Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sale! Save 50% on Big & Bold Wire Jewelry Class!


This is just a quick post to announce a 50-percent-off SALE on my brand-new online class, Big & Bold Wire Jewelry! Normally $39.95, for a limited time you can save $20 when you use this link:
Join me and 250 students (so far) in a fabulous adventure making beautiful, bold jewelry using heavy-gauge wire, including fine-silver fusing techniques. It's lots of fun, and I hope to meet you in class!
Happy wrapping,

Monday, September 21, 2015

NEW Online Class Launches Today!

My brand-NEW online workshop, Big & Bold Wire Jewelry, just launched on www.craftsy.com moments ago! We are now live and ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work! Fortunately, it's all fun... and lots of it. We'll be exploring several options available for working with heavy gauges of wire to make beautiful jewelry.
We also have a contest winner, who has been notified. Thank you to everyone who entered the contest! I'm so thrilled that so many people have already signed up for the course and I can't wait to meet you all online.
Note: This is an intermediate-level wire workshop, so if you need a beginner's class please look for one on craftsy.com before signing up for my class. Some basic knowledge of wire-working and wire-wrapping is required to take my class, because there wasn't sufficient time to go over the beginner-basics. The good news is, several other jewelry instructors offer a foundation in wire working. You'll find plenty of options to get you started in this wonderful art form!
Once you've mastered some basic techniques, I hope you'll join me in my class because we do get to explore some really fun techniques using heavy wire gauges to make big, bold jewelry pieces. I suppose I should clarify what I believe to be "heavy" gauge wire... The distinction is somewhat arbitrary and will differ from one wire artist to another, so here's how I break it down:
Fine-gauge wire: 18, 20, 22, 24, etc. down to 30
Medium-gauge wire: 16
Heavy-gauge wire: 14, 12, 10, 8, and so on
In class we'll make limited use of fine-gauge wire (for ear wires, wire coiling, bead dangles, etc.). We will be using lots of heavier gauges, especially 14 and 12. I'm going to show you some techniques for making bold focal pieces, clasps, big jump ring rosettes, and more.
My favorite portion of the video lessons comes in the latter half of the class, when we start fusing fine-silver (99.9 percent pure silver) wire to make rings, which we'll then shape, forge and texture to make beautiful links. If you've ever wanted to try out this technique, you'll find it's very easy to do at home with minimal supplies and tools. No need for solder, flux or pickle when you fuse fine silver! That's the beauty of it. And fine-silver jewelry is just gorgeous!!! I guess you can tell I'm a bit fanatical about it.
So, I hope to see you all in class and please do post your comments and questions so we can interact personally on the platform. This is what makes craftsy.com classes so valuable.
I'm making myself available every day for several months so that we can have questions answered, and I'm very eager to see pictures of your finished pieces as well. If you'd like critiques of your work, I promise to be both honest and gentle! We're all here to learn from one another, and I cannot wait to get started.
Happy wrapping,
Sharilyn

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Contest Alert, Part 2!

