Well, I now have a job! So my life lately has been all about adjusting to that. Plus, the new cat is still being a crazy shelf ornament who won’t come down, and my husband was away on training for a week, and it feels like laundry never ends . . .
. . . but I got this commission done for a friend who saw one of these somewhere and wanted one. I feel a bit iffy about it because I think the original was better. I might tweak this a bit before I hand it over.
And that’s about it, except to say I might be taking casting again in July, if enough people sign up for it (yes, Bob is back.)
I started this blog two years ago as an attempt to organize my first serious attempts at making jewelry, since my old-school index card method just wasn’t cutting it. I kept it private for about a year and didn’t take too much trouble about the theme or appearance. Lately I’ve been feeling like I should pay more attention to these things–update the look a bit, add some widgets that would make it easier to find things (I hope–don’t want to overclutter the thing, either) and just pay more attention to the blogosphere in general.
So today’s project was to find a new theme, customize it a bit, et voila! Hope you like it.
Now that that’s out of the way, here’s yet another commissioned tree of life in progress:
Everybody’s got their own way of making these things. Once I’ve got the trunk done, I like to work around the piece, adding twists and beads to different areas without definitively finishing off any particular branch just yet. This allows me to keep making adjustments as the look of the piece changes.
You’ll note I’ve got three unused frames there. Each is a little imperfect in its own way–either awkwardly shaped or scuffed to the copper core somewhere–so I’m not using them for commissioned pieces. I do, however, want to use them for practice pendants. I’m thinking of trying out some abstract designs of wire scrollwork and beads . . . eventually. I wish I had time for every single thing that pops into my head!
As I think I mentioned before, I got a commission recently from the same lady who had me put together this memorial bracelet for a deceased friend’s wife:
This time, she wanted bracelets for the sister and mother of a friend who just passed from leukemia. He was in a band, played guitar and banjo, and had bird tattoos. So I found some appropriate charms online and came up with these:
Believe it or not, this turned out to be a bit of a scary project. The charms came with split jump rings, which makes sense if you’re going to put them on a chain, but I’m using beading thread here. (Fireline, which is quite strong but extremely fine.) I took them to class to see if my teacher thought it would be a good idea to solder them shut. She did warn me that just because you buy something stamped 925 and marketed as sterling silver, it ain’t necessarily so. Apparently she’s been commissioned by friends in the past to fix their broken “sterling” jewelry, only to find brass under plating. So I was worried about possibly bringing yellow to the surface, as well as melting the charms due to my own incompetence. But! I learned that it’s not hard at all to set up your charm in the tweezer-like grip of a third hand (which acts as a heat sink!) and point your tiny torch sideways so that it only hits the jump ring. So that part went off swimmingly. Whew!
As for the stringing . . . you know, beads are my first love, but I don’t even like them anymore. Threads and knots and glue just make me paranoid now, compared to the strength and security of wire and rivets and soldered joins. I first tried these on steel “tiger tail” with crimp beads that I just could not make secure enough (my own fault, I’m sure.) I re-did them with Fireline, which seems so much more fragile than it is. I think I’m going to do a bit of research on making thread ends secure (which I should have done in the first place.) Not that I didn’t knot and glue the crap out of them, but still.
So when these were done, I figured while I still had the ol’ bead board out, I might as well work on a necklace idea I had in mind for the box clasp I made a couple months ago. I found some smoky obsidian beads online recently, and they seemed a perfect complement to it. I strung these up and put them aside to think about it:
It’s relatively heavy, but nothing a double thread couldn’t handle. Plus, it looks like I’ll have six or eight beads left over for wire wrapping or anything else I want to do!