Showing posts with label on the bench. Show all posts
Showing posts with label on the bench. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

On the bench- making fine silver head pins

Mixing it up

Learning new ways to add depth to your designs is super important when growing your jewelry business.  I will never forget the first major fine art show I was accepted into and someone asked, did you make those lamp work beads..? or hey, how did you create that bracelet clasp?    The responses were varied from the deer in the head lights response or coming back with that is not my focus as yet, for I would jury in with the beaded sculptures and then strung pieces would tag along for fill in the display.  
set-up here includes a butane torch, fire brick, tweezers, pumice and annealing pan.  A bowl of water is also near by for quenching the torched wire.
Fine silver wire, here 20 gauge was used, makes for super fast headpins formed into French hook style ear wires.  The pure silver balls up when heat from a torch is applied at the wires end briefly.. creating a type of headpin.  By using the fine silver instead of sterling, there is no need for a pickle, shortening time spent or labor on the process.
finished cooled headpins laying on pumice in the annealing pan

Friday, November 08, 2013

On the bench- new favorite tool, the steel bristle brush

My favorite new tool is a beautiful little steel-bristle brush from Germany, distributed by Euro Tool.
Four rows of 0.10mm steel bristles in a 8-5/8" wooden handle has become my go to bench tool.  After oxidizing the metal and also for a quick polish up when brightening inventory for shows or when sprucing up inventory in shoppes, galleries & trail stops.
bristle steel brush, wet/dry mechanic's sandpaper and branded copper charms on the bench

I ordered this great bench tool from Beaducation recently after NEEDING to find another way to clean up oxidized jewelry without killing my fingers and wrists while working into those small spaces.  I still take a larger grit wet/dry sandpaper to remove the high points and then go over the metal with the brush creating a soft look and feel to the jewelry.

the new and improved time saving 3 steps to finishing metal after oxidizing
When the metal is prepped and ready, it is then dipped in Liver of Sulfur blackening it, then secondly sanded to expose the high areas and then third brushing over all surfaces creating a lovely satin appearance/feel.  You can truly see how rough the #2 charm in the middle is compared to #3 on the end, where the brush evens out the charm's surface creating my desired finish. 

What surprises have you had lately that changed your way of creating?


Wednesday, November 06, 2013

on the bench- new jewelry displays

So many artisan pendants, rings, earrings and bracelets with no way to display them as one thought, all together in shops or galleries,  with out looking like a hot mess was an issue for me.   This also kept me from refilling inventory for I was not crazy about how my work was put on display at these locations (not their fault) and needed to come up with a solution for them and me. 
awaiting assembly, upcycled oak door jambs with rust staining and general wear tear is pretty cool
Simple is best, letting the focus be on the work instead of the display, was the thought and I knew lots of wood, following an industrial punch is where I wanted to be.  Many images on line were scrolled through to get the wheels turning.  Then it all came to fruition, knowing I liked the look of hardware fasteners and distressed wood... combining these two elements with industrial style design and nature.  Here is what came about :) 
bolts making easel style assembly

 Linseed oil was also applied, after assembly, to seal in the age and bring out the grain.  Lots of L-hooks, eye hooks and other points of interest, like this wall bracket which at one time was used for finial rods adding dimension to the display, focusing on a bracelet as seen below.

a way to hang PA Wilds branded pendants, earrings, rings, bracelets and charms, complete with business cards makes for a centralized artisan display.  This set is going to ECCOTA in Ridgway, Pa.

this set is with Allegheny Outfitters in Warren, Pa. 

each set includes a 12", 2-10" necklace easels along with a pendant, bracelet and earring board
When I set up at shows these easels are going to save me a lot of lugging along those bulky, heavy and cumbersome displays.  What did I say, simple is best! 
When photographing the pieces for the ETSY shoppe, I am excited to of course incorporate especially the necklace easels in the shot.   What is your vision to bring together your jewelry in one thought?


