Wednesday, May 22, 2013

New Bead Kits Offered on Etsy!

I've just listed several brand-NEW bead kits in my etsy shop, and I wanted my blog readers to be the first to know....
In each kit I've provided three handmade stoneware pendants (sizes vary between 1-1/2˝x1-1/2˝ and 3˝x3˝), a hand-selected assembly of vintage and handmade beads that complement the pendants, and a copy of my super-popular DVD, Tribal Treasures Bracelet Workshop.
All this for $39.95 per kit, and I even provide FREE priority shipping & handling in the US. Since my DVDs retail for $29.95 each alone (and they are also available in my etsy shop), I think this is a super deal.
I haven't listed all the kits available here on the blog, but this posting shows a pretty good sampling of what's available. Each pendant is unique and one-of-a-kind, no duplicates, no push-molds! And they really are gorgeous, whether they're glazed with celadon or shino glazes, or oxide-washed and buffed with permanent metallic wax.
Each bead kit is unique, and, once sold, will never be duplicated.
I love assembling these kits for students because I know that it can be difficult paying for several strands of beads just so you can make one jewelry piece. By ordering a kit, everything you need except the wire is included, so it's a no-brainer. All the beads and pendants go together very harmoniously.
I don't include wire in my kits because there are too many options—copper, sterling silver, fine silver, gold-filled, red brass, yellow brass, colored craft wire—so I'm not even trying. But once you put some wire together and gather your jewelry making pliers and a chasing hammer, you're ready to make a gorgeous necklace or bracelet.
The DVD included in the kit provides two and a half hours of very intensive instruction, filmed closeup over my shoulder so you can see everything with perfect clarity. For more information on this DVD, please click here.
If you have any questions about my bead kits, feel free to email me. I hope you like them!
Happy wrapping,

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

New Glossy Glazed Pendants, Fresh Out of the Kiln!

As promised, I'm posting more photos of my high-fired stoneware pendants that just came out of the kiln. Glazed and fired to cone-10 in reduction, these pendants are as durable as they are beautiful. I'm really excited about this new series!
I experimented with various glaze colors this time, and I even made a few buttons.
The fun never ends with these. I don't know which part of the process I like the best: creating the pendants from stoneware clay, or painting them with glaze.
Here are a few more:
And some buttons:
The fun thing is, you never know for sure just what's going to come out of the kiln until you open it. Here are some more pendants:
Although there are similarities between my pendants, each is one-of-a-kind. I don't use push molds. I hand-stamp and texture each and every pendant individually to make each one a unique little work of art.
This might not be the most efficient way to work, but it gives me more pleasure to do it this way. I like knowing that other artists who use my pendants in their art jewelry or mixed-media arts will have something unique to include in their work.
Here's one last batch:
Whew! And that's only a sampling of some of my favorite pendants and buttons from this kiln load. I'll be putting together some bead strands with my handmade pendants to sell in my etsy store very soon. They'll be packaged with my instructional DVD, Tribal Treasures Bracelet Workshop, so that anyone who wants to learn how to make beautiful, ethnic-inspired wire jewelry will be able to do so.
Happy wrapping,

Monday, May 20, 2013

New Stoneware Pendant Series, Fresh Out of the Kiln!

Fresh out of the kiln today, my new stoneware pendant series is an exciting addition to my hand-painted porcelain pendants! I just started photographing my newest pieces, so there will be more posts soon with more images.
All of these pendants are fired to cone-10 in a reduction kiln, which gives them extra durability and a very interesting sort of "burnt" look. Either you cherish this ethnic style or you don't... as for me, I really love it.
After firing my oxide-washed pendants to cone-10 (2381 F), I used an alundum stone to remove any rough areas, including bits of glaze that attached in tiny areas of the backside of some pieces. They are now perfectly smooth and very comfortable to wear in jewelry designs. I also buffed them with a permanent metallic bronze wax—which is very difficult to capture in photography—but it really gave these pendants a terrific pop of metallic color and brought out the beautiful textures in each one.
I purposely created each pendant with large holes for suspending on jewelry wire, leather cording, or other materials suitable for jewelry artists. The pendants also have other decorative uses for mixed-media arts, book arts, basketry, and more. So you'll be seeing some of them in my etsy store this week! Of course, I've fallen in love with a few of them and I'll reserve two or three for my own use. But the rest goes live in my store very soon. I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

