Thursday, December 18, 2008

New Release Thursday

a little shameless selfpromotion :-)))

It's Thursday and we are showing off our new work again!
Many EM people have listed new pieces.
Some shops with new work being listed today include:

Also make sure to search for Etsymetal team for other newly listed pieces by Etsymetal members.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Gallery of the Month : llyn strong fine jewelry

I have been planning my Gallery of the Month posts for a while.'s finally here! First up is llyn strong fine jewelry in Greenville, South Carolina. Q: Describe your gallery
A: classically contemporary with over 60 international jewelry designers and glass artists.

Q: Why did you decide to open a gallery? How long have you been open?
A: It was somewhat accidental – I liked downtown Greenville. I’ve been open since Oct. 1989.

Q: What is your price range of the products you sell?
A: from $20.00 to $50,000.00; Best selling price range would be $250.00 to $600.00
Q: Do you have special events? ie: First Friday? Exhibitions/openings? Trunk shows?
A: I have one large annual event a year and First Fridays (in the gallery) ; and I participate in other exhibitions (with my own work)

Q: Do you offer special services to your customers?
A: Yes! We offer wedding/baby/gift registries, shipping, gift wrapping, etc.

Q: Do you sell online?
A: no direct sales online, but yes; customers can contact us through the website and inquire about pricing if interested

Q: Who is your customer base?
A: locals, repeat customers, business travelers, getting more tourists all the time now too!

Q: How do you promote your artists / store?
A: print ads in the Journal (local newspaper), TV, direct mail, website

Q: Where do you find your artists/product?
A: trade shows such as Rosen, ACE, and Global Design; magazines

Q: What is your favorite/least favorite part of your business?
A: my least is managing employees. my favorite is designing jewelry and developing a rapport with customers


llyn strong not only owns her own gallery, she is also an award winning designer who has been creating jewelry for 30 years. She has recently won First Place in the Miscellaneous Jewelry category of the 2008 Jewelry Arts Awards and First Place in Ladies Jewelry of the 2008 Bench Jewelers Passion Award Design Competition.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ruby Girl

Shannon Conrad, the metalsmith behind Ruby Girl, is a wonderful artist and metalsmith, and is always helpful in the Etsy Metal community. Her work incorporates stones and vintage finds with a variety of metals, as well as enameling, which results in a colorful array of objects. You can find more of her work in her Etsy Shop.

1. Where do you live, and where are you from?
I live in beautiful Portland, OR and can't imagine ever wanting to live anywhere else! I grew up in a tiny town on the Oregon coast and escaped to the "big city" as soon as I graduated from high school.

2. How did you get started working with metal?
I started working with metal just over 3 years ago out of sheer boredom. No, really! I was working full-time as the Acquisitions Manager for a library wholesaler (exciting!). When I was not working, I was home being a wife and a mother of two. I needed something that was all about me. I had done some beading, but was bored with it. I started hunting and found an adult education metalsmithing class through one of the local community colleges. I still remember how I felt when I picked up the torch for the first time. At 34 years old, I knew that I had finally found what I wanted to do with my life.

3. What are a few of your favorite pieces at the moment?
I love, love the enameled filigree I have been working on! I really enjoy reworking vintage componants and giving them new life. I love the idea of a vintage piece re-made into something super-modern. Like Victorian filigree enameled in lipstick red.
My absolute favorite piece at the moment is the ring I made for Etsy Metal's Secret Santa exchange. Taking that piece from a vague idea into reality was very inspiring for me. It has triggered a ton of ideas. You can expect to see more pieces with layers of sterling and enamel in my shop in the new year!

4. What inspires you (artists, objects, interests)?
I find most of my inspiration in my materials. When I am ready to start a new project and need ideas, I will often just sift through my collection of beads and cabochons and the ideas start to flow. I love all aspects of hand-fabricating a piece from sheet and wire - making something from nothing. Often my original idea will morph as I go along. A finished piece may not end up looking anything like I originally planned.

