Category Archives: Pendants

Tool Time Tuesday – Hydraulic Press Essential Setup

Hi Everyone. I know the title reads Tool Time Tuesday, and that is because that is what this was supposed to be. However, I updated my Final Cut Pro – the video editing software I use for my videos – and it wouldn’t let me import my videos. I worked on it for three days. Finally had to load it on to my old computer with an older version of the program. UGH. Otherwise this would have been done on Monday. I did get the video up last night though, and even that was a miracle considering I am not feeling well right now. My productivity has gone right out the window. Even once I get done here, I am going to go back to bed.

A while back I did a blog post about the tools I consider essential when getting a hydraulic press set up. Well, this is a companion video to that post.

As you all know, I totally love the Hydraulic press. It has completely changed my body of work. The book I am currently writing is how to use the hydraulic press to make jewelry and is nearly finished. So of course, you will see a LOT of pieces by me made with the press.

CopperVinesPendant

There are a number of presses available out there, and they will all pretty much do the same thing. I happen to have purchased a press by Potter USA and that is what will be featured in my book and videos. However, the information and suggestions will work for any number of the presses.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/gvy2MG1NUnc

Tool Time Tuesday – Rotary Tumblers & Another Giveaway

Hey everyone. Yes, I know it is Friday. But, the video was posted to my YouTube channel on Tuesday, so technically it is still Tool Time Tuesday, right?  Hey, when you are a mom to three busy girls, you just have to roll with it sometimes. That, and Sales Taxes caught me off guard. I looked at the due date wrong. D’oh! So glad I looked again.  And, I owe a whole whopping $2.46 in Sales Taxes. LOL. That is good and bad, as it is an indicator of my sales for this past year. However, I believe I squeaked out a tiny bit of profit. Like maybe a hundred dollars or so. WOOT! Last year was probably my worst year emotionally and everything, so that tiny bit of a profit made me smile all night long, even now. 😀 <== See? Big Smile.

When I asked about topics for Tool Time Tuesday, a couple of people asked about Rotary Tumblers. I have a couple of them here in my studio so I thought I would give a quick comparison between the two of them.

If you are interested in getting a 3A Lortone Tumbler (the one featured in the video) and Mixed Stainless Steel Shot, let me know. I do sell those, however I do not keep them in stock. They do meet my minimum purchase amount from my supplier, so I can have it sent directly to you. Just let me know.

GIVEAWAY – Pepetools Jump Ring Maker

JumpRingMaker

That is right, Pepetools has graciously offered a Jump Ring Maker (JMR2). Same deal as the last giveaways. You are just giving us (Pepetools and I) to add you to our email lists. You can always unsubscribe if you would like. Pepetools only sends out a few a year. There will be a few more than that from me, especially as I would like to just have my blog posts go out to my email list. That way I can have everything in one tidy little place.

** Oh, and no worries. You won’t be added to the list multiple times. I know it says you are, but you really aren’t. So you shouldn’t receive two emails and such. But I do still need you to actually enter the drawing through the link provided below.

When will the giveaway be done? Well, that depends. Pepetools has asked that we have a certain number of entries before we do the giveaway. We are currently about a 1/4 of the way there. So please share and share and share. I am dying to find out who is going to get the jump ring maker.

ENTER HERE: http://eepurl.com/bbI3kj

Here are a couple of videos for you to get you excited about winning it.

Progress and feeling great

I want to tell you all thank you so much for all your love and encouragement over the past little while. The last couple of years have been so hard for me with the moves and trials we have had. I really suffered emotionally and it is crazy. The kicker for me was when my blog had to move and I lost all my subscribers, photos and had to redo them all. That was so frustrating that I just had to stop even visiting my blog because it just made me so mad. But, The fog has lifted. I am creating again. I feel great again. I have ideas again. I am ready to go and moving quickly. Thank you.

