Category Archives: Bracelets

Tool Time Tuesday – Workshop Review And Giveaway – Wire Weaving with Sarah Thompson

It isn’t often that I get to learn new techniques in a class setting. I don’t have the time or money to travel to workshops, there aren’t many taught here in Utah, and I have been so busy working on my book and videos that I rarely have time. Can I just say how much I love the day and age we live in? I can now sit in bed before I go to sleep and watch amazing people with amazing talent teach me all sorts of new things. And I do it on this ultra thin, ultra light “television” that I hold in my hands with tiny speakers with amazing sound quality plugged into my ears,  and the blankets pulled over my head so I don’t keep my husband awake. Did you ever imagine we would have this ability when you were a kid? If you were born after 1990, DON’T ANSWER!

It reminds me of when I got my first iPod Touch. We were thrilled that we could connect wirelessly to the internet and watch videos on YouTube, or even better, download a full length movie to entertain the kids. I am still waiting for the holographic set ups we used to see in “Vision of the Future” types of set ups at Disney land. We have 3D televisions, who knows, perhaps that is next and nobody will ever have to miss out of an amazing workshop again and we will be able to have our favorite artist or teacher right there at our shoulder in the workshop. Ahhhh, the dreams of the future.

Okay, back to what we are really here for. I have just spent the last couple of weeks reviewing Sarah Thompson’s Craftsy workshop.

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When I started making jewelry, it wasn’t by stringing beads. I started with wire. I have always loved wire. To this day, you will find quite a bit of wire work in my metalwork. I love the movement that it adds. I have done a few wire weaving things, but it never really clicked for me before I get into doing more metal work. But I have always adored the style of Sarah. (See more of her amazing work on her website: http://www.sarah-n-dippity.com/, Her Etsy Store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/sarahndippity or her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sarah-n-dippity/240358204033?ref=hl You may want to have some tissues ready to wipe the drool, her work is that amazing.

I have always wanted to do this style of work, but was intimidated by the amount of work involved, the meticulous nature of the tight weave and, well, I just never thought I could actually do it. So I was thrilled when I was approached and given the opportunity to evaluate her workshop.

In addition to well thought out projects, she uses large props while she teaches the weave fundamentals. And she does it in such a way that you remember it. That doesn’t mean to say that I never ran into a problem…. but that isn’t Sarah’s fault.

The Craftsy format is great too. You can view the video in Full Screen mode, watch at several different speeds, rewind when necessary, add notes and even ask the teacher questions as specific locations within the video. You can easily skip around the 7-part lesson for easy navigation and review.

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This is quite a detailed technique and the video is great to watch with TONS of close ups so you don’t get lost and can see exactly what Sarah is doing.

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Most of you know that I truly have ADD, I have since I was a child. I have a hard time sitting still while doing online workshops. One of the things I love about the Craftsy workshops is that I can change the speed. So most of the time, the first time I watch a workshop, I will put it on double speed. Then I can move to a slower speed if I need to see something more clearly or get a better understanding. Even though I did this with a good portion of this workshop, I found that even when I was watching at normal speed, Sarah was very engaging and easy to follow. She was very clear, well spoken and made certain every little detail was covered.

Want to see what I came up with? This is what I started with. I know, it is a bad cell phone photo…. I started with 18 gauge sterling silver for the base and wrapped with 28 gauge fine silver. I added a few 2 mm crystals for a bit of sparkle. The focal bead was made by my good Ohio friend Laura Critchfield.

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After finally getting everything attached and the clasp connected, I added a bit of LOS (Liver of Sulfur) patina, removing from the highlights with a bit of #0000 steel wool.

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I would highly recommend this workshop if you have ever wanted to try this technique. I just look at Sarah’s work and i get so inspired. I can’t wait to try more.

GIVEAWAY!!!!

Now for the exciting part. I have one free workshop to giveaway to one of my fabulous blog readers. I will make it really simple. Take a look at Sarah’s work and just leave a comment on the blog telling me your favorite piece, a link back to the page would be great too.

