Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Handmade spark

I just found this great website called Handmade spark. It is a great information source for handmade buyers and sellers.  Their goal is to introduce buyers and sellers to each other.  Has anyone heard of them?  Check it out

I just listed my jewelry under their free contact listing offer. Always looking for new ways to advertise!
Let me know what you think.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Off to New York City!

This weekend we are off to New York City with my daughter's dance studio.  I can't wait!  The weather is going to be perfect, in the 70's.

We are planning on spending time sight seeing and people watching!  I'm hoping to get a chance to check out some of the local artistic talents while I"m in the city.  We were also lucky enough to get tickets to West Side Story.

I have been busy making spring jewelry.  Check out my etsy site for new listings!


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Designing jewelry with Precious Metal Clay

Hi everyone!  As promised here are photo's from the beginning to end of my jewelry designing process.  I work with a material called precious metal clay (pmc).  PMC is a clay-like material that consists of very small particles of fine silver mixed with an organic binder and water.

Here is what the clay looks like when I take it out of the package:

As you can see, there are stacks of playing cards next to the clay.  I use the cards to ensure that the thickness of a piece is consistent.

 The next step is to roll out the clay and either stamp or carve out your design.

In this next photo you can see a piece of jewelry that I used a rubber stamp to create.

After I create the pieces of jewelry, I let them dry on a griddle.  Next the edges of the piece needs to be filed.  I use 3 different grade sand papers to achieve a soft finish without any rough edges.  Now I apply a design to the back side of the piece.  I use PMC that is available in a paper form, hole punches in various designs, a paint brush and water to apply the cutout to the clay.

Now the pieces are ready to go into the kiln to fire.  The PMC is fired at 1650 degrees for 2 hours.  After firing the binder and water burn away, leaving pure fine silver.  Here is what the silver looks like after it gets out of the kiln.

Now the silver must be brushed with a brass brush and tumbled in a tumbler for 2 hours.  This will bring out the high shine of the silver.

The next step involves using a antiquing solution called Black Max.  Which, you guessed it turns the silver black. 

 I have to admit, the next step is my least favorite...using 6 different grades of very fine sanding paper and a polishing cloth, I bring back the shine to the raised areas.  This whole process allows the antiquing solution to highlight the design area while still having a shine to the finished piece.

At this point, all your hard work is rewarded!  

Another part of my design process includes photo transfer...but I'll save that for another day!  Here is what the finished piece of jewelry looks like using the silver square frames and a little photo transfer work:

I have to say I enjoy all the steps of the process (except maybe that 6 step polishing process!).  I find that each time I create a new piece of jewelry I grow creatively.

 Thanks for visiting!  Please let me know if you have any questions or comments about the process.