Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March Blog Carnival - Spring Cleaning

The topic for the Jewelry Artisans Community March Blog Carnival is "Spring Cleaning".  This is a timely topic for me as I recently wrote about my new studio, a room I'm very proud of and have found that I love to spend time in creating jewelry.

My old work space was a corner of my husband's office and consisted of a 3' x 3' drafting table and a 3' x 1' shelving unit.  When I first started making jewelry, this space was more than adequate, but as I accumulated more tools, beads and supplies I began to outgrow my space and it was becoming difficult to keep it tidy and organized.  I'm not a fanatic about having things clean and neat, but I find that my mind functions better when it's not surrounded by chaos.

Moving into my new studio was the perfect opportunity to sort, toss and organize those tools, beads and supplies mentioned earlier.  I was amazed at the things I found while going through all of the accumulated stuff that I'd forgotten I had.  It was liking meeting old friends that had drifted away over the years.

It took me away from making jewelry, but I spent an entire day going through everything, filled a large trash can, sorted my collection of bead soup (that is the container that we jewelry makers throw beads that are leftover from projects in rather than putting them back where they belong) and put like things together.  All of my beads are now in plastic containers with lids, the tools are all together in a drawer, chain and cord has it's own area and the components have a new home. 

My former space had become so bad, that I found myself avoiding it because it was such a mess that it completely killed creativity.  This new, clean organized space is a joy to work in and I feel like I've been possessed by a level of creativity I haven't experienced in a very long time.  There is still more organization to be done, but it's close to how I would like it to be.  My goal now is to clean up after every project and put things away.  So far, so good!

To read what other participants of the Jewelry Artisans Community have to say about Spring Cleaning, please click on the links below.

Bead Sophisticate

The Crafty Chimp

Cat's Wire

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

JAC March Jewelry Artist of the Month

As an active member of the Jewelry Artisans Community, an online forum that encourages, supports and shares information with artisans who make hand crafted jewelry, I am surrounded by amazing jewelry artists.  The scope of their work includes metalsmithing, wire wrapping, chainmaille, sculpting with polymer clay, working with itty bitty seed beads and beyond.  They are an extremely talented group of people and it is an honor to be associated with them.  It is because of their talent that I have been inspired to share their work by featuring one of them each month on this blog.

The first jewelry artist to be featured in this new series is Carina of Violetmoon's Corner.

I asked Carina several questions and this is what she had to say:

What type of training/education have you had in making and designing jewelry?

I have never taken any classes. I was inspired and encouraged to try what I'm doing now by the work of other artists. In my country there have been little to no workshops or classes. Everything I wanted to learn I had to collect from the Internet. So far this has been fine; I design my jewelry trying to follow my friends' and other artists' advice, and mostly I succeed with the first tries. If not, I keep going until I am successful. Now I learn everything from the internet, mainly youtube tutorials or I learned from watching a design and trying to make it myself. 

What are your favorite jewelry making techniques?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

JAC February Challenge - Finish It

The February challenge for the jewelry artists at the Jewelry Artisans Community  was to finish one of their works in progress (WIP).  Anyone who makes jewelry has a box, drawer, tub or bag full of unfinished pieces.  We mean to finish them, but they get set aside for various reasons.  We may not have all of the materials we need to finish, run into a design/execution problem that needs to be solved, get busy with something that becomes more of a priority or just decide to move on to another project.  They are then relegated to a drawer, corner of a closet or the back of a shelf until such time as we stumble upon them again and they make us feel guilty again.

Here are the results of the Finish It challenge:

Cat of Cat's Wire chose to transform this stunning WIP into a brooch after coming across it in her WIP drawer.  It is a slice of dyed agate and Cat had already made its wire knit bezel, but wasn't sure where to go from there.  Finding herself in a dangly mood the last few weeks, she added crystals in tanzanite and pink and a faceted amethyst in a knitted bezel from darker golden wire for some contrast.

When I first saw it, I couldn't believe that such a beautiful creation ended up in Cat's WIP drawer.  My goodness!

Violetmoon's Carina finished a different kind of project but it is still jewelry related.  Carina uses an old printer's cabinet to store her beads and wanted to replace the existing drawer pulls.

 After years of looking, Carina finally found some pulls she liked and installed them.

 Of course, they didn't fit the existing holes, so she had to drill 20 new holes after removing the 40 existing wooden knobs.  Looks great, Carina!

My "Finish It" challenge involved this copper wire, red coral and turquoise pendant that I made a few months ago.  It started out as a pendant, but it never seemed quite right.  I came across it while trying to decide what to finish for the challenge and it told me that it wanted to be a bracelet.  Why didn't I think of that!?

I hope you enjoyed seeing the February challenge results.  The participants always rise to the challenge!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Painting the Studio - Final Installment

Time for the unveiling, the studio is pretty much finished and I can't wait to actually work in that room!

I'm especially pleased that except for buying paint and painting supplies, no money has been spent to create this room. Everything is either recycled, upcycled or refurbished and stuff we already had sitting around taking up space. Now that my jewelry making supplies have been moved into this room, hubby's office no longer looks like a tornado went through, so he's got his space back too.

These pictures go around the room to the right starting with the door:



Things left to do are to deal with that pile of stuff in the corner next to the trunk, put a coat of varnish on the two yardsticks leaning against the wall by the file cabinet and screw them to the front edge of the work bench, finish cleaning up the lamps, find some lamp shades, put them on each end of the table and to find a nice stool to sit in. A chair won't work because the table is mounted too high, so it's going to be a bar stool instead.

After that, it'll be little things like hang art/photos on the walls, baskets, glass containers and whatever else appeals to me.  I'm going to take my time with these finishing touches because I want to be surrounded by things I really love. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Painting the Studio - Part 3

Reduce, reuse, recycle.  That simple phrase was my mantra while creating my new studio.

There were perfectly good things being stored in the shed and garage and rather than buy all new stuff, I decided to re-purpose what I already had.  Doing so is good for the environment, good for the landfills and good for my wallet. 

Before I do the new studio reveal (it looks so cool!), I thought I'd share a couple of the the items that have found new life in the studio.

Because there is a heater attached to one of the walls in this room, I can't put any furniture against it.  That wall was  a lot of space that could go to waste and I needed  a work bench for creating jewelry art.  There was a narrow door (24 inches wide) in the garage that had been replaced by a new door during a remodeling project.   With a little work, it had the potential to be a great work table.

Where the hinges and latch had been were filled with wood putty:

After the putty dried, it was sanded smooth:

When the sanding was finished, I painted both sides of the door in Smoky Mountain Spring blue and the edges of the door in Rue Bourbon brown.

Heavy duty brackets were screwed into the wall studs:

 And, the door was screwed to the brackets for stability. I plan to use the hole where the doorknob was to tame the electrical cords attached to two lamps that will be placed on the table after their facelift is complete. 

Note how the heater is under the table - my feet will be warm and toasty when I'm working.

The studio needed storage for my beads, components, tools, paint, wire and all the other things I've accumulated over the years.   There were two metal shelving units (one I'd been using and the other was in the shed) that would serve my purpose, but they desperately needed work.  To start with they were a horribly boring shade of beige.  They were also dirty and both had spots of rust.

 First I cleaned them up with soap and water:

The rust spots were removed with a Dremel tool and a lot of elbow grease and sandpaper in the spots the Dremel didn't reach.  Tedious work for sure!

Next they were spray painted in burgandy satin.   It took several coats of paint to cover the beige:


Lookin' good!

All done and like brand new:

Next up, the big reveal - so exciting!