Friday, April 13, 2007

April showers around May flowers

I finished it! ten or twelve hours of work (several discs worth of Sue Hubbell's Broadsides From the Other Orders and a little quality time sitting out on the deck when it got warm again), and it's done — my sterling silver 26-gauge, three-strand, 11-lead, 20-bight turk's head bezel for Laura's Iris cab.

For sure it's not perfect. The main body of it actually is pretty close. But the edges are a difficulty. Leaving aside that there are three places where I flat goofed on the first pass and made an edge loop go over-over instead of over-under, I find it very difficult to get the three strands to lie parallel at the edge. After I finished and stretched this, I realized that I should actually have them tighter, almost overlapping, as I do it. Because when the broad open form is stretched, all the edge bends flatten out and get straighter, so they don't need so much clearance for the outer strands to curve around the inner. But when I was finally able to stretch it enough to get the cab in — a really good tight fit — it did make most of the fabric form up nicely into a neat silver weave.

The middle of the process was the most time-consuming, the end of the first pass and much of the second. After I made the five or six first leads where you just go around the jig overlapping each strand, I had some trouble keeping straight what was supposed to be over and what under (witness those three wrong edge-loops). And then after I had it off the fixture I had a good deal of trouble persuading the somewhat thin little wire to slide in beside the space-creating needle as it ought. Finally I had an inspiration and threaded the end of the wire onto an embroidery needle and "sewed" it through, and the third pass went much more quickly.

Currently it is strung on a satin cord, threaded through holes I poked in the weave near the back edge. I'll probably put silver jump rings in there and a chain someday.

I don't suppose I'll do anything else exactly the same size, so I guess my 1-1/2" dowel can go back to the basement, with its two rows of 20 little nailholes in one end. My stretching device was a pool-cue butt and a hammer handle, inserted together and levered apart. If I'm going to make finger-rings, I will really need to get a real ring-stretcher.

Anyway, it's done. And it's all mine!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

pendant swap

Finally got my goodies off in the mail yesterday for the pendant swap Billie Sanchez of Flagstaff is running on About Jewelry Making. However, after I mailed them I chanced to reread the directions post, and she may not want all of them, 'cause I forgot she said "no seed beads." Also she didn't mention metal pendants, and I sent my minuet chain mandala.

Most participants are probably sending focal beads for MAKING pendants, but I don't really have many beads that sit there and say, "I'm a focal." So I mostly sent made pendants, along with co-ordinating beads to use with them in a necklace, and maybe matching earrings. I was collecting up my scattered stash and UnFinishedObjects at the same time, and finding various bits of treasures I never had made into finished items. So, without remembering Billie's original rules, I sent along a couple of partly done seed-bead focal components. I didn't just send bags of seed beads, but one packet is a net-stitched little star-form centered with an embedded 8mm cobalt bead, with GF corrugated saucers and beads accenting the rim,and another is three of my morning glories that were originally planned to go on the broad collar of netting that I never made. I thought they might make a great spring pendant confection done up with some green stem/leaf construction of some sort, and included two packets of green beads. So now I have to e-mail Billie and see if she wants to send them back to me. Oops.

Then I sent two pieces of stone focal and wirework.One is the aventurine nugget I wrapped with a free-form GF swirl with a basket-weave sort of a bail, that I did last year. I packaged up some assorted shapes of aventurine beads that might be used with it.Then there is the (really cool, if I do say so myself) big bead of Russian serpentine that I did for YOJ last month, with the curl of heavy copper surrounding it. Again, I sent along a few matching beads. These are the Russian serpentine beads I got as part of my haul from the Rings & Things Dallas show last March. Sadly, I missed the one last month.

I hope someone will be taken with my "fetish" construction with the brass buffalo, and feather, and turquoise Zuni-type bear. They're put together with a twist of copper and silver wire, with a silver-plate bead and a couple of gorgeous red platino seeds that a woman representing the Colombian Craft Connection sold me at Bead Renaissance at Grapevine. I need to pass along that babies shouldn't be allowed to play with that piece, because the platino seeds could be toxic if chewed on. Assuming they are harvested sustainably, they make a wonderful natural, renewable, non-dyed alternative to coral, very "green" in philosophy.

Another artifact of my initial forays into wire design is the pendant made of GF wire spirals and furnace-glass beads. I sent an additional pair of the smaller beads, plus some GF ones. I really love this kind of bead, and wish I could afford more of them. Unfortunately they must be fairly difficult to make. $15/ounce seems to be the going price, and if you like the big chunky ones, that's not very many beads!

My last packet is just components — rose quartz donuts and fiber optic beads in various sizes and shades of green, plus some rose quartz beads.

Now I have to just wait to see what the postman brings me in return! I will try to get organized to show it here, as well as what I make.