Monday, February 20, 2012

My Newest Handmade Wire Jewelry Designs: Sterling Silver Wire Wrapped Pendant

This abstract sterling silver wire wrapped pendant is another one of my "sculpture" pieces. I got these beautiful silver saucer beads and wanted to do something that featured them because they're the type of bead that's usually used as an accent and not the main event. So I used 28 gauge silver wire -- a very thin wire -- to wire wrap them around this geometric shape that I created. I finished off the necklace with a black silk cord.

As for the pendant itself, well, I'm not sure what it is! I made it with 14 gauge sterling silver wire, which, frankly, can be a real bitch to bend by hand, but I like how it came out. And part of the fun is deciding for yourself what it looks like.

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Studio or Naomi's Designs.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

My HubPages Article About Selling On Etsy

One of the sites that I enjoy writing for is HubPages. I've made some decent money on them and it's a great way to be creative with my writing. Anyway, here's the piece I just did on Etsy:

Wire wrapped Earrings Abstract With Square Crystals Of Blue, Purple And Green

These wire wrapped silver dangle earrings with square crystals are another pair from my modern art collection. I started with the three crystals and liked the way the blue, purple and green looked together. I then debated whether I should frame them with copper or silver, but decided that silver wire worked better with the cool colors.

The trick with these, as with all of my earrings, was getting them to be symmetrical, but I think I did a pretty good job! I like how the square crystals play against the slightly nebulous shape of the silver wire frame.

On another note, I can't believe how international this blog is getting! I have readers from all over the world, including India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Russia. And for some reason, I've had many Egyptian viewers this weekend. So cool! I'm honored that you found my blog and checked in, so thank you! It's nice to know that my words from New York City are being read thousands of miles away.

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Studio or Naomi's Designs.

Upcoming Craft Fairs

It's getting to be that time of year again, craft fair season. So far, I have two lined up: I'll be doing the Great Neck Street Fair on May 6 and the Lexigton Craft Fair on May 19.

I did the Lexington Craft Fair last year and had a great time. It's sponsored by the Lexington School For The Deaf in Queens, NY and was so well-organized. The weather was perfect and I made a lot of sales. All in all a wonderful day! So when they invited me back, of course, I said yes.

I haven't done the Great Neck Street Fair, but it's supposed to be a well-attended event. Now that I've done a few of these festivals, I have a better idea for how to bring business to my table. I know that I need to be more assertive. I can't just sit back and expect people to come by; I need to say hello to passers-by and hand out business cards. I'm also going to display my jewelry a bit differently and see if that helps.

2011 was a decent start-up year for me, but I want this year to be even better.

To purchase my wire wrapped jewelry, head to Naomi's Studio or
Naomi's Designs.

More Handmade Wire Wrapped Earrings

Since my last post was so wordy, I'm keeping this one short, sweet and photo-driven. Here are more of my designs for wire wrapped earrings:

1. Silver wire wrapped chandelier earrings with red, yellow and pink Swarovski crystal hearts:

2. Silver wire wrapped dangle earrings with spirals and swirls:

3. Silver wire wrapped dangle earrings with red Swarovski crystal hearts:

4. Silver wire wrapped art deco earrings with purple crystals:

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Studio on Artfire
or Naomi's Designs on Etsy.

Metalsmithing Class, Part II

Well, I've been in my metalsmithing class for three weeks now ... and to be honest, I don't love it.

Metalsmithing requires a lot of expensive tools, and is very time-consuming, exact and precise. You can't just jump in and be creative as I like to be with my wire jewelry. You have to sit and measure and saw and file before you make anything. There's nothing wrong with this, of course, but for me, it takes me out of the creative process.

I think the skill itself is interesting and plan to finish out the remaining 11 classes in the semester. But being back in the classroom has turned out to be a big disappointment.

I haven't taken any sort of classes since grad school (back in 1997), but have always enjoyed school. I especially loved classes where I had an inspiring teacher and the students exchanged interesting ideas. I guess I igured that this is what this class would be like -- that it would be a bunch of budding artists being led by some artsy Mother Earth-type as we discuss our love for creating things.