I will draw and announce the winner next Tuesday, May 5th.

If you don’t want to take your chance on not winning and would like to get started learning with Sarah, she has given my readers 50% off for the next two weeks (until midnight, Tuesday, May 12th.) Just use THIS LINK for 50% off her workshop.

Sarah, Thank you so much for the wonderful workshop. I learned quite a bit and I cannot wait to add more of this style into my work. And I am quite proud to say, I never broke a wire. 🙂 You are an excellent teacher and very talented artist.

Tool Time Tuesday – Prototypes, Bracelets and Electric Tools

I have been working so hard for the past three days trying to do videos, editing and uploading while also being a mom of little kids. So even though it is no longer Tuesday, I figured a little late is better than never. So for this edition of Tool Time Tuesday on Wednesday we have some fun things to look at…. including THREE new videos.

When I got home from Tucson I had a package waiting for me with a prototype set of mandrels for the Superior Ring Bender. Pepetools has asked me to evaluate these and ask YOU what you think of them. They are trying to decide if they should be put into production. I have had quite a few people ask me about the Superior Ring Bender. Is it worth the cost? Do I like it? Is it as easy to use as I make it look? Why would they need this tool if they can just hit their metal around a mandrel with a hammer? All are very good questions.

Is it worth the cost – are any of our tools? What do you want from it? What was the purpose for buying it? I know that as I have spoken with people who have purchased it, for the most part, with a few exceptions, they love it. The largest group of happy owners are those that have a hard time shaping their metal on a mandrel with a hammer. Some of them have shoulder injuries, arthritis or just don’t possess the hand strength. I have to say I personally really like it as it really is as easy to use as I make it seem. That doesn’t mean to say that you don’t sometimes have to apply a lot of pressure, but it is an easy tool to use.

The prototypes they sent me were the mandrels in Nylon. The Superior Ring Bender comes with Steel Mandrels and Formers. There is an option to buy the nylon formers. But now they have added the nylon mandrels. Why would you need that? I used it when I was forming pieces that had high relief patterns or very fine wires that are easily crushed and broken with the steel mandrels.

So here is my review of the tool and how I would use it in my studio. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUFiwH9jCjY

I have also had questions about making bracelets with this tool. They don’t have large mandrels specifically for that purpose, but in this next video you will see how I make a cuff using the Superior Ring Bending Tool.

Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUu05at0gcQ

Last week I shared my new press with you just a tiny little bit. Now let’s really look at it. There will be many more videos using the electric press coming soon. But for now, I introduce you to how it is setup and works. I show you very quickly how easy it is to use and how quickly you can create a bracelet from start to finish. Oh how I love this machine.

Video Link:
http://youtu.be/0eZZiLyD7bA

All content and images on this blog are the property of Melissa Muir and use of them in any context is strictly prohibited unless written permission is first obtained. Please feel free to repin any of the pictures of pieces done by Melissa Muir only.

Teaching in Tucson

Welcome back for a new year. As always, things are busy as ever. We are about 1/2 through the studio bathroom remodel (always fun, and I can’t wait to show the pictures.) School has finally resumed for the kids, and we have already dealt with the first round of sick kids.

So what have I been working on now? I am still working on my book. This is turning into something so much bigger than I anticipated and so much more work, But it is coming, I promise. I have been playing with new techniques and tools in all things hydraulic press.
Along those lines, I am going to be teaching four workshops in Tucson during the big gem show. I am still working on all the photos, but I have included a few below. If you are going to be in Tucson, I hope you will stop by. All classes are held from 5:30 – 9:30 pm, so you can shop all day and play all night. Each course is only $150 and includes all materials. All you need to do is show up.

