Thursday, October 9, 2008

Lampwork Beads and Copper Bracelet

Wow where has the time gone. I thought with my girls back in school I would have soooo much free time. But this has not been the case. I'm a big advocate for early childhood education and believe that education starts at home.

Well My three year old Morgan is busy with the headstart program as a home based student one day a week and also has an early on teacher that comes into our home one day a week. My youngest foster child has an OT therapist and early education teacher that also comes into our home once a week. So life has been busy here preparing our little ones for the best possible start in life we can offer when it comes to preparing for there education.

I am still managing to find at least two days a week where I can create new designs to add to my Etsy store and thought I'd share my last few weeks of new ideas with you.

Normally I try to stick with one of kind pieces but my last few have been so nice and not as time consuming for me that I have decided I will re create them in variouse styles and colors and continue to make them. The bracelets that I have come up with are extremely durable and the links are just wonderful.

I have also been on a search for beads that I can incorporate into my copper work which is not the norm for me since I try to make as many of my own components as possible. However I have found that by adding more beaded elements to my jewelry a world of possablitites has opened up for me that I hadn't considered before.

I can still keep my designs unique and one of kind with store purchased beads and the limits are endless.

My lampwork bracelets have a focal bead made by my husband. I wish he had more time to make them for me. But he doesn't so those I will hopefully be able to make more of in the winter months when he is layed off and has lots of time to either be bored or be creative so I'm hoping he decides on the later of the two. LOL.

The copper links for the lampwork bracelet are mill rolled 14 gauge copper wire and are either stamped or left bare of design.

I have broken in the wire rollers of my mill over the last few weeks and have found it much easier to shape the wire than I had anticipated. So far I have been able to make flat, half round, twisted and flat twisted wire that will be showing up in many of my designs in the future. I have yet to roll square wire but hope to try it soon.

The other bracelet design is one I'm sure is not so unique and one of a kind to others but it is to me. I found a tutorial in my new step by step wire jewelry magazine that made a keyhole link tennis bracelet and I really liked the design. The article called for making the wire links and then using snapsets to secure 6mm cubic zirconia. Well I've never worked with the snapset settings before but wire wrapping is something I know.

So I got out my 18 gauge wire and started cutting my lengths of wire and then instead of going with a key hole shape I decided to try a teardrop shape and then in place of the snapset links I used 24 gauge copper wire to wire wrap a bead into each link. I then finished the ends of the links and voila I had my own tennis bracelet. They are really very pretty and the links are so durable and strong and at the same time very delicate. I personally love the overall design and think these would be wonderful made in a variety of sized links and even pretty with larger sized beads. This will be one of my next projects I'm sure.

I have so far used 5mm vintage turquoise glass beads, 4mm glass pearls and 6mm Czech bicone glass beads. I think a chunkier look could be achieved by using a 14 gauge copper wire and 10mm beads. Maybe some of hubbys lampwork beads even. Hmmmm.

Also I think with a 22 gauge wire frame and 2 to 4mm beads these bracelets would be wonderful for my daughters or any other little girl. That's how durable these bracelets are. I would not be fearful to let them wear these as I don't believe they would ever come apart unless great force was used.

I have quite a large supply of brass wire that I think I will break into soon and give the bracelets a try using the brass as well and will also be adding some to my Etsy store using sterling silver and gemstones. How pretty they will be.

Any how I guess my lesson to pass on today to fellow artisans would be to never limit yourself to supplies available, keep an open mind when looking at projects and tutorials and always remember to make it your own. My favorite pass time is to browse through magazines and other sights and say hmmm that is just beautiful but what if I did this with that and changed this and oh I could do that to this. well you know what I'm saying. Creativity is endless so have fun with it and you'll be just amazed at how a project starts as one thing and ends up another. What fun!!!!

Have a great weekend every one and let your imagination lead the way.