5. Do you have any other artistic interests?
Over the years, I have dabbled in many "crafty" hobbies. I crochet. I have made candles and soaps. Nothing has held my interest like metal has.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New Release Thursday!

Hello all!

We're starting a new series called New Release Thursdays. The idea behind this is that Etsymetal artists will try and release their new work and pieces collectively on Thursdays. Once a week we can update on what new pieces members are cranking out and highlight the freshest new metalwork!

Some shops with new work being listed today include,,,,,,,,,
Also make sure to search for Etsymetal team for other newly listed pieces by Etsymetal members.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Metalsmiths Like Theater Too!

This week's "Weekly Review" is for Wicked, the Broadway Show. This show comes highly recommended by a few Etsy Metal members. I personally haven't seen it yet--I would love to read the books first, but it sounds like an amazing show. Wicked's website has many great features, which include links to music and video of the show's creation.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sarah Hood Jewelry

Sarah Hood is an amazing artist whose jewelry reflects the beauty and simplicity of nature. Utilizing a variety of techniques and materials, Hood creates wonderous pieces that take you to fantastical places. I have been an admirer of Hood's work for many years now and am so excited that she is part of Etsy Metal.

"I've come to see jewelry making as a way to explore my somewhat disparate interests in a very direct and inclusive way. My enthusiasm for gardening, botany, literature, children's toys, eastern philosophy, and travel all somehow make their way into my jewelry. Often these subjects inspire tangents in my work that I find totally compelling, and I find the small scale of jewelry perfect for exploring a concept to the point of exhaustion. Collecting, organizing, studying, venerating, and obsessing all come together for me in these small sculptures. There is no material that is too mundane. Everything from dead leaves to doll arms to diamonds are treated equally, and sometimes the resulting pieces tell me more about what I value than I knew when I started."

After studying metalsmithing at a small college in California, Sarah Hood went on to formalize her studies at Parsons School of Design in New York while simultaneously earning a degree in Writing at the New School. After earning a BA, Hood went on to finish her BFA at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA, where she now lives and works.

You can find more of Sarah Hood's work in her Etsy Shop as well as her Website.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Weekly Review: 3M Radial Bristle Discs

These are by far one of the best tools a metalsmith can have for their flexshaft. They are kept a secret, somewhat, at first in art school, as instructors want their students to learn manual skills in sanding and polishing. But word gets out. I learned about these beauties after 3 years of being in school! They're magnificent for getting into hard-to-reach places, under crevices and in cracks.

These are called 3M Radial Bristle Discs, and most jeweler's suppliers have them. There are varying grits for your needs, from fire scale removal to high polishing. Have a look over at Contenti for a full description and pricing.

image via

Monday, December 1, 2008

Cyber Monday!!

Make sure to check out all the sales going on! They will be ending today - but in honor of "Cyber Monday" - you should buy as many early Christmas presents today and show that you love buying handmade online!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday Update!

Just want to remind everyone to check out the amazing sales of our EtsyMetal members!
We have one to add - Colleen Baran is offering free shipping from Canada, which is a great deal - check out her shop!!
I'm off for a little shopping myself!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tis the season for holiday shopping!

Several Etsymetal members are having sales this weekend...Black Friday to Cyber Monday!
Put your shopping hat on and check out the deals!
Please see individual shops for sale dates, details, delivery and policies:

  • ashleyjewelry = free shipping on all items AND a sale on selected items
  • bcyrjewelry = buy one get one free on certain earrings...check her shop, she's keeping it a little bit of a mystery!
  • daniellejewelry = free shipping on all items AND a 20% off sale on selected items
  • discomedusa = free pair of Simple Gesture Hook earrings for purchases over $50
  • duckduckGoosestuff = free pair of Dimpled earrings with purchases over $40 AND free shipping
  • KathrynRiechert = free Lucky Penny keychain AND free shipping with all orders over $40
  • lpjewelry =free pair of Tiny Droplets earrings with every order over $50
  • ninadinoff = free pair of Silver and Resin earrings (in the color of your choice) with purchase over $100
  • nyhedy = free Abstract Earposts or Earrings with purchase over $50
  • sarawestermark = free shipping on all items AND a sale on selected items
  • tangerinetreehouse = free shipping on all orders AND a free pair of Seedlets or Seed Hoops earrings with a $150 purchase

