Bohemian Style Bracelets

 

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I learn more stuff from blogging than I ever would have guessed.  Case in point: I am obsessed with the trendy bohemian style.  I know that the region known as Bohemia is in Central Europe.  I know that people labeled “bohemian” in this country are supposed to be individualistic, eccentric, artsy-fartsy and have a flamboyant sense of style.

 

BohoB (5)What I did not know is that the hippy, beatnik bohemians got the name from the French who associated with this type of personality and style with Gypsies to wit, the “roving Romani people they called “bohemians” because they were believed to have arrived from Bohemia.” (Think La boheme). We don’t know there the Romani people originated, but medieval French referred to the Romanies as Egyptiens from which we get the English word Gypsy.

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So, to recap, a real Bohemian is likely to be Czech.  An individualistic, eccentric, artsy-fartsy person with a  flamboyant sense of style is a bohemian and would have probably been known as a romani (small “r” because not referring to an ethnic group)if people had been more familiar with geography.  But hey!  There have been periods in European history where people went to bed in one country and woke up in another. (If they were lucky enough to wake up.  Watch this video to see what I mean.)

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I am fascinated with bohemian-style jewelry and the opportunities it gives for layering chains and ribbon and cloth and metal with charms, beads and Milagros.  For these bracelets I have pulled out some ceramic beads I made years ago and have combined them with lamp worked and polymer beads and other components I have had lying around waiting to be used.

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You can add as much or as little wire work as your like and make custom clasps that integrate nicely with the designs. For a tutorial on making the clasps you see in these bracelets press here.

And last but not least, two links to share:  my favorite blog for all things bohemian style, ThatBohemianGirl.  And here’s a find!  Watch Lynne Merchant demonstrate how to make a perfect wire spiral here. 

Cool Custom Clasp Tutorial

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Start with 2 to 3 inches of 14 gauge wire.  I used copper here.   Trim ends flush

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Bend wire in the middle You might wait until this point to flush cut your ends so the wires are even.3

Make a loop on the end of each wire4

I like to use bail making pliers to do this.   You can spread the wires out to curl each end.

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Press the  wires closed.  I like to use flat nosed pliers for this and I must warn you that it takes practice to keep the wires even.  The less you have to touch them with the pliers, the less nicks you will have.  A trick: insert the bail forming pliers in the loops while you adjust the rest of the wire.  Then make any adjustments needed  in the loops.5See the left of the picture: I have put a little bend in the end of the clasp.  
8Side view.  Notice how everything is even.  That’s what you want to strive for.

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Gently bend the wire over a mandrel.   Don’t try to get your finished shape in one try.  You can refine later.
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Here is a shape that’s more refined.  Notice how the loops sit back from the clasp.  Notice also how the wire in the top loop is shorter than the bottom one.  It happens.  Try to get in there with the tip of your flush cutters and  clip the longer wire to the size of the shorter one.  Then close the rings tight.  You don’t have to open the rings to do this.  In fact, you shouldn’t because then it will be harder to get them back into shape.

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Here is a finished clasp with jump rings

Clasps

And here are more clasps in different sizes and shapes.  

Hey Baby Nice Glass!

Continuing on last week’s post, here are some more glass cabochons. 

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Click on the pictures below to see how I made them. Most of these cabs were fired a minimum of two times. I kept cutting, fusing and reassembling until I got a result I liked. Who knew you could stack ugly beads in a kiln and make something new? It goes without saying that all the glass must have the same COE if you want the fusing to be successful. And you have to get every last speck of bead release out of the holes. I mean all of it, because fused bead release is not pretty. On the other hand, if you fuse a cab and find that you didn’t clean out all the bead release, you can grind or cut or it away and try fusing the glass again.

Here’s the Fusing Schedule I used.  Yes, you can fuse with Moretti glass!  And here are some ideas for using lampworked bead scraps in fusing projects

IMG_9628My fancy camera set up

Triangle Beaded Beads

I have been experimenting with cross weaving which is sometimes referred to as two needle right angle weave.  It definitely uses a different set of “head muscles” than single needle RAW, but it’s not that difficult to learn.    Below are some examples of beads that I discovered by accident while trying to do something else.    My beads are not new discoveries; I have since found other examples of them  on the Internet.