 

Bracelet Making Workshop
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Have you ever wanted to use a hydraulic press, rolling mill or other tools to further your bracelet designs? Then this fun hands-on workshop is for you! In this workshop we will make multiple bracelets while exploring the various tools to manipulate the metal. We will play around with various surface textures such as hammering, roll printing, fold-forming, embossing and several others. And it keeps getting better…you will also learn all about pancake/blanking dies and how they can help improve your productivity. In experimenting we will use various forming tools that will allow us to create different bracelet forms such as anticlastic, synclastic and we will also learn about a few others that will add dramatic effects to your designs. This is a technique based workshop where you will take your creative process to the next level while learning to utilize the many fun tools available to create many different looks. This is the perfect class for beginners to advanced, there is something for everyone. No prior experience necessary.
Cost: $150 – All materials included
When: Saturday, February 1st. 5:30 – 9:30 pm
Where: Potter USA’s new shop.

1934 E. 18th Street, Tucson, AZ 85719

To Register Please visit:


Component and Metal Bead Making Workshop
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So you have a  Hydraulic Press. Now what? In this technique based workshop, we will be working with pancake/blanking dies. Don’t worry if this is all Greek to you, by the end of this workshop it will be second nature to you. With these dies we will make all sorts of components that can be used for things like earrings and pendants. We will learn how to add depth and dimension by forming with Silhouette dies. We will even go one step further and learn a few ways to use these formed pieces to create hollow forms or beads.  You will learn many different texturing techniques to add to your repertoire such as roll printing, stamping, forging, fold forming, piercing and more. You will create more than a handful of components and at least one bead if you desire. No prior experience is necessary.
Cost: $150 – All Materials included
When: Sunday, February 2nd. 5:30 – 9:30 pm
Where: Potter USA’s new shop.

1934 E. 18th Street, Tucson, AZ 85719

To Register Please visit:

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Captured Druzy Pendant

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In this project based workshop you will discover how to use a hydraulic press to create  the Captured Druzy Pendant. You will be amazed by the form, beauty, and dimension you can create with the hydraulic press. We will first create a formed piece that will then be pierced to allow the durzy quartz to be seen from behind. Next, we will solder wire prongs onto a backplate in order to secure a flat backed druzy quartz. When the final design is created we will secure all layers with tube rivets, including a bail of your design. You will be excited about the beautify of this design. Think of the possibilites. Experience with a jewelers saw is highly recommended, but not required.
Cost: $150 – All materials included
When: Monday, February3rd, 5:30 – 9:30 pm
Where: Potter USA’s new shop.

1934 E. 18th Street, Tucson, AZ 85719

To Register Please visit:

Silhouette Die Making Workshop
You may already be familiar with silhouette dies available through Potter USA or even Bonny Doon, but you have also seen other forms that have been made by other people. So how do they do it? Well, this workshop will introduce you to several ways that will add endless possibilities for your own custom designs. We will also go over good and bad design ideas that will help you achieve consistent results with a minimum of post forming work. The best part is you will be introduced to many methods to create and test your silhouette dies using a product called Faux Bone. I am still getting pictures taken and ready.
Cost: $150 – All materials included
When: Thursday, February 6th, 5:30 – 9:30 pm
Where: Potter USA’s new shop.

1934 E. 18th Street, Tucson, AZ 85719

To Register Please visit:

All content and images on this blog are the property of Melissa Muir and use of them in any context is strictly prohibited unless written permission is first obtained. Please feel free to repin any of the pictures of pieces done by Melissa Muir only.

30 Days of Art Challenge

November already? How can that be possible? And not only that, but we are already 9 days in. Time just flies by anymore. I could swear we just started this year. I am sure that I am not the only who feels this way. I think that as I get older that time just goes faster and faster. Sometimes it makes it hard to enjoy it.

How was your Halloween? Ours was pretty fun. Riley is getting a little old for it, but she still enjoyed dressing up for school and going out with the girls. We didn’t really decorate this year. I don’t know where all of my stuff it. Imagine that. But the two younger girls really had a great time.