Call me naive because it's not like that at all! The instructor is nice enough, but she's rather bland and not inspiring at all. She comes at the very start of class, leaves as soon as the clock strikes nine, and seems to be there just to collect a paycheck. Meanwhile, my classmates are all girls younger than me and are all soooo quiet and boring! I mean, I understand the fact that we have to concentrate on our work, but we barely say hello to each other. I've tried, but all will just respond with a tight smile. For one class, an older woman in her 60s joined in and she was friendly. I liked her because we could work and chat, and it made things fun. But she hasn't been back and it's back to Silentville for the rest of us. We all sit there, filing or sawing, with no music or anything.

Even worse, the instructor is just not a great teacher. She flies through instructions that have many steps and expects us to get it -- and I just can't learn like that. I'm very visual; I need to actually go through the procedure myself in order to get it, especially when dealing with dangerous tools. Then when I call her over to ask again how to load a saw or turn on the drill, she kind of rolls her eyes at me. I always got As in school and in music -- and she makes me feel like I'm stupid.

I think that with another instructor I'd like the class a lot more. I do have some new skills and can see how I can expand my repertoire -- and it's always nice to learn new things. But if I take the next level, I am definitely not going with this bore again. To me, making art is about getting people fired up, about helping them find their passions, and she just ain't doin' it.

To see or purchase my non-metalsmithed jewelry, had to Naomi's Studio on Artfire or Naomi's Designs on Etsy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wire Wrapped Earrings With Purple Swarovski Crystal Hearts

Here are two other designs from my Swarovski triple heart collection. These are silver wire wrapped chandelier earrings with purple Swarovski hearts.

These earrings take me back to when I was a kid and purple was my favorite color. For a while, purple and lavender were very "in." I even had an outfit that was entirely lavender from my shirt to my sandals. I felt soooo sophisticated when I wore this ensemble!

I only wish I'd had these purple triple heart earrings to go with it because both pairs are so cute. One is your standard tiered dangle earring; the other had some spiral designs worked in and is a little fancier. But they both follow the same concept: the two outside hearts are dark purple and the one in the middle is lavender.

Purple is no longer my very favorite color; that would probably be turquoise. But I still have an appreciation for the hue that made me so happy.

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs on Etsy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wire Wrapped Pendant -- Black Lava Stone With Pink Crystals And Silver Wire

This is another one of my wire wrapped lava stone necklaces. As I've said, I've love working with lava because it's like a "blank slate" that I can adorn. It's also smooth and easy to wrap.

I always try to do something different with each wrap, so for this I chose some small, round pink crystals. I like the way the pink looks with the silver and black -- very classic and elegant.

I finished it off with a leather cord. To be honest, I hadn't considered leather util a customer requested it in place of silk. But I think it suits the lava in terms of mixing textures.

I'm thinking of making some other lava pendants with mixed metal or color wire. It's fun to take one concept and then experiment with it.

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs on Etsy.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Earrings wire wrapped copper filigree chandelier with sapphire blue Swarovski crystal hearts

Yeesh, thats a long title for earrings that were made with two materials: 20 gauge copper wire and sapphire Swarovski crystal hearts. But these simple earrings are a lot of things at once.

I love, love, love the combination of copper and sapphire blue. I just purchased a bunch of Swarovski hearts in different shades of blue and debated over which color went best with the copper. Turquoise was too bright, denim just didn't quite work for me -- but the sapphire is perfect. It mkes the copper look even more shiny and the copper brings out the blue. They were just made to go together.

Unofficially, I'm calling these "Grandma Anna's earrings." My husband's grandmother died this weekend and we had her funeral this afternoon. She didn't wear a lot of jewelry, but she had these amazing blue eyes -- and the blue of the crystals reminds me of it. On the way home, my dad commented that no one had mentioned her eyes today, so I'm doing it now.

To see more of my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs on Etsy.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Earrings Silver Chandelier Filigree With Purple Swarovski Crystal Hearts And Sterling Silver Saucer Beads

I finally learned the proper name for that curly-cue lattice pattern I like to use so much: filigree. Apparently, filigree designs were popular in ancient Indian art; you also see a lot of it in old Irish designs.

