Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Glamorous Friendship Bracelets by Katherine Sturgis

By on Wednesday, December 31, 2008 2 Comments

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Many artisans do make lovely mixed media jewelry. But surely the crowned queen of mixed media artistry is Katherine Sturgis. Her hand crafted jewelry mixes and matches silver chains, silk thread, leather bands and vintage rhinestones and transforms them into the most glamorous one of a kind friendship bracelets I have ever seen. She braids and lashes them together lanyard style.



It's her eye for layering and her skill at lashing which makes her pieces so stunning. As I have said before - it`s not what you use so much as how you use it.



Did I mention she is only 28? Just imagine what the future holds for her. Right now she spends time between Brooklyn and Los Angeles. She takes orders through her new website . Parts of it are still under construction but she clearly intends to market her jewelry in boutiques and I believe she will succeed with her beautiful creations.





Via
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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

How to Make a Toggle Clasp with Twisted Wire

By on Tuesday, December 30, 2008 4 Comments

wire knit necklaceTwisting Wire
Part 2 of 2
If you've tried to make toggle clasp before, you would have discovered that it takes practice to get it right even with the 20G wire which is not as thick as 16 or 18G. But you have to use 20G and not anything lighter as you don't want a flimsy clasp.

Here is a solution - use twisted wire!! Using doubled lengths of 22G wires will save you from having to get 20G if you don't have any. It is much easier to handle two 22G wires than one 20G and yet you'll get a strong clasp. The twisted look is also much more forgiving which is a big bonus if you aren't an expert wire worker. Here is how I went about making one :

1. First make a twisted wire length as shown on yesterday's post - how to twist wire using pin vises.
2. Form the ring portion by wrapping the twisted wire around a cylinder like a pen shaft.
3. Make a twist to start, then complete the wire wrap.

toggle clasp tutorial twisting wire around pen toggle clasp tutorial2

4. Cut a 2 inch length of twisted wire for the toggle part.
5. Make a loop in the middle and then loops at each end.

toggle clasp tutorial 3 toggle clasp tutorial 4

6. Hold the toggle as shown in the pictures below and push down on the ends to give the toggle a pretty bowed look if you wish.

toggle clasp tutorial 5 toggle clasp tutorial 6

7. Lightly hammer both parts of the clasp to work harden it.

toggle clasp tutorial 7 toggle clasp tutorial 8

The twisted wire clasp has a delicate look and gives the perfect finishing touch with the right jewelry design like my "Pink Confection" wire work necklace shown above which was also made with copper wire.

I wish I could take credit for this idea but it comes from Catherine Wuller's book, Inspired Wire: Learn to Twist, Jig, Bend, Hammer, and Wrap for the Prettiest Jewelry Ever. This book covers basic wire work including jig work and will suit beginner wire artisans and those who prefer dainty jewelry designs.

Beader Design #: 446
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Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 

Monday, December 29, 2008

How to Twist Wire Using Pin Vises

By on Monday, December 29, 2008 6 Comments

There are various ways to twist wire. If you are handy with a drill, you can wrap the wire around a heavy object or in a vise and insert the ends into a drill as shown in this tutorial. No drill? Then double up a length of wire and secure the ends with a vice. Insert a wooden dowel in the loop end and start twisting. There are also other relatively inexpensive tools like the Beadalon Wire Twister

In this post I will show you an easy way to twist wire using a simple tool called a pin vise. The pin vise looks like a short chunky pen. It is small, inexpensive, doesn't need electricity or much skill to use and is highly portable - a big plus for me. You can make do with just one pin vise but you have to grip the other end tightly with your pliers or use a vise. I prefer to use two pin vises for a no hassle approach with thin wire.

