Sunday, January 30, 2011

First flowers.

Enameling. The art of fusing glass to metal. So much fun, and surprisingly time consuming. I'm starting out slowly. I think I'm mainly going to stick to smallish shapes, each one an experiment in color.

The colors. My goodness. The colors. The possibilities are endless. I want to try something new on each piece. Just to see what will happen. And learning with each experiment.

I have already learned several things. Like while a finished piece is quite sturdy, it's still glass. And if you drop it on a concrete floor it will chip. :p

And you have to sift about a bazillion layers and fire that many times to achieve a really nice finish. Okay. So it's not a bazillion, really more like ten times, but it feels like a bazillion when the whole time you're wondering if it will work, what will the colors look like? Am I finished? Could it use one more layer? I'm not patient at all. It's just that I want to see the colors!

And even when it's 50 degrees outside, sitting in front of the kiln is hot work. 1400 plus degrees! And the there's the particulate mask and the welders glasses. It's really a sexy look....

And before all that there's the sawing and refining of copper shapes. Would you do all this if you didn't love it?

So. This is the first batch of experiments in color out of the kiln. I had several pieces that didn't meet my standards. One pair of little bright pink hearts that were slightly burnt from over firing that my oldest said she wanted anyway. She's been wearing them as earrings non stop since I made them for her earlier this week. Another pair of hearts are just so, so, and she wants those too.

Except for the flower, the hearts all have a speckled sort of look about them. I can't help but think of the speckled Easter eggs I love to make every year. :). Like I said it's all an experiment....I wonder what will happen if I.........:)

Friday, January 28, 2011


I really love playing with my beads.  Each one a little gem, beautiful on it's own, and even better when paired with other colors.

I think you all know by now how much I love earrings.  I love making them, and wearing them.

These trifles work perfectly for someone like me.  I'm a stay at home mom who also works from home, and I have the mom uniform.  You know.  Jeans and a simple shirt.  I tend to dress in solid colors, so I love grabbing a pair of earrings that will highlight the color I am wearing, or add a pop of color to liven me up a bit!  :)

All these trifles have wire wrapped beads for extra security on sterling silver wire.  Built to last.  These earrings will survive many years and outfits to come.

I am short on time tonight to get these all listed, so if you would like to lay claim to a pair, either e-mail me or Etsy convo me and I'll reserve them for you.

Have a fabulous evening everyone!  TGIF!!!!  :)


On Wednesday evening I realized that I hadn't even started a ring this week for RAW.  I knew I didn't have a lot of time to pull one together, and just started working with things that were lying around on my bench.

The stamped concho was left abandoned on my bench after it's mate didn't make the cut.  (Once upon a time it was meant to be an earring!)

And this little rectangular cab of turquoise was the first cab I saw when I opened my drawer.

The turquoise hails from my home state of Nevada.  Mined near Tonopah.  I have named this ring "Home Means Nevada"

It's actually a song you know.   Our state song.  Home means Nevada, home means the hills... home means the sage and the pines....there in the heart of the Golden West....Home means Nevada to me!

So here is my little tribute to Nevada.  I'll be listing it in my shop shortly.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mixed feelings about mixed metals...

To date, this is the only mixed metals piece I have made.  Well, the only one that has considerable work in it...

I really have mixed feelings about mixed metals.  Especially mixing Sterling or Fine silver with copper or brass.  Copper oxidizes soooo quickly.  And brass, I'm really not sure how I feel about brass.  I like the look of brass, but only if it's been oxidized.  

This ring for example has quite a bit of silver in it, and only the heart is copper.  Being a metalsmith, I know how to take care of it, or how to clean it up when it gets ugly.  But what about the average customer?

Of course I'll do my best to educate my customers on proper storage, cleaning etc...but how often have you left a piece of jewelry laying around, forgotten about it and then discovered it was an oxidized mess?

Some may think it's beyond repair...

I don't know.  Maybe I'm over thinking it.  Maybe it's the jewelry snob in me.  But I am seeing a lot of mixed metals lately.  I know it's the price of silver that is fueling this trend.  I'm just not certain if I want to embrace it or not....

What do you guys think?  Mixed metals or no?  

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 1 with the kiln-

I don't have any photos to share. Everything I worked on today is still in the ugly stages.

Learning a new skill is always interesting. There is anxiety, followed by a state of unsurety (and that's where I am now) and ending in feeling like you actually know what you're doing. I know that it's going to work out. Eventually. I hope.

I did learn some things today. Like don't use hard flux under enamels that melt at medium. I mean I guess you can use it. It's just basically useless. And sometimes leaves a weird lump in my otherwise perfect finish. Yes, I know I could crank up the heat. But I'm using red enamel. Which I've read burns easily and not to over fire. Bah!

And I'm still trying to figure out if I need to do a flux layer for transparent enamels once, or under each colored layer. If anyone one has any insights I'd appreciate the advice.

So. There are going to be a lot of experiments in color in my future. Some will work. And some will not. It will be interesting to see how it all works out.....

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Here she is...

Right on track....

I know it's only 3 weeks into the the new year, but I am pretty happy that I have been keeping up with my business goals.

I'm all caught up on RAW and THAW.  I've been able to have regular weekly updates....

Of course there are still things that are up in the air.

For instance my artisan findings shop, RubyMountainBeads on Etsy, and ArtFire.  I've had them shut down since early October, and still haven't found the time to decide the direction I want these shops to take.

