Monday, May 28, 2012

A Wild Woman Weekend...

Well, it's the final day of our Wild Wire Women retreat in Idyllwild and as usual I was very sorry to see everyone leave for home today. We had an incredibly productive weekend, learning new jewelry techniques and making lots and lots of samples as well as finished jewelry pieces.
The photo above shows all of our cuffs made by etching copper sheets. We all cut/sawed our own cuff metal and filed and polished (and filed and polished and filed and polished) the pieces until they were perfect before applying various designs with an ink resist and using an etching mordant to permanently alter the metal.
The photo above shows Laura's jewelry collection, just a few of the pieces she made over the three-day weekend. Laura not only etched a beautiful cuff bracelet with her own design, she also made a fold-formed and textured cuff, a heavy-gauge wire wrapped bangle, and a big heart pendant ready to attach to a necklace.
Here's Laura's sampler necklace and bracelet set of wire links. We spent all of Sunday on wire wrapping, after working with sheet metal for two full days. Laura made enameled cage beads and twisted-wire jump rings, various wire links, and coiled bead wraps; she then put everything together in this gorgeous set of ethnic-style jewelry.
Here's a picture of Laura, taking a photo of her fold-formed cuff bracelet. Last night we antiqued all of our jewelry in liver of sulfur, polished it, and then photographed the fruits of our labors. Laura also used her iPad to take several photos and we were very impressed by the quality of her shots.
Torch-fire enameling took up a good part of our first day of the retreat; we not only made enameled cage beads but we also experimented with a variety of different enameled headpins. Kinda funky, don't you think?
My demo piece for the fold-formed copper jewelry workshop is pictured above. I made a fun shield pin with lots of forging, texturing and hole punching.
Here's a closeup of Laura's fold-formed cuff. Love it!
Here's a layout of Sharon's jewelry. She also did a beautiful job with her etched cuff and had a blast working with heavy-gauge wire to make a spiral cuff and wrapped heart pendant. The latter two projects are taken from my book, Wire Art Jewelry Workshop.
Here's Sharon, taking a photo of some of her jewelry. Everyone had a chance to try her hand at laying out a nice photo shoot in the EZ-Cube, using some of my hand-dyed fabrics and fun props. It was one of the highlights of our weekend.
Here's a shot of some of Terry's jewelry. She made a fold-formed leaf pendant with a bail, an etched cuff (the design looks like a real leaf, but it was a rubber stamp!), and some coil-wrapped beads and a worm bead with fine-gauge twisted wire. We did lots of wire twisting yesterday, I can tell you!
Here's Terry, photographing some of her jewelry.
Pictured above you can see some of Terry's enameled jewelry components including headpins and cage beads. She told me she plans on continuing her enameling with a torch once she gets back home. All of the ladies were very excited about pursuing enameling when they get home.
 Several times throughout the weekend, Sparkle begged for water out of the tap. Although I change her water bowl twice a day, she prefers running water. What a spoiled kitty!
Here's Ellen, making breakfast in the kitchen this morning. I always serve a hearty breakfast on our last day and allow each lady to cook her own eggs to her liking. After eating healthy food every day (lots of  yogurt, fruit, salad, etc.) it was kind of fun to eat bacon & eggs for breakfast!
This is a sampling of Ellen's jewelry. She made a Biker Chick Bracelet but then changed it up with her signature look, adding vintage beads and buttons to the mix. Her etched and punched cuff awaits a focal bead. She also made an incredible cuff with a watermelon tourmeline (sp?) attached with a riveted copper holder. Riveting was one of many techniques that I taught over the weekend, and I hope the gals will practice their skills once they get back home...
This is a special pendant that Ellen made for her daughter, Mary. The sun and moon symbols illustrate their love for one another, "more than the moon, more than the sun." Very sweet!
Here's Laurie, making her breakfast this morning. Laurie and Sharon are good friends who came to the Wild Wire Women retreat together.
Sharon is pictured on the left, Laura on the right.
And here's Terry (left) and Sharon, enjoying breakfast before we all went our separate ways. Well, I'm still here doing laundry and dishes (!!!) and general cleanup. I'm so glad the weekend went so well, that everyone had a great time, and that we all learned so much in such a short time. But I feel a little sad now that the house is empty and quiet. I miss my Wild Wire Women!
If you'd like to come up to Idyllwild for a weekend of intensive workshops, great food and new friendships, I have several openings available. All materials (except beads) are provided and you get to use my high-quality shop tools and enjoy my extensive library of art and craft books while you're here. If you're interested, email me here.
Happy wrapping,
Wild Wire Women Retreat Dates:
July 19-23
July 26-30
August 2-6
August 9-13
August 16-20
August 23-27
August 30-September 3
September 6-10
September 13-17
September 20-24
September 27-October 1
October 4-8
October 11-15
November 8-12
November 29-December 3
December 6-10
December 13-17

