The “Studio” in StudioDax

30 04 2010

I love seeing where people work, so I thought I’d post a photo of my shop. Since I have absolutely no room, I converted a closet into a workshop, complete with worktop, side shelves, lighting and electric, some storage (never enough!), a hook for my flexshaft, and a pegboard backing for tools. I hope you find some of these ideas useful in your work area.

The Work Shop Closet

Just for reference, this is the neatest it has ever looked! At the moment, there is about 6 inches of surface visible – the rest has projects in progress piled up on paper plates!

Soldering Station At Rest

This is just a photo of the left side – I’ve got my soldering tools (tripod, torches, charcoal, etc…) located on the middle shelf. I dream of a bigger space – there is no room to keep my soldering and metalworking tools out – but it is a great set-up in a very small space.

Ear Wires Anyone??

24 04 2010

I am a hard core tool junkie… it’s hard for me to imagine any jewelry making tool that I wouldn’t want to own! Hammers, and pliers, and drill bits, oh my! But a few years ago, I started seeing some new jigs in magazines that were specifically made for creating ear wires, and couldn’t help thinking…. WHY???

Creating ear wires is easy, needs no special tools, and is a skill that anyone making jewelry should be able to do. I have a one page handout that I made for my students, but you don’t need to take a class with me – I’m posting the “how-to” right here!

STEP 1: Cut a piece of 20g wire between 1.5- 2 inches. File both ends of the wire, and make a single loop on one side. You should always make pairs together, one step at a time, so they are consistent.

STEP 2: Using a pen as a mandrel (the “ridged” type pen works very nicely), bend the wire around the pen – keep the loop as shown, don’t let the loop turn to the side. Pull both sides of wire down around the pen barrel, then PUSH the loop under the barrel until ear wire shape is seen. Pushing the loop under the pen gives you a “swoop” in the wire.

STEP 3: For a nice professional touch, use pliers to create slight bend at the end of the wire. Hammer the curves, or tumble to harden.

Have fun, and experiment! You can make larger ear wires by cutting longer wire, and using a pen with a larger barrel than shown. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll bee creating all different wonderful styles to go with your designs.

Welcome to StudioDax!

22 04 2010

Well, I’m finally getting around to working on the blog – I’m so embarrassed that it has taken such a back seat to other activities. But I’ll be starting to post some interesting content – some basic tutorials, some new class projects, tips and tricks, tool how-to’s, teaching and business related, and spotlights on other interesting craftspeople and vendors. The focus will be on jewelry making, but I’m happy to veer off a bit now and then, and write about other artistic endeavors.

I’ve had a shop on Etsy since August 2009, and I’ve been introduced to some phenomenal artists who have shops over there – I am especially jealous of all the great fiber folk who create things from fabrics and yarns – the handmade clothing, handbags, housewares, etc… I am so useless when it comes to working with them! But I’ve recently discovered how to make beautiful cording with ribbon and yarn using a technique called kumihimo, so I’m hoping that will satisfy my fiber lust!! I’m already planning a few classes on kumihimo, so you’ll see more of it here.

I’ll be back soon, but in the meanwhile, here’s a photo of my latest “SOLD” item… they’re a great pair of earrings, made with copper and vintage Japanese glass beads. The copper has been shaped and folded, then the manipulated to create the wonderful fan shape…

Copper Fan Earrings