Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Creating with Cabochons Challenge/Blog Hop

Sally Russick, the talented, sweet, and generous artist behind The Studio Sublime is hosting another wonderful challenge/blog hop, Creating with Cabochons!  This one hit home with me, as it has been my goal to practice and work on my soldered bezel-setting skills.

I set out by choosing a few tasty cabs (short for cabochon, in jewelry-speak) and had the dream of trying a few different settings.  I had an idea for 3 different pendant settings, and at least 2 rings!  I have been collecting favorite stone cabs for a while in various shapes and sizes, so I pulled a few out and started playing.

Then, as things tend to happen, I saw one of Sue Kennedy's glass frit cabochons at BeadFest last month, and my mind started racing in a different direction.  Still soldered, bezel-set, but a totally different look from the designs with stones I had in my mind.

Copper and sterling, embellished with a 4mm turquoise cab...this was a bugger!  I melted the first one while trying to get the silver balls to stay on, and I must have used way too much solder, since even though I checked it about 20 times, once I was ready to set it, I had to tap and push and stretch to get it to fit.  As it is, I am scared it might pop out!   Overall, I am pretty proud of it, however!  I may go back and do copper chain and 86 the flowers!

Oh, by the way, all the other pieces I had high hopes of completing and amazing everyone with?  They obviously didn't come to fruition. Although, I did get one about 88% complete with great results (for me), but I must have gotten too cocky, as I botched it at the end.  It was going to be an asymetrical setting with 2 stones.  Luckily, I was able to salvage the larger setting, so I will continue on with a new design in the near future.  Here it is in mid-salvage with the stone just there...sorry, I forgot what the stone is.  I think I am going to create a new back plate with room for something for embellishment, and just solder this to it.  I am purposely hiding the top where I cut off the ruined piece which was a smaller round bezel for a 10mm carnelian :(

About 2 days after I signed up for the challenge, I remembered a honkin' big labrodorite cab I had that I cut out of a mass-produced pendant I bought ages ago.  The setting was really ugly and the cab has a big fault in it, but it really has amazing flash.  I started wrapping it with a needle-lace technique I learned a few years ago, but I put it aside, unfinished.  I decided to finish the initial bezel, but didn't get a chance to completely finish it.  My idea is to add some tiny faceted labradorite I have around the edges, and create sort of a lacy bail.  More on that later...

Thanks, Sally, for kicking my pants to get me to actually work on something that I have been wanting to but putting off!  Practice, practice, practice!  But hey, this is a Blog Hop...there are lots of other artists that joined in and have been working on amazing things, with lots of different techniques.  Who knew there were so many ways to incorporate cabochons into your designs.  Bead-woven bezels, wire-wrapped bezels, tab-set bezels...the list goes on and on!  Go and check out the awesome-ness!

Your Host:  Sally Russick
Alicia Marinache           
Lynn  Jobber           
Jenny Davies-Reazor           
Jo-Ann  Woolverton           
Marde Lowe           
Dawn Doucette           
Mary K McGraw           
Gloria Allen           

Cheri  Reed           
Sonya Stille           
Elizabeth Owens Dwy           
Veralynne   Malone           
Tania Hagen           
Lynsey  Brooks           
Christina Miles           
Holly  Westfall           
Kathy  Lindemer           
Patti Vanderbloemen           

Therese Frank           
Adrienne Berry           
Tanty  Sri Hartanti           
Renetha Stanziano           
Marlene  Cupo           
Sandi Volpe           
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson           

Mischelle Fanucchi           
Tracy  Stillman           
Skylar Bre'z           
Ann Schroeder           
Jess Green           
Susan Kennedy           
Stacie  Florer           
Cathie  Carroll           
Susan F.   

Michelle Caballero       
Sabine Dittrich           
Kristina Johansson           
Kimberly Sturrup-Roberts           
Melissa  Meman           
Cheryl McCloud         
Michelle  Timms           
Cindy  Pack                 

Cynthia  Machata           
Julia  Harris           
Ingrid  Anderson           


  1. Fantastic cab collection - each is so unique. Love the array of hues in Sue's glass frit, and you've made it even more stunning with your metal work. I just invested in a book on soldering - gotta learn how to do this! Do show us the labradorite when it's finished - that's an amazing stone!!

  2. Anonymous11:15 AM

    They are unique and beautiful! Lovely designs. I admire your metal work.

  3. You are so funny! THIS IS GORGEOUS! I love Sue's cabs, too! My cabs popped out of mine twice before I finally rammed it in there - who knows if it will stay!

    This design is fabulous - 2 cabs in one piece! Love the copper with the silver, too!

    At first glance, I thought your needle-lace technique was chain maille - very nice!

  4. All of your pieces are so pretty. I love the offset turquoise cabochon and they layering that you did with your first one. The chain stitching is beautiful - looks so perfect, you'd think it was purchased chain!

    I love your manner of "speech". Made me laugh.

  5. WOW, Melissa, I LOVE seeing what you did with that glass cab! It's gorgeous, I hope it doesn't pop out either! And that lace stitching is amazing!

  6. Your pieces are wonderful!

  7. I love your finished pieces, and look forward to seeing the progress of the others!

  8. I feel your bezel setting pain with silver...but really, your needle lace is just beautiful...I need to check out how to do that...and the glass the setting...gorgeous!!

  9. Wow, I can relate with your frustration with the bezels! I've only done a few and held my breath the whole time. Stomach churning! The copper/silver bezel is such a gorgeous setting for the cab. Way to work through it. Love this!


  10. Beautiful work, I especially love the lacy wirework design.

  11. You and so many others have moved metal smithing higher up on my list of things to try. I love that you used copper and silver together. Oh and your family is adorable.

  12. WOW! Melissa your work always blows me away. You are so talented. Even your mess ups are good. I can see why you chose the Sue Kennedy cab and you accented it perfectly.

  13. Hi Melissa,
    I love what you did with Susan's glass cab it is gorgeous in the silver and copper setting. I hope it does not pop out too. I have not done silver smithing yet, so when I saw your second one, I did not think it looked bad. I would love to see it when it is finished. I am always amazed with people that can take wire and make it look so neat. I love the chain lace around the Laboradorite cab.

  14. I loved to see all your techniques, I'm impressed by the needle lace one, I' m looking forward to what you will make of it. Your first piece is just beautiful, cabochon, bezel, colors and design are a perfect match!

  15. Melissa, you should be so proud of the first cabochon, it is set beautifully!! Now let's talk about the labrodorite pendant, the needle lace technique is STUNNING!!! I've never heard of needle lace i'm going to have to Google it! :)

    Thank you so much for participating, see you this weekend!

  16. I love the big honkin' labradorite cab! IT"S AWESOME! I don't have the patience to do wire, by you my dear have mastered it! Hope you have a great week! {Hugs!}

  17. My favorite is definitely the chain mail/fire agate cab design.

  18. I love Sue's cab and what you did with it. All of your pieces are wonderful. Great job!


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