Once again I crafted filigree earrings (I like saying the word now that I know it) and made a variant on my chandelier heart earrings. This time, I used very sparkly purple AB Swarovski crystal hearts and hung them from longer hooks so they really dangle. I also added little silver saucer beads for an extra bit of elegance.

I'll admit that I make a lot of these filigree designs because it's fun to sit there and make loop after loop; it's very relaxing. But I also like the idea of having a series. Every artist has one special type of design, right? Maybe this is mine.

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs on Etsy.

Follow Your Dreams

This is going off topic for a bit, but bear with me.

I was having a talk with a friend last night during which she admitted that if she could go back in time, she'd redo everything in her life. That seemed a little drastic to me, but she went on to say that one of her biggest regrets was not becoming an actress. She'd gone to college with that goal, but was thrown of course freshman year by a nasty teacher.

"So why don't you do it now?" I asked. "You're still young. Even if you never become Meryl Streep, you could get a job as an extra on a TV show or do community theater."

Oh, I can't," she replied. "I don't have time, I'm not skinny enough to be an actress, I'm shy..." The list went on and on.

People often ask me how I've managed to do so much with my jewelry when I work full time and have a marriage and social life. The answer is simple --I WANT to do it and so I make time. It's something that I'm passionate about so I work it into my day, even if I only get to work on a piece for 10 minutes.

I'm also very methodical about it. When I decided that I wanted to make jewelry, I researched as much as I could: I watched instructional videos online, read books and articles and explored what kind of tools I'd need. Then, when I started to get the hang of it, made goals. One was to create at least 100 pieces so that I'd have a big enough selection to sell at craft fairs. Two was to participate in four fairs. Three was to open a shop on Etsy. I didn't give myself any tight deadlines so there wasn't much pressure, but I did have those goals in mind when I was working.

I'm a big believer in going after things and think that for the most part, you can make a dream come true if you pursue it methodically and realistically. Obviously, some things will be out of reach: I'll never become a championship ballroom dancer or gymnast, but I can always take some dance classes or a gym class where I learn how to tumble. I doubt I'll ever be a Picasso, but I could take out a book on how to paint.

I know I'm not the best writer or musician or jewelry artist for that matter, but one thing I do have going for myself is that I'm very driven. I don't just dream; I come up with a plan.

So for anyone reading this who wants to make jewelry or write a book, or act, or do anything else for that matter, here are some of my tips:

1. Solidify your dream. For example, if you want to be a singer, in what capcacity do you want to perform? Are you looking to be the next Adele or do you simply want to sing in a choir or at nightclubs? What type of music do you intend to sing?

2. Determine how far you actually are from your goal. In my case, I knew nothing about making jewelry, so I had to start from scratch. My first plan -- find out what tools I'd even need. Back to my singing example, do you even know how to sing? Do you know anything about music? If not, you might want to take music or voice lessons, or if you can't afford those, watch a video on the subject or take a book from the library.

3. Set a plan into motion and come up with realistic goals. A would-be singer might come up with a plan to sing at a friend's wedding or perform at a local bar. Making an immediate plan to become Lady Gaga might be stretching it -- for now, anyway.

4. Expect to fail and make mistakes. My drawers are full of failed jewelry projects that didn't work out, for whatever reason. I consider them useful because I've learned from them.

5. Expect criticism, especially when it comes to the arts. Sometimes aa critique just sucks; oftentimes, it can be useful if the person giving it is knowledgable.

6. Never stop learning. I'm still learning new jewelry techniques and probably always will. That's how I'll grow as an artist.

7. Just do it! If you really, really want something, you'll find the time somehow. It's hard, especially if you have a full-time job and kids, but even if you take just five minutes a day, it can be worth it.

To see my work, head to Naomi's Designs on Etsy.

Earrings Silver Treble Clef With Pink Swarovski Crystal Hearts

All of my talents are in the arts, which can be a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, I love what I do and I love being creative. However, let's face it -- it's really hard to make a living as a musician, writer or jewelry designer, and when you're dealing with subjective opinions, you face a lot of criticism.

