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: 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

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.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Amazing things happen with crystals and silver

Out of this box of vintage treasures I will be creating new pieces out of old. This is what happened when the old findings of one necklace, the crystal beads of another necklace, and some heavy sterling silver got together. The photo does not do it justice I'm afraid, but here goes. Here is another shot of what happened when a single crystal became "framed". I have been wearing this beauty for a few days. These beads are the ones referred to in the blog written by the owners of ChiChi. These are what I left with and in time they will be upscaled and re-designed into new items. I couldn't wait to get to the crystals and in real life the results of the union of silver and crystals is amazing! My next post will be a trip back in time to examine how the vintage jewelry was constructed.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Some of my other recent work or "play".

I made a bold chunky substantial bracelet, and I think it is so cool that when you wrap wire around a stone it suddenly becomes a bead in this type of caging. These stones have personality so wrapping them is more of a challenge than a round bead. Here's one of them. At this point the wrap is still a bit loose to sell something like this. I would have to make closer coils or use harder wire.

This is another copper and turquoise pendant. I must whip up some quick chains too. It is awkward when you can't wear a piece right away. These, the heart one will be up for sale on my etsy site when I have a chain to go with it.

One more copper and turquoise, how can you tell I like that combination? Soon I'll be showing more silver, my very favorite.

Monday, March 3, 2008

I "m going to digress for a moment

I worked yesterday and today, and on the days I work outside the house I don't usually have the jam to take on a new project. I am not idle with my hands however, because some activities with wire sooth me and I often, after completing a project, don't quite remember how I did it exactly. The ideas flow from my head to my hands almost without volition on my part like being "in the zone" as any artist has experienced.
I'm a total nature freak, gardener, feeder of birds , lover of butterflies etc., and this has led me to do figurines of my favorite animals and some of the birds. I have also been making nature jewelry for years too. Lately I've been experimenting with my polymer clay butterflies. At this point I have no intention of putting any of these up for sale, but eventually as I refine my techniques I do intend to go further with polymer clay until I have refined it to sell. Some of my jewelry using poly beads have been put up for sale as those qualify in my opinion. but not my nature stuff quite yet. I have some shots of my butterflies too.
Well, I have some serious jewelry making to do and decide about and the thought brings a smile of joy to me. I love to work with extreme beauty and those crystals in that box are calling me! The wire work pendants are my "relaxation pendants" this is the front and back of the one I made last evening while pondering on my next project. I can be dead tired and still I reach for the hammer and the anvil, the thick copper wire, and my tools and "stuff happens!!"

Saturday, March 1, 2008

What I am up to now

I have been making my own jewelry for a while now, and just lately set up an online store. The name I chose was There you will find an eclectic collection of the first of my work to be shown and put up for sale.
Just today I had a meeting at a local shop who has seen some of my work online and asked if I would leave some work on consignment. It was a lovely time and the vibe was warm and friendly. I was given a lot of old necklaces with truly awesome vintage beads and assigned the wonderful task of re-making them into new pieces. In my next post I will have shots of some of the beads I got and will show what I'm working on at the present time.
The lovely shop where my jewelry will be featured is called ChiChi and is at 515 Osborne street here in Winnipeg. They have a wonderful collection of retro, vintage and truly interesting items. I am so glad to be a part of it now. In April we plan to have a class with me teaching some of my wire wrapping techniques. I'm totally looking forward to it.
Well have to go now....and maybe whip up a necklace or two tonight.