Monday, September 29, 2008

Weekly Review: True Blood

It looks like vampires are back! I recall the days when Anne Rice novels were all the, a show has premiered on HBO that has caught the attention of some of our members, with fond reviews.

The show is about a community of vampires in a time when synthetic blood has become available, so they no longer need real blood. At least, that's what can be derived from the show's description. This sexy, scary new drama was created by Alan Ball, creator of 'Six Feet Under', and is inspired by a series of novels written by Charlaine Harris.

Etsy Metal Finds

Lightning anyone?? I'm sad the season of summer thunder storms is passing, but I can keep it with me all year long with these awesome finds!

Lightning Strikes by Designsbyabby

Naked Raku Vessel by ClayDesignStudio

Friday, September 26, 2008

Catherine Chandler

Catherine Chandler comes to us with a wide range of experiences and techniques, learned from overseas as well as in the U.S. You can find more of her work on her Website, Blog, Etsy Shop, and Flickr.

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

I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. I spent my high school years in the Columbia River Gorge (Hood River, OR) and my college years in Sydney and Adelaide, Australia. After returning to Hood River for a short while, I landed back here in Portland and am loving it!

2. How did you get started working with metal?

I originally wanted to major in photography, with grand ideas of becoming some sort of photo journalist. After reading a great autobiography of a female photojournalist, that idea changed quite a bit. When I took my first Introduction to Jewelry class, I absolutely fell in love with working with metal. The ability to take a flat sheet of metal and transform it into something beautiful is amazing. The rest, as they say, is history!

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

I have been incorporating a lot more stones into my work as of late, since I'm trying to whittle down my collection of them. I love The Fancy Ring, which features a great smoky quartz, as well as my Eucalyptus Dreams, which features an amazing Australian Variscite. And my Leaf Chain is fabulous--I have one of my own that I wear all the time.

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

I am often inspired by nature...I love exploring unique plants. Australia is full of fun and bizarre plants, which really exploded my interest in them. When I returned home to the states from down under, I started noticing our own unique flora a lot more. I am also really intrigued by narration now...stories of intrigue and history. I love a challenge and am always up for turning a concept into an object, no matter how difficult it can be. Currently, I'm working on (mostly in my head at the moment) a project on forgiveness which will materialize in the form of wall lockets.

5. Do you have any other artistic interests?

Although I love photography, metalsmithing got the better of me and the passion I once had for film just isn't there any more. I would love to be a multi-faceted artist who dabbles in everything, but my heart is in metal. I think, if I had the space, I could definitely get into bigger sculptures.

Etsymetal News 9.26.08

WOW! Lots of news this week...

sudlow's Heart of California Necklace was featured on Rare Birds Finds!

esdesigns's Aspen Leaf Necklace was a fall inspired pick on

alphabettispaghetti, gemmafactrix, indiaylaluna and TreAnelli were featured in the Storque article Simple Jewelry!

On Wednesday, 9.24 ashleyjewelry's website was linked on the ring-licious blog the carrotbox!

Colleen Baran had two rings nominated in this year's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum People's Award! Please vote for her...twice at The Love Inside #5 and 'I Miss You'

jessedanger's Anax Imperator Machina is featured in Art Jewelry Magazine and is animated on their website! Check it out...very cool!

Don't forget that Laura Crawford will be at the Corvallis Fall Festival in Oregon on 9.27 & 28!

...and several etsymetal members graced the front page of Etsy!


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Danielle's Bud Vase - Part 1

This summer my husband and I traveled to Ireland where we took a 2 week silversmithing workshop with Brian Clarke. It was an amazing experience!
We learned two metalsmithing techniques:
1) Sinking - stretching the metal to make a domical form by pounding the metal with a ball-faced hammer into a depression, such as a carved piece of wood
2) Crimp raising - compressing the metal to make vessel forms by crimping the metal with radial folds which are then pounded smooth over a steel stake with a nylon or wooden hammer.

The following is the step-by-step process behind my workshop final project, a bud vase, which uses both these techniques...

I began by cutting out 2 sterling discs, annealing them and then began crimp raising one disc for the bottom half of the vase.

After several coures of raising, the shape is close to my template size.
Then I planished the hemisphere on a mushroom stake.

I wonder how many hammer blows it took to make it look like this? I wasn't counting! :) This portion of the bud vase took a full day (plus a few hours)...

Stay tuned...I will continue this step-by-step next Wednesday!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Weekly Review: Jewelry Concepts and Technology by Oppi Untracht

Jewelry Concepts and Technology by Oppi Untracht is one of the "bibles" of metalsmithing. Imagine...over 800 pages filled with metalsmithing techniques and history, from basic soldering to fusing metals, to surface techniques and stone setting. Untracht also includes some history on adornment, which is well researched and photographed.

