Friday, May 27, 2016

Fused glass and wire wrapped party pendants!

The other day I received my favorite kind of package: a new shipment of glass. Woohoo! I love the "scrap" glass from iDichroic because it's inexpensive and you never know what you're going to get in an order. They usually send beautiful materials, though, and it's always fun to open the pack. I like to take a moment and look at the unused glass and imagine the possibilities.

This time, they sent some very colorful dichroics -- bright pinks and oranges, patterned glass, etc. I ended up making several pieces, which I call my "Party Pendants."

The black pendant with the confetti pattern is "Party Favor." The tri-colored one with the boxy pattern is "Off The Grid." The pink is "Strawberry Shortcake" and the striped is "Over The Rainbow." The last two are among my favorite pieces, though Strawberry Shortcake initially didn't turn out well. The glass ripped a bit while it was firing and a black gash appeared in the center. I solved the problem, though, by strategically wrapping it with 18 gauge silver wire. That wrap looks a bit like a belt, right? If this had to happen, I'm glad it did to a solid piece. It would've been harder to camouflage a pendant with multiple designs.

Last night I wore Strawberry Shortcake to a dinner at the Homestead, which is one of the senior residents where I play flute. I paired it with a neon pink shirt. The home's art teacher was impressed and asked me to give her some jewelry-making lessons. Perhaps we can do an exchange where she teaches me some painting techniques. Given my track record with painting, I can use the help!

My next plan is to finish a mosaic pendant: colorful glass on a black base. I actually made a beautiful heart-shaped mosaic... but it broke apart in the kiln. You could say I'm... brokenhearted (groan). I just need to figure out what I did wrong and try again. That's what jewelry-making mainly involves; a lot of trial and error.

It's exactly a week until my vendor sale and I think I'm in good shape! I have a performance at the Atria on Sunday, so my fellow bandmate, Judy, suggested I bring some jewelry to advertise. I need to give a shoutout to her. She and I have only known each other for a year, but she's been a huge advocate of my music and art. It's through her help that this sale is happening. I'm honored to have a friend like her.

You can see the rest of my jewellery collection at Naomi's Designs and MayaGirl Creations.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Silver wire wrapped glass pendants with Swarovski crystals; introducing the Crystal Collection!

As my upcoming vendor sales get close, I've been working round the clock on new pieces. There have been a few failures: for instance, I had a glass piece literally explode on me the other day. When I opened my kiln, the glass shot across the microwave. This is why I wear protective gloves and glasses! Thankfully, the pieces didn't hit me and I wasn't hurt.

Meantime, I've been working on a new bracelet in enameling. This link was supposed to have one blue side and one white side; I then planned to add cloisonne wire to the white side so I could wet-pack it with color. However, something went incredibly wrong along the way and the enamel did this:

I don't know what the hell happened here, but it looks like a wave. Actually, from one angle, it looks like a wave and from another, it looks like a dolphin is jumping from the water. It's so bizarre... but as far as mistakes go, kind of cool. My teacher thinks I added too much enamel to the blue side, but my classmates were very amused and persuaded me to keep it. I call it the "Wacky Wave."

In between these disasters, I HAVE made some decent pieces. I'm particularly happy with a series of glass pendants I designed, which I've named my Crystal Collection:

I made these by fusing clear textured glass onto a white base. It's no secret that I love color, so most of my dichroic glass pieces have been made by fusing bright-colored material onto a clear or black base. I'd been ignoring these clear pieces because they didn't catch my eye right away, and I was more drawn to the sparkly blues and yellows, etc.

However, I took a closer look at the clears and realized that they're actually quite beautiful. The designs are subtle, but colorful when the light hits.

I didn't think they'd show up well on a clear base and figured they'd blend right into black glass. I then fused them against the white... and voila! Here are these beautiful pieces that look like lace or crystal.

I still thought they needed a little something more, though, so I wrapped them with silver wire and Swarovski crystal bicones. I chose bicones that accentuate each glass' undercolors. The one with blue crystals has a blue tint when you turn it toward the light. I call this pendant "Glacial Greatness." The pink one is "Ice Queen" and the large pendant is "All That Glitters."

