Monday, November 23, 2009

Down to the Wire Designs pulls them in.

Sometimes you can get people to read your blog by tricking people in the Etsy forums. Just an observation. Backed by physical evidence!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Charitable donation update...

At the beginning of this year I set out to donate one set of items a week to charity. I often get several requests for donations every year and thought that 52 would be feasible. However, giving stuff away is harder than I thought it would be. I have given several donations to charitable groups and have more lined up for later in the year, but am falling far short of my goal.

So I have decided to offer charitable listings in my Etsy shop. These listings will be available for purchase and the entire purchase price-- minus the shipping-- will be donated to the buyer's charity of choice. The buyer will get the jewelry-- to keep for themselves or give as a gift-- and they will also get the satisfaction of knowing that the money they have spent is going towards a good cause.

My only restrictions on this are that the charities have to be legitimate-- preferably an established group that is registered as a non-profit-- and if it is a political group, it has to be one that I too support. I don't want my time and energy going towards something I do not agree with. Please respect this condition.

I am hopeful that in this way I can still meet my goal for the year. I am determined to make all 52 donations that I committed myself to at the beginning of the year.

Check out my Etsy shop for details.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It was meant to be.

In college, I decided to take an art class every quarter to fill holes in my schedule. I had to declare myself an art major to do it because most of the classes were not open to non-majors. One quarter the only art class that would fit the opening in my schedule was a beginning jewelry class. I had zero interest in jewelry. I really knew nothing about it. I wondered if I should even bother taking it, thinking that maybe I would be better off just using the block of time to study. I signed up on a whim and I have never looked back.

All the basic skills came really easy to me-- the sawing, the soldering, the filing and shaping of the metal. While others struggled to achieve competence with these skills, they felt oddly natural to me from the beginning. I loved working with metal and I really liked the small scale of the work-- there was a satisfaction to finishing something and being able to turn it in one's hand for inspection, knowing that you had control over every last detail.

This brooch is from that first class. It was an exercise in stone setting and we had to use three different methods in one piece. This one uses a bezel setting, a tube setting, and a prong setting. The large oval stone is possibly aventurine (I am not sure) while the small round cab set in the tube is jade. The faceted stone is peridot. I put a lot more thought into the back of this piece even if the execution is a bit sloppy. It is clear that rather than just hiding this part of the brooch away, I added some small flourishes to make it more interesting even if only to the person wearing it. It was upon finishing this piece that I realized I had potential as a jeweler.

Unfortunately, I took only three jewelry classes before graduating-- I had discovered it too late.

I had used a loophole to gain access to art classes that were off-limits to non-majors. I had declared myself an art major but never really had any intention of pursuing my BFA (bachelor of fine arts) because it did not seem practical to me. I ended up getting a degree in philosophy instead, which is quite ironic when you think of it. When I had enough philosophy credits to earn my degree, I simply changed majors and was finished with school all at once. Just like that. My interest in jewelry would go on hold due to a lack of equipment and a suitable place to work but the fire never died.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

This is where it all started...

I was digging through a cigar box full of stuff the other day and found one of the first earrings I ever made. It is made from brass, nickel silver, and copper-- the beginning jeweler's metals of choice. There is so much that is bad about this piece and the fact that there is only one rather than a pair suggests that I knew it at the time. Not every piece is a triumph-- less so in the beginning.

At the time I remember soldering strips of metal to disks of another type of metal and then running them through a rolling mill to make them distort. This one incorporated "stitches" of copper wire. If you could see the backside, you would see how little character the hidden part of the earring has. The ear wire is a very utilitarian and basic while the stitches are just bent over to prevent them from falling out. The backside of the earring has been treated with the full knowledge that it often goes unseen. It is obvious that I put all my energy into the public portion of the earring and the rest was a rush job without much thought. This is the sort of thing that would drive me crazy today.

This piece measures 2.5" tall by 1" wide.