Etsy Metal Finds

Like to fish? Check these out...

Recyclure by TeddMcDonah

Finds: Birch Bark Soap

I found Birch Bark Soap when she mentioned me in her featured seller interview (my birch bark ring) and I had to order a few things. I'm addicted to her soap now. The island coconut salt bar is incredible. Salt bars are amazingly long lasting. Very quick shipping from Canada, and nicely packaged too!

Friday, September 19, 2008

EtsyMetal News 9.19.08

Lots of news this week! Laura Crawford (creator of this gorgeous piece) will be traveling for the next few weeks to several shows. If you are in the area - here is the info: September 27 & 28 she will be at the Corvallis Fall Festival, Corvallis, Oregon, and on October 4 she will be at the Artisan Show & Sell, Signal Hill, CA. Stop by and get some early holiday gifts or just oggle at her amazing work!

Several of our members were at Renegade in Chicago - were you there? Did you have some rain boots? The reports were great, but water logged. Nina Dinoff even went on the hunt for some rain boots but they were sold out everywhere. Too bad none of them were selling rain shoes! Though thankfully, metal jewelry is water proof!

Colleen Baran was given an Honorable Mention for the inaugural 2008 Designers of the Year Award! Check out more on her blog!

Maggie's electroforming tutorial is going to be mentioned in the new Instructables book!! Make sure to keep an eye out for that. I know its been one of our most popular tutorials here on the blog.

Lena and Ashley are sharing a booth at the Bishop Arts Peace Festival in Oak Cliff in Dallas TX - Sunday from 12:30 to 8:30.

Danielle was featured on this super cool blog.

And on the minds of all of us are the constant fluctuation of metal prices. Gold and Silver dropped drastically last week and then has been slowly creeping back up. There seemed to be a run on materials and some of our favorite suppliers have been out of some key pieces! Sigh... its kind of like playing the slot machines...

Thats about it for the week, lots going on - even more than what I could mention here I'm sure!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Siren Jewels

Melissa, of Siren Jewels, creates beautiful pieces of jewelry using a variety of metals and stones. You can find more of her work in her Etsy Shop, and learn more about this wonderful artist through her Website.

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

I currently live in Olympia, Wa. After collage I moved to San Francisco on a whim, met my husband and ended up staying for about 10 years. I am originally from Upstate NY (Saratoga springs area).

2. How did you get started working with metal?

It was actually a mistake, I took a "metalworking" class thinking it was going to be metal sculpture with a big fat blow torch. It turned out to be jewelry making. I fell totally in love.

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

Hmm.. That's a hard one. Id have to say the anticlastic pieces are my favorites. I love transforming a flat, lifeless piece of metal into something fluid and organic. I'm also totally enamored with gemstones! I love big making stone cocktail rings. I will be adding more of them to my shop for the fall/winter.

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

Inspiration comes from everything, simple organic shapes, fashion, music, etc. My favorite sculptors are Louise Nevelson and nature artist Andy Goldsworthy.

5. Do you have any other artistic interests?

I love architecture and decorating. It's always been a dream to design my own home. Someday I will.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tip #13 - Stone Setting/Floss

Tip photo.... flosssyyyy
Originally uploaded by bcyrjewelry
This is a pretty common tip, but if you haven't heard it, it can be a life saver (and a tooth saver!)

When working on settings and you want to check to make sure the fit is just right - use some dental floss under the stone. That way if the stone gets a little stuck - very easy to pull it right out. Otherwise, you risk tearing the whole setting apart just to get the stone out. And THAT is no good. I usually keep a random piece floating around on my work bench just to keep it handy. Floss works great because it can flatten out to almost nothing, but is plenty strong enough that if the stone is quite tight, you don't risk having it break when pulling the stone out.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Weekly Review: One Hundred Pushups

I bet you think we metalsmiths are quite strong from all the hammering, filing, soldering, etc., that we do. Well, sometimes it takes a little bit more than that (keeping in mind that the majority of what 'we' do is done sitting down). A couple months ago, one of our members recommended One Hundred Pushups to the group. The website explains a six week fitness program that increases the amount of pushups done each day or week, working up to 100 consecutive push ups.

A few of our team members have joined in and are enjoying their challenges.

image via one hundred push ups

Etsy Metal Finds

Today's finds are all a shade of Olive! Felted Scarf by Karlita
Olive Pendant by AngelaGerhard

Friday, September 12, 2008

Bloom Studios

Christine, of Bloom Studios, makes amazing work reminiscent of nature. Inspired by the beauty and harmony of nature, she uses sterling silver, gold, and gorgeous stones to create her very unique jewelry.

