Thursday, July 24, 2008

My Journey continues with Copper

This week my goal was to play with my children and learn a new copper working skill. I've done both. I dedicate far to much time to the computer and not enough PLAY time with my children. I get up early every morning and the first thing I do is check my email, etsy, and the jewelry forum while having my morning coffee. Some days this drags on for hours. A few days ago my girls complained I'm always on the computer, though I didn't notice they were feeling left out, I do now. So starting this week I am dedicating more time to playing with my girls and less time playing by myself or should I say creating jewelry. I hadn't realized that even though my girls are always nearby and often right at the table by me, they were not always having the fun I thought they were. And being close in distance and chit chatting about what they are doing does not necessarily add up to quality time. As of this week, my computer will be off after they have their breakfast, and I will schedule computer time around there needs, I can check in on my etsy sales without visiting the forums or even going directly to the sight, a simple check of my email will inform me as to if my shop requires my attention and if it doesn't it can wait until after bedtime to visit the forums and do other non essential tasks. Instead of browsing the Internet I will read books to my girls, color and paint pictures with them instead of watching them and roll in the grass, look at the clouds and watch the birds fly overhead and land softly in the branches of our apple tree. I will do my computer work as I have this morning adding items to my shop and finishing pieces in the early morning hours and evening hours while they are sleeping or watching a favorite movie. Summer will be ending far to soon and my girls will be back to school 5 days a week and I will miss them dearly. I will enjoy there company while I have them home to do this and not regret that we didn't spend quality time together. I will lie my head on my pillow each night and treasure a special moment spent with each and every one of my children and not ask myself did I play with my children today and actually spend not just time with them but QUALITY time with them? I often wonder this. This goes for my oldest daughter Tara as well, and I'm so excited she is moving back home in a few weeks after being away for a year.

Now for my newest piece. I have finally figured out my problem with soldering. I can now solder a bezel to my sheet and it turns out. I am very happy with this and have to give my sister credit for showing my errors. A simple thing called alligator clips will hold your wire in place while soldering and my solder no longer flows into unwanted territory. I will be offering a step by step in the days to come, but for now I'll add a picture of my finished piece and say my children are awake and my time is up for now. So have a great day and remember to play with your children today!!!!! They tend to notice when we don't.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Come Fly With Me, Copper Butterfly Necklace

One of my newest is this beautiful copper butterfly necklace. Several weeks ago my daughter came into the house saying, mommy look what I found!! In her little hands she was holding a butterfly that she had found laying on the floor in our gazebo, sadly it had been dead for some time.
I had seen where others had rolled a butterfly wing through there mill creating unique pendants. However not wanting to make an exact replica of what others had done but still wanting to see if this really worked using something as delicate as a butterfly wing I got busy annealing my copper to make it as soft as possible in order to take the impression.
I gently placed the wing onto the copper adding a piece to the top and rolled it through. Happily and very excited it worked. There on the sheet of copper was every little cell.
I carefully cut the shapes to match, filed the edges and drilled the holes. I chose to add a beautiful crystal dangle that would reflect the rainbow when hit by the light. I used rolled and stamped wire rings, added my copper chain with a handcrafted copper closure and it was finished. This is truly a one of a kind and although I listed it in my Etsy shop, I am seriously considering keeping this one for myself.
It's not often your lucky enough to find an expired butterfly. So these will be few and far between in the making. And each butterfly wing is only good for one pass as it is destroyed in the process.

My second finished project is my butterfly in the garden bracelet.

This was made using brass wire, I created the rings then hammered them for texture and wire wrapped them so the opening was closed. I used purchased brass filigree butterfly and brass beads, one of our own lampwork beads and my own design ceramic floral beads. The ceramic beads are the center of this bracelet for me as they were made by my own two hands using buttons that once belonged to my childrens great grandmother. I pressed the metal buttons into the beads the pierced the hole through the clay creating the beads. I gave them a jungle gem green glaze. Overall I think the bracelet is uniqu in design and I was happy with the finished piece.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

handforged copper sea turtle pendant

I had my mind set to making a copper sea turtle a few days ago, I wasn't sure exactly how I was going to accomplish this but I was quite determined. I don't often use my jewelers saw, and mostly prefer to use metal shears on most of my designs that don't require cutting in the middle of the piece. I started with a general shape of the oval shell in the center rectangles at the head and tail and triangles for the four legs, I slowly carved my way through the copper with my files until the end result was quite pleasing. I stamped using my metal stamps and then domed the finished shell and head, slightly curved the legs as if she were swimming through a coral reef. Drilled one hole in her upper left leg for adding a bail. I will say I was extremely happy with how she turned out when finished and even happier when she sold within a few hours of listing her in my Etsy shop. Off to a good home I'm sure. I will soon try to make another only a bit smaller perhaps for my younger daughters. They fell in love with the sea turtles when we visited the aquarium in Chicago last fall.
The overall pendant is approx. 1 1/2" wide and 1 3/4" in length. I can't wait until we visit the aquarium again and find a new living species of inspiration to design my work upon.

I have also decided it is time for me to work on finishing more of my pendants and turning them into a finished necklace ready to be worn upon purchase. I have been rolling wire through my mill at different depths and using different gauge wires. I haven't actually used the rollers for wire as I haven't had the need or desire, but I'm sure as I continue making chains and gain more experience in this are I will be needing additional styles of wire. Included in the wire chain making is also my need for more detailed bails that have been made using larger 14 gauge copper wire rolled flat and then stamped for added detail.
The last photo is a necklace I made for my sister Kathy, I used mookaite gemstone beads, copper wire, (and one of my favorites as well as hers) and a beautiful Queen Anne's lace copper pendant made using a dried queen Anne's lace flower.