Category Archives: Bracelets

Closure

 PICT0505 The term “closure” could mean many different things. When jewelry designers describe necklaces or bracelets, they may mention that closure is a toggle clasp, lobster clasp, button, etc. Clients may also ask for a favored type of clasp on a piece.

The closure I’m thinking of today, however, has another connotation brought to mind by the commissioned piece above that I recently completed. Several months ago, I received an email from a representative of a group of teachers in west Texas who wanted a special piece of jewelry to give to someone as a retirement gift. Luckily, I know that person, having worked for her when I did consulting in gifted education. It helped to be able to remember times I enjoyed with her as I designed this special piece. Closure for this person comes through retirement from a job.

Others I’ve encountered have faced closure with the loss of a special person who has moved on in one way or another. We faced a closure when we had to have our house cat, Blue, that has been in several blog pictures, put to sleep a few weeks ago.

My husband is much better at how to handle closure than I am. He worked for a large manufacturing company for over 30 years and had the unfortunate task of helping close several plants. With these closures, he faced the emotional turmoil experienced by many employees who found it tough to move on. He often recommended the book Transitions (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_b?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Transitions) as an aid. We have purchased and given numerous copies of this through the years and I don’t exaggerate by saying I’ve read parts of it at least ten times. While we each take away something different from reading, the message I receive from this book and from my husband’s help is that we must have endings. I would much prefer to ignore an unhappy closure or change and move on quickly, but that’s not necessarily healthy. Facing, acknowledging, and taking the time for endings is important.

With graduations, retirements, job losses, illnesses and economic changes, I’m taking time to realize that closure is just part of life. Feelings about it probably need to be experienced rather than ignored. Just how to do that is a personal issue for each of us to face in our own way.

Challenging the Directions

ChallPICT05391enging the directions has always been easy for me; therefore, following yesterday’s blog entry, I again attacked the bracelet shown on that day. I changed the wire gauge, utilized a variety of beads including the Imperial Turquoise Jasper I got from Turquoise Magpie Gemstones and went with my favorite “NO Clasp” adaptation. Although I hadn’t planned to omit the clasp, the wire was strong enough that it would have been superfluous to the design. It turned out to be quite earthy and the roughness of the recycled copper wire which I dug from the bottom of the bin at the Green Guy’s recycling establishment added to the look. (One of these days, the men at the recycling place are going to find me with only my feet sticking up out of the top of those big bins - - - but at least I’ll be smiling!)

I do have to talk to myself when I finish these rough pieces. I don’t want to compare them to fine silver bangles that are wonderfully uniformed and polished. For me, earthy is IN. Perhaps one day I’ll be “fine silver”. but NOT TODAY.

Directionally Challenged

For about 40+ years my husband has repeatedly told me that I am directionally challenged. There is, of course, the fact that I am short, about 5’2”, but I didn’t know it until he kindly made me aware of my stature. If you’re looking for something in my kitchen, you’ll want to look down, not up.

I’m also directionally challenged when it comes to geography and getting to a location via a map. I’ve improved vastly since driving myself for consulting jobs all over the state, but getting places is still not easy.

Then, there’s that small problem I have with following directions. I just don’t like them! Last week, while following a pattern to construct a purse and then also sewing a dress, I became painfully aware of my distaste for directions. Whether it’s sewing, cooking, or putting equipment together, I do not like them.

I guess that’s what leads me into design for through that avenue I can make my own directions. Lately, however, I’ve been intrigued with metal bracelets and felt I should learn the basics prior to branching out on my own. I must have listened to Phil Reuter’s wire wrapped gemstone bangle bracelet tutorial, http://wire-sculpture.com/pages/Video_On_Demand.html, four or five times. Finally, I have something that slightly resembles the piece shown on the video.  PICT05294I made myself try to follow the directions rather than venturing out on my own, but can see that I still need a good deal of practice. The clasp was the most difficult part although even wire wrapping is still a bit of a problem. I like the manner in which the clasp is attached as a separate piece to the bracelet. This makes it easier to put on.

