The desire for spring is great. Here on the Cape it is still cold but hopefully the warm weather is just around the corner. I am having a little spring sale in my etsy shop. With a minimum purchase of 50.00 you can receive a 20% discount at checkout. Just use coupon code "spring20" Sale ends Aprile 13, 2013.
These lovely necklaces with spring colors are available in my shop, feel free to check them out. Enjoy!!
For some time now I have been wanting to try to make a step bezel but I never got around to it or I was a little to afraid to give it a whirl. However the desire to get this technique under my belt was strong so I forced myself to find the time and dive in. The reason for wanting to add step bezels to my repertoire is because I wanted to make high bezels in hopes of soldering some decorations on the side of the bezels.
Of course as always I have to start with the most difficult.
First I had previously soldered with hard solder my ring shank. Formed it on my ring mandrel, cleaned and sanded the ring band. I found the hole on my template that match the size of my ring band. The ring band should fit nicely in the hole of the template, just like two puzzle pieces that fit together. Then I put the ring mandrel through the matching hole and marked on the mandrel where the template stopped.
I taped sand paper near the marked area of the mandrel and sanded my step bezel in that area. With a lot of patience the curve will begin to form under the step bezel and will eventually match and sit nicely on your ring band just like the above photo.
Now to solder the step bezel to the ring band. I used binding wire to hold the two pieces together and placed the solder wire around the inside seam.
It did not solder completely the first time so I pickled and cleaned then soldered again.
Here is the ring all soldered and cleaned, not to shabby for a first time. Of course I had to go a little further and solder on some decorative wire and silver balls.
With the carnelian stone I was able to use the "Formula" to calculate the length of the bezel and step wire needed. Since the carnelian stone is oval, with you calipers measure the width, and add the length, then divide by 2 and you will get the diameter as if it were a round stone. Then take your diameter add the thickness of the sheet bezel and divide by pi (3.14). This will give you the length of your outer bezel. This formula obviously works with round and oval stones but for the above turquoise ring I will admit I had to eye ball it. I haven't found a formula for a rectangle shaped stone yet. For the step wire, take the diameter subtract the thickness of the wire and multiply by pi (3.14) and you will have the length of the step wire needed.
For the last ring I used a prehnite cabochon. I wanted to solder a leaf to the side of the bezel so I needed a raised bezel. I needed a step wire for the pearl because it has a round bottom instead of a flat one. The step bezel will help it not rock when you set it. However in the end I decided against the pearl and will use it in another project. I also remembered to take a photo of how I set up the step bezel before soldering. Just place the the solder chips on the ledge of the inner step bezel and move the flame around the step bezel and not directly on it. Obviously I used the above formula on this one to calculate the length of the outer bezel and inner step wire.
It is that time of month again when etsy metal team members share their thoughts on a common topic. This months theme is "Ethnicity" What are the customs you grew up with, foods you eat, or if your ethnicity influences your work.
Well I grew up in Connecticut in a pretty average family. My family customs where mostly just our personal family traditions, getting together on the holidays and birthdays. Our ancestors were Scottish, Irish, and French. On my mothers side, our ancestors came from the Scotland clan McKay and Ireland. Two brothers from Ireland came over and settled in Virginia and started the "Cather" family line. The famous writer Willa Cather, one of my ancestors came from this line. She wrote different novels about the frontier life on the Great Plains. The French line comes from my father's side of the family, my last name is French "Bouton"
I can't say that I know or follow any Scottish, Irish, or French customs. However after living in Italy for 25 years I can easily say that some Italian customs have stayed with me. I do love the Mediterranean diet, I have to have my pasta every now and then. As for my work, at first, I really did not think that living in Italy would have influence my designs. Then one day a friend of mine said to me that my mixed metal jewelry had an old Etruscan or Roman feel to them.
After I thought about it, I though he might be a little right. Obviously I did not live in those ancient times but maybe some how the style crept into to my creative subconscious.
I do love to work with mixed metals, copper, red brass, silver are my favorite. You can achieve so many different patinas when working with copper and red brass. I become so entranced sometimes by all the different colors. Too much fun!!! I guess I do not know for sure if I am influenced by my ancestors or my past experience, maybe a little of both. All I know is I want to make jewelry and I am very lucky I can do what I love the most.
Feel free to check out how ethnicity influenced other etsy metal members in their work or in their lives on the links below.....