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I have been working on my book and I am sad to say that it has been going much slower than I would like. Also, as I was working on it, I realized that I need more experience in the section that I was writing. So I have changed the focus of the first volume. While that is good, it does mean that I am starting over from the beginning on this one. Luckily, it is going much more smoothly than the section on making your own pancake dies.
Because of all that is going on with kids, schools, remodels and everything else, I haven’t really had time to actually get into doing any kind of art at all. I mean nothing. So I decided to give myself a 30 Days of Art challenge here in November. I have to make or work on at least one piece of art a day. It doesn’t have to be finished, but I have to do something. Some days I get 3 or 4 pieces done, others, I am lucky to sneak one in before going to bed.
So let me show you a little of what I have been doing.
Day 1 – Spinner Ring. This is the ring that I made during the demonstration video for Pepetools Ring Shank Bender.
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Day 2 – Silver Synclastic Earrings I made using my Arbor Press from Potter USA
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Day 3 – A great big bow for my front gate. I have never made a bow before, so don’t pick on me.
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I know it doesn’t look all that big, so let me give you a little perspective:

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Day 4 – Copper and Silver Earrings. I used the Ring Shank Bender to coil the wire (12 gauge copper.) When I hammered them, they got all out of shape. Without annealing, I used the Ring Shank Bender AGAIN and reformed the earrings. I am really starting to like that tool a lot.
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Day 5 – Quick bracelets made from 12 gauge aluminum
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Day 6 – This is progress made on my first ever stained glass piece. I don’t know that I will ever master this one, but there is a HUGE panel in my near future. I need to cover up the window that looks out on the AC unit that was installed in the middle of my studio window.
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Day 7 – This is just a prototype of a large wire angel. I was trying to figure out how difficult it would be to work with 12 gauge wire, as well as figuring out how much wire I would need. I will be making a Christmas ornament with three angels. It is a commissioned piece for a mom who lost her triplets earlier in the summer.
WireAngelMelissaMuir
Day 8 – I was trying to do an experiment with a fold formed piece and the hydraulic press. Well, I made the fold formed piece too large and it wasn’t going to work the way I wanted it to so I made a little bit of abstract art for myself. It now sits in my window and brings me joy.
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I actually had multiple pieces. This is a simple formed piece in the hydraulic press.

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Day 9 – Doing more work on my book I was playing around with various techniques and this little guy emerged. I just need to figure out a bail for it. I actually really like how it turned out and watching it evolve was so much fun.
HydraulicPressJewelryPodMelissaMuir

All content and images on this blog are the property of Melissa Muir and use of them in any context is strictly prohibited unless written permission is first obtained. Please feel free to repin any of the pictures of pieces done by Melissa Muir only.

Tool Time Tuesday – Bracelet Tutorial – Pepe Jump Ring Maker

Hey everyone, well, it is Tuesday once again which means TOOL TIME TUESDAY. Now, it will only be Tuesday here at my house for a few more minutes. But in my defense, I have been loading this video for over 5 hours, actually, I think it might be close to 7 hours. How sad. I really miss my FIOS connection.

Last week I did a tutorial on how to make a pendant using PEPE’s Center Positioning Dies. I had posted a picture of two projects on my Facebook page and asked people which project they would like to see me demonstrate. Naturally, everyone said both. Well, I figured I would rise to that challenge and have created another video, this time showing how to make a bracelet. The bracelet is made with similar techniques. The thing that is different about this project is that I also show you one of my newest tools….. The PEPE Jump Ring Maker – JMR2. They recently redesigned it and I do have to say I like it a lot. I love how compact it is. As you already know, I am already a fan of PEPE tools and it has been a fun opportunity to work with them in this fashion.

Without further ado, here is the link: http://youtu.be/feG7_DDjBcw
And the video. Enjoy.

 

All content and images on this blog are the property of Melissa Muir and use of them in any context is strictly prohibited unless written permission is first obtained. Please feel free to repin any of the pictures of pieces done by Melissa Muir only.

Tool Time Tuesday – Anticlastic Bracelet Tutorial

Hello everyone. It has been a while. It seems I say that more and more. I have all the intentions on sitting down and writing a post, posting or filming a video or even working on jewelry and it just doesn’t seem to go as planned. So I am just trying to go with the flow of things. Thanks for your patience.

