Studio Wednesday

fauxjadewordpendants

Last weekend I made some sterling silver eyepins and epoxied them into my faux jade polymer clay word charms. In my studio today, I finished each charm with a dangle and placed each one onto a stainless steel cable choker. These chokers are great. Finished with a magnet clasp, I am amazed at how easy they are to put on and take off. I tested the strength of the magnet by giving the choker a tug and it stayed in place.

From left to right above, the dangles are fancy jasper, turquoise, red tiger’s eye, pearl and a glass leaf.

I made the dangles with headpins I created myself with 20 gauge sterling silver wire and my micro torch. I have a confession to make. I’ve had this torch for years and today was the first time I ever used it. I’ve always had a fear of flames and torches. That’s probably why I don’t do more metalwork. When I took a metalsmithing class several summers ago, my heart would practically thump out of my chest every time it was my turn to solder. I always made sure my teacher was close by but I was still very nervous.

studiotorchsetup

I’m happy to share that today I pushed past my torch fear and put my micro torch to work. After going over the directions quite a number of times (ok, probably 10 times), I went out on the back deck and filled the torch with butane. I was so elated when I turned it on and it worked. I kept telling myself that it was a big lighter and that helped ease my anxiety a bit. I rested the torch on the firebrick and turned it on. Then, with my other hand, I grasped a 2 1/2 inch length of silver wire with a pair of old pliers and lowered the end of the wire into the flame just beyond the blue cone. The best way to do this is to hold the wire vertically, not tilting it to either side but straight up and down. A ball formed on the end of the wire very nicely and I removed the wire from the flame. After resting the wire on the brick, I made the next headpin and so on until all pieces of wire had a ball on the end.

balledheadpins

The balls were all black from the fire but they cleaned up rather nicely with some steel wool and a polishing cloth.

jackinstudio

While I worked, Jack kept a close watch for bunnies and squirrels…

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Studio Wednesday

About a year and a half ago, I took a Talisman workshop at the Center at Westwoods in Westwood, MA. In the workshop, we did an exercise to find a word that would best represent the talisman we were going to create in PMC. The exercise involved choosing images we were drawn to from a large pile on a table and then meditating and journaling about a word that we thought of when gazing at those images. My word was “connect”. I then created a small charm for each letter and later made a bracelet with my letter charms. Whenever I wear my talisman bracelet, I am reminded of my word and its special meaning for me. It represents the authentic connections I have in my life, both inner and outer, and how important those connections are to me.

Here is the definition of a talisman from the Merriam Webster dictionary.

1 : an object held to act as a charm to avert evil and bring good fortune
2 : something producing apparently magical or miraculous effects

This past summer I found an old stash of faux jade polymer clay I had created years ago at one of my polymer clay guild meetings. I created a pendant with the Kanji character for “beauty”. When I sat down at my worktable today, I pulled out the faux jade again with the intention of creating some more Kanji inspired pendants. Instead, I thought of my talisman bracelet and took out my letter stamps and created some word charms. I also made one out of black clay and Pearl-ex powders.

The charms are pictured above before sanding.  They’ll have much more of a green jade color once I sand away the red paint. Right now the paint gives the clay a pinkish cast. After baking, I drilled a hole in the top and bottom of each charm.

I’m not sure yet what I’m going to do with my charms but creating them today in my warm, cozy studio next to a roaring fire lent a sweet magical feeling to my day.

My Weekend Project

A couple of weeks ago, I was organizing my polymer clay stuff in my studio when I found a bag of faux jade I had mixed up years ago at one of my guild meetings. So, I got out my rubber stamps and paint and had some fun making beads and charms for jewelry. I was playing around with different combinations when I decided to create a fringy bracelet with some of the bead charms I had made. I love fringy bracelets and have been making them for years. As I find myself moving into a more improv, freeform style with my jewelry, this type of bracelet fits perfectly with my interests and taste.

Going with the ancient look of the faux jade charms, I chose some matte/opaque disc shaped beads: African opal, coral, palmwood along with jade and turquoise heishe and rectangle fossilized coral beads. The fossilized beads are great. Some have starburst patterns and others look like they’re covered in ancient script in various color combinations of oranges, ambers and tan.

The design possibilities of these bracelets are endless. I have so much fun creating them that I’ve often thought of offering to make custom fringy bracelets with a person’s favorite charms, beads and ephemera.

My workstation won’t be this neat by the end of my project. As I beaded, I thought about a clasp. A Chinese coin toggle clasp would be perfect to finish this bracelet. If I can’t find one, I’ll make one then. Hmmm, I’ve been meaning to use that package of PMC…