Monday, October 29, 2012

A Flea Market Score!

I was mostly working every weekend in the past 2+ years until recently. And weekends are THE days for farmers markets and flea markets and garage sales. So in the past few weeks I really enjoyed the new reality and went to Fremont farmers market (which is half farmers and half flea) nearly every Sunday. Here are some pics from what it looks like there and of what I scored!

This little stash cost me only $3!

And this mix under $20... I love me a good bargain!

Fremont is a little special neighbourhood in Seattle, very worth exploring any day of the week...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fusing - Eighth Technique Learnt This Year!

I am at number eight with my pledge (remember ?) - I took class to learn fusing silver. Again in my local bead shop Fusion Beads.
This was far the most expensive class I have done yet - not because of the tuition fees, but the cost of material. Fusing can be done only with pure silver (sterling doesn't work well, sometimes at all) so the wires I have purchased for this class totaled at almost $50! But I did learn to work with pure silver, how to handle a torch and lots of other tricks.

The easiest to start with is a simple chain and that's what was the objective of the class. I chose to make my links oval in shape and textured them with hammed (which you should be able to see on the second picture) before tumbling it. Have a look at the chain, I still need to purchase a clasp for it, but otherwise I am happy with the outcome. And I still have some wire left from the class, so when I buy a torch, I might make some more fused elements.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wire-wrapped Big Jade Bead

My mum asked me to try to make something out of this beautiful jade bead she found somewhere. I am sorry I didn't take a picture with a coin or something else to show the scale, but when I see my mum again, I'll try to get a photo of her wearing it :) 

This is the pendant that I ended up with:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

How Far Did I get with My Pledge?

Back in February I have decided that I shall learn 10 new techniques this year. So let's have a look how far I got. These were some ideas I had:

  1. sawing - yes and yes! This is probably so far my favourite new technique, it can change and define so many designs.
  2. chainmaille - one pair of earrings to start with. I need to stock up on jumprings...
  3. etching - yes, this is another great technique to enhance metal jewellery.
  4. riveting - I like it, although I feel like I need to work on it much more.
  5. foldforming - off to a good start, I have many ideas that I will hopefully be able to make a reality.
  6. viking weave - another new technique I fell in love with!

  1. Here is one technique that wasn't on my list, but I learned:
  1. Chasing & repousse!

 Not tried yet:
  1. soldering
  2. electroforming
  3. drilling
  4. stamping
  5. enameling
  6. working with resin ............ and maybe something else too...
So that's 7 done and 3 to go - I better hurry up and it's already October, I hope to hit my goal! Fingers crossed!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Chainmaille - My First Project and Number SEVEN On My "Pledge List"

Seven - for some people a lucky number, for me it is right now another point on my "To Do List" done! I have learned seven NEW jewellery making techniques this year! Yes! 

Today on the menu: CHAINMAILLE (or chain-maille).
Chainmaille has always been intriguing to me - it can be tough and feminine at the same time, and it uses wire. Well - jumprings, but they're made from wire, so there are as many material choices as there are kinds, gauges and colours of wire.

The biggest accomplishment of "Mission Chainmaille" is the fact, that I made my own jumprings out of hardware wire! Very proud of myself. I tried to saw the jumprings first, but I broke one blade, so I have decided to cut them with flush cut pliers. I was just watching some movie and snipped away:)

My first project was a pair of earrings combined with copper washers of two different sizes. My inspiration came from magazine Step by Step Wire Jewelry (Jun-Jul 2011) from  tutorial by Lauren Andersen; but I would also like to give credit to Amy Sanders, who was the originator of the design and who also generously offers a FREE TUTORIAL on her blog here:

I discovered the online tutorial after working on this design and found it mainly because I was looking for who to give credits to.

OK, now here is the design:

And here are the finished earrings with earwires and after oxidizing.
There is only one problem with them: they are VERY heavy. Very heavy. So I will not try to sell them but keep them as a showpiece:)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Foldformed Heart Bracelet

I found inspiration in the last issue of Step by Step Wire Jewelry magazine - Abbi Berta's design "Battered Heart" came just on time for my foldforming fever. This is Abbi's design:
Here is my version of the metal heart. I have added some hammered texture to the fold:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Foldforming - I'm at Number SIX Technique

Foldforming seems to be the latest craze in metal working world of jewellery!
In case you missed some of my earlier posts, I made a pledge to learn 12 new jewellery making techniques this year (this is the original post). With foldforming I am at number 6! Half way through!