In retrospect, I really did need those directions on the video and guess I should continue to work or my directional problem. Thank you Mr. Phil, wherever you are!PICT05324

Sharing Difficulties

I’ve always been a very open person. Although I try not to be a whiner, if you ask me how I am, I’ll tell you the truth, even if it isn’t pretty. I’m the same when discussing my design work. If something was easy, I’ll say so, but watch out if I’ve had a problem. Today, I’m still struggling, but one step closer to where I want to be, with wirework. The problem has surrounded making wire bracelets.

Deciding months ago that “copper is the new silver”, since silver is too expensive to use for learning something new, I visited the local recycling center. After entering the place with a bit of anxiety and uncertainty, I was delighted to find that  the heavily tattooed pleasant men there were very helpful and had an ample supply of copper wire in many different sizes. I made a great haul, carrying home a heavy bag full of wire for a mere $11. It could last for the rest of my copper phase days.

Armed with my expensive Lindstrom tools and inexpensive wire, I set out to make the perfect copper bracelet. After all, how difficult could that be? The answer is “VERY DIFFICULT” for a novice. After many failed attempts, I completed the simple bracelet show here. first I should have stopped with this tidbit of success, but NO, I had to add gemstones!. The first attempts at this feat remain shrouded with a cloth and declared deceased. There will be no picture of them. Finally, remembering that I’m the “never give up” woman, I tried one more time today. You can see in the photo below that this prototype may actually have possibilities. I still have miles to go with learning to weave wire, but it seems to be going more smoothly than when I began. Just as soon as I take more Advil and my arthritic thumb recovers, I may just try another piece. By the way, I especially like the hammering involved with this type of work.  Perhaps now when I’m stressed instead of saying “I need to bead!” I may be saying “I need to hammer!”

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  (By the way, the next time I go for copper, I’m paying more attention to those artistic tattoos. I’ll bet there’s a design idea hidden amongst them!)

Wow with Legs

Sunday, while listening to KGSR radio, I heard Jody Denberg (http://www.kgsr.com/jocks/jody.aspx) chatting with a writer from Rolling Stones magazine regarding certain albums and songs. Specifically, they discussed a new song by Bruce Springsteen and one of them stated it really had “legs”. Since this was a uniquely different context to when we ranchers talk about legs, I listened carefully. My take on their discussion was that sometimes you hear a new song and think “Wow” this is going to be great, but later, after repeated listenings the song just doesn’t have legs. My understanding is that if it has legs, it stands the test of time.

Applying this to the ranch business, we may look at a bull and take note of his thickness and straight back and how great he looks, but does he “have legs” in the sense that Denberg was using? Here at Dreamcatcher, we look beyond his initial appearance and examine his data and the type calves he is expected to sire in order to find whether or not he “has legs” and will be the type bull to make a positive impact on a herd.

So what could this possibly have to do with design work? Oft times, I may think I’ve hit on just the type of new design that customers will love. I’d call that a “wow”. Later, however, when that WOW doesn’t sell or bring rave reviews when I wear it myself, I have to face the fact that my WOW does not have legs! Last summer, I had such a great time making a particular bracelet design, that I completed ten or so in various colors and bead types before I realized it. Unfortunately, they were not popular and ended up in the “let’s make a deal” basket. The problem seems to be how to determine if a design that is a winner in my personal book will be a winner from a business standpoint. A big part of what makes a design Wow for me is the enjoyment I get from creating it and this doesn’t necessarily mean that others will like it as well since they are only wearing it.

The last couple of evenings, I’ve enjoyed working on embellished right angle weave bracelets. The one on the left was made very closely to the pattern suggestions, while the one on the right took flight. I’ve completed these two and would enjoy making another because these are WOWs for me. However, based on previously learned lessons, I’m going to get some customer opinions before making more of these and find out whether or not my Wow has legs and the design will endure. PICT0430c If not . . . I’ll have two new bracelets and have had fun!

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It’s a Match

PICT0301 A couple of stolen hours today resulted in this bead embroidered cabachon to match a bracelet I made last night (see below). I think the multicolored seed beads add interest to the tigereye. The bracelet is freeform using both peyote and netting techniques. 

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