I'm fortunate in that I have a steady job as a writer for a magazine, but I got a rude awakening when I attempted to have a novel published a few years ago. I had to deal with agents and editors -- and though many were helpful, there were also many who hated my work. I faced a lot of rejection, but ultimately think that the suggestions did improve my book. I took a break from it because the writing process stopped being fun, but I'm proud of the work I did and am glad that I put myself out there.

Anyway, the point of this long post is that another one of my loves is music. I've played flute for almost 30 years at this point (yikes, that's a long time) and while I used to participate in music competitions, now do it strictly for fun. I put out an album a few years ago for which I had 100 percent creative freedom. I've never become a famous musician, but that's fine with me -- I play when I want to and what I want to.

That said, I designed these very classic and simple treble clef earrings in honor of my love for music. I call them the "I Heart Music" earrings (real original, huh?). I think it's cool that I'm writing about my jewelry making that involves a piece dedicated to another one of my passions. Somehow I managed to combine all three! Now if I could find a way to include cats, I'd be all set...

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs on Etsy.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Black Lava Stone Pendant With Copper Wire Wrap

When I was in Hawaii, I was surprised to see how beautiful lava is. I assumed that it would just look like dirt, but it doesn't: there are shapes and curves and shades of the black rocks. It's actually pretty amazing.

I love working with lava stone because it's kind of a blank canvas. You can use any kind of wire or stone on it and it will work.

When I first started wire wrapping, I'd twist the wire into random curls and angles, but I've learned how to "fine tune" it. I can now bend the wire into very precise shapes and patterns, even when wrapping a stone. That's what I did with this copper wire. I made tiny curls so that they enhance the stone, but don't obscure it.

I love how it came out. It looks very organic. See, lava can be elegant.

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs on Etsy.

Gold Pendant On Black Silk Cord

Don't ask me what this gold pendant is supposed to be -- it looks like an alien.... or maybe a tadpole. Or sperm.

This was one of those cases where the metal did the talking. I had a strip of 14 gauge gold wire (really thick and chunky wire) so I twisted it this way and that -- and came up with this cool design. I then hammered it down a bit to give it some texture.

I go into most of my projects with a basic plan, especially if I want to make a particular shape or pattern. But sometimes it's fun to just go a little crazy and see where your creativity will take you. Now you're seeing the result of mine!

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs on Etsy.

New Jewelry Making Skills

I had my second metalsmithing class tonight. It went well, though the instructor goes at warp speed and the other students aren't very friendly. But I did learn some new jewelry making skills!

First, I got to use a drill so I could put holes in my ring design. I was ervous about using a tool that could, well, put a hole in me, but it went smoothly and there were no injuries.

Next, I had to use a jeweler's saw to cut out my ring and the interior design. It took me a few tries (and a few broken blades) to get the hang of it, but once I did, it was fun -- very relaxing.

We'll be soldering our rings in the next class (and I'll get to use mor scary tools), but in the meantime, I now know how to saw shapes out of metal. This is really cool because I can now make pendants and charms and other metal elements. I love working with wire, but I'd like to expand my repertoire. So expect to see some cool copper cut-outs sometime soon!

To see or purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs on Etsy.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Heart Of Gold Earrings: Silver Chandelier Statement Earrings With Gold Swarovski Crystal Hearts And Sterling Silver Beads

These silver chandelier earrings are super-luxurious. They're the type of jewelry that you wear to a wedding or a prom. I'm not kidding when I say they're statement earrings: they're over four inches long and just skim the shoulders. They're MEANT to be noticed.

I got the idea for them when I purchased these gorgeous gold Swarovski crystal hearts. Who knew they came in gold? By now you must know how much I love, love, love Swarovski hearts and I just had to do something special with golden ones. Talk about being a gold standard, ha ha.

