Beads, Classes and new techniques

BeadFest part 1 — the classes

I’ve just returned home from our 8 week family holiday in the USA. It’s pretty much been radio silence from me here while I’ve been away (thanks to intermittent access to wifi, busy days of travel and sightseeing and so on), but I plan to do a few posts this week about the beady side of the trip, aka my BeadFest experience.

BeadFest was—to this Aussie anyway—ah-maze-ing! We arrived in the middle of the afternoon on Thursday (the second day I think of BeadFest), thanks to late flights the day before resulting in an unexpected stopover and a very early start, and I had a class starting at 4:30pm, so it was a bit of a scramble.

The first class I did was with Sara Lukkonen, of C-Koop Beads fame, and was a torch-fired enameling class. We enameled flowers and disks and whatnot, and then riveted them to leather to make bracelets, and even a little leather ring. I LOVED it, and can see a torch in my future – I just need to set up a suitable space at home somewhere.

IMG_0734

Anyway, I used a transparent turquoise frit (which looked a deeper blue over the copper), opaque purple and opaque pea green on my pile of flowers and disks and I’m thrilled with my bracelet—have worn it several times already! I made a matching ring too.

IMG_0735

I’ve also got a pile of leftover pieces which may or may not end up in something sometime.

IMG_0842

The second class I took was a short (45 minute) class with Erin Keck, which I took specifically to learn how to shape metal into a dome shape (the technique is called dapping). We made a simple pair of earrings using Vintaj embossing folders to texture the disks before dapping them. I can definitely see the possibilities here.

IMG_0838

The second long class of the week was a class which introduced a few new techniques—fold-forming niobium, and then anodizing it to colour it. It was a fascinating class taught by Marti Brown, and while I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to buy the anodizing set-up, it was fun to try it out and I ended up with a gorgeous pair of earrings and a pendant too.

IMG_0837

Finally I took another short technique class to try my hand at soldering copper. The class was taught by Kate Richbourg (and I will be looking up her video classes on Craftsy and Jewelry Making Daily) and I made a set of three stacking copper rings. Definitely another thing to try at home once I get set up!

Copper rings

It was great to have the opportunity to do some classes at BeadFest, and I just wish I’d had the time/money to do more. Next time (yes there will be a next time, it will probably just take me a few years), I will absolutely spend more time doing classes. In my next couple of posts I will talk about the shopping (oh the shopping!) and the people!

Advertisements
Beads, Swaps and exchanges

A torn and bleeding heart

I’ve talked about Bead Swap USA, the bead swapping group I belong to, in the past. It’s a great group and I have met some wonderful people through it. Recently we had a swap for Valentine’s Day of handmade (by us) pendants and charms. My swap partner was Lennis Carrier, from Windbent,  who has become a good friend, although we have never met in real life!

Lennis is, hmm, not a pink hearts and flowers kind of girl, so I knew I would have to be creative here, and I spent a lot of time searching Etsy and Pinterest for different ideas. I knew I had hit the jackpot when I came across the Etsy store Chocolate Rabbit, who has a fabulous selection of downloadable images with spells and potions. I decided to make Lennis a spell book using the images.

To make the covers I hammered out some copper sheet to make covers, antiqued them with Liver of Sulfur and then glued the book front and back images onto them. I then sealed them with several layers of matte finish Mod Podge. I wanted to give them a crackle finish, but couldn’t lay my hands the right kind of crackle medium, but the Mod Podge did add to the old look. I also rubbed Renaissance Wax onto the bare metal so it was protected from further tarnish. I used jumprings to put the book together. It’s a big pendant, about 3 inches by 2 inches!

Cover collage

Inside the book I used kraft paper to make pages, and glued tiny love spells to the pages.

pages collage

While I had the copper sheet out, I also cut a heart from it, hammered it to give it some texture, then cut it in half and stitched it up again using copper wire. Again, it was antiqued with LoS. A tiny blood red glass briolette hangs from the bottom, hence the name: Torn and Bleeding Heart.

torn bleeding heart

My final set of hearts for Lennis used some textured porcelain charms I made in Mum’s studio about a year ago. These had been fired but not glazed. I rubbed Gilder’s Paste in a patina blue-green shade onto the front, back and sides, wiping it back a bit so the white showed through here and there. I went over the top with some more Gilder’s Paste in a bronzey colour and then after they’d dried I sealed them with a matt spray sealer.

patina hearts

I have a whole pile of unglazed porcelain charms and pendants to play with, and I want to try a few different things with them, including using the Swellegant system of metal paints and patinas. I’ll do another post when I have some results!

Beads, Classes and new techniques

A quirky bird or two

I took a metalwork class last weekend at The Whimsical Bead. And it was so much fun! I learned to cut shapes out of copper, file edges smooth, texture with a hammer, rivet and screw pieces together, and finished off by oxidising the completed pieces. And I also made my first clasps!

The class was taught by Robyn and Julie Wilson from Deegan Designs, who sell a range of whimsical, steampunk-inspired jewellery. You can see some of their wonderful creations here. We made a simpler version of their quirky bird design, as both a brooch and a pendant. I took a few photos as my pieces progressed.

IMG_5501

Here I have finished cutting out, filing and texturing the birds and wings (I paired the wrong wings with the birds in these pictures). That’s probably me reflected in the shiny metal.

IMG_5497

This picture shows the completed birds, before their bath in Liver of Sulphur, which oxidises the copper from shiny to dark in seconds.

IMG_5500

Here is the brooch. It’s hard to see in the photograph but there are some lovely colours—almost like an oil slick—on the bird’s body and wings, from the oxidising process. The longer the copper is left in the Liver of Sulphur solution, the darker it goes—my pieces were only in there for a few seconds. I lightly sanded back the oxidation around the edges to give a bit of definition to the shape, but left the rest of the body and wings as they came out. The pieces have also been sealed front and back with a metal sealer to stop further oxidation.

IMG_5498

And here is the necklace. You can see the colours in this one a bit better. Note the clasp—I made that too!

I have some more copper sheet, wire and a few screws to play with, and enough tools to be dangerous! So you may see some more from me soon!