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Use what you have

There’s a decorating concept called “use what you have” which is a low-budget way of drawing from your current accessory stash to freshen up the look of a room in your house.  It forces you to be creative instead of shelling out money for more components.  I needed to make a grouping of earrings to take to the shop, something to fill in and coordinate with my summer and fall collections, so I challenged myself to draw from the components I already have instead of ordering parts. 

I chose to draw from various sizes of jump rings left over from when I used to sell chain maille kits.  I didn’t want to make chain maille earrings per se, but I did hook rings together using a mixture of different textures to make it more interesting.  Added some goldfill bubble chain and rings into the mix for a bimetal look, and voila.

There are some shaggy loops and subtle nods to Japanese maille, but not really any chain maille patterns. I also cut discs and washers from my precious patterned silver, which I have been hoarding for years.  (Actually, I think it’s considered hoardering since I can order more.  No, hoardering is not the act of ordering multiple drinks right before happy hour ends, but ordering more of the prized items in my bead stash just so I don’t have to use them up.)

What do you have in your (kitchen, closet, studio) that you can use instead of buying more?

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Sedona

Hi, gang. I know it’s been a while since I checked in, but it’s summer and I have even less bench time than usual. But it’s summer! And it has been so mild and beautiful. What better time to think about fall?

Here’s what’s on my bench…  (It’s Bead Table Wednesday.)

Copper and turquoise.  No, that’s not turquoise, but it was sitting with my photo props and is making its internet debut.  I actually don’t know what stone it is; I inherited my great aunt’s rock collection and I think it was in there.  She used to polish her own cabs — very cool.  I remember digging through her dops and tumbled rocks and such when I was a little girl, which probably planted seeds for my love of making jewelry.

Anyway, what is the copper part of that picture?  I don’t take time to do a lot of sketch-planning in my jewelry making, but I did sketch out some things to cut out and hammer and play with for my fall line, which I’m calling Sedona.  I’m planning to use hammered copper, plenty of turquoise (and other teal things), some verdigris patina on copper, and oxidized silver.  Like this…

 

Leather, copper, sponge coral, turquoise, c. 2007

Alas, my studio is across the hall from my sleeping kids so I haven’t done much hammering lately.  It forces me to plan more, which is a good thing.

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BTW

Our plumber, Glen, came to swap out the faucet in the hall bath so our 3-year-old can wash her hands by herself.  I had called him after deciding that cutting copper supply lines was outside of our DIY realm, and after Glen was finished he was collecting all the pieces and I asked if he had plans for the old copper pipes and that brass ring thingy.  When he said they were just going in his scrap bin to recycle, I was all like, “What else is in there?”  One person’s trash is another’s treasure. 

Look at that natural verdigris
I am planning to cut the pipe into segments to be sliders on Viking knitting or braided wire.  (My tutorials for Viking Weave and Vertebraid can be found here.)

What’s on your bead table this week?

Update 4/22: Glen brought me a whole bag full of those brass rings.  Yay!
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Bead Table Wednesday

I’m in the throes of holiday orders of personalized stamped jewelry, plus it’s miserable outside and not good for taking studio workbench shots, so here’s the result of my bead table Wednesday. 
On the way to new homes!
Okay, here’s a little eye candy…

These are my small and large tags stacked and stamped in Kismet font.  Merry Christmas, Ashley!  (Alina and Addison’s mom.)

Okay, I’ll throw you another bone along the “behind the scenes” line.  I was drilling a hole in a piece of sterling strip, AKA my Linear Drop Pendant, when my drill bit stopped drilling.  It went halfway through the material and then just sounded like a dental drill without making any progress.  I have a set of bits in various tiny sizes, so I put another bit in my Dremel and tried again.  No luck, same deal.  Plus that bit didn’t want to drill other pieces of sterling either.  After I went through a couple more bits I realized that a piece of the original bit had broken off and become lodged in the edge of the hole I was drilling, so it was dulling subsequent bits.  Fail!  And I didn’t know how to fix it.  If I hadn’t already stamped the piece I might have just scrapped it, but I’m stingy with my time and materials.  I finally just used my center punch (conical tip) to make divots on the front and back, and tapped my solder pick through the thin spot.  Fortunately the finished piece looked fine.  It’s days like this when I want to limit the design options to stamping blanks that come ready to stamp, no filing or cutting, but what’s the fun in that?

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Bead Table Wednesday

It happened again!  I have a project going (okay, 19 projects going) and remembered to take a picture on a Wednesday.  Embellished discs…

I resisted the urge to clean up the periphery because I want  you to see the chaos in which I thrive.  If I have everything put away my work space seems cold and uninspiring.  When I have things around I often get ideas that I wouldn’t have had otherwise, simply by seeing components unintentionally sitting together on my bench.  So if you can’t tell, my current project is those four wooden discs which I spray-painted black.  Then I coated the top with adhesive sealant, punched circles from an old book of poetry, and sealed the top. 

Now the decision…  I want to put doming resin on top of that, but I also want to have riveted holes.  Do I put the resin on the disc, then drill through once it is cured?  Or do I drill & rivet the holes first and then pour the resin around those?  Something tells me this will still be sitting on my bench in February, waiting for me to experiment.

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Bead Table Wednesday

I’m not very good at telling you guys what’s new in my studio, but it happens to be Wednesday and I have seen other jewelry artists participate in this, so I thought it would be fun to post about what’s on my bead table today.

Trying to stockpile pieces for fall, I’m working in series rather than my usual, “make what I feel like making today.”  The current series is (begrudgingly) utilizing my stash of Koy Glass lampwork beads.  Some of the donuts have rather large holes, and usually this doesn’t bother me because I stick a bead cap over it or a bead in the hole and it looks more polished.  But donuts are worn with the hole showing, so I chose to line them with silver or copper tubing, which I get in the plumbing department at Lowes.

This is one of several “bead tables” in my studio, so maybe another Wednesday I will show you the organized chaos of my real bead table.  Here are the copper-lined big-hole-beads I did today.

And with all the tap-tap-tapping I woke up my studio partner, who was napping across the hall.  So I put her to work stringing beads.  Here is her bead table.
What’s on your table?