Putting myself out there… June 15, 2015
Here where I live, we are in the middle of a yearly event…a month long County Fair. My husband and I used to work there in the summers as it provided some nice extra income for us teachers who didn’t get a paycheck in the summer. We also got kind of burned out on the whole fair experience…now we only go maybe every few years to enjoy the exhibits of woodworking, photography, fine art, cows, sheep, and of course the gem, minerals and jewelry. Okay, and maybe some really tasty, expensive, and bad-for-you fair food. Darn hard to pass up that corn dog. New favorite is the BBQ corn on the cob with chipoltle mayonnaise. Oh, my!
This year, a few of us in the jewelry class egged/encouraged each other to enter the jewelry competition. And we did. I entered two bezel set stone necklaces. Surprisingly easy and love that it is not juried, so everyone has a wonderful opportunity to share their work. Last Wednesday night was the reception for the exhibitors with an opportunity to meet the judges and other jewelry artists, and see our scores and comments. My favorite part was to walk around with a judge as he commented on each piece. Very enlightening to hear what he was looking for, appreciated, and thought could be improved. While I didn’t win any ribbons, it was great to get some professional opinions and suggestions.
I’ll admit it was a bit scary putting my work out there for judging, but in the end, I got some worthwhile feedback to improve the work I’m interested in doing on this leg of my jewelry journey.
I need to set the stones up higher for a better, tighter fit on the bezel. And need to work on a finer finish to the pieces. They liked the flow of the designs and creative balled jump rings. My display was very plain and clean. If I do it again, I’ll think a bit more about spicing it up a bit. I was more of an after-thought on my part, but is 10% of the score.
Also saw some really amazing jewelry! Both in the amateur and professional categories. It was exciting to see that Sandy from our little group won third place in the lost wax cast jewelry. Woot!
Last week was also the last metals class for the session. Whaaa! No more until the Fall. I did finish up my tiny amount of PMC with these two pendants. And decided to keep the finished cross on a simple snake chain. Keeper or sell it, not sure yet. PMC was fun to try, and even though I feel confident enough to make these at home, not sure I’ll continue to explore this medium.
Filed, sanded, oxidized, polished, and tumbled.
Frustrating that my photos don’t show just how shiny they are.
Have you ever been tempted to put your jewelry in a juried show or judging situation? Care to share your experience? I’d love to hear what you thought and how it might have effected what you create now.
Long time, no posting… May 28, 2015
I’m back. Did you miss me? Two weeks touring some sights in the South and along the East coast. Been in and out of the Atlanta airport probably 10 times, but never outside the airport until now. Loved seeing another part of our beautiful country. Ate shrimp and grits for the first time and loved, loved it! Also, collard greens…a bit too vinegary for my taste. Saw some lovely, historic cities…especially Charleston. Ended our trip with five wonderful days in Washington, DC. DC always makes me more proud and more humble that I was before.
Also returned to the Adult School jewelry class to try my hand at PMC for the first time. Missed out on a couple of lessons, but as always, the teacher and other students are so generous to help each other catch up. I knew that this product was pricey, but have to say that I was still a bit shocked at the tiny amount in the packet for 33 dollars.
I decided to start very simply with a hand formed cross. Like playdoh, I rolled out a long thin worm, stamped a design into one end and folded it over to form the vertical piece. Rolled and stamped the shorter cross-bar and carefully placed it underneath. Made a tiny amount of slip with a bit of the clay and distilled water to ‘paint’ all around where the two piece join to secure them. I also used the tiny paintbrush dipped in the water to smooth out any cracks or ragged edges.
After letting the piece dry over night, it was time to torch fire it. I still find myself holding my breath sometimes when I’m soldering…but didn’t think this would work so well after learning the cross would probably take almost 10 minutes of torching.
Ten minutes that seemed like an hour! This is what it looked like when cooled. Notice the nice scorched mark on the firing block.
Next step is cleaning it. Scrubbed with OOOO steel wool. This is just the initial step in polishing…just removing the thin top layer of white metal.
It’s very shiny…but the shiny white of pure silver. So it won’t tarnish. I’m stopping here for a bit to decide the next step. Oxidize or not.
And how to finish the necklace. Simple silver chain? Beaded chain? With stones? Leather cord? Strand of pearls? Thinking about who might wear a cross like this. What finishes would they like?
I’m open to ideas, people! What do you think?
Winner Times Two! April 21, 2015
Woke up this morning excited for some reason…oh, I know… Today is the giveaway drawing! And I decided to do it the old fashioned way,too. Putting all 34 names on little slips of paper into a hat. A San Diego State Aztec’s ball cap. My husband is a season ticket holder for the Aztec’s basketball team and it was the first hat I found in the house to grab.
I’ll keep this post short and sweet…the two names that were drawn were…
Congratulations to Cindy and Barb!
Make sure your fire insurance is paid up. Just kidding!
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing address
and I’ll get these babies wrapped up and on their way.
And thank you to everyone for playing along
and writing such kind remarks in your comments.
And thanks again to the generosity of the Sterno Company!
Sterno Torch Giveaway is Open! April 13, 2015
Morning, Blogger Friends!
Who’s ready for some fun with fire?
Then throw your name into the hat by commenting on this post. Please do leave contact info so that I can notify you if you are one of the two winners. If you need to review the few caveats for this giveaway, please refer to my previous posting, Fire Power. Comments welcome until Monday, April 20th.
I’ll draw two names on the 21st, then contact the winners by email to get mailing info.
Good luck to you all!
Fire Power April 9, 2015
Spoiler alert! This is a rather long post…but please stay tuned for the surprise ending!
First up. A milestone reached… I’ve finally graduated from bezel setting stones in a classroom environment to my own home. This required the purchase of a couple of helpful tools…a bezel rocker( also known as a bezel pusher) and a burnisher. Both inexpensive, but necessary for this work. And both were available at a downtown jewelry supply store…San Diego has a historic eight story jewelry building with a couple of supply stores open to the public, watch repair, showrooms of diamond and pearls suppliers, wax casting services…so fun exploring each floor. Very sparkly.
This latest piece went together pretty easily. So excited for find an inexpensive strand of turquoise chunks at a local bead store that went perfectly with this pendant stone.
I was able to solder the three bails quickly with my new Sterno torch.
And here’s a little side story…I purchased a Sterno Candlelamp culinary torch about a year ago because I wanted something with a little more fire power for copper and larger pieces of metal. It worked great…loved its ease. Then one day it wouldn’t light. After searching the web for troubleshooting ideas, I contacted Sterno directly and was nicely referred to their company communications manager and executive chef Thad Smith. What a wonderful experience…not only did he offer to replace my torch, but when he found out I have a jewelry blog, Thad sent two additional torches for me to give away! Wow!
So, blogger friends, here’s the fun for you…I’m giving away two Sterno torches. A few things to consider before you throw your name into the hat…
And I am holding off until Monday, April 13, for the giveaway, so folks have time to do a little research and thinking about it. May or may not be what would fit your needs and desires in a torch. Sadly, due to unruly foreign postage, I am sorry to limit this to U.S. readers.
First this giveaway is just the torch. You will need to purchase a canister of Sterno butane that fits the torch. I’m not brave enough to send this through the mail. There happens to be a Costco in my city that caters to restaurants and cooking needs…amazing, I know…so I was able to purchase a 4 pack. Cheap. This will last me a loooong time. Also saw that it was available at my local Sam’s Club…4 pack for under six dollars.
You might also wish to watch this little video with Thad Smith demoing the torch.