Archive for the 'jewelry' Category

Feb 04 2014

3xR & THAW weeks 2-4

Well! Here it is February! And I still need to post each weeks piece for 3xR & THAW2014 challenges!

So here we go– just going to bust these guys out.

This cute little guy was a sample piece I stamped when experimenting for a piece in silver. I liked it so much I kept it for a long while. I enameled the back, and then the front with a lovely transparent enamel that makes the copper surface shimmery and golden. I still love this cute little guy — I am not generally a “cute” type of person, but looking at this piece just makes me happy.

3xR week 2 & THAW2014-2

On to week 3! This guy also makes me happy. I am not happy with the execution — this is the first time I’ve tried to set a faceted stone in a flush setting — and as you can see, it leaves much to be desired. However, I still love this little guy. The rustic stamping goes with the “rustic” stone setting, and I look forward to perfecting this technique.

Week 3: 3xR & THAW2014

And finally, week 4! I have kind of a thing about poppies. In Virginia, there was one week in May where the exit from I-66 was awash with poppies. It was the highlight of my commute — every May I would start to wonder.. “where are the poppies? Did I miss them somehow? Did they get mown over last year and they’re not coming back?” and have a serious panic sad moment — and then a week later, there they would be, in glorious wild bloom. I miss the field of poppies – little dots of brilliant red against the green grass, right next to the roaring (or more likely, stop and go) traffic of folks traveling into DC from the burbs. Every May, right around Mother’s Day and my son’s birthday.. I think of the lovely field of wild poppies gently nodding right off of the Nutley street exit.

Ahem. Where was I? Right! The enamel tile I made late last year using a sgraffito method of enameling. First a fired base of black enamel. Then I mixed up some liquid white, painted it down on top of the black and then sifted the green on top. I used a pick to scratch through the wet enamel to reveal the black underneath. I also scratched through where the red flowers would be, and then fired. Finally, I added the red enamel for the poppies, and touched up the stems with some enamel crayon. It was a joy to do and I hope to do more.

The tile was sitting in my enamel sample box — so I fished it out and added some scrap chain, dotted with lovely lemon citrine nuggets.

Week 4:

And there we go — a full month of Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling — a Thing A Week! In February — we’ll see if I can’t blog weekly instead of a big post with everything in it!


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Jan 31 2014

Video Tutorial: Japanese 12 in 2, Enso and Shenandoah

Published by under jewelry,tutorials

Wahoo! New FREE video tutorial going on! This one is probably the one I should have done about a zillion years ago. Shenandoah is my best selling chainmaille kit – the pendant, earrings, and bracelet. I have a photo tutorial for the pendant/earrings, and now here is a video tutorial! Yippee! I also did my Enso bracelet – all of these pieces use the Japanese 12-in-2 chainmaille weave. This weave is SO versatile and fun, there’s a lot of design potential with it.

Here is the video:

If you’re interested, the photo tutorial is also right here!

And of course — you can see all of my FREE jewelry tutorials right here.

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Jan 27 2014

New Years Challenge – 3xR-1/52 & THAW2014-1

Published by under 3xR,challenge,jewelry

So it’s the end of January, and I have not posted at all on my blog. Doh! One of my new years resolutions was that I would try to do so more. Better late than never, right?

Another resolution I made was to make more jewelry. Not only MAKE it — but POST it. Post it on my flickr account, here on my blog, up on my site for sale… just get it OUT THERE! I have a lot of what I call.. UFOs. UnFinished Objects. Some of them are dangerously close to being done, if only I would do it.

So along with this vein, I joined a flickr group challenge called 3xR 2014. The challenge is to, “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle all the crap we have laying around on our benches and in our studios! Finish all those projects, use those stones we’ve been hoarding, take a look at that old sketchbook. Nothing is off limits here. Make as much work or as little as you choose but you need to Use What You Have.”

I also joined in conjunction, a flickr challenge group called THAW2014 – which stands for Thing A Week – I think both of these challenges will be great for me.

This is perfect for me. I have a LOT of material to work with, if only I would sit down and do it. For myself, I am including taking some of these UFOs and getting them finished. My goal is to do at least 1 a week. Since buying a kiln last year, I have slowing been building up my collection of enamels, and want to move into that direction.

So enough with the jibber jab! I actually HAVE ben making a piece a week — but they’ve sat on my bench instead of beign shared with the world. Which is part of the challenge to myself — POST THEM! So here is my first week’s piece.

It started with a sample I made in a fold forming class I took last year with Ira Sherman. I had so much fun in that class, I was determined to come home and make fold forming my life’s work (it always goes like that after a workshop!)

I choose one of these two forms:

I annealed it, and pickled it, to get off all the black oxides. Enamel needs a clean surface or the glass particles won’t fuse to the copper. The metal was initially rolled through a rolling mill with a piece of pattered paper, which caused the pattern to imprint on the metal. The hammer marks on one side of the leaf are also quite visible, so I opted to go with transparent enamel on the front. Green transparent, and a clear transparent.

You can see the imprinted pattern underneath the green enamel. I love the clear enamel too — it makes a shimmery golden surface with the copper underneath.

On the opposite side, I decided on a punch of color. Bright orange, with a very subtle lighter orange through the middle of the leaf.

Enamel is sifted onto the metal dry. You can see faint lines where I drew through the enamel to reveal the base orange color underneath. This technique (scratching through one layer to see underneath) is called sgraffito.

Overall, I am so happy with this piece. I kind of wish I had done more with the setting rather than just attaching it to the chain with jump rings, but time wasn’t on my side this time.

I have the other pieces I did this month as well — so that will help me to post again later this week!


