Wednesday, 11 August 2010


I went to a Silversmithing class at Potters Barn last week. It was a one-day class teaching texturing techniques including reticulation, granulation, rolling and hammering. It was fantastic fun. I find these classes a bit stressful though, in terms of having a limited time to come up with a design idea and execute it well enough. So I 'planned' the design mostly so that I had a chance to practise all of the techniques and use as many silversmithing tools as possible. Part of my mission was to find out what tools I need to get hold of to do this at home. The answer was many. And they are not cheap!

So the earrings and pendant I made each have three layers. One rolled (the criss cross one), one reticulated (which is heating the silver til the top layer goes liquid and moving it around with the flame into a 'surface of the moon' type texture) and finally there is a hammered layer. I think the hammered layer is my favourite. I used a hammer and small punch and hit it mighty hard for a heavily dimpled effect. I also took it right out to the edges. Which I really like, but it is also handy for hiding the fact that the squares are rather uneven.

We didn't get much silver in the class but I have been messing about with the scraps here. I feel much more confident with the micro-torch after the class, with annealing and soldering. They do other classes (rings, shaping), but they are not cheap and the money could be better spent on tools now I think. Better get practising...

Tuesday, 3 August 2010


I haven't blogged for so long it's shameful. But I'm convinced I'm only talking to myself, so maybe that's actually healthy.

I've been busy making things still. And you can see them all in my new Etsy shop which is somewhere here --------------->

I called my Etsy shop RedGreenQueen in a fit of wine-laden meaningfulness. I think it was based on the fact that I had just been to the Rock n Gem show and only managed to buy red and green beads. And that reminded me of the saying "Red and Green should never be seen except in the dress of an Irish Queen". Although I'm not sure now whether I made that up because lots of people seem to think it's blue and green. Hey ho. The green skirt and red tights that my French teacher used to wear were certainly a fright. Fortunately red and green beads do look a bit better and I have a necklace in-progress with which I hope to prove it.

I have a few half-made things at the moment actually. More ideas than time...

Friday, 25 June 2010

Thunderclouds and lightning

Sterling silver and snowflake obsidian. MMmmmm. My next door neighbour asked me to look out for something in black and grey when I went to the beadshop last time - to wear to a do she was going to. Unfortunately I took too long as I was ill for a week.

I call it Storm. Because the silver reminds me of lightning and the snowflake obsidian of thunderclouds. Also when I was making there was an almighty hammering noise interspersed with flashes of silver. I felt a bit like Thor (creating a noise rather than being God-like, unfortunately).

Sunday, 20 June 2010


The latest and greatest (or at least the most expensive to make!). This one has 35 silver Thai Karen Hill tribe beads, a Bali silver flower connector and headpin, over 1 meter of sterling silver wire, oodles of Amazonite and black onyx. It truly is a feast of silver and preciousness.

I'm not keeping this one, I want to, but I'l have to stop somewhere. So it's a birthday present or a cost-price party piece, we'll see. Better put it away before I wear it...

Friday, 18 June 2010

Here's one I made earlier

I haven't been too well so not much making going on. But here are a few I made earlier.
This bracelet uses up the last of the copper wire Rich brought home from work. I dipped it in liver of sulphur to age it a bit, although to be honest this wire darkens pretty quick on its own. I ran out of copper wire and brought some craft wire, but it was coated in something and refused to take the liver of sulphur. Need to get my copper wire from the hardware shop in future I think. The stones are smoky quartz and turquoise.

This one is just a stretchy I threw together with some beautiful charoite coins. I love charoite, it is really unusual and has a real depth. Apparently it's quite rare and has only ever been found in one location in Russia.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Still cab-bing

More practice with wiring cabochons. This is the fourth time I've wrapped this one, this one's a keeper though, much neater than the previous attempts. And it matches what I have on. I might even try wrapping in silver wire soon...


Love these. I made evey bit (except the beads!). The beads are - Jet, turquoise, labradorite and Thai silver. Lush.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

a fair cop (per bracelet)

Rich brought home some scraps of copper wire that the electricians left lying around at his work last week and now here they are with some turquoise beads.

I've never been all that keen on copper jewellery, but I do like this. I've marked it with the pliers in a few places, not used to working with such thick wire, but it's not too bad. I went off it slightly when I was mid-way through and Rich said it looked like a toilet flush chain, but I think we got past that.

