Thursday, January 30, 2014

Photo Gallery: Wire wrapped amethyst jewelry for February birthdays, Part II

It's just about February, which means three things in Jewelry Land: One, it's my birthday (February 3, for those of you keeping track); Two, Valentine's Day is just around the corner and jewelry makes the perfect gift; Three, amethyst is the February birthstone. It also happens to be my favorite stone -- and not just because it's mine. I just like the way that soft purple color looks. Amethysts are said to have healing properties, too: some believe that it can help you sleep better and ease stress.

Last year, I put together a photo gallery which featured some of my favorite handmade amethyst jewelry designs. Here are some more of my wire wrapped amethyst pieces. All can be found at Naomi's Designs or MayaGirl Creations.

Red and black enamel sgraffito pendants

Each semester, I'm trying to learn a new technique in my enameling class. This week, I made two red and black sgrafitto pendants: one with red and black spirals and one with a red and black geometric pattern:

Sgraffito basically involves laying down one color of enamel, then adding a coat with a different color; before heating the fine glass powder and making the top coat harden, you use something sharp (like a piece of wire or as I used a sharp wooden stick) to carve out a design. You can then see the color of the undercoat beneath. It's a really cool way to show a contrast between colors and make up a funky pattern.

What's funny is that I didn't even realize that what I was doing had a name. I explained my idea to my teacher and she was like, "Oh, that's sgraffito." And here I thought I was being so clever, LOL!

To highlight the contrast between the red and black, I slightly underfired the black layer. I usually keep pieces this size (these squares are about an inch in height and width) in the kiln for a minute, but I took these out at only 40 seconds. The enamel is still hard, but it has a rougher texture; it's not quite as shiny as the red beneath. I like that it looks slightly raw and unfinished; I think that it adds some more depth to the design and makes it easier to see the different layers.

I need to make some more large show pieces (happily I've sold most of mine!) and have an idea for a sgraffito bib necklace. Sometimes I wish I had my enameling class every day because I'm anxious to get to work on it.

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

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Rainbow splattered enamel pendant necklace

After missing three classes due to snow, I FINALLY made it back to enameling yesterday! Hooray! The usual crowd was there, plus a few newcomers. It's always nice to see people get into enameling for the first time. Not everyone falls in love with the craft like I did, but everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves yesterday.

I was so eager to get to make something that I ended up working almost non-stop for three hours -- and I completed a record four pendants! For two, I made this funky rainbow splatter design.

I think it looks a bit like a Jackson Pollock painting. My husband says that it looks like a mosaic. I guess you can just use your imagination...

When I made these pendants, I initially planned to cover them with a layer of black enamel and then carve out a design so that you could see the rainbow colors beneath the black. After I made these, though, everyone in class loved how they look as is so I just let them be. I considered turning them into earrings, but ultimately decided to make them into necklaces. Most of my enamel pieces are one of a kind, so it's rare that I can sell multiples of a design.

It felt so good to get back to enameling. I really missed it. Hopefully it won't snow on class day for the rest of this semester!

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

Sunday, January 26, 2014

MEOW! Photo Gallery: Cat-inspired wire wrapped, enamel and precious metal clay jewelry

If you've read this blog for a while, then it's pretty obvious that I'm a crazy cat person. We've had cats since 1999 and my favorite feline, Maya, is often my muse for jewelry pieces. My children's line, MayaGirl Creations, is even named for her!

I've designed a lot of cat jewelry, including an enamel cat necklace, a precious metal clay cat pendant and even wire wrapped earrings shaped like cats! The PMC necklace was sold to my friend's aunt, who is also a cat lover; I got a kick out of seeing her wear it to a Christmas party a few weeks ago. That cat pictured with the necklace is my Maya. She likes to supervise while I'm working...

So if you love cats, head to my shops Naomi's Designs and MayaGirl Creations. You'll find the purrrrrfect piece.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Weird silver wire wrapped abstract geometric earrings

Something that I find to be a lot of fun is coming up with shapes in my jewelry that I haven't yet created. I can only make so many spirals, squares and triangles! I had some leftover 20 gauge silver plated wire, so I played around with it and came up with these weird-looking wire wrapped earrings:

I don't know what they're supposed to be. They look a little like a profile or maybe a deconstructed star? I should take a poll and see what people say. Maybe I can turn the responses into a personality quiz...

In other news, my husband and I spent the day at the Museum Of Natural History in New York City. We wandered around several exhibits, but walked through a couple of the ones that feature ancient civilizations (Africa and the Pacific Islands). I've always enjoyed going to museums, but I now have a new appreciation for the complex jewelry pieces that were made thousands of years ago. Nowadays, some jewelry is made with machines and computers, whereas they made these gorgeous pieces with simple tools. I think that's why I like working with wire so much. All you need are a few tools and you're set. I enjoy making things from scratch and having to figure out the "architecture" of a piece. I like wearing things and knowing exactly how they were put together.

The 92nd Street Y actually offers a class in ancient jewelry making. I've considered taking it, but something has always come up -- in this semester, I'm taking a memoir writing class, for example. But maybe I'll sign up next time. It would be fun to return to museum and be able to say, "Hey, I can make that, too!"

