Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Metal fabrication books

Create Colorful Aluminum Jewelry by Helen Harle
Simple techniques and recycled materials...how can you beat that?

Mixed Metal Mania by Kim St Jean
A fabulous manual that will take you through beginner techniques right into intermediate.

Heat, Color, Set and Fire by Mary Hettmansperger
Surface effects for fabrication artists who have mastered the basics.

Rustic Wrapping by Kerry Bogert
An amazing section on adding patinas to metal.

Metal Magic by Kim St Jean
Picks up where Kim's first book left off.  Great projects and techniques.

Unconventional Chain Mail Jewelry by Laura Poplin
Merge your chain mail mania with other materials, like textured metal.

Metalworking 101 for Beaders by Candie Cooper
Want to add creative metalwork to your beaded designs?

Metal clay books

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

I may possibly be offline for a few days.  Even if a few more posts show up, I may or may not be able to approve your comments or answer your questions.  See you soon, I hope!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!


Carmi's Art/Life World
Sometimes you just need to make yourself something with whimsy...hence my new Mickey and Minnie necklace!

Resin Crafts!
This week Carmi turns some pastic rings into fabulous new beads! 

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean is preparing ahead for "Frankenstorm" in the East by reminding people to be ready for the Kalmbach Bead Soup Party! For the detail, see Jean's blog!

A Bead A Day
Halloween jewelry? Lisa's featuring a variety of great designs and designers leading up to Halloween.  

About.com Jewelry Making
Tammy talks about making a fused glass color graph.  

Art Bead Scene
Guest blogger Heidi Post shares a tutorial on building a fun and practical earring shadowbox display  

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Book review: Push Jewelry

The entire Push series by Lark Publications is designed to explore the outer limits of each discipline it covers.  Already there are Push volumes covering Paper, Stitch, and Print, and you can find reviews for these books posted on Mixed Media Artist.  

These are not project books, and they are not even coffee table books filled with work that you will love.  In fact, I didn't love any of the work in Push Jewelry.  There were pieces that I liked, pieces that provoked me to think, pieces that challenged my sense of what jewelry is.  Even though the work is wonderfully photographed, and the books are beautifully presented, these are far from being typical eye-candy books.  Some of the work may even gross you out...but it WILL get you thinking, guaranteed. 

I recommend this book, but with several reservations and a big caveat.  The reservations: Do not expect to learn how they do what they do.  Do expect to enter the process and the mind of the artist, and that's not always a comfortable place to be.  The caveat: Do not buy this book unless you are truly interested in the boundaries, the edges, the broken taboos, the challenging, the offensive.  You can be interested in this work and fascinated by it without wanting to make it!     

This post contains an affiliate link

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Update on my sequined quilt

Sequins...beads...both have holes, right?  

I really enjoyed taking part in the Sequintastic September challenge that my friend Sarah organized.  The tutorial that I worked up is posted over on Mixed Media Artist for any of you that are interested in more details.

Sequined quilt - part one
Sequined quilt - part two 

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Make your own "Darth" pendant

During one of the fabulous bead swaps hosted by my equally fabulous friend Lori Anderson, I was paired with Cindy Wimmer Muse.  Besides a bunch of seed beads in wonderful metallic colors that I love so very very much, Cindy included this round cool filigree pendant just for fun.

It took me awhile to figure out what to do with it, but when I received the package of tools from ImpressArt, it all came together.  There were a couple of round copper blanks that were the perfect size to hide underneath the pendant to make a cool three layered pendant...with a secret message.  My family all have adopted "Darth" names for each other (from Star Wars), and my nickname is Darth Pyro.  Although I wouldn't exactly want to proclaim that to the whole world, it charmed me to think that I could wear it in secret and only reveal it to whomever I wanted. 

But now all of you will know too.  Hmmm...

Materials and Tools

Two filigree pieces, preferably different sizes and shapes
Jump ring
Copper blank
Black acrylic paint
2-part epoxy

Flat nose pliers
Metal stamp set
Torch (optional)

1. Use a jump ring to attach two filigree pieces together.

2. Using a copper or brass blank that is the same size (more or less) as the top filigree piece, stamp with your secret message.  I added a heat patina to my blank first with a torch.  I used black acrylic paint to make the words stand out.  Black marker, which is usually recommended for this, will not wipe off a heat treated blank as easily as off of an untreated one. 