New Workshop: Woven Wire Cuff Bracelet

If you like knotless netting with wire and using mixed-media in your jewelry creations, you'll love this workshop offered at Brea Bead Works next Saturday!
The "Victorian style" woven cuff bracelet can be made with copper wire (as pictured above) or with sterling silver, as pictured on the cover of the Feb/March 2013 issue of Step by Step Wire Jewelry magazine. Easy and fun to make, the weaving on this cuff bracelet is reinforced with heavier gauge wire that also holds pretty bead dangles.
Finish by tying on vintage buttons, beads or other treasures, and you'll have a unique cuff bracelet unlike any other.
My workshop runs from 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday, May 25 at Brea Bead Works in Brea, California. Students will finish their jewelry in class!
To register and obtain a supply list, call the store at 714-671-9976.
I hope to see YOU there!
Happy wrapping,

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Workshop Series in Denver this June!

Well, I'm really excited to make the formal announcement that my workshop series slated for June 21-23, 2013 in Denver, Colorado, is definitely on! I'm teaching three fantastic full-day workshops for the members of the Rocky Mountain Bead Society, beginning with my super-popular Metallo del Fiore bangle bracelet (student bracelets pictured above) on Friday, June 21.
We'll spend half the day working on metal arts (sawing, filing, texturing with hammers, engraving metal), and half the day making a wire-based bangle bracelet with handmade clasp.
Tons of techniques will be shared, and this workshop results in a fabulous jewelry piece!
On Saturday we switch gears just a bit and focus on foldforming metal to make a pin like the one pictured above (made by my student, Sharon Nodelman, during a Wild Wire Women retreat), or a pendant, plus a pair of foldformed earrings.
In this workshop, you'll learn a lot about metal including sawing, filing, forming and shaping, texturing, punching, and lots of annealing and pickling with the torch.
Exciting and fun, especially for women who love to hammer and torch!
We wrap up on Sunday, June 23, with another full-day workshop focused on wire techniques. We'll learn ways to turn copper tubing beads (that we make ourselves) into ancient-looking artifacts, wrap them with wire, twist wire to make gorgeous jump rings, make wire clasps, and create a variety of different wire charms including spirals, hearts, and more.
Foreign coins, old buttons, and other found objects will be tortured with our hammers until they resemble antiques, and added to our bracelets. Ambitious students who work fast may even make a necklace instead of a bracelet...
If you'd like to participate in these workshops, you can join by contacting the Rocky Mountain Bead Society or by registering on their web site; click here.
Classes are $55 each for members or $110 each for nonmembers, so I recommend joining for a $25 fee. Membership to the RMBS has many benefits besides my workshop series, so check it out!
Students will need to bring their own tools (supply list provided to participants upon registration), but some materials will be provided. I hope to see you in Denver next month! This is the one and only time that I will be teaching outside Southern California this year.
Happy wrapping,

