Thursday, January 29, 2009

Danielle Miller Jewelry

This week's featured member is Danielle Miller of Danielle Miller Jewelry. She is an outstanding artist who has been a recognizable figure in metalsmithing circles for some time. Miller brings a wealth of knowledge to our group, and is an incredible artist!

1. Where do you live, and where are you from?
I was born and raised in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. At 18 I moved to Philadelphia to attend college. I lived there for 13 years before moving to Greenville, SC...which is where I now make my home.

2. How did you get started working with metal?
I made my first piece of jewelry 20 years ago in high school art class...But I HATED it! I despised the tedious work of sawing and filing. My teacher wouldn't let us solder, so I missed out on all the fun! But, while at a high school summer art program, I had the opportunity to make a large-scale welded steel sculpture. Metal + Hammer + Fire = LOVE! I attended Moore College of Art and Design, expecting to concentrate my studies in sculpture but became entranced by jewelry making. I transfered to Tyler School of Art/Temple University for their renowned Jewelry/Metals Department where I received a bachelor’s degree in fine art in 1993. I've been making jewelry ever since...started my business in 1995 while working for a master goldsmith and went to work full-time for myself in 1998.

3. What are a few of your favorite pieces at the moment?
My Mod Rocker Ring (below) and my Effervescence Necklace (pictured above) are definitely two of my favorite pieces.

I am also really excited about some new items I've been working on which incorporate forged wire with my usual crisp geometric forms...many of these are still in the designing stage.

4. What inspires you (artists, objects, interests)?
I draw most of my inspiration from architecture, machines and plant life. I tend to break things down into simple geometric shapes, line and negative space then build my designs modularly. Movement is also very important to me...I like to incorporate kinetic elements into these structured pieces to add unexpected fluidity and movement. Two of my favorite jewelry designers are Frederick Becker ("the Inventor of Kinetic Jewelry") and Michael Zobel (the Master of the Contemporary Movement in Jewelry").

5. Do you have any other artistic interests?
When time permits (which isn't often enough), I love to work on larger scale metalsmithed pieces...vases, bowls, containers, etc. I also enjoy dabbling in graphic design and photography.

You can find more of Danielle Miller's work in her Etsy Shop and on her flickr!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Foldforming with Cynthia...

Etsmetal member Cynthia Del Giudice's work is earthy and bold yet sexy and ethereal. She recently started experimenting with foldforming and found that is a perfect fit for her. The following post illustrates her new discovery:

"I ordered this book "Foldforming" by Charles Lewton-Brain through It arrived pretty quickly, considering the distance. And just as quickly, I read it halfway, and immediately tried my hand at it.

I didn't have a suitable hammer in my jewelry toolbox, so I had to search my husband's shop. I found a hammer which was too big for this technique and tiny pieces I was experimenting, but since it was the only one I had at hand I went ahead and tried it. After I folded and hammered with much difficulty, I annealed and stared at the pieces of copper with a little disappointment at my lack of visible results. After the pieces were cool enough to handle, I started opening them, and to my amazement, revealed very unpredictable and beautiful shapes.

Here are my first attempts at foldforming. I think I am in love...

I didn't know this, but foldforming is a revolutionary and groundbreaking technique just recently "invented" by the author of this book. It is a "conceptual, physical, and intuitive approach to metalsmithing that is informed by the natural characteristics of metals." He acknowledges many people for its development, including his German teacher: Klaus Ullrich. I like how he describes this teacher taught him that "the marks of process are compositional design choices. Every Hammer or file mark is a design decision as well as part of a process." "In the case of fusing, for instance, this turns the mistake, "I melted it" into the discovery, "What a lovely surface.""

This approach to working with metals, or any medium for that matter, is what attracts me to this technique. I value unpredictability (I like surprises), and am not a perfectionist (far from it). This means I like to play with chance. I also value marks of time, wear, patinas of time, etc."

Cynthia has been busy continuing her experiments and we are all excited to see how she will be incorporating these techniques into her jewelry designs.

You can find more information about foldforming (including his earlier books and DVDs) on Charles Lewton-Brain's website here. Happy Hammering!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Weekly Review: Jewelry Techniques by Anastasia Young

image via Barnes & Noble

This book comes highly recommended by a number of Etsy Metal members who all bought it recently. Young provides techniques and tips for almost all the materials a jeweler or metalsmith would want, such as leather, wood, and a variety of metals, just to name a few.

Kathryn Riechert says, "It really goes through practically every technique that is possible with practically every material. Seriously! All the different metals, leather, wood, plastics, rubber, cement, plaster, stones, bone..... It gives short step by steps for each process with a picture of the finished result.

For example with leather, I have step by steps for how to: cut, stamp, sew, dye, polish, form, boil, sand, emboss, rivet, do pyrography and branding, and apply gold leaf and powders to the surface.