I used my famous lattice design for both parts, only the top has nine loops and the bottom, sixteen. I then attached the hearts and sterling siver saucer beads to long strands of wire. The result is these crazy, over-the-top chandelier earrings. I'll be honest, I was tempted to add a third layer with a 20-loop lattice, but stopped when they hit my shoulder. There's that old saying about wearing jewelry, about how you should always remove one item. I think that goes for making jewelry, too!

To buy my jewelry, check out Naomi's Designs on Etsy.

Metalsmithing Class

Guess what? I'm now taking a metalsmithing class at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. They have a very intensive jewelry making program, so I'm starting with the class that's called Absolute Beginners. I consider myself to be intermediate when it comes to wirework, but I know squat about soldering. It should be an interesting experience.

So far, we've only had one class so we haven't done much. We had to buy about 50 items for it, though, so it's getting to be pretty expensive. Happily, I've been making more sales in the last few months so I hope to eventually make up the difference. Anyway, our instructor had us draw a pattern for a ring and then showed us how to use a drill and a saw. It frightens me a bit that I'll be handling tools that could potentially cause me to bleed if I slip up.

Still, I'm excited to be learning a new skill! If I like this course, I'll continue with Jewelry II and III, and then take a course in stone cutting. I want to know as much about making jewelry as I can. Though I sort of stumbled upon making jewelry by accident (I needed something to do while I was out with a broken leg), it's truly become a passion.

To see and purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs on Etsy.

My Fire Mountain Gems And Beads Jewelry-Making Contest Pieces

This year, I decided to take a chance and enter a few of my pieces in the Fire Mountain Gems And Beads jewelry-making contest. They have several categories, including ones for seed beads and Swarovski elements. I entered the one for wirework, metal and metal clay. The grand prize is $1000 credit at their online store. Imagine how many beads you could buy!!!

This contest was challenging for me because I wanted to, of course, make quality items, but they also had to be more than just everyday earrings and necklaces. They had to be art. This forced me to think outside of the box and come up with ideas and patterns that I hadn't yet conceived -- and at the same time, make wearable and functional jewelry. It took a lot of work, but I was happy with my results, whether I win something or not. Anyway, here are the designs I submitted:

Nefertiti's Kiss: This is a Middle-Eastern jewelry set made of copper wire and dark purple Swarovski crystal pearls. It's based on the lavish jewelry I saw when I visited Egypt as a child. Let me tell you -- making all of those tiny spirals was a labor of love!

Try, Tri Again: This necklace is made up completely of triangle pieces, each a different metal (copper, bronze and silver). I liked the idea of using one shape to build a larger structure. The name is not only a play on words, but reflects my approach to making this as it really did take me several tries to get what I wanted:

Pretty In Pink: These earrings are simple compared to the other two, but I wanted to submit something that included some basic wire wrapping. I used pink marble as the canvas and then wrapped each with silver wire and Swarovski crystal pearls.

To see or purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs On Etsy.

Happy Heart Earrings: Silver Chandelier Earrings With Rainbow Swarovski Crystal Hearts

These earrings have been selling pretty well on my Etsy shop -- probably because two things that most people love are hearts and rainbows. I mean, we all want to be happy, right? And what better way to get some cheer than to wear pretty colors in the shape of love.

The idea for these chandelier earrings came about when I was organizing the billion or so Swarovski crystal hearts that I'd purchased online. I love Swarovski, but they have a really wasteful way of packaging. They put two hearts in their little plastic boxes, so if you want a dozen of a certain color heart, you end up with six boxes (though you can get certain kinds in bulk). Anyway, I'd gone a little heart crazy and literally had hundreds of the things so I decided to do something creative with them -- and my Happy Heart Earrings were born.

Though they're long earrings, they're very lightweight. I like using silver plated nickel wire because it's non-tarnish, inexpensive and durable -- all good qualities when making costume jewelry. More importantly, it looks nice.

I love this lattice design because it looks cool on its own, but it's also a practical template for making jewelry. You can link it together to make bracelets or necklaces or in this case, hang things from it to make chandelier earrings. You'd be amazed by how versatile this pattern is.

To purchase my Happy Hearts or any other item in my shop, head to:
Naomi's Designs