Monday, January 21, 2013

Kindness of Strangers

Passing on the word through the blogosphere, Star of the East is having a fund-raising auction for azulado, who lost her husband suddenly to cancer. You can donate to the cause in the form of a raffle ticket or purchase something from azulado's shop.

Statement ring, in brass and orange ceramic, adjustable

I was speechless over the support given to me by the artisan community when I had my traffic collision- and now when I see these posts I do what I can for them- perhaps a little more than I usually would.

People often consider these sorts of things tacky; I can't see how. People like to support each other, and sometimes the only way you can do that is through money. That necessity of daily life, that which comes easy to some but not to others, that which is so unevenly distributed throughout the world and provides such a burden on the mind no matter how much you do or don't have. And to have that burden released at a time when the head and heart are heavy enough, that is something good.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Hammers and Pearls - adventures in blundering

Experiments time! I went to a junk meet last weekend and picked up a box of super-crusty buttons, which is so rare to find and I'm jumpin' that I did, because now I can get back to some primitive cool.

This is the average level of crust- to start with I was disappointed they were going to be good enough to sell, then I remember some like it crusty, then I remembered I do too- so yay all around. So his Lordship (the hammer) and I got busy smashing metal.

BAM. A couple of wacks with the hammer and a quick punch hole and you got yourself some earring charms. 


Here's the oval ones- you can see hammering them gave a really cool artefact affect, actually they kinda remind me of peat bog mummies. (I'm not going to link to them, you can Google it, but brace yourself for wrinkly dead people.) But peat bog buttons wasn't enough for ol' Sparrow--- oh no.

I bought this the other day after being exposed to Fanci's cosmic affects, and after wrestling with my 'but it's not eco-friendly' demons for a while I forked out for some. Some things just can't be done with the planet's benefit in mind; I recycle a ton already and I am long past the point where I stunt my creative development for the sake of conscious consumerism. So there.

 Hmm...didn't look as sparklefest as Fancis. I've since learned though that these didn't turn out so sparkle cause I was a little light on the powder, you gotta slap it on like Divine. Also apparently it don't work so good on lighter backgrounds, the darker the base the better the shine.

You can see here- a quick application of pearls and then some UTEE and gold mineral on a piece of blackened steel - the colour pops more.

Back to buttons!

Here's the previous button after I applied some more pearls, then heated it to see if the pearls would burn and darken, which it did- came out like rust, awwwesome. On the left is the (as yet) untainted cousin.  But then I remembered Fanci said you gotta seal the pearls or it rubs off. Bummers- I didn't have any sealer...maybe I could use wood glue, that dries clear...then I saw the pot of UTEE on the shelf. YES. (Also another excuse for heat gun.)

There now! That really bought out the shine- there might also be some gold mineral eyeshadow in there, I can't remember. But yeah, UTEE gave it a sealed and slick finish and bought the colours a poppin'.

 My attention then turned to the untainted one.

A quick bit of heat and some sprinkled UTEE, then only a tiny bit more heat so it wouldn't spread but just 'glob' and look like rain on grass. D'aww.

Then I gave it some purple pearls powder. I like this effect, like blistered paint or craters on a moon.

Then I painted it, which I don't like so much so I might take it off. I wanted to paint it gold leaf but I have misplaced my leaf pen since moving. Actually think I'd prefer silver anyway. 


Then I remembered the button stash again, and that there were plenty of those boring, vegetable ivory buttons- chunky and plain and not very crusty or interesting. I thought 'it's a shame it won't hold the heat enough to UTEE it... then my brain said 'so make it metal!' YES. Copper sheeting ahoy! But first I should put some wire in so it's got a connector.

It was here I learned that vegetable ivory is fragile. So I swore a bit and got another button- plenty more there!

I did the copper kinda rough, cause I'm slap-dash like that    I wanted some texture.

Purple pearls and UTEE later, lookin' much more interesting! Still not 100% convinced but it gives options. I also noticed the UTEE did stick around the edge where there's no copper, so maybe vegetable ivory can hold the heat.You'd think I would've experimented with that but no- I wanted to get back to some hammering.

Poor unsuspecting creatures. I have LOADS of these in the button score, so I'll be able to offer some for destash at some point. Yay crusty buttons! I love the one with the stitching still in- he escapes the hammer.

Hammered the engraved one. Love the 'found in a tomb' look that gives. To further the relic look, I pearl powdered with green, then a dip in UTEE to seal.

Next to it's 'before' brothers. 