1. I used 22G copper wire in this tutorial. For other metals like sterling silver, use dead soft temper.
2. First cut two lengths of wire about 8-10 inches long.
3. Straighten with nylon jawed pliers if necessary. Hold one end and stroke with the pliers.
4. Loosen the pin vises by unscrewing them near the "nib" end.

nylon jaw pliers smooth wire unscrew pin vise

5. Insert both wires into one pin vise and tighten it.
6. Trim the other ends of the wires to even them and insert and tighten in the other pin vise.

insert wire pin vise

7. Note : I have used two very short pieces here to be able to take the picture.
8. Grasp both vises and twist/turn them in opposite directions.
9. Continue to twist until you get the look you want!

twist wire pin vise twisted wires

twisted wire coiled bangleTwisted wire can be used in so many ways. Substitute for common findings like eyepins, or make connectors - the possibilities are unlimited! If you turn into a wire twisting fiend, then check out this awesome bangle bracelet tutorial from Interweave. It is constructed from coiling twisted wire.

Disclosure
I do receive a small fee for any products purchased through affiliate links. This goes towards the support of this blog and to provide resource information to readers. The opinions expressed are solely my own. They would be the same whether or not I receive any compensation.

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Project Wonderful - An alternative to Google Adwords

By on Sunday, December 28, 2008 4 Comments

Any artisan who sells online will find that it's not enough to have a website. You have to work at bringing visitors to your site. Being part of a large selling site like eBay, Etsy or Dwanda might seem like a good idea in terms of incoming traffic but you're also facing enormous competition if the niche market is crowded. And it is for handmade made jewelry. You could also be active in various online social media sites to promote your jewelry but that takes time and effort.



Advertising is another way to go. Google Adwords is the best known ad campaign model where the advertiser pays for every click - Google do have the capability to detect fraudulent clicks. That said, pay per click advertising can still get costly for a lone artisan. Adwords is better suited to companies with larger advertising budgets.

An alternative advertising platform is PROJECT WONDERFUL which is more affordable. It is based on cost per day/week/month/year - what you are willing to pay for however long to advertise on a site of your choosing. Even as low a $0 or $0.01 per day. This system also totally eliminates click fraud. PW works on an auction bidding system - you bid to get space on a publisher's site. PW has all the software needed to manage ads and campaigns.

I have blog real estate space issues so I have placed only one button ad at the top left of my blog. But I have set my minimum bid requirement to $0 so if you are the only advertiser at that moment, you get to advertise for free. I can tell you that I am not after ad revenues. I've made $0.64 on PW in my first 3 weeks. The revenue can't even buy me a coffee at my local Tim Hortons! But I thought it was a great way to get the word out on more jewelry artisans than I can manage on blogging alone.

I blog mainly because I enjoy it. I do have other ad banners on the left of my blog partly to help defray my internet costs since I am such a computer addict but mostly to offer readers supply sources. There is one for pewter charms. Google Ads also serve up interesting suppliers. Check them out.
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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gorgeous Jasper Pendant Necklace

By on Saturday, December 27, 2008 2 Comments

Betty brought this gemstone pendant to a workshop. It was a gift so now she needed to make a necklace to match. I really am not sure but I think this is a jasper. The swirling hues on this gorgeous gemstone give it so much character.



This was Betty's first experience at designing so it was inevitable she made a few false starts trying to find the right beads to compliment the pendant. She kept on experimenting until she got it just right. As you can see, she really did pick out the subtleties of the gemstone using beads with white, pink and green.

Beader Design #: 445
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Friday, December 26, 2008

Stick on Glamour - Skin Jewels by NEWD

By on Friday, December 26, 2008 3 Comments

Have you been wearing lovely jewelry for formal get-togethers over the holiday season? Or even now plotting what to wear for a New Year's Eve party? Here's one glamour product that popped up on the internet - stick on jewelry for grown ups! NEWD is an Italian jewelry design firm selling these Skin Jewels which you can peel and stick just about anywhere and I mean anywhere. As they said on their website, it is a "wireless world of freedom" but they forgot to mention underwire boosts!



There are five collections - GOLD, SILVER, MY BONES, MY STONES and FASHION. There are both precious metal as well as plated pieces. The stones collection features real gemstones or coloured Swarovski crystals.



