Sunday, May 30, 2010

Etsy Metal Finds

Today's Etsy Metal Finds are inspired by summer. Here in Portland, we have been having record rainfall and low temperatures for the past 2-3's now the end of May and we're all hoping for the sun to come our way! May your days be filled with joy and sunshine...

From Left to Right:

Summer Ferris Wheel 8 x 8 Fine Art Photo by Enamor Photography

Summer Print Cotton Halter Dress OOAK by Pyxus Passion Project

Turquoise Porcelain Sea Urchin Bud Vase by Blue Room Pottery

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Etsy Metal Finds

My dearest apologies for my absence of late! With spring and summer comes a flurry of activity--it seems the people of the Northwest are coming out of hibernation :) Sometimes in these dreary spring days, we all just need a splash of color!

From Left to Right:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Charm Swap 6 - Week 3

Not much had happened this week.
I will tell you what I am planning for the charms swap and for my friends!
I will make Hamsa charm. I want it with turquoise gemstone or other light blue gemstone, and with red string ... Lucky me I have the idea ! I don't know the design yet - but that's a start....

A little background of the meaning of "Hamsa" and "Red String"


The Hamsa is used to ward of the evil eye and can be found on the entrances of homes, in cars, on charm bracelets and chains and much more. It is also common to place other symbols in the middle of the Hamsa that are believed to help against the evil eye such as fish, eyes and the Star of David. The color blue, or more specifically light blue, is also considered protective against the evil eye and we could see many Hamsas in that color or with embedded gemstones in different shades of blue.

Red Silk String

The Red String provides protection from the envious eyes of strangers (also called the Evil Eye) and according to the Kabbalah is an important tool for removing the intrusive negative influences around us.

A person possessed of an evil eye carries with him the eye of the destroying negative force; hence it is called "destroyer of the world," and people should be on their guard against them and not come near them so that they should not be injured by them! [Zohar I, p.68b]

Last week I showed you the Charm Swap 5 photos - I have one more collection to show you...

I will be here again next Thursday...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Low-tech' surface finishing. Polishing pieces without machines.

In my workshop I have a buffing machine with various mops and polish compounds. I also have a barrell polisher (tumbler) which uses steel shot and detergent, however, I very rarely use either of these items of equipment because I actually prefer the finish I get with much lower-tech' methods. My own jewellery has a definite 'hand-crafted' look to it, so a pure high-shine finish just doesn't look right on them somehow, just as a crisp and smooth design of jewellery with flawless surfaces might not look quite right with a more 'tactile' surface finish.  The following methods are cheap and simple to achieve and give the metal a silky gleam as opposed to a high-class shine, it's not suitable for everyone...make up your own mind whether these are good for you.

The emery boards above are bought very cheaply in packs at the supermarket in the section on 'nail beauty'. They're really handy, last for ages, can be used on all sorts of material including metal and allow you to file down materials that you dont want to clog up your metal files with. The coarsest boards are great for imparting scratchy scrubbly surfaces as shown on the back of the brooch above. The finest ones are almost to a shine. Top left photo also shows a buffing board, again for nails, which shines up the metal to a lovely soft silky sheen once you've emery boarded the surfaces through a couple of successively finer grades.

Traditional fine emery paper is also known as "Wet & Dry". It is most effective when used with a little water and imparts a dusky sheen to the metal at fine grades. In the pictures above I am using 600grit. Rub in circular motions, gently. Let your papers dry out and they will last a long time. They work great on other materials such as plastics, bone and polymer clays.

A fantastic tip that I was shown by the great man of mixed materials himself, Robert Dancik, is for the final emery polish stage to be achieved by turning over your paper and still using it wet, polish in a circular motion again, using the BACK surface, yes that's right, the WRONG side. This buffs the metal / plastic / polymerclay up to the most lovely soft sheen. It looks like this after a final polish with the wrong side;

Using a polishing cloth by vigourously rubbing against the finished metal (and some plastics) brings up a more glossy appearance. The cloths are impregnated with a polish. You don't have to rub by pressing hard, just give a good brisk rub, getting the surface warm. If you want to polish the inside of a ring, then put one end of a strip of polishing cloth in the vice, hold the other end taught, then slide your ring onto the strip and polish it up and down. The cloths last ages if you keep them sealed in airtight bags and work just as well when they're old as when they're new, it takes a long time for them to die;

Brass bristle brushes are another one of my favourite means of bringing up a finish on metal (but not suitable for other materials). They come in various grades of coarsesness from very stiff to very soft. I love using these for bringing up a high shine to metal that still has a slight 'tactile' quality to the metal, in other words it's not a mirror smooth surface, it's a high shine with a bit of super-subtle texture. Below you can see that my softest brush is as soft as a natural-bristle hair brush;

You can see the finish below. You still need to remove scratches and scuffs with emery though, the brushes POLISH, they do not remove surface imperfections as emery paper / boards do.

