30 January 2011

Copper Fairy Pendant Necklace

I am taking intermediate metals this semester, and we have several projects to make for the class. Our first project is a raised copper bowl. There are quite a few people in the class, and 5-10 people all hammering in the smithing room at the same time is very loud, so I decided to work on the second project (a bezel setting) during class and go into the studio outside of class time to work on my bowl. I taught myself how to do bezel setting last semester, but more practice is always good. I decided to go with the weekly theme for the Year Of Jewelry Project 2011 for Week 3 (the week I was in when I started my pendant), which was Mixed Media. As I was going through my boxes, looking for things to incorporate into my piece, I found an old, etched glass fairy stone I bought years ago at the Eugene Saturday Market. I used to take my daughters to the market when they were little, and they loved to buy these glass stones (and of course, I had to buy one for myself!).

I used copper for the setting, to set off the purply tones in the glass. I hand stamped the design on the metal frame, using different shaped stamps. Each mark was made one at a time. I also stamped the word "believe" in the bezel. (I do believe in fairies! I do! I do!)

After I finished setting the stone, I decided to make an eclectic chain using a mixture of colorful beads I have collected over the years. The beads include: faceted amethyst nuggets, turquoise, fluorite, amazonite, azruite, a carved agate barrel bead, lampwork beads by Donna Millard and Tanner Studios, AB Swarovski, faceted clear quartz, labradorite, green quartz with pyrite inclusions, a bone skull bead, an antique Tibetan coin, and vintage cobalt blue glass beads. The chain is 25 inches in length, so I can put it on over my head, and the pendant hangs in the middle of my chest (so I can easily admire it while I wear it).

My next bezel project will be a ring for my mom using a custom cab by Donna Millard set in fancy gallery wire, and a small, tube-set sapphire. Of course, I will post pictures when it is done.

all the best!

11 January 2011

2011 Year Of The Seahorse

Happy new year, everyone!

I started the year by joining in the Year Of Jewelry Project 2011. I have followed the YOJP for a number of years now, and this year I decided to take part myself. I started the year off by making a number of my signature seahorses using a string of gorgeous tourmaline beads I found toward the end of last year. I picked the darkest greens and blues from the string to make a special gift for my sister, who is dying from an inoperable brain tumor. My first thoughts of seahorse jewelry were inspired years ago by the "Live Seahorse Family!" she bought through the mail from an ad in a comic book. Unfortunately, all but two of the seahorses were dead on arrival, and the last two joined them soon after. My sister dried those last two, and wanted to figure out a way to make them into earrings. Oh! How I wanted them! They were so delicate and lovely! Flash forward to just a few years ago. I had made a pair of wire wrapped earrings with a spiral on the bottom, and five people in one day told me they reminded them of seahorses, and I thought, "SEAHORSES!" So after all this time, and all the seahorses I have made, I decided to make a very special one as a Christmas gift for my sister, and the daughter she will leave behind.

After the holidays were over, and things settled back into a normal routine, I thought again of making more seahorses. there were still a good amount of the tourmalines, so I went to it!

New Year's Day saw the birth of a lovely pink tourmaline seahorse with a beautiful keishi pearl dorsal fin. I loved how the pearly soft colors looked together, and carried more of the pearls into the wire wrapped gemstone necklace chain.

The next day, another green tourmaline seahorse came forth. It was of paler greens, and I used a prasiolite (green amethyst) briolette for its dorsal fin. A friend who has been wanting one of my seahorses, but was waiting for the right one, saw it and immediately claimed it for her own.

The third seahorse, made on 3 January, was made in shades of yellow, and went to another friend who has been wanting one of my seahorses.

By this time, my supply of tourmaline beads had dwindled, but I thought I could squeak out one more small one. The stones that were left were in shades of pale pink, with a few watermelon tourmalines. As I was looking for just the right briolette for its fin (I settled on a beautiful, faceted watermelon tourmaline briolette), I found part of a string of tiny, pale pink rose quartz beads, and I decided that they would look fantastic with the tourmalines, so I used them instead of my usual silver beads to fill the body of the pendant. The results were delightful!

It always makes me happy to make these little creatures, and I feel a few more waiting to be born. I ordered more gemstones with seahorses in mind, so you will be seeing another flock of them soon! As always, I donate a portion of every seahorse sale to organizations working to protect and conserve these magical creatures. Jewelry with a conscience! I love that! I will post them here and on the YOJP blog. Thanks for popping by!

Wishing you all a wonderful 2011!

Project Seahorse: http://seahorse.fisheries.ubc.ca/index.html

The Seahorse Trust: http://www.theseahorsetrust.co.uk/