I am considering just concentrating on the jewelry for awhile.  I don't want to totally shut the door on artisan findings.  I just need more time!!!!  I just don't know that I do myself justice by splitting my time between two stores.  It almost feels like each shop is getting 50% of me rather than 100%.  And I am really enjoying creating jewelry right now.  We shall see....

I just updated my Etsy shop this morning.  And, we just got home from picking up my kiln.  Oh yeah!  I forgot to tell you guys about my kiln!  Surprise from my husband.  He researched it, found a place in town that had one, and took me to pick it up today!

I am excited and intimidated all at once.  I'm going to spend the rest of the afternoon cutting shapes from copper and screwing up my courage to play with a box that reaches 1600 degrees.  Next weeks update will be all about enamels!  Oh, and trifle earrings...I'm still having fun with my bead box.

Wish me luck!  I'll post some preview pics here of items I just added to my shop.  If you want to check it out click here.  Have a super duper weekend everyone!  :)


 Rhodonite from Nevada looking like a wood grain pattern.  The colors look like pink mixed with dark brown at first glance.  But when you look closely, it is in fact a deep dark purple.
 This particular stone was cut by Terry of LostSierra on Etsy.
 It has been in my collection for some time.  But when I went on my pink kick, I pulled it out.
 Doing a little research on the stone, I discovered that Rhodonite is associated with the emotion of Love.
 Well, no wonder I was drawn to it right now!  Now, when I am on a pink love kick.  (Thank you Valentines Day!
A lacy detailed edge and a scalloped bezel, heart cutouts on the back.  Pink opal, rhodocrosite, and pink tourmaline beads.  100% crafted by my own hands here in my home studio.

Friday, January 21, 2011


I have a great love of royalty, and by extension, crowns.  I have designed my very own crown.   Set upon a copper heart with sterling silver decoration and a glittering oval of kyanite at its center.

I have been wanting to try a few new things with this RAW project.  So, here we have my first mixed metals piece.  And my first crown!  I think I may be hooked.  Made entirely from my own sketches,  I am proud of this little beauty.

On the back of I have stamped "love & loyal".  The heart of course representing love, and the crown representing loyalty.

I'm hoping to have time to list this baby later tonight!  TGIF!  Have a great evening!  :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Work

Remember when I mentioned that I was torch enameling?  Well, here are the first fruits of my labor.  I have been having so much fun!!!

I can already tell I'm going to be needing every color of enamel I can get my hands on.

I cut the shapes out of copper sheet, and enameled them.  When they were complete, I thought they needed a little something...

So, I grabbed the filigree wire, and made sterling silver charms that rest on top.  You can still see the gorgeous color of the enameling, but the filigree just sets it off with some detail!!

I just added these and the Aphrodite earrings to my shop.

TGIF!!  I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!!!  :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I've told you all about the RAW52 project I'm doing, but I haven't had a chance to tell you about THAW52 yet.

Any guesses what THAW stands for?  :)
 It stands for "Thing a Week".  
 Which, while I do enjoy making rings, appeals to me greatly.
 Because that means I can make my very favorite things, Earrings!!!
And as you can see, I am a week behind, but plan on being caught up just in time to begin week 3!

These are the Aphrodite earrings, in keeping with my red, pink and heart themes that I am enjoying right now. :)

All of the metalwork hand made by me here in my home studio with sterling silver and faceted ruby rondelles.  

I better get back to work!  Shop update tomorrow! :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

RAW52~02 Lacy Valentine Ring

A large Lacy Valentine made with a gorgeous chatoyant heart shaped cab of Orchid Quartz.  Cut by Terry at LostSierra.

The back has the word "love" stamped in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Welsh.  The band is wide, and has the same lace work as the setting, slightly tapered in the center for comfort!

I had hoped to update my shop by today, but it looks like it's going to be Friday!  See you then...

Friday, January 7, 2011


A little history first.  Last year, I followed a very creative metalsmith named Tomi.  And, I learned recently that's pronounced like "tommy" not "toe mee".  So, I have had to change her name in my mind, since for most of the year I had thought it would be "toe mee".  Anyway.... :)  She belonged to a flickr group called Ring A Day.   The challenge for the participants was to create a ring a day.  It didn't have to be made of metal, it could be made of anything.  From a full on fabricated silver ring, to a ring of paper.  Just so that you made a ring a day.

Tomi made it to the end.  One of the few from what I understand.  I joined the flickr group last year so I could check out all the rings, but never really got the chance to follow anyone but Tomi since I follow her blog.  And I must say, I really enjoyed seeing her posts every day, and my very favorites of her work are the shadow rings that she does.  They are super cool....

So, Tomi announced some time in December that she was starting a Ring A Week group.  I started toying with the idea right away.  I think I could handle a ring a week.  I really would like to use this project to challenge myself to try some new things.  I already have a list going!

My very first ring completed in the New Year was "Tranquillity".
 A fairly simple setting for this lovely cab of kyanite.
 This stone just spoke "Tranquillity" to me from the moment I touched it.  Calming, soothing, completely serene, and just, tranquil.  I tried to give her a different setting.  The original one was more boxy, a little squared scallops, coined edges.  A little edgier...
 But she just didn't like it.  I could feel that it wasn't right for this stone.
Calm soothing waves, like gentle rippling water was what this stone needed.  And so that is what she got.

My first RAW!!  I am excited to be a part of this group, getting to know other jewelry artists.  It's going to be a lot of fun and I invite you to follow me on my journey!