March was the first I ever went public about potentially going public with my jewelry-making and someone from @Make responded! Here’s a screenshot of my tweet.
This website has been set up to dip my toes into the waters of a ‘real-ish’ website.
I’m in the process of learning how to start a business and set up a shop and a proper website. Once I figure it all out I’ll launch the blog on thesterlingyears.com and set up shop to sell what I make on oneseedwonders.com as each project is finished.
I have quite a few, possibly too many, interests but one really seems to have taken over my life in retirement, now. Jewelry. Jewellery. How many ways can we (mis)spell it? Reminding me how I got into pottery by mistake … looking for a new poetry book in a bookshop. I grabbed the wrong one off the shelf in a bookstore but loved it and so began my foray into ceramics and loving how it added a new dimension to my drawing and painting portfolio.
I took my first jewelry class because I knew I wanted to get out of the house after Mom died. I decided to try something new and didn’t want to come home in the middle of Winter wet and covered in clay anymore. I live in Canada. It meant working small. I have limited space in my condo and had been doing miniature paintings so this appealed to me on a few levels.
My first commission.
I made this anchor earring for my brother, Gary.
Claude from The Beadery took me under his wing. He liked my ideas. Here he is showing me how to make the rope for my anchor project by winding .999 wire with a drill.
WOAH! I needed to know how to do this now I needed to figure out how I could take the little rope and solder onto the anchor cut from sterling sheet metal and hammered to texture.
I sandpapered it to this state and was about to polish the anchor even more with my new foredom polisher but when I showed Gary the unfinished piece, he said, “Stop.” He liked it in this rough state.
When he first asked about my making this for him, I’d shown him the charm my bff had given me when we were 16 … just before she died. I know. What a metaphor – right. I was going to give it to him (it’s the small one in my hand) but then I decided I could make him one … yikes. So that was scary but it meant I could still keep the little one and hang on to big memories that come in small packages.
Gary has shown me such great support.
His best advice to me about jewelry-making has been … ‘you can NEVER have too many tools!” Ha Ha. And so I just keep buying what I need when I need it – there’s been no looking back.
Here he is opening his birthday presents. I also got him a custom monogramed tee shirt from Tania’s Etsy shop to go with it! He has a couple of sail boats and a tiny home on little Island called Mudge, just off Vancouver Island.
Of course, I am hoping this opens up the pirate market for me.
then there’s this little ring I made for myself.
It goes this way …
and that way.
It was just for fun. It’s adjustable and floats over my middle finger and/or my baby finger … depending how I want it on any given day!
I wore it to a studio party and it withstood the test of packing and unpacking bags full of serving trays with various cheeses, fruits and vegs coming in and out … then doing wash-up, cutting and prep with my friend. It’s sturdier than it looks!
I started on a more complex project … the pendant (below). It can be worn front-to-back … or back-to-front … so it shows off both sides of the stone.
I’m using different bezel techniques, too, on each side.
… some close-ups of the work-in-progress
I keep it and all its little bits in a tin held together with pretty elastics 😉
… and here’s the bezel from the back.
It’s almost perfectly aligned to fit the stone now (a few more thumps with a hammer and squeezes with pliers) … it’s not yet soldered … still working on setting that square wire inside so it fits perfectly without any gaps … solder doesn’t like gaps!
Square wire is now sitting flat against gemstone and the gemstone fits nice and tight within the bezel frame.
You can’t see me but I’m dancing around the dining room.
Here you see the square wire separated from the bezel frame.
I have to clean it.
Solder’s such a fussy friend – it doesn’t like dirt either.
And here is what it looks like on the other side. I’ll be sanding it down, straightening it’s sides and bending down the edges to set the stone in once I finish soldering on a chimney bale.
I have to make a fake chimney first using cardboard so I can solve all my mistakes (and don’t think there won’t be many because for sure there will be many judging from all these wonky angles and the fact that I want to have it flat at the top where the chain slides through – so it hangs well) … or will it and do I really want it to – hmmm?
I will make the chain.
It will have big wonky links and a single, round, matching, yellow Jasper sun bead floating above this little tiny house … on the side opposite the chimney.
Balance, my friend. Balance!
I have another couple of projects on the go as well.
This ring needs more polishing. It fits on my thumb, too, and I can twist it to show different shapes depending on the day (or time of day).
Small things … ah but you’re smiling, too, I see.
circle, triangle and square cut-outs
I have plans for them all
and all will be revealed
a couple of hints
I will work on matching bracelets
there will be a different more affordable line
with pop-ins and cross-over investment pieces
maybe I’ve said too much
and TIME for an UPDATE
I finished my last class in Enameling on Tuesday evening (23 July 2019) and got enough done to say I am officially hooked on cloisonné and champlevé.