Monday, November 24, 2008

Weekly Review: Manufactured Landscapes

Recently recommended by a fellow Etsy Metal artist, Manufactured Landscapes is a documentary on the world and work of Edward Burtynsky, a renowned artist. Known for his large scale photographs of 'manufactured landscapes' such as quarries, recycling yards, quarries, etc., Burtynsky creates beautiful works of art from the debris of civilization.

Much of the film is about the work Burtynsky did in China documenting it's industrial revolution--part of which shows Chinese workers reclaiming precious metals from old computer parts. Such processes are very toxic and detrimental to the health of individuals, towns, and the environment, and gives a different take on what exactly goes into recycling in various parts of the world.

You can read more about the movie at the Zeitgeist Films website, as well as a Review from the NY Times.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cynthia Del Giudice

Cynthia Del Giudice is an inspiring metalsmith, hailing from Argentina. It is a blessing to have her as part of Etsy Metal! Cynthia uses a range of mediums and strives to use items that are sustainable, found, or up-cycled. For more of her work, check out her Etsy Shop.

1. Where do you live, and where are you from?

I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina to an American father and an Argentine mother. I have lived in both countries, and have chosen to live in a rural home in the Argentine Pampas at the moment.

2. How did you get started working with metal?

I have been engaged in the arts throughout all my life, and while I was taking a sculpture class in L.A., I started welding sculptures with an arc welder. I found working with metals to be fascinating. Years later I took a basic jewelry metalsmith class and began designing and making jewelry, buying tools little by little, and selling my pieces to friends and family. When I came to Argentina, I continued working on metal, and was thrilled to discover Etsy, which has been a bless, because I am able to sell everywhere in the world from my remote area.

3. What are a few of your favorite pieces at the moment?

Some of my favorite pieces include my plastic fused pieces, which are made with recycled grocery bags. They are of course, eco-friendly, which is always good, and are original, and very “wearable”. I am also working on some new pieces at the moment which I haven’t listed yet, but will soon. They include an unusual “found object” with a tribal feel, with lines and textures, which I find fascinating.

4. What inspires you (artists, objects, interests)?

I like the abstraction, spontaneity, and drama of Abstract Expressionist artists. It is my favorite art movement. Basically anything that moves me inspires me, and I am pretty sensitive, so I am bombarded by inspiration. I find having limited tools, materials, resources, and overall knowledge pushes me to be more creative and resourceful.

5. Do you have any other artistic interests?

Absolutely! I like all kinds of art. I like to paint, when I have the time. I do horse sculptures with soft hay wire. I am learning to tango, and I like to do creative meals, which may also be an art. I love music, and have 2 musician boys in my life. I love photography, and gardening (does that count as art?).

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tumbler Rundown

A great many jewelers use a tumbler to speed up their polishing process. I was a doubter till I invested in one. Now I've found it's almost essential on some pieces & a lifesaver when I'm sick of hand polishing. If you're a chainmailer or make anything with jump rings & tiny parts, I couldn't recommend a tumbler more's amazing for polishing in those crevices.

A before & after shot of tumbling gold chain mail for only 30 minutes!

