Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

A ring a month: February

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Here we are almost at the end of February and I’ve managed to make my second ring. The theme this month was Music and Lyrics and I have to say, it was a tricky one! In the end I decided to go for a simple stamped ring band. But then the next problem was: what lyrics could I stamp on the ring?

The artist was easy, I’ve long been a fan of Paul Kelly, an iconic Australian musician whose lyrics are evocative and poetic. However, Paul Kelly has a back catalogue of hundreds of songs. I really would have liked to do the iconic line “From little things, big things grow” from the song of the same name but it had too many words for a ring! Maybe one of these days I will decorate a bracelet or a necklace with those words.

Instead I pulled a line from a song that always reminds me of the early days with my husband, We’ve Started a Fire, both because of the lyrics and because the album came out at that time, so we would listen to it a lot.

The lyrics in the second verse are:

Kiss me, then let me go before the sun is high

One kissβ€”one spark!

Danger when the powder is dry

We’re just two children playing with matches

Hidden from the world

We’ve started a fire

We’ve started a fire

We’ve started a fire

We can’t put out

(Paul Kelly 1994, from the album Wanted Man)

The ring is made with a pewter ring blank from Beaducation and stamped with the second line above β€” one kiss one spark β€” I stamped it on the flat blank and then shaped it.

One kiss one spark rings

As you can see, I actually made two rings, one for me and one for him.

Next month’s theme has just been announced β€” you’ll have to wait and see what it is. But I think it’s time I started playing with fire, don’t you think?

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Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Classes and new techniques

A ring a month: January

One of my goals for this year is to spend more time playing with metal and honing my metalwork skills. I’ve taken quite a few classes at The Whimsical Bead over the past few years, and last year I took a fantastic 8 week intro course at Melbourne Polytechnic on jewellery making, but I never spend enough time playing on my own, even though I’ve slowly collected most of the gear I need!

So to encourage me to get out to my studio and play, I signed up to do the Make a Ring a Month challenge. Run by Anna Campbell, an Edinburgh-based jeweller. There are something like 300 people doing the challenge. You can see a lot of their creations on Instagram here and there’s a Facebook group too.

Of course having signed myself up, I immediately realised that I would probably not manage to get my first ring done in January because (a) summer school holidays, (b) work and (c) grandparents visiting (and staying in my studio). But I pushed myself into the studio this last weekend (even though it was February) determined to get my first ring done.

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(Image by Anna Campbell-Hall)

January’s theme was texture. Because I don’t have my soldering gear set up properly yet, I though I would do a riveted ring rather than a soldered ring. I followed a tutorial on the Beaducation website for a riveted tab ring, with a few minor changes — I had to use copper rivets instead of sterling as that’s all I had. All good though, and I managed to complete my ring in a couple of hours (there were lots of breaks to watch the video lesson and to find the things I needed).

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Texture-wise, the sterling band has been hammered to give it a light texture, while the copper tab was cut from an embossed sheet. The ring was lightly patinaed with liver of sulfur to bring out the details.

A couple of things I’ve learned from making the first ring: I need to get better at measuring and sizing rings. And I definitely need to get better at taking photos of rings. Sterling doesn’t photograph well on my usual neutral grey background, I had to take the photo above on black paper. I also took a photo of my husband wearing the ring, what do you think of this photo?

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Now I need to think about February’s theme: Music and Lyrics. Should I try stamping a message on a ring? I think that would be rather nice, but what lyrics should I choose? I guess I’ve got a couple of weeks to think about it, stay tuned!