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I’ve been working on designs for the next link in the chain. I had LOTS of drawings of leaves. This photo only shows a small portion of the little leaves I sketched. I’m drawn to this delicate little leaf pattern. Yet, it doesn’t seem very practical for a necklace or bracelet. I’m concerned that it would catch on clothing or other things. What you see here is my experiment or prototype of the pattern. I used some brass wire I have to see how the drawing could be translated into wire. I think if I pursued this, I’d need to solder all of the leaf joints so the design would stay in tack.
This picture shows how I’ve worked a little more with the wire to come up with the actual leaf shape.
I’ve run these past Lexi and she agrees. The current design has some issues that can be addressed. One great thing she saw in these was a pretty pair of earrings. Ohhh I like that! I will definitely be following up on this. We discussed other possible chain link patterns and she had some suggestions, so I’m running with those and working on the link design some more.
I thought it would be fun to continue to post how the progression of this chain takes place. This afternoon, I’ve been soldering all the rings I made in my last session with Lexi. She’s right, you get very good at soldering when you are working on something this small. I’m having a lot of fun with this.
The design for the next link in this chain is underway and I’m working on creating those links. Right now, it is fairly labor intensive for me because I’m learning this technique. However, as I said in my last post, I really do see this as a great way to make a truly unique chain that goes with a pendant or just to be worn by itself.
Now, Lexi has some great ideas and she has been so generous with the suggestions of where I can go with the look of this chain. Rest assured you will be seeing some form of this leaf pattern in the necklace. I hope it turns out as cool as I envision it in my mind. 🙂
Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person. Make it a great week of creativity.
Tonight was a momentous occasion for me. I fired up my torch for the FIRST time! Nervous? Yes. Exciting? Yes. Results? Thrilling for me!
I have read, heard, and been counseled a lot about firing up my acetylene torch. You must respect the equipment and take the necessary precautions. Lexi was kind enough to set up my torch system last month and as I built up my confidence to have a project that I would solder here in my studio, it was time to fire it up.
Soldering stained glass is nothing like soldering metal. And I absolutely love to solder a stained glass window. I have soldered jewelry with Lexi’s guidance and I was eager to do it on my own. Lexi is known in her circles as The Torch because she is an expert solderer. I am her apprentice in a sense and not only did I want to do justice to her mentoring, I wanted to prove that I could solder something on my own…that is without Lexi watching me do it!
Tonight, I was ready. I am working on a piece for one of my glass cabochons that is in that lovely Crinklized dichroic glass from Coatings by Sandberg. I love that glass. I’ve worked on a design and now I was ready to solder the bezel for this piece. The bezel is the component that fits around the cabochon and holds it in place on the main back piece. You have to cut bezel ‘wire’ to just fit the cabochon. Not too tight and with just the right about of leeway to allow for the setting of the cabochon.
My husband, Dan, was kind enough to preserve the moment in digital so at the top of this post you see me quite focused on the solder process. The end result, the bezel is soldered together and fits the cabochon nicely.
I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish this piece tonight, so I will end with a tickler showing you the components that will be put together to form this pendant. In this photo, I have the bezel placed around the cabochon to confirm the proper fit. The base plate and bail are ready; both are bronze…this is my first time working with bronze. I find it quite lovely and rich. It’s one of Lexi’s favorite materials and I couldn’t wait to start working with it.
My obligations are such that I may not get back to finishing this until Sunday. So I will leave you with these views of what is to come in my next post.
I was doodling this week and this design evolved from those doodles. I wanted to add a little extra interest so I added tear drops. The materials used were brass for the wings and copper for the tear drops. I added a couple of different textures; a piece of fabric created the texture on the wings and the copper tear drops have imprints from one of the flagstones next to the house. I really like experimenting with textures and thought it would be fun to combine a couple of different textures in the same piece. I felt it was important that the textures didn’t ‘fight‘ with each other, that is, that they were complimentary rather than two drastic opposites. I’m happy with how these two metals, with their own textures have blended to create these earrings.
I also experimented with patinas to create the coloration on the metals. As Lexi has told me, she often goes back and keeps working with the patina of a piece. I think I will do that here too. I knew this would happen, but I find it interesting how the patina on the brass is so different from the patina on the copper. Each metal takes on color differently and with the mixed textures, I’m fairly certain that influences how the patina appears too.
As a final step, I used my dapping block to form a delicate curve on the brass pieces. This way the wings sort of bow with slight arch. I like the look.
One of the things I wanted to do with these was work out another design to help me get ready to set glass in earrings. Size, shape, heaviness all play a role in how I will eventually create earrings from my glass pieces. These were fun to make and I believe I’ll continue to work on variations of this theme.
Remember, continue to aspire to be more as an artist and a person. Til the next time, happy creating all.
I completed this pendant last night during my lesson with Lexi. One of my goals with this piece was to carry the stone designs into the surrounding setting. Fortunately, I had received one of the first texture hammers I’ve ever ordered and it lent itself perfectly to creating the effect on the metal. A patina was added to help accent the depth of the texture and compliment the coloration of the stone itself.
The stone in this setting is a Chinese Writing Stone. The name of the stone is derived from the crystalline structures that resemble the Chinese characters of the written language. I have a couple of these and I really enjoy the randomness of the patterns created by the crystal structures in the stone. In my opinion, the stone has a very dramatic, striking appearance. I will be creating more of these pendants for the remaining Chinese Writing Stones I have. Right now I think I will continue to carry the texture into the next settings, but vary the effects to accent each piece…depending on the patterns in those stones.
This was my initial design. At this stage I was debating about creating a pierced cut out to convey the ‘characters’ as this drawing shows. That just didn’t seem to be working the way I wanted. Then I thought about cutting pieces of sterling and soldering that around the background to carry the characters into the piece. When the texture hammer arrived, I knew as soon as I saw it… it was perfect for creating the effect I wanted. In this photo, you can see that I’ve just cut out the back piece, which is 20 gauge Sterling Silver. I took a couple of days to finally decide what effect I wanted to add to the back piece and as the final result shows, the texture won out over some of my other options.
Lexi has written a step by step article for this month’s issue of Lapidary Journal (August 2009), that provided the inspiration for the bail shown in the picture below. I carried the texture effect to the bail. Once I had soldered the bezel on the front of the pendant, it was turned over so this bail could be soldered in place.
I know, no one really sees this part of the pendant except the person who wears it. However, as I’m learning from Lexi, that’s part of the craftsmanship that belongs with art jewelry. Happy creating everyone!