Thursday, May 9, 2013

FREE Tutorial: Fisherman's Cuff Bracelet

If you love wire jewelry, the Fisherman's Cuff is for you! It's all about wire.
I used 6ga copper round wire for the base (8ga could be substituted), and then wrapped it with dead-soft sterling silver wire in finer gauges. Coiling and double-coiling, knotless netting, and artificially aging your finished cuff will result in a spectacular piece of substantial jewelry that you'll love to wear.
Tools & Materials:
measuring tape, about six to eight inches of 6ga (or 8ga) round wire (the length depends on your wrist size), five feet of 22ga round wire, three feet of 20ga round wire, 10 feet of 18ga round wire (all wire is dead-soft), bracelet mandrel, heavy hammer, jeweler's saw with blades, jewelry files or sanding papers, chain-nose pliers, liver of sulfur, 0000 (super-fine) steel wool
Begin by measuring your wrist with a measuring tape to determine the approximate size of your cuff. Add to this measurement about one inch for a slight overlap. To cut 6ga or 8ga copper wire for the base of your bangle, be sure to use a jeweler's saw.
Tip: If the 6ga or 8ga round wire you use is from the hardware store (a great source of heavy-gauge copper wire), it's probably work-hardened and needs to be annealed with a torch before use. Quench, pickle, rinse and clean the wire as usual. Then wrap it around a bracelet mandrel at your chosen placement, and hammer down the ends firmly. Use a heavy hammer for this; it needn't be a jewelry hammer. I used an old beat-up hammer from the garage, and it worked just great for the rough look I was aiming for:
The wire ends will be jagged, so use a good-quality file or sanding papers to smooth them. Set aside the cuff for now:
Pick up the 22ga wire and coil the entire five feet of it around the three feet of 20ga wire. You can use copper wire instead of sterling silver, but I really like the look of the silver wire contrasting with the copper base wire. This is up to you. Be sure to coil tightly, with no gaps or overwraps!
Once the entire length of 22ga wire has been coiled, bring the coil to the center of the 20ga wire so that you have an equal amount of 20ga wire protruding from each end of the coil. Bend the coiled wire in half:
Place the coiled wire onto the 18ga wire, and begin coiling it from the center out. At first, you'll be double-coiling the already coiled wire onto the 18ga wire, but after a few wraps you'll run out of the coiled wire and simply continue wrapping the bare 20ga wire onto the 18ga wire:
When finished coiling, use chain-nose (or bent chain-nose) Classic Wubbers pliers to gently press down the wire ends. This is important, because it keeps the wire end from scratching you or snagging your clothing.
Slide the coiled/double-coiled wire to the very center of the 18ga wire:
Now you're ready to wrap the coiled wire onto the heavy-gauge (6ga or 8ga) copper wire cuff. Wrap firmly, working from the center of the double-coiled wire out to each end of the coiled wire:
When you run out of coiled wire, wrap the bare 18ga wire around the copper cuff just one time. You should have several feet of 18ga wire on each end to work with, which will be used to create knotless netting on the copper cuff.
Begin by bringing one wire end up, and then point it downward and underneath the 18ga wire right next to the coil as indicated in the following photo:
Pull the loop close and tight, using chain-nose pliers to assist in the pulling if necessary. You should have a fairly small loop on the wire as shown:
Continue looping the wire as described above, all the way around the circumference of the copper wire. When you reach the area of previously looped wire, run your wire end down into each loop and pull it closed.
Tip: If you have trouble pulling your loops tight, use chain-nose pliers to assist in this. Personally, I prefer to use the Classic Wubbers chain-nose pliers. The bent chain-nose works really well for pulling wire without breaking it:
Continue looping (or knotting) your wire in a random pattern down the copper wire base, until there's just about half an inch of copper wire remaining. Snip off any excess silver wire and spiral it in with the tips of the chain-nose pliers:
Repeat all of these steps with the other half of the 18ga wire, until the entire cuff bracelet is coiled and covered with knotless netting as shown:
As an option, you can artificially age your Fisherman's Cuff using liver of sulfur (LOS) and hot water. Use either the chip form dissolved in hot water, or paint on the liquid gel using an old paintbrush. I place my jewelry in an old plastic container and then brush on the gel to avoid staining my work surface:
Sometimes the gel won't darken all the surfaces quickly enough. In this case, pour a small amount of hot water over the bangle and you should see a darkening reaction right away:
Remove the jewelry, rinse it thoroughly, and dry it with a clean towel:
Polish the "high points" of the silver wire using 0000 (super-fine) steel wool or a polishing pad. If you use steel wool, once finished be sure to scrub the jewelry clean with a brass brush and a few drops of Dawn dishwashing liquid to remove grease and dirt. As an alternative, you can use a jewelry tumbler with water, and tumble the bangle for an hour or so.
Again, you'll need to rinse and dry it before wearing your jewelry:
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Many more wire jewelry techniques and projects are found in my instructional DVDs and eBooks, including Arty JewelryArty Jewelry IIArty Jewelry III, and Arty Jewelry IVIf you would like live instruction on jewelry making techniques, I offer day classes at some jewelry stores in the Southern California area. I also teach my techniques during Wild Wire Women retreats held in my mountain home in Idyllwild, California.
Happy wrapping,Sharilyn