The company's research division developed Skin Touch, a new adhesive which is non-toxic and non-allergenic. It is very easy to apply. I wish they would sell sheets of this stuff because I could see a lot of people including jewelry artisans who could use it for designs like brooches which can thus be applied without pins or chains.



NEWD in colloboration with Irene Pivetti also launched the Learn to be Free charity project which promotes the culture and professional training of young people from developing cultures. The proceeds from two of their collections, the MY BONES and MY STONES, go towards scholarships for deserving young people who otherwise would not be able to get a proper education.



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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Floral Tool Set

By on Thursday, December 25, 2008 4 Comments

Ever since I started making jewelry, I'm pretty easy to buy for as far as gifts are concerned. I love getting tools and was hoping Santa would bring me a drill set (he did) amongst other things. But one gift that made me laugh out loud with delight was the 4 piece floral tool set, a present from my DH who has a wonderful sense of humor.



More and more women today are able to do basic household repairs and DIY home decor. The popular home tv channels may have something to do with it. There are also many divorced/widowed/single women who have no choice but to learn to be handy in the home. Tool manufacturers have thus responded by coming out with lightweight power tools designed for smaller hands. Evidently, they also think that women like theirs feminized too!

I can't wait to use the scissors, tape measure and hammer at workshops! They make great conversation pieces. The hammer and screwdriver unscrew to reveal more parts making this a very handy basic pair to have of my own for the house. It will save me having to rummage through DH's tool box. Hmmm, perhaps that's why he bought me these....
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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to you all!

By on Wednesday, December 24, 2008 1 Comments

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When I first saw Dagmar's beaded angel ornaments, I knew they would be perfect for this post to wish all my readers including Dagmar a very Merry Christmas and a bright and happy New Year!




Dagmar is a German artisan who is really into Native American beadwork and quillwork. Her blog is the very first bilingual one I have come across - what a great idea! She decided on translating the German into English as so many beadworkers only read English. This kind of effort is what makes a truly international community. Dagmar also sells her work on her Art Fire store.

She calls her website Kokopelli which happens to a fertility god in the Southwest Native American culture. As he presides over birth and reproduction, it was the ideal choice. As Dagmar says, "For me he is a symbol for constantly having new ideas and creativity, so that I can carry on creating beautiful things." I am sure many of us share her feelings.
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

$1,500,000 Bejewelled Christmas Tree

By on Tuesday, December 23, 2008 1 Comments

This Christmas tree doesn't look very large and yet it costs $1,500,000 because it is made from 24K gold and has been decorated with more than 240 jewels and strings of pearls. It was put on display at the Ginza Tanaka jewelry store in Shinsaibashi, Osaka, Japan in order to create a "gorgeous atmosphere" and entice shoppers to spend in a sluggish economic environment.



Over at our house, we don't need a bejewelled tree to create that atmosphere. Just a real spruce tree grown right here in the Maritime provinces of Canada and decorated just the way we like it. We even have plenty of the white stuff outside courtesy of Sunday's wicked snow storm.

I hope all of you who do celebrate the day are just about ready for Christmas with trees of your own be they small or big. Just in case you miss tomorrow's post, have a wonderful Christmas.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Jewelry made from Zippers

By on Monday, December 22, 2008 5 Comments

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I previously featured a designer who made large collars made from several zippers. But London-based Tina Echterhölter aka the Blue-Eyed Girl makes much daintier jewelry from these popular clothing fasteners. Her bolo tie inspired necklace below looks like it could be worn by men or women.



I've seen some lovely woven cord bracelets before but none made from zippers! I really love the colours she chose here. She calls the silver ball shaped findings bowles and they are perfect for her designs.



She has also managed to use zippers in much smaller jewelry items like her double ring design (below left) and the earrings.





So what's next for Tina? Well, her latest endeavour which is not yet up on her website are necklaces made from lingerie supplies - bra strap retainers! Now who would have guessed?



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