Not sure how I feel about it (yeah I get that a lot experimenting) - I love the 'Celtic bronze' green effect, but not so sure about the overall piece. I put it on a quick necklace with some complimentary beads...will hang it up and muse on it. I think it needs to go in a cluster, or maybe novacan the bronze wire so it looks less like gold.

Anyway- a heat gun in one hand and meltable plastic on the bench, I figured might as well make some head pins aLa Fanci. It's been said that stone is the best idea for these headpins, but I had a big tray of glass beads next to me and I have the kind of mind which assumes the rules don't apply to me.


Turns out they don't! Glass will take the heat- though I should point out that Fanci's technique involves heating the UTEE in a metal bowl and dipping into it, but mine is lazier and more instant in that I simply heat the bead with my gun then dip it right into the granules, then heat it again to melt. You get UTEE grains spraying all over the room if you don't shake it off good, but I'm working at the messy bench outside so it don't matter.


On the left, rather ordinary glass hexagony type bead- on the right, an identical bead, stacked with another one which is disc shaped, then threaded on a paddle pin and dipped in UTEE and purple pearls. Yup- hot bead in the UTEE, heat to melt, sticky bead in the pearls, heat to fix. Easy! 

It's a really addictive thing, that headpin makin', so I made a few more- and then started looking around for other things to 'deal with'.

On the left, nice but not-very-moving glass twisty charm. On the right, same charm- but thanks to pearls and UTEE is is now a magical tiny unicorn horn from the Elvin lands. I noticed here too that if you've got something frosted, the UTEE will get rid of that.

Then I got hungry and I needed lunch. Just before I went I spotted a crystal laying around, and I had a brainwave. If UTEE can seal and stick down pearls, maybe it could be used to seal down wire?  Cause sometimes you wrap a stone and you think 'ain't no way that's gunna stay'. So I wrapped it tight as I could (without actually making an effort; I was hungry after all) and dipped it a few successions of UTEE and pearls.

Not 100% convinced, but I think if the wrapping was better and there was more UTEE it would work fine. I remembered just now though, I've actually done this before- here. But since I'd forgotten about it, it was like inventing something all over again! You can see on that one that having more pigment works better, because it's more 'cap-like' and has a more secure look.

So there we go! I hope you enjoyed the tinkering tour- I like these posts, you can settle in and go through a process. All to often we get the impression that when others work, everything turns out right the first time. I think it's nice to now and then reassure each other that - at least with me- most days I go into a task thinking 'how hard can it be?'

Friday, January 11, 2013

Moving forward

Brave - assymetrical earrings - artisan made - hammered metal - kiwi jasper - eco friendly

sun shaman - citrine crystal necklace - charm cluster - opera length chain - romantic tribal

So many things! I update the shop and forget to tell you. I'm a bad blog mother.

the light supernal - recycled hoop earrings - hammered metal - reclaimed eco friendly jewelry

cradle of the moon - recycled hoop earrings - hammered metal - reclaimed eco friendly jewelry

Lots of pale rustics goin' on- getting into really elemental stuff; driftwood, raw stones, hammered metal. 

Energy - long dangle earrings - clear quartz crystal - silver chain - tribal sci-fi

Nature - mixed beads hoops - earthy statement jewelry - tribal gypsy

I amaze myself sometimes, what can be made with reclaimed and secondhand materials.

Honey - eco friendly chain earrings - reclaimed vintage - hammered metal - modern gypsy

such wonders - mismatched earrings - quartz crystal stacks - seedpod - rustic primitive

Love these! the raw stacks of quartz, recycled glass, a seedpod from England. Mismatched is the business.

Eye of the sky - bohemian rustic earrings - hammered metal - crystal quartz - modern gypsy

The free shipping deal in the shop has been extended til January 19th, cause I felt like it. That's how I roll! 

Dad is a crafty type as some of you may know, so he has work tables and tools and interesting useful things all over the house. This bench is on the back porch and was set up to restore a stained glass window- since he'd finished doing that, I laid claim to it, cleaned it off and set up my 'messy bench'. So I can hammer and carve and solder and tin snip and Dremel and heat gun as much as I like. This is a shot from the first 24 hours, it's been about a week now so obviously it looks nothing like this now!

It's only a little cottage and once I get everything else in my room, then a desk for the computer, a desk for shipping, a desk for the rest of the jewelry construction goes on the bed- on a board with velvet over it. It's a bit annoying as I have to pack it away every night, but in other ways it's good, it gives me a challenge to get stuff finished everyday, to make it worthwhile setting it up in the first place!