Sterling silver kinetic ring by Kate Jones Jewelry
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Sterling silver kinetic ring by Kate Jones Jewelry
Friday, April 29, 2011
How to Remove Tarnish from Sterling Silver Chains with Baking Soda, Aluminum Foil, and Boiling Water
Chains are some of the most difficult pieces of jewelry to polish. Delicate cable chains like the one pictured have many tiny hard-to-reach surfaces that make it impossible to hand polish them. Chemical dips are expensive and toxic.
This method is easy, inexpensive and non-toxic. In about 1-2 minutes, you can clean all of your jewelry. Boil some water, and line a small dish (just large enough to hold your jewelry) with clean aluminum foil. Put about a tablespoon (it’s not necessary to measure) of baking soda in the dish along with your sterling silver jewelry. The jewelry must be in contact with the foil, and be sure it’s free of dirt and oils by washing it with soap and water first. Pour in the boiling water. You’ll see bubbles right away. They’re carbon dioxide, just like in carbonated water. As the bubbles slow down, you’ll notice that the jewelry is brighter. In less than a minute it should be free of tarnish. If the water becomes cool before all tarnish is removed (this might be the case if your jewelry was completely black) repeat the process with fresh boiling water and baking soda. You can re-use the same piece of aluminum foil over and over for this purpose. It will eventually turn dark. This is the tarnish from your jewelry. It’s been transferred to the foil!
How does it work? It’s an electrochemical reaction. Aluminum has properties that allow it to attract the tarnish from the silver. The hot water and baking soda are an electrolyte- a very weak current runs through it, which lets the reaction to take place. Hydrogen sulfide is released, which would create a slight sulfur smell, except it reacts with the baking soda to form sodium hydrosulfide, water, and carbon dioxide (the bubbles). You shouldn’t notice any smell, or be able to feel the current in the water. The chemical reaction is mild and involves tiny amounts of chemicals, but its effects on tarnished jewelry are dramatic!
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
First, you will need hot water. The water needs to be between 150 and 160 degrees so a mini crock pot works great. My mini crock pot gets a little too hot so I have to watch the temp with a thermometer to see when I'm at about 155. I'm sure you could heat the water in the microwave or on the stovetop but make sure you don't microwave the Jett Sett. The Jett Sett can't go above 180 so be careful.
Next, dump the amount of granules you think you'll need into the hot water. This is where the crock pot will come in handy because the temp of the water will go down when you add the cold granules. The crock pot will heat everything back up gradually. The granules will clump together when you pour them into the water so take a spoon and help them all form into a ball. Leave everything in the hot water for a minute or two.
So, now you have a hot lump of plastic, which is problematic. I think this was the part that made me the most nervous. "I'm supposed to just pick this hot lump of plastic out of 160 degree water and mush it with my hands?" "Really?" Well, it actually wasn't that big of a deal. I pulled it out with the spoon and then mushed all the water out of it and formed it into the shape I needed. It was hot and a little uncomfortable but not horrible and it definitely didn't burn me. I'd just say to use care with it and use your best judgment at first. So, I formed the hot plastic lump into a vague "T" shaped blob and brought it to my bench vise. I formed it into the vise and tightened it down slightly and then put the bezel I wanted to use into the warm plastic. With my fingers, I pushed the material over the edge of the bezel and then waited for everything to cool, which took about 10 minutes.
So, now that the bezel was held securely in the Jett Sett and the whole thing was firmly in the vise, I could hammer the bezel down with both hands! How great!! It was easily the most stress free stone I have ever set. There are hundreds of uses for Jett Sett and the instructions you get with the media will cover many of them. It's fabulous stuff, I can't wait to explore all the uses for it! The bag you get is actually pretty big, you could easily split it with a metalsmithing friend and still have a ton to work with. If you do get yourself some Jett Sett, do yourself a favor and don't let it sit on a shelf for a year! Put it to use immediately!!!
This tutorial was brought to you by Ann Hartley of Hartleystudio
Monday, April 25, 2011
I confess....I ALWAYS have a messy studio. Even when I clean it's still just an organized chaos.
But I do find it helps to have holders & specific places for each tool. Some of those big hammers & things can really get in the way!
my trick is to use plumbers pipe straps (not sure exactly what they're called). They're cheap at home depot & often sold several to a pack. The ones I used here are nice & thin, so I was able to hammer them slightly to make sure they held my ring mandrel just right.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
- origami paper lamp by glow decor
- Leaf Design Lamp - wire stand by Moo Doo
- Alma by Angeli lamps
- Steamlight Large Clamp - Designer Edition by lightexture
- YARTZHEIT - An Object of Jewish Ceremony by The Ceremonial Home
- LiteItUp - Blue Tube Night Light by Midwest Innovative
- Purple Ruby Twist by Lumenati Lights
- Mod 1960's Black and Chrome Tripod Floor Lamp by modernspecific
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
And speaking of form folding....Erin Austin of Erin Austin Design is taking her inspiration for her charms from these fold formed rings that she made for the Ring a Week (RAW) challenge. She says she will make a variety of shapes and maybe change up the settings a bit. I love the warm red color of these rings!