"Ruegel Fold" looked the easiest to start with, so I tried to make 2 leaves - and I'm quite happy with the result!
Check out the colour magic (second picture) created by mini torch.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Fancy Clasp with Turquoise

A friend ordered a bracelet for his daughter (same design as here). I wanted to make a different style clasp this time, so I added a pair of small turquoise beads:

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sawing OHM sign - Mixed Metals

Sawing is so versatile - it can expand the possibilities of design for anybody working with metal. You can cut ANY shape out of sheet metal and add it to your creations.
It was my very good friend's birthday and I wanted to make something special for her. She loves yoga and works as a massage therapist focusing on energy work - so I immediately thought OHM....

I made a pendant of mixed metals: hammered aluminum sheet, copper sheet and brass beads and rivets. All that hanging on a brass chain. She loved it!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Chasing and Repoussé - Number Five

What does Wikipedia say about Chasing and Repoussé? Repoussé or repoussage is a metalworking technique in which a malleable metal is ornamented or shaped by hammering from the reverse side to create a design in low relief. Chasing is the opposite technique to repoussé, and the two are used in conjunction to create a finished piece. It is also known as embossing.
I took another class in the Fusion Beads here in Seattle, this time with the wonderful Janice Berkebile. We were actually learning two techniques - basket weave and repousse/ chasing.
The piece was called "Fruit of the Vine" and this is what the finished jewellery looks like (Janice's own piece):
Here you see a pod filled with beads/ pearls and a beautiful leaf forged out of metal sheet. The pod was a very nice and intricate weave to learn, but I was primarily interested in the repousse technique. Honestly, it took me FOREVER to get a nice leaf shape out of a piece of copper sheet, but once I was finished, I was feeling like a king! unfortunately this is something I wasn't able to replicate at home yet, because the chasing tools are very pricy and I will have to find a very good reason (or sell some of my handiwork) to be able to justify a buy like this. So for the time being, I am keeping my beautiful leaf for myself. And hopefully later on I will find that reason to invest into a bundle of chasing tools.

Here is my pod:

And here is the leaf I'm so damn proud of:

Saturday, May 26, 2012

More Sawing - Birdie Necklace

Here is a necklace I have created after seeing an episode of Portlandia called "Put a Bird on it!" I guess all the hype about birds on bags/ pillows/ jewellery .... is because a birdie is non-offensive! The case of dogs and cats could be always up for a debate - if you're a "cat person", a doggie ring might not make you happy and vice versa, however a birdie is just fine. Haha. That was just a thought.
And totally by chance, the second design I tried with saw was a bird too (see it here)!

The bird is copper, chains are antiqued brass and the beads are small faceted peridots.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sawing - Number Four Technique

I still remember the day when I spent $20 on metal shears in our local hardware shop... I was so excited that I would be able to cut ANY metal into ANY shape! But that didn't quite happen. While it was easy to cut very thin sheet metal and it was good mainly for straight lines, more complicated shapes were nearly impossible. And I knew that if I wanted to continue exploring metal, I shall learn to SAW!

And I did, again in a class in Fusion Beads. This class was tought by sweet Samantha Slater. Such a versatile and absolutely indispensable technique! My first attempt was a butterfly - I like the fact, that I can use the cut shape AND the shadow both. I would never be able to get the same result with the shears and I couldn't possibly get both shapes uniterrupted.

My second attempt, still in the class, was this birdie. I have put a nice rivet where the hole is and voila!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Turquoise Set - Viking Knit Technique

Another bracelet I made with the Viking knit - I just bought these adorable turquoise beads (it's actually dyed magnesite of a brilliant colour!) - hexagon rondelles - and I want to use them in a thousand of designs!

The bracelet looks really nice on the wrist.

...and it comes with earrings!

Friday, May 11, 2012

My First Viking Bracelet

Here is my first finished design with the viking knit technique, a bracelet I made in the class with Tracy Stanley.
Copper wire and copper findings (handmade clasp:) and keshi pearls with handmade headpins.
Thanks Tracy! Such a great lesson! I can do it all by myself now! More coming...

Monday, May 7, 2012

New Technique Number Three - Etching

Another technique I was longing to learn was etching. It is one thing you should learn if you are planning to use lots of metal in your designs as it adds so many possibilities to jewellery. And it's especially nice to use it in designs that are supposed to have antique look. 

It seemed to be easy enough for me to try on my own. I read a step by step tutorial in an issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry - one of my favourite sources of desings - and bought a bottle of PCB Etchant in Radio Shack... easy it wasn't. I still don't know what went wrong with my first etching experiment, but this is what it looked like:

But as they say, don't give up! I didn't and tried it again. I swear it did everything exactly the same way as the first time and the result was just as I wished - beautiful deep etch of a butterfly!!! Yay!!!

