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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Three Pendants for Art In The Park

Late last night I finished the drafts for the 3 pendants; bookmarks; or key fobs for the Northern Virginia Sat Sang Society "Art In The Park" event. I have deliberately spaced the wire further apart on the center piece with the leaf. The idea is for each student/Chela to choose the design they like best (hope they like at least one of them - that would be embarrassing). Then their final piece will be hung from a double strand of silk cording. The final piece can then be used as a pendant, or bookmark, or attached to a keyring. Choices, choices, choices, choices.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Wire Chandelier Earrings

Saturday I took another class with Jeanette. We learned how to make these wonderful chandelier earrings. This picture is of the practice earrings that are made from copper wire. I have the sterling silver wire ready and waiting for the pair I will wear.
If you look closely at the wire wrapping you will see very small eyes that are worked into the pattern from the same wire as the wrapping. This is just too cool for words. From these tiny eyes I have attached tear drop glass beads that have been wrapped to form a bead cap and then a connection ring which attaches to the tiny eyes.
As I look at this picture I notice the top loops.
need to be tightened up. I unwound them to add the small copper chain to the top. I'll get out my round nose pliers and correct these.
I'm thinking that I will order some Swavoski crystal drops to be added to the sterling silver set I will make. Then they will really sparkle as they swing from my ears. It'll take a few days to get the crystals in from http://www.artbeads.com/. Hopefully I'll be able to post a picture next week.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Double Helix Bracelet

Whew! Finally, I have completed the double helix bracelet that I started last week. This is the class Jeanette taught last Saturday.

Last night I assembled all the components that I had made. I have a few tweaks to make, because it doesn't drape well. Jeanette has let the students know to bring our bracelet to class tomorrow and she will assist us with the final adjustments. I'm really happy with this bracelet and I feel confident that the next one will be perfect. I really need to work on those jump rings and death grips on the tools. With more practice I'll be able to keep from marring the metal.

Tomorrow we are learning to make wire wrapped chandelier earrings. We may have enough time to make them in copper and in sterling silver. As always I'm really looking forward to another class. I've also ordered a rawhide mallot and step wrap pliers. The investment in professional quality tools is worth it and makes is a lot easier to work.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Camera and Photo Setup

No one told me that along with learning lots of wire techniques that I'd also be learning a lot about taking pictures to be published. I have stressed and stressed over getting decent quality photos. I've used boxes and lights; setup outside and in daylight. But I finally broke down and invested in this white gizmo. I think it's called a photo tent or a photo cloud. I kept putting off the expense because my vendor wanted about $90 for a tiny one. Finally I woke up one morning with EBay on my mind. There I found it. Brand spanking new with shipping and handling included at a buy it now price of less than $20. So it pays (really) to shop around and maybe you'll save $70 bucks like I did. Now I have more money for wire.

I've taken over an unused bathroom, which is next to my studio. I placed the cloud on a chest to bring it up to a workable height. My jewelry goes into the cloud (the front cover comes off and on with Velcro. My camera is on a Walmart tripod (the good tripod has my plein-air painting easel on it) Then I put a bunch of spare lights around it and they all are plugged into an extension cord. I plug it in when in use and make sure it's unplugged when I'm done because things get too hot to leave unattended.

Wire Wrapped Bracelet and Red Quartz Beads

I thought I would publish a picture of my first completed wire wrapped bracelet. This was completed during a class several months ago. I wear it a lot. The wire is sterling silver and it has big chunky 12mm beads and is a lot of fun. Yep! I made the clasp and the charms too. Even the jump rings. I'm getting better with those jump rings. They do like to challenge me.

I need to fix one of the spiral bead caps, because I caught the end on something and it has pulled away from the the spiral. Not a big deal. A pair of pliers and it'll be corrected in 15 seconds.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Homemade Hand Wire Coiler

Now I'm an inventor! I'm sure someone else has already thought of this, but I haven't found it yet. Here I have my clamp and I have inserted a Fiskers hand drill. Now the heavy gauge wire is inserted into the chuck, along with the smaller gauge wire. I use one hand to crank the Fiskers and the other hand to guide the small gauge wire around the heavier gauge wire.

For those that need numbers, I was using 20 gauge and wrapping 24 gauge around it. But these gauges change depending on what the project calls for at the time. This gizmo is very helpful when making a boat load of double helix coils.

Double Helix Practice

Last Sunday I went over to Jeanettes house and she taught me how to make a double helix. Isn't it beautiful? This only took me hours to complete! Not exactly what I would call efficient, but certainly time well spent. Plus, I had a great time in Jeanette's studio. Once I have completed many of these they will all link together with jump rings, a clasp and I will have a beauiful new bracelet.

Tomorrow I will be helping Jeanette with her class. She has 10 students registered to learn this technique. I believe my role will be to assist students with the hand coiler, since there are so many students. I hope I am of value to her and to the class. I'll give you all an update and hopefully a picture of my completed bracelet. I really want a new piece of jewelry to wear to work on Monday.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Mary Ann Testagrossa's Wire Wrap Jewelry Blog

I have found a blog that I am really impressed with. Her work is beautiful, so go take a peak. Mary Ann Testagrossa's Wire Wrap Jewelry Blog: My Blog has a Slide Show I really want to figure out how create a slide show like she has on her blog. I'd like to have a variety on my blog. Perhaps pictures of the studio...a clean and tidy studio of course and maybe I'll let you see the normal studio with beads, wire and tools scattered in no particular rhyme or reason.