Today I’m teaching a new class that I have looked forward to for some time. Tabs Are It!
This technique has something for multiple levels of participants. It can work for someone who has never previously walloped a piece of metal or for the more advanced metal worker. For the former, we are simply cutting the tabs with shears. The tab plate can then be riveted to a back plate if desired.
I’ve been excited about the variety of looks this technique produces and think it’s just right for those who do not want to solder.
Look for more pieces done in this style.
This is the “tween” time of the year when it’s still cold outside, but the stores have Spring showing on the inside. I’m supposed to be designing Spring/Summer jewelry, but my mind-set for this is out of whack. I’m hoping for warm weather soon!
In the meantime, I’ve been working on bracelets that will fit most any season. I saw some earrings on Pintrest that gave me the idea for the bracelet construction shown below and have enjoyed putting them together. I like the bracelets best, but have also used the technique for earrings and a necklace.
Each bead is on a separate headpin and I like making my own with the torch. I’ve also made wire squiggles for the end of some of the pieces. I used simple closed loops to connect some of the headpins and wrapped loops on other bracelets. This varies the look somewhat.
The amethyst bracelet shown directly above also sports a few extra dangles at the ends of some of the beads.
I enjoyed showing the 20 people who came to our Faux jewelry makers group how to make these last week. We had some nice pieces made.
I’ve had such a good time with these that I finally had to make myself move on to the next project. . . . but then, a gal can never have too many bracelets!
Many of you have seen my earrings designs that are published in the current Step By Step Wire Jewelry magazine. It’s pretty cool to see it in the corner of the cover and my tutorial is inside if you want to create them yourself.
These earrings are based on string art like many of us did in mathematics in school. There are several other versions of this design which are not in the publication.
I had forgotten about these other versions since I created them last summer. I may need to revisit them. How about you?
Retreat . . . How would you define it? The dictionary offers several ways including “movement back” and “withdrawal from position”. Neither of these describe the upcoming weekend event.
The Hill Country Bead Society is having a RETREAT this weekend at the Old Quilt Ranch in Wimberley and I’ll be teaching two classes. This is the group’s fifth year and they always provide good food, fun and camaraderie. What more could you want – except good classes.
The pictures below shows just a few of the possibilities students can make in the “Hot Earrings” class. I designed this class so students who have taken the beginning soldering class can practice their skills. Some students may choose to enlarge an earring design and create a pendant as shown in the second photo.
The other class is Torch Enameling II. We’re working with sgraffito, making and using enamel shards and using transparent enamels for the first time. It’s always fun to see what participants come up with as I encourage them to do their own designs rather than copying mine.
Looking farther into the definition of “retreat”, I found “quiet time” and “quiet place”; yet, neither of these describe the upcoming weekend. I’m thinking retreat can also mean “to get away from the usual, leaving regular chores behind in order to relax, renew vision and gather with like minded people.” It sounds good to me. Now I’m off to pack supplies.
Do you push yourself to learn new things, experiment with ideas even if they don’t usually work out or seek opportunities to do things that are likely too hard for you? I do! Often, I look for things to create that are just beyond my level of expertise in jewelry design.
I was struck by this philosophy as I cleaned my studio last week. I have numerous “dog bone” trays full of little things that didn’t work. There’s a tray of wire doodles, a larger tray of metal pieces and one or two of bezels, wire wrapped stones and partially strung necklaces. I would suspect that anyone who “makes things”, whether they are large pieces welded at the barn or small things soldered in a jewelry studio, has a container of things that didn’t work out as expected. It was neat to look through my piles and see that things that I couldn’t do months ago are now no longer a challenge. My prong settings are working well now . . .
. . . as evidenced by the double stone piece shone here. This type setting certainly propelled by stone work forward and now I’m finally confident in trying all sorts of new styles. The first prong that I attempt were not so good!
Also, I found a small collection of torch enameled pieces that were pretty awful looking. (no, I won’t be showing a photo of them here!) I had to laugh as I looked at the newer pieces that I’m working on for an upcoming class. I’m glad I stuck with it.
My conclusion from this is that trying things that at first seem beyond my capability, actually holds the potential for improving my overall technique. The most important element seems to me that I must not yield to discouragement when things don’t work out, but rather look at them as opportunities for growth.