Tuesday, November 05, 2013

On the bench- keeping tools clean

Keeping your work area clean and somewhat picked up is important when making jewelry.  This is true for feeling creative and making quality work, for I don't or can't work in a hot mess of a studio but, creative clutter is another thing :) When filling inventories in stores, galleries and trail stops or filling custom orders organized clutter is best.  Well.... I have no choice since the studio is 11'x10'.  I often describe the space akin to a cooks galley kitchen.... for when working on the stump bench I can either reach what I need where I presently am working or a couple rolls of the chair wheels gets me there snagging what is needed.
I will write a post talking about 'studio move' in the near future.  Plans have changed from originally building off of the existing studio, to upcycling our existing back screen porch into a super area for SDAJ.  This change makes the dh happy and also adds another living area to the house and increases the studio's possibilities when hosting open houses, classes and artisan trail events... + makes me smiles too! HOOT, HOOT!!  The finished studio will be 7 times what I have now.
hammers here at the ready allow the artist to freely move from one technique to the next
Simple is best not needing much effort with keeping the floor swept, benches free of metal shavings, tools in their homes and surfaces ready for that next big project.  If your tools are where they normally are at all times, you tend to be more productive, which decreases stress  when you reach for that lost riveting hammer and time, when in a crunch reaching for that brass mallet for your punches.
files on a magnetic strip at the ready

 Files should be free from bits of filed metals, steel wool and rust to file properly lasting for years.  The magnetic strip is a pain with magnetizing so all your steel wool floaties get picked up...grrr
Files can't be touching each other for it damages the teeth so the strip works great for that but, you can also have them in a single layer in a drawer.  I won't have them on the front of this work bench again but, attached to the back wall for these crazy things fall every where from just the slightest bump. 
antique hammers or old school work horse hammers for texturing here an old ball-peen....see my fave texturing hammer in the background, an old cobbler's hammer.

just a simple cleaning up
Hammers are an artisans bridging between them and the metal being formed.  I feel hammers are my favorite tool as you can see from the photos hammers live on the stump bench, tool boxes around the studio and are seen featured in many photos when even featuring my jewelry or metalprinting.
HAMMERS are the heart and soul of the 'work' screaming their existence in and out of the studio, making themselves heard. 
Yesterdays Instagram post was the above photo showing 4 of the hammers in the collection that I wanted to start using regularly but, could not with rust and crud covering each. The ball-peen, cross-peen and a tack hammer were first sandpapered with 400 grit wet/dry mechanics paper and then steel wooled.  I also took a punch to my favorite texturing hammer tightening the handle once again, pictured above the Instagram shot.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

feeling it....

Yes, it is school time with all of the crazy running around, deadlines/schedules and the nagging that we parents need to spew forth on some level to keep it all on an even course.  
My youngest comes out in the studio to visit while I am finishing up whatever needs to be worked on that day before supper is put on the table.  We chat about it all and I truly love our time with her wheeling over one of the bench chairs in one fell swoop sitting down talking about this days shenanigans.  
I am definitely savoring every morsel... for it goes by in a sna--ap!
available in my ETSY shoppe
Moms and their daughters have an undeniable bond, a force to be reckoned with :)  Before school each year Mother/Daughter jewelry are metal printed on my bench, after typesets are laid out forming a centering string of words  better to ease them into that long school day.  The Moms and daughters have sweet sayings that are just for them, stamping the letters inside the cuff  and then on the top ends ,initials or mom and also symbols on the opposite ends adding to the design or feel of the bracelet.
Moms and Daughter cuff style bracelets HERE
available in my ETSY shoppe
Charm bracelet style too with Swarvoski crystals, Czech, semi-precious and sterling silver charms.  Perhaps My Little Pony meets Tiny Toons was the inspiration ♥ 
Loads of fresh tomatoes were devoured that evening on fresh bread and olive oil with a rather large quantity of garden basil....yummmmm

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

On the Bench -handmade crimps

Making jewelry from start to finish, using your own components, is a way to put YOUR signature on the pieces coming off table or bench.  Nothing is more relate-able to your potential clients or more fulfilling to you as an artist than handmade closures, beads, earring findings, jumprings, headpins or the like.
 This necklace was made for ME after locating the 6mm leather used as actually I feel another component in the piece, crimped and then a heavy 10 gauge copper wire hammer forged hook attached to various artisan lampwork, wood and glass cane beads linked by wirewrapping.  I feel wearing a design before creating more to offer to potential clients is extremely important working on comfort, wear ability, durability and overall aesthetic.
Since this is mine, the pendant was metalstamped with my signature and then the PA Wilds brand added creating the focus.

