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Tag Archives: fine silver jewelry

This ring is a box construction with a small bezel set nephrite jade placed on a square element.  The photo above is great except that there is a reflection of something in the stone.  So I am including a second photo to show a bit more of the patina, the side of the ring and it’s texture and that the stone doesn’t actually have some murky white inclusion after all.  This ring is remarkably comfortable to wear.

 

If I had to do it again I did learn some things about the way the different elements behaved while shrinking in the kiln and I might have attached the element for the bezel differently.  The ring would have had less twisting to correct if I had mounted the element onto the central ring rather than on top of the side walls.  But in fact, correcting the twisting was just a way to focus my energies during finishing.  It did not lengthen the finishing process at all.

 

We might be getting 6 to 10 inches of snow tonight.  I hope the weather dudes got this one wrong because it will spoil some plans of ours.  I do not want to labor my readers with this next bit but silver is sky high at the moment.  It is 33 dollars a troy ounce.  This may result in a price increase for all my products if it does not immediately plummet back into the mid twenties.  If you had any doubts, this new high price really does make silver the new gold.

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Ring 7 for the Ring a Week flickr group is shown above.  The idea was to learn to set a stone in wet metal clay, include it in a fairly simple ring and fire it in place.  I wanted a stone that was inexpensive, natural and able to stand my preferred firing conditions for best strength of the ring.  Rings take abuse so it is best if the metal clay is fired a long time.  I chose hematite because it can take a 2 hour firing at 1650 with no problem.  I also like the way it looks with silver.  The photo above is great if you are only looking at the silver.  I realize you can see the camera and tripod reflected in the stone.  My current setup does not allow a way to exclude that because the camera is about an inch from the stone.   I have been playing around with white cards and a shear piece of white material to drape in certain ways and the result is much more even coloration of the side of the ring that would be in shadow without lose of texture.  I light predominantly from one side because this really helps show off the texture but I was having problems with areas being too dark and I think that problem is largely solved now.

 

This ring was an interesting challenge to make and finish.  The shank is actually from my rejects pile of dried metal clay pieces.  It was too thin and warped for my original project and I had made another.  I covered the thin shank with the dots texture you see and while the laminated band was damp I attempted to unwarp it.  It worked to some degree, enough that I could attach the oval and circle central element securely.  I recently purchased these little ceramic plugs to put inside the shank during firing to avoid the problems I have been having with previous rings.  I never cared so much when the bands came out not round but I was concerned about lack of reproducibility on the shrinkage.  I add about 2 sizes and the result can be anywhere from slightly larger than I was hoping for to quite a bit smaller than hoped.  Shrinkage can happen in any dimension, not always the way you are hoping.  So placing a plug inside limits how far it can shrink in the ring size.  Because this shank had a slight warp it seems to have tipped over sideways on the plug during firing.  The result was a slightly oval, still warped shank.  I beat it from a number of directions and now it is nicely round and no longer warped.  Lots of lessons learned and I am quite happy with the result.

I had my trepidations about hammering a rivet for the first time.  Of course I couldn’t simply rivet something made of copper against something else made of copper.  I never do things the easy way, or the cheap way.  I chose my first rivet ever to be on a fine silver ring with a hand made glass bead in the stack.  I rigged a pretty good way to support the underside of the stack and the bead fit decently on the 12 gauge wire.  The top piece of fine silver fit the rivet post like a glove.  I intentionally made the hole in it smaller than the wire gauge and filed it carefully to the precise right size.  It worked so well.

The result is the completed Egyptian Sky Ring above.  The bead is by Ellen Dooley.  This is not one of her fancier beads.  It has just a gentle swirl of color in a mostly solid opaque bead.  I have others by her with lots more character.  The nearly monochrome bead is just perfect here against the heavy band with deep texture and multicolor patina.  All counted, there are four textures plus smoothness.  So this puts me caught up on Ring a Week.  I have almost caught up on other things that went slack during the whole snowpocalypse thing.  One more good day of hustling really frantically and I should be back on track!

This ring was meant to be ring number 6 but it came together faster than the ring that was started before it.  The idea was to build a small box as a focal with a textured band to match the sides of the box.  This ring has taught me that PMC shrinks unpredictably.  I made the shank two sizes larger than I wanted and the finished ring is about 3 and a half sizes smaller than the original shank as greenware.  On the practical side this means I cannot quite get it on my pinky even after annealing it and beating it down on a mandrel three times.  It also means I lost some of the texture on the inside of the shank during resizing.  I am finding that the conditions that yeild a great photo of surface patina are flaky at best.  I will likely take a whole second batch of pictures of this later on in the day to see if I can capture the patina in the deep swirls on the top of the box.  For whatever reason it looks washed out here.  You can see the brilliant colors really well on the shank though.

