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.
Swarovski bicones were a big thing 6 years ago.
A lot of important events of my life have happened in March...I was married...My youngest daughter was born...One of the first challenges when I began jewelry making was this set I made for my youngest daughter's 17th birthday. The necklace has swarovski crystals on sterling silver beading thread. The pendant is made of 4 mm swarovski bicones woven into a butterfly. Its shine and luster are still amazing even after 6 years.
Ruby in Zoisite is a natural combination of rubies and zoisite crystals occurring in nature . The stone is believed to bring about increased intuitive abilities... a feeling of simply 'knowing' things without having to work them through logically. I get that feeling a lot. How about you?
Looking at my first designs I am amazed at how time flies... but also, at how we grow in things we like to do. Thanks to all the designers who keep blogs like this one, who publish to magazines like "Bead Style" and "Jewelry Stringing" and who publish videos on the many techniques of the craft; I have come a long way. Once again, I must repeat a famous phrase; " I am who I am because I have sat on the shoulder of giants..."
This one is the piece that introduced me to the gem-loves of my life... tiger eye and black onyx....(sigh...)
If you purchased one of my first pieces and still have it... send me a picture of you wearing it. I will post it in my gallery and you will win a free gift.
I always say to myself that I am not a fan of heart designs. Yet when I took a quick look at 6 years of designing jewelry, I was surprised at how many designs I had made with hearts over the years and at how many heart beads, focals, pendants and charms I have in my current stash...Do we all have this secret obsession???
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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