Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Something to Feast Your Eyes

Feeling starved of dazzle and joyousness for your eyes?  Go visit this blog. For pure sumptuousness, there are few rivals to Kate Boyan's beadwork.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Taking a Break from the Modern World

Chivalry's Reward -- I had to come up with a story to explain the wonky state of this ring, made with a scratched up old stone from a repaired class ring, set upside down.  It was irregularly cut and gave me fits getting the bezel and the bearing to match the off-true sides.  Read the fantasy in my Etsy shop, here.  I have discovered the perfect tool for distressing metal to get that age-old, many adventures look:  my front sidewalk, in combination with a ball pein hammer.  Awfully good for getting one's frustrations expressed -- time to make another!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014

WIP Earrings to Go With Fish

I can't believe how "modernistic" (mid century atomic style) these turned out to be! So far, that is. The top layer, which was die pressed from a cigar tin, has kept its finish, and the hand colored pink used in the last abyssal anglerfish is the bottom layer.  I will fabricate settings for the Preciosa ab rhinestones.  They will be riveted together with copper ball head rivets and finished surgical steel posts.  The die pressing on these was quite successful -- I added more to the "sandwich" of z-foam, another die plate.  That evened up the pressure.  These were pressed at 3,000 lb.  I'm lovin' the results.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Abyssal Anglerfish IV

This is the last of the series, I think.  This time the lady has company.  This species is strongly dimorphic, so that you wouldn't recognize the male anglerfish, who lives attached to the female and exists simply to provide for reproduction.  So I have made a tiny greenish one that attaches with a magnet, to provide some additional play to the piece.  It can be stuck anywhere, you see, say, near the mouth as potential dinner, or on the body, or not worn at all and used only when the piece is displayed.  I love the idea of jewelry as a toy, a doll, a plaything!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hands and Eyes - New Necklace

Fresh off the bench today, a double strand, matinee length necklace of eucalyptus caps from the Atlas Mts., turquoise, steel, and my own hand made charms cut from recycled tin (steel).  The eucalyptus is fragrant and warms as you wear it, to waft the fine scent to your nostrils.  It's a much more subtle, sweet and woodsy scent than the sort you are more used to.

Available soon in my Etsy shop.  

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Metalwork in "Tin"

What we call "tin" is actually a form of steel.  Tin is another element.

I have come to really like this metal.  It's practically free, so not a sumptuary item, and working it is a form of upcycling or recycling what would be waste.  That's a good thing, right?

It is quite workable if you learn how to handle it.  I strip old finish off with my little butane torch (outdoors, the fumes are noxious), and then finish cleaning it with Scotchbrite pads for scouring metal, found in most hardware storers.  Anneal it if needed by heating to red-hot, and slowly backing off the torch, quickly covering it with a fire brick for slow cooling.  Harden it by heating and quenching in mineral oil.  It oxidizes well with gun blue paste or even liver of sulfur.

And it cuts with blades 7/0 and higher.  I am trying 8/0 now because newer tins have very thin metal, and remember, you have to have the most teeth per thickness of the metal you can get, about 3, minimum.  I support it on a bench pin.  Any flexing during cutting makes a nasty job, so the bench pin support is crucial for good work.  The dust from cutting is really messy, so I catch it in a cloth or paper bag, and I cover the bench pin with wax paper (this makes for easier cutting because the wax lubricates the saw blade and makes turning the workpiece smooth as silk.

Here's a work in progress shot, with little hands cut from tin, approximately one inch long.

And here's my work shop floor supervisor:

Abbie is a real lady.  Sometimes I break a blade, and if I cuss, she will leave the room.  So I have to watch my language.  She is contributing to my patience and serenity.  Isn't she lovely?

Friday, July 4, 2014

Pareidolia -- Cry Babies

Pareidolia is when you see faces in burnt toast or dragons in clouds.  Our brains are just made that way, so why fight it? I call these ones "Crybabies."  They're colored free-formed upcycled tin with wonderful pit-fired beads from Darlene of Artistic Rejuvenation, so autentico they have fingerprints in places, and sent to me from magical Santa Fe.

Silly me, I didn't think about the faces until the final stage of assembly, but nevermind, I kinda like that hallucinatory quality.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Now It's a Demi Parure

Well, I had to make earrings to go with the Abyssal Anglerfish, and also adapt the fish to be used as a pendant as well as a brooch.  That makes a set, a parure, in this case a demi parure.

Although the parure is all about having a matching wardrobe of jewelry, I am not a matchy-poo sort, so the earrings are just a shade different from the main piece.  Note all, including the ear posts, are steel, the sheet metal components are "tin" recycled from cookie boxes, stripped and recolored.