Wednesday, 30 August 2017

I don't Know What To Call This One

It's getting cooler at night and my old house stays pretty cool in the heat of the day so I've been inspired to do some making that requires heat.
The number of times I've ordered round copper blanks lately is annoying because they haven't been in stock at several different companies. My disc cutter doesn't cut them big enough for what I need at the moment and I keep putting off my enamelling lessons because I was too lazy to saw some.  The alternative yesterday was housework so sawing it would be.  I  want to enamel and don't know why I put it off, because I love sawing metal and I'm not bad at it.
As I was sawing happily and mindlessly, putting a couple of cut blanks in my enamelling drawer I noticed some copper washer rings and my brain shifted out of neutral. I decided to saw out the bust of a Pegasus and, after some deliberation, decided to put it on one of the washer rings. Used my copper solder for the first time. Pickled and burnished. It was pretty but blah. No contrast. So I used some African Gold wax on the ring. That made the head look blah. Have a tiny bottle of silver glitter stuff that's supposed to be mixed with adhesive, resin or polymer clay, so I mixed it with some Diamond Glaze and painted it on. For some reason the Diamond Glaze took all the glitter out of the silver and it ended up looking an ugly matte grey. So I waited for it to partially set and then scraped and sanded it off. Decided to try Liver Of Sulphur. Got out my old bottle and tried to mix some of it with hot water. One lesson of many today - L.O.S. doesn't last 10 or more years, even in a plastic bottle and double freezer-bagged. It's powder! It's supposed to last forever! Anyway, after repeated dunkings it turned the copper a little bronze but not much.
Thought it might do so I took the pendant back to my desk and tried to sand the high points. It just made it streaky looking so I sanded it all off the horse, left it on the ring. Next thought was to just put some crystalline wax on the whole thing and leave it. Put too thick a coat on, went to visit a friend for an hour and when i came back, the whole pendant was streaked with an ugly sticky finish. Cleaned all of that off and put a fine film over the whole thing, strung it and put it away.
And then I wonder why I can only get one piece done in a day.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Banged Bangle

Almost perfected!  I made myself a bangle today. Kind of silly because I rarely wear jewelry and I'll wear it today and probably forget about wearing it most other days. I felt guilty because I should have been out mowing the lawn so I had to do something productive in order to justify being inside instead of doing my chores.  Now that it's finished, I can have a guilt-free nap.

This bangle was pretty simple to make and started with an 8" piece of copper tubing. I have man-sized wrists and hands, thus the length; anybody else would probably only need 6"

All you have to do is hammer all your frustrations onto the piece of tubing so that you've got a piece of flat, doubled copper. I was too lazy to sand by hand, so I used the sanding attachment on my Dremel and it made it nice and shiny. Mark the holes for your rivets and Voila! It should have been annealed before bending into a bracelet shape but again, too lazy to do the cleaning up afterwards. Besides, what's the use of having man hands if you aren't strong?

The change I would make in the next one is to put any decorative rivets closer to the middle because they leave a bit of a shoulder where they are, 1/2" out from the central decoration. A quarter inch would have probably been perfect.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

I Like Craftsy

Prince Edward Island is where I've called home for the past 13 years and I love it here. Beautiful beaches around every corner, hot summers, normal Canadian winters and complete strangers who actually smile at you in the supermarket.

These pictures aren't the beaches, they're from my favourite place to take visitors, Sea Cow Head.

A lighthouse, gorgeous view of the Confederation Bridge and red cliffs, water...who could ask for more. Just make sure you have mosquito spray!

The only things missing in my world are classes to help me advance my jewellery-making education. Enamelling, metalsmithing, metal clay work...all things that I want to learn and I would like to learn them without spending a fortune on metals that will end up being discarded.  Since I haven't been able to access real live teachers, online is my only option and I have found Craftsy to be about as close to a real teacher as you can get. The only thing missing is the camaraderie of fellow students. Their prices are terrific, especially if you take advantage of their frequent sales and the teachers are wonderful. Over the past few years, I've bought quite a few of the jewellery making classes and love to be able to watch them over and over.

The latest Craftsy class I bought was Settings For Every Shape, by Robert Dancik. It reminded me of several methods I had forgotten about and showed me the proper way of doing them. And it addicted me to making metal boxes.

I get a lot of sea glass and get bored with just wire wrapping it, so I try a lot of different settings, some good, some not-so-good. I'll leave it to you to decide.

This is derived from the Tab Setting lesson. Argentium silver, it has a cut-out in the back to let the light shine through the sea glass, and my inspiration was seaweed cradling the glass.

These were two of my boxes and like them or not, they're a lot of fun to make. Sea glass, shells, pearls, anything goes. I had originally filled the boxes with concrete and preferred the rustic look but I wasn't using the proper concrete and it all flaked out. So plan B was to try resin. I was too lazy to mix up a batch of 2 part resin so I just used Diamond Glaze.