Sunday, November 14, 2010

Wild Wire Women: Sunday

I just found some photos on my camera that I didn't realize I had, so this post relates to last Sunday, November 7!
On our final full day in the studio, we made Bangle Bracelets, the Heart Pin, and some basic earrings too. We had used liver of sulfur the night before to artificially age our jewelry, so Sunday was also devoted to cleaning and polishing. Looks like the three sisters from Iceland are having a good time, but believe me the process is a bit tedious!
First you have to polish the darkening effect from your jewelry (copper or silver) using 0000 steel wool. Afterward, as Helga demonstrates above, you should brush out the bits of steel wool using a brass brush (look for one in the barbecue section of most hardware stores). This is because in the next step, you give your polished jewelry a high shine by tumbling it for about half an hour with stainless steel jewelry shot, burnishing compound, and water. The steel wool will rust, so you don't want those little bits to accumulate in your stash of steel shot.
Here you can see Eva dumping out the contents of the tumbler barrel into a sieve in the shop sink.
Now she's rinsing each jewelry piece and carefully picking out the steel shot, which has a habit of clinging to the little nooks and crevices of your jewelry. It takes some time to rinse and clean your jewelry and pick out the shot as needed, but it's worth it.
Here you can see several jewelry pieces laying out on paper towels. They can be allowed to air-dry or you can rub them dry with towels or even use a hair dryer to speed the process. The entire process of using liver of sulfur, polishing and cleaning it in a tumbler is demonstrated in all of my four instructional DVDs, which can be found here.
Eva is really proud of her mixed-media necklace, made over the previous two days (Friday and Saturday) in my 10 Trippy Tricks 1 and 10 Trippy Tricks 2 workshops. 
Here's Sista, showing off her necklace as well. 
And this is Frida (above) with the beginnings of her necklace. The emphasis on my "10 tricks" workshops is not a finished product, but a day spent learning the basics of wire working plus some very cool intermediate-level wire wraps and links. We spend a lot of time on the wrapped eye-pin loop and spiraling, coiling, etc—all the really important basic stuff—but we always make time for creative explorations as well.
Here's a fun abstract pin accented with Icelandic lava beads; I believe it's Frida's creation.
Finally, I was really pleased with how my knotless-netted turquoise bead came out. You can see it's quite large, and rather heavy. The eye-pin loops are sterling silver, and the netting is in fine-gauge copper wire accented with three purple crystal beads. I haven't used this wrapped bead in a necklace yet, but I think what I'd do is keep it really simple and make a heavy chain of links, perhaps in 14ga or even 12ga, and a really cool clasp. My creative wheels are still spinning, so I'll have to keep you posted on the results!
I'm really sad today, a week later, missing my friends from Iceland as well as Holly who came all the way from New Jersey to participate in a Wild Wire Women retreat. I love conducting these retreats because everyone really has a great time, we learn a lot from one another, and we bond as friends. It's hard to describe the feeling of a retreat, which is so very different from attending a workshop in a store or at a bead show. The experience becomes one of those never-forget, lifetime memories that you always look back on with great fondness.
I haven't scheduled new retreats for 2011 yet, but I will soon. I promise to post the new dates as soon as I have them; probably beginning in late March or early April. I hope you can come out to Idyllwild in 2011!
Happy wrapping,

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