I have been exploring textile arts and learning techniques for incorporating them into jewelry. And making up a few of my own. The bracelets below are from recycled materials: old clothing dyed, stamped, painted and shredded, cast off electrical wire stripped and straightened, scrap stained glass tumbled and drilled, some gilded twigs from the sidewalk, pieces of old jewelry, and old plastic bangles or wire forms, There is no plan; I just start to wrap and embellish. I hit some of the bracelets with a heat gun to see how it would affect the fabric. Depending on the fabric, it will burn, seal the frayed edges, or melt the fabric to reveal what’s beneath. I got this idea from a video by Textile and Mixed Media Artist Maggie Ayres. There is so much information out there. Don’t limit yourself to what you already know or think you have to take a class (unless you are learning how to use a torch, or another technique where proper safety instruction is vital). Don’t be afraid to try something new!
- O GOLDEN month! How high thy gold is heaped!
- The yellow birch-leaves shine like bright coins strung
- On wands; the chestnut’s yellow pennons tongue
- To every wind its harvest challenge. Steeped
- In yellow, still lie fields where wheat was reaped;
- And yellow still the corn sheaves, stacked among
- The yellow gourds, which from the earth have wrung
- Her utmost gold. To highest boughs have leaped
- The purple grape,–last thing to ripen, late
- By very reason of its precious cost.
- O Heart, remember, vintages are lost
- If grapes do not for freezing night-dews wait.
- Think, while thou sunnest thyself in Joy’s estate,
- Mayhap thou canst not ripen without frost!
- Helen Hunt Jackson
Embrace Autumn! If you’re in Philadelphia this weekend, try to catch one of these special events
I walk to and from work every day and I constantly scan the sidewalk for treasures I can use to make something. Trash day is the best day of the week!!!
Awhile ago, I wrote about making lampworked beads from glass I found on the sidewalk. Now I have added brown beer bottles to my cobalt blue wine and aqua Bombay Gin bottles. And a co worker contributed too! She had a beautiful yellow glass vessel sink in her powder room and when it cracked and she had to have it replaced, she gave me the broken glass.
The pictures below show each kind of glass, plain, fumed and fumed with stringers on top.
Since I don’t know the COE of the glass, I don’t mix the colors. I cut the glass as best I can and hold it in the flame with a long hemostat. It’s loads of fun and you never know what you’re going to get.
I’ve been thinking a lot about jewelry made from found objects lately, probably because I have been asked to give a talk on the topic at the April meeting of the Main Line Bead Society. So this morning as I was brushing my teeth, it hit me: Why couldn’t I make a clasp from those cool copper washers I got at Harbor freight? I always get my best ideas in the morning. I had to wait until I came home from work to give it a try.
I took two washers about 18 gauge thick and sawed a slit in one just big enough for the other one to fit through. Then I made jump rings from 18 gauge copper wire and soldered them on the washers. Then I pickled, cleaned, punched a pattern on the clasps, gave them liver of sulfur bath, and polished them up. The placement of the opening relative to the jump rings is critical; you want your necklace to stay on. I don’t recommend this clasp for bracelets. It has kind of an old Roman feel, don’t you think? Here are the pictures.
This last clasp is from an object I found on the street- a sheaf of 10 gauge copper wire encased in black electrical tubing. You can take off the tubing and use the wire. I made a clasp out of mine. Here’s that picture.
For interesting takes on Metalsmithing and Metal Jewelry, check out the work of David Paul Bacharach, Barbara Briggs and Connie Fox’s wonderful site, Jatayu
To learn to make just about anything, check out Instructables and the Ready Made Magazine web site.
No matter what kind of art you’re into, you’re sure to find something that interests you on Wet Canvas.
I came upon Altered Curiosities by accident. It’s not the kind of book I would usually buy. But boy, I am so glad this book made it to my door. Don’t pass it by like I almost did. It’s packed with information on all kinds of crafts that seemingly bear no relation to one another. Yet author Jane Ann Wynn pulls them all together, with unconventional materials, and makes art. I didn’t try any of her projects, but I read through the book more than once and am taking inspiration from it for my own work.
For example, I love the look of rust (but not on my appliances, please! ) and patinas. I picked up a rusty washer on the street the other day and struck up a conversation with it. When I was finished, I had this pendant. I added a silver plated spoon hammered flat, gold filled wire, turquoise and copper. I think that Altered Curiosities got me thinking in a new way.
While running errands today, I found all these cool rusty bits on the sidewalk. These are going to end up in something. I’ll wait for them to talk to me first, like the washer did.
If any of this appeals to you, check out the art of Annette Tacconelli’s Urban Artifacts. If little washers talk to me, bridges and pieces of buildings talk to her. Not only is her art beautiful and hard to forget; it will stoke your creative juices even more.
This necklace is made from part of another one of my Grandmother’s silverplated spoons. After I made the bracelet I showed in an earlier post, I decided to try something new. The cabochon is polymer. The spoon is dapped, pierced, and patinated. The cab is held in place with gold filled wire. The pendant is strung on rubber cord and finished with Balinese style vermeil spacers and a vermeil clasp. I am exploring more ways to make jewelry from spoons and found objects. I will post the more interesting results.
I wanted to make a meaningful Christmas present for a younger family member. My mother had given me my Grandmother’s silver plate and said that it would be OK if I made jewelry out of it. I took two teaspoons and heated them until they were cherry red with my lamp working torch. After letting them cool, I clamped them into a vise and sawed off the handles with my jeweler’s saw. I filed off the rough edges and drilled holes in both ends of each handle. I shaped the pieces with a rubber covered mallet and a form made to hammer out dents in cars. Then I threw the handles in the pickle pot to clean off most of the fire scale. Next, I used a wire brush attachment in my drill to clean off the rest of the dirt and shine them up. I filed around the rough edges of the holes I’d drilled and went over the handles with steel wool before polishing them with muslin buffing wheel and rouge.
I assembled the pieces with jump rings I’d made previously, and a lobster clasp. When I don’t solder jump rings, I like to make them oval shaped with the cut on the side because they are stronger and less likely to pull apart which is important for a bracelet. I was going to put a lamp-worked bead dangle on the front with a wrapped loop. I ended up using the dangle you see in the picture-an odd earring belonging to my mother.
I have a full set of my Grandmother’s silver plate and a ton of ideas for using it to make jewelry. What about a ring or bracelet for my maternal girl cousins? That’s a thought. It would be a good way to share the silver plate with the family.
Yesterday, my Mother was telling me about the wonderful Christmas dinners my Grandmother cooked years ago. I imagine they enjoyed more than one with the spoons I used on this bracelet. I never knew my Grandmother. The picture of her below must have been taken when she was 16 or so, which would make it circa 1900.
Emma Peterson Montgomery