Thursday, January 31, 2008

Disk Beads - African Safari Style

Lampwork "disk" shaped beads are an intriguingly different and challenging shape, but how to show them off properly in a jewelry piece is something that I am still attempting to work out. These exquisite beads, done in African and animal patterns, need to be seen on all sides for their rich and complex designs. I tried this necklace design using a cord of ultrasuede, knotting it between the beads, and then stringing sterling silver chain between the knots going up the sides. For a closure, I knotted the ultrasuede around a sterling silver "S" hook clasp. I love its lively African safari look.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Design Enhancement

The necklace from Tuesday was just a little too 'simple' so I decided to make a few changes... a single chain was doubled. But that presented problems as it didn't want to lay nicely and so I went to the torch and fused five ovals of fine silver to be the links at the bottom, and for the second strand I added a heavy link chain. I like it better now... what do you think?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Natural gemstones, too!

It seems all I have been showing is either PMC - pure silver - or Lampwork, but I really started into this jewelry career by wanting and then loving to work with natural stones - which used to be called semi-precious gemstones. Today I used some large nuggets of natural chrsyoprase which have been faceted as the focal in a necklace with Bali sterling silver and rondelle beads of natural fluorite, two of my favorite gemstones because of their color - a rich blue-green. Peruvian blue opals also have that same color, and below is a necklace with those beads in a slightly elongated round shape. To show off their beauty, I simply put Bali beadcaps around them and made them as a link between delicate sterling chain.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Fine Silver (PMC3) Rings with Lampwork

I thought I'd show something else today that can be made with Precious Metal Clay - rings! I took a course in PMC last spring with Kate McKinnon where she taught many different things to make, and one that I have found to be very useful was how to make rings. Since I love lampwork beads I used the methods to create the rings shown holding lampwork beads by some of my favorite artists. A fine silver post is imbedded in the band for three of the rings. I epoxied a small cabochon on top of the flattened post to cover the hole of the bead. Silver disks or other beads or stones with large holes could also be used. Below is a different shape lampwork bead that is very comfortable to wear.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Bejeweled Lampwork Bracelet

While looking through my recent pictures of things I have made, I realized that I hadn't taken a photo of the lovely bracelet of Lampwork "jewels" by Carrie Hamilton of Edmonton, BC, Canada. Carrie's beads are little jewels, and I wanted to try to capture this in the sunlight. I know that shadows in pictures makes it a little confusing, but how else to get those colors and details to show? Well, I decided to try again, and this is what I came up with -

In regular bright light indoors it looks more muted. I love the complexity, the richness of detail and design that Carrie puts into her beads, they each deserve their own photo. In this bracelet I combined them with very finely detailed Bali sterling silver beads, and simple lampwork spacer beads of the plum color. You feel like royalty when you wear this!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Pure Silver Leaf

Yes, this leaf is really made of fine silver (99.99% pure)... PMC3 of course! I found some kind of leaf in the back yard and pressed it into the Precious Metal Clay, and then cut around the edges in what I thought looked like a leaf shape. Into the kiln for 2 hours, then when cooled, dipped into liver of sulfur to give it a patina - and LOOK at the colors that popped up! I love the natural glowing colors - as if I found it in the fall (and was visiting New England).

For the chain I used sterling silver daisy spacers ( a hundred or more I think!) and some matte carnelian beads. The clasp and bale are fine silver that I fused and hammered. The necklace has a nice weight to it and sets off the leaf with the same tone of fall. But I love its neutral, wear with anything, anywhere look!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Kim Miles Heart

Kim Miles is a fascinating person - I read her blog 'Greetings from Taos' for the enjoyment of her humor, and the inspiration she shares. She is also a great artist - a lampwork bead artist, or "beadist" as she puts it. Recently I have been lucky to be able to purchase a couple of her beads, and yesterday I received the newest one - a spectacular Heart bead.

I made a simple sterling silver chain - from the Argentium silver jump rings that Urban Maille sells (simply the best quality available! ) and linked it with a fine silver wire through the heart bead. Kim's beads need nothing more - the statement they make is sufficient.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Time Speeds On

Yes, originally I meant to try to do this everyday! Somehow day 2 ran right by me. Most of the time I am in my studio, but yesterday was spent looking for pendant lights, wood stain & filler, and other little things having to do with the room addition we are building on our house.

So, today hopefully will be spent back in the studio. I have just finished a batch of PMC3 objects that I am interested in turning into jewelry pieces. First are a pair of earrings that I made the earwires for them of fine silver in a slightly elongated shape. I love the design in the "leaves" - it is from a rubber stamp of an Egyptian-like painting. I gave them a rich patina of gold tones, but polished the silver a bit on the edges. Oh, how I wish PMC didn't cost so much - I would make things in it every day!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I am in my studio for the 10th hour today... as usual... listening for my dog Tasha's barking on her "internal clock" schedule telling me to come out - that it is time for her dinner.

I just talked with my grandson Will in South Carolina... and created this blog slide show for him of the pictures when I visited there just before Christmas!

Did I come up with something new - we won't consider how good it is just now - in design today? Well, yes and no. New for me - the wonder of stainless steel in a memory wire - a bracelet of fluorite nuggets. No, because I am sure there have been hundreds if not thousands of these made by others.

What fun to simply pile on the beads, along with simple Bali silver spacers, and glue on silver end cap beads, and Voila! A bracelet of dazzling fluorite shards glowing in their rainbow of colors!