handmade jewelry & metalsmithing

new people, new stuff

Overshadowing any stuff that I did this week–the new Jordan is here!

baby Alex

How cute is that?!

So…yeah, I’ve been a lot more interested in the goings-on upstairs than in the studio. Surprisingly, that’s been really good for getting my speed up! I’ve made a couple of blacksmithing-inspired earrings with a nature-thing driving the design. But all design comes from nature, really. I loved this book The Nature of Ornament by Kent Bloomer, it says that things we consider ornaments mostly depict natural cycles or fulfill a picture of the world in which the object is performing. At the very least, we’re going to project the familiar onto what we see, so we might as well embrace it.

sprout earrings

sprouts earrings-inspired by a beautiful sandwich

curling buds earrings

Each earring has 4 asymmetrical elements joined together with tiny collars

curling buds in progress

These pieces are getting arranged for soldering. I'll also place them in different positions on paper, then draw other elements around them to see what it would look like.

two earrings

various bits of the two earrings as they get worked out

Also, I was looking into handmade jewelry “rules” and apparently it’s the FTC that regulates it. To be called handmade (legally), jewelry must be entirely handmade, not cast or manufactured. This sheds light on the mystery of pendants and necklaces–I never could figure out where the delineation begins, but there it is–if you make the chain and the catch, it’s a handmade necklace. Otherwise it is a handmade pendant.

I’d like to be able to produce more work, but I just can’t get into casting yet. I can’t figure out how that would make me any better as an artist, and I hate polishing-so where’s the fun? I really like how each piece has individual character. You can remake a design, but you can’t make the same piece more than once. For example, I made a Light Bulb Moth Pendant in 2008 and sold it in a gallery. I remade the piece again at a a request, then a year later I made one for myself. This week I made another one and reflected how different each necklace has been. The chains, the proportions, the type of light bulb have been vastly different. not to mention that all the hand engraving as well as the grain of the mokume.

marking the design

I put masking tape on the silver sheet, then draw on the design to guide the sawing

sawed out

after it's sawed out, I remover the tape and file the details

mokume moth

I use a template of the last moth I sawed out to draw on the mokume

sanding

both pieces are filed, then sanded through 4 different grits before stamping & polishing

attaching rivet

wire is soldered to the moth for a rivet, so that the moth can be turned

2 pendants

each piece is unique, and I try something different and learn something new each time

shiny moths

so, there's mine that I've been wearing on the right, and the new one on the left. I think I'll put it on Etsy in a few days, so check it out if you're interested.

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