Monday, May 27, 2013

Why I don't usually do jewelry for men

When an office birthday comes up and it's a guy, they usually get a key ring or a bookmark. This is because I cannot make manly-type jewelry. Which, to men, means no jewelry at all. Or, if you must, something not at all ornamental. Straight lines. Few embellishments. No curlicues. And, for Og's sake, no Swarvoski crystals! But I got to thinking. . ..

What's manlier than hammered copper? Like this:

You know what could be more manly? That same piece chased with some oxidation, that's what! But I haven't ever tried chasing yet (Next on the list of things I must learn. After I learn how to properly use a saw. Which will be right after never) and any copper I ever oxidized was not on purpose. So this is the second most manly thing that can be done with copper.

O.K., so now what? I've got leather and that's pretty manly. Unless we're talking about a leather pants and vest outfit. Which is pretty manly if you're aiming for other men to think you're manly, but we not talking about that right now. No, I've got manly leather cord to attach that manly piece of hammered and fired copper to. Very macho. Except, well, it feels unfinished.

If this was for a girl, I'd put jet crystals on either side of the copper panel. Or a pretty copper bead. But this isn't for a girl. If I had two skull charms, it could work but I only have one. Two straight, narrow copper strips? If I made the strips as narrow as I'd want them, there wouldn't be room for the holes. I think I'm gonna have to go with the manliest looking copper spacers I have.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

It Is Safe To Say: I Need Practice

Yesterday I stopped pussy-footing around, took the jewelry saw out of its packaging and attempted to saw a simple round-edged piece of copper for a ring. And the results are. . . I definitely need more practice. Much more practice.

See? A very simple pattern. Straight lines with slightly rounded ends. Easy-peasy! Nothing to it. Don't know why I've been so intimidated. All I have to do is open the package, install the blade and saw. I even looked up the recommended blade size for my 24 gauge copper-- 5, 6 or 7. No thing, man. Piece of pie, easy as cake. Only. . .

. . .this is how the blades came. They are bundled in smaller bunches with hair-thin wire-- to make them that much harder to get to-- but I do not believe they are bundled into different sizes. And even if they were, how would I know which size is which as the only significant number on the entire packaging is there on the lower left: 72 pieces. I'm gonna need every single one of them because. . .

. . .this is how far I got before I snapped my first blade. It only got worse. A lot of times the blade would snag on the copper and would only move in one direction, the non-cutting direction. Luckily I have a few blocks of paraffin wax (doesn't everyone? I mean, who hasn't made a candle or two in their lifetimes?) and running the blade once through it stopped that-- mostly.

I also read that you must hold the saw at 90 degrees, move the saw without putting pressure on it and turn the metal and not the blade around curves. What I found worked was putting the saw at a slight angle prevented it from sticking and sawed through the copper like butter without hardly any pressure at all. And no matter what I did around curves, the blade snapped and I didn't get any curve at all.

Six blades and one very frustrating hour later, this is what I achieved. I could have done it in 10 minutes with straight (although jagged) lines and rounded curves with my tin snips. I must say that even though the straight lines look pretty jagged in this pic, they are not jagged to the touch. Tin snips leave ends that will make you bleed. The saw will leave a much straighter and smoother line, once I learn how to control it.

Oh wait! It's Sunday and we need a silly:

Saturday, October 6, 2012

This Post is a Cop-Out

I bought a jewelry saw over a month ago. It is still in its packaging. I look at the saw and get hives, I'm so intimidated by it. Now, I have been intimidated by tools before, most notably the chainsaw. But I had time enough to make a concentrated effort to stop being a punk. When you're not working, you've got 24 hours a day to stare down your fears. With the saw, however, I only have to think about it over the weekend. Not enough time to build on fortitude and stop being a big pussy.

The saw still sits unopened on my makeshift bench (which I should really put permanent legs on) and instead of dealing with the fear, I am posting-- about kinetic jewelry. You like jewelry that moves? Well, I got links to stuff that'll exhaust you.

This little guy is pretty simple as for as kinetic jewelry goes. It can be found at Colleen Morgan's site. She's from Australia and I have to say I'm a little disappointed that there is no bouncing kangaroo involved.