(Image & chainmail courtesy of redpandachainmail)

There are several varieties of tumblers that jewelers can use & a plethora of media you can put in them. The main varieties are vibratory & rotary versions. These shake up the media in various ways.
Rotary versions have a belt or motor that keeps a cannister rotating at all times. This one has two cannisters, which is a huge benefit of rotary versions...each cannister can have a different kind of media for different finishing options.

this version is around $110 on ottofrei

vibratory ones do just that...they vibrate to swirl around the pieces in the media. The boat shaped one to the left is the style I have & I love it. It is available on ebay. The version I have is slightly smaller & was around $130 or so a couple of years ago. I highly recommend this one. It is VERY quick for finishing & is easy to work with. Most of the time, I just pop the red top off & throw what I need in. The cannister is rubber & can be removed for cleaning. The downside of this one is that it is loud & I have to store mine in the garage or a separate room. Since it can finish a job in minutes rather than hours, I consider it a worthy trade off.

magnetic versions are AWESOME, but sadly, are priced accordingly. I used one at school a few years back & it was incredibly quick working & did a fantastic job. The smallest one on otto frei is about $500, the largest well over $1300. Sadly this is out of most of our budgets.

this small version is around $110 on ottofrei

what you put in your tumbler is just as important at the machine itself. Many jewelers prefer stainless steel shot. This gives your pieces a nice polish & also has the benefit of work hardening your pieces. I love to tumble things like post earrings & ring bezels in makes them MUCH more durable. When buying shot, you really only need a small amount. I have a quart sized container on my tumbler & have 2lbs of shot in it.

Shot comes in various shapes & sizes. I prefer a mixed pack of shot that has different shapes-pins, rounds & oblong shapes. These all work nicely to get into the crevices.

The cheapest place I've found mixed shot is at Santa Fe Jewelry Supply

When buying shot ALWAYS make sure you get stainless steel rather than regular steel. it will prevent it from rusting & last longer.

When tumbling with stainless shot I add just enough water in the cannister to go up to the edge of the shot. Less is more. Then I add either a burnishing compound or a squirt of dish soap.

Other media jeweler's use runs the gamut from corn cobs, glass beads, ceramic pellets, plastic pellets & walnut shells. Some are used dry, others (like the shells) with water. When using a rotary tumbler, it can be nice to start with something like steel shot & move to a final finish with dry walnut shells.

Walnut Shell media makes a light abrasive final cycle

I'm partial to the vibratory versions as they're super easy to access during the process...just pop off the lid (in mine, you don't even have to turn it off to do this!) & dig around for your piece. In rotary ones, it's a bit more tricky as you have to open up the cannister & take it off. Maybe I'm lazy, but I like the simplicity of mine :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

EtsyMetal News 11.14.08

November has been full of EtsyMetal Birthdays!! and we are just now half way through the month!

Ashley's was on Wednesday, Norsola's was on Thursday and Sophie's is today! Happy Birthday to our lovely ladies!!

For her birthday Ashley was having a sale and tomorrow is the last day of her give-a-way promotions - check it out for your last chance to win!

Sophie is having a sale - stop by and check it out!

Sara Westermark is also having a sale - check out her sale section in her shop (and of course all the rest of her jewelry too b/c its gorgeous!)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Design Challenge: 30 Minute Earrings - from Lark Books

Lark Books is having a design challenge - and here at EtsyMetal - several of us are jumping on board to participate!! It sounds like loads of fun and a great way to get inspired and to inspire others!

Check out more info here on the Lark site.

Entry Deadline is January 26th!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekly Review: Chasing Tools by Kirsten Skiles

Kirsten Skiles is one of the artists in Etsy Metal, and she also happens to be absolutely amazing at chasing and repousse. In addition to creating amazing jewelry and sculpture using chasing, repousse, and forging, Skiles also creates her own chasing tools. Skiles teaches her students not only how to create these tools, but how to use them as well. Occasionally these are available in her Etsy Shop.

A typical set of 10 chasing tools includes one small curved undercut planisher, one catseye planisher and a nice selection of small liners, with lengths ranging from 3-1/2 to 5 inches long or 9 to 13 cm long.

Skiles can be contacted for information on custom sets and classes via her Etsy Shop.

Friday, November 7, 2008

EtsyMetal News 11.07.08

Friday and Saturday two of our famous EtsyMetal-ers, Danielle Miller and Lena Marie Echelle, are going to be showing at the Atlanta Contemporary Jewelry Show! If you are in the Atlanta Area, you should definitely check it out! Here is more info from the site.

Nectarjewelry was in a storque article about a new additional etsy feature.

