Monday, October 12, 2015

Tiny Earrings

They're small silver circles.  A fairly popular style with the jewelry community and I figured it was a good place to start with a small collection.  I'll maker some bar earrings next and maybe a few domed styles.  I've already begun to set some rose beveled cabs. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sunday Off, Cruising....

We took a short ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway today. 
It's the fall color season in the south and it has finally stopped raining.  Wow, everyone was out riding around and picnicking.  Loved it! Aren't the views beautiful?

Monday, October 5, 2015

New Clay

While I continue to work on the heart necklace I've been puttering with some new clay components.  Since I can work with the clay while I'm upstairs it makes a nice break in the studio action.  The necklace is very nearly ready to string up.  There's still a clasp, oxidizing, and some crimp covers to purchase for assembly and I'll be ready to go with the heart/litho necklace.  It seems like forever since the goal was a finished piece of jewelry rather than components.  They are both lofty goals and I've never viewed either as the more vital endeavor.

I guess I look at each little component as its' own complete piece.  I give each such careful consideration while I'm working on it - pumping them out was never a plan so I get to caress each piece, smooth the edges, pick out just the right bail (not to big a bend - not to small - call it a goldilocks obsession).  Instead of stamping them out I form each little clay piece by hand, stamp them, roll the edges and reform it....anyway, you get the idea, LOL. Clay components created by an artist with a perfectionist goldilocks obsession.  That about describes it - and why I'm so slowwww.....

As soon as this clay is glazed I'll be posting these in my new Etsy "PartsWerk" site.  And I say that with great enthusiasm like I actually think that will be tomorrow.  Sharon, you silly dreamer!  I've both lampwork and clay components to get listed.  All finished jewelry pieces will now be in the original RTAW site (the poor empty Etsy site you see here).  Slowly, but surely I'm working towards it.  It may take me a few more months for the unveiling but since I'm a one foot in front of the other kind of gal I'll get there - later than sooner, but I'll get there. (Smiles from ear to ear!). 

Here's a small sampling of the clay pieces waiting to be fired.  One batch has already gone in the kiln and I've bisque to get glazed while I wait for this batch to dry.

What have you been up to?  Fall always make me feel more productive.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Happily Working Along

I've been working on one of the litho square pieces and have expanded it to include a heart and hang from a two strand necklace with silver spacers. 

On one of the jewelry sites someone was using these great little tooled ends - my friend sent me the reference and I got some.  Today I pounded out a few designs and decided to make fancy headpins from them.  I needed an interesting one for the heart anyway.

     My friend, Susan asked me how I soldered the wires
     into the backs of the little buggers so I decided I'd post                                                            it here too.  After the designs are hammered in the front
the piece is removed the design steel by hammering a nail setting tool into the back of it.  It also leaves a mighty nice indentation on the back of the molded silver dot.  I push the silver form into a soldering board and use self locking tweezers to hold the wire in place.  I solder with easy solder since you don't need anything stronger.  You aren't going to be adding any other pieces so why use hard solder.  

For the ones in the top picture I had added a silver sheet round to the bottom and it covered up my center hole.  The best way to handle that is to then make your own divot in the sheet.  That divot is easily accomplished with a round burr that is either a cutting or grinding burr.  The burr shown in the picture happens to be a diamond coated grinder. 

           See the larger head pin on the heart?
In this last picture are two of the smaller head pins.  They will be great with bead earrings.  I haven't yet explored all of the possibilities but I'm off to a great start and it's wonderful to be back in the studio again.

Have a

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Newest Petite Litho Gem Necklace.

I've been working on some petite litho steel necklaces as a series.  Three variations are nearly finished.  I really ought to finish one of them at a time but it just never seems to work that way.  I prefer to do the patinas and setting at the same time.  This is the next one.  On the whole they really are on the petite side - see the photo of the folded tin pieces in my hand.  I will need to bend the silver tubing to make this work.  I've a tutorial on how to do that so I'm looking forward to trying it.

And before I got this posted I was working and found the instructions for bending tubing.  Check out: Art Jewelry - September 2015 Issue - Tube Hoop Earrings.   I found a suitable sized tubing in my old stash that I figured would work pretty good.   I bent the steel rod - not an easy task - into a curve I thought would give me what I wanted in the final piece and gave the whole thing a steady yank through the drawplate.  Hallelujah, I got that nice gentle curve I was after and cut my 5/8" piece off for my pendant.


