Category Archives: earrings

More Teeny Tinies

My mother’s birthday has come and gone again, and I’m still trying to make small, lightweight earrings for her.

I thought I had a winner with these:

smalls1

I’ve made similar ones before, but these are a touch more elaborate . . . and I guess kind of heavy. I don’t see my mother very often, and I never realized she’s–well, she’s 75 now, and her earlobes hang in a way they didn’t used to. So after I gave her these, and saw how they droop on her, I came home and started working on another, tinier pair with hopes of getting them done by Thanksgiving when I’d see her again. I think this time I have a winner.


smalls2

These are very small, and thin, and lightweight. It’s hard to see here, but there’s a subtle stamp pattern on them, underneath the crossing lines I put in afterward. I think these might work very well. Can’t decide if I want to blacken the lines, though, or keep everything shiny.

A few more things are in the works, as always, including a project that’s been on the back burner for three years. I’d hoped to show it by now but I got to the very end and screwed up big time. Or I thought it was big time. Now I’m not so sure. I can’t work on it until I feel better and know what to do next.

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Hey, I Finished Something!

sodalitering

 

I cast the band of this ring last fall, when I started fiddling with the old commercially-made wax ring molds we have sitting around the studio where I take classes (how old are they? The foam they’re packed in is crumbling. The wax is dried out and brittle. You can do it, but you have to be careful.)

castingsHere it is front and center.

castring2And here it is cleaned up.

My problem with this ring is that it had a little flat spot, probably from me neglecting to be careful when cutting off the sprue and grinding down the scar. Plus . . . I don’t know. Meh. So I poked through my collection of cheap cabs in search of something I could pop on over that spot, and found a sodalite I thought worked well. I made a bezel cup for it in the first weeks of class (not as easy as it should have been; how is it that I keep forgetting how to solder when I haven’t done it for a few weeks?) and filed that flat spot down larger and flatter.

sodaliteringprogressLike so.

A little soldering, a little setting, a lot of cleaning up, and now I actually love it!

sodalite2

Here’s one other thing: Bob has been playing around with enamel. He made these two discs out of argentium silver, torch fired some blue vitreous enamel on them, and added some steel hooks. Having no further need of them, he told me I could have them. Then I immediately dropped one on the concrete floor and chipped some enamel off the edge. (“Now they’re really yours.”) I tried to think of how I could make the best of this and came up with some riveting.

blueenamelearrings

Yeah, kinda worked, except I cracked a little bit off the other one during riveting. Sigh. I put it back on with a little clear nail polish, because that’s how I roll.

Coming soon:  more casting, more knitting, and maybe a long-neglected project finished?

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Filed under casting, earrings, ring, stones/gems

Earrings!

Here’s my collection of tinies so far.

tinies

I’ve talked about the first two pairs before, and the last ones, with the copper tops, were made the first night of class this year. Well, sort of. When I got home and polished them up, one of the posts came off. So I got it back on the second night of class, polished it up, gave both posts a bit of adjustment/straightening, and . . . the second one came off. This is basically happening because I couldn’t find the damn round bur bits in class, because everything got moved around again, so I had to use some diamond-plated bits to try and grind off a small divot on the back for post and solder to go. I could tell right off it wasn’t going to work well, but went with it anyway. This is one of my biggest faults in the studio, and here’s hoping I’ve learned my lesson–do it right to begin with, dammit.

In other earring news, I made some protypes with some (badly) riveted pieces I made for practice months ago.

leafpracticerivetingRemember me?

And here they are, in a style I think I’d like to do develop further in silver.

padlock

There are some flaws and mistakes here, but I know what they are and how I’d avoid them next time, so I’m calling this project a success.

Coming next week: What is this abomination I have created?

castings

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The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men . . .

So, yeah, about that vow to get to work and finish up some old projects.

First there were the holidays, and all the attendant travel and fuss.

Then the ubiquitous post-holiday cold that comes from playing with nieces and nephews.

And then the work situation that has me putting in extra hours.

But I did manage this.

scrapbraceletwithpatina

This patina seems to be about the best I can do with liver of sulfur, for some reason. It’s pale, and hard to photograph. Maybe the piece needs a bit of really good cleaning and I can try again. It doesn’t help that the pattern isn’t very deep, but I’m sure there’s a way to make it pop that I just haven’t figured out yet.