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs or MayaGirl Creations. Also, check out my novel REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Funky silver wire wrapped triangle earrings with Swarovski crystals

One of the first things I ever made for my Etsy shop, Naomi's Designs, was this pair of silver wire triangle earrings. I was still experimenting with wire and learning how to make wire wrapped jewelry, and was playing around with shapes. I was very pleased when I successfully made these funky spiral triangles:

As I mentioned in my last post, my "classic" items are suddenly selling. I've been trying to update a few, taking the old designs and adding a new twist -- usually beads or pearls or crystals -- to brighten them up. I did that with the triangles, adding Swarovski crystals in blue, green and yellow.

I initially made these as a surprise for a repeat customer. To this date, she still hasn't received them so I don't know what she'll think of them, but she likes crystals and unusual color combinations. I hope that she likes them because I do! The colors actually remind me of my childhood bedroom, which was blue, green, yellow and white.

I think that the zig zags and crystals turn this simple shape into a fun design. I especially like how the triangles sway when you wear them and capture the light. The earrings are longish, but jewelry should be worn to get noticed, right?

To purchase these or my other wire wrapped jewellery designs, head to Naomi's Designs or MayaGirl Creations.

Silver wire wrapped bracelet with blue and turquoise crystals

This silver wire wrapped bangle bracelet with blue crystals is one of the first bracelets that I made. I was still learning how to effectively wrap the wire so that the bracelet would stay together and look pretty, and was still figuring out how to make a simple clasp.

Over the years, this particular bracelet has gotten a lot of notice. I've worn it a few times and always receive compliments. While it hasn't gotten tons of views, it was always admired at craft fairs. I think that people like that it's very simple, but striking. This was the bracelet that people would pick up, try on, say, "Oh, how pretty!" Then they'd say, "I'm just going to look around for a while, but I'll be back." And then they never returned. This seriously happened with this bracelet about four or five times. I even had a friend who planned to buy it... and then found that she didn't have enough cash on her. I offered to let her pay me back later, but she refused to do that. I didn't want to push her on the sale and didn't bring it up again... and so I'd bring it from craft fair to fair where it would ALMOST get purchased.

Well, this morning someone finally bought it! Hooray! It's funny because in the last month I've sold several of my "classic" items. While I'm always happy to make a sale, it feels good to be cleaning out my old inventory. It feels like I'm moving ahead in my life and the business; it also reminds me that I made the right decision to become a jewelry designer -- even back in the days when my skills weren't as sharp.

I've had this bracelet for so long that I'll miss it a little when it's shipped out. But I'm glad that it will have a new owner and hope that she enjoys wearing it for a long time. Check out the rest of my jewelry at Naomi's Designs or MayaGirl Creations.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Photo gallery: Nautical inspired wire wrapped and enamel jewelry in honor of Aquarius

It's January 20, which means that this is the dawning of the age of Aquarius, ha ha. Yes, I know that there is some debate over when each horoscope month begins, but my birthday is February 3, so I'm right in the middle of this astrological sign. The Aquarius symbol is the water bearer, so in its honor, I present some of my nautical-inspired wire wrapped and enamel jewelry designs. Some items are very obviously based on ocean life, such as my swimming fish ring; others simply have water-colored beads or the shape of the piece reminds me of a wave or boat's sail. You can see more of my work at Naomi's Designs or MayaGirl Creations. Enjoy!

Silver wire wrapped square earrings with black and clear Swarovski crystals

It looks like I'm going to be missing yet another enameling class because of snow. We're expecting about 10 inches here -- nothing to sneeze at. I'm frustrated because it's been more than a month since I've done any enameling and I have so many ideas for pieces.

The good news is that I've had plenty of time to spend making wire wrapped jewelry, especially since I've been working with that client and her requests. The latest wire wrapped earrings that I made for her are these silver squares with black and clear Swarovski crystals.

I originally made these with large purple beads on top, but she asked me to use something smaller so I went with these crystal bicones. It's a very simple design, but sometimes less really is more.

Meanwhile, I think that the jewellery making is getting to me! The other day, my husband and I went to see the movie HER. It's a really good film -- kind of creepy and a little weird -- but very engaging. Anyway, there was one scene where Olivia Wilde's character was wearing these huge, silver, triangle spiral earrings. They were really eye-catching! Instead of paying attention to the characters, I was busy examining those earrings, trying to figure out what they were made of and how I could replicate them. I think I need help, LOL.

I have plenty of other wire wrapped jewelry in my shops, though. Check it out at Naomi's Designs or MayaGirl Creations.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Yet more silver wire wrapped earring designs with Swarovski crystals

I have a repeat customer who really likes earrings, especially ones that are adorned with beads and crystals. While she likes many of my original plain silver wire wrapped earring designs, she's requested that I add Swarovski crystals to them; she also likes unusual color combinations. I've had a good time working with her as I come up with some new ideas for my classic pieces:

I really like how the triangle earrings came out. When she suggested that I combine reds with a pink, I feared that the colors would clash, but they actually look pretty nice together -- perfect for Valentine's Day. I also like the green, black, purple combo, which is also an unexpected blending of colors.

Finding the perfect blue/purple combo has been more difficult. The problem with these colors is that they blend a little TOO well, especially when photographed. If you look closely, you'll see that the spiral zig zag earrings really do have different variations of blue/purple. I like the light blue/purple/turquoise best, but I think she prefers the one with the clear crystal in the center. I kind of like seeing all of the earring combos together; it reminds me a bit of when you go to the housewares store and pick up paint samples.

I'm always up for experimenting with colors and custom designs. It's exciting to have a customer who inspires my creativity!

Check out the rest of my jewellery at Naomi's Designs or MayaGirl Creations.