Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Molding the future

In my SLK jewelry workshop, one of the techniques Jen Cushman taught us was using molding putty to make molds of favorite pieces, or maybe of something you'd really like to use in jewelry but don't want to part with, and then use resin to fill them and recreate the piece.

It's quite easy to do, and I made a bunch of molds of items that Jen had that looked gorgeous so I can use them in the future pieces.

Here are the molds ready for the resin.

You can't really tell what will come out of a few of them, but I have at least one to show you - the only one I made into a piece of jewelry already. See the one on the top right corner?

Here it is all made into a resin piece and colored with Gilder's paste.

I paired it with another component I made at the workshop using a new technique - creating hollow forms with resin paper. The glitter inside the bezel moves around with the movement of the piece.
Then I hammered some bronze wire till kingdom and riveted it, to break the shape of the molded resin and the bezel, since they're the same.

It's a really long necklace and large too. I don't think I'll be selling it, and maybe not wear it either - I think I'll just hang it in my studio as a reminder of an awesome trip.

The one thing I retained most from the workshop was to be more adventurous with materials and tools, and free myself from preconceived ideas of how things should look like. I was so happy that with time my wrapped loops had become so perfectly symetrical, and when I looked at Susan's loops and saw how "carefree" they looked and how that actually made the piece more interesting (at least in my eyes), it opened a new door for me.

We were making resin paper and I decided to use a leaf that was part of our kit to create a large riveted pendant - and played with fire and oil pastels to give it texture. I used eyelets on the paper and then wrapped to the hammered and riveted piece.

Another one to adorn my studio.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I have jewelry dysmorphia...

You know, a bit like body dysmorphia - when you're a regular looking gal and you look in the mirror and see yourself 100 pounds heavier, toothless, boobs dropping to your knees and a moustache like Groucho Marx? (BTW, I always hate making references to any famous people in my blog - doesn't it always show your age?...)

Except that happens to me sometimes with jewelry - I have this image in my brain of what something will look like, I think I have all the tools, supplies and the ability - and when it's done, it has nothing to do with what the coggs in my brain are showing me. hmmmm....
Mind you, this time, it was not my fault. I hate you, colored aluminum tubes!

I wanted to make metal earrings with either negative space holes, or resin-filled holes, and I wanted a dangling bead matched by tubular rivets in the same color as the bead and the resin! I bought the colored aluminum tubing for my rivets, waiting the longest time as usual for them to arrive (if they did at all - thank you mail system for keeping things surprising for me) and then proceeded to make my earrings - beads and all had already been selected.

So here they are:

I knew you were going to ask about the matching tube rivets! well, it turns out they are only colored on the outside, so when I rivet the pink and the green aluminum tubing rivets, the color is actually on the inside and what you see is the white inside of the tubing, baaahhhhh...... (caption: this is me crying).

To  make myself feel better, made a bunch of my favorite earrings:


You know, these earrings are cut and sanded, the inside edge formed to accomodate the resin, the metal is colored, images glued and then resin poured, dangle beads wire-wrapped. It bugs me sometimes that:
1) my clients sometimes have no idea how much work goes into the process, or how long it can take - but maybe it's my responsibility to be better at talking about my work;
2) that while I make one pair of these, someone makes 3 necklaces stringing handmade beads from other artists in an artistic way and selling them.

But then again, that's not my path, and I always wanted to see my blood, sweat and tears in my work - the more the merrier. So I guess that's ok.

Disclaimer: I have a bunch of gold-filled earwires I bought at the very beginning and I'm trying to save a penny of two, so I used them in these earrings instead of making my own as usual. So sue me.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

And then we made jewelry...

We started the workshop working with Ice Resin. I have been working with it for a while so there was a lot I already knew. But I still learned quite a bit, especially to be more adventurous with the resin and also to alter it, engraving it, and using paints and pastel colors to change it.

When we were in Paris, the concierge at out hotel wasn't the most polite and friendly person in the world and his favorite word was certainly "Non!" He actually ended up inspiring the first piece I made in Durfort. It is called "Monsieur Non". I used a picture of a man and took my revenge upon the concierge by painting his moustache red and giving him pink eye shadow. Used some sparkle and did not seal the paper so that the resin would seep in and make it look older. I applied the resin in layers, engraving the word "non" and using paint to highlight it.

The metal piece above it was another example of what we learnt. Susan taught us to use a forming block to create different shapes, and then we used nail polish to color them. Pretty cool...

My second piece is called "Cheeky love". I bought a few 1950's postcards at the flea market in Paris and one in particular I found very amusing. It was a photo of a couple in a bedroom, she had her arm in his, and he was saying something like (in French): "now that we are married, we can have some fun in this bedroom". I loved it! So I used it in a heart-shaped bezel, colored with oil pastels and glitter paper and added some blue rhinestone chain.

I finished it with sari silk and the heaviest gauge wire I ever used, 8 gauge. We were hammering away like crazy... I really love the look, but I'm note sure how much of this heavy wire I'll be able to use in the future - it takes a while to get it into the shape you want and in the meantime you and the neighbors are going deaf...

But after all that hammering, Nese, our wonderful cook, would prepare us lovely meals with local produce, wonderful French bread and lots and lots of cheese. I have never eaten better tomatoes in my life.

Here we are, getting ready to tuck in. Meals together were definitely a highlight of the trip.

Susan, Mary, Claire and Nese