Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pancake Tuesday....mmmmmmmm

So, today hasn’t been the best day I’ve ever had. I should have known first thing this morning when I got to the train station and I set off my car alarm and couldn’t quickly get it to shut off. I hate those people who’s car alarms go off for no apparent reason. However, once I got to work the bad luck continued when I dropped my security i.d. and swipe-y card (the one that gets me in and out of the building) right in the toilet. That’s correct…..right into the can. I know what you’re thinking, and NO I hadn’t actually used the toilet, but that doesn’t change how sick that is. The fact of the matter is, other people had used it, and let’s face it, the only thing that cleans that thing after people use it, is swishing water…it’s not clean in my mind. Anyway, I finished the work day off by walking all the way to the train station only to realize that my wallet was still at my desk. So back I go to the office and then on to the late train. Starting my evening of jewellery off late. Good news though, it’s PANCAKE TUESDAY! That means it’s pancakes for dinner! That’s enough to cheer anyone up! So while I wait for pancakes to cook I thought I’d take some pictures of my latest creations.
I’m currently working on some wedding jewellery. I have someone coming over on the weekend to choose some designs for her wedding in June. I’m not quite sure of her style or exact colours so I’ve made a bunch of stuff and hopefully we can work from there.
I picked out my favorite, it’s blue Topaz drops, the earrings are wrapped in wire and hung from sterling silver ear wires, and the necklace is also wrapped in wire and then hung on a sterling chain with a larger sterling silver circle.

If you ever wanted to know the difference between sterling silver and silver plated, the difference is the metal itself. Silver plated basically means the base is some other type of metal (such as copper) and then it’s coated in silver. Sterling silver with the 925 stamp on it means that the entire item is 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals (usually copper). Fine silver is 99.9% silver and is usually considered too soft to make jewellery out of so they mix in 7.5% other metals to make it more structurally sound.
I’m off to make more jewellery – happy pancake Tuesday!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Adventures in Metalsmith

A few years back I decided to widen my horizons and learn new skills, so I registered at a local college (one that will remain nameless) for a metalsmith class. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the best experience, so I figured metalsmithing just wasn’t for me. But something about playing with metal just kept calling to me and I kept thinking about it. Fast-forward to 2008 and I discovered The Devil’s Workshop What first drew my attention was the Wedding Band Workshop offered by Sarah Wan, owner of The Devil’s Workshop, teacher and metalsmith extraordinaire. I thought that was a fantastic idea and since my wedding was coming up, thought my husband and I could take the class together. What could be cooler then making your own wedding bands? Well, much to my dismay, he wanted nothing to do with it. So I started looking at the other workshops offered that I could take by myself. Since then I’ve taken Silversmith for Beginners, Silversmith Level 2, and Lost Wax Casting. All of which I loved every second of!! Silversmith Level 2 and Lost Wax Casting I took at the same time and just thought I’d show you some of the stuff I’m working on.

The first is a ring I made to look like tree bark; I carved it out of wax in the lost wax class and then cast it in sterling silver. I shocked myself with this one because it turned out exactly how I wanted it to!

This is a shot of another ring I made, pretty simple, but again, exactly how I wanted it, I wanted to build my confidence using the wax, so simple was fine with me. Turned out nice and smooth and shiny! Perfect.

This picture is a set of lily pads I made. Bracelet, pendant and cute little earrings. But I’m not gonna lie to you, it was a painful project. The actual work that went in to the lily pads wasn’t painful, but getting to that point was. I just could not think of what to sculpt. Call me crazy, I can build things, I can take flat pieces of metal and make them in to something pretty, but I just don’t have the mind to take a wad of wax and carve it down to something. I have a whole new appreciation for the carvers of the world. Either way, I came up with the lily pad set with the help of my lovely teacher Danielle Crampsie who helped me work through my frustration with amazing patience. I still have to properly polish it and add some oxidizer to it, and even though I struggled with it, I love the whole set.
The next 2 pieces I made in the silversmith classes. I couldn’t include all the items I made in these classes because I gave some of them away as gifts. I chose my 2 favorites to keep for myself.

In the beginner class I made an awesome cuff bracelet. My inspiration was river rocks. It was a lot of sawing, but I still enjoyed doing it.

In the Level 2 class I made an awesome pendant. Trees are usually my inspiration for everything and I made this one with a branch cut out. I took one flat disc, cut an image of a branch out, then domed it, and soldered it to another larger flat disc. I still have to polish it, and I’m gonna drop some oxidizer into the branch cut out, but I can’t wait to wear it!

So…lessons learned you ask? Well, for one thing, when you dome things, it makes them wider then you want, so if you’re gonna cut an image out before you dome it, make it skinnier then you would normally OR dome it first and then cut it out. Also soldering a domed disc on to a flat disc is awfully hard and something I’ll need to practice. Mama Wan had to save me on that one. If I ever make another River Rock cuff I’ll need to remember to be conscious of the space I leave between each circle I cut out, some of them are a little too close to each other and I’m worried about the overall strength of the cuff.
Classes are done now and I’ve slowly been collecting my own tools so I can start working on my own in my basement. Since I still have some polishing and stuff to do on some of the pieces I’ve booked some studio time back at The Devils Workshop so I can finish the pieces off, I’ll be sure to post the pictures of the finished products. Hope you enjoyed checking out my progress!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hillside Inside Festival a Success!

This years Hillside Inside Festival in Guelph ON was held on February 7 and featured Great Lake Swimmers (my personal fav), Stars, Bedouin Soundclash, Sam Roberts, and That One Guy!
Rock On Accessories was there with all our jewellery as well as our new-this-year bamboo t-shirts which were a huge success.  We got lots of encouraging comments on shirts like 'Grow Food Not Subdivisions' and 'I am not a nugget', both of which sold out!  In fact, stay tuned for the newest designs which include 'I am not a patty' with an image of a cow and KIDS shirts!  Don't worry, no profanity on the kids t's.

As for the jewellery, my new love is the 'unlock my heart' necklace made with real vintage keys.  I also introduced pendants made from vintage silverware.  Who knew that the handles from vintage forks and spoons could make such beautiful pendants?  Check them out in my Etsy shop.
All in all, although it was busy and exhausting, we had a great time at the festival and we saw some great bands at the same time!
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