Thursday, July 31, 2008


Tiny Gold Seahorse Necklace

Sterling Silver Wishbone Necklace

Coral Necklace cast in gold

Laurie Brown, of Aubergine, is a new member to Etsy Metal. She excels in sand casting items found in nature and creating beautiful and intriguing pieces to adorn the body. Inspiration is drawn from the juxtaposition that something which many discard after death, such as bone, can be immortalized in precious metal, and given a new life.

Laurie uses gold as well as silver, and techniques such as sand casting, fabrication, and stonesetting in her work. You can find more in her Etsy Shop, as well as on her Flickr.

In the Studio with themusesjewels

1.) tell us about your studio. how long have you been there? where is it? (in your home, arts center, store, etc.. and city)

My studio is in my apartment, here in Montreal. I've been here about 4 years, and it's mutated a lot in that time...It was originally in the closet of my bedroom (a wee bit cramped, not to mention a serious fire hazard...), but I've now taken over the entire dining room (we never used it anyway...).

my mess
Originally uploaded by themuses

2.) what is your favorite tool you have? why?

Hmmm...It's hard to choose just one. I have quite the love affair going on with them all. I guess if I had to pick one that I'd have a really hard time working without, it would be my flex shaft.

Originally uploaded by themuses

3.) what do you listen to or do while working? music, news, or nothing - i'm concentrating!

I often listen to the CBC (Canadian public radio), or a huge and eclectic variety of music. Lately I've been listening a lot to some works in progress I've been writing for some musical projects I'm involved in...multi-tasking, really.

studio - music
Originally uploaded by themuses

4.) what time of day is your favorite to work?

I like to get administrative and shipping duties done with coffee early in the morning, and my favourite time to create jewels is in the evening, when the temperature cools, and my studio is darker. I prefer to solder in a darker environment, as it makes seeing the colour changes in the metal easier.

Administration zone
Originally uploaded by themuses

5.) do you have an inspiration bulletin board or something else that you keeps you inspired? do you have a picture of it?

Oh yes...there's stuff all over my walls and my studio...I have a 'motivation shelf' with a book by the awesome and inimitable Tammy Forsythe , and a photo of Patti Smith, sitting under graffiti that reads 'Vive l'Anarchie'. Those two ladies keep me honest...
I also have a couple of bulletin boards on which I stick random clippings, photos, etc., of things I like. (see 'inspiration' and 'inspiration 2' photos on Flickr)

Inspiration 2
Originally uploaded by themuses

6.) can we get a little sneak peek of what you're working on right now?'s pretty much all in my head, and only becomes reality when I actually put fire to metal, but here's a shot of a page from my sketchbook (see 'Sneak peek' photo on Flickr). I've just gotten my hands on a whole bunch of cross agates for my Scarred Sacred series, and have mostly been working on those lately...

Sneak peek
Originally uploaded by themuses

Thanks Norsola!! Make sure to check out her flickr and of course her jewelry on Etsy!

Tip #7 - Strengthening Posts

post earrings tip
Originally uploaded by esjewelry
When making post earrings, after soldering the post on, work harden by twisting a couple of times in each direction. At the same time pull to straighten the post.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Etsy Metal Finds

Sorry about these finds being a day late. I was out of town this weekend and it completely slipped my mind! Oops:) But, while I was on my way out of town, I couldn't help but think about how high gas prices are these days, and how much I wish I could just bike everywhere! Enjoy todays bike friendly finds! I couldn't narrow it down to two, so you get three...

Bikerman with Red Stars by BrendaRose. I love ALL of her pieces!

Flying Bike Messenger by lscreamseams.

Bike Parts Shirt by shopshopdesigns.

Friday, July 25, 2008

EtsyMetal News 7.25.08

Just a few quick things this week! Friday almost slipped by (well, I was out of town, so that helped!) but wanted to post a few quick important things before tomorrow.

Colleen Baran is having a show tomorrow at Blim - check out the site for more details!

And Ashley is running a contest on her blog! You have to check it out - who wouldn't want to win something of Ashley's?

more to come this weekend!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sudlow Jewelry

Rachael Sudlow, of Sudlow Jewelry, is a metalsmith who displays in her work a wide range of techniques and expertise. Here is a short interview with Rachael:

1. Where do you live, and where are you from?

I was born & still live in Lawrence, KS. Proudly, the only county in Kansas that votes democratic. We're a fun little artsy town. I escaped only briefly for school in rhode island.

2. How did you get started working with metal?

AGES ago, in junior high I did a piece that was mixed metals & looked like a scarab had moveable parts that swung around on rivets...I think it had 40 some. I did jewelry through high school & college as well.

