Monday, December 31, 2012

Labyrinths revealed - December Component of the Month.

       Hello everyone! I hope the Holidays are treating you well, filled with frolic, fun and family. And now we are at the end of a year, turning the page onto another filled with possibilities and potential. As the labyrinth is a symbol for a journey - whether it be real or metaphor - I felt it was a great symbol to end. And to begin on.

Please join me in taking a look at the creations of these diverse and talented women.

  And Happy New Year! 

This months guests of honor:
Emma Todd
Lee Koopman
Jess Green

And participating AJE team members:
Jen Cameron 
Kristi Bowman
Diana Ptaszynski
Kristen Stevens
Lesley Watt
Francesca Watson
Melissa Meman
Jo Tinley
Linda Landig
Sue Kennedy
Jenny Davies-Reazor, your hostess 


Saturday, December 29, 2012


2013 is just a few short days away.  Another year almost gone. Many of us are reflecting on the good and bad of 2012, but are also looking forward and forming a plan to make our 2013 the best year ever.  A few years ago, bloggers all over the art jewelry community started choosing a "word of the year", all-encompassing word, instead of all the resolutions that tend to get forgotten after a month or two.

I thought it would be fun to ask my fellow AJE contributors about their word choices for 2013. Several of us had already thought about it...

Kristi likes balance and prioritize..."be able to figure out the important things and let the rest go!"

Jen's word is freedom...from fear, guilt, to create when and what she wants...that's a great choice!

Lesley chose balance...another great word!  She wants to ensure everything gets the attention it deserves and still have flexibility for the unforeseen.

Karen mentioned exploration and fearless...I think those go hand in hand!

Joanne wants to remember to relax!  She wants to "make time to enjoy the blessings in life and have fun creating..."

Linda expressed her desire for openness..."open to explore new skills and experiences".

Francesca wants to be intentional...she wants to develop positive discipline by setting measurable goals.

As for me, I changed my word every time I read someone else's answer! Last year, my word was home, studio, life, thoughts...I can't say I was that successful. I believe it was my lack of focus.  Eureka...focus!  I have so many incomplete projects laying on my work table.  2013 is going to be the year for me to focus on what I have to do and maintain that focus until the task is complete, be it new jewelry projects or folding laundry!

So, how about you?  Have you chosen a word for 2013? Let us know!  No matter what your word, we here at Art Jewelry Elements wish you the very best 2013 you can possibly have!

Melissa Meman
Melismatic Art Jewelry
Art. Life. Love

Friday, December 28, 2012

Firing Copper Clay

I pulled an old post from my blog to share with you today. For those of you unfamiliar with Copper Clay I thought you might enjoy seeing the process.

Copper firing, basically from start to finish.
 There can be variations in the firing schedule of pmc, this is the one I've been using on my Copper work and it's worked well for me.

Here are the pieces all molded and shaped and filed and ready for the kiln.

First phase of firing is open shelf, 15 minutes at about 650 degrees.

This is what they look like after open shelf firing. All the black stuff comes off during the second Phase.

Then they get packed in Carbon for the second phase, 1700 degrees for about 3 hours.
Here they are all layered in the carbon and loaded in to the kiln.

3 hours later...

I let the container cool off to under 500 degrees before I attempt to remove it. Then I let it sit until it's much cooler. Below it's still hot enough I need to use my heavy duty welding gloves to handle it.

There they are peeking out of the carbon when I pour it out of the container.

Used my gloves and a metal spoon to start to unearth the pieces. Everything cools off rather quickly from here and by the time I've found the large pieces I can usually start using my bare hand to find the smaller ones. There are usually one or 2 that don't want to be found, so when it's completely cool I sift them through the slotted spoon back in to the container and find the stragglers.


And then...

Some of them are just about perfect out of the kiln, just a little brushing and they are good to go. Some need to be tumbled for awhile and then I usually take a torch to them to give them lovely variations in color.

So there ya go, approximately 7 hours later I have some pretty Copper goodies, not counting the time it took to get them ready for the kiln. Copper and Bronze are not quick processes.

Then some of them get listed on Etsy!

I actually don't do the open shelf firing these days and go straight in to the carbon.
Seems to work well for me. It's still a very long firing process, from start to finish about 6-7 hours. I usually fire it up before I go to bed and it's cool enough to remove in the morning.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Making a list....

And I'm not checking it twice - I keep adding more to it! And the topic of this list? Why, new jewellery techniques to learn of course! It's that time of year, the eye of the storm, when all the organisation for my eldest's birthday is done and Christmas Day itself is over, all the Christmas orders are safely with their new owners and before the new school term starts, before my January sale gets really busy and before I start organising my youngest's birthday. So, of course my mind turns to new techniques I'd like to learn next year and the projects that have been on my "to-do" list since the beginning of this year!

