Sunday, May 12, 2013

Silver wire wrapped enamel and cloisonne cat pendant necklace

Well, my first craft fair of the season was a complete and total bust. We had some heavy rain yesterday, but the ad for the fair said "rain or shine" so I dragged my butt out of bed on a Saturday and schlepped down to the fair site. When I got there, I was told that most of the other vendors left because of the weather and the fair was cancelled. So much for "rain or shine!" I wish I'd just stayed in bed, but I paid a registration fee... and have now unfortunately lost money. They offered to let me sell today, but it's Mother's Day so I can't. My husband says not to worry about the lost wages, but it's frustrating. Grrr...

Still, I'm trying to look ahead. I have another fair coming up in a month and this one is for a great cause: the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I enjoy selling at charity events where I can donate a portion of my proceeds -- at least my money is going toward something worthwhile! Plus, it'll be indoors so the weather won't be an issue.

Meanwhile, Tuesday will be my last enameling class of this semester. The "summer" semester begins two weeks later, but I'm saddened that this particular class will be ending. We just happen to have a great group of people who get along really well. Most of the students with whom I've worked have been very nice, but many haven't been that into the craft we're learning. In most of my classes, there are only a few people left by the end of the semester. However, everyone has stayed in this class and everyone is really into enameling, which makes it all the more fun to learn.

What I also love about this group is that we spend many classes having interesting discussions about things other than jewelry making. Sure, we talk about enameling and go over projects, but as we work, we talk about politics, family, history, TV shows... any topic you can imagine. I've learned so many non-jewelry-related factoids from my fellow students and have shared a lot of laughs. When I originally signed up for jewelry a year-and-a-half ago, THIS is what I envisioned the classes would be like: places to learn a skill and meet some interesting folk. I didn't expect that first class to be so serious and, well... sucky. Anyway, we're having a party to celebrate our successful semester, which will be bittersweet for all of us. A few others will be in the summer class, but it won't be the same.

I don't know how much work I'll get done on Tuesday, but I did finish my latest piece: an enamel and cloisonné cat pendant with a silver wire wrapped chain:

I used the cloisonné wire to create an abstract design. I wanted it to suggest the idea of a cat's patterns, but to be a little surreal. I based the colors on my sweet baby, Maya:

As a cat lover, I can never get enough of cat-shaped things! Hopefully, another cat lover will fall for this item.

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

Friday, May 3, 2013

Tales From Enameling Class: Having A Great Week!

There are still days when I question my decision to make jewelry full time. After all, I've only been doing this for about three years and the work isn't as steady as when I worked for the magazine. I love working for myself, but wonder if I have what it takes to a) make it in this business and b) even be called an artist. Well, this was one of those weeks where my faith in myself was restored.

It began with me finishing my enamel and cloisonné hamsa pendant. I wrote a longer post about it, but here it is again. You can buy it at Naomi's Designs:

Meanwhile, I'm having a really good sales week over at my kids' store MayaGirl Creations. Next month will be that shop's year anniversary and I'm pleased with how it's shaping up. People seem to like my pieces online and at fairs so I'm glad that I took a risk in expanding.

The best part of this week, though, happened in my enameling class when my teacher paid me a huge compliment. She's praised my work before; in general, she encourages all of her students, but she took me aside and told me how good she thinks I'm getting and how proud she is of me. It felt great to hear this and for a moment, I went back in time to when I'd get a good report from my elementary school teacher, LOL. Still, it's great that she has faith in me, especially since she's been a successful jewelry designer for decades.

This month marks a year since I began enameling and I'm thrilled that I found a new skill which I love. I was very wary after taking that metalsmithing class, but I think you have to keep searching until you find something that you enjoy. I'm proud of myself for keeping at this and look forward to my next year as an enamellist.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Silver wire wrapped enamel and cloisonne hamsa pendant necklace

I finally finished my enamel and cloisonné hamsa pendant! I love how the silver foil layer came out. I applied it before I applied the enamel so that the pendant is shimmery and looks a bit like stained glass.

By the way, a hamsa (hand necklace) is a hand-shaped pendant that's meant to protect the wearer from the evil eye. Hence the large eye in the center of the hand. It's a traditional symbol that you see in Jewish/Middle Eastern jewelry. This was my first time delving into Judaica jewelry and I'm proud of how it turned out.

I haven't designed much religious jewelry, but one of the women in my enameling class has suggested that I make Godmother/communion gifts. I suppose I could make some enamel cross necklaces? I'd want to do something beautiful, classy and respectful. I'm about to learn some champlevé techniques (engraving into metal and then filling the depression with enamel) so I'm thinking of etching a cross into a pendant and then using that as a design.

Meantime, my teacher really loved this hamsa. She especially liked the eye and kept showing it to my classmates. She suggested I make more, but this was very time consuming! So for now, this will remain a one-of-a-kind.

Check out my jewelry at Naomi's Designs or MayaGirl Creations.