A Peace of the Beach

It’s been a while since I’ve shared some of my recent cloisonné work. As a matter of fact it’s been a while since I’ve made any. I received a custom order for a special piece from a fellow artist a while back. As consuming as cloisonné work can be, once I go into the cycle I try to create several jewels, usually in the same color scheme (with a little variation here and there). Monika wanted one of my beach scenes to remember her beloved beaches here on the Emerald Coast to take back with her to New Jersey. The beaches are so incredibly beautiful and healing here that it takes little effort to settle into a feeling of absolute peace as you sit upon the white quartz sand being caressed by the breeze and listening to the gulf waters lick the shoreline. Miami boasts the most beautiful beaches in the world – but we actually have them here in the Panhandle. I have direct experience with both and there is absolutely no comparison. That why even though we are a sleepy little town, we are a huge vacation destination for those ‘in the know.’

pensacola_beach

With Monika’s custom order I finally had a good excuse to carve out some time to create more cloisonné. Knowing that this piece had meaning for Monika I decided to offer to fire some actual beach sand into the sand dunes, to add a piece of the beach to her peace of the beach. I had successfully done this a while back, inspired by the remnants of beach sand left on my children’s beach toys in the corner of the garage. Monika loved the idea of course and ‘Monika’s Peace of the Beach’ was born.

beach1

While working on her cloisonné, I created a few others which I’d like to share. Some have been set, but most are unset as of yet. I shared most of these on facebook recently but there are a few that were not shown there at the time. All of the beach scenes have white quartz sand from the Gulf Coast fired into the dunes. Not just any sand mind you, but sand infused with the joy of children playing by the shore. No extra charge for the good vibes. 😉 Take notice that I have begun signing my cloisonné jewels where possible. Clever me! :::flutters eyelashes:::

trio clois jewels

island 1

island 2

I also wanted to create another ring with the ‘Peace of the Beach’ theme with the sand fired into the dunes for the ring lovers. This one was just set as I couldn’t stand to wait another moment to see it done. I love it. I made the ring band adjustable so it can fit from size 7 to size 8 1/2.

Peace of the beach Ring

ring 2

One thing that doesn’t seem to show up as beautifully as it is when the piece is in hand are the shimmering waves in the waters. This shot provides a pretty good view of the shimmering waves but still doesn’t capture the full effect. They shimmer like an opal when the jewel moves. Excuse the glare on the jewel. It really is quite tricky to photograph anything glass.

Peace of the beach Ring

I love them all, what do you think?

P.S. Remember my 50% off sale is still going on in my etsy store for all tutorials until Friday. Use code Happy2014 at checkout for the discount. 😉

Faublous Fire and the Quantum Karp

Have I mentioned to you yet that I am TOTALLY addicted to enamels? Oh my have I been having fun! My journey to addiction began when I tried my hand at some simple sifted enamel pendants. I thoroughly enjoyed experimenting with sgrafitto in enamels early on. If that wasn’t fun enough I then discovered Barbara Lewis’ immersion method of torch firing beads and other jewelry components. It helped me to re-familiarize myself with the torch (it’s been a while since I did any serious work with a torch) and gain confidence in my enameling capabilities. I loved watching the enamel fuse to the bead in the flame and playing in all the wonderful color. I find this new art form to be very soothing to the spirit. Therapeutic if you will, though dangerously addictive. After a long period of torch firing beads and emboldened by my success I decided to dip my toe into the world of cloisonné … and I’ve decided I’m never coming back.
After playing around with some 20 gauge round wire to make my first pieces I finally invested in some proper fine silver cloisonné wire, and what a world of difference it has made. I can hardly believe how quickly I’m going through the stuff… I already feel panic setting into my heart as I realized I have less than a foot left today. I’ll have to wait a week to get more. I can’t imagine how I’ll cope when I run out. Did I mention that this art form is like the crack of the jewelry arts? Oh yeah … I’m sick. 🙂
After admiring several pieces of Japanese themed pieces from other artists online I found myself inspired to attempt to make a Karp, or Koi in a pond with a lily pad. I started it yesterday about 5:00 and was a woman possessed, working until 1:00 a.m. to finish it. I had to be up at the crack of dawn, and through I tried to convince myself that getting sleep was the wiser course of action it was impossible to get my mind off of the little carp painting that was coming to life before my eyes.
In the first phase I prepared my copper base by fusing a couple of layers of counter enamel to the back and a base of white to the front. Once the base was prepared I drew my design out to scale in my notebook then I cut and shaped the cloisonné wire to form every detail of my carp and little lily pad. I use a product called Blu-Stick to glue the wires in place as I am setting them. It looks like blue elmers glue and is about the same consistency but it burns off clean in the firing process. You can see some traces of it in the picture. I had not yet fired the wires into place.

karp1

     In the next phase I pick my pallet of colors and begin wet packing them into the cells created by the cloisonné wire.  I add enamel to the cells, fire it in the torch to fuse that layer and then wet pack again.  This is a process repeated many times, fusing layer upon layer of glass until all of the cells are full.  The wet packed enamel is allowed to dry before firing.  The dry enamel looks like colorful sand.  The coloring is much lighter before the enamel is fired, and then it darkens with beautiful effects.

Here is the wet packed design unfired:

karp2

And here is the design after firing when the enamels have darkened:

karp5

     After several layers are fused and the cells are full the image is ground back with an alundum stone to level the surface and remove excess glass that may be covering the wire design.  I was very pleased with my little coy!  I then torch fired beads in matching colors to create a necklace to show off my new friend.  I absolutely love the colors, the design and everything about my latest piece.   I cannot wait to see what my efforts over the next year will yield if I remain steadfast in my enameling experiments.  I am enamored with enameling, so I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.

karp3

karp4

More fun with Enamels

Well, it’s official. I have a new addiction. I can’t stop playing with enamels – and don’t want to. I made another cloisonné piece recently. I call this one Patron of the Arts. It’s a tribute to the art patrons out there whose support makes it possible for artists to live creative lives and continue their work to put beautiful things out into the world. Without the art patron, we would not be able to do what we do. While it’s fun, it also serves as a sort of badge of honor telling the world that the person wearing it is a supporter of the arts.  Buy Art!

buy art 3b

buy art 6

My latest enameling adventures led me to create these cute little pendants in a copper setting.  The setting is made from copper sheet.  After the enamel disk is set I sealed the copper so that it would not turn one’s skin when worn.  I absolutely ADORE these fun little pendants and will be making many more to come.  Please forgive the low quality of pics.  My camera seems to have disappeared so these were taken with my camera phone.

a

b

Keep an eye out on my blog.  I forsee some workshops and possibly even some tutorials in enameling techniques to come!  Thanks for following me.

Mermaid Complete!

I finally made it to the store to get a new pickle pot so that I could complete my mermaid cloisonné pendant. For the beginning pictures of this project, see the post prior to this one. It shows the white enameled base with the wires initially set. Tonight I got to paint her. Actually it’s more like wet packing sand than painting really. I mix the enamels with water and use a paintbrush, toothpick, or piece of wire to fill the cells of the design. After it’s all set I laid a paper towel over it and allowed it to wick water from the enamel. Afterwards it looks like a bunch of colored sand set into the cells of the wire design.

wet pack 1

Next I used a dry paintbrush to brush away and loose enamel and prepare it for torching.  The more glass you add to a piece the longer it takes to fire it.  I was so excited when my mermaid finally made it to the torch – it seemed to take forever for the glass to fuse.  Of course that’s probably because I was holding my breath and counting every second.  At last the metal glowed, the glass flowed and my first firing was complete!

first firing

It was a real pain trying to get the wet glass to pack into some of the finer areas; the arms, the fish tail and the tips of the seaweed were real buggers.  I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to get enough glass into the tight spots to get a good fill, but I gave it my best shot as I wet packed it the second time.  When I went to repack the tail I accidentally grabbed the wrong green – ACK!  I didn’t realize that I’d grabbed the green for the seaweed until it was too late.  As I started packing I recognized that the colors weren’t the same, but I decided to just go with it.  It looks a little like a shadow on her tail though, so in the end not much damage done.  This time I used some of the transparent that I had used on the bubbles to layer over the opaque blue background to try to give it a more watery look.  Off to the torch she went!

completion

In the end I am happy with this experiment.  I am learning a lot as I go and I’m sure I’ll make plenty more mistakes in the learning process, but for now I say ‘Not bad for an amateur.’   I’ve got many other pendants planned and I can’t wait to get to them!  Stay tuned. 😉

It’s been a busy couple of months!

The last few weeks have been exhausting!  I have so much to tell that I have a hard time knowing where to start.  Of course no matter how busy I get in order to stay sane I simply have to stop to make jewelry along the way.  It’s my therapy, my ‘me time’, and I am a much kinder and gentler person when I take that time out.  🙂  Recently I have really been having a LOT of fun with Viking Knit.   I took a few pictures to share with you.  If your interested in learning to create your own Viking Knit bracelets, be sure to catch my Workshop in June.