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

I was born and raised for much of my life in South Bend, Indiana. I moved away after college to Hawaii for many years and ironically moved back to South Bend after the birth of my first child.

2. How did you get started working with metal?

As as teen I loved to bead and was very creative. I guess I always had the sense that I was meant to do something artistic, despite the urging of my mother to enter a "practical field". I had wanted to work with metal for years, but metalsmithing wasn't something taught locally.

After my second child was born, I began to stay home. My life revolved around family and taking care of them and I sort of lost my creative time. I began to realize that this was essential to my happiness and began to check out our local museum for art classes. I found an introductory metalsmithing class and the rest is history.

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

I have fallen in love with chocolate diamonds! It is the perfect way to get your chocolate and have no guilt! My personal favorite pieces are my Champagne Kisses Ring Set, my Gold and Chocolate Ring, and The Infinite Necklace.

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

I am very aware of my environment and sense of well-being. I believe that this awareness flows through my work. I love balance and harmony. I enjoy mixing the dark earthy tones obtained in layering patina on silver and the bright glow of gold. I love to highlight the particular color of a gem in this way to really bring attention to all of it's beauty. I also enjoy mixing textures of metal as well and finding that harmony in a piece.

I believe that my time in Hawaii has influenced my work as well. I love the colors of the sun and sea, of the rainforest and rich earth. I love subtle inperfection that are so random in nature.

I would say that Nava Zahavi's jewelry was a strong influence on me really pursue metalsmithing and jewelry design. I love the raw elegance and exotic influences seen in her work.

5. Do you have any other artistic interests?

Although my focus and love is primarily working with metal, from time to time this gets a little hectic with deadlines and orders. To destress and do something creative not related to jewelry, I will take a pottery class.

Drawing was my first love. Although I don't use this in my creative process, I love to draw! I also enjoy making mosaic art occassionally and I love architecture and interior design.

You can find more of Christine's work in her Etsy Shop.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tip #12 - Straightening wire

Got some kinky and crooked wire? roll it between two steel blocks (or a steel block and your anvil) and it will straighten it right out!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Weekly Review: Goldsmithing & Silver Work by Carles Codina

Goldsmithing & Silver Work by Carles Codina, is an incredible book.

It starts out with the general details of tools and materials, moves into short sections about a variety of techniques, and then into more extensive techniques towards the back of the book. Some techniques covered are creating a bowl from silver using a lathe, as well as traditional raising techniques.

There are also fabulous directions for creating hollow rings, stone settings, and working with hollow tubes. Codina's technical skills are vast and never cease to impress me.

In addition to fabrication, Codina displays a few casting techniques which are steeped in history, such as ashanti casting, cuttlefish bone casting, delft sand casting, casting on natural stone, and ceramic shell casting.

Friday, September 5, 2008

EtsyMetal News 9.5.08

Originally uploaded by Sarah Hood Jewelry
I couldn't help but share this photo as part of the news today - it is amazing, not just the piece itself, but the photograph is too! It is a piece called Root by Sarah Hood. She is having a solo show at the Appalachian Center for Craft, in Smithville TN. The show is called "Small World: Constructed Landscapes," and it runs from September 4 - October 20. This was a new piece made for the show. And I love it! She also just won a PONCHO/Pratt Artist-in-Residence for 2008-2009 from Pratt Fine Arts in Seattle. Sarah has been busy indeed!!

Tonight is the Fort Worth Art Goggle - Ashley Akers of Ashley Jewelry will be there 5 - 10pm - it is located at the Texana lofts at 1206 S Adams - check it out if you are in that area!

Also next weekend is Chicago's Renegade Craft Fair. Quite a few of our fabulous EtsyMetal Members will be there including: Mike and Mary Jewelry, Brooke Medlin (gemmafactrix), Alisa Miller, and Nina Dinoff. Rachael Sudlow will be there helping Brooke, so you can say hi to her too! For more info check out the Renegade site.

Oh! and the theme for the month is.... bezel setting and/or hope. Should include some really interesting interpretations!


Clare Stoker-Ring, of Stamp, creates simple yet modern pieces that incorporate beautiful color and texture. Having lived both above and below the equator, and in the eastern and western hemispheres, wanderlust is one of the major influences on her work.

