Monday, April 29, 2013

New silver wire wrapped bangle bracelets with square crystals

I've been getting back into the groove of making jewelry by creating some new silver wire wrapped bangle bracelets. I have a craft fair coming up in two weeks and these always sell pretty well. My plan is to have a whole bunch of these in different colors.

Each of these is pretty minimalist. I use 18 gauge silver plated wire and 8mm square crystals. They look so pretty, though, and I think that's why my customers like them: they're a simple, classic design.

I haven't sold at a craft fair for a few months so I feel like I'm a bit out of practice. Hopefully, these bracelets will get my stand some attention and I'll have a great start to the spring craft fair season. Meanwhile, you can purchase my jewelry on Etsy at Naomi's Designs or MayaGirl Creations.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Back from Japan, Back to Making Handmade Jewelry

Wow, it's been a very long time since I've written a post, but with good reason: I've been in Japan! My husband and I visited Tokyo, Hakone, Nara, Nikko, Kyoto, Osaka and Narita -- so we were quite busy. The trip was incredible, but exhausting and I'm still not entirely over the jetlag. Still, I'm so glad that we went and got to experience such a beautiful country.

Though I put work on the backburner while we were away, jewelry still came up at times. I was surprised to see how much my jewelry making skills applied to Japanese art. For instance, the temples that we saw in Nikko were extremely ornate; at one portion of a shrine, there was a design that looked as if it were implanted into the metal. Jon wondered aloud how that was done and I explained that it looked as if the artists had used a champleve technique, where the metal was etched or engraved and then filled with enamel/glass. He was impressed and it was kind of cool to be able to "dissect" the designs.

Jewelry came up again, more directly, when we visited a craft center in Kyoto. They offer Japanese art classes there and one if for enameling and cloisonne. However, they don't let the students apply the cloisonne wire or even place the piece in the kiln, so I didn't bother to check it out. It's funny, though, that I traveled thousands of miles to come across a class that I take at home!

I wasn't that interested in the Japanese jewelry, but I really do love the other types of crafs, especially the little dolls. My favorite are the washi dolls, which are made from a special type of paper and are folded origami-style. I'd love to learn how to make one of these, but they look complicated. I also like the wood boxes that have intricate patterns. We didn't buy too many souvenirs, but I did get a few dolls and a small box.

Now that I'm back home, I'm trying to get back into my jewelry/writing. I had my enamel class on Tuesday and am closer to completing my enamel hamsa (hand) necklace. I hope to finish it tomorrow, actually. I'm also signing up for a craft fair that's on May 11. This will be my first of the season so I hope it goes well. Make sure to check out my jewelry stores Naomi's Designs and MayaGirl Creations.

Until then, here are some of our trip photos from Japan, taken by my husband Jonathan. Enjoy!

Mt. Fuji! Did we get a beautiful day to see this famous volcano, or what?

Pagoda at Nikko:

Neon night in Osaka:

Kinkakuji Temple, Kyoto: