Friday, May 30, 2014

Embedded Pendants - Fun with Epoxy Clay

Looking for my BSBP post?  Click HERE!

I have loved playing with epoxy clay and finding out what I can do with it!  Here are a few of my embedded pendants:

Gemstone and Crystal Pendants

Beads, Pearls, Shells, and Rough Amethyst Penants

Carved Rose, Flower Beads, and Shell Penants

One of my favorites - Pocket Watch Gear Pendant

Many of them are available as loose pendants in my Etsy Shop.

Happy Creating!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Practice Practice Practice

(looking for my BSBP 8 Reveal?  Follow this link!)

My metalsmithing workbench is mostly setup - or at least as setup as it's going to get until I buy more tools - and I've begun the process of "trial and error" for original stone settings again!  I've drawn up several and want to dive right in to sterling silver again, but I decided maybe I should practice a little in copper since it has been several years.....

My 1st solder-free stone setting - Carnelian and Copper

This is my first piece of "practice" - a carnelian cabochon set in copper.  A prong setting isn't necessarily unique, but this one has a little something going for it because I used no solder!  The inspiration came from the May 2014 Art Jewelry Magazine, "Cold Captures:  Push-up Prongs" by Michael David Sturlin

Solder-free stone setting - Carnelian and Copper

I learned several things in practice that made me glad I didn't start with sterling. 
  1. Sandpaper makes excellent sparkly texture on copper when rolled through the mill
  2. Said excellent texture is much less sparkly if you have to re-anneal the piece.  Sigh.
  3. More planning is needed to preserve the sparkles!
So the original finish, if you couldn't tell, was going to be quite a bit different than what I ended up with.  I'm still happy with it, but it's harder to really see the effect of the rolling mill printing in photos.  Instead of sparkles, I have a light flame patina over a low-relief rough texture.  The carnelian shows up nicely against the oxidized copper, though.....

Solder-free setting - push-up prongs and roll-over bail.

Speaking of the carnelian, I did learn that this prong setting technique is really much better suited to small stones.  I don't recall the article suggesting any particular size of stone, but the ones used were much smaller, or at least had a lower dome.  I tried the solder-free settings because I was curious.  This stone is pretty secure unless someone really pushes from the back and doesn't care about damaging the stone, but I like my settings to have a better hold on the stone than this one provides for this size cab.  I do plan on trying again with smaller stones because let's face it - a solder-free, glue-free bezel sounds pretty good sometimes! 

I do have a rather large soft spot for bezel settings though, and will no doubt practice on those for my next stone.  Now to pick out a stone.....

Happy Creating,

Saturday, May 10, 2014


Today is the Reveal Day for the 8th Bead Soup Blog Party hosted by Lori Anderson from Pretty Things!  YAY!  I can't wait to peruse all the blogs (around 500!) with all the new pretties!  Seeing what each person makes with their fun, unique, beautiful, and sometimes really challenging soups is so exciting and inspiring!  But even more exciting for me this year was the chance to participate in my first BSBP!

As a reminder (you can see more photos in the original post), this is what I sent to my partner, Gloria Allen of Gloria Allen Designs, plus some sterling silver beads:

The soup I sent to Gloria - gemstones, pearls, glass, crystals, chain, sterling clasp and beads (not shown).

And this is what Gloria sent to me:

The soup Gloria sent to me - gemstones, glass, crystals, copper findings, several focals and clasps.

One of the main draws of the BSBP is the inherent challenge each soup provides for the participants.  The soups are supposed to be put together or made from materials and beads from our own stash, which will hopefully provide something different for our partners to work with.  The soup I received was a challenge for me because I don't often mix several colors together in one piece - my designs tend to be more monochromatic color schemes mixed with "safe" neutrals, or with just a hint of a complementary color mixed in....

The soup I received, however, was full of bright, beautiful colors in gemstones, crystals, and glass!  There was purple, green, blue, yellow, and brown!  I took up the challenge in at least one of my pieces - making certain to bring several colors together in a single design in this beadwoven bracelet.  The large dyed quartz and jade beads in greens and purples were from the soup, as well as the brass floral toggle.

Spring Flowers - Beadwoven Bracelet.  Lime green, teal, and purple beads from my soup, as well as the brass toggle.

My original idea was to use the focal bead by Donna Millard in the beadwoven bracelet design.  As I was weaving, though, I realized the gorgeous focal would be lost in this bright bracelet.  I decided to save it for a necklace, where I could really let it be the center of attention!  I wanted to try a peyote rope with a subtle spiral, and after a couple false starts, came up with this pattern.

Untitled Necklace - Donna Millard Focal Bead, accent beads, and clasp from my soup.

In the spirit of challenging myself, I tried a "messy wrap" around my focal beads in this necklace.  I love crisp, clean lines and neat wire wrapping - so this was actually very difficult for me to do and leave alone.  However, I really like the end result and it sits so nicely when worn!  I used one of the focals with accent beads and another floral clasp from the soup.

Untitled Necklace with a Donna Millard focal bead and beadwoven chain.

One of my favorites from the soup (there were so many!) were these carved gemstone flower beads.  I thought of making this design bigger or bolder, but in the end I kept it simple.  I haven't decided if I'm listing the previous designs in my shop or keeping them, but I know I'm keeping this simple flower necklace for myself!  It'll be perfect for summer, when I don't want a heavy necklace but need just a little something extra for my outfit.....

Summer Necklace with Carved Gemestone Flowers and handmade clasp.

Unfortunately, these were the only designs I completed in time for the reveal from my generous soup from Gloria.  But, fortunately for me, this leaves quite a few beads, focals, and a clasp that I still get to design around!  I have an idea stewing for the fairy focal but it hasn't finished simmering....

And what of the little "extra" gift from Gloria?  Well, she suggested I make myself some earrings from these rough cut aquamarine beads - and I agreed!  I'm always in need of more colorful, noticeable earrings!  I may rework the design, but that's for another day.  Because today I'm wearing them!

Aquamarine Earrings - 2 1/2 inches long, wire wrapped, rough cut stones.

Thank you, Gloria Allen, for being my partner and sharing this wonderful experience and all these beads with me!  Please be sure to visit her blog (follow the link in her name) to see what she made with my soup - I know I can't wait - and I'll be sure to keep sharing what I make with my leftovers!

And thank you, Lori Anderson, for all your hard work and dedication to this group and this party!  To keep hopping, please follow the link - her blog has the complete list of participants!

Finally, thanks for stopping by!

Happy Hopping!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

A little teaser....BSBP reveal postponed

The 8th Bead Soup Blog Party REVEAL has been postponed a week as our fearless leader takes time to heal.  Please come back next week to see what we've all been up to!

As a little teaser, I'm showing off the earrings I made from the little extra gift from Gloria - these awesome rough cut aquamarine beads!  As they weren't technically part of my soup, and the reveal was scheduled for today, I feel it's okay to show off just these today:

Rough cut aquamarine beads - some are opaque, some are translucent.

Wire wrapped earrings made with the beads - these beauties are mine!

I love how the wire wrapping at the top turned into little butterflies, and I just love the blue color of these beads!

Happy Creating!