Another Flickr and EtsyMetal weekly challenge has begun. This year's challenge is 3xR 2014, which means reduce, reuse and recycle. Of course this challenge began at the beginning of the year but anyone can participate and step in at any time. Right now I have a little too much on my plate to create a piece every week but I thought it would be fun to jump in every now and then. Even when I participated in the "Brooch a Week" challenge, I started out great but sometimes life can get in the way of things. Coming to the US for the summer and then moving back to Massachusetts just did not allow enough time to make a brooch a week.
For this challenge the name is pretty clear on what to do. You must make a piece of jewelry out of something recycled, or reuse and modify an old piece, maybe even finally using up all the beads or stones you have been hording away for so long.
For the piece shown below, I used 28 gauge wire to make part of the necklace. I bought this wire about 4 years ago and never used it. Before getting into metalsmithing I gave wire wrapping a whirl. First I would like to say to all the fantastic wire wrappers out there "I take my hat off to you"!! I could not do it at all. Of course I can do a simple decorative wire wrap to create an extra touch of something special on a piece of jewelry, but it pretty much ends there. Naturally I always want to try the most difficult things first, maybe that is why I became so frustrated with wire wrapping. The wire would tangle and get kinks in it and it would not look smooth. So I kind of threw in the towel.
If you want to see some amazing wire wrapping check out Iza Malczyk; she does some amazing work. Because I put wire wrapping on the back burner, I had all this thin wire I really had no use for in the work I am creating today. I thought I could use it some how in this challenge and I came up with this necklace. I know it is not to elaborate but I am proud I found a way to use this wire that has been sitting in the back of a drawer for some time now.
I used 12 pieces of 28 gauge wire, I wanted it to be sturdy and not too flimsy. I then fused the ends of the wire together and balled it up. I forged the ball end with a hammer so I could drill a hole for the jump rings that are connected to the long links.
I even added some wire wrapping but just a hint. The stone is an imperial jasper and has lovely pastel colors. I still have more thin wire, I think I will make another necklace but I want to add end caps this time instead of the wire wrapping. I think it will have a more finished look to it, but I am still very pleased with how this piece came out.
You can check out the work from other etsymetal members and what they are creating for this challenge on the Etsy Metal Blog. There are some wonderful pieces for this week.
I have mentioned before my sister also works with 3 dimensional wood crafts but also incorporates some metalsmithing in her work. She purchased some string enamel and it was just to hard to resist, I had to try some out.
It is just to fun, fun fun!!, and very easy to use. I did one coat of enamel underneath to enhance the strips. Prepare your copper pieces by doming out the discs, and make sure they are clean with no oil from your fingers. Paint the enamel adhesive on the discs, then sift on the enamel you want to use. I went with a white and a lime green.
You can use a little trivet for torch enameling small pieces, aim the flame under the disc somewhat on the center base of the trivet. If you don't want to use this method you can try a tripod with a screen.
The enamel strips will melt like magic into the first coat of enamel, just to fun!!!. For the white disc I just simply added a pinch of strips letting them fall randomly on the disc. Or if you want to be fussy you can place them one at a time in any pattern you desire like I did with the lime green and blue ones.
The possibilities are endless, I am already wanting to enamel a half domed disc and set it in a bezel for a pendant!!
Here we are at our monthly post where etsymetal members write about a common topic. Of course this months topic is quite obvious "New Years Resolutions" The ones I seem to repeat every year are diet and exercise, I love to eat and there is never enough hours in the day to exercise. I realize these are excuses but at least I am trying. Mostly I need to find a routine for my jewelry making and get organized. I had to leave my bigger tools in Italy and start working in a new studio. Actually I am working out of two different studios, my mother's studio and my sister's studio. Each studio has different tools so depending on what I am making sometimes I stay at my sister's studio or I go to my mother's. I am very lucky that I had to two studios waiting for me after my big move from Italy back to the States but it can be frustrating going back and forth. I tend to forget things but luckily they both live close. My family also helps me great deal trying to get organized.
My sister who also does art work made this bench for both of us to work on. One bench is for soldering and the other one is sanding and cleaning. She creates three dimensional folk art from recycled wood and can whip anything together really fast. I usually prepare the components of my pieces here, some soldering, and finishing work like, pickling, tumbling. If I need to use the rolling mill, or kiln I need to head over to the other studio.
|My mother's studio|
I purchased I nice tote bag with many pockets that I can bring back and forth with the pieces I am working on and some of the smaller tools I can't live without. I also set up a photo box at both studios so if I need to take photos of my work it is all set up. I keep trying to stream line everything so I am not wasting any time. Sometimes I feel a little confused but this will have to do until I can hopefully get a place of my own. At least I can still make jewelry, yeah!! Here are some pieces I made in the new studios.
Feel free to check out what new years resolutions the other etsymetal members have set for themselves