26 May 2009

A Busy May

The weeks have flown by since my last post, and even though I haven't written here, I have been doing and making a lot! It seems the trees have leafed out overnight, and I have been spending lots of time out in the garden, pulling weeds, and getting ready to plant. The other day I had the windows open, as the weather was quite warm, and the intoxicating smell of pear blossoms filled the house while I worked on a piece of jewelry. Heavenly!

After finishing Kelly's wedding crown, I was still enamoured by those lovely keishi pearls, and made a couple more pairs of earrings with them. I have been working like mad, making jewelry for my upcoming showing at the Ketchum Arts Festival, coming up on July 10-12. This will be my first arts festival, and I admit that I am more than a bit nervous (of what, I cannot say, just nervous). I have been trying to make pieces in a variety of price ranges, and still give free reign to my creative urges.

I made a series of hoop earrings with multiple drops, and tried my hand at wire filigree work in the style of another wire artist I admire. I also finished the second of an intricate pair of tribal style hoops I started in the winter. I'm glad I took the time to finish them, as they are exquisite!

Over Memorial Day weekend, I finally talked my husband into going to see a movie in the theaters with me. He doesn't usually care for going to the theaters, as he doesn't like people talking around him while he is watching a movie, or missing parts if nature calls. We saw the new Star Trek movie, and we both loved it! When we came home, we found the original episodes on cbs.com and have been having fun watching them again (me, curled up in my chair, making jewelry at the same time).

My latest project was inspired by a piece by another artist friend. She had made a wire wrapped lotus blossom pendant, which I liked the shape of, so as we watched Star Trek reruns, I began sketching out my version. I wanted mine to incorporate wire filigree, and then I had a sudden inspiration to add a row of rainbow stones for each chakra. I had one beautiful blue tourmaline bead I'd been saving for something special, and soon gathered the other colors from my gemstone stash. The pendant grew quickly, and turned out even better than I had hoped.

Now on to my next jewelry projects, and planting my garden!
Thanks for stopping by!

07 May 2009

Pearl Blossom Wedding Crown

Kelly has been my best friend for almost 15 years now, so when she told me she was getting married and needed a headpiece, I knew I would have to make her something really special!

When my girls were little, Kelly lived next door to us, and so, in addition to my daughters wearing my braided daisy crowns, Kelly often got one, too. She always loved wearing flowers in her hair. I decided to make pearl blossoms like the earrings I made earlier, so her wedding flowers would last a long time, but was having trouble picturing the actual crown.

One lazy Saturday afternoon, my husband and I decided to lay down for a nap. As I was dozing off, I suddenly saw in my mind how the crown would look! Nap forgotton, I got up and immediately started sketching it in my jewelry notebook, so I wouldn't lose the idea. I was thinking at the time, that it would convert into a necklace, so that she could wear it for more than just her wedding. Knowing Kelly, even if it didn't convert to a necklace, she'd find a place to wear it! I had an old issue of Bead & Button magazine with an article by Sherry Serafini on how to make a beaded collar, so I used the measurements from her directions to plan out this tiara/collar.

I bent and hammered the sterling wire for the frame, and started wrapping it with fine silver wire. I had to use long sections of wire to complete the weave on the frame without noticable breaks. It is almost impossible to join a wire in the middle of this weave without it showing, and I wanted this to be perfect. Usually, when I am wrapping a piece, I use a piece of wire not more than 2 feet long, as the wire becomes work-hardened and more brittle as it is manipulated. For this piece, I used pieces from 3 to 12 feet in length. I had to be very careful as I wrapped to avoid bending or stretching the wire as I worked, but still wrapping it tightly. From time to time, I would lay out the pieces with the pearl blossom earrings I had made, to help me visualize where it was going.

After I wrapped both sides, I had to decide how they would join together. My original sketch was a bit vague here, and I would often sit with it on my lap for some time, playing with design ideas in my mind. I finally came up with a gently curving piece with a wider woven section across the center, to stabilize the design. Here, the finished frame is ready to add the keishi pearl blossoms.

Kelly told me that her other wedding jewelry was sparkly crystal/diamond style, so for the stamens of the blossoms I used Swarovski AB crystals for added sparkle. Each flower alone took me 1-1/2 hours to construct, and incorporates almost 7 feet of wire to make a 1 inch flower. For the chain, I also used Swarovski crystals to make the chain, and echoed the leaf design from the collier for the shape of the clasps. The leaf clasp is woven with the same design as the frame of the crown on the top half, then coiled on the bottom half, and closes much like a safety pin, for a secure closure. A smaller keishi pearl rests on the spiral of the clasp, like the buds on the crown.

So now that it is finished, I am spending a little time looking at it, before I send it off. It is always so strange to me that something this beautiful can come out of my mind and hands! I am thankful for my gift, and happy to be able to share it with all of you!

all the best,