*On another note....here's a CS7 update....Shannon Conrad of RubyGirl has reported that she has received all of the CS7 charms and has been packaging them up so she can start shipping them out! YAY! Here are some photos of all the charms she received and the packaging process....Thank you Shannon and Victoria Takahashi of Experimetal for all of you hard work on CS7!
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
STEP ONE: Prepping Your Work Area
I assemble everything I need first, because once the resin is mixed you will have limited time before it gets sticky and too hard to pour. You will need a dust free environment in which to work. I cannot stress this enough. It is maddening to find a piece of dirt or a cat hair on the top of your resin that you worked so hard on. Some people use cardboard boxes on their sides to cure resin in. I have a special place designated for resin work in my home. No kitties allowed.
Cover your work area in wax paper. Resin will not stick to wax paper and this will protect your work surface from sticky messes. You will want to have on hand your resins, hardener of choice, stirrers, measuring cups, applicators and tips, tweezers, straight pins, paper towels and isopropyl alcohol. The alcohol is for clean up.
Here's a picture of my work area and prep. OK, now we are ready for
STEP TWO: Mixing the Resins
Before you mix your resins, lay out your pieces to be filled on a flat pan that will go in your oven (a
cookie sheet is ideal). You should use a toaster oven dedicated to this purpose and not your regular oven. I line the pan with parchment paper in case any of the resin overflows. Do whatever is necessary to keep your resins as level as possible. You can see that I use small baking tins filled with beans to keep rings and 3D objects level. Today we are also doing an open 2-sided piece, a pair of earrings. These must be sanded flat before you pour the resin into them or they will leak. Once flat, I will adhere them to a piece of double sided tape. The tape will prevent the resin from leaking out the back of the
All resin must be mixed. There is a resin component and a hardener. The only thing that varies is the hardener. If you are planning on sanding your piece flat during finishing, you MUST use the hardest hardener called Durenamel hardener. If you are not going to sand the piece you will use a thinner hardener or a doming hardener. Today we are using Durenamel because I like the look of flat matte resin.
I choose my colors and pour the resin first into the measuring cups. I let it settle to be sure it’s been measured properly. The ratio is always 2:1, resin to hardener. Accurate measuring is the key to success! Your resin will never harden if it is not properly measured. I try to make several pieces that will use the same colors so that none will go to waste. It does work better if you mix at least 15 cc of product so you will have enough to fill several pieces. You may use resin colors directly from the jar or custom mix them. I am doing both today. You always mix the color using the resin only. Once you are satisfied with the color , then you add the hardener. It is important not to mix a lot of air bubbles into this when you mix your resin and hardener together. Fold them gently, like making meringue. Once you have mixed the 2 parts, you have about 30 minutes of work time. I transfer the mixture from the measuring cup to an applicator bottle- you can attach a needle to this if you need to apply resin to a fine area. Let’s look at some photos before we move on...
STEP 3: Pouring the Resins
I pour one color at a time, then mix the next one together and pour that one, etc. This is why it is
important to have all the pieces ready to be filled. I use the squeeze bottle applicator technique but do whatever works the best for you. I start by outlining the edge of the space to be filled, then filling in the middle. Resin has a nasty tendency not to want to cling to the walls and if you are going to develop air bubbles, they are often around the edge. If you start by filling the outside first, there is a better chance this will not happen. It is better to underfill than overfill. Colors bleeding into unwanted areas is a much bigger problem to deal with than having to sand it a bit more. Now, before your resins get too hard to work, put everything, applicator and all in a freezer bag in your freezer. You’ll find out why soon enough.
Once all your colors are filled it is time to deal with the dreaded air bubble! Everyone seems to have their own little tricks to deal with them but here’s what I do. I first gently breathe/huff on the pieces. Gentle breaths, you’re not the big bad wolf! This will break many of them. The others I break with the straight pins or tweezer tips. There is still no guarantee that you won’t uncover more bubbles you didn’t see as you sand the piece but I’ll tell you how to deal with that later.
STEP 4: Hardening the Resins
If you use durenamel hardener, you MUST bake it to cure it. It goes in a 150 F degree oven for 3-4 hrs. The other hardeners can be either oven cured or air cured. I check the resins about every 5 minutes for the first half hour. You will see air bubbles starting to rise and form during this crucial period. Do not plan on going anywhere at this time. The resin is now getting sticky and popping the bubbles gets a little tricky. Once the resin is too sticky to work, don’t pop any more. You will have to deal with them.