3. What are a few of your favorite pieces at the moment?

the peapods are always my favorites...I wear them all the time & love to make them. As far as new work, I'm working at getting better at stone setting & playing around with faceted stones--it's a nice way to add sparkle & color to my work. But now I just want to buy super expensive pretty stones! My taste is getting more and more pricey.

4. What inspires you (artists, objects, interests)?

my pets! I've got a ton of fish (down to 4 fishtanks!) & my boston terrier pup, bella- They're great company & keep me from going insane as I work in my studio. The fish are only part of the fun with my aquariums, as I do saltwater tanks & grow all kinds of nifty corals.
Getting new tools always gets me motivated to try new projects. I have to test them all out! Plus the more I learn, the more I can teach in my jewelry classes I teach at my local arts center. It's so much fun to pass along the tricks I've learned.

5. Do you have any other artistic interests?
well I got my degree in photography, so I suppose I have an interest there. I got a bit burned out of it after 4 years though. My Cowscapes are my proudest bit of work- & I really should getting back to shooting more of them.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tip #6 - Vinegar

tip #6
Originally uploaded by bcyrjewelry
After casting - the metal is covered in the investment. Some pieces have tiny details that trap the investment and can't be removed with a simple scrub-a-dub-dub. I soak mine over night in vinegar. It not only cleans the investment off, but acts just like pickle and cleans the metal to a bright white! Though it might not look like it immediately, I just give them a quick scrub with a toothbrush soap and water and it takes off any residue that might just be sitting on the surface. If it is still not clean to your liking, just leave it in there longer. If the investment is all cleaned off but not completely white, I still proceed with my usual clean up and finishing and then drop it in the pickle if it needs it, though usually it doesn't.

It is a very economical solution to an ultrasonic cleaner. I use an old pickle jar (it already smelled like vinegar!) and buy a gallon at a time for about $2. The vinegar will start to turn blue after a few uses, just replace w/ fresh vinegar!

Friday, July 18, 2008

EtsyMetal News 07.18.08

What a Friday Front Page! Couldn't resist posting it here. Six, count that - 6! EtsyMetal members on one front page! Congrats to Brooke, Sara, Clare, Caitlyn, Alisa, and Delias!

A couple of important other important pieces from this week. Brooke Medlin of gemmafactrix is a finalist in a design challenge - check it out here on Ponoko.

Elizabeth Scott of esdesigns was featured on a great blog this week!

Amie King will be at Midsummer Festival of the Arts Sheboygan Wisconsin July 19 & 20 - stop by and say hi if you're there!


Lynette Andreasen, of Asymmetry, is an amazing artist that hails from Arizona. In addition to her pieces on Etsy, she excels at hollow form pieces, and has been exploring working in new mediums as well. You can find more of her work in her Etsy Shop, as well as her Blog.

1. Where do you live, and where are you from?

I am from Tucson, Arizona, but have lived in the Phoenix area for 6 years now as I have been attending school at Arizona State University.

2. How did you get started working with metal?

I got started working with metal when I first started college. I wanted to take the metals class but they wouldnt let you unless you were a metals major. I was political science, but had been planning on changing to something else anyway. So I changed my major to metals so I could enroll in the class and ended up falling in love.

3. What are a few of your favorite pieces at the moment?

My favorite pieces right now, are the pieces in which I incorporate embroidery into the metal. I love combining the two materials...seeing how different they are and then bringing them together. I think its a really beautiful combination of hard and soft. I also like how I can bring color into the work that way. I wish I could do the embroidery pieces all day everyday!

4. What inspires you (artists, objects, interests)?

In my work I explore themes related to human connection and interaction. My goal is to cause both the viewer and the wearer to reflect on the connections created by casual and intimate interactions between individuals. Everyday, people experience physical, emotional and circumstantial exchanges with others. I am interested in the imprint or traces these exchanges inevitably leave behind. Sometimes the traces are physical, other times they are emotional. Sometimes the impact of an interaction is obvious, while other times that impact is not easily seen or readily understood. My work is inspired by the consequences and imprints left behind by the human connections I see around me. I am inspired by relationships, memories, heirlooms, emotions and sentimental objects. Artists that inspire me include Melanie Bilenker, Diem Chau, Jennifer Angus, Jum Nakao, Peter Callesen, Cornelia Parker and SO MANY more. I also am often inspired by my materials. The shape of a scrap of metal, a found object, or something I see in an everyday context often inform the design of my work.