Friday, May 25, 2012

Fun in the Studio!

Our first day in the studio was incredibly busy and productive... We started with a lesson on etched cuff bracelets using an ink resist and rubber stamps.

The above photo isn't great because the lighting is overhead, but you get the idea.

Everyone in class made a gorgeous cuff and I was so proud of my students! There are five, plus me...

You can see that Laura (left) and Ellen are having too much fun. Maybe the wine has something to do with it, but I'm telling no tales.

In the afternoon, we did fold forming and texturing metal, with a bit of wire work thrown in. I demonstrated a heat patina too. Four of my students made pins, and one made a cuff bracelet.

And now we're back in the studio after enjoying a delicious dinner at Cafe Aroma. The girls are perusing my library of jewelry books and we're all working on another glass of wine!

Naturally, Ellen is back at work. Tomorrow, we break out the enamels...
Happy wrapping,

Location:Banning-Idyllwild Panoramic Hwy,Mountain Center,United States

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Fun with Fold-Forming!

Susie and I had so much fun this weekend, making lots of jewelry with copper sheet and wire! She wanted to fold-form copper to make pins and cuffs, and I was happy to teach her. So above you can see the results of our efforts, from hammering and annealing metal over and over and over and over.... to shaping it into cuff bracelets, texturing the cuffs with various tools and punches, artificially aging them and polishing them to a bright finish.
The cuff pictured above is mine; I added a handmade chain and commercial toggle clasp to it, just to be sure that it won't ever come off my wrist. I love wearing this cool cuff!
And here's Susie's cuff. Amazing when you consider that two days ago, she'd never made a fold-formed jewelry piece in her life! But then, she's super talented.
And here's a gorgeous pendant that Susie made last August during our retreat in Cortona, Italy. We shopped the flea markets in Cortona and Arezzo, and many of us found wonderful brass medallions to use in our jewelry. Susie designed a gorgeous "Under the Tuscan Sun" background piece in copper, and then textured it beautifully before riveting on her found treasure, the brass medallion. It's a very successful piece, all the more so when you realize that this is Susie's first attempt at sawing out metal!
Here's a picture of my fold-formed pin, which was SO much fun and so easy-peasy to make. I loved texturing and punching the metal, and then I attempted to enamel the right-hand side with liquid enamel. Not so thrilled with the results, I must be honest! But Susie really liked my pin, so I gave it to her. My next goal as an artist is to perfect my skills with liquid enamel. I'll post my experiments here on the blog in future...
What do you think of these pins??? All by my friend Susie, of course. She couldn't believe what she was able to accomplish using scrap copper pieces. Sometimes it's best to experiment with little scraps because then you're not as intimidated by the materials, and you can just try different things without fear. Susie really made a lot of progress in a short period of time. She's now quite accomplished at fold-forming metal and she can't wait to teach her husband her new skills so they can start making jewelry together.
Finally, here's Ivy. She oversaw our adventures in the studio this weekend, occasionally taking long naps but a welcome presence nevertheless. I think every studio needs a good kitty like Ivy!
This coming Thursday I'll be hosting a Wild Wire Women retreat in my home in Idyllwild. Be sure to follow our experiences as I chronicle them here.
Happy wrapping,

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fun in the Studio with Susie!