This past week my friend and jewelry artist, Mary Govaars, came and worked with me for 7 solid days. What did we do? We got my book organized. She helped me identify ALL of the projects. She also helped me to see that I have at least two books that I will be writing. There is just too much for one. That is a good problem to have, right? We laid out the sections and flow of the projects. All of the projects and steps have been written and are currently being edited and verified. The book progresses beautifully from beginner projects all the way to advanced. There are more beginner to intermediate projects than advanced, but the second book will pick up where this one leaves off and readers will continue to grow their skills. I am so revved up and excited, I am almost like a kid in the candy store and can hardly wait for my kids to leave for school so I can get in to the studio and play. I haven’t felt that for such a long time. It is wonderful.

Fold and Hydraulic Formed Pendant - Melissa Muir

Fold and Hydraulic Formed Pendant – Melissa Muir

This pendant is one that I started working on when my friend Francesca Watson came to visit in October. It actually had several melt downs and went through a fair amount of silver trying to make the bail. However, I changed it up, finally bought my acetylene tank and got my torch set back up, and there were very loud squeals of delight and celebration coming from my studio when everything worked and I didn’t melt it again. If you were within about 30 miles, I am sure you heard the squeals. I floated on clouds for the next two days knowing that I finally got this project done. It feels so good to be back.

Talkin’ Tools

If you enjoy Tool Time Tuesday, then I would like to introduce you to my friend Kathleen Krucoff.  She offers a feature on her blog Mystical Mytical Metalwork called Talkin’ Tools. In her first installment, in a long time anyway, she talks about chasing hammers. Her work has evolved and right now she is really into chasing and Repouse’, and she shares her favorite tools for the different techniques she is trying. it is always good to hear about tools from a number of people. Everyone has their opinions and way of doing things. So take a few minutes and check it out. You might find another blog you love to read and is full of great information and resources.

Speaking of Tool Time Tuesday, I will be back tomorrow with another installment. So I will see you all again tomorrow!

Finally Making Some New Pieces

As you know, I have really struggled lately (like for the past 4 years) to get back into the groove of things. Between having a baby (now 4 years old) and moving across the country a couple of times, setting up a new house and trying to figure out what I want to do, it has been awful. But This year…. This year is going to be different. We are now in a  routine. The house still has a LOT of projects and I need to figure out how to get organized, but I am finding I finally have some time to myself. I have set many new goals. Utah isn’t the easiest place to have a jewelry making business. The people here are just different and value things a bit differently. Let me just say, there is a reason why I can do what I do. I grew up here. I knew the mentality of Utah when it comes to being creative and “crafty.”

Melissa_Muir_LabradoriteSwirl1

I have been approached by several online places to offer my workshops and videos. For a while now I have wanted to have my own video subscription service on my website with projects and such. This year, all of that is going to happen. Dates  have already been set for multiple national teaching opportunities. I will be teaching in Tucson at the Gem show next month. In March I will be teaching in the San Antonio/Austin area. Then in July, I will be teaching in Las Vegas. I am so thrilled to be “getting back to it.”

Melissa_Muir_LabradoriteSwirl

The other day my husband came home from work and I left the kids in his charge and retreated to the studio. He came in and asked what I was doing. I told him that I was tired of not creating and listening to the awful enemies in my head. So I figured that if I just came in the studio and forced myself to create something, then perhaps my creative muse would awaken and I could get back to “me.” The Me that used to sit and just pull out a stone or two and create. When I was that “ME” things just came together. That is where I am going to get back to. I am excited to get back to ME. This should be a fun year. Want to see what I have done so far? They aren’t perfect but I am sure pleased with them. It is a fabulous start.

Melissa_Muir_BlueLadyBugSwirl

 

I am also really excited that this week a good friend of mine is coming in from California to help me get the layout of my book going. I am  hoping to have the first volume of my book out in just the next couple of months. We will see how it all goes. I may be even further behind than I think. Then again, I may be further ahead than I think. Cross your fingers that things go well. 🙂

 

 

MelissaMuir-YOJ2015-Week2

Next week I may be a bit quiet as we get our nose to the grind stone and really push to get everything going.

I have been going through my studio and found that I have a lot of things I don’t use. This includes tools and beads and such. So in an effort to raise money for the costs associated with  publishing my book, and hopefully getting a few things in Tucson, I will be holding a destash. I haven’t figured out how I am going to run it yet, but I need to get some things cleared out. I just don’t use some of this stuff and it might as well go to someone who can use it.

