Friday, September 4, 2015

Micro Macrame Successes

by Sherri Stokey

Susan hadn't ever tried micro macrame before, but she tried the KnotAlong tutorial I shared in this post a couple weeks ago and shared her piece with us.  Didn't she do a great job on her first try?  

Donna's done quite a lot of micro macrame, so she decided to add a little twist on her pendant by using multiple colors:


This one was from Hilary:


And Susan:


I learned a couple of things from the feedback and comments of folks who participated, too.  Valerie shared how she dips her cords in Fray Check - did you know you could pop the top out and then you have the whole bottle opening to dip in?  Who knew!!   I can't believe I've been fighting that all these years and it's as simple as popping that piece out when you want.  It goes right back in, too, so it's back to the little applicator tip for use in coating knots when ending projects.  Thanks for sharing, Valerie!!

Georgette also shared that Super New Glue will darken at least some cords.  I've used the hypo cement for years and haven't had that issue, so I think I'll continue recommending it.  Aren't Georgette's colors gorgeous?


Many thanks to those of you who took time to share your successes with the rest of us.  If you haven't tried micro macrame knotting yet, I'm here to tell you that you can do it and the KnotAlong video will show you how, step by step.

If you did try it and you're ready for more projects, I have tutorials in my Etsy shop and a special coupon code just for you.  Use code "TENOFF" to save 10% in my shop.  The code is good on finished jewelry pieces and kits as well as the tutorials and is valid through 9/8/15.  Have fun!!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Artist Beads and Earrings - Learning the Jewelry Basics

Sometimes in life, things work out in ways that you feel pretty fortunate.
Like having the opportunity to spend a good portion of my 30's making beads and traveling around the U.S. to sell them (before the internet took over).
Marsha Neal Studio and Thornburg Bead Studio Artist Bead Earrings
While traveling, meeting SO many wonderful bead makers, jewelry designers, jewelry hobbyists (which a lot of those people had serious jobs, and dabbling with jewelry making was their relaxation and they did not want it to be another job).

 Growing up I never dreamed of making beads or jewelry, but I always dabbled.
Here is a bad photo of a back shelf where I have all of my beads purchased at big craft stores, as I grew up. There are also some beads in there from when I first discovered the bead shows in my area. I quite remember getting sold "silver" beads, but the silver plating coming off over time, then the vendor - the next time the show came around - denied that they were his beads (he had more of the exact bead strand on the table - what a jerk taking advantage of a new beader!)


We all have to start dabbling somewhere. Sometimes the easy and cheap is the way we go.
And that is great when you are experimenting, or can use the product in ways that are very creative.
But your work goes to the next level (in my opinion) when you start to really understand your materials, and can start to design with them to have a great look, a good wearable feel - if that is your goal, and will hold up over time with intended wear.


I work part time at a wool shop and art house in Elkton, MD called Sarafina Art House.
It has been a blessing for me to have a job outside of the house around inspiring people and creative energy. We all bring a little something extra to the table creatively, and when it comes to classes, I tend to lean to the basic jewelry side of things.

The above photo is a quick shot of some of the materials I am going to bring with me to a series of classes I am going to teach in October "Earrings in an Hour". I am going to go over some of the basics of jewelry making: tools, supplies, techniques, design and inspirations. Each person is going to be able to make up to two pairs of earrings that night to take home, and I am going to be doing this for three weeks straight - with two different designs each week!


I really wanted to help people understand some different things about materials so they can start to find their creative way with jewelry making.

What are some fun tips you would share if you were teaching a beginners wire working class?
I may print some of these off with your name of course and let them read them in their take home.

PS - I have a ton of things in my head already, so asking for "tips" is just to make sure I don't forget anything important - which can happen frequently once you get comfortable with your wire work.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sheet Metal Bending Brake

Carol Dekle-Foss
Hello everyone! For today's post I am going to share a cool technique I picked up in one of my metalmith classes. It's a fun and easy way to create unique borders in your designs. I use the 18" bending brake from Harbor Freight. There is also this one available from Northern Tools, or if you are feeling extra crafty, you could make your own. You can find tons of tutorials online.

This is a bracelet I made for myself. It represents the Polar and Subtropical jet streams. I know, weird right?  I live here in California, and I have been watching our rivers and lakes over the last couple of months become the lowest I have ever seen them. So now I'm constantly looking up, hoping to see a storm front coming in or even a few reassuring clouds. I even did a little weather research and then became fascinated by our jet streams, and how they affect our weather worldwide.

So there you have it, a jet stream bracelet! Yep, I'm pretty much inspired by anything.

Let me share with you how to use the bending brake to create a border.
Parts list
Bending brake
Four clamps
Sheet metal
Hammer

Here is my bending brake clamped down to my workbench. I like it clamped down instead of bolted because when I'm done, I just store it away in a cupboard.

First, mark the metal where you want it bent. Then align perfectly along the edge where the brake will be lifted. 

Then place the metal bar on top of your piece and clamp it down tightly. 

Now lift! Duh, I realized I should have placed the clamps closer to the piece for a better lift. I also realized having the piece closer to an edge helps too. 

Also, be sure to anneal your piece first, to get a nice crisp line.

Now, lay your piece perpendicular to a solid surface (I used the bending brake) and lightly hammer down the border. You can use the channel to place something into it and then hammer down. Fabric? An etched piece? Lot's of design possibilities here.

Then, place on a metal surface and hammer the border down. Looking at this picture I realize my steel block is quite pathetic. Maybe I should have purchased a bigger one instead of a bending brake!

After hammering, you can then add a unique texture to your border.

Here is the cuff bracelet I made in class.

The bending brake is just another tool that you can add to your studio arsenal. I've only used it a couple of times but it's nice to have. I'm sure there are a ton of design possibilities. Let me know if you decide to get one and what you are going to use it for.

I hope this post inspires you to create something!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Just a little bit about us.......

by Staci Louise Smith

I just got back from Bead Fest, where I was both vending and teaching.  If you want to read about the fun trip from a behind the scenes perspective, you can check out my personal blog here


There is something really energizing about being around other creative people.  Bead Fest, as I am sure other bead shows and guilds are too, is just buzzing with energy.  Everyone is happy, and friendly, and you can stop just about anyone to talk about what they made in class or what or who they are wearing!  

While I was there I met a lot of new people, and directed many of them to this site.  So, I just wanted to take a minute to talk about our little creative group here.  Love my Art Jewelry is made up of a variety of artists from many different backgrounds.  We try to share what we have learned, and hopefully save you some of the trial and error we have all inevitably experienced.  

Did you know we have a great tab at the top of the page for "tutorials"?  Here you will find a TON of information on wire working, soldering, tools, making clasps, resin, polishing, antiquing, metal clay, making molds and much much more.  



If you search the blog you can find things about applying to juried shows, outdoor show set ups and tips, and marketing information.

You can also click on the "shop" tab to find links to all of our shops.  There you will find tutorials for purchase, jewelry, beads and other supplies.

Are you interested in becoming a guest blogger on our blog?  check out the "guest" tab to see how.  We would love to "meet" you and see what you have to share!

Anyhow, I hope you enjoy the blog and find a little community here that supports you and helps you to learn and grow !!!!!

Happy Creating!!!!
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