Basic Soldering Online Workshop

First off, I am running my Basic Soldering Online Workshop again. Many people indicated that the fall was a bad time and asked if I would run it again after the first of the year. So I am. In addition, you can choose to take the entire workshop, or just specific projects. I will have a yahoo group and Flickr group again so that you will have access to me through those means as well as email.

View more information about the projects: www.MelissaMuir.com/workshops

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Tool Time Tuesday

I did finally get a video edited that I filmed a couple of weeks ago. though. So for today’s Tool Time Tuesday, I am presenting a video tutorial to make an anticlastic bracelet with the hydraulic press. Kevin Potter of Potter USA, has come out with some great bracelet blanking dies. There are three different sizes. I am loving them because they make working on bracelets so much faster.
I will be listing the bracelet blanks (in copper) for sale in my shop next week if anyone is interested in buying the blank but don’t have the resources to get the press set up.
In the video, I show how to use the blanking die with both the larger press and the new smaller bolt together press. There are also some considerations that need to be made with the smaller opening and smaller platen size.
Enjoy. As always, please let me know if you have any questions.

The Press and press tools can be purchased at www.PotterUSA.com

Tool Time Tuesday – Matched Ear Wires

Well, once again it is Monday. However, my flight to Tucson leaves at 5:45 am tomorrow, so I will not be around to make my post. Again, better one day early than not at all.

This week is going to be a lot of fun for me. I am very excited as I am flying to Tucson to hang out with Kevin Potter in his shop. I am going to learn everything I can about the hydraulic press and Stakes. I will even have the opportunity to make a few of my own tools. I am so excited! I am also going to be staying with some good friends of ours from grad school. The only thing I am not looking forward to is the hot weather. I enjoy summer as much as the next guy, but I am ready for it to be done. Fall is my very favorite season and it always has been. I am so glad that I get to be here in Ohio to enjoy just one more.

The other night the topic of creating ear wires came up on one of my email groups. The person was looking at buying a jig to create them. Now, I am very grateful to jigs. They do come in handy every now and then and it is also how I got started with wire and jewelry in the first place. I recall talking with one lady at a show that had helped to write a book on making jewelry with the jig and she had said she NEVER used one any more as she could do all the same things with her pliers. I didn’t think I would ever be able to do that. Sure enough, slowly but surely I began to do more and more with just my round nose pliers. I pretty much never use my jig any more. It has been years since I have even looked at the thing. At any rate, I told about my own situation and that I thought that there were better places for her to spend her money. The conversation continued with several of us and the concern about making her ear wires match came up. What a great opportunity to create a video. YAY!

Now the video(s) here were filmed around midnight and posted that night (I went to bed at 3:00am.) So I did notice one big oversight, I forgot to tel how to finish the ends. So watch the videos and come back here so I can tell a little more about that.

I am either extremely slow, or very chatty. Either way, the video was too long for YouTube. Therefore, there are two parts. Enjoy!

Part 1: http://youtu.be/4ZtN5EeMLik

Part 2: http://youtu.be/hojFmMiyw2g

 

Okay, to finish the ends I do any number of things. You can take a file and lightly file the edges and round out the end that way. It takes a little more time. The next thing I use is called a Wire Rounder. They are about $10 – $12 (I think?) and you just put it on the end of your ear wire and twist your wrist. It is basically a cup bur  mounted to a handle. The last thing I do is take a cup bur put it in my flex shaft, push the petal and ZIP, it is all done.

 

New Pieces

I have done a little in the studio, but not a whole lot this past week. I had a full day set aside on Friday. I even took my baby, but we ended up having a showing of our house. So I spent the day cleaning and then took a nap instead.

I made more bracelets, because really, can you ever have enough? Someone had mentioned that they would like one in Sterling. So I made one. I have since oxidized this one and it really brings out the details of all the folds. DANG, silver is much more difficult to fold and unfold. But it sure is pretty!

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This next one is a different take on a Mother’s Bracelet. I made it for the friend that I will be staying with in Tucson. I don’t know if she wears jewelry or not, so it might just sit in her jewelry chest or on top of her dresser, but it sure was fun to make at any rate. I also made little pendants for her little girls.