Finally, I have recently tried for the 1st time some 'polishing papers'. Like emery paper (wet & dry paper) you use these dry and can use them wet. I found them to be more effective dry than wet as they degraded quicker than emery when wet, even though the blurb on the packaging states they last longer than traditional emery. They feel completely non-abrasive to touch but are very effective in reality, I think they will be good for when I don't want to get a piece wet, perhaps when touching-up a finshed item of jewellery where I've 'missed a bit'. The grades are represented by different colours, it doesn't tell you on the papers at all what the grade numbers are. Of course, I forgot which was which (due to the soft feel of all the papers) and found it helpful to write the number of the grade on the backs so as not to have to keep referring to the label on the packet, then cut small, useable sections of each paper and kept them together with a clip;

I hope you’ve found something here that’s useful to your own working practice.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Charm Swap 6

Out team members have time to plan and execute the new charms. I am here to watch, rush and keep an eye on  the progress.... (and to tell you the stories behind the curtains).
What I 've heard is , That our team members are giving hard thinking of what they are going to make. Believe me - it's a hard dicision ! You think all the time of what the others will think about your work - I must give my best (at least I feel like that).

I have rumors that ...
 Ann Hartley is working on her prototype
  planning to make us charm in that style

SO.... cool ! I love it!

This week the charm Swap 5 was released to the other members and soon the charms and the charm bracelet will be available on EtsyMetal Shop.

Nina Gibson shows her charms in the Ring a Day Project

I cannot wait to see what next week will bring us here ! Are you ?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

OCAC Annual Jewelry Sale!!!

Every year, the Oregon College of Art and Craft's Metals Department holds a jewelry sale to raise funds for their Visiting Artist Fund. This money goes towards bringing in a visiting artist to teach a weekend workshop to students at the school. It is also great exposure for students and alumni, as well as a fantastic place to find great gifts for yourself or others at very very good prices.

The sale is on May 15 and 16 from 10 am to 5 pm both days. Etsy Metal Member, Catherine Chandler, will have her jewelry at the sale and would love for you to come have a look!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Etsy Metal Finds

When I think of my mom, I often think of the beach. When I was little, my mom lived on the coast and to this day, the smell of salty sea air, crashing of waves, and quintessential sea colors always bring a sense of calm and love to me. Here's a little celebration of mothers everywhere...Happy Mother's Day!!!

Clockwise from Left:

A Day at the Shore Beach Typography Word Art Sign by Barn Owl Primitives

Water Blue Linen Flax Beach Towel by Amizanti

Worry Stone Genuine Beach Stone Key Fob by Sea Find Designs

Mama by Delight

Friday, May 7, 2010

Project Runway Jewelry Challenge 7.15: Finale: Collections!

Here are our three contributions to the collection challenge!
Necklace, Earrings, Bracelet & Ring plus one optional piece!
Congratulations to our jewelry designers!

Dasies on sapphire necklace, Daisy Hoops, Daisy Ring, Daisy Bracelet

A collection inspired by the heart bracelet done earlier in the season including; hollow heart ring, heart dangle earrings, heart bracelet, long heart necklace and a heart tie tack.

I wanted to play more with faceted stones and wonky settings. The setting on the pendant tilts at the tip, the settings on the open earrings tilt toward the center, the settings on the ring are different heights and tilt in different directions.

Thank you to all of the participants in the Project Runway Jewelry Challenge; season 7! These challenges have been a fun and exciting way to stretch our design skills. Enjoy your Summer!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Charm Swap 6

Charm swap 6 (CS6) is on the way !!! The deadline for finished charms is September 30, 2010.
CS6 is slightly different from the others. We are making a charm necklace that easily can be converted to a charm bracelet.
This swap is very exciting to all participants! 

We have 20 participants in CS6, each of the 20 participants will create 22 charms - one for each swap member and one to be sold in the EtsyMetal shop along with a Necklace (that can be a bracelet) that features all of the charms. Sales from this swap will go to a charitable arts organization, yet to be determined.

Maria Whetman / Fluxplay is creating Puzzle Pod Charms made of recycled tin, glass and embossed copper. 

Maria says "For the EtsyMetal Charm Swap6 season. I made a mock-up of my design and these were the components."

"After the mock-up I reworked the design. The lense will now be a bevelled glass disc (not acrylic sheet) and the dish will be slightly deeper. Instead of a soldered central tube rivet the lense will be held by a toothed rub-over edge. There will be 2 balls to try and get in the holes. It will be 2.5cm across and about 8mm deep. There will be several different tin inserts amongst the 22 pods."

I am so excited !!! I can't wait to see all the new charms !

Etsymetal Charm Swap 1 Bracelet

is still available on EtsyMetal shop

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Etsy Artist Feature: United Thread

A short while ago I came upon United Thread, a whimsical shop full of gorgeous watercolors, so I wanted to share her beautiful work with you.
The artist, Michelle, went to school at went to Massachusetts College of Art in Boston for Painting and Art History.

Her work clearly has a nature influence to it. In her own words:

I've been gardening for many years. I'm currently a private gardener on cape cod. When I'm not painting I'm working with plants. I would say my work is almost always inspired by gardening, plants, and nature. I'm inspired by the growth habits and patterns of plants.

When asked about her technique, she replied:

I mostly use watercolor paint. I like to let the paint work for me; adding wet on wet and allowing the colors to bleed. It always gives me surprising results. I'm also really interested in creating intricate line work with a fine brush on top of these pools of color to add another layer.

Michelle sells many original watercolors in her shop and they are all intriguing and well worth hanging in any home. You can visit her shop here.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May challenge - "Inspired by Joan Miro"

The May team challenge was "Inspired by Joan Miro". 
I am so exited to show you the stunning entries we have! 

The June team challenge, due to May 31st, is
"Spring is here"

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