But in the meantime, I am so excited to be back. Thanks everyone for the encouragement and support.MelissaMuir-YOJ2015-Week1

 

Happy Thanksgiving – A new video workshop

Today has been a sad one for my family. My little brother, who has been my buddy since moving back to Utah, has moved to Texas. He left this morning after a breakfast here at my house. We celebrated our Thanksgiving a day early yesterday. It has been so much fun to get to know him as an adult. He is 7 1/2 years younger than me. He was only 12 or so when I got married, 16 years old when I had my first child and just 19 years old when I moved away. Getting to know him as an adult has been so much fun. He has made living here in Utah a real adventure. He is my hiking, running, biking and shooting buddy. I am so excited for his new job adventure. But selfishly, I am really heartbroken at losing my buddy.

I hope you and your family are having a happier Thanksgiving. 🙂

Today is kind of a big day for me. 8 years ago today I opened my online store and made it official that I was in business for myself. It was truly the beginning of my jewelry making journey. I NEVER DREAMED it would go as far as it has. I have learned so much. I had never been considered a creative person and this has been quite a challenge for me. I have made many friends along the way. This week I hit a couple of milestones. Of course, the first is having 8 years of this fun job. Second, I hit over 1,000 “fans” on my Facebook page. And, if I can ever get it done and posted, I will have 75 videos on my Youtube channel. I will be doing a give away this week to celebrate, so be sure to watch for my email. 🙂

Next week I am teaming up with Craftcast for a video workshop using my swage block. I have been working hard on it and I am so excited. There will be four projects. It doesn’t matter if you can’t make it to the original broadcast because it is being recorded and will be available to you FOREVER! You can watch anywhere, anytime. And Craftcast is running a 20% off deal right now until Tuesday. Just use coupon code: harvest2014 during checkout and save on all your video purchases, including my workshop.

Here is the listing: https://www.craftcast.com/classes/learn-make-lily-pendant-and-earrings-melissa-muir

Melissa_Muir_Swage_Block_Workshop

Melissa_Muir_Cone_earrings

Melissa_Muir_Curved_Pendant

Melissa_Muir_Lily_Pendant

Melissa_Muir_Peapod_Pendant

 

See How It Is Done

There have been a lot of threads on FB in various jewelry making groups that I belong to about people asking the artist to drop their price. You also hear a lot of people saying that something is too much. I honestly believe that is because these “customers” don’t know the true value of the piece.

We are so used to paying for cheap crap that is manufactured in factories that pay a pittance of a wage and provide horrible living and working conditions for their employees (salves really, if you ask me.) People don’t understand what really goes into making a piece. It isn’t just the materials. You also have to consider the tools purchased, the time it takes to learn to use those tools, not to mention the time it takes to learn the skill of the trade, whether it be wire wrapping, metalsmithing, or any of the other mediums out there. Then you have to consider that these people have to pay rent, utilities, packaging, web hosting, booth fees, etc. Even when all of that is taken into account, the most important thing is the artistry of the artist. Because really, you can have all the tools in the world and still be lousy at creating art.

flower

When a person purchases a piece from me, they aren’t paying for the materials in the piece. They are paying for a piece of art that I created with my own hands, my heart and my creativity. If they want to pay less for that, they will have to find someone else to give it to them, but then it won’t be a piece by – MELISSA MUIR! 🙂

flower2

This week I spent a day in the studio with my tripod and camera following me around capturing nearly every step of the process. There were a few things that I didn’t film and I cut out quite a bit of the process as it is represented by a short little clip of each step. When I did the editing of the remaining video, it was still over 30 minutes long. So I sped everything up 50% added some great music and voila, a fun to watch video.

So please join me for a few minutes and see how I take a flat piece of copper and transform it into this beautiful 3D piece of art jewelry.

FINALLY UPDATED!

It has taken me WEEKS and WEEKS to upload all of the images back onto my blog. Back in April I found out that my previous blog would no longer be hosted and I would lose all of my content unless I moved it to somewhere new. I figured out how to move the content, however all the images were still linked to the old one. And the big kicker was that I wasn’t able to download the images from a server. My blog is 7 1/2 years old. I have 374 blog posts with over 1,000 images and videos on it. I was able to find a program to go through my site and download all the images (THANK GOODNESS!!!!!!) But it changed the names of the files in some cases or put them into folders and it has just been a nightmare. I have had to go through each post (19 pages of 20 posts per page) and reload all of the images. It is as good as beating your head against a wall.