Triangle weave is not right angle weave strictly speaking because the beads are not pointing at right angles,  but it lends itself to a great deal of possibilities depending on the size and shape of the beads you use, how long you keep repeating the pattern, and the manner in which you repeat the pattern.   You can also weave a pattern similar  similar to hexagon angle  weave that to my eyes resembles more of a star pattern than regular hexagon weave.  Then again, these are more likely the same  patterns but they look different to me  depending on whether I use oval-shaped beads or round beads.

The two beaded beads below are extremely simple to make.  The one you see here  is made from six  beads.

I have been experimenting with cross weaving which is sometimes referred to as two needle right angle weave. It definitely uses a different set of “head muscles” than single needle RAW, but it’s not that difficult to learn. Below are some examples of beads that I discovered by accident while trying to do something else. My beads are not new discoveries; I have since found other examples of them on the Internet.

 

This bead is made from nine beads and I have added some seed bead accents.  

The 12 bead beaded cube is the easiest one of all to make.  Here is a good video tute to get you started.

Give these beads a try if you are interested in learning some of the more complex bead cross weaving.

A New Twist on Viking Knit!

One aspect of creativity is combining ideas.   Finding new ways to use and combine materials is another one.   I have been interested in Viking Knit for some time and between experimenting with alternative ways to do it and alternative tools to make it,  I came up with some new ideas to give single weave Viking Knit a new look.

Cloth, Fabric

I found this beautiful fabric on a discarded window treatment. This is what it looked like after I washed and dried it. The blued and coppery hues reminded me of the copper wire I use in Viking Knit. And I love the contrasting look you get with using ribbon with stones or metal.    

Viking Knit 5 sided

Why not thread some of this luminous looking fabric through the Viking Knit?  

viking knit chain and fabric

Ok, the first thing I learned is that you do not, I repeat do not pull the chain through the draw plate before you thread the fabric through- do it before.  Just make sure the  fabric or ribbon is long enough to fill the length of the knit after its final pull through the draw plate.     The fabric does not make the chain any thicker or harder to pull.

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I’ve used 24 gauge copper here.  See the fabric inside?  I  don’t recommend using fabric inside of  double or triple weave because you really won’t see it.    Besides, double or triple weave is beautiful on its own.    

So, what can you do with your ribbon filled Viking Knit?  Here are some ideas.  Run with them.

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This is a necklace that I’ve finished with bands of flat copper wire run through a rolling mill.

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I braided the ends of the wire.  The ends are purposefully left raw and unfinished for a funky look which might not be for you.  

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These pictures are of a Viking Knit that’s around 20 inches long (excluding fabric ties) that I’ve made into a multi-strand bracelet for a  funky bohemian look.

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You can try different fabrics, add beads, finish the ends however you want- the sky’s the limit.  Make something that looks different from what everyone else is doing! Play and have fun.

 

Beads of a Different Stripe

I have been busy trying  lamp working techniques this summer.  Striped beads are made differently than I would have thought.  Instead of drawing stripes on the bead with a stringer you  lay down dots, put on a layer of  clear glass and melt it slowly.  This serves to magnify the dots underneath which appear as stripes!  How cool is that?  Here are the basic steps:

Base bead

Make a base bead

First dotsAdd some dots.  Don’t melt in.

dotsAdd dots on top of dots.  Don’t melt in.

 Clear wound aroundAdd a couple layers of clear over the dots only.  Think of a shape like the planet Saturn with its rings.

 wind

 Begin to heat the clear glass.  Slowly so the glass doesn’t pop or crack.

 wrapsBring up the heat to melt the clear glass.  This magnifies the dots underneath

TorchingPick it up a bit and keep the mandrel turning.

heatingWhy?

Stripes taking shape2Because you don’t want your bead to sag.