Goldfill with Spiral Seashell and Pearl

Now one in Sterling Silver

Sterling with a Carved Bone Owl

Beautiful Bronze Wire Viking Knit with Chrysophase and Pearl.  I just love the rosy glow that comes from this bronze wire.  It’s so lovely…

Beautiful Bronze with Seashell and Pearl

Not only have I enjoyed playing with Viking Knit, but I’ve also made some of my signature Wire Sampler Bracelets as well.  In the past I have made these exclusively in copper, but decided to venture into other metals.  Here is my first Silver Wire Sampler bracelet.  I chose to keep it shiny rather than oxidize – a departure from the usual for me. 🙂  This piece contains, carved bone, Quartz, Magnesite, Coral, and a beautiful ammonite fossil.

My first Wire Sampler in Gold; carved bone, magnesite, quartz, tiny freshwater pearls, spiral seashell.

And Finally, this lovely little spiral shell sterling silver herringbone bracelet – one of my favorites!  I had to make two of these, one to keep and one to share. ;0)

VIKING KNIT BRACELET JUNE 23rd 1:00
     Look for my viking knit bracelet workshop to come in June.  This workshop will be offered at A Bead and Crystal House (711 West Garden St) on June 23rd @ 1:00.  This is an intermediate to advanced level class.  Cost is $65 plus materials.   If you have the required materials you are welcomed to bring them.  If not, you can purchase them from A Bead and Crystal House on site.  Bring basic hand tools for wire work.   Be prepared for this workshop to run 2 to 3 hours.

I hope you enjoyed my eye candy.   I have lots of great news to share when I get a moment to compose a worthy blog post. 🙂  More later!

YOJ Wk 3: Work in Progress

This is a work in progress that I wanted to make my entry for the Year of Jewelry Project this week. I had hoped to have the clasp worked out by now so that I could have a completed picture to share with you … but that will have to wait. Hopefully within the next day or two I can share a picture of a completed project. However, I decided to not let that stop me from using it as my YOJ entry.

This piece was inspired by a bracelet I made for Connie back in the early fall of 2010.

When a lady by the name of Elizabeth saw a picture of this bracelet in my portfolio at a recent art show she asked me to make her a necklace. I could hardly believe that I had not thought of making a necklace before. I loved the bracelet that I had made for Connie so much. A necklace was the natural thing to do next … and so I found myself quite excited to begin working on this peice. I am so happy to have two such lovely peices in my portfolio.

Elizabeth is a very petite woman with a slender and graceful neck. I decided that I wanted to add an adjustable back on it to be sure that she can wear it with any neckline in a manner that is flattering to her. That’s my dilemma just now … working out that darned adjustable back. It has to be something special – no simple chains. When I have worked it out I’ll be back to share completed pictures.

Thanks for looking.

WIP: And still MORE etched metals.

I loved my etched metal pieces from yesterdays Solitude meditation so much that I decided I wanted them in a broader variety of colored stones so I etched more earrings today. I have a show coming up at Blue Morning Gallery in January and I need some new pretties to show so I’m trying to make something every day for the exhibit.

Yesterday I managed two pair of earrings. Not a lot, but not bad in the midst of having the repair man over to install a new water heater. Our hot water heater went out on the 23rd. Yes … you can imagine all the fun of having no hot water over the holidays. One word: Unhappiness!

Today I etched more ‘Solitude’ images for earrings and three pendants to match. I also took pictures along the way to make a freebie tutorial for my readers who have expressed an interest in learning to etch metal. There is a catch if you choose to use my tut … and that is that you have to be a subscriber to my blog to get the password to unlock the tut and you also have to share a picture of your etched metal experiement results with me! It won’t take me too long to put a simple tut together for this process as it is not too involved, but I’m going to be pretty busy over the next week so it will likely be next week before it’s available.

Now to show off todays creations … Introducing matching sets!

In Chrysophase:

Rainbow Moonstone:

Amethyst:

Quartz Crystal:

Carnelian:

Smoky Quartz:

As much fun as I have had with the etched metal pieces I have a few other nice wire work projects that have been on the back burner waiting for a wire order to come in. It is due to arrive tomorrow and I’m getting excited. I can’t wait to finish up my other projects. There will be more eye candy to share soon, so I’ll be back before you know it! 😉

And >POOF< Delia's gone!