Thursday, 28 November 2013
My continuing love for making bangles now includes bangles with added coils. It's one of the things I attempted with the very first bangle I made a few months ago....
I tried to solder the coils using paste solder on this one as I thought it would be easier but it just didn't work - the paste solder just burnt and formed a lump and refused to flow so I went back to using strip solder. That worked better but positioning the tiny pallions was a bit tricky "back then" and I ended up with a bangle a little bit out of round.
Since then I've learned to pick solder which makes life so much easier! Pick soldering is basically melting the solder into a ball which will then stick to your soldering pick meaning you can position it in tricky spots more easily. Once your metal is up to the correct temperature you place the ball of solder on the join and it flows immediately (in theory!) It doesn't always flow immediately but it will stay in place and is a much quicker way to solder than positioning small pieces of strip solder on an awkward join then watching them slide off as the flux bubbles. I use this method to solder all my bangle joins and to solder on the coils on my new bangles.
The oxidized sterling silver version three of which I am (yes I really am) going to make for myself "soon" and a copper and silver version...
I'm very pleased to announce I am now the proud owner of a rolling mill. Yes! I have one at last and it's a Durston! Ever since I discovered rolling mills and what you could do with them I have coveted one but a look at the prices soon changed my mind and I made do with other ways of texturing my metal. I have been using the rolling mill at the night class I go to but the rollers aren't properly aligned so you only get half a texture most of the time. I did ask the teacher if it could be sorted but apparently they can't fix it so that kind of pushed me into thinking about getting my own rolling mill.
It was then a case of arguing with myself over whether to get one of the cheaper versions or to splurge and go for a Durston. I didn't want to get a cheaper one and regret it but the Durstons are so expensive and I didn't know where I was going to put it when I was using it or where it would go when I wasn't. Not having a workroom or bench causes problems like this! I don't have anywhere to fix it permanently but decided to worry about that when it arrived. So I went for a Durston in the end as a reward for not smoking for over a year now. I'm slightly embarrassed to admit I smoked in the first place to be honest as it's such a stupid thing to do but I've stopped and I feel so much better for it plus I've saved myself over £2,500 that would have gone on fags in the last year or so. So spending nearly £400 on a rolling mill was sweetened a little by that thought at least.
Here it is - I solved the fixing it in position problem by using two G-clamps and attaching it to the worktop in the kitchen. That really is the only place I can use it but it's very sturdily fixed and quite safe to use. I need to open the cupboard door to attach the clamps but I didn't think you would want to see the contents of my cupboard :D
It works wonderfully evenly and I've tried out a couple of leaf skeletons on copper and silver which came out really well. I know it's going to get a lot of use and I am thinking of selling textured copper discs in the future too.
As for somewhere to keep it when I'm not using it or gazing at it lovingly... I have acquired part of another cupboard in the sideboard. Me and my jewellery making equipment are slowly taking over.........
Monday, 25 November 2013
I am currently featured on Rosie and the Boys, a blog by Rosie about creative crafts. Rosie is a papercut artist, professional florist and independant designer/maker who writes about her life and her creative interests. The blog is really interesting and varied and includes a section called "creative cities", where a different town/city and it's handmade community is featured for a week which is where my jewellery business came in. Rose decided to feature Eastbourne in East Sussex and found my shop on Etsy. She sent me some questions and you can read my answers in her latest post - Jewel of the South - An Interview With Cinnamon Jewellery.
Eastbourne and it's crafting community is being featured all week so if you are interested check back to Rosie's blog every day this week!
Sunday, 17 November 2013
Circles are a definite theme in my life. It started when I was old enough to grab a crayon and scribble on a neighbour's wall. My Mum said they always knew when it was me because the circles gave me away. I still love circles and sometimes have to tell myself to NOT make another pair of disc earrings! Hoops are also a favourite and something I come back to often. I finished three pairs of hoop earrings this week, one pair in silver and two in copper.
I started with soldered hoops made with 2mm copper and silver wire and teamed them with some wire wrapping. I love coils of wire especially when it's oxidized and the contrast of dark and polished areas of metal really shows up.
I normally like to make at least one pair in copper as it's useful for working out how much wire I'm going to need and I always find copper is easier than silver. I don't really know why other than maybe as it's much cheaper I'm not afraid to make a mistake ( I think that probably is the reason!) I actually made two pairs in copper. This pair has 4mm green grass turquoise beads added to the earwires for a bit of colour. The second copper pair has unakite beads threaded onto the earwires which is a beautiful coloured stone - a mix of olive green and brick red and looks fab with oxidized copper.
I then made a silver pair because you just have to..... I added some turquoise jasper beads to the earwires which is a favourite coloured stone of mine. It's a bright sea-green turquoise colour and as I've had the beads for so long I can't remember where I bought them but I think it was maybe Lima Beads.
I really enjoyed making these earrings. I started out making wirework jewellery several years ago with a bit of basic wire wrapping before I moved onto more metalwork type stuff so it was nice to do something relatively easy.
I went a bit coil-tastic this week and have also made a silver and copper bangle both with soldered coil decorations. I love the addition of coils to bangles and I'm planning to make myself three silver coil bangles as a belated birthday treat to myself.