Might have just enough copper left for some matching earrings.

Friday, 28 May 2010

More sewing

More of my favourite in class this week. This the partner necklace to the bracelet below. Thankfully much easier, though I'm still not impressed with it!

Monday, 24 May 2010

Cab-bing fever

This was this week's project. A wire wrapped rhodonite freeform cabochon with a wireworked chain. The chain links are all hammered. The first picture is shiny silver, then I oxidised it and it now looks like the second picture. I like it, but I think I may get some fine steel wool and give it a rub just to bring up the silver a bit more, it's looking a bit gunmetal atm.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

sleeping beauty

I'm not very big on sewing. Sew (groan) this one was a beast. Four hours of threading tiny seed beads onto two invisible pieces of fishing wire. This is what turned me boggle-eyed in my class yesterday. I think I would rather stick the needles in my eyes than do this one again. Thankfully, although it is very dainty and pretty, it's not really my style, so I don't feel any inclination to.

Friday, 21 May 2010


Just finished this orange sparkly-ness. It was hanging around for ages until I ordered the extra beads I needed to finish it. Really nice shape when it's on this one.

I'm boggle-eyed now after two hours of sewing beads in jewellery class. I'm certainly no seamstress.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

More oldies

No making today, too busy with studying and migraine, so here are a few more oldies.

I think this is my favourite necklace so far. It is abalone shell, green moss agate and bali silver. Very 'Island'.

And some matching earrings in bali silver, apatite and swarowski crystals.

These are my favourite earrings - in bali silver with blue topaz stones.

And these were the first chandalier earrings I made - in silver and amethyst.

And last but not least, last week's beading extravaganza of pure purpleness...

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

pretty in pink

This is the latest and greatest. In silver plated wire and pink opal. More of a practice piece really, I'm not so keen on the pink, a bit washed out on me. This took quite a while though, I got lots of practice with wired loops, closed and open. It started to feel a bit like whittling after a while.

I think I want to do this piece again in turquoise with oxidised silver. Possibly even in red jasper and turquoise. But I will need to oxidise the silver (plated) wire pieces first - can't do it after as turquoise is a bit fragile (doesn't like heat or chemicals, soft, porous). I think I will also need to let my fingers heal first too, after bending all those closed loops...

We three rings

My jewellery teacher told me last week that the ring shank I was attempting to wire wrap (for the first time) was rubbish. So I have been practising all week. These are better, but still not great.

The ring on the left was the first and worst, the bead in it (baroque amethyst nugget) is a little big for a ring I think. After I finished it I wrapped the shank rather messilly with 0.6 wire.

The ring on the right was the second with a smaller amethyst nugget. This worked a little better and I quite like this one. The shank is not wired though and it could do with it to balance it out.

I tried something different with the ring in the middle (turquoise) and did it a bit like a wired cab. I cut three pieces of wire, wrapped them and then bent it into a shank. After popping the stone in (on the end of the wrapping wire) I made the swirls with the ends of the wrapped wires. All done in 0.8 wire. Now I just need to work out how to get the sizing right - note to self: make rings smaller - easier to make bigger after!

Got to start somewhere...

... And it might as well be here.

I just want somewhere to journal my travels in jewellery-making, somewhere to put the pics and notes to self...

So might as well start with a few things I have made already:

This was an early one, made in about March I think. Just some simple beading and attaching the clasp. It is fluorite and black lava stone, with silver - very goth. I made another one, for Rach's birthday, in new jade and Botswana agate.

For this one I had to hunt down some (new) Berber beads from Morocco, Lovely big beads, though not silver unfortunately. The stone is carnelian. Bit hippy this one.

This is my favourite so far - a bracelet in labradorite and iolite nuggets with Bali and Thai Karen Hill tribe silver. It was also the most expensive, but so pretty, the labrodarite has blue and purple flashes.

Silver earrings with blue opal and citrine drops.

Silver again, with rainbow moonstone and aqua faceted glass cubes.

More hippyness with amethyst and rainbow moonstone on Bali silver chandaliers.

And a nice sparkly summery necklace.

All fairly easy so far... I started more wire stuff after this...