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Riley is in the studio

My 11-year-old has been bitten by the piercing bug. She LOVES it and is always asking me if she can go in the studio to do some more. Just wait till you see the piece she is working on now. It is not simple and quite elaborate for a beginner. I am really proud of her. She is learning a lot, but enjoying it. Santa may have to bring her a saw for Christmas.

This is a shape that she drew free-hand and then pierced out. She showed one of the Recess Aides at school and was then commissioned to make another for the aide. I have also now had a talk with Riley about the value of her work. LOL. She did get a pair of earrings in exchange and is happy with the transaction.

Riley Hedgehog Cutout


Riley is filing the rough points on her little hedge hog. It makes my heart so full to look at pictures of her working in the studio. *PROUD MAMA HERE*

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Here are some other pieces that she has done. The two at the top are the original and the commissioned piece.

The three at the bottom (from left to right) are a cat, dog and mouse. All drawn freehand and then cut out.

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Class Changes

Classes in my Norton Studio:
Tuesday, September 20, 6-9pm – Fold formed and pressed bracelet (like those above.) $65, all materials included. Students will make one bracelet.

Saturday, September 24, Hydraulic Press and Pierced Pendant 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. $75, all materials included. Students will make one
pendant. This one will be rescheduled at a later date.

Classes at Beadtini Boutique in Copley
www.beadtiniboutique.com
330-668-4717

Wednesday, August 31
– 6:30 – 8:30 pm: Creative Findings. This is a combination soldering
and wire class. You will learn to create soldered embellishments
including toggle clasps, head pins, links, creative ear wires and other
embellishments.

Wednesday, September 14 – 6:00 – 9:00 pm:
Spinner Rings. You will learn techniques to size and make a wide band
ring with spinning rings. This class is a great introduction to working
with a torch.

****Date Change!*****
Saturday, September 17 – 10:30 am – 2:30pm:
Bezel Set Pendant. Students will work with both copper and fine silver
to bezel set a small cabochon on a copper back plate. Prior soldering
experience is required to take this class. NEW DATE ***** Saturday, September 24*****

See you all next week when I return. I should have a lot of REALLY good stuff to share.

2 Years – Ohio JMAG

So many things have happened in my life and it is amazing to look back and see how little decisions and actions make the biggest things happen. I am constantly amazed at the amazing fortune I always seem to find myself in. Yes, there are trials, but for each of those trials, I seem to receive 10x the blessings along with them.

4 1/2 years ago my family moved to Akron, OH so my husband could complete his post-graduate training. When we moved to Ohio I knew very little about making jewelry, didn’t know a soul here and my life had just taken drastic changes in direction. I had gone from having a very lucrative career as a computer professional to being a stay-at-home-mom with a 6 year old and 10 week old baby. I had the worlds worst pliers (though I had no idea at the time) and some wire and had taken 3 intro to jewelry making classes. I quickly found out that I was absolutely NO GOOD at being a stay-at-home-mom. My husband jokes that it only took a week. And who knows, perhaps that is all it took for this social butterfly to realize she needed people!

I worked out of books, asked questions on forums online and played and played and played as I developed new skills. I fell in love with jewelry making and apparently, I had quite a talent for it that I was never aware of. I had been a professional computer trainer for 10 years and anyone that has taken my classes can attest that my true talent lies in teaching. I missed teaching. So that first fall, I had the opportunity to begin teaching. Instead of saying “type this code here” or “move the mouse and click there,” I said “hold your pliers like this” and “tilt your torch up just a little bit more.” I was back in my element and it was HEAVEN!!!!

As my classes picked up and I met more and more people here in Ohio, I found a common desire among my students and friends. They (we) all wanted a way to network, find others with a like mind in the jewelry and metal arts. I had an idea to create a group or guild for that very purpose.

On February 28, 2009, a group of about 25 people met at the Norton, Ohio Library where I pitched my idea and asked if anyone would be interested. I proposed that we hold a monthly meeting where we would have a special topic and demonstration of some sort. Well, people liked it.

