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Saturday, October 3, 2015

Riveting and Patinas and Metal Clay Lentils

Wild September.... hoping for a mellower October.

No one to blame but myself, so this can't be much of a complaint. Maybe more of an observation.

I'll start backwards.

Here are some photos I took from today's class.

First I was admiring Angela's cuff bracelet. She made it after learning to etch in my workshop last week.

Then while we were waiting for the kiln to finish (we started on metal clay yesterday), we did some riveting. There are still some issues to work out if we want to use the crazy expensive riveting tool I have (ugh!), but here are some eyelets my student was able to set.

And I reverted to the old fashioned method of making them by hand using fine silver wire.

BTW, that red patina on the background of my pendant was totally an accident (but such a happy one I kept it). I was soldering that jumpring bail onto the back of the pendant and when quenched it and was just about to drop it into the pickle pot, I saw this cool red color and not one speck of oxidation. So I decided to leave it as is and just put some Ren wax on it.

This piece will be going into my secondary Etsy shop.

So after that, we got our lentils and bead caps from the kiln. Here's the lentils looked like after they cooled.

To show my student what sealant does to these lovely heat patinas, I demo'd on mine.

After that, we both cleaned our lentils then gave them LOS baths. Here's my student's. These cell phone photos don't do any kind of justice to the fabulousness of her bronze pendant. The colors were beautiful (but again, who knows how long they'll last).

And here's one of her own lampwork beads with bronze caps (made from metal clay). She also set the tubing by hand (because that beautiful bead was too big for my little Impress bead liner).

Thursday, September 17, 2015

My First Workshop in My Workshop

Hee hee.  By that I mean I've taught classes in other venues and online, but this is the first time I had a scheduled, specific workshop in my own studio.

And it was SO MUCH FUN!!!

We ended going over the time limit a bit so I didn't want to ask the ladies if I could take photos of their rings in the light tent (I'm not a fast photographer), but they were nice enough to let me use images they took themselves after the workshop.

Here are some of the textured stacker rings they made in the workshop (not the one with a stone in it).

These ladies rocked it!  Their rings turned out beautiful and they will be back to make more and to learn other techniques.

If you will be in the Sacramento area and would also like to learn how to make these rings in sterling silver or 14k gold fill, sign up for one or more of my classes here.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Made in My Workshop Not By Me

So I wanted to share with you some rings that were made in my workshop this week but not by me.

My friend Kristi made this awesome "secret stamped message" band ring in 14k gold-fill.  What a beautiful texture she gave to it.

And my friend Dawn made a couple spinner rings.  We'd been talking about spinner rings for months, but y'know... life kept getting in the way.  But last week we finally put the nose to the grindstone and started working on them.

Here's the first one she made...

I love how it looks totally handmade and totally awesome.  That's something I look for in jewelry.  I don't want anything that looks machine-made, nor do I want jewelry that looks like it's uncomfortable or going to fall apart any time.  This ring says "I was made with quality materials by someone who knows what they're doing."

The second one she made, there was something about it she didn't like so I don't have a photo of it before she changed it, but it was a cool concept and I'm going to ask her to revisit it.

I'm having fun watching the jewelry that comes out of my workshop. I hope you are too!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Benefit of the Doubt

Some people say you can’t change, but I disagree.
I think there are two ways to change.
I think it’s possible to change by working on yourself, slowly and steadily.  I’m a great believer in the neuroplasticity of our brains and their ability for us to re-condition learned behavior.  I didn’t say it’s easy, just possible.
I also believe in “aha” moments that change us.  I believe in them because I’ve had them and they did profoundly and permanently change me.  Well, my experiences themselves weren't profound; I merely mean they really had an effect on me and since I think change is NOT the path of least resistance, I’m impressed when it happens.
One “aha” moment that made a permanent change in me was very much like an anecdote I read in Reader’s Digest when I was about twelve years old.  In the story, a man was riding a public transportation bus and his two kids were being kind of wild and disruptive.  Another passenger snapped at the man saying something like, “Can’t you keep control of your kids?  They’re driving everyone nuts!”  The man  looked startled and almost bewildered, like he was coming out of a dream as he began to apologize to the other man and the nearby passengers.   “I’m so sorry, “he said.  “We’ve just come from the hospital.  Their mother just died and I guess I don’t really know how to handle the situation yet.  Again, my apologies.”  Needless to say, the complaining man felt a little… small… and ashamed… and suddenly felt great empathy for the widower and his sons.
Although it's something that really happened, it didn't happen TO ME and I think EXPERIENCING an event has more impact than reading about someone else's event. My own, less dramatic story, did.
I went to pick up my four-year old son from day care one day and I could hear commotion in the next room.  It was one of the baby/toddlers and she was fussing at Gabe, I could tell.  As I rounded the corner I was already chastising him.  “Gabe!  What are you doing to Sophie!  You’d better come here this instant.”
He did come, a few seconds later, and said, “Sophie was crawling up the stairs and she’s not allowed to so I held her back and she didn’t like that.”
Oh my gosh, I was mortified.  I’d yelled at my son for trying to protect a baby from harm.  Gah!  What kind of mother am I?!
But it served as a wake up call to try to remember that I don’t ever know what’s going on in someone’s head or life.  Actions and behavior, even words, may not always be what they appear to be, so I try not to snap to judgment or assume I always know what’s going on, and I try give people and situations the benefit of the doubt.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Ring Size Charts to Hoard

So apparently school is kicking my butt.  I studied all day today and will do the same most of tomorrow.

Forgive my lack of proper blog blatherings of late.

I can at least share something useful with you.

Two of my most used tools in the workroom.

First, a chart by Jewelry Making Daily

This chart tells you how much metal you'll need for ring size X if using metal gauge X.

The next must have chart is a ring size conversion chart.

This chart tells you what size ring you've got.

There are many on the internet, but I find this one easy to print and understand.  I use it constantly (now that I know the best way to find a ring's true size... see this blog post).

So short, but very, very sweet.