Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Copper - Patina, Rivets and Stamping

And here is another patina project - a pair of earrings that speak to you. Well, at least if you believe in HOPE and LOVE, because that's what they "say"!
I have combined a number of different techniques to make this pair and I'm hoping to come up with more than this, since I really like the result.

I have used ammonia and salt to add patina to copper plates. I actually forgot about the experiment and left the metal "under influence" for longer than intended (2,5 days to be precise), so if you look closely enough, you might notice, that snippets of the metal have been eaten off by corrosion at the edges. But I don't mind, firstly this was my first experiment with patina, secondly I was trying to make the metal look aged anyway.
The patina was so thick I even had to remove some, otherwise it wouldn't hold on well even after spraying with clear paint. I had removed more patina from waht was going to be front side of the earrings and that created a nice effect of 2-coloured patina; red and green layers.

Then I've sprayed a clear paint over the plates, so the patina wouldn't come off or stain clothes. I have applied 2 coats on each side and let dry for several hours between the coats.

In the meanwhile, I have prepared 2 pieces of copper and stamped them with words HOPE and LOVE, one for each ear.

After the paint dried on the patinaed metal peices, I had to measure where to put holes for rivets and hammer the rivets on.

And then all I had to add were 2 handmade jumprings (how good does it sound, instead just jumprings) and earwires. Tadaa!

Here is front and back of the earrings:

Hope & Love... who's in?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Some Simple Earring Designs

I'm going to be traveling for a month now (so you won't see me around for a while) and I'm going to visit my family as well - so what better to bring to family and friends than a handmade gift! In my case jewellery :-))) - what else!
Most of the earrings from my previous post have somebody's name already written all over them. And here are just a few examples of SUPER simple designs that take just a moment to create - all you need is a wire, steel block, chasing hammer - and earplugs!

New Copper Earrings

My love-affair with COPPER seems to be never-ending! Well, there are several reasons for this - copper looks amazing, copper is in vogue right now and it's fairly inexpensive! And as if I needed another reason, I have lots of copper wire at home!
Remember my "trash stash" that I got from our Engineering? I got even more! Lots of discarded copper wire! It's rubber coated (like telephone wire) - so guess what I was doing for hours and hours while watching my fav TV programs? I think you got it: stripping my precious wires off their rubber clothes!

And here is what I've been working on recently:

Copper earrings with lots of copper beads.

Just wires - hand forged and hammered:

Swirls with copper beads:

And simple hammered swirls:

And this is just a bonus - next swirly earrings will be patina-coated! This is what ammonia with salt can do:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Talking Trash

Somebody's trash - someone else's treasure...
I'm sure you've heard the saying before - and I'm sure you have tried it for yourself: passing something you don't need onto somebody who appreciated it etc.

I have always wanted to try making something like STEAMPUNK style jewellery or MIXED MEDIA. But where do I get a broken watch or cool looking computer parts without necessarily buying them? And then it dawned on me - I work in the hotel, in a biiig hotel, and something gets broken all the time. So I went to our Engineering - and guess what - all it took was putting up a little box and saying something like "OK guys, when you dismantle something and you have a bunch of wires or metal pieces left, don't throw them in trash, but put them in this box."

It's been only 2 weeks since I put up the empty box, and LOOK!!!

This is just a selection of some of the pieces that ended up in my hands.

Alhtough I had to clean some (oil/ vaseline residue), it was totally worth it! Here some of the pieces shined with a cloth:

Let's see what I'll be able to create with these!

Monday, August 3, 2009

HOPE - Bracelet With Stamped Message

I was playing with the copper sheet more and more - I have already 2 products with similar design on Etsy. This is one of those - HOPE stamped bracelet.

I really like working with stamps a lot and was thinking to order a whole alphabet on Etsy - a few sellers have some unexpensive sets for sale. Don't laught, I have only a few letters that I had made on order in India, because before that all I could find were really pricey sets. Now after exploring Etsy closer, I have discovered more possibilies.

How do you like this bracelet?

Friday, July 31, 2009

Playing With Fire

Not a long time ago I've purchased a torch in hardware store. I have finally tried to make ball end copper headpins. Not very nice, but it was the first time - I wanted to take a picture so fast, that I didn't even remember to clean the blackened layer off!

