Today I'm featuring another jewelry artist working in bronze wire, Anica Gabrovek, aka Annie, from Croatia. Is it something in the water there because there seems to be an inordinate amount of talented wire artists in eastern Europe. I hard a hard time choosing 4 photos because all of Annie's work is spectacular. Be sure to check out the rest of her work in her Etsy shop.
I actually have been making things this year even if I got behind in posting so I'll try and get a few up. My nephew Ben got married to the lovely Brittany on July 31. This was just after he graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree so we're very proud of him. I made these earrings to go with my dress which was a pale yellow silk with a watercolor-y floral design on it. The stones pick up the colors in the dress. The frames are a little big because I changed my mind at the last minute and put different large stones in them. I lost count of how many gemstones are in these but they include hydro quartz, garnet, amethyst, mystic quartz and green onyx. Yes, they are a bit heavy but I didn't notice after a while.
I've been asking people who purchase bronze wire from my Artfire shop so send me pictures of what they've been doing with it and I'm loving the results. Today's featured artist is Louise from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. You can see more of Louise's work in her Etsy shop. Thanks for sharing, Louise!
Now that shows are pretty much done for the year it's time to get caught up on my blog. I recently had a class with a fun group of gals from the Owosso Country Cub who wanted to learn to make a viking knit bangle. It was not just viking knit, it was double viking knit. In spite of some struggles I assured them that, even if it looked like a train wreck, the magic would happen when we got out the drawplate. I always love seeing how students react when they see the results of pulling the chain through the drawplate. As you can see, every single bracelet turned out beautifully.
Anyone else having issues with Blogger? Sometime in May I bacame unable to respond to comments on my blog or edit posts. It just kept bumping me back to the Signin page. Their Help page was useless-it told me to clear my cache, make sure cookies were enabled, blah, blah. That was done and I still couldn't log in. It seems they have been aware of this problem since at least May and haven't bothered to fix it. So I decided to download Firefox. I loved it! I had no trouble with my blog, it was faster, and I had my beloved Google toolbar. The only thing I wasn't crazy about was the way the Bookmarks worked. Then Firefox told me I needed to update to the new version. If I had only known. Now I can't even log into my blog, and the new version is not compatible with the Google toolbar. So I'm back to square one, having to open IE to post but not able to comment. So any of you who are commenting on my posts, please know that I do appreciate it and I'm not ignoring your comments.
The theme for this week had something to do with red. I've been involved in the campaign to recall Rick Snyder so I'm so far behind I don't remember. :D So this is a bronze single Viking knit necklace. The center decoration is wired to the chain. I pictured it in my head as bigger and blingier but I wasn't about to do it over. The centerpiece is keishi pearls with garnets in the center. The spirals are wired with black spinels that have a nystic coating. I first photographed it leaving the wire bright but later decided to oxidize it. That was a good move because that's when it sold. People seem to like patinas lately.
Trying to play catch-up. The theme for week 20 was Three Feet of Wire and for once I managed to stick with the theme. I ran 16 gauge sterling silver wire through some 1/4" copper tubing which I then beat with a hammer. The spirals were formed and forged with a hammer. Then I spent about two hours dragging out half of my stash to try and figure out what to hang from the bottom. I finally gave up and just attached a vintage skeleton key. I've heard it said that we should charge for our design time but I think charging someone 30 bucks because I can't make up my mind is a little overboard. LOL Someone thought that the key was okay because they bought it at a show already.
Meet Bubbles the baby groundhog. Bubbles is an orphan. Her (at least her rehabilitator thinks she's a her) mother was hit by a car and she was picked up by a nice lady and turned over to my friend. I never thought I liked groundhogs. They've burrowed underneath my pump house and created a big mess with their excavations. But this little critter is so friendly and just loves to cuddle. My dogs, as usual, were fascinated by this little thing. I once read that dogs can identify an infant of any species by their smell due to differences in blood chemistry. I don't know if that's true but they're always very gentle with these babies.
This bracelet is based on a tutorial by Arja, a talented jewelry artist from Finland. This one is made from bronze wire with blue quartz beads. She has a very clever way of creating the loops and a hidden clasp. Nice tutorial, Arja!
The theme for this week is "Round and round". This is something I was playing around with the other day and it comes closest to fitting the theme with it’s round belly and round eyes. It’s an inexpensive glass cabochon that I wrapped with square copper wire. Then I wired a piece of brass wire under his body to represent a branch and some feet. Where I got stumped was trying to give him a beak and some cheeks to close the gap between his body and eyeballs. I’m not happy with that part. I think he looks more diabolical than whimsical-hence the name Snidely Whiplash. LOL If anyone has a better solution, email me a sketch!
This was made on request from my Victorian Key Pendant tutorial only with bronze wire and silver beads with amethyst gems. It's been so long since I made one I had to get out my own tutorial to do it. :D Since the bronze oxidizes a lot faster than silver, it got very dark in the crevices. I wish I knew of way to remove some of the patina from the bronze without removing it from the silver.
I had a class at my house this afternoon and you never know what kind of cuteness one of my students, who is a wildlife rehabilitator, is going to show up with. This afternoon it was a darling little orphan red fox, about 6 weeks old. It took a while for my four Boston Terriers to get the nerve to check her out. They were more afraid of her than she was of them.
This necklace is my version of a spectacular silver piece in Sharilynn Miller's new book Wire Art Jewelry Workshop. She calls hers the Dancing Man necklace. Since mine was constructed to showcase a gorgeous lampwork glass leaf by Jacqueline Parkes of Gems in Bloom on Etsy and I stink at thinking up clever names, I think I'll call mine Dancing Leaf necklace. :D My necklace is made of bronze wire with paraiba quartz and labradorite as the main stones. It's accented with smaller gems of paraiba quartz, iolite, pearl and chrysoprase that pick up the colors in the leaf.
