My Hiatus

Wow! For me, it has been a very long summer.  I was not able to work in my studio for most of the time, and became very restless.  The reason I was not able to work is because we had the basement finished.  The basement is where my studio is, so no work while construction was happening.  Here is a little bit of what happened to our basement, and my studio this summer.

Here is how the studio started (when we bought the house)

This is my large work bench that holds my kiln, rolling mill and any other forging tools.

 

Here is my soldering station, near a window for ventilation.

 

My jeweler’s bench and some artwork done by my assistant.

 

There used to be a closet in my studio, not any more!

 

My assistant, and the doorway to the rest of the basement.

So, we interviewed a lot of contractors, finally decided on one, and got started.  Here are pictures of the gutted basement.

Here is the main area of the basement that was turned into a huge playroom for the boys

 

Here is my studio, without the walls!

After about 3 months of builders in and out of the basement, I have my studio back! I am so happy to get back to work.

Here are the pictures of the new studio:

New Studio

New Studio

New Studio

It is a constant work in progress as acquire more tools, skills and materials.  Keep Creating

 

 

This little guy joined our family a week after construction was finished.  He is my second assistant 😉

Custom Pieces

Over my few years making jewelry, I have had a few custom orders.  These are pieces that people special order from me in a certain size or with specific stones.  These are some of my favorite pieces to work on because the customer is involved in the creative process.  Here are some pictures of custom orders and a little about what the customer wanted.

These rings were for a customer giving them as a gift to her sisters and mother.  Each ring is able to incur a minor adjustment in size and therefor makes a great gift.  I made these rings with each recipient’s birthstone.
These rings were for a couple doing missionary work.  When they traveled, they wanted to have something simple and relatively inexpensive to wear as they worked.  The larger, thicker one is for the husband, and the thinner one for the wife.
This bracelet was made for a friend to give a s a wedding gift.  The wedding was at the beach, hence the sand dollar and the recycled glass.  The components are gold filled and was a basic assembly piece.
These earrings were a graduation gift from a mother to her daughter.  Her graduation party had a theme of butterflies, and these were the perfect gift.
These were a pair of earrings I had made with ear wires that the customer preferred a hook ear wire.  This was a minor adjustment but was very much appreciated by the customer.
This is the beginning of a custom piece for a friend of mine.  She saw me wearing a piece I had made and wanted something similar with the birthstones of her two daughters and her husband.
This is the finished piece with the stones set.  After much back and forth about which stones to use (there are multiple stones for each month), we settled on these.  I am extremely happy with the finished product.

Keep Creating 🙂

New Studio

This winter we embarked on the journey of buying a new home.  We were very happy with our purchase and delighted to get into our new space.  I was particularly excited about the basement space that would become my studio.  Though it still looks a bit rough, it is now workable and is up and running.  Here is the progression.

In the beginning. . . .

 All the boxes that need to be unpacked and organized into my new space.  Also, my little apprentice is always willing to help.
 Here is the new professional jeweler’s bench I purchased in January.
 If you recall, I had this large work table in the old house.  We deconstructed it and then put it up again in the new house.
 There is a closet but with minimal storage and we will be getting rid of it in renovation.
  Here is the view from my window into the back yard.
A couple weeks later. . . .
 My jeweler’s bench was functional but not completely organized yet.
The table was being utilized but wait, it gets better.
Currently. . . .
I have added a torching station for soldering and fusing near a window for ventilation.
 The jeweler’s bench has proven to be very useful.  It’s a perfect place for sawing, wrapping and planning out pieces.
 The closet is used for minimal storage and stays closed too keep things out of reach from little hands
The work table is now completely organized with enameling kiln up and running.
And my little apprentice is always willing to lend a hand (or hammer).
I hope you have enjoyed a sneak peek.  We are planning on finishing out the basement and revamping the studio.  So unfortunately, that means packing it up and taking another break.  However, I will be working until they begin construction.  Keep Creating

I took the Best Workshop EVER!

Recently, ok early December, I took a weekend workshop at Pullen Arts Center with Tim Lazure.  It was two days of metalworking heaven! I took what was described as a ring workshop but turned out to be applicable in so many other ways.  I have a new appreciation for and understanding of rings.  Especially how comfortable rings are made and how many things need to be taken into account.

During the workshop I made two rings.  Here are pictures of the ring I made the first day.

I started with three bands and then spaced them using rectangle wire.  After it was all assembled, I added the texture to the top and bottom bands.  This was a great review of skills I already know and a few realizations about construction I hadn’t made before.  I am thinking of making this one a part of my collection.

Here are some pictures of the ring I made the second day.

With this ring, I learned a new method of setting stones.  In this method, the top of the stone is flush with the metal.  I am very excited to use this new skill in my designs.  As for the construction of the ring, the extra piece on the back is to protect the wearer from the point of the larger stone.  Also, the texture on the front was made with a chasing tool.  Different methods of making texture in metal will also appear in some of my designs.

Creating Chasing tools is another of Tim Lazure’s workshops.  I would love to take that workshop and create some chasing tools of my own to use in the studio.  I am also excited to continue to take workshops and expand my metalsmithing knowledge.

Keep Creating 🙂

Reflection and Projection

This past year, my resolution was to learn and refine my finishing techniques. While I am still learning new techniques and products, I feel my work has come a long way in the finishing department.

