for a four-day show that has a reputation for high sales numbers: the Yellow Daisy Festival at Stone Mountain Park (Atlanta), Georgia. I could (and may still) devote a long blog post to this festival and my trip, but for now suffice to say that it was relatively disappointing, especially considering that I drove 1200 miles to get there. Before I went to YDF, I put a lot of time into revamping my booth display. Nothing major, but the changes I made I think have dramatically improved the appearance. Again, a separate post may be forthcoming. And as if August wasn't busy enough, the week before I left for Atlanta, my dog sustained a partial tear of her Achilles tendon and had to have surgery to repair it. So now I am back (have been for a week), don't have a lot to do, unfortunately, to get ready for my next show, and am spending a lot of time and energy on my dog. I have also allowed myself to play, a bit, with new techniques. Stay tuned for some photos!