Friday, October 27, 2006

half-persian, half-neoprene, half-copper

Seem to me that's too many halves. Anyway, here is a finished picture of my stretchy bangle. I'm about to go work on another one, and I will get a couple of shots of how it's done. If I'm going into production on these I better get a Koil Kutter, or decide to patronize the ring-sellers — it's a lot of copper-sawing.

last week's monochrome

Oops, I'm behind. Signed in to describe the bracelet I posted last night in FSOJ, and discovered I never put in last week's. Here is the most up-to-date picture:

I call it silver rick-rack. It's a straight piece of Euro 4-in-1, with every other pair of side rings small. Then I use a big ring to gather up three rings on the side, alternating sides.

The whole thing is made of 20-gauge sterling, which turns out to be pretty delicate for a bracelet. This one is not for daily wear-and-tear; it needs to be saved for dress-up occasions.

Still no clasp. Before the Ryan High craft fair next week I have to turn out everything, so I'm sure to find those elusive little silver toggles I have somewhere.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

synergy or assynergy? FSOJ week 3

Well, I made a bracelet, a variation on Rebecca Mojica's "Möbiused Rosettes Bracelet" in the Lark book Chain Mail Jewelry. The synergy, if present, comes from the use of alternating metals, copper and bronze, rather than all copper. Is the whole greater than the sum of its parts? or less? I vacillate.

First I thought it would be neat to do the chain with the rosettes in silver. Then I decided that would have a spotty appearance, and that each section of chain would do well to be in a new color. I went for bronze because that would be too much silver used on an experiment for my currently very parsimonious soul. But using bronze also meant changing to 16 gauge, since that's what my bronze wire is, so I enlarged the rings from quarter-inch ID to 9/32 inch. That makes an AR of 5.86 rather than 6.25 as in the original. It also had the benefit that the larger rings meant I only needed seven groups rather than eight. Thus, with an odd number of groups, I could have a bronze group on either side of the copper clasp assembly, giving good symmetry. With the short length of 2-in-2 connecting the toggle, it fits me perfectly.

I think I like it. I think I'll probably be more sure that I like it after it is tumbled. I just finally finished this evening and took the photos immediately, quickie nighttime indoor shots with the on-camera flash, which means pretty poor quality. I'll post better later when the chain is all burnished up pretty. The trouble with using the bronze is that the beautiful shine it gets in tumbling is very short-lived.

This one is for me, both because of the bronze, and because my first attempt at fabricating a toggle fastening (out of 12 gauge copper) is not exactly ready for prime time. It works, but it sure isn't a thing of beauty.

camo chic: FSOJ week 2

Mother Earth, Father Sky? Combination of the material and the spiritual? Ummmm . . . no.

Definitely off theme here. Strictly non-spiritual, a whimsical approach to a very non whimsical fabric designed to make men hard to see while they are trying to kill some other men. But you see, I got this new (to me) color of Delicas, a dark matte olive-green, and it virtually shouted "army!" at me, so I poked in my drawers and found some beige and brown, and here they are. camo1

Only sheer stubbornness is responsible for their finished existence: I decided to use up some thick twisted brown silk thread to make them, as I had had it so long I didn't trust it to string a necklace on, and it looked appropriate in color and a sort of twill-ness like uniform fabric. Well, it was WAY too thick, even for big-holed delicas - if I tried to go through a bead any more than thrice I risked breaking the bead, or cutting the thread on the eye of the needle. But by the time this was obvious, the stubbornness had kicked in, I had started these earrings and I was by gosh gonna finish them!

Well, I finished the diamond shapes, and they looked awfully plain. With those beads stuffed full of thread already (which can be seen pretty clearly in the right-hand one here), there was no way I could add any fringe, though I had it in the original design. So I quick swirled up a couple of wire bits with low-grade tourmaline that matched the camo, and that did it. A project that if I had had any sense I would have abandoned or changed at the outset, but there they are. They exist.

And that's what is SO satisfying about any craft project - one has a thought, and one's creativity and (it's to be hoped) artistic sense are engaged until there emerges a concrete exemplification of the thought. I get so tired of seing how many people are employed for big bucks just to rearrange papers. I may not be a mover or shaker in the world, but I create real things that I hope others look at with appreciation, or joy, or amusement, and that is very important to me. OK, now I'll step off the soapbox.

autumn leaves: FSOJ week 1

These are my first entry for the new Four Seasons of Jewelry, made in mid-September.

Actually, I made them for a Yahoo woven-bead earring swap. All my others for that are peyote or brick stitch, which is more according to the spirit of the stated woven-bead theme of the swap. But when I started to work with these little 15/0 iris seeds, none of my needles would go through. Having a roll of 28-gauge and also 18-gauge copper wire on the desk, I just threaded them on and did what came naturally. Well, on CWJ we call that weaving with wire, don't we? so they ARE woven earrings. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I'm going to do some more in silver with equally tiny hematite-colored beads. I learned on these that I need to be more careful to make all the veins on each side of the midrib parallel, if possible, especially at the tip. I also think a bit of gentle hammering on the frame before I weave the beads on wouldn't hurt. But I have been really admiring them as they lie on the desk, so I think they're worth repeating.