Next up is this gear pendant. Now, I'm not one to judge (I am one to lie about how I don't judge, though) but this here is something of a cheat. It is laser cut by machine. However it is a machine owned by one guy who fabricates it all in his shop. So I'll give it a small pass. Now, if he'd made that intricate piece of jewelry with his very own hands-- well, I'd say he was a bit on the obsessive side. But he didn't so I won't.

Lisa Pavelkas has a lot of kinetic jewelry. I liked this bird the best. It makes me wanna make a pinwheel ring. Yeah. . . a pinwheel ring. That's. . . that's quite doable. Hmmmm-- uh-huh, yeup. . .. Thanks, Lisa, for the inspiration! Now if only I can get up the nerve to open the saw package. . ..

Need flappy wings to get your fingers going? Well, Dukno Yoon has got the ring for you. And a whole bunch of impractical but very kinetic jewelry.

Last, and definitely not least, is this very cool gear ring I first saw on my Facebook page. It's made by Kinekt Designs and I fell in love with it the very first time I saw it. Too bad it costs more than six hundred dollars. I'd like to think that some day I could create something as creative and beautiful as this. But then I look at my unopened jewelry saw package and I know better.

Friday, September 28, 2012

I No Longer Need To Wrap for Survival

Since I got a job chasing paper across the outer boroughs, I now only wrap for fun. And hammer for fun. And blowtorch for fun. I plan to soon saw for fun too, having bought my first jewelry saw about 3 weeks ago. The down side of wrapping only for fun is that I do a whole lot less of it. Which isn't a bad thing considering how much stock I have in traveling bags sitting under my dining room table.

And just so you don't think I've abandoned jewelry making the same way I've abandoned this blog, here's a picture of the chain mail thingy I was making for The Boy the last time I deigned to blog. Now he wants it big enough to fill his own arm. The reason being is that he's a huge nerd who wants a chain mail arm thingy. He can have it too, as soon as he buys the probably more than a thousand jump rings to make it.

I'm sure if I put my mind to it I could give an estimate of the number of jump rings needed but I'm full of Trader Jose's Dark (not as tasty as I'd hoped but as alcohol-y as expected)and multiplication and long division are beyond my ken at the moment.

And now for something a little different. . .

Instead of a pumpkin, how 'bout carving a watermelon for Halloween?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Making Chain

With the news of my imminent employment, I went ahead a purchased a boatload of jumprings and have begun The Boy's chain mail bracelet. Here is the base.

It is in a circle only because I wanted to check to make sure it fit and also, it was the only way the whole thing fit in a picture.Having spent 3 days making this thing, I have a few observations.

1.I wish I were rich enough to not have to hunt for dropped jumprings. I'm thinking I drop about one in twenty. What a pain in the ass.

2. I would probably drop less if making chain did not involve beer. The chain pictured used about 2 and a half bottles of Killian's Red.

3. The more I look at this chain, the more it looks feminine and dainty. Not at all the manly chain mail The Boy is probably expecting.

4. Basic European is probably within my capability. But only with much larger rings. Too late- I already have a boatload of this size.

5. I used to think I was pretty good at opening jump rings. I didn't know what good jump ring opening was. I am now a world champeen jump ring opener.

6. This bracelet is gonna take a while.

Queen of Sheeeba's Etsy

PinkSlinkie's Artfire Studio

Thursday, June 7, 2012

My Geek Search For WoW Jewelry Continues

World of Warcraft Jewelcrafting Winners: Copper Division

My search of World of Warcraft Jewelcraft skill jewelry has come up pretty empty. So I’ve decided that instead of looking for real jewelry crafted specifically with WoW in mind, I’ll search for the best representative Wow jewelry that Internetsians inadvertently made. Since I do not know how deeply the Venn diagram of World of Warcraft players and people who make jewelry intersects (I suspect that may be an intersect of one—me), I’ll describe the WoW spell for the jewelry I picked.

Braided Copper Ring
Regents: Delicate copper wire.
The Winner: ME!

Woven Copper Ring
Regents: Delicate copper wire, copper bar.
The Winner: Wabbit-t3h of Deviant Art

Heavy Copper Ring
Regents: Delicate copper wire, copper bar.
The Winner: ME!

