Sunday, January 31, 2010

Year of Jewelry 2010, Week 4

The theme for this week: "What's My Story?"

As most people who know me are well aware, a big part of my story for the past 14 years has been our two golden retrievers. The only "kids" my husband and I ever had, they were our joy, our laughter and the center of our lives.

On January 12, at the very moment when that devastating earthquake hit the island nation of Haiti, we experienced our own personal earthquake; our sweet Kody passed away.The second of our two goldens to leave us in less than eight months, he was my "heart dog."

I made the pendants pictured here -- my first attempt at resin -- in honor of our sweet and happy golden furkid.

I've always wondered about resin, but was hesitant to use it because I try to avoid as many dangerous chemicals as possible in my jewelry making. I read about the non-toxic ICE Resin when it came out and was debating giving it a try, but still wondered if I'd like the mess of mixing the two parts. Then I heard about Magic-Glos, which is an easy-to-use, one-part resin. I decided to give it a try.

Magic-Glos cures with UV light -- just 5-15 minutes in the sun, according to the manufacturer. Since I live in Seattle, where we can go for many days at a time with little to no sunlight in the winter months, I purchased the accompanying UV light so that I can cure my pieces indoors, regardless of the weather.

Photos must be sealed before covering them with resin, but unlike other resins, you cannot seal them with a decoupage fluid. The instructions say to cover them on both sides with clear packing tape, which I did. Be sure to take your time with this step. I trapped a few small air bubbles between the tape and the photo on the larger piece. They're not bad, (and they're not visible in this photo) but you can still see them when you look closely at the piece in person.

You then need to adhere the tape-coated photo to the bottom of the pendant well. I used a Xyron sticker maker to coat the back of the photo with adhesive. I'm sure you can use glue, but I'm impatient -- I didn't want to have to wait for the glue to dry before being able to apply the resin!  :-)

You can see one bubble in this photo -- along the right edge of the pendant frame. This bubble is actually in the resin. Bubbles like this can be easily taken care of by waving a lit butane torch over the resin after pouring and before curing. I did this with several other small bubbles, but unfortunately, I didn't see this bubble till after curing.  :-P

(If I were making this piece to sell, of course, I'd do it over to avoid both the bubbles in the packing tape and the one in the resin.)

Lesson learned, I took more time with the second piece and it came out beautifully, with no bubbles at all. (Wasn't Kody just the cutest puppy?! To see more pictures and read a little about his life, visit his page on my website. Sorry, I just can't help myself!)

I looooove the Magic-Glos! It's so easy to use and it looks great when finished. A few tips learned on my first attempt... Since the resin likes to pull away from the sides, I "encouraged" it to fill the well by spreading it to the sides with a little length of SoftFlex. You can also use the tip of the SoftFlex to pop any bubbles if you don't have a torch. The larger pendant has a much deeper well and it took a full hour for it to cure under the UV light, so don't assume that the suggested 5-15 minutes is written in stone.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Year of Jewelry 2010, Week 3

I have more fused glass to share for the third week of YOJ. These pieces come from the second day of the workshop, where we learned to add inclusions of copper between the layers of glass. (Silver also works, but nothing plated. A solid metal must be used) It's important that the metal is veeeeery thin or the glass can bubble and crack.

See the bubbles around the stem and leaves of the flower below? I probably should have used a finer gauge of wire.

Always more to learn....

Year of Jewelry 2010, Week 2

Already late and it's only week two -- what a way to begin the year!

This week, I have something to show that's completely different and new for me -- glass fusing! I took a two-day workshop last weekend and have just begun to scratch the surface of the mysteries of molten glass. What fun!

On the first day, we played with captivating dichroic glass. Now this stuff really appeals to the lover of all things sparkly in me! Isn't it lovely?!

I love the sparkle, (of course) but also the way it shifts color in the kiln, giving you a surprise after firing. I also love the richness of the colors.

Most of these will become pendants or earrings for sale and gift giving. I'm sure a few of them will find their way into my jewelry box, too!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Year of Jewelry 2010, Week 1

For those who are new to the Year of Jewelry, allow me to introduce the concept. It's a project of the Creative Wire Jewelry forum where participants commit to creating a new piece of jewelry every week for an entire year. Each week offers a theme to provide artists with inspiration, which they may choose to follow... or not.

This week's theme is Starting Over, which is, of course, apropos at the beginning of a new year. It also pertains to my piece this week, which includes several techniques that are still relatively new to me. This is only the third piece of this style I've made.

I shaped the paw of 16 gauge Argentium sterling wire in two pieces and fused it together before soldering it onto the brass sheet that I'd already cut and textured. I sawed out the paw shape, then riveted the brass sheet onto a piece of copper sheet I'd cut and textured. I turned the bail and then antiqued the entire piece, polished and tumbled it.

It was difficult to create the toes with such thick wire, so I'll shape the paw differently next time. I've already got a new idea. Stay tuned!

It's about time...

Welcome to my blog!

It's time for me to start writing about jewelry, creativity and the intriguing process of making things! And perhaps from time to time I'll wax eloquent about dogs, art, faith and whatever else begs to be shared.

I hope you find my musings entertaining and my jewelry interesting and that you'll join me for the journey!