Thursday, July 31, 2008

Artists of the Round Table

I belong to a wonderful group "Artists of the Round Table... A.R.T. for short" a mixed media art group.

A.R.T. is a group of mixed media artists, who offer warmth, support, and outstanding artwork. Here are just a few of the workshops A.R.T. has offered in the past; Wire Wrapping, Polymer Clay, Texture Effects, Art Stamping, and many more…
I love their tutorials

Mission statement

We are a group of artists working in different media with experience from beginner to professional. We are cross-cultural in all nuances of the word. Our vision for Artists of the Round Table (A.R.T.) is to have an online community where race, creed, faith, gender and age is not an issue. Where unity is accomplished through our common gifts of creativity. It is our vision to have a rich treasury of information and tutorials available to anyone who inquires, to have many court activities where all may participate in the festivities, to have wonderful and tasty feasts for the imagination and an overflowing of friendship from your goblet! Please stop by the castle at Artists of the Round Table

Artists of the Round Table

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Making Wire Jewelry … My A.R.T. online workshop

Two Sizes of Wire - Lesson three

Lesson three combines different wire gauges to create different textures. “The necklace was designed especially for a plain round neckline.” I choose 14 gauge Gold Parawire and 18 gauge non-tarnish Silver Parawire to complete the project. Again the 14 gauge wire proved to be somewhat a challenge, I found that my wire coming off my spool was very wavy, and I was very concerned that I would never be able to form the design correctly. But once I filed and rounded the ends, and made the first loops, the design formed beautifully with no wavy wire. I did change the size of the mandrel after making a few silver coils, and if I had more time, I would even make them smaller. Maybe next time…

The Leaf – Lesson three

This leaf lesson is considered a simple design with the intent to teach you that the process of bending wire, while promoting your growth in bending wire for future lessons. The leaf dangle was not difficult to accomplish, and would make a lovely necklace or bracelet. In a future design I hope to incorporate beads to add some interest to the overall design concept.

In this lesson we were given the option of making a necklace or a pair of earrings.

I choose the leaf earrings as my project. Wish I hadn’t…. making a matching pair of earrings proved challenging, though I finally completed a matching pair.

The earrings are very practical and comfortable to wear. They are designed as a two sided earring, were the back is as pretty as the front. Especially nice for women with short hair or women who love wearing their hair up and off the back of their necks. I was slightly disappointed when I found that my ear lobes were too small to carry off the leaf design successfully. I liked the two sided design concept and will try creating another pair of two sided earrings in a future project, just not in a leaf design.

Moving on to lesson four…

Friday, July 25, 2008

My Second Wire Wrap Jewelry Charm Swap

Swaps n’ Challenges

Summer-Patriotic Theme

Kites flying in the summer skies, Angel Fish swimming in the ocean, 4th of July picnics, dancing feather floating in the summer breeze, ice cream cones on a warm summer afternoon, gone fishing...

My charm swap arrived today….

Wonderful designs, created by lovely ladies…

Kites/God’s Eye was the theme of Donna Clark’s wonderful charm. With a little imagination you can almost see Sue Schoch’s angel fish swimming in the sea; coral, shell, glass bead bubbles and green kelp just completed the picture. Valerie Jewell created a fantastic fishy; her design represented fond memories of the 4th of July, summer picnics and going fishing. While, Pam Takacs created a patriotic and beautifully designed Lampwork bead, in what else red, white & blue. Not one, but two delightful dangle charms were created by Jayne Jackson representing both themes; 4th of July and her wonderful patriotic hearts. Sherry ”Dancing Feather” created one of her signature copper feathers in a patriotic theme; a lovely design and a very useful cell phone charm. Our swap hostess, Karon Adams designed an amazing pair of Ice Cream Cone earrings.

This was a small swap, only 10 participants, lovely charms were made by all. I will treasure each and every charm.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My little devil....

Which little devil could that be?
Well her real name is “Samantha”, but fondly called “Sam”. It isn’t that we planned on calling her by her nickname, it’s just she’s always in trouble, who has the time to yell out Samantha when she’s getting into anything and everything.