The other project I finished is this pair of earrings:

solderinlayearrings

I’ve been wondering for some time about how to do a decent solder inlay, and my recent experiments with scrap copper and nail punches have given me an idea. What you really need is a simple impression, deep and easy to fill. So in class a couple weeks ago, I cut some discs, stamped them with nail punches of various sizes, and used tiny bits of wire solder (and a selective application of flux where I wanted it to flow) to make these earrings happen. I also played around with a few other scraps and found that you can run inlay pieces through the mill when you’re done to flatten them out again–but be prepared for a bit of distortion (i.e. your circles will become ovals.) So anyway, I cleaned these domes up, drilled ’em, sprayed ’em, and added some prefab hooks because why not.

And now I have class again in a few days and am not even prepared to think about what I want to make next–but it’s the weekend, hooray, and maybe I can get some things ready before (ugh) work again on Monday.

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Filed under bracelet, earrings, experiment, metals, practice, soldering

Teeny tinies!

You might remember that a year ago, I made earrings for my Mom’s birthday. They weren’t huge, but they did look best with those plastic disc earnuts in back to keep them upright.

opalearrings1

Well, the size wasn’t really a problem, but the weight was. My mom wore them a few times to be polite, then gave them back. She’s used to small post earrings, so I thought I’d try to make some for her for Christmas. And here they are:

postearringsTiny enough for ya, Ma?

I melted down some scrap to make balls, hammered them a bit flat, with rough, nuggety edges which I like a lot–but my mom probably won’t. Then I stamped them, drilled off just a little divot on the backs with a bur bit like so:

postbacksAccidental trefoil motif courtesy of the honeycomb fire brick I melted these down on.

. . . soldered the posts on, put black max on the designs, and polished the crap out of them. I like both pairs. A lot. And I don’t think my mother will, so maybe I’ll just keep them.

But wait. I remembered something she wanted.

Some time ago, at her request, I ordered her some gold filled earnuts because she’d lost a few of her own over the years. She was using them with her inherited diamond earrings–and by diamond earrings, I mean these tiny 1/8 carat total weight studs that are so small they were in danger of passing through my grandmother’s ear holes and were once mounted on screwback posts until I had them reset (also as  a Christmas present.) Now they’re a little fancier, but my mom really liked how they looked against the flowery earnut back. Could I, she wondered, find a piece like that to use as an optional enhancer, or make one from another pair of backs?

Certainly.

earnutstoyou

I still had a few pairs in the pack of earnuts* I’d bought, so I trimmed off the two curly parts and cleaned up the edges as best I could. You can see how they’ll look with a stud on the right, there. So, at least I got some kind of jewelry project done for her.

And now class is over until mid-January. I think I’ll spend the time wading through the Land of Unfinished and Forgotten Projects. Can’t wait to see what I finally get off my work bench.

_____________

*”Pack of earnuts” really needs to become a common insult.

 

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Chrysoprase

Isn’t that a pretty word? It’s a pretty stone, too.

chrysopraseNew cell phone camera! Not state of the art, but for a Tracfone, it’s pretty great.

This is just another off-the-cuff project from a night off poking through my bead stash and committing to just pick something, already, and make a project! The beads I really wanted to use were too heavy for this simple 20-gauge design, but oh well. That’s part of my goal, now: paying attention to the heft of things, especially earrings.

My next thing will be an attempt at riveting with 22-gauge wires. I’m not sure that will work at all, but it’s worth a shot.

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Filed under beads, earrings, practice

Deez Beads!

I’m between classes right now–the new round won’t start until October–so what better time than now to dive back into the ol’ bead stash?

As usual, this is a messy proposition.

beadsetcNot pictured: boxes and boxes of my stash.

This was some really fun, unstructured playtime. When I bought a lot of this stuff, I thought I could make jewelry to sell, but I’ve since realized that the quality just isn’t there. I love me some junk jewelry as much as the next person who grew up in the 80s, but when it’s time to go pro, well . . . not this. In fact, I suspect I’ll be giving most of the beads away to my niece when she’s a little bit older, but until then, at least I feel free to dive in and make whatever comes to mind. Like this, with some “copper” beads and “copper” chain and a copper plated clasp:

copperandblacknecklace

That was a relatively quick and easy bonus project; what I really spent a lot of time on was figuring out how to make earrings from some Day of the Dead charms I thought my friend Lupe would love, as she’s a DotD collector. I wanted to incorporate tiny glass flower beads, but not make the whole earring too heavy or crazy. Had a few false starts, but in the end, I think I did pretty well.

dayofdeadearrings

I’m just going to mail them to her in a couple weeks as a surprise with some seeds from my garden to hers (she’s a hardcore gardener.)

Tonight, I think I’ll get back into sawing. I’ve got a few riveting projects in mind . . .

 

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Filed under beads, earrings, necklace, presents