Mimi and her girls

Mimi and her girls
Mimi and her girls

Monday, July 25, 2011

What I'm Working On

Here it is almost another month and with all the crazy things that happen in life, no time to blog! My Aspiring Metals Team makes me get off my duff periodically with Project Blogroll which is the teams way of saying- write something about what's going on in your shop! This month we have an exciting bunch of posts (links below) of what some of my aspiring teammates are up to in their shops - what are they working on!!! Loads of fun things- please browse through and see some amazing art and the steps it takes to get a finished piece of fine jewelry.

Hopefully, many of the items I am working on will be found in my shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/PPennee very soon! At least that's my hope.

My big news this month is that I finally bought a kiln so I could do more work in Precious Metal Clay - having the kiln should make my life a lot easier and I should get a much more consistent product. In order to create with metal clay, many people use templates, stamps, texture plates. Some sculpt and hand carve every piece. I love making molds with Sculpty Clay. I see a cool leaf, a sea shell or even a twig, I mold it- never know when it might come in handy . I also love to use leftover clay from filing and just dry pieces that inevitably appear. I make a slip with the dry particles and then coat real leaves from my garden which I will then fire to create jewelry. Below are some of my molds and also a picture of some leaves in the process of being coated with slip. It always amazes me that when fired, you can see every single vein in a leaf!

The hen scratched mold at the top is my own hand creation of a cherry blossom branch, to the right is part of a nautilus shell, a coleus leaf and a ginkho leaf. All will eventually be pendants or earrings, some set with stones, some just pretty silver!

Love the leaves- learned a trick on my Metal Clay Heads team that it you tape the leaf to something when you start coating it with the silver slip- it won't curl up on you and crack! Cracked silver is not a good thing at all! The top two heart shaped leaves are from a redbud tree from this spring, the small one and much longer one are from a verbena plant and the last one is from a tree I walked by and liked the leaf- not quite sure what it is!

I also have a series of pendants that have been on the bench way too long waiting for me to have a day to decide how I want to finish each one and put the finishing touches on. The series will all have a different textured back plate to complement the stone and or the design of the final project. For starters I chose a pear shaped labradorite decorated with trim that I think makes it look like a birds tail feathers. So my plan is to oxidize the back plate, the dangle some oxidized chains from a hole I will drill in the bottom center feather then add some tiny moonstone, labradorite and aquamarine briolettes to make a really interesting pendant.  The ocean jasper with it's great little orbs of color will have a pretty gemstone on the bail I create for it and the oval labradorite still hasn't told me what it wants to be!

I always enjoy making rings and I'm am way low on labradorite rings in my shop so here's a few in process.

I always seem to be doing something with flush set (aka gypsy set) gemstones lately. Since I've learned how to do it, I feel like I need to keep doing it so I don't forget how! Silly I know, but practice makes perfect. Below is a heavy band ring with a custom order for a 2mm center hot pink sapphire with two 2mm black diamonds on either side.   This combo would not have been my choice, but the buyer was adamant that she had to have it exactly like this so who am I to argue!  Just waiting for my little diamonds to arrive!
 I hope you've enjoyed seeing a little piece of what's on my bench- there's always something in some stage or another of being created and I love being able to walk to the bench and say- who wants to be finished today? He who squeaks me, me me- gets picked!

I hope you will take some time and read some of the other blogs posted below. You'll see some amazing projects and beautiful artwork from my Aspiring Metals Team!