Finally, I have something completed to show for my playing with the Pirate theme this whole month. Here are the Double Pearl Pirate Earrings. They are mixed metals - copper, brass and sterling silver. Notice that the sterling silver is the ear wire - so only silver touches the skin. This is good for those who have a reaction to copper or brass.
The earrings feature bronze tone glass pearls. I didn't want to use real pearls here. Real pearls should be protected from metal rubbing against them. I don't usually use glass pearls, but this seems like a good place for them. They will keep the cost of these earrings down, too.
I've decided to offer these earrings in my Etsy shop for now. Once I have several pieces ready, I'll make a new Collection page here on the MaryLuWason.com site.
If you'd like these, but don't want to purchase on Etsy, just let me know. I can send you a Paypal or Google checkout invoice direct to your email.
Meanwhile, it's a Pirate's life for me. More metal bead making, more secret treasure maps to hide.
Hope you have a great, treasure filled day!
This blog, which I started in January 2011, is a design journal, as I attempt to create new jewelry collections and also improve some existing collections.
Most of the entries so far are about a new Pirate Collection. I have challenged myself to create jewelry that is so rugged and true to the Pirate spirit, that it is wearable by both men and women.
So, my question today - would a pirate wear pearls? I love the look of big pearls paired with mixed metals with aged patinas. I'm wondering if I can pull this off, so that a few brave men might actually wear a pearl or two? I can't imagine a pirate that would be able to pass up a jewel of the sea itself.
Above is my first attempt at an earring with pearls and mixed metal. I have a few other ideas, I'll try in the next few days.
So, the question is, would a pirate wear pearls? Let me know what you think. Meanwhile, I'll work on creating some designs to convince you.
Did you know that I also make silver or copper crosses? I engrave on the back a short message, initials, name or date. They are very popular - a classic gift. The rugged look of them makes them perfect for both men and women.
For now, I sell them on my Etsy shop, since they don't really belong in any of the collections here. They look great with a leather cord or your own sterling chain.
On most mornings, I take a walk on the beach. I pick up treasures as I find them. Shells with nature made holes are great finds. Purple bits of clam shells, that I call wampum are also special.
I couldn't create a collection of these in one day. I just add to it, little by little.
That's how it is creating a jewelry collection, too. A little at a time, piece by piece.
Here, I've begun to create a ship's wheel in brass. I'm going to carve it from the thick metal. First I draw a sketch, then transfer that to tracing paper.
It would be easier, of course, to use a charm from a commercial jewelry suppply house. Many jewelers do that. But that has no appeal to me. If I put my name on it, I want it to be from my own hands.
It takes longer, this way. I work on a new piece a little bit, day by day. Eventually, I'll have a collection.
In my quest to understand the reasons we wear jewelry, I am drawn to the most ancient pieces that are used in adornment. The symbol of a crescent moon seems to speak to the soul. It's just our nature to wear it, I believe.
Likewise, there is something universally appealing for the form of those hopeful stars in the sky. Finally, there is the Sun - the source of our life and light.
Over the years I find I never tire of wearing these symbols of the sky and I never tire of making jewelry to celebrate them. So, I've decided to offer them together in one place for you as the Metal Sky Jewelry Collection. I will start with what is ready and add to it, little by little.
The plan is to offer most designs in sterling silver, antiqued sterling silver, antiqued copper and ancient copper finish. Eventually I will also offer brass, probably with a bronze patina. If you don't see a piece in the metal or finish you need, just let me know.
I'm starting with just a few earrings. All of these earrings are hand-crafted in the studio, starting with a sheet of pure copper or 925 Sterling silver. The design is hand drawn and cut. It is then hammered for an interesting texture. Depending on your choice, it is either polished or put through an aging process for a patina finish.
The Metal Sky Jewelry Collection is available for purchase on my website. Only two earring styles available right now, but as mentioned, I'll add much more, a little at a time. I figure that's more fun than waiting for the whole collection at once. Besides, this is the type of collection that will be with me for many years. The Moon, the Sun and the Stars never go out of style.
There's a great new resource on the web to help you figure your ring size. You don't need to print anything out or wait in the mail for a sizer. Just go to www.FindMyRingSize.com and follow the directions.
I know it's a little weird - they tell you to put your credit card or license up against the monitor. The card is used to help determine pixel sizing. You can use a business card, anything that's the same size as a credit card. You can even use a ruler.
It's a good idea to try to double check that the sizing is correct, by putting a ring up that you know the size.
Let me know what you think of it. I've just added buttons throughout my website for those who would like to purchase a ring, but don't know their size.
Yesterday I showed you my newest treasure map ring. Today I'll show you another treasure map ring that I made in summer of 2009. I usually make the first model in brass or copper, even if I plan on making it in silver. These first pieces serve as a reference for the future - better than any sketch on paper. They also allow me to test my designs.
This is a hollow ring. The secret compartment is the tiny space between the two rings. Just enough for a folded bit of map.
Around the side it says "Bring Me that Horizon". True pirate fans know that is what Captain Jack Sparrow says at the end of the first POTC movie.
Jack Sparrow and his love of rings have really inspired me to create a whole series of hidden treasure map rings.
I plan on remaking this in silver soon. In fact, I've already started it.
Modern day treasure hunting is fun with geocaching. Have you ever done that? I've been thinking about ways to incorporate that into the hiding places for treasure maps.
Hmm...perhaps geocaching deserves a whole jewelry collection of it's own.
One thing about Pirates, they love hiding places. Hiding places for treasure and also for maps that lead to their hidden treasures.
While making jewelry, I find many hidden compartments, that with just a few tweaks to the design, could become a feature of the piece.
Here are some photos of my latest piece. It's a Secret Treasure Map Ring. I call it No.5, because I've made several others with different designs, but all hiding a map. If you've been following this blog, you'll recognize that this is a variation of the metal pirate beads I've been making.
By the way, this ring is my first for the Flickr Ring a Week (RAW) Challenge. I've committed to making a ring every week in 2011. In 2010, I was in the Flickr Ring a Day (RAD) Challenge. You can see all the rings I made in 2010 by clicking here.
Looking back at the first week in 2011 on both my work and my blog, I'm pretty pleased. This was a week of adjustment after the long holiday season and being snowbound. So, I didn't expect to do too much.
Bead by Bead
Day by day, bead by bead, I'm starting to see the Pirate Collection taking shape.
More designs started to flow this weekend. This usually happens with me. I start by learning new techniques and creating samples or practice pieces. As I do that, designs begin to flow for the embellishments and alterations that I need for my collections.
Eventually, you will begin to see finished pieces.
Thank you for joining me on this journey.
Today I had a nice surprise when I realized Marthe Le Van mentioned me on her blog. Marthe is a force behind the scenes in the Art Jewelry community. She's edited many of the wonderful Lark Jewelry Books that are defining contemporary art jewelry.
Speaking of books, as Marthe mentions, Lark will be publishing a book in 2011 that shows the best of the Ring a Day Flickr Challenge group. I'm happy to tell you that they've requested permission to publish 31 of my rings in it. Of course, many of those might not make it to the final layout. But I am so honored to have my work invited for a Lark Jewelry Book.
You can learn more about my participation in the Ring a Day group, and see a slide show of the 365 rings I made in 2010 by visiting the Ring a Day 2010 page on my website.
Mary Lu Wason
is a studio jeweler. Here she shares the inspirations, discoveries and process of creating her art jewelry collections.
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