As soon as I have photographed the copper version of the coil bangle (Tuesday is looking good weather-wise) I will write a post about them
Thursday, 7 November 2013
I recently finished two copper pendants that had been waiting on the sidelines for quite a time while I finished some other orders. I'd managed to cut them out and file and sand the edges then some findings orders arrived and they were return to the "to do" pile. But at last earlier this week I managed to finish them!
I used a mendhi style stamp I got from Hobbycraft for a £1 with Stayz On ink to stamp the design onto the copper then etched for about an hour. I love these type of detailed designs. My ferric chloride was on it's last legs and took longer than usual - it would normally take about 40-45 mins to get the light etched look that I prefer.
*Tip!* If you're planning to use stamps for etching I've found the fine line designs work and look better than the thicker line ones.
I then sawed around the edge of the design, filed and sanded and made the bails. Strangely enough I have never made a bail like this before. I've made hidden bails and p shaped ones but not the type that solders to both sides of the pendant. I really like the look of it with this type of pendant and you can decorate them anyway you want by hammering, stamping or etching. I soldered the bail on first then the silver ball and the bezel last.
I'd made the pink enamel "cabochon" a while ago and hadn't got round to using it for anything else and the colour looked ok with the oxidized copper so at last it was given a home. I made turquoise version too. I say "turquoise" but the cab isn't real turquoise but some kind of stabilized (what does that mean?) or composite material dyed to look like turquoise. It still looks nice though :D
Making this type of bail has given me ideas for extending the front section to form part of the design on a pendant, maybe using contrasting metals or textures. Definitely an idea for my sketch book for a later date.
I'm currently working on some more enamel pendants with pierced out heart designs that I really enjoyed doing which obviously means someone has taken over my brain. I used to absolutely hate sawing metal and now I actually look forward to doing it. Whoever has taken over my sawing brain still breaks blades though..............
Tuesday, 29 October 2013
I've been playing with my enamel colours again and creating my own "blends". It's fun sitting at the table with my different colours and mixing them up to make new ones. Enamels don't really mix to make new colours but you can achieve some really pretty speckly effects. Using the same colour groups work better than mixing colours opposite each other on the colour wheel. I found this out when I mixed some purple and lavender enamels with a bright green hoping I'd get a nice purple/green mix but it just looked grey when it was fired. If you looked closely you could see the individual colours but the overall effect was dull but luckily the beauty of enamelling is you can fix it with another layer (within reason!) What I have learned with mixing colours is if it looks dull in the pot it will still look dull when it's fired........... :D
The hoops above are enamelled in a mix of different greens with some transparent turquoise layered on top on the bottom section.
These were originally a really dull orangey-grey (one of my not so great mixes) so I revived them with some more opaque and transparent oranges and a sprinkling of cream and lighter orange on top. They make me think of marmalade.
This pair were victims of the purple/lavender/green horror mix so I brightened them up with more green opaques and a budgerigar green transparent. I love the effect sprinkling opaque enamel on top of transparent gives you, it reminds me of lichen.
I finished off a few simple stud earrings in copper and silver this week too. I used thin strips of metal and coiled them with round nose pliers like you would make a spiral to form cute twirls. I soldered the ends then after sanding one side flat I soldered them to a base, tidied them up then added posts and oxidized them.
The copper pair remind me of chelsea buns!
Monday, 21 October 2013
I finished these etched silver and green pearl earrings recently and took the opportunity yesterday when the sun came out to take a few photos. I used some of the silver I etched recently using nail art stamps and decided to try bezel setting some pearl beads I've had for absolutely years. Yes I did say beads! I bought the beads years ago from "somewhere" (can't remember). They were described as button pearls and they were shaped kind of like cabochons with a slight dome on one side and a flat base on the other and obviously had holes. Some of them were very flat on one side and very domed on the other which is what gave me the idea to use them as cabs.
This photo of a few of the beads was taken under a day light bulb so the colours are a bit off but they are all lovely icy pastel shades of pink, green, apricot, pale blue, purple and grey which look great contrasted with oxidized copper and silver. I sorted through them and removed the ones whose holes were too high to work but as you can see once they are sanded a bit on the bottom the holes will be low enough for the bezel to cover up giving me a lot of very nice pearls to add to my jewellery. I couldn't believe the price of pearl cabs when I looked so I'm really glad I kept hold of these. The only downside is they aren't all exactly the same size and height like cabs but are near enough for it not to matter. Saying that a lot of the cabs I buy are slightly different sizes and heights too!
I'm really proud of these earrings and think I am slowly getting a bit more adventurous! I am still conquering my fear of soldering on the "fiddly bits" - hanging loops, jump rings, etc. I soldered the loops on this pair before I soldered on the bezels to make life easier. My max flame butane torch did start playing up and wouldn't light again after I turned it off after the first soldering. I'd just filled it too so I have no idea what is wrong with it. I managed with my mini butane torch after swearing at the max flame quite a bit.
••• A Completely Different Subject •••
Am I the only person who watches the Strictly results show on Sunday nights and didn't realize it wasn't live? I started to get a bit suspicious after noticing members of the audience in exactly the same seats wearing exactly the same clothes on both nights and thought it was a bit odd..... also I started to look closely at the celebrity dancers' hair and make up to see if it was a bit different on the Sunday night and they always looked exactly the same as they did on Saturday nights. So I Googled it earlier today and found out the Sunday night shows are recorded after the phone lines are closed and the votes are in on Saturday nights.
Funny what you think about......... :D