Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Volcano Arts :: Enamels

I just returned from a short stay/class at Volcano Arts in California.  It was sort of a last minute trip and I wasn't sure what I would work on this time.  I thought I wanted to make a sterling silver ring with something decorative (not sure what) riveted to the top.  Christine convinced me to try my hand at enameling a small copper cut-out to rivet to the ring-to-be.

Well, the ring project never got off the ground!  It quickly turned in to a pendant, which I know I will wear more that the ring anyway.  The copper flower was just too big for a ring, at least for me.  I used heavy gauge sterling silver sheet for the base of the pendant and the 2 pieces of enameled copper are riveted to it with a handmade copper rivet.

I love it!   I had big plans to do something fancier with the bail, but I forgot to anneal the silver before adding the enameled pieces, so I was limited as to how much manipulation the silver would endure.  The best laid plans ...  There's always more to learn when working with metals.

At this point, I was in love with the idea of enamels and proceeded to spend the rest of my class time making more enameled components.  Anyone who loves color, and has a healthy respect for heat and fire would be right there with me.

Lest you think this is just about sprinkling on some enamel powder to get this magic to happen, there are a series of steps that must be completed before the Fun With Color begins.  This series of components all required the following:
  • cut, saw or punch out a shape
  • mark the center
  • dome
  • drill the center hole that you marked earlier
  • clean with fine grit sand paper and pumice

I like the idea of layers of color for use in a piece of finished jewelry.  I had so much fun choosing the color combinations.  Of course, Christine has every possible color, so much time was spent ogling tempting color charts.

Aren't they cute?  I'm anxious to get started incorporating these into some pendants!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Seed Bead Projects

For a while now, I've been wanting to start working with seed beads again.  I used to do quite a lot of bead weaving, but in recent years, that activity hasn't had much appeal.  Suddenly, the desire came back!

I signed up for a beaded cabochon class at the Alaska Bead Company and made a wonderful brooch.  I have a bunch of these gorgeous labradorite cabochons and selected one to work with in class.  I'm very pleased with the way it turned out.

Even though I somehow got the pin back finding on crooked, it won't matter once it's pinned on.

Another seed bead project involves a bracelet pattern a bought at one of the Tucson bead shows from June Wiseman of Tapestry Beads.  The bracelet is called Ebb and Flow and it's the perfect name for it!  The pattern was extremely well written and very easy to follow.  The resulting bracelet is fabulous, if I must say so myself!  Even the toggle clasp was easy, which surprised me.

I chose some metallic and metallic looking beads for this bracelet.  I think it will go with just about anything I wear.

I liked the pattern so much that I immediately made another one in blues.

What seed bead projects should I tackle next?