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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Learning to Make a Love Knot

A few months ago I bought a “love knot” (aka “Danish knot”) tutorial and… well, never did anything with it. I was thinking this would be a neat component to add to my chunky bangle bracelets.

Recently a friend of mine, Bonnie Jacobson, showed me a photo of a gorgeous bracelet she made that featured some of these components, kicking up my desire to finally give it a go.

My first results were funny (I can say “funny” because I’ve learned to use base metal when trying new things rather than just diving right in with silver or gold… which is definitely NOT funny).

I used 13 gauge copper and coiled the wire onto a 9mm mandrel. Whoa! Way too tight for three coil sections (I have since learned that I can just leave it at two when they’re this chunky and tight).

So then I decided to learn the technique… end of story… not caring what the end result looked like… I just had to first figure out what I was doing.

So I used 20 gauge brass on a 9mm mandrel. Ha ha ha! Got the technique down, but the finished product looks like something only an entomologist might be interested in.

Next I went to 16 gauge brass on a 17mm mandrel. Better than the previous one, but still way too loose.

Trying to tighten it up a bit, I then went to 16 gauge brass on a 10mm mandrel. Still too loose, but I’m getting the technique down.

Then I decided to try the two-coil version (notice you have to have more coils per section than the three-coil version). This is 14 gauge brass on a 9mm mandrel.

And then, because I figured I’d learned enough now to try a tighter one, I went back to my original (13 gauage copper on a 9mm mandrel).

This one is actually listed for sale.

I am happy with the results. The knot is tight enough to maintain its shape (and keep the ends on the interior of the knot), but not so tight the coils get misshapen.

Feeling brave at this point, I went ahead with 20 inches of 14 gauge sterling silver and produced this (also for sale).

There is a HUGE difference in the softness of the wires I used today. The brass is a painful struggle. The copper (in the same gauge) was a breeze to wrap around the mandrel. The silver (also the same gauge) was only a little stiffer than the copper.

I don’t think the 2-coil knots look as good on their own as the 3-coil knots, so for now I’ll try to incorporate the 2-coil knots as necklace and bracelet components.

I look forward to teaching these techniques in my new location.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Jewelry Display Sale from Fetpak and a Couple New Jewelry Pieces

I'd like to thank my friends who took time out of there day to post comments on my blog. Thanks! I love hearing these opinions, thoughts, and advice. Keep it up!

Wanted to tell you about this before it's over... I have ordered many time from Fetpak. I started ordering from them because they offered free shipping (I think it was on orders over $100, but when have I ever spent under $100 online?). When I order, it's usually like 5000 jewelry boxes or something.

Anyway, just thought I'd pass along a sale their having that ENDS TODAY: "Only a few days remaining to receive our $25 Discount on our Closeout Jewelry Displays. Order must be over $100 on items on these two pages only: Page 1 and/or Page 2 Use code #FB25. Offer good through June 14, 2011."

Got a few more pieces of jewelry up.

The first is a pendant I created using texturing, cold connection rivits, and patina (the photo is a da Vinci sketch).

Then I wanted to use these wire-wrapped briolettes from the tutorial I did, so I paired them with infinity-shaped brass wire (that I've found in this LOVELY shade that looks just like gold).

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

New Jewelry Listings and a Few Words About Copying and Stealing Ideas

The following is an excerpt from a forum I like to frequent. The discussion was about the subject of “stealing ideas”. The talk is mostly about bead-making because the forum is mostly for bead-makers. But I think jewelry makers would also find this interesting. This excerpt is going onto the SRAJD Resources page (for easy finding).

So here’s what one person has to say on the subject and I was so impressed I asked her if I could share her words with you:

Since the thread is several years old, I'd be interested to hear how people's thinking has changed about copying / inspiration as they have more years experience making beads? I find that my own feelings about the copying / inspiration subject have continued to evolve, the longer I am involved with glass.

The first year or three that I was making beads, I was uber sensitive about being careful not to copy, or even be too inspired by other people's beads. I stopped looking at beads on the internet, because I didn't want to be even subliminally tempted to copy someone else's ideas. And I sure didn't want to be accused of it publicly! (My father always said I was too sensitive to be an artist.... and he may have been right)

After I'd been making beads for a good six plus years, I realized that what I had thought of as "copying", say, seeing a rosebud bead and making a similar style rosebud - on purpose, to see if I could figure out how it was done - isn't copying, it's inspiration - an idea or visual calling me to try new things.

In the process, you bet I learned a bunch, and it was no threat to the person whose beads had inspired me - even if I had put the bead(s) up for sale. (although making beads has always been higher on my priority list than selling them!) Making a rosebud bead that looks like an actual rosebud isn't anyone's intellectual property (except perhaps Mother Nature). How it's done is a technique, but if I sat down to figure it out, how is that different than the person's whose bead inspired me in the first place? (For the record: I never did get the hang of making decent rosebuds. So all the floral artists out there can breathe a sigh of relief.)

And now, a dozen years into beadmaking, I finally feel comfortable admitting that I think the whole copying issue has taken up entirely too much of our energy, passion, and time which could have been a whole lot more productive spent behind the torch. I can only think of maybe a half dozen times when I felt that intellectual property (a completely unique bead design developed over time by one person) was truly "stolen", causing them to potentially lose income and the rights to that design.

Of course, none of those times was it my design, and I know that the suspicion that you've been copied is like a sucker punch to the gut, so I'm not trying to minimize the anguish that others have felt when they think they've been copied. It's real, just sometimes I think we spend so much energy on it, it gives the impression that it's happening much more often than it actually is.

For me, the copying issue is not about the finished product, regardless of how closely it resembles what is being called the original. It is about the intention of someone to attempt to recreate a design specifically to benefit from it - either in sales or taking credit for it. I think we lose sight of this when someone starts a thread in the bathroom hinting that someone has copied their design. People weigh in on the similarities between the original and the alleged copy, completely bypassing something that no one can say for sure: Was this an intentional act of copying someone's design in order to profit or claim ownership? That is not something that can usually be determined with any degree of certainty, and a public discussion of it is usually more harmful to the community than helpful.

In my experience, especially as a teacher of beginning beadmaking, beadmakers who are fairly new to the craft are so excited by all the new thoughts and ideas which pop into their heads as they obsess over their new found addiction that they mistake an idea (or even design) which is new to them for being something that is new in the world of glass. (If I had a dollar for every time I heard a new beadmaker say, "I've never seen this done before...." !) As many have said before - there's very little that's new under the sun. So I think the copying issue is probably a much bigger deal to those who are just starting out in beadmaking. But, I'd like to hear from others who've been in it a while, if they think that is true?

So, for those of you who've been around as long - or longer - than this thread, have your thoughts about copying changed over time? How do those of you who are relatively new feel about it? This is always an interesting discussion!!

Ann “Schermo” Baldwin (visit her website… rockin’ beads!)

Now to completely change the subject, here are a few of my new jewelry listings.

Some more stacker bracelets… these very affordable pieces are made with sterling silver and the teeniest tiniest lampwork beads I’ve ever seen.

Then I added two to my Artifact Line (jewelry inspired by ancient creations).

This next bracelet is one of those “notice me” pieces that I love to make. I just wild for bold, bright colors.