Thursday, July 31, 2014

July AJE Component of the Month - Fused Glass Fantasy!

This month, the design team over at AJE was honored to work with gorgeous fused glass pieces by the multi-talented Francesca Watson.

She asked if we wanted cabochons or drilled pieces and I chose the red piece on the bottom right and left it undrilled since I thought this was a perfect opportunity to practice my bezel-setting skills!  And I was right!

I chose some scalloped bezel wire to use and originally was going to use a copper backing to create a pendant, but the more the copper laid on the work bench, the more I longed to jump in and use the sterling sheet I had stashed away.  I told myself I wasn't going to use it until I felt more proficient...sterling is expensive, y'all!  But, I jumped in with both feet!

I went with an organic shape, but when I put the cab in, I wasn't sure which side was going to be the top, or how I would attach a bail.  I punched one hole where I thought I might try to hang it, and didn't like it, so I punched holes in each of the scallops, then punched a few more, and then a few more! I also wanted to pierce the back so that the red glass would show through in a design...believe me, this was not the design I wanted!  It was going to be a pretty spiral, but after I got part of it sawed out, I realized how flimsy it was so I sawed it into a big hole, then tried to mimic the outer shape with the waves and holes.  After a trying soldering session (couldn't get it to flow) I finally got my act together, decided to use my bigger torch and finished it up.

I like it and am so happy I persevered and went with the sterling instead of the copper!  Here is the back...

Now, I need to get the rest of the design going!  I think I am either going to do a sterling viking knit or a handmade chain of some sort...what do you think?

Thanks, Francesca, for the gorgeous glass cabs, and for the design challenge!  Go see what the rest of our team created!

Guest Designers

Toltec Jewels -

Carol Briody -

The AJE Team

Caroline Dewison -

Susan Kennedy -

Jenny Davies-Reazor -

Francesca Watson -

Thursday, July 3, 2014

June AJE Component of the Month

This month our component comes from our team member,  Linda Landig.  We are so proud of Linda over at AJE...she has just started playing with clay and look at all the gorgeous pieces she is cranking out!  She is a natural!

I had a hard time choosing one, so I asked her to surprise me.  I received one of the little pink squares with a blue flower.  It yelled "Summer!!!!" to me loudly as I unwrapped it, so I set out to create this summer of love, peace and flowers, leather and ceramic, hippie necklace!

I really wanted to keep this piece as simple as possible, so I started by looking through my leather stash and found this length of natural, tan leather that I thought would be perfect.  For accent beads, I decided to torch-fire some bisque beads I had in stock...not only did I have the perfect shades of transparent enamel to match the pendant, the beads have really big holes and worked perfectly with the leather!  It took me several attempts to get the necklace the way I wanted it...I really didn't want a whole necklace of beads, and I knew I didn't want to include any metal components, so I incorporated adjustable, sliding knots to finish it.

Originally, the pendant was tied on to the leather with the beads knotted up the length  a little more sporadically, but to me, even though I didn't want to add any other components, I felt it needed a bit more oomph.

After searching on Pinterest for designs with leather cording, I found some plain cord necklaces that incorporated in particular caught my eye.  A Celtic heart knot.  There are several tutorials out there, but I found the easiest one on You Tube.

After  playing with it, I realized my leather cord wasn't thick enough to make it look like this and it was sort of unstable...every time I knotted a bead on, or messed with it, the shape went wonky!  I also realized that even though I like the idea of a knot, I didn't want it to be really heart shaped.  I played with it and reshaped it into more of a triangle, exaggerating the bottom point more so that I could use a jump ring to hand the pendant.

I think it works!

There you have it!  Last night as I was finishing it up (for about the 3rd time), my hubs was watching a documentary on Jimi Hendrix, and I thought, "yes...this hippie necklace was meant to be!"

Thanks Linda, for the wonderful pieces.  Make more!  Now off to see what our design team and guests came up know they rocked!

AJE Members

Saturday, May 31, 2014

AJE Component of the Month for May 2014

The gorgeous components this month are created by the talented Sue Kennedy of SueBeads.  She gave us the choice of one of her amazing pressed glass cabochons and several of her new pressed bead design...chiclet beads!  It was a really hard choice, but I chose a cabochon and received a gorgeous purple one!

