The word crochet comes from the French word, "croche", which means "hook". Crochet-like work probably goes back to ancient times when a finger was used instead of a hook. Though finger crochet is still practiced today, it is more common to crochet using a hook to pull a strand of material (thread, yarn, wire, etc.) through one active loop that is on the hook and to repeat this movement to form chains that ultimately form a fabric.
This June I began an adventure to try and replicate Hermione's beaded bag that appears in the Deathly Hallows of the Harry Potter series (7th book). Actually, if you are a Harry Potter fan you know that in the book, her bag is described as small enough to fit in her sock, but the film presents a larger version and that is the one I tried to recreate using crochet.
And so I have returned....a bit older... a bit wiser... a bit craftier. Why yes...Over the past three some years, I have added crochet, sewing and knitting to my crafting repertoire. And I have returned to share on this blog some of my recent adventures. But I have not returned alone from my travels... my youngest daughter has come along with me. She is a crocheter, a knitter, a sewist and a PODCASTER! Oh... did I forget to mention that I recently discovered the world of podcasting also??? So... all in all.. I have returned a much more experimented and fulfilled maker.
I have a very temperamental muse. I think what happens is that I try to control it a bit too much with my mind. This year, I have decided to go more with the flow: how I feel; what saddens me; what makes me happy, excited, anxious...
For example, my first piece for 2014 was inspired by my children. You see, they visit me frequently and as they come and go they leave bits and pieces of themselves around. This necklace is a mixture of different pieces they have "lost", left, broken or bought while thinking of me. It ends in a string of one of my favorites gems...pearls.
Turbulent and somewhat chaotic... and yet jovial and fun... perfect way to start a New Year!
I have two hobbies that I practice with obsession... (which means I either spend all my time practicing them or none at all): jewelry making and cooking. I have to admit that I spent all of my end-of the-year-holiday-free-time ... cooking. Though I have no Christmas jewelry designs to share with all of you, I do want to share this native Apache quote, along with my best wishes for a fantastic 2014!
"Looking behind I am filled with gratitude. Looking forward I am filled with vision. Looking upward I am filled with strength. Looking within I discover peace."
With Mother's Day around the corner, I have begun to make gifts for people that are special to me . Earrings and pendants are most popular because the can be made quickly and are very versatile. The colors in Spring jewelry are always bright and shiny. Making jewelry to give away is always fun and fulfilling! Visit my Everyday Jewelry page for the month of May!
Nature can be one of our biggest sources of muse when it comes to jewelry design. Nature combines colors, shapes and forms in ways that easily attract the eye. Here is something I created based on wild flowers that grow along the path where I walk my dog each morning. As the weather changes and spring flowers begin to bloom, our senses become so much more perceptive to the warmth and beauty of the nature around us.
"Chain maille", "Chainmail" or, simply, "Mail" is a type of armor consisting of small metal rings that interlock, following a specific pattern, to form a mesh. The phrase is taken from the French, "Cotte de maille", meaning "robe of rings". This technique has become my new obsession.
I am a math professor by day, so I was attracted to the technique by the fact that a small calculation could change the feel and the fall of the weaving. In addition, my two older children are engineers. So, by association, I have learned that a good design, can usually be made better, cheaper and faster through enough failures and successes. (Believe me, with chain maille one has to be prepared for failures.) Finally, my youngest daughter is a historian, so I knew she would love to hear about the historical roots of these weaves. Ultimately, my upcoming chain maille designs will have to be considered family heirlooms.
These earrings were my first attempt to chain maille. They began with the Japanese flower weave...but were too small for my taste, so I added more weaving to the bottom...
As the prices of metals continue to rise, our techniques need to be more frugal and thrifty, as well as creative.
For example, I bought this plated copper chain over a year ago at a close-out. This morning it occurred to me that I could open the rings and create links. I joined the links with copper and gold-plated findings and the result was the bracelet on the left.
I love the initial shine of copper but am dismayed at how it dulls over time. Maybe some enamel...
Cloisonne is a French word meaning to be compartmentalized. It is also the name of a decorative technique for metalworking and enameling in which thin wire is soldered to a metal surface (usually brass or copper) in such a way that small "compartments" are created. The compartments are then filled with enamel and the piece is fired and polished. Cloisonne is a very famous art and craft of Beijing, even though, it was not discovered in China.The cloisonne technique was taught to the Chinese by Central Asian missionaries sometime in the early to mid 14th century. The Chinese did quickly perfect the process and make it their own. Today, China is considered the cloisonne capital of the world. Cloisonne jewelry findings are little treasures.
To work with ones hands is a laborer; to work with ones hands and brain is to be a craftsman; but to work with ones hands, brain and heart is to be an artist. - Louis Nizer
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