Even as a very tiny kitten, she was well known at the veterinarians. It was time to take her back to have her surgery stitches checked, they were the new super-glue type, and guess what, Sam had decided on day nine to start licking them, so she had to have the real thing, more stitches, more recovery. That was the day the vet tech said, don’t worry, we’ll always remember Sam, she’s one of a kind…”She’ll always be a kitten”

Well, she loves my beads, wire, everything…She even helps me with my photograph, if I want her to or not, which usually is not. She seems to have the expertise of locating great finds, and of course borrowing them. Sam doesn’t really want that single bead, she wants the whole completed piece. She almost always waits until you either have your back turned or even better yet, late at night, she loves borrowing things. Often I’m awakened during the night, to hearing her taking what ever it is she wants, she has the habit of dropping them to the floor, which I hear, which is what woke me up, but off she goes, and sometimes it’s days before I finally find the missing item.

I have found it necessary to lock up the family jewels, well maybe not the family jewels, but all my under constructions projects. Nothing like getting up for a glass of tea, and returning to find something missing. I know I made 10 wire wrapped beads, but I only have 9, am I have another senior moment…know Sam’s been here, my little devil….Life is never dull…

I wouldn’t trade her for the world….

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Making Wire Jewelry....My A.R.T. online workshop

“Experimenting with heavier wire”
Lesson 2

The Lapel Pin

As I started my second lesson today, I found that my planned design just wasn’t feasible, the wire just wouldn’t cooperate. The heavier gauge wire had a mind of its own. All wire has a natural curve, and experimentation taught me to take advantage of this curve. I also came to the realization that I would never be able to duplicate this design form. I really wanted to flatten the wire on my lapel pin, but decided that I would leave it for another time.

What a surprise when I re-read our instructions and found that I needed to make to pins.

The first Lapel Pin is constructed of 14 gauge Copper wire, this is the design that we were to complete, minus the dangle. For the second Lapel Pin I used 14 gauge Gold Parawire, letting the wire free-form into the design shape, again adding a dangle. Not fond of Lapel Pins, the 14 gauge wire is hard to work, and I feel the pin would damage most fabrics.

A Simple Chain Bracelet

Simple concept, not so simple to construct.
Lot’s of filing, lot’s of burrs…
File, file, file …and file more burrs. Time to consider buying a selection of burr cups.
This simple bracelet is constructed from 16 gauge copper wire, and has a 14 gauge copper clasp.

I did enjoy making this design!

Monday, July 14, 2008

My First Wire Wrap Jewelry Charm Swap - WWJ

This is a collection of all the charms that were submitted by the talented jewelry artist that participated in my first charm swap. Karon Adams made this lovely window heart display showing the beauty of all the charms.

The theme for my first charm swap was Valentines Day/Saint Patrick’s Day. Each participant could choice either theme or both, using there creativity to create 6 charms, or more if they so choose. I wanted to make a charm for each participant, but found that I didn’t have enough supplies on hand, so I only submitted my six charms. The charms that I received are pictured in the photo on the right.

Today I’m waiting for the charms to arrive from my second charm swap…they should be here any day!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Photography…’s driving me crazy…

I even own a light cube!
I am so photo challenged, and more I try, the more confused I seem to get. I’m currently trying to improve my jewelry photos, with not much success. Much of the information that I have gleaned has come from my jewelry related online groups, where they suggest a solid background in the black, grey, white scale, not using props. I did get some decent photos with a white background, but they just seem to be missing something, not really to my liking. So today I decided it was time for me to try using a black background, and found that I liked them much better than the white background. I fiddled with natural lighting, and artificial lighting. The natural lighting was more successful, but even though it’s a cloudy day, the sun moving in and out of the clouds, proved to present problems.

It has been recommended by other artisans not to use props, but out can the props away, why not try to take a chance and see if I could take a photo that I actually liked. Much easier to photography earrings if your using props, and yes, I liked the photos using the props.