All the different step by steps really open up all kinds of possibilities, which is inspiring in and of itself. The know how of how to use all the different materials is really freeing and opens up all kinds of new ideas."

This book can be found at Barnes & Noble, or on

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tube Setting Tutorial by Blind Spot Jewellery

Have you ever wondered how Janos of Blind Spot Jewellery makes such amazing rings? Here he shows us one of his techniques which is a style of tube setting. Click on the photo above to head to his tutorial on flickr. All you have to do is click on the first image (the ring on a tomato) and for subsequent steps, just click on the next photo on the right hand side of the page. Enjoy, and thank you Janos!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New Release Thursday

It's Thursday and we are showing off our new work again! Many EM people have listed new pieces. Some shops with new work being listed include:

Also make sure to search for Etsymetal team for other newly listed pieces by Etsymetal members!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tip - Broken Drill Bit Removal

Occasionally a drill bit (or the head of a bur bit) will break off inside the piece of precious metal. If the bit is protruding enough that you can grasp it with a pair if pliers, you can attempt to slowly twist it out. However, if it is lodged inside the piece and you can't get it out...never fear, ALUM is here!

Alum is a double sulfate chemical compound: a combination of an alkali metal, such as sodium, potassium, or ammonium and a trivalent metal, such as aluminum, iron, or chromium. It is commonly used in food processing (it makes pickles crispy) or as an astringent in medical applications. Alum is a non-acidic product that will not give off noxious fumes or burn holes in clothing, however if large amounts are ingested it can be don't sprinkle it in your coffee and keep it away from children! It can be easily found in the canning or spice aisle of your grocery store.

Dissolve one tablespoon of alum in 1/4 cup of warm water in a glass jar. The alum solution attacks the ferrous metal, thus deteriorating the steel without harming the non-ferrous jewelry. Soak your piece in this solution and could take hours. The warmer the solution the faster you will see results....if you are impatient, you can simmer the solution on a hot plate using Pyrex (no metal pots) or suspend the glass jar in an ultrasonic cleaner. This solution is only meant for precious metals, and stones should never be put in the solution.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

New Release Thursday

It's Thursday and we are showing off our new work again!
Many EM people have listed new pieces.
Some shops with new work being listed include: (pictured)

Also make sure to search for Etsymetal team for other newly listed pieces by Etsymetal members.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Weekly Review: Pandora Radio

One of the things that helps me, and many other artists, work is music. For some, it is background noise, for others, it is energizing and motivational. Personally, I find that music helps me think. I generally don't even 'hear' it after a while, but it's presence helps me focus.

Many of us use Pandora Radio, which is a free music site online. It allows users to create stations based on favorite artists--you select a favorite artist and Pandora will play their music along with musicians that have the same characteristics. Another wonderful aspect to Pandora is that it can be played on a variety of smartphones as well, so you can have music on the go! The unfortunate thing about it, is that it is restricted to use in the U.S. only. Hopefully they will work on going world wide.

You can find out more at!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

EtsyMetal Finds

Can I just say that I LOVE etsy. It is a world of imagination and creativity whose artists never fail to amaze and inspire. I just love these! Blue Sinking Fairytale from Poodlebreath

Friday, January 9, 2009

Etsymetal News 1/9/09

Etsymetal member, Chuck (aka Down to the Wire Designs) had an amazing article in the Storque this week about his New Year's Resolution: to create jewelry to donate to 52 auctions this year. I'm sure many of us struggle with the fact that we create luxury goods that, for the most part, do not give back to our society in ways that truly benefit others. Chuck's noble goal for 2009 proves that we all can be philanthropic in our own capacity. Read the entire inspiring article here.

Etsymetal member, Mark Kaplan has been on a trip of a lifetime...traveling in south Asia from August 2008 to August 2009. While on his journey, he will be researching amulets and talismans, as well as making jewelery and kayaking! He checked into the Etsymetal forums back in September and informed us he was in Leh, Ladakh way up in the Himalayas at 12,200 and there were yaks in the streets! The most recent news on Mark's travels came from, Shannon (aka rubygirl), when she received a postcard from Mark this week. She told us that he is in Bhuj Town in the Kutch Area of India, working with a local silversmith and will soon be off to Cambodia. What an adventure! Good Travels to you, Mark!

postcard from India, originally uploaded by rubygirlcreations.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Weekly Review: Creative Stonesetting by John Cogswell

A fellow Etsy Metal member recently got this book as a gift and is thrilled! Danielle Miller says "It has well illustrated basic, advanced and unusual stone setting techniques....a superb reference book for any level of stonesetting!"

This is available on and you can view more of John Cogswell's work on the SUNY New Paltz website.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year!!!

From all of us at Etsy Metal, we wish you and yours a fantastic and successful 2009!

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