Saturday, June 30, 2012

Meet my Bead Soup Partner plus Check out my New Stash!

All week I've been waiting for the mailman to show up with a package and today! Yaaay! he finally did! But before I show you all my new stash, let me tell you a bit about my Bead Soup Partner.

Astrid Boyce is an active lampworker, wire worker and metalsmith.  She loves to design jewelry and has a special passion for Russian and Ukranian beadweaving.  Quite a multi talented lady! Or perhaps a touch of artsist ADD Astrid? I don't think she'll mind a bit of teasing as her sense of humor comes thru loud and clear on her blog. I literally LOL'd when I read her blog post about sneaking out and getting her ears pierced at age 16....

And now, so I don't keep you in suspense any longer, here's my new bead soup stash...
If it wasn't so durn hot in my studio, I'd probably be working with my new beads already, but the muse insists on being inside, AC on high, mint choclate chip icecream at the ready. Yes, she is a demanding thing, but I have to placate her cuz she has all the good idea's....sigh...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

How I got Started Making Jewelry

So here's my story....

It was the summer of 2003, my girls were junior high age and we were looking for an activity to keep us busy during summer break. Neither gal was what you might call an "outdoors" type, they preferred shopping to sports (I know, I know...I'm a miserable failure in the mom dept.) and pooh poohed any suggestion I came up with. Tennis lessons? too hot. Swimming? too cold. Theater? insert eye roll. Band camp? boring....


We finally decided to try something creative and headed over to our local hobby shop where we discovered the bead aisle. Seemed like making our own jewelry could be fun, so we loaded up our cart, headed for home and spread out on the dining room table. I was thrilled that we had stumbled on something we all enjoyed, but I confess, I think I enjoyed it the most. When the gals went back to school that fall, I kept going.

Then I discovered that there were entire shops devoted solely to the sale of beads. What a concept! I began making regular pilgrimages to the 2 bead shops in our area; one was 50 minutes east and the other 50 minutes west. My sweet husband made the fatal mistake of commenting that it might be cheaper if I opened my own shop......


By the fall of 2005, I had my own shop. I've moved, expanded, had partners, added a gallery, lost partners, and most recently added a metals studio. We currently have a full service bead shop, a gallery with locally created art, a well equipped studio space and, in my humble opinion, the best jewelry making classes around! Here's my website if you would like to check it out.

And I've been making jewelry ever since. Have I mentioned that I LOVE my job?  :-)

Here's the first piece of jewelry I ever made....can't believe I kept it, but here it is...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

YOJ Week 25 - The Embossed Cuff

Last week I borrowed a Cuttlebug embosser, aka the poor man's rolling mill from my friend Jenny and did a little experimenting. If you are unfamiliar with an embosser, it sort of works like a pasta machine, but instead of pasta, you imprint paper or thin ga. metals with it.

Although the impressions are not as sharp as with a rolling mill, at a fraction of the cost, it might be an economic alternative for texturizing metals. The limitations are the size and thickness of metals. I like to create cuffs and by adding a backing blank, embossing thinner ga. metal was not really an issue. I also found that the size of the embossing plates was long enough to almost cover a 6" bracelet blank.

For this cuff I used a scrap piece of leather, installed a snap with a snap-setter and embossed a 1/2"x4" piece of 30 ga. copper. After applying Vintag Verdigris metal patina, I cold connected it with nail rivets. Easy. Fast. Fun!

For my next experiment, I used a 22 ga copper cuff blank for the base, which I patina'd with LOS. Then I cut a 1"x6" sheet of 30 ga. copper, embossed it and applied a mixture of Vintag Cinnebar and Amethyst metal patina. Final step? Punching holes with a Vintag 1.5 mm metal punch and cold connecting it with 1.3 mm nail head rivets. What do you think?

Monday, June 18, 2012

YOJ Week 24 - Tube Setting

I took a tube setting class over the weekend with the charming and talented (and very patient) Kristina Malcolm! Here are my pieces....

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Call for Submissions

Lark Crafts is seeking images for a new 500 series book titled Showcase 500 Necklaces to be published in 2013. Entries are due by August 1, 2012. For more details, visit the website and scroll to the bottom.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bead and Button 2012

Day 1: Got up at 4 am, drove 400 miles, and worked a 5 hour show......thank goodness for Starbucks!

Day 2: Worked at the WireKnitz booth, chatted with LOTS of old friends, met with our book editor, shopped (how could I not?), and had dinner with a lovely group of gals I'd only met online previously (what a wonderful thing the internet is!).