Not quite done yet and I'm debating the merits of the ball on top of the tube but I think I'll go ahead and solder one on there since I think it mimic's the ball I want to add below the bead I've yet to create for the bottom.  The repetition of the round form won't hurt a thing - even on a little piece.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Antique Tobacco Barn

While our son Bob was here visiting after the trip from Michigan we decided to do a little antique shopping.  We only made one stop - The Antique Tobacco Barn in Asheville.  It was huge.  Here are a few shots.  I will go back - - - - again, and again, and again.   And, of course, we will go to others in the area - but after a thorough look through this one we were pooped.
What fun stuff - It seems liked miles of it.  I love the glove molds/ white gates/ and so much more.

Look at the wonderful textile bobbins.  A great nod to NC's fiber history.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

I'd say it was a busy month - but when aren't they?

As usual, things have been busy here.  We took a quickie trip back to Michigan to get what is the last major load of household items.  Mostly it was Brian's studio.  All of his tools from woodworking.  From being The Countree Toy Shoppe.  Only the greatest organic, wooden, recycling, toymaker in Michigan and beyond!  And yes, I am definitely prejudiced on that one.

The tools are now safely in his new area in the basement - a beautiful spot to work - even if there never will be a toy business again.  And, the overflow of regular household maintenance stuff (caused by the tools coming down) will move out to the new storage building in the next few months - after it's built.  Won't it be wonderful - a new deck and small building.  I can't wait.  What I can wait for is the bill on all of this - I so wish the house in Michigan would sell.  Fingers and toes crossed./

Below is a new pendant.  Not yet finished - stones need to be set, dangles figured out, and the square piece gets set a lot lower than it's showing here..  It's a variation from the drawings I showed in a previous post.  It's nice to be back to work.

Our oldest son drove his truck down here with a huge trailer.  While he was here we went to the Antique Tobacco Barn in Asheville and did some shopping.  Between there and a couple of thrift stores I scored a bunch more tin to work with.  Now for the cutting and storage - - -


Monday, August 3, 2015

On The Bench...

These are the designs I'm working on.  I'm trying to get as many of the mediums as I can into the piece without it looking overworked.  Can I do it?  I'm thinking YES.

Bezel for the top of the first design in all of its' gory glory before it's pickled and the backing cut. I'm planning to set an onyx in the bezel.  This one is going to be a black and tan piece.  I'll go for colorful in the second one.

Note the wonderful soldering aid the bezel is sitting on.   We used similar ones in Chris Darway's class at Wildacres.  It's just that old hardware store annealed steel wire.  Wrap a coil around a dowel, remove it, and fan it out into a soldering prop.  It sure is nice not to have to set up the tripod every time you want to solder.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Did I move to Heaven?

We live outside of Asheville, North Carolina.  I don't mean in a suburb - I mean in a different town but only about a half an hour away.  If that weren't fun enough, we are 18 miles away from Spruce Pine.  Spruce Pine is known as Mineral City.  It's not far from Penland.  They also have lots of Gem mines, a cute as a button town, and so on.  It is "up" the mountain.  You know, one of those switch-back road drives that motorbike riders love and truckers cringe over.  It used to make me cringe too but it's getting to be no big deal.  You just have to pay attention and go slower.  For an expressway driver from the Detroit area it's been a challenge to get used to the slower drives.  Even their expressway is 10mph slower at the top speed but I do think that the slower pace is better - and I'm growing to love it. 

So today we decided to check out the NC Mineral and Gem Show in Spruce Pine.  I figured it would be a little local show - nothing big.  The GLW had been in Franklin, NC a couple of weeks ago so how big could this be after that?  Uh, well count me bowled over.  There wasn't one little show - there were three pretty big shows.  Where was I, Tucson? 

We made it through two shows and I skipped the GLW since I'd been to Franklin.  Town was packed! The shows were fairly busy and it was only the first day and mid-afternoon.  Wow, what a shocker.  I feel like I've been dropped right into a jeweler's heaven.  Here is my loot - I was very careful.  I got everything, including my T-shirt for under 100 - what a deal.  It must be how everyone feels shopping in Tucson.  Now I'm a lucky ducky too.  I'm not sure what I'll set the gems into but they'd look great in some castings.  Hugs to all of you - and have a great day. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Bead Show!

 Inside what seemed like the never ending tent at the GL&W Show in Franklin, NC

When I left Michigan I left behind a batch of wonderful friends.  We used to attend this show in Michigan.  Like all shows, not all vendors attend all of this promoters shows.  Not that it mattered one bit.  The shows in Michigan were WAY down - my friends were disappointed by what they saw.  I knew one of my favorite shops - Archy's Rock Shop - was going to be down here in NC so we took a chance and drove on over there.  Whew, was I pleasantly surprised - shocked even.  It was a wonderful show with some vendors I hadn't seen since Bead and Button. 
I miss my friends - we went to this show together....but, have I told you how excited I am about our move?  (Smile)  It just keeps getting better and better.