Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Couple of Projects & $10 Off My Craftsy Class!

I thought I'd post a couple of inspirational photos that are based on techniques offered in my brand-new Craftsy class, Big and Bold Wire Jewelry. First up, you can see pictured above one of my embellished pendants which was made using the techniques I teach in Lesson 4, "Bold Focals."
In my online class, I used one large focal bead, a variety of beads and pearls, and heavy-gauge copper wire to make a heavily embellished pendant on a commercial chain. This approach is the most economical because copper wire is relatively cheap, and you can use leftover beads and found objects to make a very interesting focal piece that would look great in any necklace.
By contrast, the pendant shown above is quite pricey! I used sterling silver wire to create a forged and textured frame, and then several beautiful beads and pearls with fine-gauge sterling silver wire to embellish it. A simple handmade chain is very effective in this design, because it supports the pendant without overwhelming the design. I'm really happy with this particular necklace, and although a few people have offered to purchase it, I don't think it will ever be for sale.
Don't be surprised if your embellished pendant takes several hours to make. The design pictured above took eight hours for me to complete, not including the handmade chain. Time-consuming, yes... but I didn't mind that, because it's so much fun to make these pendants and the results are always spectacular.
Next up: a nice, hefty fine-silver bracelet made with 12-gauge fine silver rings that are interconnected into "rosettes" with a pretty ceramic focal bead in the center. Because I used fine silver, I was able to fuse each ring as I connected it to the previous ones until I had four clusters of five permanently interconnected rings. Try saying that three times!
The ring clusters were then connected in a bracelet with large figure-8 links, a focal bead connector with wrapped loops, and a simple hook clasp.
This bracelet was made using techniques that I teach in Lesson 1, Getting Started with Heavy-Gauge Wire, and Lesson 5, Getting Started with Fine Silver Fusing. You can do this! Yes, even if you're fairly new to working with wire. It helps to have some hand-strength when working with heavy-gauges of wire, but with practice you'll be able to manipulate it to your heart's content. I love wearing this bracelet; here's how it looks:
Sometimes the simpler designs have the most impact. And knowing that my bracelet is connected together permanently relieves any anxiety I might have about losing it or watching it break apart suddenly and unexpectedly. I think we've all had that experience at least once while wearing handmade jewelry, am I right?
And now, here's the best part of this post: a link for $10 off my online Craftsy class, Big and Bold Wire Jewelry. To sign up and save, click right here.
I look forward to seeing you in class, answering your questions, and seeing photos of your finished pieces!
Happy wrapping,

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Artsy Buttons for Sale at Idyllwild Quilt Show!

I'm super excited to be taking part in the Mountain Quilter's 12th annual quilt show and sale next weekend, October 17-18!
We'll be at Buckhorn Camp again, in a huge venue that allows plenty of space to walk around and see the beautiful, award-winning quilts on display. And the vendors at this show are going to be terrific; including quilt fabrics and patterns, kits, creative embellishments, art baskets, jewelry, and MY BUTTONS!
I'm selling my handmade, hand-glazed ceramic buttons—each is one-of-a-kind—for $10 each (cash only) throughout the duration of the show. Once the show is over, I'm retiring this aspect of my art business, at least temporarily.
While I love working with ceramics and have enjoyed making creative buttons, beads and pendants to sell, right now I'm taking care of my 83-year-old mom who needs constant supervision. I'm not able to pursue my artistic activities (making new designs, teaching, writing books and articles, etc.) while I put Mom first in my life.
I do dabble a bit on the side, and you can always learn from me through my previously published books, DVDs, and now my brand-new wire jewelry class on, but new ventures will be put on the back-burner for a while. It's a small sacrifice, one I'm happy to make for my mom, who has given so much to me throughout my entire life.
So, I hope to see you at the quilt show next weekend! Idyllwild is lovely this time of year, when days are still warm and sunny but nights are crisp with a smell of autumn in the air. It's my favorite season, and a wonderful time to visit.