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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Oakland Maryland and the Arts

This past weekend I had a fantastic time with my friends as we explored the sites in and near Oakland, MD. The road trip had a specific goal for me. I am considering Oakland to be my future home town in the next few years. I'm in the process of what I call 'research and development'. First, I need to absolutely love the town. Second, there must be art, especially 3 dimensional jewelry.

There is so much art. I had a terrific time looking. There are a few sources, but the most impressive is the Garrett County Council for the Arts. They have a gallery in town with many works of art hung on the walls; oil, acrylics, water colors, pencil and metal hanging sculptures. The counters and displays were full of glass, wood and my favorite cold connected wire jewelry. Here's their link http://www.garrettarts.com/index.html

The area is also the home of Spruce Forest, http://spruceforest.org/ with its many artists and their studios. Unfortunately for me, but lucky for them, the studios are closed on Sundays, so I couldn't visit them. But they are the very first item on my list for my next visit to the Appalachian Mountains. Some of the art that is offered includes painting, metal sculpturing, wood working, print making and yes indeed, cold connection jewelry.

Here I am checking out the Historical Society Museum. No jewelry to be found, but there is a lot of historic artifacts and history of the region. However, I am wearing all handcrafted jewelry so that counts for something.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wire Wrapped Pink Pendant

I love this new pendant and I was amazed by how quickly it came together for me. All those practice coils are starting to pay off. I started with a 20mm rondelle shaped howlite bead. I made the bail and anchored it through the center of the bead and ended it with a double ring. Then I made a long coil over a support wire and wrapped it. On the double ring there are 3 wrapped charms made from Swarovski crystals for some added bling. Right now it's hanging on braided leather, but I'm thinking it needs a sterling silver choker. Drat! That means I need to go to the studio and play.

I wore it Saturday to a wire working jewelry class and received 2 compliments. Jeanette liked the color. I have sent her the link to the supplier. Another lady taking the class liked the coil.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Egyptian Coil Bracelet Class

Last Saturday I road with Jeanette to her class at Bead Obsession in Old Town Alexandria. It's quite a hike from Reston to Old Town, but a trip well worth the time. The shop is small and intimate with lots of beads and wire and the ladies who work their are very knowlegeable and helpful.

Jeanette is teaching the same Egyptian coil bracelet class this coming Saturday in Reston, but I already have a comittment. This technique is very precise and requires lots of patience and practice. Anyone new to jewelry wire working would be wise to have captured the knack of making coils. From there it's all about being exact with the measurements and precise with where the bend for the link is made. For myself the bend at the right place was challenging, but this will improve and be perfected with practice.

I didn't complete my bracelet during class, but once I have it finalized I'll post a picture of it here. You can see a picture of Jeanette's bracelet at any earlier blog post.

Sunday, while waiting for tires to be installed, I sat in the waiting room and practiced making the Eyptian links. I plan on doing another practice batch later this week. I am determined to master this technique. The end result is a beautiful bracelet.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Happy Accident Fupah Bracelet

I took these pictures with very little time left before I needed to leave for work, so I just couldn't decide which background I liked best. So you get to see the same bracelet twice.

I made this late last night. I had an 'ideas' for the large link. Of course what I had in my head came out in wire a bit different. This link has a lot of possibilities. First to correct what I created. This link should be about an inch or 2 inches wider so it wraps around my wrist a bit. Also, it needs to be formed over a large mandrel to form more of a curvature before I work harden it. Lesson learned. The 'long' links on the sides with the wrapped wire around the center needed to be longer. It would add a bit more appeal and then I could leave out some of the jump rings. Guess who didn't measure. You know what they say 'Measure twice, cut once'. Well that goes for wire as well as wood.

The link has a lot of possibilities. Add some wrapped wire here and there; maybe some seed beads on the wrapped wire; maybe more charms; maybe wrapped wire and over wrap it with small beads on the rim. Oh, or I could add copper or bronze wire as the wrapping to add contrast. The other idea I had was to use the link as a hair clip, just add a chop stick through the end rings to hold the hair in place.