Now I need to decide to watermark the photos or not to watermark the photos. In some ways a watermarked photo looks more professional, but the question is, does the watermark distract the viewers eye, as they view the jewelry.

I did come to a conclusion; I personally think my photos listed in my Etsy Store look better when I’ve used props. Yes, I like the black background, and props. Still need a lot of practice, as practice makes perfect. Now if I could make a decision on watermarks. Check by my blog or Etsy Store, and see how my photography improves…

Friday, July 11, 2008

My First Swap Partner….

Just wanted to share my experience in my very first "Beadingaholics" swap, and a friendship that grew from participating.

The swap was earrings, theme was Sunrise, the rules were simple, I signed up to participate, our swap partners were chosen by the hostess, we contacted each other, and mailed off our creations by the due date. I received beautiful earrings from my first swap partner, Diane Battaglia.

Diane lives in Florida, and I live in Georgia, we have become fast friends. I feel like I have known her all my life, yet we have never meet face to face, nor talked on the telephone. We are about the same age, and have so much in common. She has been there for me during very difficult times, when I needed to have someone to talk to, as I have been there for her during her difficult times. Whoever thought a swap would be responsible for the two of us becoming friends.

If you ever have an opportunity to participate in a swap, why not give it a try, maybe you too will meet a new friend, and develop a long lasting friendship.

Diane’s "Frosty Morning" Earrings Design features a netted cabishon on a bone button base, gold delicas, and 15/0 clear seed beads. A single earring can also be used as a focal pendent.

My SunriseEarring design features Wire wrapping, Lampwork beads, Swarvoski crystals, gold filled and sterling silver Mobius Balls and findings.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

My Wire Thing-ie....

A useful tip...

A great little tool that I keep my purse and you can make it yourself. It’s with me when I go to the bead store and with me when I go to the hardware store.

Now when I visit my local bead store, shopping for beads for a design, there is no longer any guessing about what wire gauge will fit into a bead hole. When I go to the hardware store, it’s easy to check wire gauges, and makes my shopping much easier, saving me a lot of time. Better yet, I can get into my bead stash and check the size of the bead holes, knowing the beads will fit the wire gauge I’ve planned on using in my design.

All you need is a simple key ring, wire, tags, and some scotch tape to make this useful tool. Using different gauges of wire, make eye pins, and label each of them with the proper wire gauge. I used scotch tape on the front and the back of the tags for stability. Quick, easy and useful…

Try it, you might like it, and find it useful….

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Adventure Begins...

This is the beginning of my first week of my online workshop, Making Wire Jewelry, aka: MWJ…

I hope you enjoy this journey with me…

My first lesson begins…"An Ancient Design"

“Over four thousand years ago an Egyptian goldsmith produced a lovely and unusual necklace made entirely of wire. As far as we know, he was the first designer to use the coil principle and the first to fit coiled links together in this ingenious fashion.”

In this first lesson I had the choice of a bracelet, necklace or earrings or all three. As I tend to procrastinate, I finally decided that I would make the bracelet, with my wire choice being 20 gauge copper wire. I love copper wire! Love the look, love the feel, love the color.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Photography, My Dilemma...

The photo tells they story, and my dilemma how to improve my photography…

You might say I’m photography challenged. I really have a hard time taking good photos, but this last week I decided that now was the time to try and improve my photographs skills. I have taken photos outside, I really like the natural light, but this hasn’t been the solution. Weather, the time of the day, the right props, and bugs. Yes, BUGS! The lighting might not be right when I have the time to take photos, the weather may not be cooperating, and sometimes I get a great photo, and guess what, a tiny bug is in the photo.

So my next option was moving my photography setup to an empty bedroom. Quite, and I can leave my photo cube up and always have it available when I want to take my photographs. Now I have to practice, practice and improve my skills. The photos are getting better, things are getting easier to do. Oh, did I tell you about the feathers? Yes, feathers! My beloved pet Orange Winged Amazon, Rico, I’m using her room for my photography studio. New problem, but I’ll deal with the feathers.

Rico is a wild caught Orange Winged Amazon, that I rescued 22 years ago.