Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Jewelry Artisans Community October Blog Carnival - Favorite Materials

If it seems like it's been a while since the Jewelry Artisans Community carnival, you are right.  We took August off as a summer break intending to return the next month and then completely forgot about September!  And now, here it is, time for October already with our chosen topic - Favorite Materials.

It wasn't hard for me to choose which materials are my favorites.  While I like to experiment with different things such as making paper beads, dabbling in fabric and pounding metal, my true loves are working with wire and painting little miniatures using acrylic paint.

Wire is awesome stuff.  It can be bent, spiraled, looped, wrapped, woven and twisted.  Wire is available in gold, sterling silver, copper, brass, bronze and craft wire comes in every color of the rainbow.  Wire can also be left bright and shiny or given an antique patina using chemicals such as liver of sulfur.  I love how it's possible to take a length of wire and using nothing but my hands and my tools create a fabulous piece of jewelry.

Like these twisted copper earrings for example:

Or, this crescent moon pendant:

How about a braided copper cuff:

Herring weave is a particularly fun wire technique:

This wire woven pendant is based on Peruvian thread weaving and is one of my favorites:

Free form wire wrapping has a mind of it's own:

I mentioned earlier that painting miniatures is my other passion, so I would have to say that acrylic paint is the other material that I primarily enjoy using.  By taking a piece of rock, bone or wood to use as my canvas I have created little paintings that are not much larger than an American quarter.

Like these:

The minis need to be sealed in order to protect the paintings and to provide a glossy finish.  It is a very tedious process of applying the sealer, waiting for it to dry, sanding it and repeating the process on both sides of the pendants several times until a perfectly smooth glossy finish is achieved.   It's also a process that can take weeks to finish mostly because of the drying time.  

I started looking for an alternative that would result in the same beautiful glossy finish but that would be much faster and still hold up to wear.  During this period of research, I came across examples of resin jewelry and thought that this could be the answer.  There is definitely a learning curve to using resin and after much experimenting and practicing, I decided this was the direction I wanted to pursue.

Here are some of my recent creations using resin:

I am in love with resin!  It's not just the ease of use, the quick drying times or the glossy finish that resin achieves .  Resin gives the little paintings a depth they've never had before; they almost seem to have come alive.  My work has been elevated to a new level of craftmanship and the resin has taken me in all sorts of new directions including experimenting with encasing leaves, flowers, pebbles and sea shells in resin.

My jewelry making journey has been one of constantly exploring new techniques and materials but I always come back to wire and paint and now resin has been added to the list.  I don't see that changing anytime soon; working with these materials is when my creative urges feel the most fulfilled and satisfied.

To see what other members of the Jewelry Artisans Community have to say about their favorite materials, please click on the links below:

Thursday, October 1, 2015

JAC August/September Challenge - Shoulder Dusters

The theme of the Jewelry Artisans Community August/September challenge was "Shoulder Dusters".  In the jewelry world, shoulder dusters are long, dangly ornate earrings that brush the shoulders.  Sometimes, they hang below the shoulders.  Shoulder dusters are often worn by women in stunning gowns at glamorous evening events.

From Carina of Violetmoon we had two entries.  First, this fabulous pair made of chain and fresh water pearl dangles. 

Next, Carina gave us these lovely wire wrapped pale green dusters made of glass beads.

Cat from Cat's Wire caged faceted garnet colored beads using a netting technique and added a ruby colored tear drop dangle for her elegant earrings.

For my entry, I made wire woven copper leaves in three sizes and connected them smallest to largest.  The design was inspired by this birch leaf earrings tutorial from Wire Jewelry.

I'd be proud to wear any of these shoulder dusters to a fancy event - just looking at them makes me feel like getting all dressed up for a party!