3. Two-part epoxy makes an easy join, or you could add a hole to the blank and attach it to the jump ring.

4. I like the copper color just peeking through the top filigree piece.  

Copyright 2012 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Unusual Beads From India - Maruti Beads

I was approached recently by Maruti Beads, creators of some of the most beautiful and unique beads I've seen in a long time.  Was I familiar with their beads?  No.  Would I take a look at their website?  Of course.  Would I like to see a package of the beads and examine the quality for myself?  You betcha!  Aren't these gorgeous?

All of the styles that Maruti makes (Kashmiri, Lac, and some of their own proprietary Maruti) are handmade beads made by master craftsmen in India.  Look at the detail...you know that each one of these is a work of art, painstakingly created one at a time.   We don't even have a category on our Suppliers page (link up in the tabs at the top of Beading Arts), so I added their link directly to that page.

I plan to make several pieces in the near future that use these beads, but I couldn't wait that long to show them to you.  So stay tuned!

Some of the Kashmiri and Lac beads look similar at first glance, but they are made from entirely different substances.  I was happy to find this chart that explains simply what the differences are:    

Kashmiri beads: 
• Produced by combining marble powder and synthetic resin
• Use a single color base
• Have metal frame holes
• Do not soften when heated
• Are strong and durable

Lac beads: 
• Use natural resin and marble powder in their production
• Usually have no frame
• Are manufactured from multiple color bases
• Become soft when heated
• Are delicate and should be handled carefully 

Every month, Maruti Beads is giving away a $60 mixed package of their gorgeous beads.  You do NOT want to miss out on this opportunity, believe me!  Visit the link above for details on how to enter. 

As regards FTC disclosure guidelines: I have received a mixed package of beads free of charge from Maruti Beads in order to write a review and/or create a project free of charge for you.  I have not been paid for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received.

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!


Art Bead Scene
Pantone has its Autumn color reoprt out for 2012 and Heather shows some great inspiration for using those colors with a selection of her art beads.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi starts to teach tarn ring making and learns something from a child instead. 

Resin Crafts!
Lucky vintage coins are transformed into lucky resin bezels!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean has some exciting whoops and yells for the brand new magazine, Australian Digital Magazine, which she will be working for with her beloved editor Kelly with whom she formerly worked for four years at Au Beading. This fab new mag. could not be more exciting. Jean gives just a few of the the reasons why!  

About.com Jewelry Making
Shrink plastic is back, and Tammy takes a look at a new book all about it.  

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Metal artists: Fred and Janis Tate

The last time we traveled to Portland OR to see our daughter, we were fortunate to be there over the Labor Day weekend when they hold Art in the Pearl, a fine arts and crafts festival.  There were some very fine jewelers represented, but none better (in my opinion) than Fred and Janis Tate.  It seems appropriate to introduce you to their work during Metal Month, because they are extraordinary fabricators!  

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Book review: Showcase 500 Rings

How I love these 500 series books by Lark PublishingShowcase 500 Rings is no exception...it's a visual feast of gorgeous and challenging rings that will make you sigh with delight one moment and have you scratching your head the next.  How in the world would anyone wear that...?

I was really in love with all the non-traditional materials chosen for inclusion in this book: resin, polymer clay, fabric and fiber, and base metals were well-represented.  Some of the rings I hated, but I'm not going to tell you which, because those may be the very ones you love the most!  So here instead are some of my favorites.

Isabelle Posillico made Aqua Satellite, which is featured in the large image on the cover.  Classically beautiful, but still arresting with the unconventional swirls.  Sofie Boons constructed a ring series called The Memory of Scents.  These are fabric rings filled with scented gold dust which leaves behind a smudge and a scent everywhere the wearer goes.  Ian Henderson had two entries from what must be a musically-inspired series.  Tchaikovsky and Mussorgsky are made from rubber wrapped over an aluminum frame...not particularly practical to wear, but possessing such beautiful lines! 

My very favorites, though, were made by Dukno Yoon.  Moveable rings!  So cool. 

