Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wire wrapped copper and enamel "Fire And Ice" necklace completed!

Yay! After weeks of work, I've finally finished my wire wrapped copper and enamel "Fire And Ice" bib necklace! Check it out:

This was one of those projects that I didn't think would ever be completed, so it's so satisfying to see it come together. At the same time, I've gotten so used to working on it that it feels strange to not be putting it together. Onto the next project then!

I'm not sure what I want to do next, maybe a bracelet or earrings? I definitely want to do something a little more simple and accessible. I enjoyed this challenge, though, and am up for another one after taking a well-earned break!

To purchase my jewellery, head to Naomi's Designs or MayaGirl Creations.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

More on my Fire And Ice enameled necklace

For the past few weeks, I've been working on a really complicated and time-consuming enamel and wire wrapped project. I've been creating a 15-piece enamel bib necklace ... that's also reversable.

One one side, the large bib-style pendant is made up of circles of dark blue and aqua enamel, aka the "ice":

But if you turn it over, the circles are painted with coppery orange and yellow enamel, aka the "fire":

As you can see, I'm only about halfway through the project, but painting those discs took FOREVER. Altogether, there are 15 and they'll be in a pyramid shape of 5-4-3-2-1. I sifted two colors onto each side of the circle, and then put two coats of enamel on each, so I spent hours sifting and firing in the kiln, sifting and firing. I then had to clean each disc to get rid of the residue that collects onto the copper.

Now that I've finally finished with the circles, I'm constructing the actual bib pendant. I have to line up those holes exactly in order to put the pattern together correctly. As one of my classmates said, it's a little like a math problem -- or maye a jigsaw puzzle. I'm using 20 gauge copper wire to make the jumprings and the chain, when I get to it, because the copper goes well with both sides of the design.

When I eventually get to creating the chain, I'm going to make flat spiral links from the copper wire. This way, I can continue with the whole "circle" theme. I think it's going to be really unique looking when I'm finished -- which will, hopefully, be next week! It's taken me long enough to get to this point, but I'm taking my time to make it great.

To purchase my jewellery, head to Naomi's Designs or MayaGirl Creations.

Silver wire wrapped necklace with blue enamel pendant

It took many hours of labor and a lot of patience, but I finally finished my mom's birthday gift! I made her a silver wire wrapped necklace with blue Swarovski crystals and a handmade blue and aqua cloisonne and enamel pendant:

I enjoyed combining my enamel and wire wrapping jewelry skills, but as I said, it took a lot of time to make. I had some ideas for more complex chains, but didn't have enough silver wire -- and also, my mom probably wouldn't be comfortable wearing something that's too clunky. I just hope that she likes this piece. I chose the shades of blue because like me, she owns a lot of blue clothing, and I figured that she'd be able to match it with an outfit. I also really like the way that blue looks in enamel form. Some other colors, like purples, don't turn out as well, but shades of blue are always very striking.

I'm giving this to my mom this week, so I'll finally get to see what she thinks of my work!

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

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Enameled jewelry: Tales from enameling class

The 92nd Street Y's spring semester kicked off yesterday so, of course, I was there for my enameling class.

In some ways, it was the same as always because I'm taking it at the same time with the same teacher, and many of the same students have returned. But there's always an exciting energy in the air on the first day of school (which this essentially was) and there were several new students present.

What's weird and kind of cool is that I'm now considered to be one of the "advanced" enamelers. Compared to some of the others, I'd say I'm more intermediate than anything, but I'm still skilled enough that the newbies felt as if they could turn to me for questions. My teacher even singled me out as an example a few times, "Watch what Naomi's doing," or "Feel free to ask Naomi for help." A few of the students did have some questions for me about the enameling process and I was happy to answer them.

This is my fourth semester in enameling so I've been at it for not quite a year. I really do enjoy it, but it's still a newish skill for me so it's a novelty for me to even associate myself with it. I'd love to eventually do something with teaching it, though. At the end of this semester (in May) I'm going to ask my teacher if I have what it takes to be a teaching assistant. The Y uses TAs to cover bench (studio) time. I'm not sure what they get for the work -- maybe free bench time hours or a discount? -- but it would be a great way to work toward teaching jewelry. Several of the advanced students in my class have been doing this for a while. I wonder if I'd qualify to work during the summer semester, which is a shorter, quieter time at the Y. In other words, it would be the perfect time to do a trial run as a TA.

This beginning of the spring semester also marked my year anniversary at the Y. I remember how nervous I was when I began taking Jewelry I last february. It was the February 2, the day before my birthday, and I'd signed up for this basic metalsmithing class as a gift to myself. At that point, I was breaking into sweats over the idea of using a torch, drill or saw, so I've come a long way. I still suck at soldering, though. I really wish that I'd signed up for any teacher other than the one I'd had for that class because she and I just didn't mix. She wasn't a bad person by any means, but she was a little too no-nonsense and impatient with a clumsy newbie like me. The class was always so quiet and serious and somber, not at all like I envisioned an art class being.

Happily, the rest of my jewelry classes have been exactly what I thought they'd be like: informative, but fun. I work really hard in enameling, but everyone is friendly and we always have a lot of laughs. The teacher actually seems to enjoy being with us and teaching the class; we're not just a way for her to make money. I'm glad that I stuck it out after that first class and tried a different skill because that beginner class almost made me believe that I had no talent; it almost crushed my dreams.

I'm actually thinking of repeating Jewelry I during the summer semester, but this time with a different teacher. Yes, I've completed Jewelry I and II, but I still feel lost when it comes to soldering and working with fire. I've disliked my metalsmithing classes, but perhaps I'd like them more if I had those basic skills down and didn't feel as if everyone were so far ahead.

Meantime, I'm really glad that my teacher persuaded me to continue with enameling. I don't know why I even considered taking a break from it.

To purchase my jewellery, head to Naomi's Designs or MayaGirl Creations.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Wire wrapped amethyst jewelry for February birthdays

It's my birthday today, so it's my party and I'll blog if I want to! There are some downsides to having a February birthday: it's usually cold and it gets dark pretty early. But a huge positive is that I get to have what, in my opinion, is the prettiest birthstone: the purple amethyst.

I love, love, love amethyst jewelry. One of the best gifts that my husband gave me was a pair of amethyst heart earrings. The deep purple color is so pretty, but the stone also has the personal meaning for me.

I know many people who wear amethyst jewelry simply because they like the color and not necessarily because they were born in February. But most of the people I know who share a February birthday with me take special pride in having this special stone for our month!

In honor of it being my birthday today, here are some of the handmade wire wrapped amethyst jewellery pieces that I've designed. Everything is available at Naomi's Designs or MayaGirl Creations.

Wire wrapped triple heart amethyst earrings

Amethyst Swarovski crystal heart earrings

Wire wrapped chandelier earrings with purple Swarovski crystal hearts

Silver wire wrapped amethyst ring

Amethyst heart dangle earrings

Silver wire wrapped amethyst birthstone infinity ring