I'm so inspired by all the gorgeous handmade jewelry everyone is wearing. Here's what I made just for B&B....

Day 3: Demo'd WireKnitZ all day, had dinner with my roomies....

Day 4: Totally exhausted physically, totally refreshed creatively, heading back east with my new loot! :-)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

YOJ Week 23 - Sleeping Beauty Ring

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, I'm heading to Bead & Button! But today is for packing, list checking and wrapping up loose posting my Year of Jewelry project for week 23. I'm quite proud of myself for not missing a post yet this year, even though some of my projects are so simple, it almost feels like cheating.....

This little sleeping beauty turquoise came from my Tucson shopping haul earlier this year. I'm into "cocktail" style ring designs these days, so it seemed like a no brainer to make a coiled-coil as a bed for the lovely (yes, it really is that vivid) turquoise bead.

And now I can't wait to shop for more gorgeous beads this weekend to make more cocktail rings, cheers everyone!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Free Tut!!!!

This design and was originally published in the Feb/Mar 2010 issue of Step By Step Wire. The tutorial was created by me and may be used for your personal use. I respectfully request that you not copy or share it, but feel free to direct others to this link. Thank you!

Brangle = Alternative Bracelet for the Artsy Chica
By: Eva Marie Sherman

Supply List: (beads and wire should be color coordinated)
                        (1) coil memory wire 1” larger than wrist size
                        (18) 8 to 10 mm base beads
                        (36) 4 mm accent beads
                        (72) 3 mm accent beads
                        (1) spool 22 ga artistic wire
                        (2) spools 24 ga. artistic wire (different colors)
                        (2) 6 mm spring rings
                        (1) 3” 18 ga artistic wire
                        Memory wire cutter
                        Wire cutter
                        Round nose pliers
                        Coiling gizmo
                        Clamp (for gizmo)
Steel block
1.  Use a memory wire cutter to cut a coil of memory wire 1” larger than wrist size.  Make a ¼” loop at one end.
  1. String the large base beads onto the memory wire and make a ¼” loop at the other end.
  1. Using a coiling gizmo make a coil using both colors of 26 ga. wire. When creating the coil take care to keep both strands of wire parallel.             
  1. Feed the 6” coil on to the 22 ga. wire.  Don’t cut the 22 ga wire. 
  1. Wrap the free end of 22 ga wire between the 2nd and 3rd bead to anchor the coil.  Wrap the coil around every other bead and anchor the 22 ga wire between the last two beads at the opposite end. Cut the excess wire.

  1. Cut 3 ft. of 22 ga. wire. Wrap one end of the 22 ga wire between the 1st and 2nd bead to anchor it. String a comfortable amount of the 4 mm accent beads and begin winding the wire and beads around the base beads. The beads should be placed randomly. Add more beads as needed. Continue to wind wire and beads back and forth until all beads and wire are used. Anchor the end of the wire in the nearest space.

  1. Repeat Step 5 using the 3 mm accent beads. Use more wire as required.
  2. Make a final pass using only wire. Stop when you are happy with the result. This design is meant to be unstructured, random and free form.
  1. Attach a spring ring to each end of the memory wire loop. Make an S hook with the 18 ga wire and hammer it on the block to strengthen it.  Attach the clasp to the spring ring.

Friday, June 1, 2012

YOJ Week 22 - The Flower Pot Ring

In just a few days I will be heading to Bead and Button for their annual extravaganza and I am beyond excited!!! In addition to shopping!, hooking up with jewelry making friends!, and meeting with our book editor!, I will be working and demoing at the WireKnitZ booth. Please stop by, say hello, and introduce yourself, I'm always up for meeting new friends.

If you've been to the show, you know that most of us strategize and agonize over what jewelry to wear. This is THE place to see and be seen in the art and handmade jewelry world, and you definitely want to put your best (cuff, necklace, earrings, or other wearable art) forward.

My good friend and fearless leader of the WireKnitZ community asked me to create a piece incorporating WireKnitZ and C-Koop components, as they now carry these lovely hand made enameled components at their website. Last evening happened to be the monthly BYOBead Therapy night at Grand River Beads, and believe me when I say, if you ask a group of jewelry designing gals for their opinion on a project idea; nothing is too silly, outrageous, or out there....

They all loved my Flower Pot Ring idea, and yes Norma, it incorporates WireKnitZ and C-Koop components. What do you think?

PS: I do have a more serious piece on my design table....    :-)