Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Book Club Challenge: "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" by Robert Louis Stevenson

In his classic novella "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", Robert Louis Stevenson confronts the reader with the classic struggle between good and evil, and speaks to the duality of human nature.


 Sterling Silver, Test Tube, Salt

 I think this classic was a pretty easy read, the characters form very slowly and it generates anticipated interest about them which obviously "hooks" the reader. So in my small nutshell, I just wanted MORE from the entire story. But I really love the concept of good and evil residing and warring inside ones psyche and the tension it creates, but did not love the long build up in a short book for the loose ended ending.

Erin Austin 

Brass, Sterling Silver 
It took me a good while before I was able to get past the first couple of pages, but once I settled in there seemed to be a subtle rhythm that moved the story along. I was also very impressed with the way the author built tension. Much different that the suspense novels I'm used to, Stevenson used the concern and speculation
of a friend to slowly develop the plot and create suspense.  

What's behind the gown....
Copper, fine silver, forming, torch enameled

Next on our list: "Room" by Emma Donoghue

Monday, August 29, 2011


Here's what our Etsy Metal team members are up to this coming month....

An exhibition of Thomasin Durgin's rings from RAD will be on view at the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis, TN from Sept 1-Nov. 30.

Shirlee Grund just got a great feature on the Komo News blog. Click on the link to read the article. Shirlee also just opened a new Etsy shop, Under Distress - featuring distressed Titanium Jewelry in Oil slick colors. Check it out.

Rachel Sudlow
has her state necklaces are printed up in the latest UncommonGoods catalog. Way to go Rachel!

New York Long Distance Love Necklace

Rachel Sudlow's New York State Necklac

Michele Grady will be doing a couple art fairs in the upcoming weeks. The first is
September 10 &11- Brandywine Festival of Arts, Wilmington, DE. The second is October 1 & 2- Wheaton Village Festival of Fine Craft, 1501 Glasstown Rd., Millville, NJ

Norsola Johnson
will be at the Queen West Art Crawl Outdoor Art Show and Sale in Toronto
September 17th and 18th.

2Roses has been made a partner in A Wedding Ring Experience.
Make each others' wedding rings with your own two hands under the guidance of Master Jewelers - all in one day. Locations throughout the U.S and Great Britain. . Read about it by clicking on the link.

Sara Westermark has the upcoming shows this month-
Greater St. Louis Art Association's Queeny Park Art Show on September 2-4

TACA Craft Show in Nashville, Tennessee on September 23-25

St. James Court Art Show (Booth FS--729) Louisville, Kentucky
September 30-October 2

L. Sue Szabo has 2 pieces in the upcoming show Alchemy. This is the international biennial show of the Enamelist Society. It opens at Arrowmont School of Crafts in Gatlinburg TN, 9/9-10/29/11. The show will then travel to the Knoxville Art Museum in Knoxville TN, 11/18/11-1/20/12. It will finally travel to the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis TN, 3/9-6/3/12.

There will be a beautiful catalogue that will be available for purchase at the event and on the Enamelist Society website.

Sue also won first place in the recent art show Art on the Mall at the University of Toledo.

Sara Breivis will be at the Cole Valley Street Fair in San Francisco on Sept 25th.
She also won Art Jewelry Magazines' " Fire and Ice" design contest on Facebook with her Sparks ring. Congrats Sara!

Konstanze Valdez's
Mermaid Garnet ring is included in the Artful Home fall catalog.

Ann Hartley has a show of her RAW rings to date at Southwestern Michigan College Art Gallery and an interview up on the curator's blog. Click on the link to read more...

