Friday, May 29, 2009

A bit more progress

Got the pendant cleaned up after the big soldering session and started on the bail. Need to do a bit more sanding to get rid of tool marks and then I'll try soldering it at home. It will be different since butane burns cooler than acetylene - but it will melt solder. Heck I might even try soldering the bezel on ... Our last class is next week so I want to get the stone set while I have a teacher to help me! Then I'll go like gang busters and see just how well my little torch works. If it is too hard to control then I'll have a torch to add to my Christmas list - LOL!

Tomorrow I'm hoping my mom's window estimate folks come by early enough so we can go see the Cow Parade in La Jolla ( I saw a few when I was down there a while back to see where Gili Anna, the gal I consign designs with, moved to. Her new shop is GORGEOUS and she's right near a fancy restaurant so hopefully sales will go up!

OK - now to make up a few more things for Gili to check out ...

Friday, May 22, 2009

My class project - faberge egg inspired pendant

So ... I've been in my metal jewelry fabrication class - 6 weeks?? - something like that and my assignment (since I'm a newbie at making bezels) was to make a design with a cup bezel. Now I'm not a big pendant person, earrings and bracelets are more my passion, but I figured that bigger is better for a beginner. So ... I decided to make a pendant AND earrings. I'm focusing on the pendant, but the earring bezels are also in progress. The first step is ... DESIGN IT! So I flipped through some books in class and found a cool lapis colored faberge egg with criss-cross gold patterns. I canNOT find that same egg anywhere on the web - so you'll just have to imagine what it looks like. Here is the drawing I came up with for my pendant ...

Next! Make the bezel. You start with bezel wire, shape it to fit around your stone, file the ends flat and solder them together ...

If the bezel edge is too tall you then have to sand it down, and down, and down and ... (can you tell I had to do this for the earring bezels??? still have some sanding to do on one of them ... sigh ...). Next you cut out a piece of sheet metal and solder the edge to the sheet to create a cup. Important things to remember here - make sure your bezel edge AND sheet metal piece are FLAT! Yes, I learned from my mistakes - LOL! Then you cut the sheet very close to the edge and file, sand, ... until you have a smooootttthhhhh seam which doesn't even look like a seam.

Next you create the pendant frame and the lattice structure. Here's the wire used - square for the frame, round for the lattice. Unfortunately I didn't get pictures of the pendant frame before I got it soldered to the lattice - just imagine the 8 wires of the lattice all soldered at the bottom and sticking out in all directions ...

And here is where I'm at. I got the lattice soldered to the frame today. I did run into some problems - 3 solder attempts required to get all the lattice wires soldered down. During solder run #2 the brass heat sink I was using to protect the lattice wires from overheating got itself soldered to one of my wires ... :( ... When I heated it up to unsolder it a piece of the wire came with it ... :( :( ... So I had to cut out ALL the pieces of the wire (fortunately one end didn't get soldered down) and sand down the portion that did get soldered to the frame ... :( :( :( ... I then cut another piece of wire, placed it, soldered it and FINALLY had good solder joints all around. I then cut off all the excess wire and now I have to sand/file to remove all the excess solder, smooth out the rough edges of the cut wire, ... Here is the pendant as of today with another shot showing how the stone and bezel will be placed next.

Isn't it going to be purty??

And ... just for a laugh. Here is the initial test run for the wire lattice. When I showed it to the teacher, Deb Jemmott, her first comment was "those wires are kind of thin aren't they" - LOL! I told here these were only a template so I could get ideas from her on how to put the whole thing together. Her great idea - solder them all at the bottom first! That made the entire thing pretty easy to place.

Next is the danged heat sink - with the wire still attached ... In fact I think I've gotten it hot enough that the silver wire is starting to melt ... hmmm - well soldering does require practice ...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Inspiration from a clasp

I did a clasp swap in a bead group and my partner sent me gorgeous seedbeaded toggle clasps. I made this bracelet for my mom using one of them:

Since the clasp looked lonesome without more seedbeads I added the spiral tube and the beaded bead. It was a fun project! The next clasp will be used in a design for me!

Thanks to June, my clasp swap partner!


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Some new designs ...

A gem/pearl group I'm in had a challenge - make something with all those gemmies and pearls we buy! Such a simple idea! LOL! So here are the creations I made ...

Green with a Twist earrings - GORGEOUS AAA green amethyst twisted briolettes and argentium silver (a variant on sterling silver that doesn't tarnish) bead cage and earwires made by me!

Golden Sunrise Necklace and Earrings - Beautiful tan AA coin pearls, gold filled beads and Czech glass rondelles

And finally ... Amethyst with Canes - chunky amethyst rondelles, lampwork beads by Bill Grout, moonstone and amethyst dangles and sterling silver

Nothing like a challenge to get me working!
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