I ordered a kiln from Paragon after my 3rd class and it’s is due any day now!
The point of the class wasn’t to finish pieces but rather to get into the habit of testing to see how various opaque and transparent enamels react. We learned to take copious notes and to be curious and experiment – to use our intuition and go beyond what our notes said. As I type this, I am thinking maybe the teacher would want to correct me on this statement – haha. This is what I obviously did to learn when what was in our notes eluded me. I became brave and willing to lose a piece to the process. Working with copper rather than pure silver made that possible because the cost of pure silver is higher.
With that in mind, here are a few pieces I did. With what I learned from doing these particular pieces, I will be trying to refine the results and advance my repetoire.
You can see that I’ve added a chimney bale and a little door to the little house bezel. I’ve also decided to make more bezels like this to frame enamel pieces.
In order to have the pendant hang properly, I felt I had to solder a bar inside the bale much to the horror of my teacher who later told me she thought I might melt the entire piece … and it didn’t really do a whole lot to fully correct the slight angle the house falls at when on the chain when hanging around my neck … (and don’t tell anyone, but now I can’t fit the clasp and chain through the bale either) tee hee. [Good thing I didn’t make the big, wonky, link chain like I said I was going to. I will solve this! I will make more and I will make the big, wonky, link chain, too.]
The red I used on the front is Thompson Orient Red. If I remember correctly, the green I used is a Thompson opaque enamel called Bitter. I sprinkled a single, light layer of enamel powder over a wet stencil I had carefully cut out of vellum on glass with a sharp x-acto blade and decided to call it a day because I liked the texture and transparent quality that was produced.
I went with Flame Red, a darker Opaque on the back. There was a little burning around the edges but once the bezel is pushed down over the enamel, it won’t show. There are some really great effects that can happen burning reds but this was not one of those intentional burns … and I need to admit to a fair amount of beginners luck with many of these as they were first firings I’ve ever done.
I did listen to the teacher though! So there is a lot of thAt, too!
I decided to attend a day workshop to learn how to use pure silver metal clay and see if it might be something I’d like to explore further. Back in the mid-80’s I worked with plasticine doing claymation for Animation Group so trying it again brought me back to those good ol’ days. I think it would be easier to punch out my shapes and fuse the frames than to do all the fussy work involved in trying to achieve the same thing. I’ll have to see how these two pieces turn out though after I play with them and a little more fire.
Remember I said finishing the pieces isn’t what the enamel class was about!
can you see the 2 holes where rivet screws will go to hold them together
I have some pickling and another layer of enamel to add in places on both buttons and then more pickling and some wet diamond file buffing to do. All in all though, I had fun designing these. I will bring wires over the edges another time and be more careful layering certain enamels over others. There was some cracking that happened as a result of either not enough counter enamel on the back or different firing temperatures of enamels being layered over others. Nobody knows this but I dropped one of the buttons in the kiln and it flipped over backward and landed flat on its face – there were toffee strings attached to it and the wire grill as I lifted it up. I didn’t panic and chipped off the stringy bits, refired it and voila. It did though result in overfiring the pieces (I can’t even remember which one it happened to now I was so traumatized at the time that I started to see flaws everywhere and think more would be better on both buttons) … next time something like this happens I think I will take a break and go back to my work after I’ve thought things through more. It was the last class and everyone was rushing to try to finish even though we knew we weren’t expected to be doing finished pieces.
It’s a process – all this learning.
One. More. Thing.
I have begun making … rings & things
It’s a SPRING
It’s a RING
It’s a THING
It’s a PENDANT
It is EVERYTHING!
along with other enameling ideas with these little silicone pea beads
for more info
on my soon-to-be shop!
AUGUST … And Another UPDATE!
I got a red hammock to read in for the newly renovated roof deck.
It’s where late afternoon daydreams are now happening …
I’ve begun making floor plans for the home studio. Now for a huge spare room decluttering. It’s where everything has gone to live while I worked. Now I have decided what I’m doing with this stage of my life – so this should make the job a lot easier!
Oiy Yoiy Oiy!
Yesterday, my first order from Rio came in. How very exciting opening that package.
Let the costing and spreadsheets and accounting begin. I love it all.
I actually think I love sitting.
There’s been a push on this past month to walk to yoga classes because I discovered this.
Also, I’m gardening.
Lots of tools
… and colourful jewels happening in the August Garden.
See y’all again in September!
I signed up for a lost wax carving course that begins then.