Friday, March 29, 2013

Experiments in etching

I have been wanting to play with etching for quite sometime, but was a little intimidated by using and acid etchant.  Then I read about PCB etchant which is quite a bit safer to work with and decided to give it a whirl.  Please read and take all precautions if you try etching on your own.

Here are the results so far.  The first piece was pretty good but not etched deep enough.  Soooo on the second batch I wanted to leave them in longer. Unfortunately, I got called away to pick up a kid and they got left in a bit TOO long and actually etched all the way through the metal in some spots.  Lesson learned!

This is the first one.  Pretty good for a start.  It has since been pickled, tumbled and domed a bit.  Going to hit it with some LOS and reshoot it tomorrow I hope.
This one taught me that StazOn ink is just as good a resist as my Sharpie marker, that was the good part.  The bad part is having left in in too long and trying to etch both sides at once lets the etch eat holes right through!  Although, this too could be an interesting effect if it was intentional.  I was thinking that if done intentionally you could leave them like that or you might be able to fill the holes with enamels, hmmmm.  I was hoping that with a deeper etch I could enamel in the recesses.
This was he back of that floral piece.  I thought it would be a cool way to sign my work.  It will be too, just have to either etch for a shorter period or be mindful not to have the etched areas overlap each other.
This one is the spent brass of a bullet.  I couldn't say what kind, a large caliber rifle I believe.  This one would have been fine IF I had better sealed the ends.  Since the ends weren't sealed well etchant made it's way inside the casing and so it too was etching from both sides.  It is still on one piece though and I think I will make it into something to keep for myself :).
So the adventure in etching will continue.  Stay tuned...
Oh and I listed a whole bunch of new pieces on Etsy today.  Stop on over and have a look!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Lots of stuff to show, but I can't show it...

I have a ton of stuff finished on my table, pictures taken and everything.  But I can't show you any of them because they are all for hops or challenges.  So you're just going to have to trust that I have been busy.  The good news is, those are all complete so now anything else I finish can be posted here in the coming days.

Here are some pics of my new display from a show I did a couple of weeks ago.  After looking at it many times that day I have decided that I am ditching my black board soon for more picture frames.  Might have to get together with the father in law and all his cool tools to get frames the size I need.  The picture frames allow me to "frame my collections", this helps to give a more cohesive look to my eclectic style I think.

Wire collars and pendants
Lampwork and a random enamel piece, I was short one lampwork piece so we filled the space.
Cuff "mountain" with a cool collar piece at the top.
The black display board with enamel pieces.
Finished set up (we did tuck up the extra fabric seen hanging here).  Also need to get skirting for the tables, off to search how to make those. Good news was these aisles were very close so shoppers didnt really notice it too much.
PS Finally saw a Robin here last week, though everytime she landed she flew off again probably didn't like having to sit in the snow.  Happy Spring, hope the weather is reflecting the season where you are!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Cold connections and shotgun shells!

I have seen some jewelry out there made from shotgun shells and other spent shell casings.  The look intrigues me, not sure why exactly since I have never fired anything more than a pellet gun in my life.  Hunting however, is very popular in my area and in my family.  And I am a fan of upcycling when you can.  So I started asking family to save their spent rounds.  Brother in law Jack was the first to be accommodating and my Sis mailed them off to me last week.  Thanks Jack for picking these all up for me and Syd for running off to the PO to get them to me.

Here is the great box of all types of spent shotgun shells Jack salvaged for me :).  Who knew they came in so many colors, including pink?  Ok, maybe many of you knew,  but I had no idea.

Next step was to figure out how to separate the plastic shell from the metal part that I really want for most projects.  Turns out this is a bit more difficult than it would seem, tried pulling, cutting, prying and then I turned to YouTube.  Honestly, is there anything that can't be learned on YouTube?  Found a gentleman from the UK on there who was first cutting most of the shell off then heating the plastic to a gooey mess over his stove and digging the goo out with a knife.  My process went a little more cleanly with a bit of practice.  PLEASE NOTE, use all safety precautions if you are going to try these things on your own.  The shell casings I received have been fired and are empty of shot and gun powder.  For mine I turned to my torch, heated the metal end for about 5 seconds, pull on the plastic shell and most if not all of it comes out neatly.
From there I had to decide the best way to use these little metal gems.  The edges can be a little sharp, and in some cases a bit deeper than I wanted them to be.  The edges can be easily pierced with my Eurotool hole punch though for earrings and pendants.  Much more experimenting is yet to be done but I will share what I have so far.
First up was a pink sell container, one of the guys on YouTube was making wilderness survival kits with these, but chicks have survival needs too.  I'm sure there are any number of things a gal could stash in here from pics, to bobby pins, lipstick perhaps.  Still working out the details of how to hang it, but here is the container itself.  I consider this a sorta cold connection since the cap just slips on, lol.
Pretty in pink!
Next up was some hammering, cutting, drilling and riveting!  This was the first time I have actually made my own rivet from 10g copper wire.  I'm pleased with the result, particularly for a first go.  Now that I look at the close up I can see where the rivet could be a bit flatter but it isn't high enough to scratch or snag.  The cuff is hammered 10 g copper too.  I cut the metal piece of the shell down a bit so it didn't sit o high, not sure if I will do that on the next one or not.  Next was drilling a hole through firing pin portion, the actual "pin" came out when I sawed it's back off so that made it a bit easier.  Also had to drill a hole in the cuff to accept the rivet.  Tip of the Day:  Be sure to wear ear protection when drilling metal, it is very loud and extremely high pitched! 
I like it!  I think this works for girls and guys.  What do you think?
Here are a few other views...
A true cold connection.
Stay tuned, I hope to get more pieces done this week.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hatching WIPs

