What a nice way to start the day. My Ancient Rustic Opal Engagement Ring was featured on the front page of Etsy this morning.
Here's a copy of the collection that was shown. My ring is the last picture. It sold right away, but I have more Australian opals to make a few similar but unique rings.
I'm trying to stick with the Brooch a Day challenge again. I decided that each day I will try to incorporate some part of my day into the pin that I create. Today, I was figuring how to balance things in my life. So, I started with a circle. Then divided the circle into a texture and a non-texture.
There's always a pull between one thing and another. Embrace them both and wear them like a badge. Balance.
I made a little pin. This piece of coral has been waiting for a setting. I decided to make a special bezel for it, with a swirl design. It looked a little too lonely, so I added a fat little pearl.
Overall, I added a stippled texture, like the bottom of the ocean floor.
I made this ring this week. I call it the Pirate's Freedom Silver Wedding Band Ring. I am so happy that this design sells so well, because it's one of those rings that I never get tired of making. Although it's alot of work, it is repetitive work, that allows me to enjoy some good music while I file away. I truly get in the zone, enjoying the process and sending good thoughts to the couple who will soon be married.
You can see more about this ring here. It is part of my Pirate Tides Collection.
This week I enjoyed creating a custom pendant to showcase a client's special Rune stone.
He requested that I add a fleur-de-lis symbol. We decided to add it both as a cutout on the back and also a chased design on the sides. An ancient, rustic style was needed to reflect the ancient symbol of the Rune stone.
Following are photos of the process.
I measured the stone he provided and figured the right height for the custom bezel. I tested a design on a scrap of silver. Once the bezel was completed, I tested it for the fit. I created a fleur-de-lis sketch to fit. The backplate and bale were soldered. The cutout was pierced with a jeweler's saw. The stone was set using a hammered handpiece. A dark, antique patine was applied and then hand brushed and polished.
Do you have a special stone, coin, token or shell? Would you like to make it into a wearable piece of jewelry? I'd love to work with you on creating a one of a kind treasure.
Today, I had a coil of wire in my hand, as I was wondering what could I make for Brooch a Day. Funny, I was thinking and thinking and then looked down at my hand. What a sweet little pin, I thought!
I filed the end and there you go. Sometimes we already reached the goal - just need to tweak things a bit. And recognize that we're there already.
I made another little pin that ended up as a stylized heart. Perfect to wear for Valentine's Day.
It's been a wonderfully busy time, working on custom orders. Part of the challenge on days like this is how to work time for a new design into a full schedule. There are times during the day, waiting for something to soak, to dry, cool, etc. I use that time and scraps of whatever I am working on to create something new.
Following are some pins I made recently for Brooch a Day 2013 challenge.
I made several wedding bands with dates hand stamped inside. I always test the stamp first on some scrap copper. This scrap had a nice little arch (itself a scrap from cutting out a copper cross.) An arch of numbers designed itself as I worked. I simply made some copper jump rings and attached it to a little brass kilt pin.
I created an opal engagement ring and matching wedding band. An extra strip of silver from the band and a bit of leftover bezel were enough to create this little pin/pendant. I stamped a moon and stars on both pieces. After I set the opal, I used the same tools to set a blue zircon on the pin.
Isn't it cute? I call it Lullaby Good Night. I twisted an extra loop on the back, so it's both a pin and a pendant.
There has been an empty bezel on my bench for almost a year. I originally made it to hold a pretty turquoise cabochon. I decided to go with a different style and so, the empty bezel sat, waiting for another stone. It was a unique shape, so I never really thought I would find something to fit. But, as I was waiting for some work to soak, I found this little wampum clam shell fit perfectly!
What do you do everyday? Is there a way to recycle the leftover scraps of your work into something new? I just wrote this blog sitting in a waiting room. There is always time and materials to create something new!
Last week, during Brooch a Day, I decided to play with layers and dimension. I like the way some vintage pins are constructed by setting stones in each layer and then cold connecting them all together. (Cold connection means that no heat is used to join the metals, which is a good thing if you want to set stones before connecting. Most stones, except diamonds, can't handle too much heat.)
I used the scrap metal that was on my bench and cold connected the layers.
I annealed the metal to soften it and then formed it a bit, to experiment with depth.
I realized one reason that flowers are a popular motif for brooches. The layered petals in nature can be reproduced with layers of metal. I rarely show flowers in my work, but I decided to cut the metal like flowers, just this once.
Since a cold connection can be any material, I went with simple suede cord instead of metal, to flaunt that option.
I'm enjoying the every day challenge as I take steps each day to play with a process, technique or design.
Choose a word, put it on a pin, wear it and you have made a public statement. During the first week of the daily challenge called Brooch a Day 2013, I enjoyed thinking about the power of pins.
Pins are very public. The wearer doesn't even see them. They are like a billboard. The question becomes, what do you have to say?
Sometimes, we let others say something about us, by putting a pin on us.
Why do we let others put a pin on us? It says we are in the club, we paid, we are with the band, we are of the same tribe.
So, what word would you wear? Let me know. I'll be offering custom word pins soon.
Follow my progress on Brooch a Day here.
I love what I do. I really do. I move metal, five days a week, into forms of love, memories, faith and hope. I felt so blessed this holiday season, in the midst of all my busyness. What a wonderful job I have, to create treasures for others! How cool is that?
Shhh...its a secret. Don't let my family know, haha... Even when I had a ton of orders to make, I was sooooo happy, sitting at my jeweler bench, late into the night. You know how Derek Jeter says in the post season, "I live for this"? Well, making jewelry that means something to the recipient - I live for that.
Many people like to give a cross as a gift. I can engrave initials, a special date, a Bible verse citation, etc. Most of my crosses don't allow for too many characters though. One customer asked me to engrave the names of her four children on the back of a cross, as a gift to her husband. It seems I'm always asked to engrave more than what will fit nicely. So, I was inspired to create this square cross design.
It's a one inch square solid sterling silver on the back, which allows for lots of custom engraving space. The cross is also sterling silver. The two pieces are textured with different hammers, to create a bold contrast. I add a dark antique patina to highlight the rustic style. It's great for a man or a woman who likes the rustic look.
You can order your own version at this link.
You can see more cross designs here.
Mary Lu Wason
is a studio jeweler. Here she shares the inspirations, discoveries and process of creating her art jewelry collections.
@PirateTides on Instagram