In my previous post, I mentioned that www.craftsy.com is running a terrific contest. The main prize? Lifetime free access to an online class called Big and Bold Wire Jewelry, which I just filmed in Denver last month. There's still time to enter, so if you're interested, click here!
Pictured above, you can see one of the more advanced (but still doable) projects from the second half of my class lessons. The last three lessons (out of a total of seven) focus on fine-silver fusing, manipulation, forging and texturing, and embellishing with wrapped pearls and beads!
(Picture above by www.craftsy.com)
If you're new to fusing with fine silver, no worries. I begin my lessons right at the very beginning, with tools and materials, how to use two different kitchen torches safely in a home environment, setting everything up, and lots of troubleshooting tips—we all need those. I promise you'll feel very confident of your ability to fuse fine silver once you've finished the very first lesson. And there's still more to come!
We'll make simple finger rings, spacer beads (from melted balls of fine silver, demonstrating how to make use of our mistakes!), fused shapes with jump-ring connectors (see the photo below), interlocking links that can be used to make bracelets (such as the one pictured at the top of this post), fusing wire shapes inside other, larger shapes, and wire-wrapping beads or pearls onto fused and textured shapes to make gorgeous bracelets, earrings, and more.
These are valuable skills to have. For example, the heart earrings that I make (pictured above) typically retail for $55 a pair. If you sell just one pair of earrings from your class, you'll have paid for the class and made a profit as well.
Fine-silver fusing is a blast! I love the technique. With this approach to joining metal, you may get some unpredictable results. Your look will be a bit more "organic," but the little imperfections that are part of this art form are simply beautiful. That's why I love it!
I also appreciate the fact that I can very quickly join metal without using solder, flux, pickle, or other harsh chemicals. You needn't pickle your fine-silver jewelry because it doesn't oxidize (darken) from the heat of the flame. When soldering sterling silver, copper and brass, you must pickle it with an acid-based solution to remove the fire-scale. With fine silver, simply cool the finished piece in water, and it's ready to wear.
Here's another great thing about fine silver: Customers love it. They'll appreciate it when you offer a fine piece of jewelry made with 99.9 percent pure silver. With sterling-silver jewelry, who really knows if it's pure sterling or silver-filled? The only way to tell for sure is to cut the wire and take a look inside to see if it's pure all the way through. Nobody wants to do that, so customers have to take it on faith that your sterling-silver jewelry is the real deal, and they're getting value for their money. Not so with fine silver!
Besides fusing fine silver, finished links are fun (and super easy) to manipulate into a variety of shapes, big and small, geometric, organic, or abstract. Fine silver is very soft and malleable, so you can have a lot of fun with it. I also love hammering and texturing my metal pieces, and given that fine silver is so soft, it naturally takes deep impressions from hammers and chasing tools.
In my www.craftsy.com class (Big and Bold Wire Jewelry), I show you how to shape and forge and texture your pieces to make them stand out. I also show you how to "force tarnish" fine silver jewelry using cold liver of sulfur and a dipping/polishing technique. You can get amazing colors on your jewelry this way! There's nothing like fine silver.
(Picture above by www.craftsy.com)
I also demonstrate how to wrap pearls, beads, gemstones, etc. inside your finished links to make unique jewelry pieces. Adding just a few semi-precious gemstones to your jewelry at little cost will dramatically increase the appeal of your jewelry, so those of you who like to sell your pieces will have something extra to offer your customers.
Big and Bold Wire Jewelry is a class jam-packed with lots and lots of techniques. The emphasis of this class is on manipulating heavier gauges of wire to make bolder jewelry pieces, but you can easily substitute finer gauges of wire to make similar jewelry if you choose. I show you lots of options and set you free to explore your own creativity with wire. It's a great adventure, and I hope that you'll join me when it begins this September 21!
You have a few more days to enter the contest. Just click right here.
Happy wrapping,
Sharilyn

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Contest Alert! FREE Online Class Giveaway...

Last month I had the awesome opportunity to film an online class for www.craftsy.com called Big & Bold Wire Jewelry! Now that my class is almost ready to launch this Sept. 21st, they're offering one FREE class giveaway through a special contest.
The class includes lifetime access to all seven lessons offered, in an online environment that also includes my live participation through Q&A's and evaluation of your finished jewelry. If you run into trouble, or if you just want some advice, I'll be there to help you!
Quick! Sign up through this link: http://www.craftsy.com/ext/SharilynMiller_Giveaway
Once you've signed up for the giveaway, there's nothing to do but wait... and you just might be the winner! My fingers are crossed for you.
Here are just a few of the projects you'll learn how to make using heavy-gauge wire:
(Photo credit: Craftsy.com)
In our first lesson, we'll talk about working with heavy-gauge (14ga through 10ga) wire, and we'll use it to make huge jump rings that we'll interconnect into gorgeous rosettes. The necklace pictured above is just one way to use your rosettes; another of my favorite designs is a bold bracelet like this one:
Once you're comfortable using your tools to work with heavy wire, a whole new world of design options will open up for you! And the great thing is, you can make some or all of the projects in the first four class lessons using inexpensive copper wire before trying out your new skills with sterling silver or gold-filled. (The remaining three lessons focus on fine-silver fusing, which I'll talk about in a future post.)
In our next lesson, we'll make heavy-gauge wire frames that we'll embellish with a variety of beads, pearls and charms using finer gauges of wire. Here's an example of what you can make with the techniques you'll learn in this lesson:
In my www.craftsy.com class, I used copper wire to make a necklace pendant very similar to the one pictured above. Once you learn how to make a pendant, you can easily use the same skills to design beautiful pins, bracelets or earrings. It's lots of fun, and a great way to use up leftover beads and pearls from other projects!
I'm also going to teach you how to make bold S-clasps with coil-wrapped beads, wire forging and texturing techniques, ear hooks, and more.
Here's another project we'll tackle using copper metal strip instead of wire:
Tornado earrings! These are FUN to wear, and incredibly lightweight. The earrings pictured above were made using metal punches. Here's another option:
And of course, you can also use texturing hammers and chasing tools to make incredibly beautiful copper strips that can then be formed into beautiful cones for earrings (this is demonstrated in our lesson!). I also show you in detail how to make bead dangles on headpins--perfect every time.
There are too many projects from my NEW Craftsy class to show in a single blog post, but I will be posting more photos with descriptions very soon. In fact, I haven't even touched on the last three lessons, when we'll be using two different torches to fuse fine-silver wire and shape it into a variety of different links and pendants to make bracelets and earrings. You'll just have to tune in later for more info on that...
And if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me!
Happy wrapping,