STEP 5: Finishing the Resins
Once they have baked and are cured, I will sand them. I use 220 grit sandpaper to start. They should be sanded wet as resin dust will get everywhere and in your lungs. Wear a respirator or mask. I sand up to 600-800 grit depending on how fine I want the finish. Now inspect your work. You will often find tiny air bubbles and pockets that did not fill. This often happens in very finely detailed areas. If possible, just keep sanding to the bottom of the bubble. Sometimes the bubble is just too deep. It is better to try to fill it. Here is where that extra resin you stored in the freezer comes in. Take out the resins and let them thaw. This will take 20-30 minutes (about). I use a toothpick or a straight pin to take some of it out and fill the bubbles. If you are using resin color straight from the jar, you do not have to do this, you can just mix up a new batch if you like. If you have custom mixed your color, you will need to do this as you will
never get an exact match if you try to mix it again. I now re-bake it for 3 hrs at 150 F degrees and sand again. If you still have air bubbles that are not filling, you need to “un-roof” them. I use ball burrs to grind the resin out a bit and make the hole more shallow and wide. Refill them and repeat the process.
STEP 6: ADMIRE YOUR WORK!
Monday, April 18, 2011
Gaudi (great artistic video above)
TV on the Radio
The Black Keys
And more on our playlists!!
Kraak and Shobak
The Boxer Rebellion
Three Days Grace
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011
|Victoria with her copy of Lost|
As a new member of the Etsy Metal Team I really wanted to dive right in. I knew a few members from Ring A Day and had had a couple of discussions about books with them previously, so when a request was put out for new group challenges I quickly suggested a book club/jewelry challenge. The challenge: read and discuss a book chosen by the group and then create a piece of jewelry inspired by a character or the book as a whole. Several people showed interest and at Victoria's suggestion we quickly settled on our first book: "Lost" by Gregory Maguire.
|Copper Cuff by Karla Wheeler|
One thing that I greatly admire about Maguire's work is the way he often sets his scenes in historical landscapes with great attention to politics and imagery. In Lost, the majority of the plot takes place in present day London and although Maguire's utilized his talent for painting the scene through his words and building the mood through the settings, the extreme disconnection between the characters and at times outlandish dialogue paired with the very unlikable Winifred Rudge prevented the reader from empathizing with the characters or their stories. To make matters worse, Maguire attempted the almost cliche undertaking of writing a story about a writer writing a story, the result of which was often redundant and confusing.
|Copper and Brass Pendant by Erin Austin|
Oxidized Sterling Silver and rough Diamonds.
Approximate size 5.5-6 USA.
Ring comes with plastic kitty ring holder.
|Copper Compass by Evelyn Markasky|
Have you read Lost? Let us know what you thought.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
I've been doing vacuum casting for about a year now & have learned a TON....and I'm only just now starting to feel confident with it. There's always room to learn & I've definitely had my share of mistakes.
In the video, I remove the hot flask (has been cooking for several hours to get the wax removed & the flask up to temperature), while wearing gloves. It is set on the vacuum machine & the suction is turned on. Then I go over to my melting furnace, which has heated my metal to the right temp. I then pull out the removable crucible, and pour it right into the heated flask. Voila!
And here's the ring that came out of that flask! http://www.etsy.com/listing/51409895/calla-lily-ring
I'm super lucky to have access to an amazing arts center studio and that has been such an awesome experience to be a part of. It's in Lawrence, Kansas & I teach 3 classes there- metalsmithing (monday nights 7-9pm), Open Studio, and Lost wax casting (wednesday nights, 7-9pm).
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
We do a lot of craft shows throughout the year and around 5:15AM is about the time the day starts for us. Cooler needs to be filled, (don't forget the waters), fuel up with breakfast, (which is hard to do so early), check for the little details like business cards, change, calculator, etc... car's packed (it's a minivan) . OK, lets do this!
This show was Craftopia in Pawtucket RI. I have to admit, I was yawning a little and a little rusty maneuvering the dolly around at first, but after setting up, Heather and I spent the day selling our work, catching up with our craftin' buddies and seeing great art and craft.
Our next show is Andover Crafts in the Park on May 7th. This is our first outdoor show of the season. (Hello, EZ-up tent!) Hope for warm weather for us. No rain, no rain, no rain...
Sunday, April 10, 2011
At this time of the year I feel so relax.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Brass and Sterling Silver Shield Earrings by Michele Grady
RAW52 Week 14 - Cocktail Ring - Pink Teardrop/Ailette 023 by
Lapis lazuli crinkle earrings recycled sterling silver by Mark Kaplan
Conversation Rings. Engagement. by LivelyHood
Cathedral by Norsola
Cupcake Earrings by Sudlow
Sterling silver happy skull head with leaves by Twigs and Heather
Passion flower and bird medallion, sterling silver pendant by iacua
Lemon Citrine Marquise Ring, Sterling Silver by Nodeform
Two Unicorns Bracelet by 2Roses
Pale Turquoise Resin and Silver earrings, Graphico by Quercus Silver
Friday, April 8, 2011
sterling silver, circa 1950s
Merle Boyer, USA
sterling silver and pearls, circa 1950
Unknown maker, Sweden
sterling silver and chrysoprase, dated 1954
Frank Patania, Sr., USA
sterling silver and turquoise, circa 1955
Arthur King, USA
brass, circa 1960
Jens Asby, Denmark
14k gold and malachite, circa 1970
Los Castillo, Mexico
sterling silver, circa 1960
Henry Steig, USA
sterling silver and quartz, circa 1955