I was inspired to play with more sculptural pieces of lampwork.  In part because as the studio name implies I live near the woods and enjoy nature.

Off I went to Pinterest to round up some owl pictures and some others of mushrooms, more on the mushrooms in another post.  The shrooms still need to be annealed and cleaned so they have not been  photographed yet.  I didn't pin any birds, mostly because growing up as the child of a bird watcher many of those shapes and colors are ingrained in my memory.  Owls on the other hand are more often heard than seen due in part to their nocturnal habits.

Next it was time to sit at the torch and create.  I enjoyed making these little guys more than I can explain.  I like some much better than others and will incorporate features of most of them in future beads.  Hence the WIP in the title of this post, my little hatchlings are a work in progress and as I build better parliaments of owls and flocks of birds I will list some for sale in my Etsy shop.  In this round of owls, some of them got a tad too hot and burned and bubbled the glass.

Below are the beads I have created so far.  Which are your favorites?  All critiques are welcome :)

Also, if anyone has a used annealing kiln they would like to sell either comment or email me.  As I as worked on these I realized it's time for something larger than my mini annealer.

What's hatching in your studio as spring approaches?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Giveaway at Staci Louise Originals

Hey, remember the bird skull beads I blogged about a few days ago?  They were from Staci Louise Originals and she is having a giveaway over at her blog.  It's a great post on her artisitic thought process and the giveaway is at the bottom.  Be sure to stop by her Etsy shop too, she's been listing tons of awesome fossily looking components there the last couple days.

  Here's what you can win! 
Good luck to all the entrants!  (If you win and aren't sure what to make, send them my way and I will make something for you and something for me :). )

Thursday, March 7, 2013

My Entry for the Beads of Clay banner contest

The Beads of Clay Blog is searching for a new look for their banner.  This is my entry.  Voting begins March 16th.  You can enter too, see details on the Beads of Clay blog, link is above.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Finished works from Berks

Yesterday I talked about my trip to Berks Bead Bazaar.  Today I will reveal the few pieces I got finished on Monday.  Thankfully I had sun here today so I could get some pretty decent photos.

First, as you may recall, I had a piece partially finished and awaiting a bird skull bead from Staci Louise Originals.  Once we got to the table though I ended up picking up three of those little beauties rather than just one.

This was the layout I played around with before deciding on the final arrangement.  I already had the copper neck ring with plaited annealed steel ready and waiting.

The finished piece, with more annealed steel wire in a finer gauge as well as some enameled annealed steel headpins.
And here is how it looks on me.  It lies flatter when I'm not holding my arms up to take a picture.  I'm having a hard time deciding if I want to let this one go or not, I'm very fond of it.
Then I played with my new kumihimo disk.  The first sample was done in a really fuzzy yarn and is large enough to be a choker, the second is a hempy looking cotton product which is bracelet length.
I look forward to playing with this technique more and really want to try it with wire.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Berks Bead Bazaar on my mini vaca

I took a mini vacation for my own mental health this weekend.  Headed to my sister's "empty nest" for some rest, relaxation and much needed sister time.  We had a great time, stayed up way too late the first night, laughed ourselves to tears, shopped, stitched, and ate (way toooo much in my case).  Thanks for having me Sis, it was definitely the recharge I needed.

On Saturday we headed out to the Berks Bead Bazaar in Reading.  Perhaps the best part of this show is the smaller size of it, not overwhelming and the artists are very friendly.  We chatted briefly with Louise Mehaffey about lampwork for a bit, she was very kind and informative.  Ooohed and aahed over  Joan Miller's porcelain.   I was inspired by the lampwork of Starleen's Studio and Harold Cooney at another booth. Of course we fondled gems and beads at every turn. 

So much talent and inspiration at this show.  I pawed a ton of lampwork, but exercised restraint and didn't purchase any as I need to work on my skills.  One of the things I am going to do right away is work on larger hollow beads, you may remember I have been making normal sized hollows.  Big, gorgeous hollow focal beads were seen at several artist's booths.  Some strung simply and alone to great effect.