This past Saturday we held our 2nd Anniversary meeting. It was so much fun. It was really neat to see the faces of people I had met for the first time 2 years ago.

As you all know by now, I am moving to Dallas, Texas in May. Just 9 short weeks from now. It doesn’t seem possible. My crazy pregnancy provided the perfect opportunity to pass the reigns of leadership to the other members of the Executive Committee of the guild. And as a way to say “thank you” and “good bye” a few of the members of the guild presented me with the most touching gift. They each made a charm and presented them to me at the meeting. The meaning and sentiment behind this still gives me chills when i look at it.
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I have worn charm bracelets a few times, but never regularly. But this one I LOVE to wear. I love looking at the charms. I can tell by looking at them who made each of them. I know the members styles and it is such an honor to receive a piece from each of them. This is certainly one gift that will always be cherished. It has been an amazing 2 years getting this group up and running. They all ask if I will do this again in Dallas. For now, the answer is no. There will be too much work to do with a new baby, getting settled into a new life in a new area. I am told there are actually several guilds in the Dallas area and I am really hoping that there is a group that I can join that will fill my need to be among other artists.

In other news, as I mentioned, I am moving in 9 weeks. I am putting out the last call for requests for classes now. If there is something that you would like to take with me, please let me know now. I will do my best to get as many classes as possible in. But I would like to make certain to schedule the ones that people want. Just let me know which class you would like and which dates work best for you and let’s get these classes in here.

Personal Update

Hi Everyone,

Yes, I am still alive and kicking. Sorry for such a quiet time. Things have been absolutely crazy with my schedule around here lately. I wish it were because I was teaching up a storm, but that couldn’t be further from the truth if there was one.  So I figured it has been over a month, almost two, since my last post and I thought I would update you all on the latest progress of things. Hopefully I will get back into the Tool Time Tuesday mode here soon. If you have a tool or process that you would like to know more about, let me know. Part of my problem is that I am currently stumped.

On the baby front: Everything is going as well as can be expected. I am currently 23 weeks into this pregnancy. It is going so fast and so slow all at the same time. But at any rate, I should be having this one in just 13 short weeks. That will really fly by as we head into the holiday season. We did find out that we are having a GIRL!!!! Yes, I only know how to make girls. Blame it on my husband. HA! She is doing well. I had an appointment on Wednesday and the approximate her weight to be 1 lb 4 oz. That already beats my smallest baby by 5 oz. I will take that. She moves around a lot, which is annoying and oh so comforting all at the same time. We do not have a name picked out yet and have only started to discuss names. My oldest wants to name her Violet. I kind of like that name, but her dad is dead set against it, so I am afraid I won’t be having a Violet. My youngest insists that we name her Fruit Loops. Yes, you read that right. Fruit Loops Muir sounds just right to Kate. Sadly for her, I think even mom will veto that particular name.

Jet setting: My husband is currently finishing up his final year of training and has been interviewing for positions all over the place. The very wise people that he has been interviewing recognize the fact that he is married and will most likely not go to a place where I have not been or approve of. So being the wise people they are, they have also flown me out with him so I can check out the areas. We have been to Dallas, Tx, Reno, NV and Lake Havasu City, AZ. We will be taking several more trips starting next week to visit Denver CO, Grand Junction, CO and once more back to Reno as that seems to have everything he is looking for. He will not be interviewing in Reno again. They have offered to fly our entire family out so that we can get one more look at the area with the kids and see if they also like it. There are worse places to live than Reno…. right? I figure If I do end up in Reno, I am going to rent a house at Lake Tahoe and offer a jewelry retreat once a year. I will keep you posted on the progress of all of this. He would like to have his decision made before Christmas.

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While we were in Texas we took the girls to get their pictures done. My sister lives in Dallas and my mom has been begging for photos of all the grand kids together. These are just two of my favorites of the girls.