Wide shot of materials, tools and  components.  5 & 6mm leather is a beautiful addition in more organic bracelets and necklaces.

An oxidized or natural finish treatment, as seen here on some crimps.  Round nose pliers, small graduated size wrap and tap pliers, side cutters and flat nose or chain nose pliers used to manipulate wire.

16 gauge square and round copper wire, along with 14 gauge round were used for crimps.  The smaller the number the thicker the wire when looking at the gauge size.  The wrapped bead links were done in 20 gauge copper  or 18 depending on hole size for 20 gauge is more suited to double wrap as seen below making some double or single wraps.  I love the look of double wrapping on beads for it adds a relic element especially when oxidized.
In conclusion I love the pieces and will start this line for the Spring adding more metal, attribute words, charms and artisan beads to the overall design having them for sale in the online shoppe and also at Allegheny Outfitters in Warren, Pa. and also Elk County Council on the Art in Ridgway, Pa.  both trail stops not to mention amazing shoppes and galleries.

enjoy, xoxo

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

On the Bench -work hardening wire

When making jewelry from wire especially in creating findings for closures and earwires you need to work harden the wire so it does not give when wearing. This is especially important on jumprings and your closures for as we all know your jewelry can get caught on anything pulling rings open or bending your closures opening it resulting in losing that very expensive and time consuming bracelet or necklace.
*A few steps I take are bending while working (normal designing benefit), hammering and also tumbling.

garden studio April 2013 by Stephanie Distler
Here is my wire corner of the studio showing a loverly bouquet of purchased and found with some electrician wire awaiting to be re-purposed that is hanging. This scrap you can easily find in 10 and 12 gauge while you search and find from other online sources for 'new'.  I mainly use 20, 18, 16,  14, 12 and 10 while always searching the shoppes for copper, sterling silver and brass tubing.
hammers work harden wire beautifully while adding texture and personality to the pieces.   A raw hide mallet , 8th from the bottom, is what jewelry artists use to harden without marking the metal.  These hammers are also part of the collection I use to paint texture on metal printed/stamped work.
I use Dawn dish soap, a dollop in, as you see warm water just covering the pieces being tumbled. 
drying the steel shot after tumbling some Doctor Who pendants for it will rust if let to set in the soap/water in the barrel.  

wire while wrapping becomes workhardened and is also very important on a piece such as this bracelet for the  4 customer found treasures (steel shot) design components are not beads and need to be contained securely in the wire encasing them as well as the jumprings.

16 gauge copper wire created crimp hook and swirl closures which I recently made were design hardened, hammered and tumbled for strength.

Such simple steps to keep all of your hardwork safe and in place.

enjoy, xoxo

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

On the Bench -hallmark in the works

I am in the process of ordering a stamp for a hallmark on the metalwork and little metal tags found on the jewelry.  These tags will also include the PA Wilds branding stamp below.

This company makes great quality stamps.  I also ordered a larger 'wilds' stamp to be used on pendants as part of the design.  These pendants are being prepared now and should get photographed tomorrow at some point.  I love these stamps for the size is considerably larger than an average design stamp making it easier to achieve the sharp image desired.

Friday, February 08, 2013

On the bench- sampler of sizes and types of fibula pins

Using 12, 16 and 20 gauge wire on these ancient designs with a modern twist.  I became intrigued with ancient designs and more utilitarian pieces a few years ago and the tremendous beauty in them as well as use and function.  Amazingly just ordinary everyday wire, that we use to attach and restrain, can be bent, twisted and hammered into the most unique jewelry.
The large pin from 12 gauge wire is not to be used on tight fabric but, is wonderful to attach your loose knit scarves, shawls and sweaters embellishing them.  Next, using 16 gauge wire which here I used copper, brass and tinned copper as a trio set that are thinner and can be used on medium knit pieces. We now are getting down to the smallest in the collection  in where 18 gauge was used to make these much smaller versions.  The smaller style can be used on a tighter yet knit with some having beads to add to the aesthetic.
All of my work are work hardened by bending, hammer and tumbler to with stand years of use.  Oxidation or antiquing adds depth and can be added also to the copper and the sterling silver options.  There are some added from time to time to the shoppe but, is an option you can request for a small fee.