When wire wrapping these pieces, I try to do it so that the wire doesn't completely cover and obscure the pendant. In this case, I wanted the wire to have a "natural" look, so I bent it into a jagged design. It reminds me of tree branches or a winding river, and the curves bring out the textures in the glass.

My table at the fair is going to be covered with eye-catching, multicolor pieces... but I hope people notice these crystal pendants, too. I'm just sorry that it took me so long to recognize the beauty in working with clear and white glass.

Check out the rest of my handmade wire wrapped, glass and enamel jewellery at Naomi's Designs and MayaGirl Creations.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Fused dichroic glass necklaces: "Sunrise, Sunset" and "Summer Storm"

I recently wrote about how I've been invited to sell my jewelry at one of the senior homes where I play flute. Well, we finally have a date scheduled and I'll be there on June 3!

I'm especially excited about selling at the Atria because a) I know almost everyone there and b) this will be the first vendor event where I'm selling my dichroic glass jewellery. I've sold a few pieces online, but this will be their "live" debut. I can't wait to see how my table looks with all of the colorful glass pendants spread across. My booth will certainly appear festive!

Now that I have a date settled upon, I've been working on some new dichroic pendants. As always, not all have turned out so well, but I'm pleased with the good ones. Two of my favorites I've named "Summer Storm" and "Sunrise, Sunset."

For Summer Storm, my original plan was to combine shades of blue, but I really like that pink swirly glass, so I added one stripe. I like the way the hint of pink sets off the different blues. Sunrise, Sunset was my attempt to recreate my "Fire And Ice" pendant for a friend. However, dichroic glass sometimes takes on a life of its own -- especially when it's fused in a microwave kiln -- and I ended up with gold and orange stripes instead of two yellow pieces. I love this combo, though. I'm still getting the hang of working with glass, so I never quite know what to expect!

I've been making the necklace bails for most of my pieces, but I "cheated" and used some ready-made bails for a handful of pendants. Honestly, they're just easier to attach and it saved me some time. I prefer to make as many elements as possible, but I'm not against taking a shortcut every so often. Ultimately, I just want my pieces to look attractive.

I hope to have 30-40 glass pieces for the fair. That's a lot, but I already have many on hand, and if I make a couple per day, I can get it done. Then I'll have an excuse to buy some new glass -- and to get even more creative.

Check out the rest of my handmade wire wrapped, enamel and glass jewellery at Naomi's Designs and MayaGirl Creations.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Silver wire wrapped necklace with handmade enamel rose pendant and red crystals

I have a confession to make: I haven't been into enameling lately, at least not like I used to be. I'm still going to class each week, but it's been mainly to see my jewelry friends. Oh, I've been working while in class, but it's been a lot of experimentation -- playing with different colors, techniques, etc. Unfortunately, I haven't made a good enamel piece in a long time.

There are a couple of reasons for this, I think. My energy has been focused on fused glass for the past few months. Working with dichroic glass is something I've been wanting to do for years; now that I can work on it every day in my own home, I'm putting a lot of time into making those pieces.

Also, to be honest, the enamels just don't sell as well as the glass and wire wrapped jewelry. I usually sell an enamel or two at fairs, but I only do a few fairs each year. I've only sold a handful of enamels online.

Last year, I spent weeks completing my enamel Christmas ornaments... and they barely got a glance at shows. It was disheartening to put in all of that work to make a product that just won't sell.

But then a few days ago, I actually sold one of my enamel necklaces through my Etsy store -- this blue pendant with red roses and silver cloisonne work:

I hadn't thought about this piece in a long time and remembered how much fun I had making it. I created it during my first year of enameling and was so thrilled when I got the cloisonne roses to stay in place. The chain was made during the holiday sale at the 92nd Street Y. Because I registered late, I was put on the second floor with a few other "late" vendors and we had a blast hanging out. We all managed to make some good sales, too! But I made that chain while I was passing the time up there.

While packing up this piece, I told myself that I need to make an attitude adjustment. Yes, I make my living from selling jewelry, but do I really need to sell everything I make? Why can't I just create some pieces for fun? It would actually be a relief to make some jewellery without having to worry about what the customer thinks.

I have four enameling sessions left before the Y goes on summer hiatus. I'm determined to finish two pendants during that time and to remind myself why I love enameling. This wonderful technique has been on the backburner for too long.