23 March 2009

Taking A Break?

My last wire project was very consuming, and I felt a need to take a break from my wire for a little while. My husband always laughs at me when I say I'm taking a break. He knows it only means I will madly throw myself into some other craft for a while, until I start playing with the wire again. He's right.

I spent a few days working on some bead embroidery, on and off, and for the last two days, I have been crocheting again. I made up a design for a tapestry crochet skull bag a few months ago (at the suggestion of my husband), and they are so darn cute, I keep making them! The first was for a friend who was visiting town from Boulder. He got a black one with three skulls in red. Then each of my daughters wanted one, and of course I had to make one for my love! (since it was his idea in the first place). I made a gray and red one for another friend, then didn't make any more until I thought, maybe I should make one for myself. I started last night with a red bag with a white skull, but when it was done, it was too red for my taste. I made up a gray one with a white skull, but it still wasn't quite right, so I keep crocheting. I feel like Goldilocks - this one is too red, and this one isn't colorful enough, but I still haven't found the combination that is "just right" for me. But I am having fun trying!

Meanwhile, I have some jewelry ideas percolating in my brain. It won't be long before I have to start madly making jewelry again. I'll have some more goodies to share soon!

'Til then, thanks for stopping by!
Hope you are enjoying the spring weather!

18 March 2009

Emerald Isle Necklace - Etsy Wire Artisans Guild March Theme Challenge

I made this necklace for the Etsy Wire Artisans Guild March theme challenge of 'Emerald Isle'. One of the things I love about being in the Etsy Wire Artisans Guild is our theme challenges. They give us a chance to broaden our ideas, and maybe try a new technique or design we have been wanting to attempt, but just needed the impetus to start. I am half Irish (on my father's side) and have always been fascinated by the amazing knotwork the ancient Irish used to decorate everything from standing stones, to weapons, to jewelry, etc. For years I have studied the techniques for constructing these knotwork designs, and have collected a number of books on the subject. Until now, I have only drawn knotwork designs on paper, but with this theme challenge, I decided to break out and construct one out of wire.

The design for this necklace was adapted from the book, Celtic Art, Methods of Construction, by George Bain (Dover books). I did a sketch of the knot in the size I wanted before starting. I started with just the knot, wrapping as I knotted it, so I could get the points on the corners where I wanted them. This is the knot before I started adding the embellishment. There is over 30 feet of wire in it at this point.

Here I took a picture while taking a break from wrapping the embellishments onto the knotwork. The center features a piece of green sea glass I picked up off a beach in Ireland, when I went there with my daughters in 1998, and the tiny green beads are glass seed beads. Each tiny bead was looped around with wire after being wrapped onto the knotwork, to frame it, and the sea glass is set in a bezel of faceted Thai silver beads done in peyote stitch.

There is close to 70 feet of fine silver wire wrapped into the finished piece, and it took over a week of patient wrapping to complete. This is another one of those pieces that when I finished it, I couldn't believe I made it! It is stunning!

Thanks for letting me share it with you all!

12 March 2009

The Adventures of Pip

It seems like there is always so much more to do than there is time in the day! And even though I have been a bit lax at writing here in my blog, I have been doing lots of other things. Of course, my jewelry making is usually at the top of the list for me. My latest, greatest creation is a beautiful sapphire dragonfly pendant. I have been wanting to make one for quite a while, but had a hard time coming up with a design I liked. I had started a couple of attempts that ended up on my scrap pile. It wasn't until I saw a dragonfly necklace in one of my friend's Etsy shop that I finally had the inspiration I needed. The pendant my friend used is a wonderful Thai silver, filigree dragonfly, with a faceted amethyst set in its thorax. For my dragonfly, I used a lovely 1.75 carat blue sapphire I bought last year (the color was so beautiful that I couldn't pass it up!), and tiny, faceted sapphire rondels for the abdomen. He was definitely a labor of love, and took me a solid day of careful and patient wrapping to complete! Though it only measures 2-1/4 inches by 3 inches, it incorporates over 23 feet (more than 7 meters) of wire.

Of course, I haven't just been making jewelry all this time. My husband and I have been going skiing almost every weekend, trying to use up our ski passes before the end of the season. I finally mastered the telemark turn, and suddenly, skiing became much easier, and lots more fun! We also have been training to be volunteer ski buddies for disabled skiers through Sun Valley Adaptive Sports ( http://www.svasp.org ), and yesterday I donated massage for a group of disabled war vets that are here for the SVAS outdoor program, Higher Ground. In partnership with Department of Defense and major military medical centers around the country, Higher Ground serves recently injured American Service members who have been severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. The purpose of higher Ground is to use sports and recreation as a means of healing and therapy. The program offers two winter snowsports camps, two summer adventure camps, and weeklong customized events serving more than 40 Service members and their significant others each year. The goal is to build physical skills and self-confidence, and to provide a fun, healthy, and meaningful experience, so the Service members can more easily transition into their new lives in their home communities. The group I worked with was great, and I was honored to be able to add to their healing experience.

I have also been active in the Wire Artisans Guild, since I was accepted as a member, and have been working on a celtic knotwork necklace for our March monthly theme, Emerald Isle. This is another project I have wanted to tackle for a while. My family on my father's side came from Ireland, and I have been fascinated by the ornate knotwork used in ancient illuminated manuscripts, stone carvings and jewelry, and have collected a number of books on their construction techniques. The monthly theme was the kick in the behind I needed to finally get around to making a piece of knotwork jewelry. I'm sure now that I have started, there will be more to follow.

And, for those who are local, or are planning on visiting our beautiful valley in July, this will be the first year that I participate in the Ketchum Arts Festival, July 9, 10, & 11, 2009. To that end, I have been making jewelry like mad, to have an abundant supply for the event. If you do come, please stop by my booth, and let me know you read about it in my blog, and I will give you 30% off any one item in my stock.

Thanks for stopping in! Enjoy each and every day!