Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My vision becomes reality! Casting in resin and new beadwork technique.

When I discovered resin, one of my goals was to create original objects from polymer clay and make molds of these objects to cast in clear resin. For my first experiment I made a number of shapes, including a deer's head, snake ring, and butterflies, and took an existing figurine, a cute spaniel,( which used to come in packages of Red Rose tea) and made a mold of that too. The polyester resin has a tendency to remain tacky for a very long time, but anyway, my objects are gradually curing and I was able to take some shots.

I also have been learning new beading techniques. I have always loved native or aboriginal beadwork which we see on moccasins, mitts and other traditional items, and now I am learning some of the techniques. I included a shot of a combination of my own resin cabachon surrounded by beads in a butterfly. I glued white leather to the back and was quite happy with the result.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Results of my first experiments with resin, and some current garden shots.

Here are the promised shots of my first experiments with resin and some of my current garden shots.
I am thrilled with the way the resin brings out the translucency in the soapstone, and my experiments with adding resin to my rings have opened up a whole new potential for "art jewelry". My first results are technically poor due to inexperience, first of all I used air dry clay for the flowers (a poor choice) and I have to learn how to deal with bubbles, but I was still excited to be able to make durable transparent objects.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Etsy store to be re-opened under my own name

I am in the process of re-designing my etsy store and plan to open at a future date under my own name.
In the meantime I will be focusing on refining my techniques with silver, in particular, and I am experimenting with soapstone and resin combined. I will post shots of my results when I have some. I'm planning on something that I have never heard of so I'm not even sure it'll work but I love to experiment.
My gardens are doing well with lots of little tomatoes now and little zuccinni fruits waiting to grow. My next post will contain some current shots of my gardens which I will take tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Working on wider cuff bracelets, filagree type.

I've always loved the wide open woven cuff bracelets and am now making some prototypes or practice pieces. I have a photo of my latest one which is still not quite finished, but gives the idea where I am headed. I have some refining to do on it, but even at this point, I'm wearing it and it's comfortable.
I also included a shot of my everyday turquoise necklace. I wear that one day and night and a lot of the charms on the pendant have special meaning to me. Just wanted to share another aspect of my style, this time in silver.
I'm trying a new background too. To me the white can get boring after a while.

My sister has Skype now. Planning to get hooked up myself and really looking forward to it. I don't have a webcam yet, but she does. So I'm off now to look into it a little more, download it and try it out. At least I have a headset.

Monday, July 7, 2008

A custom piece for a good friend and an anklet.

This time I remembered to take a picture of a custom piece before I sold it and have included it. The pendant is in sterling with swarovski crystal beads, and the hand made chain is sterling too.
I also added a shot of an anklet I just put up on my Etsy site. Anklets are quite popular and the scrollwork lends itself so well to this kind of jewelry. It's my favorite link so far.
I want to learn fusing silver and when I do I shall post shots of my progress. I need .999 fine silver for that and know where to get it where the price won't kill me.

My gardens are doing pretty well too and the other day I took some shots of some of my favorites.
I also have included a couple of shots of my huge African Marigold blooms and my Datura which are just beginning to bud. I will share the full beauty of the blooms when it happens.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

New items to be added to my store.

I may have been away from my blog for a while, but that doesn't mean my hands have been idle. I have been experimenting with ways to make wider bracelets from copper. Once perfected to my satisfaction I plan to make some in silver too. I added the cuff to my store and am planning to add the fine gage scrollwork bracelet pictured here, as well.
Yesterday my niece, her husband, and I went to the Osborne Street Festival where we had a great time looking over booths of many types of items. I wanted to see how the jewelry vendors were set up and saw that it doesn't have to be complicated. I would love to have my buyers try on my jewelry, feel the weight and smoothness of many of the pieces, and really see the shimmer off the crystal pieces I make.
We had an excellent time and it was an education for me.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

New additions to my etsy store

I finally finished my planting for this season and have had time to list some new items in my store in the last few days. Here are some shots of my latest work. I used vintage as well as new components in the two beaded pieces and I liked the effect.
Chainmaille is a time consuming but meditative craft and the results are so interesting. It drapes like cloth and rolls smoothly across the skin or cloth it's worn on.
These items can be bought at my store at: http://www.dianthusjewelry.etsy.com/

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Been busy with my other passion, seedlings

The last couple of weeks have been busy for me because it's seed starting time for a lot of the plants that I will have in my gardens. Tomatoes, nicotania, datura, impatiens, marigolds, allysum and begonias are all on the list of seeds now in various stages of germination. All my tomatoes and a lot of the begonias are up and the datura, an exotic large blooming fragrant beauty, are mostly up too. Usually I grow geraniums and so I would have been busy since March 15, but this year I'm into fragrance and those plants are fast growing and can be started way later.
I use heat mats to hasten germination and florescent lights to help out.

I've also made some new jewelry, but with seed starting and yard clean-up I've been too busy to take pictures. Next post will have some photos of my new jewelry and maybe some of my seedlings too. Fellow gardeners will get a kick out of seeing my little ones.

I never lost the thrill of emerging seedlings, and am always amazed at how quickly they grow. I'm an organic gardener and have never used poison of any kind in my yard. (not preaching, just my personal preference). I have a variety of song birds, squirrels, toads in a really good year, and rabbits too. The rabbits have never gone into my gardens, preferring the clover and dandelions (some escape my digger) to even my lettuce.

Look for pictures in my next post, but I just wanted to let any readers know what I'm up to.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Vintage Jewelry Re-created

Today I will show the pictures of the jewelry I sold to ChiChi yesterday, made up of old beautiful vintage crystals and beads and combined with copper or silver, whatever the beads seemed to ask for. Some sold directly on sight and the rest are for sale at ChiChi. The lacy necklace in silver and purple is already taken as well as the copper and moonglow pearl necklace in the last post. On request I made up another last night which is almost the same, but slightly different with more crystals on the dangles.
The one in shades of purple came from a beautiful named Vendome necklace from the late 40s or early 50s probably, and had lovely crystals and beads in ceramic and also a type of plastic, probably lucite.

I had a great time with these projects and look forward to doing more. There are still lots of treasures in my new/old stash to be re-made.

The shop carrying my jewelry is at 515 Osborne Street in winnipeg, in case any local readers catch these posts.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Spring is Here, New Work to show

The snow has almost melted, the temperatures are now well above freezing almost every day and every day I hear the lovely songs of some of the newly returned songbirds around here.

In celebration of spring and also a try at something I haven't done yet I created a bold colorful pendant and chain in copper, seed beads, and other elements to tie it all together. I put it up for sale at my etsy shop for 35.00 including shipping in case anyone is brave enough, (besides me) to wear it. Even if not, it's painterly elements add color to my shop so I added it. I also have created a pendant of new, old, vintage, stone, mother of pearl and copper which will be added to my shop as soon as I design a chain for it.

I have also made another piece for the local shop ChiChi and have included a sneak preview. This is made up of lovely "moonglow" vintage lucite beads provided for me, and copper which in my opinion compliments the beads beautifully. It even shows up on my copper colored skin (which tents to hide instead of highlight copper). I haven't reconciled myself to mixing plastic and silver, not even with my polymer clay beads. In time maybe.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Vintage Components in a Modern Piece

A while back I ordered some lovely turquoise beads from another etsy seller, the beadersboutique, and have been wearing turquoise around my neck ever since. The first piece in copper and turquoise I have put up for sale at my etsy store. The second one I used silver which I had been waiting for and added a couple of very interesting components to the pendant. The mother-of-pearl arrow dates back to the early 1900's given to me by someone who knows the history behind it, and the other is a small rhinestone heart which I took off the chain and added to my own work. It is a named "Afterthought" piece about 50 or more years old, again from someone who knows the history. I included a close up of the little heart, which I had to have. Rhinestone jewelry had become very collectible and I love it! Especially small components which I can add to my own work. this is a personal piece not for sale at any price.

I also included a shot of my latest listing at my etsy store, http://www.dianthusjewelry.etsy.com
I changed out the man made turquoise beads for magnetic hematite and liked the result much better. This way all the components are all from the earth. This piece ,with the 18 inch copper bar chain I made, is priced at $45.00.I will be showing more of my etsy listings in the future as well.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Staying Here After All and My Latest Projects

I discovered that the other site I mentioned, my Live Spaces page displays some of the print weirdly in Internet Explorer, (Two sentences superimposed on each other) so I am back here again.

I have been busy making jewelry since my last post. Some of the pieces are from the beads provided by ChiChi for exclusive work for them and some are from old crystals I found at an excellent flea market just a few blocks away! I just discovered it and found some excellent stuff.
The crystal necklace I got for just a few dollars is lovely with dark green AB crystals, and I picked up another which is crystal clear, no AB (Aurora Borealis). I can tell it's lead crystal by the way the light reflects from it in prismatic colors. There were also two giant crystals suspended on plain metal chains . One is dark smoky gray and the other is the familiar AB coated white or clear one. Both of them are now focals bracketed by filagree sterling bead caps. These I plan to keep for myself.

I had a great time designing my latest pieces for ChiChi out of the beautiful beads they gave me.
Once they are in the store I will post photos. Some are with the lovely filagree beads and some are with amethyst and some of the gorgeous purple crystals and beads just given to me lately to re-design.

