Friday, August 28, 2009

Project Runway Jewelry Challenge: Red Carpet

Season 6 of Project Runway has begun and Victoria will be leading participants through the EtsyMetal Blog in a jewelry challenge - although we hope for wider participation than just EM members. The first challenge - Season 6, Episode 1 -for the designers was to create a look suitable for a red carpet. These sterling silver post earrings are made using square wire to make the top bit and chain with some light blue topaz wheels to add some extra sparkle. Why are they suitable for the runway? Well, they dangle two inches in length, and so would be great with an up-do. The chain element gives them a great deal of movement. They are subtle enough to leave the attention on the face while drawing it there.
Check out some other fantastic designs from this challenge and stay tuned for next week!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Favorite Finds

Dandelions are special, and I love this photograph mounted on a little wooden block. I would love this little photograph on my night stand.
I have to have to have sugar, salt, and coffee on my countertop for frequent use. This clay artist has captured the Fall Season with acorns on this canister perfectly. I may need a matching set!
These are just fun and fabulous! I've been a fan of Harriete Estel Berman's line of teapots and teacups fabricated from tins. These earrings are so great - perfect for Halloween, and all year!
The colors on these tiny bowls are wonderful and mesmerizing. I don't use many tea bags, but every jewelry maker needs a set of tiny bowls to keep bits and pieces from rolling off the table.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Charm Swap Four

EtsyMetal's fourth charm swap is underway, with 20 members each creating 22 charms for the swap - one for each participant, one for the bracelet and one to be sold singly in the shop. It's exciting to participate in the swap, but also nerve-racking to come up with a design. I was limited by funds this time and couldn't do them in silver. I love the warmth of copper and have used that. I'll post some process photos showing the production of the charms.
The copper is cut into rectangles, and the silver tubing into tiny lengths and the tube rivets are placed.
These are the punches I will use to stamp the dandelion design. After stamping, the metal is all curved and needed to be pounded flat with a mallet.

Here they are before I've added the oxidation to blacken the design and after. The jump rings are left unsoldered so they can be added to a charm bracelet. I also added a tiny seed pearl wire-wrapped in fine silver - a tiny escaped seed of the dandelion.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Calder Jewelry

When my husband was scheduling our summer trip to San Diego, I told him, "Any time after July 25th!" so we could see the exhibit of Alexander Calder's Jewelry at the San Diego Museum of Art. There are 92 pieces on display in two rooms, which represent only a small example of the 1,800 plus pieces he made! There was no picture taking allowed inside the exhibit, but I did sneak a photo outside the exhibit, which shows the portrait of Anjelica Huston wearing The Jealous Husband, which appeared on the cover of New York Times Magazine shortly before Calder's death in 1976. There are also some large photos of Calder hammering wire on an anvil and in his studio on the walls between the jewelry displays. The collection includes many initial brooches that he made for his family and friends. The jewelry is made with continuously coiled wire, sometimes riveted and wrapped, but never soldered or treated with heat. The exhibit really underscores his love for family and friends as most of the pieces shown were gifts to loved ones especially his wife, and the artist is evident in each piece, through visible tool marks from hammer and pliers. I think my family enjoyed the exhibit, maybe not as much as I did (I went back for a second look while they looked at paintings).
I was struck and inspired by the elements I didn't expect, like a wooden box with a brass spiral closure, which Mr. Calder used to transport and ship his jewelry inside of.
He would put a bunch of pieces into these boxes and send them to friends and shops with a book that included pencil drawings of the unnamed pieces for jewelry parties trunk sales. A red check mark indicated a sale and sometimes a name was included. The host of the jewelry party would pack up any unsold pieces and the cash back into the box and send it back to him. Calder also made his own jewelry bust displays, which were very Piccaso-like in facial feature, and suit his earrings perfectly. These are the elements that indicate the business side of his art. He received several offers to duplicate and mass produce his jewelry designs, but rejected them, wanting his pieces to stand on their own as one of a kind objects, like his sculpture. And I couldn't leave without stopping by the gift shop for the Calder Jewelry book, which I have been coveting and have been studying every since. So, if you are in the area, please go see the exhibit, which is on until January 3, 2010. If you can't here's a video I found showing a little of what I saw, while it was in Philadelphia.