New Jewelry: I haven’t worked much in the studio since finding out I was expecting again. First, I was so sick. I haven’t been this sick with any of my previous pregnancies and this one literally had me spending too much time on the bathroom floor or sofa. About 17 weeks I began to feel better, but I am still very tired and can’t seem to get enough sleep. So needless to say, my studio has been a bit neglected. In fact, it was kind of funny. I went down one night to work on a couple of sample projects and reached for a pair of pliers. As I was putting them back, I happened to notice a little spider had made itself at home. As I looked closer, I noticed that the entire underside of the pliers were covered in cob webs. Not the stringy ornate kind of web, but the ghostly haunted house thick kind. He found a new home in my shop vac. Poor little spider.

So here are some of the most recent (and only) projects I have made.
halloweenetching
I was going to teach a quick etching class, but sadly, we didn’t get enough people to fill the class. So this would have been a short little 2 hour class where students would have made a couple of pieces. We thought it would be fun to have a little Halloween Theme, so that is what these pictures are.

HalloweenPiercing
The next was an introductory piercing class. But again, not enough students. I think perhaps my little spider scared them off. He does look like he got smashed. Poor little spider.

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This  little soldered project was supposed to go on Wednesday night, but sadly it met with the same fate as the others. Oh well, at least I have a really cool spider to wear around Halloween.

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All of the previous projects were made well over a month and a half ago. I haven’t made a thing since that time. So I finally went into the studio yesterday to make something new for me. I just bought the cutest black maternity shirt that is covered in, what else, swirls. This took just a couple of hours to make and I love it. It is a tad bit too small, but it is still comfortable and stays on well. So I may list this one for sale and try to make another for me. I also think I am going to patina the copper so it is black and leave the silver polished bright. I think I will play with that tonight so I can wear it to an Ohio Jewelry and Metal Arts Guild function tomorrow. It is HEAVY. It is made with 8 gauge sterling silver and copper. I was going to do it out of all silver, but with the cost of silver right now, I couldn’t justify using quite that much.

So in the meantime, send me your Tool Time Tuesday requests and I will get to work. Love you all!

Busy Night in the Studio

It seems that I have not been in the studio to make jewelry for the sake of making jewelry. I love the Tool Time Tuesday posts because I knew they would make me post on my blog and get into the studio at least once a week. I am glad that people are enjoying them as well. My readership has increased about 25% too, so that is great. Thank you to those that have subscribed and regularly visit and feel that what I have to say is worth reading.

Last night and again tonight I was able to get into the studio to play with some new components and tools. Yes, I have even more new tools. I think I have an illness. I wonder if there is a 12 step program for tool-a-holics.

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This is a picture of the piece I featured on my Tool Time Tuesday post . Copper, sterling silver and 6mm cz.

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This bracelet is made with etch pieces that I did tonight using my new Electro-Etching kit by Sherri Haab. I will be writing a Tool Time Tuesday post on this coming up pretty quickly.

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These earrings have been textured with my Raw Silk hammer and the sterling swirls have been forged. I hand made all the ear wires.

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Again, textured with my Raw Silk hammer and forged silver.

EnglishIvy
This is probably my favorite pair. I call them English Ivy. The leaves have been textured with Raw Silk, forged swirls and stamped circles.

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I used one of my texture hammers on this pair of earrings.

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This is a fun little pendant I thought I would offer as mother’s pendants. The ring, is actually pretty small. I made this one for Kate, and Riley will be helping me to make hers later this week.

I have come into a great deal of copper lately, so you can expect to see a LOT of copper and mixed metal pieces from me pretty soon. I have begun to populate my Etsy shop once again and will be adding things to my website as well.

Thank you to those of you that have purchased my Angel Tutorial. I would love to hear any feedback (good or bad) that you might have to help me make future tutorials even better.

Also, I thought it would be kind of fun to do a give away. I now have over 100 blog subscribers. Once I hit 150 I will do a give away of some sort. Not sure what I will give away yet. It could be a piece of jewelry, a tool, or tutorial, but it will be pretty cool whatever the prize. So spread the word.