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!
Last Saturday I took a great class in granulation from Debbie Fehrenbach. I had no choice but to part with some of the sterling silver sheet that I've been hoarding. We learned how to melt all of the little same size fine silver balls. They were then glued to the sterling silver sheet with a mixture of gum tragacanth, Handy Flux and blue ammonia (ammonia that copper has soaked in). When that's dry they're fused to the silver with a torch in a tricky operation where timing is everything. I had a couple of little balls come off of each one but not where it's really noticable. I added a small bezel cup to one and set in it a blue lab spinel. Debbie is a wealth of infomation and I always learn a lot in her classes. I actually finished these on Monday when I got to try out my new Knew Concept saw. I bought it hoping that I might learn to enjoy sawing. The saw is so good that there's hope that I will.
I stopped at Homeowner's Hell the other day for a propane tank. I started browsing around in the hardware and came home with some fun earring components. Three of these are made with steel retaining rings. They looked a little grungy at first but a trip through the tumbler cleaned them up, and I think they look kinda cool embellished with sterling silver chain and gemstones. The round brass thingies are compression sleeves. I drilled holes in them, then added pyrite to the large ones and Swarovski pearls inside the smaller ones, connecting them to the ear wires with sterling silver chain. The pyrite ones make a fun tinkling sound when they move.
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.