I first thought that I would practice my soldered bezel setting skills, but kept trying to think of something different.  I settled on creating a woven wire "lace" bezel against a copper flower back plate.

I wanted to keep the necklace simple, but wanted to incorporate some different color than the copper and purple of the cab.  I remembered these sweet little Czech glass "twin" beads I bought a while back.  Not sure what I was not a seed beader!  I devised a way to wire-wrap them into a chain though and they work perfectly with the purple cab.  I added a second strand of copper "hammered bar" chain I had in my chain stash.

Wanted to add a dangle beneath the flower, but couldn't figure out what.  I remembered some Czech glass teardrops I had bought and they really complemented the purple cab and the Czech glass in the chain. I oxidized everything with LOS and let it tumble for an hour or so.

This was such a fun piece to make and you all know by now that I am a sucker for Sue's lampwork!  In fact, I purchased one of the 1st pairs of chiclet beads she posted, and just last week, swooped in for 2 more pairs!

Thanks for stopping by!  Go show some love to our guest designers and the AJE team!


AJE Members

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

New Adventure!

Hi's been a while since I have blogged about anything here except my monthly COM challenges.  I have embarked on a bit of a new adventure, though and thought I would share my recent post from Art Jewelry Elements here!

If you read that blog, sorry for the duplication, but if not, a couple of weeks ago, I experimented with some PMC3?  I shared with you that working with metal clay had been a big "want to do" on my art bucket list!  I had fun playing and really liked the outcome, but I will be honest with you,  the price of the silver clay and the limitations were a huge drawback.  I didn't want to admit it at the time, but after looking at the 2 little pairs of charms, plus the very small amount of raw clay I had left out of a 16g package, I realized that if I was going to go further with this dream, I had to rethink some things.

After a lot of research, discussions with my sweet hubby, advice from my awesome, talented, knowledgeable, patient and giving teammates at AJE, I decided to purchase a kiln!  Yes! Jumping up and down, clapping hands!

Here she is!  A Paragon Caldera...perfect for metal clay, ceramics, glass fusing, and more!
The consensus in the group was that this kiln would be the versatile tool for someone like me who is still testing the waters.  While I think it will predominantly be for metal clay, I would be able to dabble in ceramics or glass.  I will probably eventually purchase the enameling collar which will enable me to play with cloisonne, and other kiln-fired enameling!

I jumped right in and bought some 3 types of metal clay...Copper, White Copper and Bronze.  I found out later that I should have probably opted for FastFire Bronze, but that will have to be another day!  After reading all the firing instructions, I decided that the copper was the most straightforward so chose to work with that first.  I'm glad I played with the PMC3 before...this was similar, but not quite as finicky, and since I was able to afford much more of it, I wasn't so scared to mess up.

I was happy to see that a lot of the tools and texturing materials I had been collecting for my polymer clay worked perfectly with the metal clay as well! I have a running list of things that I know I will be going back and getting.

My 1st batch...they haven't dried yet.
So, I get some pieces made, drying, getting ready for cleanup and think I am ready for my 1st firing! Excitedly, I post to my team and they are all.."whoa, hold your horses, have you done a test run?"  I found out that I needed to run the kiln empty to make sure it worked.  Okay, I can still get these done, just a lot later!

After a successful test, and cleanup of my dried pieces, I loaded my new kiln for the first time.  By this time it was late, so I set my alarm to get up and check on it several times!  This morning, I opened it and found my treasure!  It was a bit sad to see my shiny new firing pan was now black and ugly, but I knew that was going to happen.  I found a slotted spoon and started sifting for the buried treasure!

Another thing I knew would happen, but maybe not quite so much was how much shrinkage happened.  The little squares and circles came out really tiny!  I need to remember to compensate for that more in the future!

My pieces right out of the charcoal, before cleanup!