I’ve enjoyed seeing the numerous posts by Facebook friends showing the joy of seeing family during the holidays. I’ve also had a great time, the last few days of which have been playing with the grandboy. I told his Mom and Dad a little white one, saying that I thought they might enjoy having some time to themselves. Yet, the truth was that I wanted to see that boy!
We had a super time, but we kept coming back to one of our preferred activities, hiding and finding objects. We had been reading Eggbert, the Slightly Cracked Egg and decided to make our own Eggbert and friends. While he thought we should do it with real eggs, I fortunately convinced him to draw faces on some plastic Easter eggs. We made Eggbert, Egg-guy, Egg-gal and Rocko. I have no clue about that last name.
After we had hidden those characters many, many times, it became clear that the activity could go on forever. By the second day of it, I really needed to do some computer work and had an idea. I helped him learn how to hide and find those eggs by himself. You see, when you wear the “Wild Things” cap, you are the hider.
But, when you remove that hat, you forget where the eggs are and become the hunter . . .
It worked like a charm and he was a good actor, pretending he had no idea where the eggs were hidden. I finished my computer task and we were off to another activity.
Today, he’s back with his parents and I just have those silly eggs. . . I wonder if that “Wild Things” hat would work for me . . . .
I don’t recall anyone (even my parents) ever calling me an angel, but in the last week I think I’ve connected with the type I would want to be.
After writing the Tree of Life tutorial for my etsy shop, I wanted to use the weaving in the round technique for something else. Weaving is a bit addictive and this one is especially interesting. So, I worked on creating an angel with this weave. This provided him or her with a 3-D body similar to the tree trunks. It’s also a project that doesn’t require as much weaving as the tree piece.
I had several miss-starts trying to figure out how to make the angel wings. Finally I figured that out, but had no way to give the angel a head. The halo was tricky too and in the end I added an extra piece to that part. This makes it possible to adjust the halo forward, backward or more to the side depending on the attitude of the angel. When I finally figured that out, a customer wanted this piece to be a pin . . . back to the drawing board to figure out how to weave the pin into the back of the angel. The weaving is too tight to simply secure the pin with another piece of wire.
The silver angels below are made from artistic wire which is much more difficult to use in weaving than bare wire. I still like working with copper wire best.
If I were an angel, I would want to be the kind, like these, that can adjust her halo depending upon the situation. Would that make me a divergent angel or just an wanna-be angel? hmm . . . that bears consideration. What kind would you want to be?
Today is my birthday and I can truly say that I don’t look more than a day over 63! I’m not writing this to solicit greetings since I’ve received a good many already and am appreciative of the messages and singing. I write this to tell you about my mother.
Most readers know that my mother, who will be 92 in a couple of weeks, has been in the nursing home for 8 years. It has allowed us more time together than we have had since I left home so long ago. I see her for nice visits in a nearby town at least twice a week and try to help her through this difficult final journey in her life.
Today, when I arrived for my visit, she said, “it’s your birthday!” I didn’t think she even knew what date it was and was surprised by this remembrance. She told me that she awoke this morning and knew it was my day. Then she worried about what gift she could give me. I’ve told her every year for the past ten that birthing me was quite enough. Yet, today she felt the need to give something more.
She explained to me that she couldn’t go shopping but wanted me to have “this.” She held up her little finger and pointed to her special ring. She’s worn this ring for as long as I can remember and I’ve always loved it. I didn’t want to take it, but could see that it was important for her to give it.
It took considerable effort and hand crème to get the ring off her finger, horribly gnarled by arthritis, but she was determined. Then I worried whether it would even fit me – it did. It fits my little finger just as it did hers and her actions touched me more deeply than she will probably ever know.
Of course she has touched me deeply before. I still her voice at times when I’m making a decision or need to turn a corner. As an only child, I received all the nurturing and encouragement she had to give. Now, as very slow dance partners, the lead has changed from her to me, but we both know where I learned the right steps.
Today, I will proudly wear her ring and be glad that I am blessed. Thank you Mamaw!
My last post about my son’s wedding had an error. I’ve corrected the link to the “first song” and it is as follows: