Saturday, August 29, 2009

Breathtaking Beauty Minutes from Home

For the last couple of weeks my Mom and I have been making tentative plans to visit the English Gardens in Assinaboine Park, which offer sweeping vistas of flowers in a joyous riot of color. I am fortunate enough to live only a few miles from the park and I love that such beauty as well as a large urban forest are so close to home. I especially enjoy visiting the park with another avid gardener. I get my love of gardening from my mother who has had plants and gardens as long as I can remember.
The weather finally cooperated today and since the flowers were late this year they are still in very good shape and we were busy taking pictures the whole time. I was lucky enough to see the beautiful Brugmansia with huge trumbet shaped downward hanging blooms in several places and will include some shots of them. I also took shots of huge dalias 'Dinnerplate' sized but called different names. Here are some of the shots I took on our lovely outing.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Store is on Hiatus but not my work

I've decided to take a short break from running an online store, as a seller at least, and I'm using the time to concentrate on learning new techniques and creating new pieces.
I really love chainmaille and want to get more into sterling silver pieces. I just finished a new sterling bib necklace in a loose chunky weave that is so comfortable that the other night I fell asleep wearing it. The links are large and bold and create a 3D effect against the wearer.
Today was cool and cloudy and I did some more fusing and tumbled my latest links and my newest necklaces, the one mentioned first and a long chain that I made using some of my existing chainmaille links from a previous post, new oval links and double heart links.
Above are some shots of my latest pieces.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Teaching myself how to create fused silver links

I've finally learned some of the basics of fusing .999 fine silver. A while back I got a small butane torch and some fine silver with which to practice fusing and I'm finally getting the knack of it. I love the convenience of fusing the silver without needing all the extra items like pickle, flux and solder and having to go the hassle of cleaning off firescale, a discoloration which is a by product of heating regular.925 sterling silver. The biggest challenge for me in the learning process is learning just how far to hold the torch from the silver. When the right distance is achieved the process is quick, easy and quite fun. I love the heat that reflects off the firebrick too. It's a lovely warm hobby.
I make sure the window is open and the room is well ventilated, but at least with the little torch and the short time it's burning, the fumes are way less of a problem than when using MAPP gas, for example, which is what I bought to use for making glass beads.
Once the rings are fused they can then be shaped and for my first design I made a number of ovals and hammered, and textured some of them. Here are a couple of shots of my first successful attempt to make a number of fused rings in one session. I finished this piece, which I won't part with, with lovely Hill Tribe silver charms which were a sweet gift from my sister once she found out I was into making jewelry. My goal is to master different shapes of fused rings and creating whole chains, with all the rings fused. Chain making is really one of my favorite activities when making jewelry, both using fused rings and chainmaille which uses mainly open rings.