Ann of tuizui was blogged about here.

Kathryn Riechert
is participating in the Telfair Art Fair in Savannah this weekend. She is also featured in the Coastal Antiques and Art magazine - a magazine in the Savannah area. And she is the artist of the month at Gallery 209 for the month of November!! Kathryn is one busy gal!

And of course, lots of front pages including ones curated by EtsyMetal members! yeah for front pages!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Colleen Baran

1. Where do you live, and where are you from?

I live in Greater Vancouver on the west coast of Canada. A beautiful city of 2 million that‘s tall buildings mixed with lots of green. Trees, parks, ocean and bit of wildness mixed with the city.

I grew up near here, in half a dozen local suburbs.

2. How did you get started working with metal?

I worked in many mediums growing up (clay, paint, fabric, paper, etc) and metal was one of them. I first started making jewellery from thread and beads when I was a kid and it progressed to classes in metalwork in my teens. Classes and many books from public libraries. It was wonderful and I was immediately in love. Of all the mediums I’ve worked in jewellery is the one that I kept coming back to time and time again.

It’s ridiculous how much time I spend thinking about jewelry!

3. What are a few of your favourite pieces at the moment?

I usually have a few dozen favourites at any one time! But a few of my favourites are ‘I Miss You’, ‘Cloud Ring #4’ (or anything in my Cloud Series), Floating Saucer Ring Sets, and My Floating Saucer Series in general.

Rings are often my favourites. I love making variations on the basic shape and discovering ways to make huge dramatic pieces surprisingly comfortable.

But for Nov/Dec I’m working on more pendants and earrings! Many pendants, earrings, set stones and bits of gold in my work room right now.

4. What inspires you (artists, objects, interests)?

I am really inspired by making things. Sitting down with the materials and seeing where they go. It’s the excitement and enthusiasm for new projects that gives me ideas. Many new ideas also stem from older projects so sometimes I’m inspired by looking through old work or sketchbooks.

Good art/design/beauty inspires me as well. Beautiful well made things enrich the world and put off a bit of positive energy that’s just generally inspiring. Good design makes life better!

I admire from afar all ‘good artful design’ and am particularly enamoured with chandeliers and architecture these days. I find myself wishing for high ceilings and many rooms for chandeliers.

Architecture is an area I admire from afar. When I was a kid I spent many, many hours designing and furnishing ‘future homes’ that were not in the least practical. Hollowed out hills or mountains covered in grass were among my favourites. Also houses in trees. Or castle-like houses on Islands with oubliettes, 20 foot high ceilings and vast libraries. In exploring contemporary architecture I’m amazed to find whimsical and flawlessly, excitingly executed building that remind me of these childhood daydreams.

5. Do you have any other artistic interests?

I’m a big believer in living life creatively in general, making things on a daily basis. Other creative endeavours have included making clothes, clay things, handmade books, photography, drawing, sculpture, writing and cooking extravagant time consuming meals.

I’m also working on a series that involves the collection of love letters and stories. This combines my love of collecting, books, secret stories, writing, the mystery of foreign languages and jewellery all in one!

So far I have stories from Canada, France, Spain, the UK, and the USA in Arabic, English but I’d love stories from many, many more countries and in many more languages- because the world is full of love! I’m open to sincere stories from anyone and everyone in all languages.

You can find more of Colleen's work at her Etsy Shop, Website, Flickr, Blog, and 'Share Your Love' Blog.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Cleaning Castings

Recently, I've been taking my second casting class, and have these forms that are very pod-like. Especially in the sense of having crevices and holes that investment is very hard to get out of. I brought these castings home, and followed Beth Cyr's suggestion of using vinegar to get rid of the investment. I soaked them overnight in a mixture of rice vinegar and apple cider vinegar (we don't have plain at the moment).

After the soaking, I carefully took a toothbrush to them (over the vinegar container) and brushed as much of the investment off as possible. However, I came across a problem. How could I get the investment out of those holes?! I looked around the kitchen and saw one of our water bottle brushes! It fit perfectly into the crevices and I was able to get the investment out wonderfully.