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cold Connections guide available

Jewelry Making Daily has made this wonderful little e-booklet available free!  Visit the link and download your copy today. 

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Rock On! pendant

I wanted to try my hand at making a bezel style inspired by Kim St. Jean in Mixed Metal Mania, but with a considerably different set of materials, tools, and techniques.  Trust me, mine turned out much much less impressive than hers.  Kim uses real metal sheets, and since I had none, I used...an aluminum can!  Kim would probably prefer that I didn't even link her name to this particular piece, but I had a lot of fun making it nonetheless!  Now that I've got the basic idea, I think I could probably make one that looks an awful lot better ;-)

Materials and Tools

Aluminum can
Future floor polish
Copper metal blank, rectangular
Black acrylic paint
26 gauge craft wire
Jump rings

Old scissors
Black marker
Metal hole punch (ImpressArt)
Eyelet setter
Metal stamps (ImpressArt)
Brass brush
Wire cutters
Chain nose pliers

1. Use an old pair of scissors to cut apart your can.

2. Apply Future floor polish to the stone you plan to use if you want a wet look.

3. Trace around the stone on a piece of paper to plan the metal tabs of your bezel. 

4. Add the tabs to the drawing as they will be when bent into place to plan placement of the holes for wire lacing that will be added later.

5. Cut out the shape from the can.  Punch a hole in the bottom of the bezel and draw a dot through it to place the matching hole in the metal blank.

6. Punch the small holes around the tabs for the wire lacing.  Punch a second hole at the other end of the bezel.  Add an eyelet through the first bezel hole and the matching hole in the blank (do not set it yet).   

7. Draw a dot through the second bezel hole to place a mathcing hole in the metal blank.  Remove the bezel and eyelet and punch the second hole through the blank.  Place eyelets through the blank and the bezel and set them. 

8. Stamp the bottom of the blank with your metal stamps.  Brush all over with a brass brush.  Add black acrylic paint if desired to bring out the stamping.  Wipe off the excess.

9. Twist a length of craft wire through one of the eyelets on the far left of the bezel.  Add the rock and fold the tabs over.  Begin to lace the wire through the holes in the tabs, weaving back and forth.

10. Tighten up the weaving and burnish the tabs close to the rock.  Wrap the loose end of the wire around the base of the stone, forcing it between the bezel and the blank.  Clip wire off and force end under the bezel.

11. Punch holes in the top corners (it might have been easier to do it before attaching the bezel!).  Add jump rings.  Your pendant is now ready to add chain, fibers, beaded strands, or whatever combo you desire.

Copyright 2012 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

About.com Jewelry Making
Hemp and beads and your own two hands equals a super long fabulous necklace.

Art Bead Scene
Heather has some beautiful examples and tips for using the new Vintaj patinas on metal .

Carmi's Art/Life World
A simple twist and some pinning results in a recycled t-shirt rose. 

Resin Crafts!
A vintage postcard with dried edelweiss is the inspiration for a new bracelet! 

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reports on a cozy Autumn email from Cynthia at the lovely jewelry and craft store, Ornamenta

A Bead A Day
It's all about perspective when designing, especially when it comes to scary Halloween projects! Beads once thought of as pretty now take on a menacing vibe!


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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Metal artist: Judy Grum

Judy Grum
Gems by Judy

At Gems by Judy, you will find pieces in a wide variety of different mediums. My personal favorite is metal smithing. I love to take a raw piece of metal and see the transformation resulting from cutting, embossing, texturizing, and bending it into its final form. I also enjoy trying out new finishing and different texture techniques on the metal. Achieving the finished product requires a bit of engineering to determine the best construction method to arrive at the desired result. Different elements may then be applied with either cold or hot connections to create magical pieces.

My jewelry business began less than a year ago. I had taken a silver metal clay class the prior summer and discovered my passion for jewelry making. This year, I obtained my certificate as a Precious Metal Clay Artisan with Rio Grande. This certificate provides the qualifications to teach the art, and at some point I would like to instruct others. My plans are to continue to sell online, but since I'm a people person, I would like to venture out and begin selling at art shows and the local street fair. I live in the desert so I'm waiting for the end of the intense heat prior to selling outdoors. I don't want my customers to burn themselves trying on my metal pieces! My intent is to make pieces that people loving wearing as much as I love making them.

