Sunday, March 31, 2013


Happy Easter! Happy Spring!

Friday, March 22, 2013


Bronze and sterling silver. 

Another view.

Well, today went a lot better.  Soldering skills seem to be coming back to me, plus I seemed to be a lot less of a spaz today.  Made three pairs of these and got started on a couple of others.  It felt pretty good.  Next I'm going to make some from sterling silver and then some with etched bronze.  

Thursday, March 21, 2013


This is representative of my day today.

They started out so promisingly.

Not much to show for a whole day of work.  

Well, it was one of those days where you should stay in bed or go to Starbucks and read a book all day.  It started the day with a cute idea for some simple bronze, tribal style earrings.  I cut the bronze sheet out, gave them a nice hammered texture, and finished them nicely.  I finished the first pair easily even though I haven't done any soldering since my hand surgery.  I did a fine job with the soldering (admittedly, it was a simple job) which made me happy after so long of a hiatus.  I pickled them to clean them up and lovingly polished them.  That's when I noticed that I had soldered the ear wires onto the wrong side.  ARRGH!  Ok, no problem, reheat, remove the wires, grind off the solder, pickle, rinse, make new ear wires because I mangled the first ones, flux, solder the new findings in place, clean them up.  That's when I realized that I hated how they hang in the ears.  It's amazing that I didn't throw them against the wall.  I stopped and started working out my problem in a sketch book and I think I have a good solution.  I started to disassemble them again but had to run off to an appointment.  So basically here's what I finished today in 6 hours.  Impressive, no? Just not in a good way!  I think maybe I'm a bit rusty.  I should be able to knock out several pairs of a simple thing like these in an afternoon.  I guess I'm going to have to find my groove again.  It's ok though.  I strongly believe that these kind of afternoons are the real work of what we do, a sort of way of working out the stuff we can't work out on paper.  Tomorrow is another day and I'm sure it will go much more smoothly.  Pictures of what happens next tomorrow!

Saturday, March 16, 2013


I love St. Patrick's Day.  Though it is still cold outside, it always seems like the real beginning of spring to me.  There are bulbs coming up in the yard and the birds are singing louder and there seem to be more of them lately.
It's been a busy winter, full of travel and healing.  My hand has healed nicely and I'm so grateful to my surgeon and my physical therapist.  I spent time in Albuquerque taking two workshops at Rio Grande and then on to the gem shows in Tucson.

Peter Gilroy, demonstrating the Bonny Doon Press.

A few of the things we made in Peter's class.  

My first workshop at Rio was a hydraulic forming class with Peter Gilroy.  It was nice for me as using a press was completely out of my comfort zone.  I learned a lot and mostly that I need to learn a lot more.  There is a lot I could do with a press, especially cutting out blanks.  I may have myself talked into buying a press, but they're not cheap, so I'm shopping around.  I think my best choices are the press that Rio sells (Bonny Doon) and one of the presses from Kevin Potter at Potter USA.  If anyone has any advice for me, I'd love it!

 Bill Fretz, demonstrating an anti-clastic bracelet.

 Maybe my favorite thing I learned all week, the Mobius Strip.  A Mobius Strip is a surface with only one side.  If you're interested or geeky (like my husband) check out the link to learn the origins of the Mobius Strip.

 Synclastic and anti-clastic bracelets and rings.  

This is an anti-clast that we made as the closure of a bracelet, but I'm making these as pendants with gems closed up inside. 

My second workshop was with the rock star of hammers, Bill Fretz himself.  Most of you who love tools (like me) know who this is.  Bill makes the most beautiful hammers known to man.  I picked up several more in Tucson the week after our class, but more on that next time.  Bill rarely teaches, so I knew that I had to grab my chance when it came along.  The workshop was on forming with hammers and stakes.  My experience with stakes was limited, and again they aren't cheap so I didn't own too many.  I was amazed at how much easier forming anti-clastic and synclastic shapes are to make with the right stakes.  This class was one of those rare moments that changed everything about how I work.  I loved forming before and now I'm obsessed.  I'll post some pictures of what I've made since Bill's workshop later on, as well as pictures of my Tucson treasures.