If you are in need of such a tool, I suggest heading to your local store's baby/baby food section and looking for a bottle brush. Some stores sell bottle brushes for water bottles and they come with a smaller one for the lid. Good luck!

Etsy Metal Finds

Got a toothache after eating all that Halloween Candy? Enjoy todays finds! Irked tooth pin cushion by Buttonarcade.
Mini tooth soap set by LoveLeeSoaps.

Weekly Review: The Penland Book of Jewelry

The Penland Book of Jewelry is a fantastic collection of techniques from master metalsmiths across the country. I bought this when it first came out, and immediately fell in love. Personally, the section done by Jan Baum on hollow forming helped me to perfect my own hollow forming techniques, using a hydraulic press, and I now have the knowledge to tackle a variety of problems (such as my Thorn Brooches).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Marketing Tip

If you haven't heard of PhotoStamps yet, they are (as stated on their website) "an exciting new product that lets you take your own images or photographs and turn them into real U.S. postage." After learning about this great marketing tool on the Jeweler's Resource Bureau website, I recently ordered some with an image of my jewelry and was very happy with the product. What a great branding tool! It increases the cost of your postage by double...but it IS advertising and most advertising is not free!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Etsy Metal Finds

So sorry I missed doing the finds last week! Here are some lovely fall-ish things that I have found on Etsy. I love fall! I included a few extra finds today to make up for missing last week. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tip #15 - Simple Gif Tutorial for photoshop/ImageReady

So I finally have the 'animation' process down. It is quite easy and loads of fun! I am by no means an expert, but its pretty simple. I should mention I am on a mac, so things might be different on a pc. Here's how I made mine:

1. Open up photoshop

2. Open images you want to use.

3. Crop all images the same size - add text if desired, then either flatten the image or 'merge visible' I like 'command E' (shortcuts are my friend)

4. I like to open a new blank canvas to paste them all in to, that way I can save it separate from all of the other images.

5. Copy and Paste each image to that one new canvas - You are creating a layer for each image, but since they are all the same size and opaque, you only see one image, basically just like stacking up pieces of paper, they're all there, but you can only see the top one. (Command A - select all, Command C - copy, click on new canvas, Command V - paste)

6. There is a nice little button in my version of photoshop that is at the bottom of the 'tools' bar "Edit in ImageReady" - it is also under 'File'

7. Image Ready opens up.

8. Make sure the animation window and layers window are both open. If not, go to 'window' and click to select them

9. This is where it started to get a little confusing for me, but once I did it a couple times, its really a cinch. One image, the top image, will appear in the animation window. Depending on how you layered the images and what image you want to have first will depend on the next step. It all has to do with the visibility (that little eye in the layers window). I usually layer mine so the first image ends up being #1 and at the bottom. So I deselect all of the visibility of the layers above it. Now I have the first image in the animation window.

10. To ad the second frame click the 'duplicate' icon in the animation window (should be right next to the trash can)

11. In the Layers window, click to make the second window visible. Now you should have two frames in your animation window with two different images. Continue to duplicate and adjust visibility based on what you want.

12. Once you have finished adding each frame, you need to adjust the time each frame will be visible. You will see a 0 sec under each frame, click the down arrow and change the time. For this animation I did 2 sec - you can experiment to what works best for you and by pressing the 'play' button can have a preview.

13. When you get the timing down, you're ready to save! Go to 'File' and 'Save Optimized As' and you are done!

There is obviously a lot more that you can do and honestly I don't know most of it! But that is the basic on how to make an animated ad! You can upload it to flickr or email simply as you would any other photo. When I first uploaded it to flickr, I thought it hadn't worked, but to view the animation you go to 'all sizes' and then the animation will work.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Weekly Review: Flight of the Conchords

There seems to be a unanimous vote of loving Flight of the Conchords by the Etsy Metal gang...hailing from New Zealand, this terrible twosome bring loads of laughter with their off the wall comedy consisting of mostly bizarre songs. Enjoy!