At the top of the list is learning how to make a locket. I've made simple lockets that are held together with a ring through holes in the top and slide apart, but this time I want to add in a hinge. None of the techniques needed are new for me, but making such a small hinge will certainly stretch my soldering skills! The picture above comes from a great Ganoskin tutorial that teaches how to make both hinged and slide lockets.

A little further down the list there's a note telling me to make more rings. I only tend to make rings as commissions, and rarely make them to list in my etsy shop or on my website but I've got a desire to turn some of the pretty stones I've been collecting over the last few years into some equally pretty rings. I think this part of my list is partly a response to the fact that I've spent a large part of the last couple of years building up my made-to-order collections that I sell in galleries and my collection of clasps and components in my Daisychain Extra shop. I fancy spending a bit of time playing and making more self-indulgent pieces! Don't worry though, I'll still keep coming up with new clasp designs as well.

A project like this beautiful ring by janieartjewelry on etsy would satisfy my desire to etch silver as well!
Source: via Joanne on Pinterest

Further down still (but still nowhere near the bottom of the list!) is etching. I teach my college classes how to make their own texture plates using salt-etching, but I've never etched sterling silver before, mainly because the chemicals needed are too nasty to use at home where I do most of my work. A couple of my more advanced college students have asked to learn how to etch silver though, so I think I'd better learn how to do it properly before I attempt to teach them! Thankfully the post that Francesca wrote a couple of months ago should help me with safety information and resist ideas though.

So, that's a taster of my to-do list - what are your jewellery plans for the coming new year? What techniques have you always wanted to learn? Or is there a particular style of jewellery that you want to make more of next year? Whatever your plans are there are two things that I'm sure of - we'll all add more to or lists as we go through the year, and we'll all have lots of fun as we work through them!

Oh, and in case any of your jewellery to-do list requires new jewellery components, don't forget that some of us currently have sales in our shops! See Jen's post from yesterday for all the information you need!

Jo Tinley
Daisychain Designs 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing Day, Shopping, and Sales

Christmas morning at my house Jennifer Cameron Glass Addictions
Christmas morning at my house

While today may be the 2nd most popular shopping day for my fellow Americans, across the pond our UK friends celebrate Boxing Day. I honestly had no clue what that sounds like a rather morbid holiday as I think of the "sport" where people pummel each other in a ring.

So I did a little bit of internet research. I suppose I could have asked the British contingent of the team, but I came up with this idea while they were snug in their beds, then managed to way oversleep myself this morning. Internet research it is.

There are a few theories where the term Boxing Day, a secular holiday, comes from.

-'Christmas Box' refers to Christmas present.

-Possible reference to the boxes churches placed on Christmas for a special collection of money for the poor.

-Or the boxes placed by churches for a special collection for the Feast of St Stephen. It is unclear in my brief searches, but this may or may not be related to the above.

-Another theory is my favorite...only because I love the series Downtown Abbey so much (season 3 starts in 11 short days!) and it reminds me of that. Wealthy Brits needed their servants to run the house on Christmas Day. Therefore they would get the following day off to spend with their own families and would be sent on their way with a Christmas box filled with food and gifts.

What do people DO on Boxing Day? Well...according to Wikipedia, it may have originally been a day to spend with family and friends, eating and relaxing, it's morphed into a big day of sporting events and is in the process of morphing into a big day of....wait for it....SHOPPING!

In fact, when I went in search of images to use in this post, my first search was Boxing Day images free. Which turned up a bunch of sale ads and sporting events. Hmmm...

So I changed it to Boxing Day images. Which turned up a bunch of ads, people waiting in lines at shopping centers, and sporting events...

Lesley Watt, half of the British contingent of AJE, just posted a status update on her THEAjewellery Facebook page this morning that she's spending the day tearing apart old designs to reuse the beads in new designs.

Lesley Watt recycling old designs into new jewellery creations

Personally I am going to sit here and watch the snow that just started a little bit ago as it comes down over the lake.

Snow at the lake on Boxing Day Jen Cameron

And shop for deals online...especially from my AJE mates who are having sales because I've been coveting a few things. So if you have some Christmas money burning a hole in your pocket, this week is a great time to shop handmade jewelry (jewellery) components

Jen Cameron- coupon code: HOLIDAY20 gets you 20% off through December 31st.

Lampwork focal by Jennifer Cameron Glass Addictions

Linda Landig-coupon code: ENDOFYEAR2012 for 15% off 

handmade art jewelry necklace by Linda Landig

Joanne Tinley-15% discount is currently in place on her website. For discounts in her Etsy Jewellery shop and Etsy component shop, use coupon code: HAPPYHOLIDAYS to get 15% off

handmade jewellery component by Joanne Tinley

Rebekah Payne-coupon code MERRY15 for 15% off

handmade owl bead by Rebekah Payne

Susan Kennedy-coupon code: ENDOFYEAR for  25% off

enameled bead caps by Sue Kennedy

Melissa Meman - coupon code: HOLIDAY for 20% off through the end of December

handmade art earrings by Melissa Meman

Happy Boxing Day! 

-Jen Cameron