My go-to finishing product is silicone carbide. I am learning a lot about more traditional methods, including finishing compounds like red rouge with a muslin wheel. I am excited o continue exploring different methods and techniques.

Looking forward to the next year, I am going to focus on narrowing the amounts of collections I carry at once. Right now I have quite a few, some I don’t even unpack at shows because I don’t have room for them! I am going to rearrange and focus my creative efforts on pieces that have been received well and more on enamel pieces of various price points.

Also, the most immediate task for this coming year is getting the new studio set up at our new house. This is an exciting task as I get to start from scratch and design my space as I wish.

Its Been a While ….

Yes, I know.  I havent been as dilligent about my blog posting as I was in the past.  But here’s the good news, I’m Back! I have a lot of things to share with all of you!

First of all, we are in full swing for the holidays, and all that implies.  I am producing work as fast as I can manage for upcoming shows.  I will be participating in a Mompreneurs Sip and Shop on November 30th and The Boylan Heights Art Walk on December 2nd.  And there is the never ending list of gifts, events and functions that happen around this time.  Even though we are all very busy, it’s nice to still be able to create and do something I love.

Second, I have made some new pieces that I am looking forward to debuting.  I have ventured into gold! I sent some of my “bread an butter” pieces to be gold plated in something called Vermeil.  It is a very specific Gold plating that is done over silver and is the thickest plate you generally see.  I am very excited about these pieces.  They really add another dimension to my collection.  For the plating process I worked with a company called Red Sky Plating.  They were very accommodating and pleasant to work with (but that is another post).

And Lastly, In the midst of all of that, we are purchasing a new home and move the first week of December!  I am very excited to get into the new house because it has an unfinished basement, which will be my studio (pictures to come).  Of course, we have been showing our house and I have been working in the garage.  This really makes you prioritize what needs to get done and what tools are needed for the job.  I will enjoy unpacking all my tools and getting all set up again 🙂

Keep Creating

 

Great News

I was very excited to receive an email from Rio Grande, a jewelry supply company, telling me I won the “What Are You Working On?” contest for the month of October.  I submitted my last blog post and was chosen as a feature for the month.  I was very excited to receive this news and very appreciative toward Rio Grande for choosing me. Click here.

 

From Start to Finish

I have been working for a while on this piece.  It is very heavy and includes a lot of silver.  I am really happy with the way it turned out.  Mostly because it is very close to the drawing I came up with months ago.  This piece was a challenge for me, from cloisonne shapes I don’t usually use to bezel setting which I am in need of more practice.  I feel this piece shows my current level of metalsmithing skills, which I am always improving.  Forgive me, the pictures were taken with my iphone.

Here is my original drawing of the piece.  My inspiration was circles.  The entire necklace is circular, not a strait line to be found.
Here is the base of the enameled disk with cloisonne wires ready to go
This is the enameled disk with granular enamel painted on and ready to go into the kiln
in the process of adding color and firing to build up layers of glass
Ground and finished disk, ready to set
Here is the setting all soldered.  It’s starting to come together!
I tested the disk in the setting many times to ensure a good fit
I also pierced the back and used blue counter enamel so it would show through.  A little secret for the wearer to know 😉
I actually broke a file!!!! I guess I don’t know my own strength.
Here is the finished product, completely soldered set and ready to wear
A close up of the pendant
My favorite, the pierced back 🙂

I hope you enjoyed the journey for conception to reality.  I have enjoyed documenting it for you 🙂

Random Stuff to Share

Earlier this summer, I took a pottery class and made this bowl for our dining room.  Us creative types just spill creativity all over the place 😉

 

I am currently obsessed with figs, I bought this flat at the West Side Market in Cleveland and ate all 24 of them in 2 days!

 

My little guy.  I had to put him in, he’s just so cute.

 

On the beach in Fort Lauderdale.

 

In case you don’t know, I’m in love with Kate Spade handbags.  While on vacation, the outlet was having a phenomenal sale! I loaded up with bags and accessories.  This was on one of the care cards inside a bag.  I love it!

 

More of the beach

 

I saw this on facebook and loved it so I had to share it 🙂

 

My best friend Jess and I in a lovely store in Wilton Manners, To The Moon.  They had all sorts of old timey and super funny gifts.
Josh Barker, I know you will appreciate this.  A little throw back to my previous post about haters.

On the Bench

I am getting very excited for the holiday season! Most of my applications have been filled out and sent in and I have some new designs to feature at these upcoming shows.  Here are some of the things I have been working on.

These first two pictures are new necklace designs to match already existing earrings.  I am making an effort to challenge myself lately.  Soldering jump rings may not sound like a big deal but when they’re 24guage and the solder is teensy, it was.

This is a new necklace design to match the forged circle earrings.
This designs matches the forged teardrop earrings.  This one is a work in progress, I’m not totally digging the huge tear compared to the others.
 The next few pictures are a new feature necklace I am working on and may submit to Saul Bell (we’ll see, it’s a big scary).  The concept is circles, each and every part of the design is circular, not a strait line to be found.

 

Here is the silver disk to be enameled, I have already bent the wires to form the design.  As I said, I am challenging myself, those circles are tricky business.
This is after the first firing, I wasn’t really happy with the colors, so I changed them up.  It actually turned out really good 🙂
This is after I tweeked the colors.  I like the way it turned out.  Now it needs to be bezel set and put on its necklace.   I’ll post pics when it’s done.