But what I'm more pleased with is my own version of rivets! This is what I did with a piece of copper sheet - there are two different colours of rivets - and if you look closely, you will see that the two sheets have a different colour too. That's because the smaller one is heat-cured (with the torch) - the lower pictures showes it better.

I think it looks quite cool!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Indian Secret - Necklace

This is a new item I made yesterday - and I put it on Etsy straight away!

Brass chain holds mother-of-pearl chip with photo transferred Hindi writing and a Rudraksh (holy nut from India that has healing powers and spiritual powers).
The red thread is Hindu holy thread that every Hindu person ties on their wrist for protection).

Monday, July 27, 2009

New Item On Etsy - Brass Key Earrings

This is a new listing I have added to my Etsy shop today!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My New Shop on ETSY.COM Finally Opened!

Yes, it's here! My shop on Etsy is finally open! At the moment there is only one item, but it will slowly fill up with more (I HOPE SO).


Keep your fingers crossed so I can get some good views!

Copper Bracelet With Ceramic Bead (And Herringbone Weave)

I was trying all different kids of herringbone weave in the past few weeks - and this is again another thing that came up from that.

I was trying to give the bracelet a bit of organic feel by making the band with swirls. I also didn't want to overpower the weave around the bead.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Low-cost Metals - Cheap or Just An Alternative?

Browsing through my blog you cannot miss that I like using copper in my pieces. I have also started using some brass in my jewellery. I'm definitely not discovering anything new here - read this article from Beading Daily on low-cost metals in jewellery:
This article touches the use of copper, brass and pewter in jewellery. Also in spring 2009 issue of Step By Step Wire Jewelry (which I highly recommed for anyone learning to work with wire) an article called "Affordable Alchemy" recognized low-cost metals including steel and telephone wires as an alternative material for jewellery makers. (Here is the cover page and contents:
Articles like this helped me feel better about not using precious metals while making jewellery (at least for now, I hope to introduce sterling silver line one day).
I really like when jewellery looks antique and worn. I am a bit old fashioned and like things with stories behind them. So I have attempted to recreate something I thought might have been in my Grandma's treasury box. I used brass, pearls, Czech firepolished beads and glass beads.

You can combine and layer these long necklaces - and that's another thing I like!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Back For Real And With New Ideas

Does it ever happen to you - waaaay too many ideas and no time to make them into a piece of art? And way too many other things you want and need and must do...

With my almost two-months break without computer I wanted to do so many things, but didn't. As always. Sometimes the ideas just STOP me instead of push me forward. I have all the wires and tools and beads put outside - and then I get completely confused as to what I wanted to do right now! I wanted to try another variation of herringbone weave (sure, still my favourite), but I also wanted to try something similar I just cut out of a magazine yesterday, but I also have a picture I wanted to transfer on a shell.... AND I ALSO WANT MY DAY TO HAVE 24 HOURS! Well, you might say this is easy - a day does have 24 hours indeed. I want those 24 FOR WORK AND CREATING! No sleeping, transit time etc. PURE 24 hours.

Am I just trying to bite a piece too big for my mouth?

Well it wouldn't be the first time, as you can see...

But I didn't only sleep all this time when I couldn't show you any photos - I will slowly show you my new projecs!

Here - I started making my own earwires:

I have also figured out, how to get patina on copper - this is the first try. You can still see the OHM sign stamped into the sheet - I can feel this is going to turn into something cool!

And because my day doesn't have enough hours, I will go to bed now.... more is coming!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Another Free Tutorial from Jewelrylessons.com

Still no news on my broken laptop... I'm buying a new one, as I feel like I'm missing an arm. OK, maybe just an ear, but missing it a lot :) 
This is a disease that comes with modern society - computers became such a big part of our lives that we feel lost without them. Mobile phones, TV sets, iPods a.s.o.... we have these arm extensions in the form of electronics. Boy, I don't own a mobile phone now, but I remember when I did - the battery would die and I'd be restless till I could recharge it and see for myself that I hadn't missed an "important" call indeed (when I'm a CEO of some sorts, I will remember this story and laugh with my never-out-of-battery super-satellite raspberry-thing in my pocket). Now I just come home and see if the answering machine blinks.
When we lived in Ireland (that's why I have such a funny accent by the way - I'm sure it's very tangible on me blog :), we never owned a TV. We just watched DVDs on a laptop if we felt like it, but never missed the telly itself. But with the computer, it's different. I AM MISSING IT! I like being in touch with my country via news on the net, I like browsing my friends' blogs and photos, I like using it as a phone! To me, it's all of the modern extensions in one little flat box!

