Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ethiopian Opals Ring

I've never worked with opals before, but happened to see these on Magpie Gemstones Website, thought I might order a few and see what the muse could do with them. We played around with sterling silver coiled wire and came up with a sweet little ring. The wire was somewhat tarnished, so I threw the whole piece in the tumbler and let it run a few hours before it occurred to me that opals, being somewhat of a soft stone, might not fare too well rolling around with all that steel shot. Upon checking with my "opal expert" face book friends who concurred, I removed the piece....


On the plus side, the silver was gleaming like the sun, but the experts were right, not a good idea, the opals had turned into little glassy globs, no opacity, no lovely flashes of blue and green....


I was ready to write off the whole exercise as a learning experience when I noticed a few hours later that the opals were beginning to look a bit cloudy..... hmmmmm......perhaps they just absorbed some water.....maybe after thoroughly drying out??? So I let the piece dry over night, came in this afternoon and...


Friday, February 24, 2012

YOJ Week 8 - The Tres Chic Cuff

On Wednesday, I was able to get away for the day and join the Great Lakes Bead Workers Guild for their annual Bead Daze. I took this class with Tracy Stanley and can I just say? Taking classes is a sure fire way to get that illusive muse to start whispering sweet new design idea's in your ear...

Plus bonus; getting to hang out with a fun and talented group of beaders. Wish I could've stayed for the full 4 days....

Friday, February 17, 2012

YOJ Week 7 - Jangle Bangles

On the plane ride home I sat next to a kindred spirit and we had a nice chat about jewelry design. She was wearing this gorgeous stack of 12 bangles, similar to the ones show above and shared with me that as a breast cancer survivor, she makes one every year when she gets her mammogram. I love the idea, the inspiration and the motivation, and as a cancer survivor myself, decided to co-opt the idea. I have been cancer free for 23 years...guess I better make a few more.... :-)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

YOJ Week 6 - Reclaimed & Repurposed 17th Century Ring

I found this 17th century reclaimed ring amongst a pile of old brass & bronze pieces a dealer was selling at the Tucson Gem Show. The dealer claimed all his pieces were found in the fields of Russia. No certificate of authenticity was available but one of the other shoppers who had bought previously assured me they were genuine. So I took a chance and bought this sweet little ring, I'm imagining it being worn by a hard working farmer wife who probably owned one piece of jewelry her entire life. The stone was missing so after some trepidation, I decided to glue a garnet cab into the bezel setting. It would only fit upside down, but I think it's kinda cool. What do you think?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

WireKnitZ Video - Live from Tucson!

This video by Gina Galli of the Jewelry Making Professor was shot at our booth at the 'To Bead True Blue' show in Tucson...yes we are a couple of camera hams.... :-)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Au Revoir Tucson!

I had the best time and can't wait to see you again next year! I could've done without the camera enforced speeding ticket, but otherwise super enjoyed my 10 days here. Oh, and I only lost my wallet once and my keys twice, some kind of a record for me, usually I loose the cell phone a couple times too.  :-)

Here are a few more high lights from the past week and a half....

Teaching the WireKnitZ Crossover Cuff at To Bead True Blue.

Shopping at Motel Row where I always find the coolest stuff, check out this stash of roman glass!

 My new gemmy friend, Szarka of Magpie Gemstones.

Meeting tool guy Kevin Potter and ordering a custom made hydraulic press with a purple powder coat finish....I swear I almost swooned....

Heading home sweet home, always one of my favorite parts of a trip! :-)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Classes at Tucson Electric Park

I love teaching! For the past 2 days I've been teaching and demoing for at Tucson Electric Park. So. Much. Fun.  One of the greatest things about teaching, aside from the creative interaction and the passion that sparks back and forth between students, is that I always seem to learn something too. During the textured copper cuff class, we accidentally dropped a piece of hot metal on the plastic tablecloth, I said uh oh, my student said, why don't we just burn it off. When we did, we got the most unbelievable beautiful colors on the metal. Not sure the pic does it justice....

Several of the students also opted to leave there pieces un-pickled as the oxidization colors were so darn cool! Here are some more pix, what do you think?
YOJ Week 5 - Students Work