Stay tuned for next month, the members of Etsy Metal continue to make the news.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

"What's New" - this week in our shops

  1. Vintage Czech Glass Sterling Silver Ring with Charms Size 7 by AdobeSol
  2. Pink Garnet and Silver Necklace - Snow Globe by L Sue Szabo
  3. Cuff bracelet - Sterling silver with lavender handmade silk cord by Inbar Bareket
  4. Tourmalinated Quartz Sterling Silver Fold Ring, size 8 OOAK by nodeform
  5. Love Triangle - Modern Minimalist - Labradorite Stone and Sterling Silver Necklace - OOAK by SCJ Jewelry Design
  6. Little Shop of Horrors Mutant 3 Brooch by 2 Roses
  7. Raw Earrings Sterling Silver Rustic Hoop by aroluna
  8. Sterling silver jellyfish pendant  by Gotham Atelier
  9. Summer blackberry post earrings, handmade sterling silver post earrings by iacua
  10. Black Onyx and Sterling Silver Oval Tab Earrings  by Michele Grady Designs
  11. unconventional engagement or wedding ring by Sara Westermark
  12. Beach Stone and Driftwood Twig Ring in Sterling Silver, Choose your stone, OOAK  by Shirlee Grund
  13. Crystal Shard Earrings in Hand Anodized Titanium - Electric Blue, Green and Pink by Under Distress Jewelry
  14. 18k Gold Vine Engagement Ring w/ Moissanite by Danielle Miller Jewelry
  15. Turquoise Necklace with flower in sterling silver  by Kathryn Cole
  16. OMegA Leaf ID silver and copper pendant by Simply Mega
  17. Vintage Faceted Pink Glass Bead Necklace by Cynthia del Giudice
  18. Moissanite Wedding Band - 14k Palladium White Gold - Shoreline by Elizabeth Scott Designs

Friday, August 26, 2011

Project Runway: Season 9: Episode 4 -"All About Nina"

This weeks challenge:
Air: 8.18.11
My Lifetime, Thursdays, 9pm PST.

The Project Runway Challenge:
The designers were asked to design a day to night outfit for Nina Garcia

For Our Etsy Metal Translation:
Make a piece of jewelry for Nina. There was a scene where she was going through jewelry at Marie Claire. Also she notes that she likes streamlined, modern looks. Whatever you do, don't bore Nina!

Rebecca Bogan
I have designed a classic and bold pearl necklace with simple, clean lines for Nina Garcia. It features a large 8.5mm AAA quality white pearl. Nina could wear this necklace to the office as well as an evening company event.

A brooch with clean lines, simple design but with the twist of a very graphic piece of petrified palm. And an added touch of luxury on the back with 14kt pin findings.

I love the winning design from this week's show, created by Kimberly Goldson, and I made a cuff in my style that coordinates with the outfit. Kimberly's gold, textured top has many sharp details and makes such a statement that a big and bold bracelet seems all that's needed to set it off and balance the asymmetry.

Here is mine for becky's design...
I am playing with my torch enameling.....
Fine silver, torch enameling. cold connections and sterling silver cable.

I think this piece would work quite beautifully with the winning design Kimberly came up with this week. The golden brass would pair well with the shimmery blouse and the blue-green flashes in the labradorite would compliment the navy slacks! Perfect for the work day or the nightlife!

I had all these cast circles that I split one day thinking I'd make a bracelet for myself. I never did, so I used this one to cut and added 14K dangles to it.

I know from watching the show that Nina likes big, bold pieces of jewelry. I made this ring from a cast piece of birch bark in sterling silver. It's big. It measures 1 1/4" long and 3/4" wide. It's going straight to my private collection. Unless Nina herself wants it. Then I could let it go.

I went for geometric and clean for Nina...she is a tough one to design for!

ok, here's mine. i made this using clean lines and a muted palette for Nina. It is sort of classic but the texturing and patina gives it a bit of a "twist". I think it could go day to night, the pearl dresses it up a bit and makes it an evening appropriate piece too

Twisted, fold form leaf, about 5" long, enameled white on the inside and layers and layers of chartreuse, clear, green, and black enamel on the outside. Torch fired. Stick pin. Phew!

My inspiration was all the angles in the winning outfit and for my love of barnacles.

I really wanted to do a large cuff because I think that would totally make the outfit and I saw a few pics online of Nina wearing them but I didn't have a large enough piece of brass at I combined my RAW ring and PR challenge piece again this week. A simple large brass ring to go with Kimberly's outfit. The texture in the brass is a similar look to the texture of the gold fabric.

