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 kiss—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 — one kiss one spark — 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 — 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!