Friday, January 30, 2009

Step 6 - Floral Pendant Tutortial

I got a little behind adding my steps. Yesterday was the weekly artshow we do here in Palm Springs and as usual the day ends up being spent catching up with all the stocking I was supposed to be doing during the week. Step 6 - Building The Hanging Flower

Please let me know how it goes and if you could have used more explanation at any point. Enjoy

Comments on the cuff portion of my ear cuff designs

In response to Sonya's comment inquiring about the building of the cuff portion of my earcuffs, I have to confess that I passed that task on to my husband a few years ago and since, he has become the expert. Just to clarify - this is the portion of the ear cuff aka ear wrap, earclip, earring cuff, - that holds the piece to the ear. I'm definately gonna have to keep him because it would take longer than I have to reach his quality of work in that area. But I have done it and have some comments that I think might be of help. Also, I'll see if I can't coax him into sharing his expertise too. He has shared his discoveries with me through the years and I'm sure can explain the "whys of them" better - though I'll have to warn you, he's pretty scientific about it.

The cuff itself is soldered. I had originally done them in a thinner gauge wire and knotted them but came to the conclusion that they needed more strength to be a better product. So I went to a thicker gauge wire (18 gauge) which then had to be soldered since it was too difficult to knot. As usual, one thing leads to another and another etc.etc.!

I asked other jewelers for advise - first of all, whether it could even be done. I was first encouraged to learn that it could, but soon after a bit discouraged to not be given the easy answer as to how. I was told, which was the honest truth, you've just gotta play with it and get a feel for it. No matter how many feet of expensive gold or silver wire you've got to go through.

Soldering, of course, is a common jewelry making technique and like any skill worth acquiring, takes practice. Every different application of soldering has it's own little quirks you just need to try and work out. The materials and tools you use comes into play. The heat disbursement and timing of the solder application effect the outcome as well. And so on. In the process of playing with it, pay attention to how the different elements involved effect the outcome, make adjustments and you'll get it pretty quickly. It's just a feel thing. Understanding the metals at their different levels of liquidity and having control over that is the goal. Initial failures are a bummer, but you eventually break through and the success you've earned is fun!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Floral Pendant Tutorial Step 5

As promised, here's the next step of this tutorial. By the way, I wanted to apologize for some of the wierd spacing in the text here and there. When I save the file from my graphics program it does that for some typical inexplicable, computer madness reason. Figuring that life is entirely too short to be too bothered with anymore useless frustration than is necessary (..breath) and knowing you're all smart enough to figure it out - I blew it off! ANYWAY....Here's Step 5 - Instructs on forming the Pendant hanger. Step 5

Monday, January 19, 2009

Introduction to Working with Twisted Wire

I've been getting approached alot lately with requests for some instruction on this kind of work so I've been working on some ideas. Here is some introductory comments to help those interested start to get an idea of what it entails. Later I will be writing on some techniques that are used in alot of my work and then I'll add some projects, once the techniques have been explained so I don't have to bore you with alot of repetition later.

The following talks about the building process of this style of wire work.

Working in this style of wire wrap requires that you string your beads first. With a specific design, then, you must count backwards so that the first twist you are going to make will be the last bead strung.

I envision a tree, with branches and stems and a trunk which I will use for my terminology. This will help you recognize where you are in the building process and help you start developing your feel for how to build your own pieces.

You need to know your path as you twist back to your base, and begin to get a feel for how much length to allow for twisting. As an example of a path, to form a tree with two branches, you would start “X measurement -( i.e. 1-1/2") ” distance into the wire and twist a stem of “x - measurement - (1.e. 1/2")” that would meet up with the branch, continuing your path of stems and branches that would eventually twist back to the trunk.

The numbers shown on the diagram below shows the order of twisting to help conceptualize this. The lines with arrows indicating the direction the twist would grow to.

When first working in twisted wire, you’ll want to practice with tin or brass. These metals in 24 gauge will break easily if you twist them too tight. (Also, later if you manipulate them too much - so PLEASE, don't try to sell jewelry made with these metals.) Practicing with these metals will give you a good feel for what the wire can withstand within this realm - though silver, and even more so, gold, will be more forgiving.

But remember that wire hardens the more it is manipulated, so you want to strive to only make one twist.

For designs that require exact measurments, like my ear cuffs, I make my measurements from the point on the ruler to the end so that I can bend the wire over the end to make my mark. I recommend trying to find a ruler that ends at the beginning of the measurement. (See the post entitled "Measuring" in Techniques to get a better idea of this.)

Many rulers have extra space at the end which you will have to compensate for in your measurements, ie, if the instruction calls for a ½” stem, and the ruler extends another ¼” from its numbers, your measurement will need to start from the ¼” on the ruler. Whew! No Thanks!
If you're doing something very repetitious in measurements, you might want to make your own measuring device.

I've been looking around for a good source for the ruler I use and the closest I've found so far are the rulers used to measure hems at your local fabric store. They still have a little extra on the end but they're pretty close.

If anyone knows of a good source for the rulers I've shown in the measuring segment, I'd love to know. I lost my once and wasn't pretty!

Floral Pendant Tutorial Step 4

This step of the Floral Pendant Necklace Tutorial covers positioning the pearl stamen and securing the pendant. Floral pendant Necklace Step 4.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Floral Pendant Necklace Tutorial page 3 - Steps 1 & 2

Now let's get started! This page covers the first two steps of the tutorial. Floral Pendant Tutorial - Steps 1 and 2

Floral Pendant Necklace Tutorial Pg 2 - Measuring Technique

Here is page two of the Floral Pendant Necklace Tutorial in twisted wire. This page covers the measuring technique I used in my work. Tutorial Page 2 - Measuring Technique.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Floral Pendant Necklace Tutorial Intro and Table of Contents

Well I finally finished my first twisted wire tutorial. Unfortunately, I've yet to learn how to publish it's 12 pages at once so I'm forced to offer it to you one page at a time. This tutorial is of one of my necklaces designs.

It's a relatively easy piece to do and allows alot of design freedom for yourself in how you compliment the pendant with the bead work.

Hope you have fun with this. Please let me know if there is anything in the instruction that is unclear or confusing. I'm new to this tutorial stuff, so input is greatly appreciated. Floral Pendant Tutorial Table of Contents