I loved the kimono-like folds of the winning outfit and the subdued metallic color. My ring is wrapped and folded, brushed and then oxidized for an understated clean modern look.

It can be worn either way!

Olive green sea glass wide band ring.

This is a wide band fused argentium ring I designed to look like lace. It's something I've been wanting to make for a while. I think it might work for her since it's bold and modern in a way. (Just in a scribbly lacey kind of way!)

Sterling Silver and Button I bought in Paris.

Gold plated Brass and Copper with Synthetic Blue Topaz.

Next weeks challenge:
The Project Runway Challenge:
The designers were asked to design a collection to go with Heidi's collection for New Balance.

For Our Etsy Metal Translation:
The challenge remains the same, make something that would work well with Heidi's sport New Balance collection. See it here.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Charm Swap 8 - week 21

Only 5 weeks left until all the charms are due for CS8 and we now have another Etsy Metal member who has finished her charms! Inbar of InbarBareket has sent photos of her finished "secret army". They are made from beetle wings, copper and silk thread. They came out great!

Ruby from Iacua has an update as well this week. As part of the rules of the charm swap each charm has to be approximately 1" square...Ruby says "I have news and progress-I ended up having to change my direction. The blackberry bell (which you can see in this blog post) is not going to approach 1", at best, with bail it might be around 1/2". As I didn't want to abandon the bell idea so I created a new bell shape out of Coralline algae. It looks like a folded snowflake. I have finished the prototype and am molding it. I will probably go with brass due to the high costs of silver." Ruby says she will send some photos as soon as she can.

Victoria Takahashi from Experimetal sent in this photo:

She says "These are my prototypes for the EtsyMetal Charm Swap 8. It has been slow going and a very tricky project, but there's nothing more motivating than a stiff deadline! I have finally got working samples and can now forge ahead with my charms." I can't wait to see what she does with them!

And last but not least is this update from Betsy of BetsyBensen . She says "all the bezels are made (these stones look like they are uniform, but they aren't, so every bezel is made to fit...). 4 are completed but I am in serious "batch mode" now, and will be making all of the bales and gold balls in a production line. Soldering and setting too! I've learned my lesson good." Betsy they look great! And a challenge is all about trying new things and learning from them so I am glad to hear that from Betsy as well!

Hopefully I will be able to work on my charms this week. ...with only 5 weeks left time is sure to go quickly! And in the mean time, don't forget to check out the EtsyMetal Shop. You will find charms from past charm swaps that are available for purchase. Until next time! ~ Michele from MicheleGradyDesigns

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"On Creativity" with Ashley of Ashley Akers Jewelry

In our blog series "On Creativity" each week we will feature one of our members and their perspective on keeping their creativity alive. 

This week we are talking to Ashley of Ashley Akers Jewelry

What inspires you?
My raw materials inspire me. Not so much the metal itself, but whatever material I am designing my piece around. I love to incorporate color and texture into my work and use varied media to do that. Polymer clay, gemstones, pebbles, fabric, enamel, and more recently, plastic aquarium plants, all make appearances in my designs. Really, no non-perishable material is off limits in my mind! Sterling, Copper and sometimes Gold become the framework for these materials. They are, of course, quite important in my designs, but the colorful raw materials are what really inspire me.

How does your design process work/How do you come up with new ideas?
Sometimes I sit down and sketch a design and one idea leads to the next. I don't do this as often as I used to, but all my years of sketches still provide inspiration. Lately I sit down with whatever materials I am using and just start playing around until the design and a construction plan come together in my mind. A design might change and morph during the process of making the piece depending on what works and what doesn't. I have plenty of unfinished pieces and sometimes go back to those with a fresh perspective.

