Yea!!! The gallery is up!

It has taken me months to find a gallery program that I really like that was easy to install on my server & user-friendly to boot. I’m now a huge fan of ZenPhoto. True to its name – it is simple & clutter-free, but easy to customize as well.

You can check out my new gallery here. There are only a few pictures in each section. I will be uploading more in the future as I am able to scan in some of my older published designs that I am now able to show online. TFL. 🙂

Designing in silver & polymer clay…

Well – I finally made the project that I set out to do when I began silversmithing classes a couple of months ago. I have been wanting to combine silver & polymer clay for some time & am fascinated by how amazingly beautiful it can look when done right. Of course, this isn’t one of those examples. 😉 But it isn’t bad for a first effort, I guess. The design reminds me a bit of Mondrian.

Quick directions:
Fabricate the bezel from fine sterling silver & solder it to a 20-gauge sterling base. Saw out the shape, file it, & attach a handmade bail (from 22-gauge sterling). After polishing, add some polymer clay in earth tones, bake the piece, sand it & buff to a shine. Helpful hint: Use some Mica pearlescent clay in at least one panel of your design to add interest (see top right panel of pendant). The light will reflect off of it beautifully & add texture to your piece.

An exercise in soldering…

Click for a larger picWith a stroke of luck, I finished the sterling silver necklace I’ve been working on for the past 6 weeks in my final silversmithing class. 🙂

This piece was made entirely from sterling silver wire. It involved soldering 42 handmade jump rings to 21 strips of measured wire. The “dogbones” were formed to shape, then soldered together using larger jump rings as a connectors. The back side of the necklace (not visible in this picture) contains a handmade chain & clasp.

I have to say that I was a bit nervous getting started (I mean the thought of me coordinating a torch in one hand & solder in the other can be frightening!), but it really ended up being a lot of fun. Suzy at the Craft Guild of Dallas has been a great teacher, and I’m hoping to stay involved in this new hobby. Thanks for looking!

My first sterling silver fabricated pendant…

My first sterling silver pendantTonight was the last session of my beginner fabrication (silversmithing) class & I was able to complete one more piece of jewelry. A week ago, I picked up a wonderful stone cabachon at a local gem/bead store, the Rock Barrell. The stone is called “painted jasper”, and this particular cabachon had such a unique & beautiful line that it had to leave with me! I think it really does look like a painting too!

Here are the quick instructions on how to make this pendant: Measure & solder a piece of fine silver bezel wire to a piece of 20-gauge sterling. Saw around the bezel wire & file. Create a bail from 22-gauge sterling & solder it to the top of your first piece. Once the stone is set, shine the silver and you’ll get something that looks like this! I’ve so enjoyed learning about silversmithing that I’ve signed up for another session. It will begin in two weeks. 🙂

Silversmithing class project #3!

Pietersite Stone-Set Bezel RingAs promised, here is a pic of my last project from my silversmithing class…a large stone-set bezel ring (and I do mean large!) At one point, I overheated the metal and thought I might be showing you a picture of a big slumped silver mess…but luckily all was salvaged. Thank goodness for ring mandrels & hammers! It came right back to its original shape. Gotta love a hobby that lets you bang on things & make lots o’ noise. 🙂

The cabachon used here is a Pietersite…it is hard to see from the picture, but it has beautiful depth & translucence to the stone. Pietersite is said to provide physical protection. Spiritually and psychically, Pietersite helps in working with angels, experiencing visions, and precognition, relating to feminine or goddess energy.

I’ll let ya know if I start seeing spirits. 😉

Project #2 complete!

Project #2 complete!It started with two 1″ squares of sterling silver. Six hours & about 8 saw blades later… I ended up with these. *LOL* They were fun to make, and I learned a lot about sawing, filing, soldering & polishing.

Lesson 1: There is a reason that jeweler’s saw blades come in packs of 12…especially if your name begins with Laura & ends with Griffin. Buy several dozen at a time.

Lesson 2: It is nearly impossible to hold a flame in one hand & maneuver tweezers, wire, & solder in the other without seriously putting your health in danger.

Lesson 3: A little shine makes anything look better…who says symmetry is important?! 😉

Next week, we start our final project for our class… a stone set bezel ring. Keep posted for pics…