Nothing too complicated for this week but I like the bright colors. I think they give these a bit of Bollywood feel. They’re made of bronze wire, purple and red hydro quartz, and peridot briolettes. I used LOS to oxidize them.
I've had some questions about how to patina the phosphor bronze wire that I now carry in my Artfire shop. Here are three different Viking knit bangles that I made showing three different options. I love all of these finishes so it's really a matter of personal preference. The first one is the shiny bright wire just as it comes off the coil. I really didn't even need to run this through the tumbler.
The second bracelet with the squiggle clasp got a light patina using JAX Brown-Black Darkener although I'm sure the Midas brand that Rio carries would work the same. This solution is clear and the color develops slowly so it's possible to have much more control than with LOS. When using this type of patina it's important that your metal be well cleaned first to remove any oils that might interfere with the patina. One of my metalsmithing instructors insists on cleaning hers with a toothbrush and soap or scouring powder. But I've found that a run through the tumbler with a little dishsoap or burnishing powder does the job as well. I left this one in the solution until it got a slightly aged look, then rinsed it. I didn't use any steel wool or remove any of the patina.
The third example uses LOS which works beautifully on clean bronze. This got quite dark as you can see in the crevices and I did use 0000 steel wool to buff off some of the patina from the high spots.
I finally had a chance to sit down and actually make something with my supply of bronze wire. The lacy edging on these earrings was inspired by Yati Salem. The brios and dangles are turquoise and they're topped with a 4mm pearl. I haven't added a patina to these but I kind of like this wire shiny.
It just occured to me that I forgot to post Week 14! I hadn't made a new key in a while so I thought up this one using an oval faceted lemon quartz in the center. I haven't had time to oxidize it but that will probably happen.
I think bronze is a grogeous metal and I've always wanted to work with it but found it difficult to find in dead soft temper and impossible to find in some gauges. So after some extensive reseach, I finally found a company who could produce what I wanted and my shipment finally arrived. I'm now offering phosphor bronze wire for jewelry makers in my Artfire shop packaged in approximately one ounce coils in gauges 14, 16, 18, 20, 24 and 26. This wire is not brass-it's a true copper/ tin bronze alloy and it's already annealed dead soft. The color is beautiful-not as yellow as brass and not as red as copper, more like a rosy gold. There is more info in my shop but feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Most of you probably know that complementary colors are those that are opposite each other on the color wheel. The pair that I put up for Year of Jewelry are primarily andalusite but I sprinkled in some green vessuvianite and red garnets. I think of them as representing early spring when the first green shoots appear....something we're still waiting for in Michigan, although almost all of the snow is now gone. Then it occured to me that turquoise and sunstone could represent the complementary colors of blue and orange so I put together a couple of pairs and decided I really like that combination. I tend to get stuck in a rut of monochromatic so I'll think I'll pull out the color wheel more often.
This weeks theme was harder to stick to than I thought it would be. You would think we would all be motivated to use less silver considering the current price. But when I finished the zigzag earrings and weighed them, I about fainted when I saw they contained about $9.50 worth of silver. In spite of that, they're very lightweight and comfortable. The copper donut pair ended up using almost 4 feet of silver wire but I like them nonetheless. The copper pair are not the lightest earrings ever so I will probably take those to shows so that people can feel the weight and decide if it's too much for them.
The theme for this week is Spring Has Sprung. You couldn't tell that where I live in Michigan but hope springs eternal. This bracelet was inspired by one in Sharilyn Miller's book "Arty Jewelry". However, I wrapped the apatite and mystic quartz beads and the keishi pearls around a length of 1/4" copper tubing from Homeowner's Hell. Of course, they slid around like crazy. So to hold them in place I ran some wire through a tube wringer and wrapped it around the copper tubing to secure the beads. I added a larger copper core wire, some silver spacers domed into caps, coiled silver wire and a clasp to finish it.
How did I get two weeks behind? These pieces were done the same day as the etching class. I made them specifically so I would have impressions in the copper to inlay with silver solder. I found it a little tricky to get the right amount of solder in the grooves. If you get too much in, you end up with a lot of filing to do. If you don't get enough in, it's harder to get it to fill the area which is what happened in the squiggly lines pair of earrings. I moved the solder around with my pick but still didn't get it all the way to the edge in spots. The bracelet was etched with the intention of doing solder inlay on that as well. But I accidentally ended up with such a colorful patina that I didn't want to touch it. I'll describe what I did to it in case you want to try this at home but I have no idea if I can duplicate this result. For the resist I used strips of adhesive labels that were cut out with various scrapbooking scissors. Of course it went into the ferric chloride and then soaked for a few minutes in 50/50 ammonia and water. The paper came off but left a sticky residue. So I put Goo Gone on it and let it sit for a while before wiping it off. I still had some sticky residue so I then cleaned it with a soft toothbrush and Barkeeper's Friend. Rinsed it well and set it on a towel to dry. I came back later to find this rainbow of colors.
Saturday I had a class in copper etching at my house and I want to show off the beautiful work that some of the gals produced. I'm sorry we didn't get Maureen's photographed before she left. For this class we just used rubber stamps, Staz-On ink and Sharpie markers for the resist. From top to bottom are Rhonda and Laurie, Rhonda, Pat, Mary Ann and Bonny. Thanks to Mary Ann for taking and emailing the pics to me!
I started my jewelry making journey in 2006 and it quickly took over my spare room and spread out into the living room. I was able to retire from my civil service job in August 2008 and I'm now able to focus on it full time.