Wednesday, 26 February 2014

February 26

For Your Ears Only

I sold a pair of earrings on etsy the other day so thought I'd make a new pair or two to restock my shop. With a lot of snow still hanging around, there will be no tidying of the shrubs anytime soon anyway, so it's good to get to the bench for a few days.

I decided to start with a pair of round studs.

Doubled It

Plain round studs are pretty boring, so I elected to double them up. The end result is more three dimensional than the photo shows. I cut four circles and stacked them with a small bit of 16 gauge square wire between to add depth.

Finally, I gave the back circles a satin finish – using a brass brush and a wee bit of soap. I brought the upper circles to a mirror-polish so the contrast (a bit hard to see here) is very pleasing.

That garnet ring in the background is a prototype and suffered a few minor flaws during fabrication. Another item for my excessively large collection of "not good enough to sell" jewelry. I may need a larger jewelry box soon!

Loop the Hoop

With more than an hour of working time left, I took a couple of 16 gauge wire rings that were left over from making a bracelet and re-shaped them as earrings.

It was a pretty simple task. I straightened one end of the wire then sawed it to a suitable length. I soldered a sterling earring post to that end and smoothed off the free end.

I wanted to add a bit of texture to these. That was easily accomplished with the riveting end of the hammer in the photo. I laid the rings flat, one side then the other, on the anvil then worked the outside of the hoops over the round part of the anvil.

I think, although nothing exceptional, each pair is really quite pleasing. Simple, classic silver earrings.
I spent another hour taking photographs and writing up the descriptions so I can list these tomorrow morning.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Let the Games Be Done

February 23 - I've Been Awed by Athletes for Days and Days and Days

With so much to watch from Sochi, it has been really hard to get any work done. I think we enjoyed it more because it the Games were here fours years ago. It gives you a different appreciation of the event. When the Russian bear at today's closing blew out the flame and shed one big tear, I knew how he felt. It's hard to say goodbye when you have been immersed in the magic of excellence.

Meanwhile, Back on the West Coast

Where have all the flowers gone? 

We woke up this morning to news that Canada had the Men's hockey gold medal. Happy about that. Opened the curtains. Not happy about that.

It looked even worse before I went out and shook several inches of snow off those cedar shrubs. I know we are so much better off winter-weather-wise than most of the continent but this is so not Wet Coast weather for late February.

Oh, well, I see the plow out there now and do not really need to go anywhere anyway ;-)

And, Out in the Studio

When there was neither skating, nor skiing, nor hockey to distract me, I went to work on this tiny pair of garnet studs. In photo above, they are sitting on my bench after polishing. In the photo to right, you can see that my darling built me a rack so my pliers can live atop the bench instead of in a drawer. This makes is so much easier to lay hands on the right pair. Shop is shaping up.

To the right, one of the photos I took so I can list these studs in my etsy shop tomorrow.

These sterling silver studs measure just a touch more than 1/4 inch across and the stones are 3mm.

They are tiny but quite charming. I think they would be great for a young girl – maybe a flower girl gift?

I really must get doing more bench work. I belong to the Creative Jewellers Guild of British Columbia and the Guild is hosting an artisan jewellery show and sale next Mothers Day (info at: I need to increase my inventory before that. Just hope the winter wonderland moves on soon as it is not such fun to need snow boors to go to the studio!

P.S. spell checker is scolding me for jewelllery. Sorry, but it's the Canadian spelling so it's the Guild's spelling ;-)

Friday, 14 February 2014

Artistic Efforts

February 14 - No Valentine for Patrick Chan

Just watched the Men's Free Skate. That Olympic Curse still clings to Patrick Chan like glue. The opportunity was there but he just couldn't grab it. Actually, the whole skate was a bit disappointing - not one skater laid out a great performance. Perhaps, with all the pressure to land huge jumps, it is getting impossible to skate clean in a 4-minute outing. The short programs were much better.

It got me thinking about artistry in general and the failure you have to court in any artistic activity. Play safe and it gets pretty boring. Take risks, you are bound to take a creative tumble or two (or more) but you stand the chance of advancing your art.

I'm just glad I can leave my failures on the bench where nobody has to see them. I have crashed on many, many of my "quads".

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Finally: Something Finished

February 10 - Earrings Done

Sometimes you just keep getting sidetracked. Ever since I finished that marmalade, things have been keeping me from the bench. Not big, important things; just small, annoying chores and errands. Eventually, you do get a break;-)

I started these stud earrings a few weeks ago. Sometimes the materials are my inspiration. In this case, I had a few of these silver discs and square wire rings sitting on my bench. One day, while waiting for a piece that was in the pickle pot, I started manipulating them. This design is the result. I hammered the discs for texture then soldered the rings to wrap them and gave each a tiny silver ball as a finishing touch. I think they are fun.