For now I will just include photos of my own work, which I probably won't sell, and the old necklaces before I took them apart.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Moving my Blog

I decided to go back home to my Windows Live Spaces page to go back to more of a photo blog. I am more familiar with the interface and the photo-showing capabilities are great. If I have something to say, I can have a blog there, too. The address is:
http://www.begonia-246.spaces.live.com/ Just thought I would let anyone checking it out know where I will be.

My photos will be organized into specific folders to make viewing more efficient and really, a picture says a thousand words.

See you at my live spaces page, Once the mile long address is in your favorites, it's just a click away.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My Other Line of Jewelry for my Etsy store

These are some shots of a bracelet and rings I am making for my online store at dianthusjewelry.etsy.com.

I love rings too and got a ring mandrel a while back and got started. So far they are all in copper as I learn the techniques, but I am about to graduate to silver and I can't wait to see how the results will be.

The bracelet I am working on is almost finished. The balance is not right on it yet, but this gives the general idea of where I am headed with it. Finishing the row of hematite beads on the top will do it, but I have some unwrapping to do first as I did a crossover I didn't like. Again, I am looking forward to doing bracelets in silver as well.

Resurrecting Vintage Jewelry With a Modern Twist

I have developed a new interest in old jewelry since I was given the task of re-designing the old necklaces and I find it fascinating. The materials, methods of construction, and styles all interest me.

My color selection is huge now and I can't wait to do more with this wonderful material. A few days ago, when I brought in the first of the pieces I had made (a mutually delightful experience) I was given yet another piece all in shades of purple with lovely purple crystals as well, by the vivacious Kathy of ChiChi, ,a local, retro, upscale boutique, at 515 Osbourne Street here in Winnipeg, whose attitude towards going green and preserving our environment meshes with mine perfectly.

Here is a shot of the latest addition to my color selection.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Not ready for prime time teaching yet and other stuff

I postponed my first public teaching appearance at ChiChi, because as the tentative date drew closer I realized that without first testing my lesson on at least one person, how could I expect to do a good job teaching up to 8 people? It wouldn't be fair to the owners or the students to use a public venue as my first teaching engagement, I decided ,and we agreed to postpone it until a later date. In view of that I removed the post on the lesson, also reasoning that maybe I should try it out first before I go blogging all over the place about it. I plan to practice on friends and family first to test it and may well have to modify it.

On the subject of vintage jewelry, which I am now interested in, hand made, one of a kind jewelry was common during the period from 1890 to 1914, referred to as the"Arts and Crafts Era". During that time there was still a general distrust of factories and mass produced items, according to the article I read, and in view of that hand made jewelry was highly valued. It states that emphasis was placed on metals like brass and copper and semi-precious stones as opposed to precious were more widely used. What I found most interesting about that is that parallels with the present day movement towards artisan jewelry. Here, a century later, I am learning the techniques of creating hand made jewelry, just as artisans of the past were doing.

This leads me to wonder on the age of some of the pieces entrusted to me to redesign for ChiChi. So many pieces have evidence of hand made construction. The shots in this post will also show evidence of hand made construction. Now I want to find out about the metals used in these pieces too. To me it's so cool to know that 100 years ago others were using a hammer, anvil, and specialized tools and wire to make jewelry, quite possibly using many of the same techniques I am now learning.
The top photo shows hand twisted wire, and the one of the beautiful filagree beads beside shows the hand made links in a dark metal, I still haven't identified.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Evidence that the vintage jewelry was hand made

While looking over the box of treasures bestowed upon me , to redesign for ChiChi I discovered many instances of evidence that these pieces were also hand made. I was amazed at the workmanship and wondered about the creators of these pieces. Who were they? Did they work in a jewelry factory? Where were these pieces made? I went and like the nerd that I am looked for a book on vintage jewelry. Now I want to find out the history of jewelry-making, particularly 20th century, and late 19th century. My search for a really good reference was unsuccessful but I did find a magazine on vintage jewelry, restoration of it, and a bunch of ideas to supplement the ones I already had for the old imitation pearl strands. Here are some close-ups showing hand-made characteristics of old pieces.
The eyelet chain in the top photo is one that I have been learning just lately from a book. I was amazed to see it here on this necklace. It was done so neatly but the string finishing it up reminds me of the way I finished some of my early jewelry creations.
I was happy to find lots of evidence of copper and brass in vintage work. Much as I adore silver, the cost is a killer compared to copper and brass. I love copper too and brass also has a beauty to it. I even saw copper and crystals combined in restoration pieces. I may try some copper in combination with some of the blue crystals, but I know silver and blue will also meet in a joyful union of silver and crystal. My mind is dizzy with the possibilities.
Oh yes, I must include the findings that materialized when I took apart some of the old necklaces. The detail is amazing and I found that they combine in an amazing way with the old crystals.