Enough of the weeping, at least I have the aforementioned Apple, my husband's computer. That allows me to introduce another free tutorial, courtesy of www.jewelrylessons.com again!
Learn basic weaving techniques and incorporate them in your designs!
This is what the tutorial teaches you:

Find the full tutorial for FREE here: 

If you're not sure, how to get the free tutorial, have a look at my previous post. And then go to jewelry lessons' website and find so much more!

Happy learning!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Briolette Wrap Tutorial from Eni Oken

My computer is still in a coma, so I cannot post any new pictures. But I don’t want to leave my blog asleep, like I did already once! Well, isn’t this a great time to share some wonderful teachers with you?
I have mentioned this wonderful website already a few times:

Go have a look, if you didn’t do it yet! I urge you! If you want to learn something new, if you want to get inspired, have a question about jewellery-making (and sometimes not only that:) and if you want to share your work with other inspired artists, you HAVE to go there, just HAVE TO!

Eni Oken is a great self-taught jewellery artist, who has a lot of knowledge to share. Together with other selling artists she is the patron of http://www.jewelrylessons.com/. You can buy tutorials for some amazing projects, but some tutorials are for free – and here is one of the free ones, from Eni Oken - Briolette Wrap:

Here is the link: http://www.jewelrylessons.com/tutorial/briolette-wrap
Although you have to be a registered member of the site, don't worry - registering is for free. You can only gain!

Are you really still reading this blog entry? Go to http://www.jewelrylessons.com/!


A genius left us… Michael, you will be missed greatly…

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Neverending Trouble - War Machine vs. Man

I am so sorry I wasn't posting for a while. Believe me, I wasn't sleeping, I made some nice things, but....... my laptop is broken. It went back to his makers' (wow, that sounds very human, but in this case it means that it still might be repairable) and I don't have any news as of yet. 
My husband's laptop is an Apple and I'd rather eat it than work on it :-)
I just don't have a sufficient photo editing program on hand.

I haven't been keeping in touch either - in fact for the same reason. One computer is just not enough in our household (see, we don't fight over the remote control, we fight over the computer), so I'm trying to limit my on-line time right now. Just wait when I get my broken baby back (or buy a new toy)!

And if all of the above wasn't enough, there is news from work: all access to web addresses that contain 'blog' in the name has been blocked... boooo! So I cannot even have a look at my favourite blogs!

Well, everything bad is supposed to be good for something in the long run, right? I cannot wait for the great thing coming ahead! Because that will have to be BIG!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

I Think You Know...

...what is my favourite technique so far... how many Herringbone project have I finished so far???
But to be fair, as a beginner I cannot ask for a more effective yet very easy technique.

This is a bangle made for my mum - she got a pair of copper earrings and wanted something matching.

Detail of the clasp:

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I Fell off the Wagon...

I fell off the train… and I’m climbing back.
My blog has been asleep for what seems to be an eternity – at least in bloggers’ terms. Since I came back from India, it seems like my day doesn’t have enough hours. I have so many photographs and, of course, our families want to see them right now (slowly, slowly they are appearing on misandeep.webgarden.cz), and the summer is here, so I can’t just sit at home when I feel like hiking and… and…
…and I’m sorry, if you’ve been waiting for some new creations. I did make some new things, but mostly I was experimenting – let me introduce my very disastrous attempt to make a coin frame (remember the beautiful Indian coins I brought from my trip?) and them the less disastrous attempt that followed:

This is the disaster - I thought I could just cut a thin stripe of metal sheet and wrap it around the coin and that will be it. Well, you guessed it - it's not that easy and that's why it spelled disaster.

So the next experiment had to be more thought through - so I decided to 'invent' a prong-style setting for my coin.

Looks better, huh? I did have a hard time cutting the metal (I don't have any special tool, my sheet is really thin and a pair of sharp scissors does the job:), so the edges are not completely smooth. If I wanted to sell this piece, I would have to make sure the edges are snag-free...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Indian Treasure

It's been a whole month! I spend a vacation in India and now I'm back in Wyoming and it's pouring rain.... it was 110 F a few days ago!