5. Do you have any other artistic interests?

In addition to metals, I also love printmaking, fibers and woodworking. I love to work mixed media and incorporate many materials into my work.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tip #5 - Beeswax

Tip #5
Originally uploaded by bcyrjewelry
Beeswax - is great for lots of jewelry related projects! Using it on the back of your saw blade is a great way to keep the blade sawing nice and smoothly. And who wouldn't love that? I also have used it for drill bits.

Another beeswax trick - You can use a little ball on the end of a toothpick to aid in working with tiny stones that are hard to handle with your fingers.

And it just smells good too!

Lots of sellers on etsy have it available, but I particularly love the fun shapes from Tamarasherbes!

Last chance to Vote on Fred Flare

I'm in Fred Flare's Next Big Thing!

Another chance to vote! And last chance to vote for Colleen Baran on Fred, one of 27 people picked for this year's 'The Next Big Thing' she's been choosen for her Framework ring#23!

Read the interview here!

Voting ends tomorrow on July 16th but you can vote now!).

Ponoko Design Challenge - Vote!

One of our members, Brooke Medlin/gemmafactrix is a finalist in Ponoko's 10-day design challenge! If you don't know what Ponoko is all about, you can read about it here (and don't forget to vote!)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hoop Earrings Tutorial

hoops1.jpg hoops2.jpg
I measure a length of hard 20 gauge sterling silver round wire, cut several more to match, then shear them off at exactly the same length (using a scissors type shear). Using a round nose pliers, I make tiny loops at the ends, making them as small as the tip of the pliers. To remove any slight tool marks from bending the hard wire, I lightly burnish it with the tips of the pliers by rotating them in the loop. The loop should appear shiny and round with no dents. (I usually make ear wires at the same time, those are to the left.)

hoops3.jpg hoops4.jpg
After rounding the end of the wire with a 1 mm cup burr I use a plastic mallet to shape the wire into a circle on a smooth ring mandrel. The easiest way to do this with hard wire is to wrap firmly at the end of the mandrel where it’s small. Then slide it up, tap with the mallet, and grab the next wire. Complete each step for all the pieces to save time. When the wires are circular, bend up the rounded ends in a curve. Then place each earring on a polished anvil, and flatten lightly all around using a highly polished chasing hammer (with a head 1″ wide or larger) focusing more on the center part. This is done with many light taps- hitting the silver wire too hard in one place will deform it. Each will take about 20 seconds to finish the forging completely. It’s important to go this slowly to avoid mistakes. Also, try to keep the anvil and hammer clean (free of any grit or silver filings.) I use a separate area from where I cut, file and finish. This is a very old bench that my friend salvaged from an auto shop. It’s very heavy and sturdy. It’s a good idea to wear ear plugs- the noise can damage your hearing.

hoops5.jpg hoops6.jpg
I always check the first pair for size and uniformity, then compare the others to those to make sure each is the same size and shape. When the batch is finished I put them in the tumbler along with some burnishing compound and usually batches of other jewelry. This makes them extra shiny and slightly harder. I store them on earring cards in plastic bags with anti-tarnish tabs inside, and they wait on a hook on a peg board until they’re sold and shipped.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Etsy Metal Finds

Todays finds are inspired by the color red, and some of the many creative creatures that can be found on etsy!

I just love this Worry-Woolie Notebook from Spiderbite.

This Crab Robot Pouch from Anatomyofaskirt is absolutely adoreable!

Friday, July 11, 2008

EtsyMetal News 07.11.08

Originally uploaded by bcyrjewelry
First off I want to say thank you to Sophie for filling in for me last week as i was gallivanting around Boston! What a better place to be on Independence day, amongst hundreds of thousands of other people? It was quite an experience. I've never seen so many people running towards fireworks - literally, I saw hundreds of people running through intersections (yes while cars were driving through them) just to get a closer and better view of the display. Quite fun though. On Saturday we went to the Harvard Natural History Museum - they had an amazing display of minerals, elements and gem stones. I've never seen a natural slab of silver as big as a huge serving tray, a quartz crystal about 4 times bigger than my head and other fantastic geological specimens. It was quite amazing. I took pictures with a friends camera, but haven't gotten any of them yet. If you ever have a chance to go there - I highly recommend it - $9 for hours and hours of looking at fun stuff!

On to the real news of the week! Ashley Akers of ashleyjewelry has a wonderful write up on indie pretty perfect - you should definitely check it out! Way to go Ashley!

Shannon of Rubygirl and Caitlyn of discomedusa will be at a show tomorrow (July 12th) in Portland on Mississippi Ave - check out the site for more info and stop by and say hi if you can!