Here they are, cleaned up with a brass brush.
Aren't they pretty?!  Next step is to patina and make them into something!  All in all, for a first try, I think this was a success!  I think one of the hard things will be to work at finding my own style with this..I mean, there are such talented metal clay artists out there...some of the best at AJE...Kristi, Karen, and Lesley! Thanks to them for the inspiration and sharing of knowledge!

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April AJE Component of the Month

The very sweet and talented Lesley Watt of Thea Elements and Thea Jewellery is this month's component host and designer and she did not disappoint!  Lesley created some very cool ceramic button clasps!

I asked for a surprise and received a fun organic stoneware one with pretty green glaze.  I decided early on that I was going to make a bracelet.  A couple of weeks ago, I made my first viking knit and decided to use it in my design.

I had some brass caps that I torch-fire enameled with sapphire new favorite color!  

I cut a copper oval and textured it by running it through my Sizzix Big Kick...I really like the result! And, surprise, surprise, I added some Czech glass flowers!

Thanks, Lesley!  I had fun creating with your cool button!

Here is the list of other participants...go and show them some button love ;)

Johana Nunez
Leah Curtis
Perri Jackson

AJE Team
Lesley Watt
Keirsten GIles
Caroline Dewison
Rebekah Payne
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Jen Cameron
Diana Ptaszynski
Kristen Stevens
Francesca Watson
Melissa Meman - me!
Linda Landig
Sue Kennedy

Monday, March 31, 2014

March AJE Component of the Month ~ Moth Wings

Caroline Dewison of Blueberribeads sent us some gorgeous porcelain pieces!  We had a choice of moths or bees!

Here is what I created...I wanted to offset the beautiful gold metallic glaze with some pops of bright color, but decided to stay fairly monochromatic, so chose teal.  I rounded up some Czech glass beads, then went through my stash of art beads and found a pretty borosilicate lampwork bead by Julie Delaney, and a lovely ceramic swirl bead by our own Karen Totten.  I remembered some pyrite nuggets and briolettes that I had and wire-wrapped them into the necklace with brass wire.

I decided to create a hook clasp and just use one of the component's links for the loop!

There you have it!  Simple, but bright and beautiful!  I had been holding on to these pyrite briolettes for a while...I think they work perfectly with this!

Sorry for the drab was rainy and gross yesterday and I waited until this morning to take photos, but didn't have enough light!

Now, go forth and check out all the other gorgeous goodies created by this month's design team!!

Guest Artists
Helen Simon – Helen's had to drop out due to a hand injury - get well soon Helen!

The AJE Team
Caroline Dewison – 
Melissa Meman – (you are here!)
Rebekah Payne -

Monday, March 3, 2014

AJE February Component of the Month - Fluttering Hearts

I am so honored to be part of the group of talented, kind and generous jewelry artists at Art Jewelry Elements!  One of my favorite things about being part of that team is participating in these Component of the Month is so much fun to receive such gorgeous, unique pieces from these wonderful artists.  I have to say it is sort of humbling when it comes your turn to be on the 'component provider' end!

For February, I decided to offer hearts that I hand-cut from copper, shaped, then torch-fire enameled. The finishing touch was the addition of colorful glass frit.

I was trying hard to think outside the box this month and had something on my mind that I wanted to do...

I wanted to create a sort of  "milagro" type of sacred heart and did a search on Pinterest.  Wow, lots of inspiration there!  So I set to work.  I did some sketches, decided on one, then sawed it from copper.

I was going to leave it bare, with perhaps some texture, but changed my mind, and covered it with molten solder and embedded little brass flowers in.  I riveted the heart onto piece using balled copper headpins which also create a pin clasp in the back.  Not showing the back this time as I am not especially happy with it right now and am going to work on it some more with some other ideas I have for future pieces.

I chipped the heart as well when I was attaching it, but I just filed it down and patina'ed it with some liver of sulfur and left it...I think it adds to the "vintage" feel of the piece!

Below is our team of designers for this month.  I can't wait to see what everyone created!  How about you!

Lori Bowring Michaud 
Kathy Lindemer
Kim Bender 

AJE Team...
Melissa Meman
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Rebekah Payne
Caroline Dewison
Kristen Stevens
Keirsten Giles
Sue Kennedy


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