Thursday, April 28, 2011

Week 17-Dancing Leaf Necklace

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.

Week 16-A Bit of Bollywood

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.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bronze Bracelets and Patinas

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.

Week 15-Bronze and Turquoise Earrings

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.

Week 14-Revisiting Keys

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.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Bronze Wire is Finally Here!

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.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Week 13-Complementary Colors

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.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Week 12-Two Feet of Wire

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.