Friday, October 17, 2008

EtsyMetal News 10.17.08

Victoria and Janos were featured in the Storque for an amazing project they have been working on with several other Flickr buddies. Their work is wonderful and inspiring and the article is fantastic. Its so great that its getting extra Etsy love too!!

Today is my birthday and I'm having a big sale! Check it out here.

Ashley Akers is running two amazing contests! check them out on her blog! Great chances to win some of her fabulous jewelry!

Rachael Sudlow is having a show this weekend, the Maple Leaf Festival in Baldwin, KS going all day Saturday & Sunday.

Shannon is teaching an enameling class! I so wish I could take it. Check it out here.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sara Westermark

Sara Westermark is a fabulous metalsmith, who creates modern and organic forms with hints of color. Here is a little peek at this wonderful artist. You can find more of her work in her Etsy Shop.

1. Where do you live, and where are you from?

I live in Wilmington, North Carolina although I grew up in Crystal City, Missouri. I moved to Wilmington shortly after I finished my Master's in Music in Voice Performance.

2. How did you get started working with metal?

I have been drawn to metal because of its permanence. My father was an antique dealer and I loved looking at the craftsmanship of Victorian jewelry. I was curious about how it was constructed and yearned to create modern and unique pieces. My interest in metal became a reality when a few years ago I met a jeweler, Gary Pack. Gary would let me watch him work, talked to me about basic tools, and answered all my questions. He never wanted to be a "teacher" but that is what he ended up being for me. He encouraged me to experiment and figure it out on my own. So I did that. I bought all the books I could afford and read through them all. I try something new all the time. When I am successful with a new technique, I do it 25 times to make the skill more permanent. I guess this is a carryover from my music training.

3. What are a few of your favorite pieces at the moment?

My favorite piece that I have made is my Roman Ruins peridot ring. I was drilling holes in a ring to get a lunar piece, but my drill bit got really dull, and ruined my ring. My husband suggested that I salvage the ring and artistically saw around the ripped open hole in my ring. I did this and added "cracks". I really love how it turned out, but it is definitely a happy accident! This series physically represents my acceptance of change in life. I find beauty in the incomplete, the broken, and in ruins.

I'm building a series around my "roe" stud earrings at the moment. I can't wait to get them finished and list them on etsy. I've made lots of little roe disks and now I'm linking them all together!

I'm also really pleased with how my Ice Towers bangle turned out. It is a study for a ring that I have sketched and want to make.

4. What inspires you (artists, objects, interests)?

I love clean designs, organic and natural forms, contrast of color and texture, and upcycling materials. My daughter has often inspired me. She loves fairies and would pick up pieces of pine straw and string leaves onto them to make a fairy necklace. Then she would announce, "see Mom, why don't you do that in your jewelry?" So I did!

5. Do you have any other artistic interests?

I am a classical singer and I still perform as a soloist (opera, oratorio and art song) locally in addition to teaching a full studio of private students. My students have been very successful and have gone on to schools on full scholarships. (I'm so proud of them). I will be performing as a soloist for the Faure "Requiem", Scarlatti cantata with the Tallis Chamber Orchestra and hopefully a gig with the local symphony orchestra in the spring.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tip #14 - Building up a Setting Seat

Sometimes when you get your bezel soldered onto your base, you discover that it's too high for the stone you are about to set, or you just want that stone to sit a little higher than it's own hight. You can use just about anything to build it up the seat, but here's a good one that will incorporate your recycling efforts. Save those credit card offers you get in the mail that include a fake plastic card, or use up your spent gift cards.

Simply trace the shape of your cabochon onto the card with a sharpie, cut it out and place into your bezel. Try to avoid the places on the card where numbers or letters are raised, so that the stone will sit evenly on its seat. You can use as many layers of card as needed, and don't forget that dental floss when you're testing the fit (see tip #12). The plastic won't degrade over time like cardboard will, and will leave you a raised, evenly seated setting.

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