Thursday, January 21, 2010

preparing to enamel

I spent the morning cleaning up my enameling table in my studio. It has been months since I enameled anything and the table had become the catchall for the room. Too bad I didn't take a "before" photo - the change would really have been impressive .

The cake pans contain the plastic spoons that I use to hold my enamel powders for washing with distilled water and then mixing with a little enameling adhesive. They need to be protected from dust when I'm not using them and I found disposable aluminum cake pans with plastic lids are perfect for the job.

Here's a close up of the samples that I made for my enamel colors. They all are fired onto a copper base with the enamel color then applied either directly over the copper, over copper with a clear flux base, over white, directly over silver foil, over silver foil with clear flux base or over gold foil. The colors sometimes react to the metals in odd ways so it is good to make samples first to see what they will look like.
Soon I hope to post about how I torch fire the enamels...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

working methods

Right now I'm trying to finish up some of the things I have had on the back burner for years. I start things - design things, maybe cut out some of the parts and make the bezels for the stones but then quit - I get a commission or just lose interest and never get back to them. The parts end up in ice cube trays so I can keep things separate and (hopefully) work on them later. They just keep building up and building up! So today I'm going to get into them and see what appeals to me to finish. Plus I have a commission to make a pendant for my friend Paula and I like to work on a couple things at a time - so I don't have to get my hands dirty polishing on just one thing...

Monday, January 11, 2010


I worked most of the day on setting the stones in these, doing a final polish (and photographing them). Isn't that almandine garnet (the red stone) beautiful? I love that deep red!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


I finished constructing 11 band style rings and 3 pairs of earrings today that I have been working on the last few days, oxidized them and then did the pre-polish. I love the look of the jewelry at this stage nearly as much as when I'm totally finished. I like this dark, non-shiny look. I think I see it as sculpture more than as jewelry at this point, before the stones are set. At the top you can see my flex shaft machine with a small cotton buff coated with the tripoli pre-polish. It's a dirty job but someone has to do it!

Friday, January 8, 2010

3 earrings and 2 rings started

I have 5 things lined up that I'm making right now. 3 earrings and 2 rings. I'm about 1/4 the way done at this point. I have the bezels that go around the stones made and I have the base pieces cut out and filed. Now it is time to sand everything.

Friday, January 1, 2010

blue skimmer

Remember those dragonfly earrings with the bluish patina I last showed on Dec 28th? Well, after polishing them most of the patina is gone now - just a little left around the bezels and bails - not enough to really show as blue anymore. In the future I plan to do some designs where there are more crevasses to save the beautiful blue colors in. I'm calling this my "skimmer" earring design and hope to do more with other stones and other colors.  This pair of earrings is called "Blue Skimmer". Because the tail is all beads and the wings are light gauge sheet (24 gauge) they are nice and light in weight. I have them listed in my marybird etsyshop now.