How do you stay motivated?
Taking a break from production work and working on larger, one of a kind pieces helps. I have been participating in the Etsy Metal Project Runway Challenge and am finding it quite inspiring. Despite the fact that I just started a new job, after working on jewelry full time for the last three years, I am feeling more motivated lately.  Learning new techniques is also quite motivational. I have a long list of tools and techniques that I would like to incorporate into my work including, adding texture to metal via etching, a rolling mill, repousse and fold forming. (Hmm, it looks like adding texture to metal is something that is missing in my work and needs to be addressed!) I also plan to continue to explore new materials, such as wood, and always find that inspirational. My most recent piece for the Project Runway Challenge was made with Plastic Aquarium Plants, and I already have more ideas for working with those.

Etsy Metal Project Runway Challenge Week 2

Do you ever find yourself in a creative rut? If so how do you get out of it?
Definitely! Getting inventory ready for shows is always a good way to get myself working. I thrive on deadlines and am a procrastinator if I don't have them. However, the work I do for shows is mostly production work, which is repetitive and can drain my creativity quickly. I must flex those creative muscles and come up with new designs to keep myself inspired. I prefer to make larger, one of a kind pieces and find that work much more inspiring. It is also important for me to play, experiment and truly have fun with my work. These things inevitably lead to a new finished piece of jewelry as well.

Do you make other things besides jewelry?
Oh yes! I have, what I have heard a fellow metalsmith cal,l Creative ADD. I want to make all kinds of things, not just jewelry. I want to work in the garden, sew, make my house look nice, crochet, cook, bake, etc. I just have to make things, but staying focused on making jewelry is difficult at times.

 Fiber Cuff made with Needle Felted Silk and Wool, Sterling, Copper and Brass Nuts and Bolts

Sunday, August 21, 2011

New Member Profile - Marcus Marguillier and Kirsten Denbow

For this week's new member profiles, I'd like to introduce you to two of our newest members, Marcus Marguillier of The Pearl Forest and Kirsten Denbow of Kismetdesigns.

Marcus joined our team in February of 2011. Here are some of Marcus' wonderful rings and a little about him and his work:

Marcus Marguillier, contemporary jeweler, born 1955 in Belgium and living in the beautiful mountains of Mallorca (Balearic islands Spain).

As a young man I studied graffic design, classical ballet and mime corporel.
Being occupied with ” design “, ” art ” and ” body-movement ” for an important period of my life made me the person I am and formed me as an artist. It determined my personal style that reflects in my work.
I studied jewelry at the art academy of St. Niklaas in Belgium and was thought the "finesse" of this wonderful craft by my personal teacher and mentor Hilde van Belleghem who's own work inspires me until today. In many of my creations I search for simplicity. Pure lines and simple forms often have the upper hand in my work.
A piece may be complex to make, the result must convince by its lightness.

As an artist I am quiet eclectic. Futuristic designs as well as fragile, feminine creations and "Steampunk" inspired pieces are part of my oevre.

The second new member I want to tell you about is Kristen Denbow. Kristen joined our team just recently this past June. Here is some of Kristen's work and a little bit about Kristen:

LUCKY YOU bracelet w/toggle

silver disk pendant with spokes

Giddy up - One of a Kind pendant

I have been making things as long as I can remember. Along the way I have learned to knit, sew, blow glass, weld, paint, draw, weave, throw clay, name it, I've tried it! When it came to choosing a career I always knew it would involve something creative but I didn't find my direction until college. I originally went to school to study furniture design but fell in love with metal along the way. Jewelry has been a part of my life for over 17 years but this is my first go at really turning my passion into my livelihood. I am currently teaching high school jewelry (part time) and running my studio.
My work is inspired by so many different things. I am drawn to funky objects and oddities and I always try to keep a sense of humor about my work so I don't take myself too seriously. Opposites are always intriguing to me. I look for interesting pairs like, something dirty and worn next to something new and shiny or a piece of fine silver holding a piece of plastic that I was going to throw away. Most of the time, I intentionally stay away from using precious metals and fine stones or gems. I want the beauty of my work to stand on its own and be valued for the design, the shape, the color, the manipulation of the metal, the images, or the concept rather than the intrinsic value of the materials I use.
I generally fabricate most or all of my work. I love taking a flat piece of sheet metal and a spool of wire and transforming them into something unique. I get a great sense of accomplishment every time I finish a piece and know that the skills I have developed over the years have allowed me to transform simple materials into something special. I feel I am truly blessed to be able to do this for a living and to share my skills through my jewelry classes.