Thank you for your nice messages in the meanwhile Kristin, Kathleen, Susana and others! I have to see what you've created within the month!

The vacay was wonderful, although it was a bit too hot for my liking, but what wouldn't you do for the family, right.
Oh, an explanation would be helpful - I didn't write about myself much in this blog yet: my husband is from India and that is also where we got married (twice :))) - once as a civil ceremony and a few years later in a proper grand Hindu ceremony), so logically we take regular trips to see our family.

So it hasn't been all sightseeing and travel, it was mainly about spending time together, eating loads of homemade food and sleeeeeping!
But this time I made a point of searching for some things that can be used for unusual jewellery pieces. And as I am still recovering from my post-travel cough and jet lag and back-to-work syndrome, I'm not sure when I will start playing with all those wonderful things I brought with me, but I can at least share what they are - and belive me, it IS an Indian Treasure!

If you are interested in the traveling itself, please see our photo website on misandeep.webgarden.cz - this is where all the pictures will be (it will take a while to upload and describe this trip, but you can see the previous trips and our wedding there too).

Here are some wonderful old coins, most of them not valid anymore, all lost and again fetched from the waters of the holy waters of Ganges river (not by me).
BTW - Doesn't it sound even more interesting adding such a description instead of just writing 'old coins'? They are really fished from the Ganges and sold by very poor people in Haridwar - one of the seven Hindu holy cities.

Here are two amazing stone necklaces that I found in Musoorie, a town in Himalayas - amethyst and carnelian - the amethyst one is definitely my favourite, it is an antique row of graduate amethyst stones cut in China.

This is Rudraksh - a holy nut-bead that you might have seen wearing Indian sadhus (the holy men) and Shiva devotess. These beads have actually healing properties and are supposed to help improve the health of their wearer.
I have 3 different sizes of the beads, all purchased in Haridwar.

Some soft wire finished necklaces, just ready to get pendants on. These (and more elaborate variations) are used a lot in India for costume jewellery.

Detail of the wire necklaces:

Here come the tools - I have a brand new ring mandrel and bracelet mandrel!

Here is a sheet of copper and cutters for it, pin wise and a small-sized hammer.

Sheet of brass and copper and brass chain (needs some cleaning, but the shape is so cute).

I'm not sure what this is called - it's a mold for metal (surely it can be used for a million other things, even with art clay or polymer clay), the guy whose workshop I raided explained, that you use a clay or playdough, place it on a metal sheet, place this mold on the other side of the metal sheet and keep banging with mallet or hammer on the dough which will push the metal into the mold and eventually you will get a plastic image of the mold in the metal sheet (it will be raised). I'm not sure if I will be able to recreate his words... but I will definitely try!

The last thing I have are these metal stamps, made on order - just a few letter to start with to see how it works for me. I can always get some more - I'm sure this guy will remember me, I must have been the first foreigner in his workshop ever...
Can you see the OHM? There is also a lotus flower and letters that spell LOVE.... I am quite stroke by this find.
You can find all sorts of things in India, only if you speak Hindi though. It usually starts with asking in a jewellery shop (this is in our town Pune, Maharashtra):
"Do you sell the parts? Do you sell gemstones?"
"You have to go to this and this shop and ask for Amit. He will know."
"Hi Amit, this person from this shop is sending me. He says that you sell xxx."
"I don't, but if you go to this and this shop, ask for Jasmeet and tell him I sent you."
"Hi Jasmeet, Amit sent me. Do you sell xxx?"
"Aaah, I know what you mean. You actually have to go to Sanjay's worshop and talk to him."
"Hi Sanjay, Jasmeet sent me......."
-Most of the streets in the market area don't have manes, so to find the shop or workshop, you have to get directions like 'two blocks straight, when you see Ahmed's paper shop turn to the right and ask for Venkat's workshop'.
We have discovered a tiny workshop on top of another workshop in the maze of the tightest little streets... if we didn't make all the acquaintances, we would never in the world have found it. Let's say that the entrance within the other workshop only looked like a set of shelves on the wall - that small and tight the staircase was.
What an adventure!