And I kept trying with different scrapbooking stamps and it all worked well. I'm so glad I only ruined one piece of copper:) Now I need to think of a nice piece to use the etched metal in.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Second New Technique - Viking Knit

Fusion Beads have some great jewellery making classes and it took me WAAAAYYY too long to discover it. I always thought I will have to go to one of the big bead festivals to ne able to get a class, but then I realized that some of the most talented jewellery makers live right here in the Pacific Northwest. And what more - the same classes they teach at the festivals are available here in Fusion Beads for much less money and right in the neighbourhood!!!
So the first class I took was Basic Riveting, which rocked (it is documented here in the blog too) and the next class was Viking Knit with Tracy Stanley. Aaaaaawesome! I actually learned how to make a Viking Knit (you may say "That was the aim of the class", but with many classes you might be able to walk away with one finished piece, but not be able to recreate it at home).

See photos below:
Start of a new chain (I like the fact that even if the chain here looks irregular, it WILL be 'perfect' once finished):

And two finished chains - both are made with copper wire, one is oxidized, one is not oxidized yet. The oxidized one is also thicker and the shiny one is thinner - see, I can already experiment with different finishes!

I will soon post some finished products!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

First Jewellery Making Class - Rivets!

I am lucky enough to live in Seattle close to one of the best beading shops in the state - the Fusion Beads. They have most beading supplies and tools one might need when beginning making jwelllery. AND they offer classes; same classes with same teachers that are available at different bead festivals.
Following my resolution to learn more techniques (via my last post) I have signed up for a few of the classes - not to be revealed in advance, just so you have something to look forward, just like I do:).
My first class was "Making Rivets". First half of the class was dedicated to learning how to make rivets from a wire, the second class was supposed to demonstrate use of the Riveting System (available via
Here are pictures from the first hald of the class:

My first rivet made with sterling silver wire on a copper sheet:

Detail of the rivet (the sheet is scratched, but I was still proud of my very first rivet!):

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pledge - I will learn a new technique a month

I am not a person, who can deal with New Year resolutions - I just don't believe that if I tell myself to do something I don't want to do or don't like doing, that I will actually listen to myself and make myself doing it. If I know something is good/bad for me and I need to start/ stop doing it, than I either go cold turkey or slowly faze into it. But I have to get going "right now", because "next year" or "next Monday" usually turns into "next century".
So there was no New Year's resolution on my side... but there is a resolution RIGHT NOW. I just spent money on yeat ANOTHER jewellery making book and then had a look at my EMPTY etsy shop and felt embarassed... I really need to make some more stuff, take more pictures before I give it away (because there have been some cute pieces I gave out as gifts, but never documented them) and mix up the techniques a bit, so I can start feeling like a jewellery artist! I just kicked myself in the behind (which reminds me, I need to do more yoga:) and signed myself for some jewellery lessons.
The last year was very lazy, we moved from Jackson Hole to Seattle and I didn't even unpack half of my jewellery-making supplies. Now I see how many amazing tools I have collected since I started making adornments and I know I have to give them an active life NOW.
So I thought I need a goal, a tough one, but a reachable goal - and decided I will learn 12 new techniques I haven't tried before - all before the end of this year. It doesn't matter that I have missed almost 2 months already - the aim isn't to try a new thing a month, but get to the number 12 before end of December. So if I work on it and learn 12 by August, I can just continue the pace and learn MORE...

Here is a list that I compiled while thinking what all I'd like to know or make:
  1. sawing
  2. chainmaille
  3. etching
  4. riveting
  5. foldforming
  6. viking weave
  7. soldering
  8. electroforming
  9. drilling
  10. stamping
  11. enameling
  12. working with resin
>> not necessarily in that order and maybe not all of these, I might just as well find something amazing on the way and learn a new thing that is not on the list. All of the above are just realistic things I should be able to get into, although some will require new tools (well, if it needs to be done... ;-))). I would also like to start using more recycled/ upcycled materials....

So next will be my account of the first jewellery lesson I took!

Note to self - I need to edit my blog settings too...

Monday, February 13, 2012

More Earrings from January 2012

Here are some more earrings I made at the beginning of this year - just some simple designs without any complicated wirework:

The first pair is made with some vintage Czech firepolished and pressed beads from a broken necklace that my aunt gave me to re-work into something. They're quite simple in design, but the sparkle of the crystals makes them very nice for a night out.

Second pair is very airy big copper leaf with a pearl.
And the last pair is again made with some salvaged Czech firepolished beads and brass.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Copper Balled Headpins - this is addictive

Playing with fire is addictive - making ball head pins, that is! And the best of all (in my wide post-experiment eyes) is that I was able to make the copper heads RED! Yeeehaa!
My plan (call it New year resolution, if you will) is to try to explore more jewellery making techniques than I tried so far (until now it was mainly wire wrapping), so I can expand the possibilities of my designs.