 

I have several ideas for how to improve on this design in order to get the ring size I am aiming for instead of some random size.  I think making more small boxes is definitely a great idea as I love the look of this one.  It also fits in well with my box pendant series.

The patina on this piece turned out lovely.  I should be posting a lot more pictures now that I have a sort of basic grasp of how to use my new camera.  On other fronts, I spent quite a while on art fair applications and many of them are now in the mail.  The others all required something other than the norm.  It feels fantastic to make so much progress on this pile on my desk.

 

We are in the midst of a blizzard warning.  We are about to get bombarded by 12 to 24 inches of the white stuff.  I don’t think I have ever seen that much snow at one time before so this should be a really memorable couple of days.  I have my fingers crossed that we keep electricity.

 

I have a number of art fair applications on my desk beside me.  Several are for fairs I did last year.  I call those the comfy fit fairs.  I feel confident when I choose pictures and fill out the forms.  They accepted me last year and both my jewelry and my photos are nicer than at this time last year.  the chances of being accepted are darned good!  So I have been thinking about my business and its growth.  I want to stretch a bit each year.  I want to feel less confident about my chances so that I know that getting in to a fair means something.  I want to know that a fair might not have accepted me last year but did this year.  I am truly seeking the “in by the skin of your teeth” experience here.  I want to be the new kid on the block.  I want to stick my foot in the door as it is closing, not because I apply late mind you.  Last year I felt like being accepted to the Junction City art fair was that experience.  Competition was stiff, I knew people who make very nice things that were not accepted.  It was a great fair as well.  They are not holding that fair this year due to construction at the Junction City Mall  So where do I go from here.

I spoke at length to Tom Gross at the PAG holiday fair.  Tom paints great stuff, take a look over at his site.  He recommended some fairs to me.  After much soul searching I have decided to apply to the Elmhurst Museum Art in the Park event in Chicago.  I am also seriously considering appling to the Fine Art Fair here in town.  Junction City has always been “local and regional” while Fine Art Fair is national.  There is a really big chance I won’t be accepted at one or both of these two fairs.  I am a very tiny fish in that great big pond.

 

The short version of the above is that you can check out my updated Upcoming Shows page to see a list of most of the fairs I am applying to for the upcoming art fair season. I also included a shot of a new pair of earrings with pretty scrolly bails.

 

 

My 4th ring for the Ring a Week flickr group is entitled Lily Pad.  It is a leaf textured fine silver square with a fine silver wire shank and a sweet flower embellishment containing a chocolate pearl.  I am quite in love with the ring.  I think this means I need to make a series of flower and pearl motif rings!  I have the beginnings of ring number 5 on my bench.  One of the goals of this ring a week group is to learn new things and challenge ourselves.  I have made very few rings so just creating anything was a challenge in January.  As I look forward I have some more elaborate ideas and ideas incorporating new techniques.  The 5th ring is inspired by my love of egypt and as such it will have a sky blue glass bead attached to it.  I have always thought I should learn to rivet and so now is the time to do it!

I am working on ring number 4 for the ring a week flickr group. It is almost ready to take a little trip in the kiln. I truly think it will be a fantastic ring. It is made from silver clay and fine silver wire and will have a pearl set on top. More I will not say. Look forward to seeing it in a couple of days.

Last Saturday was the Peoria Art Guild Holiday show and it was a lovely time.  I enjoyed meeting lots of art lovers and seeing friends from other fairs.  The staff was wonderfully supportive as always.  The weather mostly cooperated, a few patrons of the fair had to dash through some rain.  In light of the weather the next day, Saturday was blissful and idyllic (we had a blizzard on Sunday)!

 

One of the most rewarding things about doing art fairs for me is when people show up wearing jewelry I made and a few came up to me and pointed out what they were wearing.  Here is a photo taken by one of the Peoria Art Guild staff.  In this shot I am talking to someone who remembered me from the very first art fair I did.  We had a nice time visiting.

 

In the category of last chances, I will be at Lakeview Museum on Saturday December 18th from 10am to around noon doing some demonstrating.  This is the last public appearance I will be making before Christmas.  If you still need a unique gift, this would be a great time to snag it.

Lakeview Museum is doing a demonstration day event on Saturday December 18th from 10 am to 4 pm.  I will be setting up a table in the lobby as part of this event.  You do not have to pay admission to the museum to stop by and watch various artists perform their crafts.  There will be several demonstrations going on during the event and you can purchase both from the gift shop and from work artists will have set up there.  I will be doing some viking knit and other wire weaving demonstrations.  I cannot demonstrate working with metal clay because of the short working time of the material but I will have some photos of the process.  Questions are always welcome.  This will be the last holiday event I am going to present fine silver jewelry at for this holiday season.