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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Cutting Bezels on the Silhouette

Recently I had the opportunity to take a metal clay class on how to cut bezels on a Silhouette.  This might require some explanation for those of you who are not familiar with one or both of those words.

A Silhouette is a machine that is sort of like a printer, except it cuts instead of prints.  It is designed for scrapbookers to cut shapes out of paper for their scrapbook pages.  Another brand that you may be familiar with is a Cricket, but unlike that one the Silhouette doesn't require cartridges.  It has software that allows you to create designs.  I have been using it to create stencils for etching glass for some time.  At right is a picture of my Silhouette.

In jewelry, a bezel is a strip of metal that holds a stone in place, as you will see later in this blog post.

Wanaree Tanner is a talented metal clay artist who apparently has been doing some experimentation with the Silhouette.  Holly Gage, another talented metal clay artist, was hosting Wanaree for a 2 day class in how to use the Silhouette to cut bezels.  I had to drive to Pennsylvania, but it was worth it!

The first thing we had to do was design the back plate and bail for our pendants.  We designed a texture for them using scratch foam and a ball point pen.  I love using scratch foam!  Here is a picture of mine at left.  I used a template for the bail, and I thought the shape kind of looked like leaves.  So I drew some leaves and made more leaves on the back of the pendant.  Since I'm kind of artistically challenged, I just had them poking in from the sides.  Then I decided to make a little bug flying through the middle.

We picked the design we wanted for the bezel, and Wanaree showed us how to cut them out on the Silhouette.  Then we attached the bezel to the back plate, attached the bail and fired.  After firing, we did not do finishing work before setting the stone.  We set the stone first, because the bezel is very thin and delicate.  The silver was still all white looking, as you can see in this picture.  (The chain is just one I happened to be wearing.)  The bezel is the zig zag strip that is holding the stone on.

I bought this stone off a hippie outside of Taos, NM at the Rio Grande Gorge bridge back before they rebuilt the bridge.  (It was really scary to walk across!)  Since this pendant was a class project that I would keep I wanted to use a stone that meant something to me.  He told me it was Spectralite, but someone at the class told me it was Labradorite.  It doesn't matter to me, it looks cool either way.

Below is a picture from the first night when several of us went out to dinner.  From left is Silvie Waals, Wanaree Tanner and Holly Gage.
Silvie entertained us with lots of interesting stories!

Here is my finished pendant, front and back:

To learn more about using the Silhouette with metal clay, check out Wanaree's YouTube video.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Jewelry Inspired by Nature

Octopus Necklace
A few days ago I did an Artfire collection of nature inspired jewelry by the JCUIN guild.  There were so many interesting pieces, I thought I'd share a few more here.  You can click on the pictures for more into.

Above is a piece that I thought was really unique.  You don't usually see octopus jewelry.  This one is part of a set by Plethora of Jewelry.

Angel Fish Naval Ring

At right is another unusual piece.  An angelfish dangle belly button ring.  I thought it was so cute I had to include it here.  This is by one of our newer guild members, William or as he's better known, Dream Catcher Man.
Copper Blues Tree of Life
Copper Blues Tree of Life

Of course, if we're going to talk about jewelry inspired by nature, there's going to be at least one tree!  This handmade tree of life pendant is blue and copper, including a blue moon.  You can find it at Wagoner Wire Works.

Spiral Wire Wrapped Pendant Necklace, Simple Scroll With Alexandrite
Spiral Wire-Wrapped Pendant

This intricate wire-wrapped pendant, right, was inspired by the spiral of an ammonite according to Margaret of Boho Wire Wrapped.  Spirals are certainly a favorite of jewelry designers everywhere.  The bead in the center is an alexandrite, which changes color depending on the type of light.

Frog Pendant Fused Glass Green Yellow Handmade
Fused Frog Pendant
A green frog jumping through the grass is definitely nature inspired.  This pendant is made from fused glass by Roxanne (me) of Shanghai Tai.

Crocheted Snowflake Ornament
Crocheted Snowflake Ornament

Last, but certainly not least, when I saw this I knew I had to include it here.  Winter is almost here, and those of us who live up north will be seeing these soon, if we haven 't already.  This crocheted snowflake ornament isn't really jewelry, but sometimes we jewelry makers like to diversify a little.  It is made by Wyvern Designs.

If you'd like to see the Artfire collection, you can find it here:  Inspired by Nature