You can visit her Etsy Shop for more of her work, as well as for her photography.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Tip #11 - Drilling

When you have lots of small bits to cut out and drill holes through - drill the holes first. It is much easier to hold on to a big pieces of metal while drilling than it is to hold on to a tiny one.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Artist Feature - Malodora

Malodora is D Dee Wilder. I first took notice of her work when I saw a photo of an experimental bracelet she had made, on flickr. Her work is organic; alive - and it comes as no surprise to learn that she worked for many years as a research entomologist and a nature photographer, it's very obvious that this in-depth knowledge informs not just her work but her whole aesthetic. You get the feeling it's likely that if you took once of her incredible bracelets apart you'd find a biologically correct nudibranch.

Dee works with polymer clay, and she pushes all the boundaries that I've come across with it. She is constantly exploring the limitations and possibilities, and I suspect that this enquiring approach to the materials comes at least partly from her training in a rigorously accurate discipline: polymer clay I was self-taught--until my work reached a certain level--then I started taking classes from artists I admired. I try to take at least 2 intensives a year, and I’m branching out into some techniques to complement polymer. Some artists have so much to teach by example that I take their classes over and over.

I love the perfect marriage of creativity and scientific discipline there. And it produces fabulous results:

It's hard to believe that's actually polymer clay (or at least for this non-polymer artist it is) - it has been produces in several stages, gilded, sanded, buffed, tumbled, and I haven't seen other work like it; although it's very slightly steampunk round the edges. Mary Gentle's characters would definitely wear it.

There's something slightly feverish about it this one, as if it might reach out, very slowly, and grab you. Venus flytraps from Mars. (Dee's earrings, available in her Etsy shop have this same aesthetic.)

The latest technique - hollow beads with multiple piercings, showing layers of colour.

And what can I say? Art, or jewellery, or both.

All different, all unique - and all instantly recognisable as Dee's work. It's this unique, distinctive voice - the use of colour and texture as well as the hothoused natural references that intrigues me. I asked Dee about it:

Q: I know you love the sea! (or I assume so, from the incomparable nudibranchs) - you work to me seems very organic, very natural; despite the very modern materials... what inspires you? To me it reminds me more of very detailed paintings rather than anything else that anyone is doing with polymer clay. The texture, the way you use colour, the objects that you make seem to me to be utterly unique - how did you come up with this?

That's a hard one to answer. I have a rich and varied history. I’ve been a naturalist my whole life, and my head is filled with images and ideas. I’ve been a photographer, so I’m always looking at composition and color. I guess I’d have to say I draw on all my inner voices--and--most important, I’m not market driven, and I make only what I love.

I’m inspired by the natural world. Ideas come to me on my morning walks and also from looking through my slide library, or leafing through some of my favorite books. Experimenting with clay inspires and excites me as well. I love taking an idea or a process and seeing how far I can push it. If anything, I’m over-inspired. I’m often working on several new projects at once and simultaneously planning others.

I am fascinated to see what Dee will come up with next. Her micromosaics:

(yes, that really is a pencil!)

and her polished (not varnished, I hasten to add - hand-sanded & buffed) beads:

are as exciting as the rest of her work. I will leave the last words to Dee:

I feel for the first time that I have reached a level of competence where I can control my materials. I’m not just trying to duplicate techniques and processes. I’ve never [before] stayed with a medium long enough for that to happen. I am able to visualize a finished piece and execute my vision. That might not mean much to most crafters and artists, but to me it is a giant breakthrough. The other thing that excites me is that since my husband retired he has taken over all household duties. This leaves me long interrupted hours in my studio--it makes an enormous difference to me since I am easily distracted every time I leave the studio. Of course, there are still not enough hours in the day to create the way I’d like to.

But the last picture? that's MINE! This I bought from Malodora on Etsy, and I am incredibly excited about it:

As well as Malodora on Etsy, if you have the time, look at Malodora on flickr - there is a host of wonderful pictures of Dee's work there, too. And it's a joy to look at it all!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Weekly Review: Metalsmith's Book of Boxes and Lockets

One book a lot of metalsmiths find helpful is Metalsmith's Book of Boxes and Lockets by Tim McCreight.

The techniques demonstrated in this book are essential for creating hollow forms such as boxes and lockets, and can be used for many other pieces as well. Such techniques include how to make a variety of hinges, various ways to create hollow forms, as well as clasps and closures. I myself do not have this book yet, but have borrowed it when learning to make lockets, and it is definitely on my (rather lengthy) wish list of books.

EtsyMetal Finds

Sorry I missed doing the finds last week! I started back to school and things just got away from me and the week flew by! Here are some finds inspired by those very things...

This perfect bookmark in copper by gurlygirl

And this great Fly Away wall graphic by EllyNelly

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