Rather than having New Year’s resolutions that are quickly broken, my friends & I choose one word as a way of setting intention for the whole year. It is a word that inspires and resonates….that calls you into being.

My friend, Mindful Mimi, mentioned she was inspired by both the words “Create” & “Soar”. I was particularly inspired by the word “Soar” myself (and took it for my 2010 word!)… it has such a lighthearted, happy ease to it.

When I was preparing to send her a package of hand-made goodies from across the ocean, I decided to pull out my silversmithing supplies to create a piece of jewelry she could wear. I wanted to make something that would remind her that dreams come true, if you only have the courage to leap and trust that the universe will provide all that you need.

I came up with the below design…

The quote reads, “Leap & you will sprout wings”.

Want to make one for yourself? Just follow the below simple instructions:

1. Use a jewelry saw to cut out a circle (approximately 1″ in diameter) from a piece of 24-gauge silver.

2. Hand-stamp the quote “Leap & you will sprout wings” using a metal alphabet set.
(I used these economical alphabet stamps from Harbor Freight Tools.)

3. Drill a small hole in the top for the bail.

4. Sand the whole piece.

5. Dip the stamped circle into a liver of sulfur solution to antique the lettering (alternatively use a black sharpie marker if you don’t have liver of sulfur available).

6. Polish the silver circle to a shine (removing any dark areas from the liver of sulfur).

7. Take some sterling silver thin-gauge wire (mine came from Hobby Lobby) & two small red freshwater pearls, winding the wire through the hole several times to create a custom bail

8. Attach a pre-made sterling butterfly charm with a few small jump rings and string onto a sterling chain.

Wishing you a wonderful day of creating and soaring,

Sterling Silver Flower Bead

I recently tried my hand at another sterling silver fabricated hollow bead. The flower design was drawn free-hand on a sheet of 20-gauge metal. The metal was then sawed out, filed, domed, soldered, sanded & polished to a high shine.  There are a few rough spots where my torch was a bit too hot for the metal…but it’s not too noticeable from a distance. 😉

Sterling Silver Flower Bead

Sterling Silver Chunky Chain

This was the latest project I made in my silversmithing class. The chain is made from 14 & 16-gauge sterling silver wire. All links are soldered closed with every other link made of twisted wire. The toggle was also hand-made by soldering jump rings to a piece of square wire (see picture below).

Quick instructions: To twist your own wire…simply cut a long piece of wire (approximately 4 times more than the end length you want) -fold in half & attach looped end to a hook connected to a hand drill or electric drill & the other two ends to a vice. Twist until you get the look you want.

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!