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Yay for Sharon!

Congratulations to Sharon, who writes MoonRae's Art, Thoughts, Whatever!  She is the winner of Candie Cooper's fabulous new book Necklaceology

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Book review: Unconventional Chain Mail Jewelry

Have you ever thought about what would happen if you integrated chain mail with other materials, like textured metal, leather, wire, and beads?  Well, Laura Poplin has given this a great deal of thought, and has come up with a marvelous new book, Unconventional Chain Mail Jewelry.

The introduction covers the basics of all the different materials that you'll be working with.  Most attention, of course, is paid to the jump rings that you'll use to construct your chain mail, including helpful charts so that you know you're choosing the right rings for the project.  I wouldn't say that this is really a beginner's book, but a highly motivated beginner could definitely enjoy working through some of the projects.

Unconventional Chain Mail Jewelry actually covers only 5 different chain mail weaves, which surprised me at first.  However, the variations are endless, as I soon learned, so my opinion now is that limiting the weaves to some basics like these was a very good idea.  If you've been wondering what to try next with your chain mail, you might just find some fabulous new ideas here!

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Book review: Chain Maille Jewelry Workshop

 As chain maille gains in popularity year by year, wonderful new books keep appearing that will help you get started.  This new volume from Interweave Books was written by Karen Karon.  Chain Maille Jewelry Workshop is a terrific beginners book, and will no doubt be of interest to those with experience too.  Karen covers all the basics of materials and techniques, but she has added some amazing "next step" information to each chapter that everyone will love: speed weaving tips!  Wow, I'm still working on getting my jump rings to be the right size :-)

Never fear about that either, because Karen has a terrific series of charts at the end with the aspect ratio problem all spelled out for you.  Not being a lover of math, I'm so happy that someone else has done it for me ;-)

Karen covers seven different popular chain maille weaves, with a project included to use the new skills in each section.  These weaves cover the three types: chain, sheet, and unit weaves.  The designs and weaves progress in complexity as you work your way through the book, so practically everyone can find something that suites their skill level.

I like how each chapter develops an entire skill set and introduces you to the necessary tips, tricks, shortcuts, and approaches to help you master the weave and go beyond the included project.  The illustrations are particularly helpful, using many different colors to make the step-by-step instructions super-easy to follow.  Yup, I feel like even I could do it!

Some of Karen Karon's beautiful work

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Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Twisted wire copper bracelet

After reading through Kerry Bogert's fabulous book Rustic Wrappings (my review is here), I was yearning to try one of her projects.  I posted about the experience in more depth on Mixed Media Artist, but let me just say here that this bracelet is one of my new faves.  Probably not going to end up selling it.  Nope!  That patina ended up just about as good as any I've ever done.

Copyright 2012 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Monday, October 08, 2012

Every Leaf Speaks Bliss to Me - part two

Last week I showed you how I used the tools from ImpressArt to stamp out a pendant for a new necklace.  Today, I want to show you how I used their metal hole punch to make a cool hand-fabricated chain to go with it. 

Materials and Tools

12 Gauge wire
Rub and Buff
Krylon matte acrylic spray
Jump rings

Wire cutters
Ball peen hammer and block
Brass brush
Metal hole punch (ImpressArt)
Chain nose pliers
Round nose pliers

1. Cut pieces of thick craft wire to equal lengths.

2. Hammer one end flat, give the wire a half twist and hammer the other end flat so that one end is vertical and the other is horizontal.

3. Use a brass brush to roughen up the metal.

4. Torch each wire to roughen up any remaining color coating.

5. Add holes to each end.

6. Dab on Rub and Buff in desired colors.  Let it dry thoroughly and spray lightly with Krylon matte acrylic spray.

7. Use two jump rings between each chain link.  Create two equal lengths of chain.

8. Use 12 gauge wire to twist into a hook.  Add the hook to one length of the chain and an extra jump ring to the other.

9. Use jump rings to attach the lengths of chain to the pendant.  

Part one - Creating the pendant
Part two - Creating the chain

Copyright 2012 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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