We are thrilled to have both Kristen and Marcus on our team! Check back next week for two more new member profiles. Have a great week!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Project Runway Season 9 Episode 3 results

Project Runway Season 9: Episode 3 Go Big or Go Home

The Project Runway Challenge:
The designers were asked to design a piece for a model on stilts for the first ever outdoor runway show.For our EtsyMetal Translation:Since this challenge was all about going over the top, this week make it BIG, over the top, larger and crazier than you would normally do, but still trying to keep it wearable and fashionable.

"Copper, Brass, Sterling Silver & Garnet

We decided that since this was a team episode we would team up as well. Rachelle made the "big" Chain and Mike made the "big" pendant."

Elizabeth of ESDesigns
"These are something I've been wanting to make for a while, but probably the final version will be a little shorter. "
Guest Submission by Malodora
"This BIG bracelet is made from polymer clay. It weighs a mere 9 ounces."

Kerry Alice from twigsandheather
"Super sea glass! These are pieces from my favorite beach, Tudor beach, in Nahant MA."

Heather of twigsandheather

"Tall yet very lightweight, kinetic ring."
Go big you say? not a problem... Wearable? fully... Fashionable? meh...depends on your definition.
I've been waiting for an excuse to play big with plexiglass, and this was a prime opportunity to do so. The challenge inspired me to finally get around to piercing, heat polishing, molding and generally getting acquainted with this new (to me) material. I woke up monday morning with punk rock tunes (as usual) and this design floating in my head.Angelic Upstart NeckpieceAugust 2011Plexiglass (pierced, heat polished, shaped), cotton, various metals.

"it's more comfortable to wear than I thought it would be for such a large ring.... "

Thomasin of Metalriot
" I carved the agate from a slab using my trim saw, hand tools, and sandpaper and then I set it in copper. "

"I made this from some of the leftover pet supplies from last week! I cut a large (7x6.5") hexagonal shape from birdcage liner. I painted it with encaustic waxes and added a photo and some raffia in the layers. Punched in the eyelets, hung some old enamel pieces from the bottom. I made the cording from rubber tubing and finished it with a handmade copper clasp. "

L. Sue Szabo
" i am already the "queen of big"! i had to really go over the top to make it bigger than i would normally. Here are my foot long earrings- all hand fabricated of sterling, no cold connections. Ombre patina- "

Kirsten Dunbow of Kismet Designs
"So I took a bit of that circusy inspiration from the stilts and the show. I think of the little wires twirling around like acrobats."

"These earrings are long, almost down to your shoulders long. I wanted to convey that long-legged look of the stills that were used in this week's challenge. "

Sarah Breivis of JuJubySarah
"Not exactly metal, but I was stumped!

Large wood chain links with hand dyed silk ribbon. 34" in length, the large wood links are about 1-1/2". "

Sterling silver, 24K yellow gold plated."

"I was thinking about stilts and long appendages, so I made a ring for a person with fingers of unnatural length. "

"Copper. This was really fun to make. And even though it seems pretty big, somehow I feel like it's just not big enough! "

Rebecca of Adobe Sol
"A BIG Ring! Featuring a huge faceted flashy Swarovski crystal set in sterling silver and copper."

And another guest submission from Ledi Jorge.

Project Runway Season 9: Episode 4 Design a piece for Nina Garcia

The Project Runway Challenge:
The designers were asked to design a day to night outfit for Nina GarciaFor our EtsyMetal Translation:Make a piece of jewelry for Nina. There was a scene where she was going through jewelry at Marie Claire. Also she notes that she likes streamlined, modern looks. Whatever you do, don't bore Nina!

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