My good friend Susie came all the way from Virginia to visit me for a week in Idyllwild. See how happy she is? Maybe because we're spending the day making jewelry! Yesterday after picking her up at the Palm Springs airport, I drove with Susie to Monica's Quilt & Bead Creations where we shopped for some gorgeous beads and silk strands, which we made into necklaces.
Ivy watched us from her basket in the window, surrounded by lavender plants. Isn't she lovely...
Here's Susie again, wearing her beautiful necklace! She's very pleased with her results. We actually made our own sterling silver headpins and jump rings, which added to the time it took to finish our creations.
Here's a closeup of Susie's necklace. Monica provides free instructions for making this project at her store in Palm Desert. We sure had fun!
Happy wrapping,

Thursday, May 10, 2012

One Opening in the Next Wild Wire Women Retreat!

The rush of mailing off my four-pack DVD bundles to winners of my recent contest is now over, and some of the winners have started notifying me that they've already received their free DVDs. How exciting for them! I love learning from DVDs myself, and in fact I just reviewed "Soldering Made Simple" by Joe Silvera. This DVD is fantastic, especially for an absolute beginner. I highly recommend it if you're just getting started in soldering. Joe also has a book with the same name, which I have read and recommend for beginners. It has 39 Five-Star reviews on and 203 "likes."
Anyway, now that my contest is over I'm getting ready for my next Wild Wire Women retreat, to be held here in Idyllwild, California on May 24-28. I have four ladies signed up now, with room for ONE more, so if you're thinking about attending, why not take the plunge?
Here's our itinerary:
Thursday evening: arrival and meet-and-greet with wine and cheese, followed by dinner out at Cafe Aroma
8 am Breakfast; 9 am Introduction to metal arts including cutting and/or sawing out a cuff bracelet, and etching a cuff with a stamped design
12:30 pm Lunch
1:30 pm Metal arts including annealing and pickling metal, fold-forming a big cuff, texturing the surface with hammers and various tools
8 am Breakfast; 9 am Making headpins with a kitchen torch, enameling them, torch-fire enameling cutout metal shapes and beads
12:30 pm Lunch
1:30 pm Engraving metal pieces for pendants and/or a cuff (optional) plus micro fold-forming; time permitting we will make a Biker Chick Bangle as well 
8 am Breakfast; 9 am Workshop: Emphasis on wire-working: links, chains, creative charms; time permitting I will demonstrate fine-silver fusing to make links
12:30 pm Lunch
1:30 pm Continuation of wire-working, plus using liver of sulfur, polishing jewelry, using the tumbler; also: Jewelry photography using the EZCube system
8 am Breakfast; departure after breakfast
This retreat is restricted to five participants because we are using a torch for enameling and we'll also be doing lots of annealing, fine-silver fusing, and if we can squeeze it in I will also introduce some basic soldering too... so it just gets too crowded with more than five students. Most jewelry classes that I have attended are way too big (in my opinion) and this leaves little time for individualized attention.
If you'd like to join us on May 24-28, please email me for more information and also visit my blog with information on the retreats here.
If you can't join us this time, I have several more dates set aside for retreats in the future. See my blog for more info...
Happy wrapping,

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

10 Winners of 4-DVD Bundle Announced!

I'm very excited to announce the following 10 WINNERS of a four-pack bundle of instructional DVDs! Drum-roll please....and here they are:
Whitney Hansen
Erin Leiserson
Kay Thomerson
Kristine Gonzalvo
Cindi Thomas
Shannon Chomanczuk
Jody Bradshaw
Jennifer Wagner
Ingrid Regen
Theresa Goddard
My congratulations to the winners, and my warmest thanks to everyone who participated in the contest! I was glad to see that so many of you are enjoying my latest eBook, Arty Jewelry IV, and I sincerely appreciate your willingness to write up reviews for me.
I also wanted to mention that I have a wonderful Wild Wire Women retreat coming up on the holiday weekend of May 24-28, with just ONE opening available! We're going to do lots of metal arts including annealing metal, form folding, making big cuffs, etching, torch-fire enameling, and a full day of wirework too!
If this sounds like something you're interested in taking part in, email me right away and I'll send you details!
Happy wrapping,