Jessi Taylor will be at the West Seattle Summer Fest which looks like loads of fun!

Stop by and see Amie King at the Orland Park, IL art fair.

Nina Dinoff has made the trek cross country from NY to SF to do the Renegade fair under her Swizzlet collection.

Rachael Sudlow passed her 3,000 sale mark! That is quite amazing if I do say so myself!

You still have time to vote for Colleen Baran in Fred Flare's Next Big Thing!

And of course a whole bunch of front pages this week including (but not limited to) esdesigns, jessitaylor, ashleyjewelry, and maggiejs! Congrats ladies!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tangerine Tree House


Today we are featuring Tangerine Tree House, run by Laura Crawford of Long Beach, California. Her work is intriguing and exciting, enticing the wearer and viewer to think deeper and with imagination.

1. Where do you live, and where are you from?
Currently, I live in Long Beach, California. I was born and raised in Oregon, however, and hope to move back there one day.

2. How did you get started working with metal?
When I was a kid, my mom taught me how to make simple beaded earrings and necklaces. It was a great hobby, and I continued working with beads for many years (even selling a few of my creations).

Curious Chains

In 2003, I burned out on the simplicity of stringing beads and, in January 2004, I enrolled in my first metalsmithing class at Long Beach City College. I took night classes after work for a year and a half and slowly gained all of those vital new skills.

3. What are a few of your favorite pieces at the moment?
My favorite pieces are the ones that I feel really embody the push and pull between nature and our modern lives. Like the pendants “Window” and “Metaphor” and “Along the Way”. I’m also working on some new cuff bracelets that I’m really excited about.



Along The Way

4. What inspires you (artists, objects, interests)?
My biggest inspiration is nature. I find it fascinating how plants can grow through cracks in the sidewalk or take over an abandoned gas station. Nature is so much a part of our daily lives. But for those of us who live in the city, it’s a really muted part, and I love being able to elevate that often-ignored greenery.


I’m also inspired by artists like Alexander Calder and Claire Falkenstein, for the way they were able to form metal with a sense of whimsy and play.

5. Do you have any other artistic interests?
Does bicycling count? My biggest interest these days, after jewelry, is bicycle touring. It’s like backpacking, only you ride a bike instead of walk, and it’s a really great way to explore an area. It may not really be artistic, but it definitely provides inspiration for my work.


To view more of Laura's amazing jewelry, check out her Etsy Shop, Website, and Blog!

Tip #4 - First Aid

Originally uploaded by bcyrjewelry
Listen to that voice in your head that says "you are about to slice open your finger." Seriously, 99% of my injuries are because I ignored that smart voice. All I needed to do was put on a glove as I knew it was just a matter of time before that burnisher skipped and sliced through my finger. Why are those edges so sharp? ouch.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

In the Studio with Kathryn Riechert

This week we're getting a look into Kathryn Reichert's studio! I have to say that I'm totally in love with her studio. It's huge! And she has so many fun tools. I am seriously jealous. :-)

1.) tell us about your studio. how long have you been there? where is it? (in your home, arts center, store, etc.. and city)My studio is in my house and was my number one priority when we were house shopping. I'm lucky enough to have a husband who didn't mind giving me the largest room for my jewelry :-)

2.) what is your favorite tool you have? why?

That would have to be my stamps and chasing hammers, because they are used so often. I really enjoy coming up with new ways to incorporate them into my work and would be lost without them. After that is my Little Torch.

3.) what do you listen to or do while working?

Usually have a tv on for background noise (most often tuned to TBS, Discovery, or Comedy Central) but if there is nothing good to listen to on tv, I'll listen to some of my cds. Every now and then I contemplate what it would be like if I spent an entire week in my studio (minus eating and sleeping!) without any noise, just me and my tools...It's an experiment that I plan to act out sometime in the future.

4.) what time of day is your favorite to work?

I like mornings best. I'll have caffeine from my coffee kicking in, lots of sunlight, and a whole day to whittle away at :-)

5.) do you have an inspiration bulletin board or something else that you keeps you inspired?

I tend to use my sketch books for inspiration. I also have a lot of little experiments scattered about and will sometimes look through them to get ideas.
(this picture has nothing to do with the question, but it makes me laugh!)

6.) can we get a little sneak peek of what you're working on right now?
I was inspired by some etsymetal members to do some water casting and have been obsessed with it for the last week! I have several new designs in progress and have been constantly making new castings to use.

Thank you, Kathryn! What a fantastic space! Be sure to check out Kathryn's etsy shop and her Flickr!
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