And of course we shopped.  I'm proud to say I actually came in under my bead budget.  I got to meet Staci of Staci Louise Originals, and her lovely daughter Julia who is a budding artist as well.  Staci's bird skull beads were the number one pick on my shopping list.  Her work is just down right drool worthy.
Here is what I picked up from Staci.  Aren't they just amazing little works of art?  The ivory ones look particularly like bone.  Almost makes me want to play on polymer clay but I don't really need to start working in another medium at the moment, lol.  I already had a piece partially ready to go for one of these skulls.  Pics of the finish to follow in tomorrow's post.

These are the pieces I purchased from Miss Julia.  Very professional, especially for a girl of 8yrs, aren't they?  Miss Julia does all the work herself (except for the drilling) including writing up a detailed receipt and making her own change.  I have to say, there were adult artists that failed to give me a receipt or business card.  I think I may have to make some lampwork beads specifically to go with the moon face heart.

These are some stones I picked up at another booth.  Unfortunately, this vendor didn't give me a receipt or a card and I don't recall the name of the booth.  I just love that focal on the top right, I reminds me of a forest.

Some findings I picked up from Atlantic Gems.  I needed some copper crimp covers and was glad to see someone had them.

Got this yummy 4.5 mm licorice leather and clasps from Clever Treasures.  I have way more leather than clasps, but I plan to experiment with making some of my own clasps for them.

Also picked up a kumihimo disc.  Played with kumihimo yesterday and will include that in tomorrow's reveal post.

Hope you all had a fun and relaxing weekend too :).

Friday, March 1, 2013

Challenge of Music Reveal

Erin Prais-Hintz of Treasures Found hosted this intriguing challenge.  When I read it I thought "Hmmm, this is a certainly is challenging, interpreting music into a jewelry design, instrumental music no less!"  The rules were that simple, yet it seemed complex to me.  Finding a piece of instrumental music to inspire you to create a corresponding piece of jewelry.

First of course was finding a great instrumental selection.  Mine I image is maybe more main stream than most, but we shall see as we hop to all the other blogs. 

I have always liked jazz and swing, the beats and the dancing. The images of a by gone era they stir in me, a simpler, quieter, less hectic time.  I would love to take swing dance classes.  Hubby?  Uh yeah, not so much, lol.  I did get to go to a class with a friend when we were in NYC a few years back.  I was only going to observe, but one of the instructors was sure I should try it.  I was a tad nervous, but he was right I caught right on and had a blast.  I have to say though, I don't know how you do this type of dancing without sweating,er glistening, yes glistening.  A lady doesn't sweat (those of you who know me will no I'm not always such a lady though, lol)

So I set off to YouTube in search of my music and I came across this Duke Ellington standard, written by Billy Strayhorn in 1939.  Lyrics didn't come until five years later and were sung and recorded by the legendary Ella Fitzgerald.
So what ideas does listening to this type of music stir within me then?  Images of 1940's dance halls, women in dresses from the everyday to the more elegant. Days when women were curvy and weren't afraid to show it. Like these (from ReVamp and Daddy O's)...
So what is this stylish woman to wear with her dress for a night on the town?  A choker seems to fit the bill.  So I scoured my bead bins for colors and sparkle to accessorize one of these lovelies.  Here is what I found and started.  Swarovski bicones I decided were a must, they should shimmer beautifully in soft light.

I strung the focal and core beads on Soft Flex to start.  The focal is some type of Jasper, though I'm not sure which one now.  Then I began the flat spiral, added a longer chain so that it's adjustable.  then added a Swarovski crystal dangle to the chain and made the clasp.

Sorry for the color of this photo, I realized after it got dark that the first was blurry.  I tried to color correct but this is as good as it got.

Flat spiral close up, note the Swarovski bicones are larger closer to the focal.
Close up of Jasper focal.

Here's how the choker lies on the neck. Sorry again for the blurry photo.  Although it's a bit more formal than I normally go, I think I will wear it Saturday to the Berks Bead Bazaar.  The weight of it is very nice, substantial bit not too heavy.

Now get hopping to see what everyone else has chosen and created.  I will be packing and hitting the road today, bit will hop along soon :).

Erin Prais-Hintz
Alenka Obid
Ali McCarthy
Alicia Marinache
Amy Severino
Amy Grass
Carolyn Lawson
Cece Cormier
Cynthia Riggs
Ema Kilroy
Emanda Johnson
Emma Todd
Erin Kenny
Evelyn Shelby
Evie and Beth McCord
Gerd Andersson
Holly Westfall
Jennifer Justman
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Jess Green
Judy Campbell
Karla Morgan
Kay Thomerson
Kristina Johansson
Lola Surwillo
Lynn White
Malin de Koning
Mallory Hoffman
Mary K McGraw
Melissa Meman
Melissa Trudinger
Michelle Escano
Michelle Bourbonniere
Michelle Heim
Molly Alexander
Molly Schaller
Monique Urquhart
Niky Sayers
Pam Farren
Rebecca Anderson
Sally Russick
Sharon Palac
Sharon Driscoll
Susan Kennedy
Tari Kahrs
Tracy Stillman
Veralynne Malone