I didn’t bother fixing any of the messed up formatting, that could just take years. At least all of the information and photos are back now. I thought about skipping it and just deleting everything, but there was just too much information out there that I know people can still use. So many of my Tool Time Tuesday posts are still being searched and read. I started getting comments form people telling me how they used to find my blog so helpful and asking what happened. Like I said, it isn’t as pretty as it could be, but I am not going to spend any more time on it. I am finally ready to be back to creating. I haven’t felt like that in ages.

It was very interesting to read through my blog and watch my progression. Some of it was very inspiring to me. I remember being so new at this and soooo excited. I had lost a lot of that excitement. I have been in such a dark place. A place where I no longer desire to make art. A place where I am afraid to make it…. feelings of inadequacy, failure and just darkness.

In the past few weeks I had two very good friends from Ohio come and visit me. That got me started. Then last week I spent the week in Phoenix teaching two 2-day workshops and that really got me going. Next week I am teaching a 3 day hydraulic press forming workshop. In three weeks I have another friend coming in from Texas and I just cannot wait. I am excited again. And especially now that my blog is finally caught up, I can move forward. I have a lot of new videos in the works as well as tutorials. I have new tools that I want to review and share with you. You will never believe the progress I have made on my book. My goal right now is to type out 1 to 2 projects per day (almost 1/2 way through them now.) Next weekend my daughter is going to help me walk through the projects and get them photographed. I AM FINALLY BACK!!!!! I missed me. I missed being creative. Creativity comes naturally to me, but not easily. I really have to work at it. But once I find that sweet spot, things fall together. Now it is just a matter of finding that sweet spot in all of my projects. 🙂

copper_Butterfly

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
Day_10_HammeredCuffharlequinCuffOxidizedpiercedformedcuff1
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:

DieFoldFormedsamples

DieFormedPendant

 

Captured Druzy Pendant

prongs_Muir BrassNDruzy
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.

Halloween2013

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.
SpinnerRingMelissaMuir
Day 2 – Silver Synclastic Earrings I made using my Arbor Press from Potter USA
SilverEarringsMelissaMuir
Day 3 – A great big bow for my front gate. I have never made a bow before, so don’t pick on me.
BigBowMelissaMuir

I know it doesn’t look all that big, so let me give you a little perspective:

BigBow2MelissaMuir
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.
CopperSilverEarringsMelissaMuir
Day 5 – Quick bracelets made from 12 gauge aluminum
AluminumBraceletMelissaMuir

 

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.
StainedGlassMelissaMuir
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.
FoldFormed_MelissaMuir

I actually had multiple pieces. This is a simple formed piece in the hydraulic press.

HydraulicPressJewelryMelissaMuir
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 – Center Positioning Dies

Measurable progress is finally being made on the first volume of my book. I am very excited about it. I have set a deadline for myself of Thanksgiving. That is a tall order, so we will see what happens. Of course in this time, I am still trying to run a house, remodel, paint and volunteer at the girls’ schools. But I am working on it.

I haven’t really had any time in the studio to play around yet. Although I did get the chance to make a bracelet and pendant while using this weeks Tool Time Tuesday featured tool, Pepe Tools Center Positioning Dies. I love these little things. They allow you to create perfectly concentric washers. You simply punch a hole using the desired inner diameter, switch to the position of the desired outer diameter die, insert the center positioning die to align the hole of first hole, then use the larger punch to punch out the outer ring, and VOILA, you have a perfect washer.

These are great for a number of uses. You see these washers all the time for stamped jewelry. But I like to texture them up and use them as different design elements. Today, the video I am posting shows you how to make a beautiful silver drop pendant with some blue coin pearls.

One of the great things about these dies is that you can make your washers how you want them. There are some washers that you can buy already made, but you don’t get to determine the metal thickness or even how large your hole is or the outer diameter. Now you can.

Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQQHSWF_BWk

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.