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Dec 04 2013

Will copper jewelry turn my skin green or black? How do I clean copper jewelry?

Published by under jewelry

I get asked this question alot — especially on the hammered copper stacking rings that I make:

hammered copper stacking rings

And I gotta say, YES, turning your skin green is a distinct possibility when you wear raw copper – it depends on your body chemistry whether it will or not. However, I have found that it doesn’t turn your skin green forever — it may do so for a week or two, and then it stops — I’m not sure why — it could be that the body’s pH changes after consistent contact with the copper.

Also, in the pro-raw-copper column, many people rave about healing or helpful properties of raw copper. Now, I am a skeptic at heart (show me the data! where are the blind studies?!) (there are none!) so I don’t actually hold with this, but many people purchase the raw copper jewelry because of potential helpful properties that come from direct contact skin-to-copper, one I know off the top of my head is for arthritis — again, I don’t really believe any of it, but you could google for more info if you are interested.

A barrier between the copper and your skin can prevent any greenish smudge — one cheap way to do so would be to apply clear nail polish on the inside of the ring. However, it won’t last long — even with professional lacquers and such, the constant skin contact makes any blocking affect these have to be brief. This is why I don’t do it — also because I have lots of customers who WANT the copper to skin contact with no barrier.

If you want to be sure of no green skin completely, I’d stick with sterling or gold filled. Personally, I wear my copper ring all the time, and it’s been so long I don’t get any green fingers anymore.


Rings generally don’t need a lot of polishing, any tarnish is cleaned up by the rubbing against your skin. Bracelets, necklaces, pendants can be a different story. If you prefer a bright almost pink glow to your copper, rather than an old coppery penny look, it’s easy to clean.

My favorite way is with ketchup – mostly because with children under the age of 12 in the house, we have plenty of it! A quick dunk in ketchup for a few minutes will get rid of any tarnish.

Another way is with lemon juice (vinegar works too) and a bit of salt (1 teaspoon is plenty) in a small jar or tupperware. Place your jewelry in, making sure it’s covered, and let sit for a minute or two. VERY IMPORTANT — it only needs a minute or two — don’t walk away for a half hour — or even 5 minutes. The acid in the lemon juice which cleans away the tarnish, can also damage the surface of the metal.

Rinse and dry VERY well, and buff it up with a cloth. If the cloth doesn’t shine it up enough to your liking, you can rub with salt or baking powder to bring up the shine as well.

I hope this helps answer any questions about copper jewelry!

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Jun 22 2013

Studio Rearrange Take 439! Height Adjustable BENCH!

Published by under amy's head,jewelry,photos

I wrote a lot of words… about rearranging my studio and my new height adjustable bench. If you don’t want to read it all, there are some cute kid pictures and a video – just scroll down!

Now for all the blather blather… It seems like as SOON as I get my studio set up in a functional manner that I’m happy with, something comes along to SCREW IT ALL UP!

My studio is a small room on the main level of our house, which was called a “bedroom” when we bought the house, but really is an office. The room has to serve several functions – our family computer sits on an Ikea desktop with 2 drawer units (which I LOVE, SO much space!), which the kids use daily for homework and playing. It’s my main computer as well for printing packing slips and shipping labels, as well as daily email, etc. A second Ikea desktop, solid wood, sanded and then lacquered by me is my main bench for cutting & bagging jump rings, and filing orders.

It works very well for 80% of what I do, but a traditional jeweler’s bench has a higher surface (as they say in Cougartown, about boob-high!) with a cutout for a bench pin, and a drawer underneath for catching filings, etc.

So when I wanted to do some metalwork — especially piercing, which requires sawing on the support of a bench pin, I was lowering my chair way down, and then hunching over my bench pin trying to saw things out — not extremely ergonomic or convenient. And any dust or filings just fell on the floor.
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Apr 14 2013

Chainmaille Tutorial – Celtic Visions

Published by under jewelry

In this video I show how to make the Celtic Visions chainmaille weave:

I also have a written/photo tutorial for this here. Sometimes it’s nice to see a video though, so here you go!

Please let me know what you think!

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Mar 04 2013

A look at one of my New Years resolutions

Published by under amy's head,daily,jewelry

This January, as everyone is wont to do, I looked at my life and made some squishy resolutions — squishy because I knew I was not likely to keep them! More like, goals to head towards.

When we moved to Colorado, I left my full time web designer job, with the goals of making a good solid go of this jewelry stuff full time. Be successful enough to contribute to our family’s finances, and be here in our home so our kids aren’t in daycare.

A year and a half later, it seems like those goals really are happening! I don’t seem to need to go looking for web design work, so that’s a plus! Starry eyed visions of me at home getting all the laundry done with dinner on the table at 5:30 every night have kind of gone by the wayside.. but overall, this home business of mine is working out nicely for our family.
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Jan 28 2013

Ender Pants!

Published by under house,jewelry

Ender at the animal hospital

Ender at the animal hospital, post surgery

Well, I hope I didn’t jinx poor Ender by introducing him and his sister Valentine on this here blog in my last post.
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Dec 05 2012

tutorial: how to wire wrap a briolette

Published by under jewelry,tutorials

I realize I have been posting nothing but video tutorials lately, but I’m pretty busy in the studio, so whenever I sit down to do womthing, I think, “Why not make a video??”

So here you go! In this video, I show how I wire wrap a gemstone briolette. I’d love to hear any comments, feedback, and please subscribe to my youtube channel!

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Dec 02 2012

how to weave full persian chain maille weave

Published by under jewelry,tutorials

I’ve made another video and posted it to my youtube channel:

Please let me know waht you think! Kits for Full Persian bracelets can be purchased on my website.

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