Monday, November 28, 2016

November 2016 Blog Carnival - You Know You Are a Jewelry Artist When...

We used to play this game on our old jewelry site and some of the stories were hilarious.  Things like seeing the word "swarovski" (as in famous crystal maker) when reading a story about former French president Nicolas Sarkozy.   Or, recording every trip to a bead store in photos so that you can post pictures of all of the beads you looked at for your jewelry making friends.  Yes, it's blog carnival time at the Jewelry Artisans Community and being a jewelry artist is what we're talkin' about!

Back when our jewelry making group was playing this game, I told a true story about the time I was thinking about a new design I was working on while changing the sheets on the bed.  I stripped the bed, got fresh linens out of the closet and proceeded to make the bed.  Just as I was finishing and fluffing up the pillows, I noticed the stack of clean sheets sitting on the dresser.  Yep, I was so involved in thinking about the jewelry design that I forgot to put the sheets on the bed which just goes to show how involved we jewelry makers get when working on a new project.

Now you will understand when I tell you how obsessively involved I have become in my latest project - preserving fall leaves in resin.  I patiently waited for fall to arrive so that the leaves would begin to turn color.  Once they did, I spent hours walking among the trees gathering up leaves with vivid colors and/or patterns.  I collected bags of leaves - even I was beginning to think it was a little bit out of control!  Once home, it was time to sort them out for drying:

After they were dry, several coats of resin were applied to preserve the leaves and those fabulous fall colors.  Let me tell you that applying resin to leaves without using a mold is not for the faint of heart!  I'd heard stories about out of control resin and this time experienced it for myself.  Resin is sticky stuff and it thickens as time passes.  I had resin stuck to my fingers, leaves stuck to the resin on my fingers, leaves stuck to the table and a couple of resin spills.  My favorite was dropping a leaf in the cup of resin which ended up being a sticky, runny, drippy mess!   But, I am stubborn and was determined to stick (no pun intended) it out.

This is one of my early attempts.  While the resin wanted to stick to me and everything else it could find, it did not want to stick to the left side of the leaf which is why there is discoloration on that part of the leaf.  But, I learned a lot about what worked, what didn't and what to do differently next time.  While not good enough to sell, I'm proud of this leaf and it will become part of my personal collection:

With this now under my belt, it was off to collect more leaves and repeat the process.  Armed with what I had learned so far, this time things went better despite a few setbacks:

Next was a pendant made from a brown leaf that I found mixed among all the bright yellow, orange and red leaves.  It wasn't the most colorful or show stopping of all the leaves, but it had a beautiful rich pattern of browns and rust that draw me in.  I'm very glad I stopped to pick it up that day:

Leaves have been on my mind constantly.  I fall asleep thinking about them and when I wake up in the morning, the first thing I want to do is head to the studio to experiment with leaves.   I'll soon be finishing up the autumn leaf project and it will be time to move on to the next thing that grabs my attention.  I actually already have some ideas whirling around in my head.  Will I be as involved and as obsessed as I was with the leaves?  You bet; because you know you are a jewelry artist when...

To see what other jewelry artists at the Jewelry Artisans Community have to say about this month's topic, please click on the links below:

Violetmoon's Corner

Cat's Wire

Friday, November 25, 2016

Silver Dollars

A friend of mine recently brought a few branches of Lunaria plant from her yard to my house at my request.  I've recently developed an interest in using natural materials in my jewelry designs and had seen the lovely, silvery, tissue paper thin seed pods of this plant during our last get together at her home.

Because the seed pods are about the size of an American silver dollar and due to their color they are often called silver dollars.  The Lunaria plant is also known as the "money plant".  Easy to start and not at all fussy this is a good plant for gardeners who want a plant in their garden that doesn't require a lot of fussing.  It blooms in the summer and the flowers are the source of the seed pods that come later.  It is also supposed to be deer resistant.  These qualities have me planning on starting seeds in my flower beds this spring.

The seed pods are hidden inside non-descript brown husks that most people wouldn't give a second look.  But, rubbing the husks between the fingers reveals the beautiful treasure within.


The pods are usually used in floral arrangements and make a striking contribution with their translucency and ability to capture light.  My plan was to give them several coats of resin and turn them into jewelry.

What started out as an experiment, turned out to have a very successful result:

To say that I'm pleased with how this project worked out would be an understatement.  I have plans to pursue another idea using these seed pods, but that is a topic for another day!