small fibula copper safety pins

fibulas for Jan 2013
in the round 12 fibula pins

Friday, September 04, 2009

On the bench- making fibula style sweater or scarf pins

Decided to forge fibula pins for the scarves and shawls coming into the gallery very soon!
These are very go with the flow type of design just need a body, spring, pin and hinge!

playing with different designs to see what I like...I really like the safety pin with the swirl,
I used 16 gauge for the that the others have 12 or 14 gauge.
These pins are used on loose knit material such as in scarves, shawls and sweaters. I am going to make 2 inch pins next, these are 3 and 4 inches.
the largest one :)

Here you can see the filed tip close up along with the clasp.
I file and polish each pin to take care of every little rough edge ;)

excerpt from

Fibulae were composed of four components: The body, pin, spring, and hinge.

BodyThe body of a fibula is known as either the bow or the plate, depending on the basic form. A bow is generally long and narrow, and often arched. A plate is flat and wide. Plates could be solid or openwork. The body was often decorated. The head is the end of the fibula with the spring or hinge. The foot is the end of the fibula where the pin closes. Depending on the type of fibula, and the culture in question, the head of the fibula could be worn facing up, down or to the side.

PinThe pin that is used to fasten the clothing, is either a continuation of the fibula’s body or a separate piece attached to the body. The fibula is closed by connecting the end of the pin to a catch plate, or pin rest.

SpringThe body and pin meet at either a spring or hinge. The earliest design is the spring which provides tension to the pin. The spring could be unilateral or bilateral. A unilateral spring winds around in one direction only. Unilateral springs are the earliest type, first appearing around the 14th century BC. Bilateral springs that wind around to both sides of the fibula body, appeared around the 6th century BC. Bilateral springs can be very short, with only one or two revolutions per side, or up to 10 cm long. Most bilateral springs are made of one piece of metal and therefore have a spring cord, a piece of wire extending from one end of the spring to the other. The spring cord can pass in front of or behind the fibulae body. Bilateral springs wrap around a pin or axle. These are usually made of iron even if the rest of the of the fibula and spring is copper alloy. In the 1st century AD some fibulae had springs that were concealed under a metal cover that was an extension of the fibula body. These are known as covered springs, or hidden springs.

In the late 1st century BC or early 1st century AD a new design appeared in some bow type fibulae. A separate pin was attached to the head-end of the bow with a small hinge. In the second half of the 1st century AD, hinges were introduced to plate type fibulae. One or two small plaques were cast on the back of the plate and a pin was attached to them by a small hinge. Previously, plate type fibulae had bilateral springs attached to the back. In the 3rd century AD, the hinge was placed in the centre of a long transverse bar creating the famous Crossbow fibula design. A few fibulae from a much earlier date also had hinges, although this design feature was very rare and soon died out for nearly five centuries. For example, the Asia Minor Decorated Arc Fibula (Blinkenberg Type XII Variation 16) dating to the 5th century BC.

It is important to note that different types of fibula construction were used contemporaneously. Though the introduction of the hinge was later than the introduction of the spring, the spring remained in use long after the hinge was introduced. Therefore, a given fibula with hinge is not necessarily more recent than one with a spring.

UseFibulae were originally used to fasten clothing. They represent an improvement on the earlier straight pin which was less secure and could fall out. While the head of the earlier straight pin was often decorated, the bow or plate of the fibula provided a much increased scope for decoration. Among some cultures, different fibula designs had specific symbolic meanings. They could refer to a status or profession such as single woman, married woman, man, warrior, or chief. Some Roman-era fibulae may symbolize specific ranks or positions in the Roman legions or auxiliary. In some cultures, fibulae were worn in pairs and could be linked by a length of chain.


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