Monday, November 8, 2010

New wire designs, upcoming projects & blog neglect

Here I am again, apologizing for neglecting this blog *sigh*. If only I could find the time to keep up with everything! Well, I may neglect my blog from time to time, but I've been busy with some new jewelry designs in wire.

Adjustable braided bronze ring

Yesterday, I uploaded quite a few new ring designs in copper, bronze and gold filled wire to my shop. I've actually been quite thrilled with all of them! What's funny is every single one is done 'freehand' rather than with a jig. I always had relied upon a jig to create consistent wire designs, but I've come to the conclusion recently that my designs done freehand are much more interesting.

 It's always interesting to revisit a technique after a long absence from it (in this case, wirework), because sometimes you find that you're actually better at it after the break than you were before!

Bronze wire and pearl ring
Or maybe it's just me. *shrug* I don't believe I ever did very well in braiding wire, and yet I had a very beautifully successful braiding experiment that became the ring you see above. I also found that free-handing loopy floral or Celtic designs is actually quite easy for me. Of course, having some of the best jeweler's pliers in the world helps.

I had always wanted to design my own wire-based pearl rings, and found that I was able to do this quite easily (see ring at right). I suppose this would also work for just about any half-drilled gemstone bead, too. The ring you see at the right here actually features a gorgeous AAA-grade 6-7mm round white pearl.

Bronze, gold fill & tanzanite crystal ring
I also found that I had an easier time weaving beads into these designs than I remember. I wove both gemstones and crystal beads into some very fun ring designs and absolutely LOVE how they turned out! The ring you see here to the left is made with both bronze wire and gold filled, and then features tanzanite colored swarovski crystals woven into the open floral pattern. In my opinion, it turned out beautifully!

I also created a very similar design to the tanzanite crystal ring in copper with garnet beads as the accents, but in the case of that ring, the use of gold filled wire as the weaving wire (to weave the beads in) created a nice contrast to the red hue of the copper.

Copper, gold fill & garnet ring
I really wish copper and bronze got more attention than they do. In my opinion, they are beautiful metals--as beautiful as yellow and rose gold--and yet they seem to get passed over all the time. They're less expensive, but look equally gorgeous in jewelry designs. I suppose the one thing gold has on both of them is the lack of tarnishing. But yet, so many people own sterling silver, which tarnishes because of the copper it contains!

This brings me to my upcoming projects:  I'm working on some new design ideas for bronze, copper, and silver metal clay. Because where I live tends to cut my clay working time very short, I generally have to begin working with a very specific plan. "Playing" is pretty much out of the question because the clay dries out far too quickly. So, please do stay tuned for these new designs--I hope to be using the kiln this week!