Stripes taking shape

Let the bead cool slowly and keep it turning to maintain the shape

coolerAlmost finished.

Beads2   And here are the finished beads.  This could get addicting!

Don’t forget Bead Fest this weekend!

    

Arlene’s Birdy

Remember The Deerclayer post and how we conspired to make hounds tooth-covered animals to give to Arlene Groch at this years’ Clayathon?

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Well I have been into birdies lately and my Clayathon  hounds tooth contribution was a hounds tooth covered birdy.  I made the core from aluminum foil and newspaper which I covered with scrap clay, painted him with white acrylic paint and baked him.

   Birdgetting covered

Then I covered the birdy with cane slices

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And baked again (his beak is painted with liquid clay tinted with acrylic paint)

Birdie Rear

I fashioned a birdy perch so Arlene could hang him in her studio without taking up any precious work space.

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 Sqwawk!

 

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I antiqued him with a mixture of liquid clay and white acrylic paint for a muted look.

I think he looks content; don’t you?

What I Made at Clayathon

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I decided to try making hollow beads using marbles as cores.  The technique goes like this:  You cover a marble ( mine were 25mm and 32 mm) with  clay, poke a little hole so air can escape and bake for 20- 30 minutes.   You slice  the clay open and slip out the marble.    I learned a neat tip from Olivia Surratt.  Don’t cut all the way around the marble; think clamshell.  If you leave a bit of clay attached you will be able to line up the halves perfectly.  Then I glue the bead back together with cyanoacrylic glue.   You can also use Genesis Medium and pop it back in the oven for a bit to set it.

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Marbles covered with white clay before baking

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Finished bead.  I got the texture from rolling the bead in salt before baking.

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Beads covered with zig zag canes before going in the oven.  After they come out.  I sand and buff.

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Some of the finished beads strung with bicones and spacers

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You must admit she looks stunning with or without the beads!

For more Clayathon pictures, press HERE

Happy Happy!

Happy Bracelets  combine beads with flexible tubes of polymer clay.  You can flex and bend the bracelets and the clay  doesn’t crack (Ok, OK,  it probably will crack if you go at it with a jackhammer or drive over it with a monster truck.  What I mean is that the clay in the bracelet won’t crack with normal wear.)

I made my very first Happy Bracelet at Clayathon   and was so excited to discover another side to the so-called flexibility of polymer clay that  I wrote a blog post about it.  People were curious about how I made them,  and I promised to write a tutorial.

And now I am happy to announce that a complete Happy Bracelet tutorial

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Is in the August 2013 issue of Polymer Cafe

Thank you Anne Huizenga and Polymer Cafe!

And last but not least,  the winner of  bead giveaway number three
(drum roll please . . . .)

is  ZanC! 

Metal Lentils

Here’s a pair of earrings I made this Summer.  First I etched some copper sheet with a Japanese wave pattern and then I cut out  four 1 1/2 inch circles to make disks.

I filed the edges of disks so they were all even,  put holes in the center of each one with hole punch pliers  and dapped a gentle curve into the disks with a wood dapping block.

I sanded the bottom of each disk in preparation for soldering.  The edges had to meet all the way around with no gaps.

Getting a bottom half ready for soldering.  I have pickled and fluxed the discs and am using medium solder.  I like to flash my flux with the flame to dry it out before laying the solder because then the solder doesn’t skitter around because the flux is bubbling.

A lentil bead ready for soldering.  You notice that I’m bit using binding wire.  I’ve never had much luck with it anyway.  Lexi Erickson (see below) suggests pinning the bead to the firebrick through the holes.  This worked beautifully for me.

After soldering before pickling and cleaning

I am learning to use less solder.  It means less cleanup!

I patinated both sides of the lentil beads with a butane torch.




I finished the earrings with brass washers that I dapped to conform to the curve of the lentil beads, and decided to use carbon steel wire to attach the earrings to the ear wires.  I like the look of mixed metals.

I recommend both of Lexi Erickson’s soldering DVDs. They are packed with useful information and common sense tips.  You can order them from Interweave’s Jewelry Making Daily Shop.