Malachite Pendant
Regents: Malachite and delicate copper wire.
The Winner: Artbrasil (site no longer active)

Tigerseye Band
Regents: Tigerseye and copper bar.
The Winner: Beavjewels from Etsy

Ornate Tigerseye Necklace
Regents: Tigerseye, copper bar and delicate copper wire.
The Winner: Nancy Woods of Wear Art

Judge's note: This entry was almost disqualified because of the poor quality of the picture. Nancy Wood would do herself a large favor if she dusted her display and focused her camera before taking a picture.

Inlaid Malachite Ring
Regents: Malachite and delicate copper wire.
The Winner: Nobody! I could not find an inlaid malachite ring made solely with copper. But I did find these very cool inlaid malachite rings. The only problem with them is that they won't give you any buffs if you wear them in Azeroth.

Wood and malachite:

Mokume Gane and malachite:

P.S. Mokume Gane is mixed metals layered sometimes 16 times, forged and twisted together to make distinct patterns. It is very cool looking.

Queen of Sheeeba's Etsy

PinkSlinkie's Artfire Studio

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Yes, Son. Your Mamma Does Love You A Little.

It was perhaps 7 years ago that my son, after hearing me say more than once that I'd sure like to try my hand and making jewelry, bought me a bead kit and a this book: The Complete Guide To Making Wire Jewelry for Christmas. Although I have used many of the beads in the bead kit, it was the book that fired me up. To this day it is still one of my favorites. And the only thing The Boy asked was that I make him a chain mail sleeve.

"As sure as as you fruited from the flower of my loins, I shall make for you this majestic chain of mail!" I promised him. 7 years ago. The book he purchased has two chain mail projects in it. It did not take long for me to realized that I didn't know what the hell I was doing. All I ended up with was a tangled mess of jumpring chains. Years went by and I got no better at it. In fact, it got worse. I couldn't even get a single chain going. It was hopeless and I finally admitted defeat to my son. "Son," I intoned, "the dark pallor of shame will color my every mood and thought from here until the dark dwarf sun-death of our Universe. I cannot make chain mail."

In the darkness of my shame there shone one tiny half-glimmer of hope. It was two years ago that I purchased Chain and Bead Jewelry Creative Connections: New Techniques for Wire Wrapping and Bead-Setting and the strange magic of aspect ratio was explained to me. I could again make a chain. And, not only could I make a chain, the reason why I couldn't make a damn chain all of a sudden wasn't because I was brain damaged! It was because I was using the wrong danged sized jumprings for the job. Perhaps now I could elevate my status once again to the greatest Mom to ever slide a squalling creature out from within. I could create a chain mail sleeve for my only born son!

Yeah, no. I was reminded of when my Abuela tried to teach me how to crotchet when I was 8. I learned how to make a chain easily. I enjoyed making crotchet chains so much I'd make them a yard long. But when she tried to show me how to make rows. . . let's just say the yarn would have been put to better use strangling kittens. It took a while for my grandmother to give up on me-- she was a fighter-- but she finally just sighed and let me continue to make yard long chains.

Still, the book did show me how to make different types of chains. Not the most intricate ones, I am too stupid to understand how to read the patterns, but the simple ones. Two weeks ago I used one of those simple patterns to make this chain and turned it into a pair of earrings. I have incorporated this chain pattern in other jewelry because I think it looks neat and a hell of a lot more complicated than it actually is. The Boy caught sight of these earrings.

"You CAN make chain mail!" he accused. It sounded like an accusation to me, anyways.

"Alas, no my son. I can only make chain-- no mail," I answered with my head hanging. Just like The Temptations' mama when she had to explain to them what a bastard their rolling stone papa was.

"Why can't you just put two chains together?" he asked as if it was that simple. Sorry son, life is never that simple.

But the more I thought about it, the more I wondered-- why can't I just put two chains together? I looked at patterns again. Unfortunately I was reminded of how stupid I am. Here is the basic European pattern. I am at WTF! by step 3. But my son's words still rang in my head just put the two chains together. . . just put the two chains together. . . just put the two chains together. . .. My head is mostly empty, hence the echo. So I sat down and, without a pattern, just put the chains together.

I think I can make him a bracelet of chain mail. All I need is, like, 30 dollars worth of jumprings. Maybe more. That won't happen for quite a while seeing as how I'm unemployed and flat busted. But one day, Son, I will be able to walk through the halls of Motherhood with my head held high.