Sunday, June 24, 2012

Long time no wrapping

My day job has been getting the best of me in the last few weeks, and I've had little time to dedicate to jewelry, let alone to blogging.

So here's just a few pics of recent items.

Be Original

Ceramic focal by Captured Moments, beads by Humblebeads and ChelleV2.

Beads by Radiant Mind, handcut, riveted and torch patina by me


Polymer clay bird by Humblebeads, bezel nest with wire and Ice Resin

Secret Garden
Years Gone By

Blue diamond

Beads by Radiant Mind, peruvian Chrysocolla

Friday, June 8, 2012

If you're gonna learn, learn from the best

I mentioned before that I have not taken any formal jewelry classes - I had some fun initial sessions with my friend Ali who taught me how to make simple and wrapped loops and how to make a rosary chain.

From then on, the Internet and books have been my best friends in this journey. So I wanted to share with you the books that have taught me the most so far.

I'll start with the first, the one who taught me more basic wirewrapping skills and that I recommend to anyone who's starting:

"Inspired Wire" by Cynthia Wuller has some simple but very elegant projects throughout the book, and it was the only time that I actually made a lot of projects exactly as they're in the book. Not so much because they're particularly exciting, but because I really was a beginner, and didn't feel confident enough to venture out on my own. But it's great to become familiarized with the wire and what it can do for you.

Another favorite book is Kim St. Jean's "Mixed Metal Mania". If I had to recommend only one book for some metalsmithing tecniques, cold connections, etc., this would be it.

It has an extensive list of tools, explaining what they're for and how to use them, and various tricks that I have not seen anywhere else. I have not copied one single project from here, but I used tons of techniques.

Another one I just LOOOOVE is Mary Hettmansperger's "Wrap, Stitch, Fold and Rivet".

You need to love organic jewelry, the kind where not all the wraps are perfectly made, the shapes are unusual and the tools unconventional.

If you're into stamped jewelry, well then I don't think there's a better book than "Stamped Metal Jewelry" by Lisa Niven Kelly.

There's lots of tips to make sure your stamping is flawless, and projects that you can easily adapt and make your own.

And finally  "Making Connections" by Susan Lenart Kazmer.

I bought it also at the very beginning, and it scared the hell out of me when I opened it. I looked at the drawings and pictures and it was all ___(insert Greek/Chinese or any other language that is incomprehensible to you...) to me. I set it aside, and forgot about it. Then one year later, and many necklaces after, I picked it up again and was mesmerized. Susan's work is truly inspiring and innovative.
Beware: there are no projects in this book, period. Just a lot of tips, drawings of techniques and pictures of finished pieces that will open your mind to new possibilities.

It impressed me so much that I will be travelling to France in October to participate in a workshop with Susan - I learnt so much from her book, I can only imagine what I will learn from her in person. I am so excited but at the same time don't even want to think about it - it's still 4 months from now, and I registered back in September last year! Talk about delayed satisfaction...

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Quick tute

So today I thought I'd share how I solved a particular problem I run across frequently, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

I'm also sure I'm not the first person to come up with this solution, but just in case you haven't found it yet, here's my tip.

Do you know when you have beautiful briolette that is perfect for the particular piece you're working on, but you want to use heavier gauge wire and the holes in the briolette are just too small? And you don't have a bead reamer, or you do (like me), but it's still not working very well for you?

Well, this is what you do:

Insert the fine gauge wire that fits into the briolette and prepare for wrapping the loop as usual.

Lay a piece of the heavier gauge wire alongside the finer wire (it's a little off center in the picture so you can see clearly).

Bend both wires simultaneously to start the wrapped loop.

Form the loop using the two wires and connect to the other piece you want to attach it to.

Wrap around a few times so that the finer gauge wire is totally secure and then cut it.

Continue wrapping the briolette with the heavier gauge wire until you're happy with the look and cut the remaining wire. Et voila!

Another view of the finished piece.

And if you spotted that on pic 4 I actually attached the briolette to a differente piece than the finished necklace, congratulations! You win a lifelong subscription to the "Spot the Obvious" magazine... :)
I had finished my necklace when I realized maybe someone could use this tip, so redid the whole thing.