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Memorable Wild Wire Women Retreat...

Another Wild Wire Women retreat in Idyllwild has come to an end, and it's amazing (as always) how quickly our time together has flown by! I miss my friends already. A memorable weekend for sure—in part because everyone was so incredibly prolific and made so many gorgeous jewelry pieces, but mostly due to the laughter we shared over three and a half days working in the studio together.
The champagne helped, too!
Patti Bullard (inventor of Wubbers jewelry pliers) devoted her time to making two very complex and truly stunning jewelry pieces, including the sawn & pierced and textured cuff bracelet pictured above and below:
Patti also made a beautiful enameled penny charm bracelet, which was our first project for the weekend. Here is her masterpiece:
Our weekend was made so much more fun because Patti kept us in stitches with her infectious laughter and can-do spirit. She tackles every challenge with joy and enthusiasm, and her concentrated efforts produced two stunning works of art jewelry.
Another friend, Mary Gregori, was also very successful this weekend with her projects. Pictured below you can see her enameled penny charm bracelet:
And here is Mary's colorful Biker Chick Bangle bracelet (from my DVD, Bohemian Bangles):
Mary also made a beautiful etched cuff bracelet using a fish stamp image from Fred Mullett:
And a sweet pair of earrings:
Finally, an abstract pin that Mary made in class this weekend, loosely based on a triangle/spiral pin design featured in my bestselling book, Bead on a Wire:
I was amazed and blown away by Mary's art jewelry!
Finally, my friend Susie Lane from Virginia made several stunning jewelry pieces over the weekend, using copper wire provided as part of the class fee but also adding some of her own sterling silver she brought with her. The following photo shows her spiral-based and coil-wrapped bangle bracelet, which is also stepped out in detail on my Bohemian Bangles DVD:
Susie also made a beautiful enameled penny charm bracelet accented with Celtic knot links (featured in my book, Wire Art Jewelry Workshop). The bracelet is a gift for her dearly loved sister, Dagmar:
And here's a cute pair of enameled penny earrings:
One of Susie's most stunning pieces is the etched panel bracelet she made, which took most of a day to complete. I think it was well worth the effort! I have hundreds of rubber stamp images in my collection, and Susie chose a doll image by Impress Me rubber stamps to create an etched cuff which she then cut into square panels. Because they are squares, each panel can be turned different ways and shifted about into an abstract pattern before assembly. I love Susie's bracelet, don't you?
Finally, Susie's take on the Metallo del Fiore bangle bracelet design, featuring a Czech glass button and her own design for a metal motif that frames the button:
We had such a great time together! I think the combination of uninterrupted time spent in a relaxing environment with a fully equipped studio plus lots of great food, wine and champagne makes for a successful workshop retreat. But add to that the genuinely loving and generous spirit of my students, their almost nonstop laughter amidst a serious application to learning new techniques, and you have a win-win-win weekend of Wild Wire (and metal) Women!
Here are my friends, seated (from left) Patti, Mary, and Susie!
I hope to see them again soon, perhaps during my workshop retreat to Spain next year (more on that soon!). If you would like to come out to Idyllwild for a retreat, please visit my blog here for more information. There are still lots of open dates for 2013.
I hope you'll make this year your opportunity to take part in a Wild Wire Women retreat!
Happy wrapping,