Sparkly, Shiny, Things!

15 09 2010

Ohhhhh…. Swarovski!

If you look at my jewelry, you’ll notice that my style leans toward natural, organic styles. And even though most of my jewley just doesn’t work with them, it doesn’t stop me from wanting to play with sparkly shiny things! So last week at Hooked on Wire, I was just as excited as everyone else to see the presentation from the Swarovski rep, and check out all the new products coming out. There were various crystal items strewn all over the tables to keep us in our seats! And even more fun, at the end of the presentation, WE GOT TO SWEEP UP THE TABLES!

Shiny Goodies!!

So look at what I got…! I have no designs in mind for what I’ll be doing with these, but I just couldn’t help myself – I wanted them, so I took’em!! Most of these will need to be set with prongs, like faceted gemstones, but some are flat backed, like the fabulous blue checkerboard crystal. Some styles have rivet backings, that require the use of a special setting tool to prevent the crystal from breaking. But I don’t have the special setting tool, so I had to see if my riveting skills would be good enough…

Silver Petals with Crystal Rivets

Aren’t these just so cute!? These crystals are only 4mm each (less than 1/4 inch), but they have a really great shine. They are pre-set in small brass multi-prong rivet seats, which makes them easy to use… ok, not real easy, but since I’ve been riveting tubes for a few years, I guess my riveting skills were just fine!

Side View Close-up

These look so cool from the side – the textured sterling petals (5/8 inch) are curved, creating a basin for the crystals. The brass seat has a cone shape, which holds the crystal up… I like that it gives it a more dimensional look.

Side View of the Crystal Rivet

At this angle, you can see the bottom a little. The brass seat includes a short tube, which was set in a hole in the silver, and then flared to hold the crystal tight. It’s a little tricky to flare the rivet without breaking the crystal, but I was able to get it done by going slow. The result is a very sweet pair of earrings. They measure less than an inch total, but they have a brilliant sparkle!





Everything Changes the Same…

31 08 2010

Well…. I’ve been really busy, and I feel great guilt at not posting all week. So I’m just gonna write a bit about a few things that have kept me from posting!

First, I found out that one of my two favorite bead shops is closing. I really love Beaded Bliss (in Danville, CA) – the owner is just wonderful, and has a great knowledge of beads and the beading business… it’s terribly sad that after 19 years in 2 different locations, she just has to let it go. This shop is 45+ miles from me, but I enjoy the customers and staff so much, that I have made the trip to teach classes for the past year. So I’ve got a few more classes before she closes… please come by if you are in the area.

A Last New Class...

My students have been asking me to create a Viking Knit project that has a “touch of Randi” in it, so I had to come up with an appropriate piece that also used some heavier wire. I love the result, and I really hope that my regulars are happy with this bracelet!!

I’ve also been getting prepared for my Hooked On Wire (HOW) class – I’ve just been told that the evening classes are open to folks even if they don’t sign up for the HOW retreat – I’m thrilled! HOW is Sept 10-12, and my “FANtastic Pendant” class will be the evening of the 10th.

Formed and Folded, Fan Pendant w/Crysta

This is a quick class – just 2 hours, and I’ll be showing some of the other fun things you can create with a microbrake/corrugating tool… I look forward to seeing my regulars, and hope to see some new faces too!

Then I participated in a small Boutique show, which was a real flop for me. I ignored all the rules… the entry was low, the table was being provided (I hate to lug the tables!), and the person putting on the show was very personable, so I just figured I’d do it and hope for the best!¬† The show was promoted as a Boutique and Rummage Sale, and the audience was definitely leaning toward the Rummage Sale end! I sold a few items, but I like to think that my time is worth more than $5 hour!

Although my teaching calendar is now scheduled, I’m still working up my handouts for new classes…. one of the new classes I created for The Beading Frenzy (in San Mateo) is a great donut project:

A Pearl, A Donut and Some Wire went to a bar....

I’ve seen photos of some similar projects, but I figured out the mechanics of it on my own, and tried to give it my own style a bit. I’ve got a few variations that I’m working on to incorporate a center bead, but I really like how this one came out, and hope it’s a hit with students too.

And lastly, I’ve been working on adding some tools to my Etsy Shop – I’ve had the Bad Crochet Starter Jig since the beginning, but have decided to add some items that I can offer, that have some value over what is already available.

"Kumi what?

I loooove kumihimo – it is a style of Japanese braiding using a disk. I wrote up a tutorial, which incorporates all kinds of extra techniques not readily available when you buy the disk. I send it out as a pdf via email to my customers, so now they can get everything they need to get started, all in one place.

It’s a busy time of the year…. and it’s only going to get busier with all the holidays coming up!





Twisted, Wrapped, Coiled, and Woven…

13 07 2010

… just some ways to have fun with wire! I love how wire can be manipulated, and adapted for so many different looks. Basic wire skills are so important – knowing how wire bends and acts are key techniques that every jewelry designer should know. But wire work is so much more than wrapping a bead or making an earwire! Wire can be a key design element in your pieces – not just an accessory to beads. Luckily, some of of the best wire designers in the country are also some of the best teachers! For those of us looking to broaden our wire skills, Hooked on Wire (Sept 9-12, 2010) is a great venue to meet up and learn from the masters!

Fiore Selvatico with Barb Switzer

Isn’t this just a gorgeous necklace!? Barb is such an artist with wire… I love how the focal rivoli crystal and the antiqued wire are used – it reminds me of flowing vines and flowering English gardens.

Circles Bracelet with Dallas Lovett

Dallas does such great things with wire… his designs are so inspired! This intriguing design combines seed beads and wire weaving to create a bit of art deco for your arms…

Victorian Scroll Bracelet with Lisa Niven Kelly

The inspiration for Lisa’s fabulous bracelet is old style iron gates… in this detailed close-up, you can see how the scrollwork inspired a new art form as it wraps around your wrist!

These workshops teach you so much more than just the projects… they teach you the the techniques. This is the 7th year that Hooked on Wire has brought such talent together, and it’s a great opportunity to meet up with others that share your passion. If you’ve never attended a retreat like this, think of it as both a vacation, and an education… your creativity will thank you for the kick!!

And I’d love to meet you too – I’ll be there, teaching “FAN-tastic Pendent,” one one of the optional night classes, so make sure you check out the entire Hooked on Wire site to see how much fun you can pack in just 3 days!





I’m Hooked on Wire…

20 05 2010

…And you can be too! Hooked on Wire (aka: HOW) is an annual wire retreat held in the San Fransisco Bay Area – imagine what you can learn by spending three days (Sept 10-12), with some of the top wirework artists in the country!! This year, Lisa Niven Kelly, Dallas Lovett, and Barb Switzer are the fabulous workshop instructors, and I’m thrilled to be joining HOW this year as one of the evening instructors! My project will be a little bit of a break from all the wire working done during the day – you’ll get a chance to play with some metal and create a fun “FAN-tastic” pendant :

What a "FAN-tastic" Pendant!!!

Hooked on Wire is a wonderful opportunity¬† to expand your skills, meet great people, and have a whole lotta fun! So check out the website for more info on projects and tickets, and plan a mini vacation – you deserve a few days for yourself! This is the 7th year for HOW, and it just gets better and better…!!