More wire wrapping practice  

Monday, December 31, 2007

I had some free time this afternoon and I was bored to read, so I decided to play with wire a bit more. This time going back to wire wrapping with thin gauge wire (0.4-0.5mm) as this is definitely not one of my strengths.
Finished this piece and although I'm not particularly happy with, I'll keep at it until I will get the hang of it. That's one of my New Year resolutions anyway.
Speaking of wire wrapping, I was drolling the whole afternoon over this page I just discovered yesterday. When I grow up, I wanna be just as good as them...

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Last piece in 2007 - Happy New Year!  

After almost two day's work, I've finished the Olivia bracelet. It is based on the Olivia chainmail weave, hence the name. Single units of byzantine are linked together - in my case with larger rings - to form the bracelet. For clasp I made a herringbone wrapped ruby. All sterling silver.
I will probably wear it tonight for the New Year's Eve, we're going with hubby out of town to a restaurant where he proposed me exactly 8 years ago *blush*.

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My journey into making a silver chainmail bracelet...from scratch  

Saturday, December 29, 2007

I've been asked a few times why chainmail jewelry is so expensive. For a silver bracelet in various weaves a chainmailer can charge up to $100 or more (or 80-100 Euros if in Europe).
Also I have friends in Cyprus who have absolutely no idea how this type of jewelry comes to be about. No wonder. Two years ago for me 'chainmail' only ment the armor wore by European soldiers in the Middle Ages.

My bracelet today will be in the Byzantine weave, a beautiful weave designed for jewelry. This is the final design.

This piece took me pretty much the whole day - except the time I prepared and had lunch, and had a cake and coffee with hubby.



First step - coil the wire. Set up the coiling equipment and start coiling. I actually enjoy this process as it doesn't take long and it's quite relaxing...







Finished coiling. Hm...it could have been neater...oh well, next time...
The coils are rather small as the mandrel is not large enough. It takes approximately 1.5 m of wire (1mm wire on 3.5mm mandrel).






Next step, cutting the coil into single rings... I'm using a jewelry saw which is relatively easy but also slow to work with. But it cuts the rings neatly flush.
And don't forget the finger protection as it's very easy to go with the saw through the fingers...ouch.
Half of my rings have been cut. A small break and then continue...




Finally, all my rings in this batch are cut. Took a while...
Paper is full of rings, silver powder and candle powder. Why candle? The saw needs a lubricant, and beeswax is just right for it.
Have a ton of candles at home, so I took one to use with my saw.
Now rings need to be cleaned nicely and then the jewelry weaving can begin... I don't have (yet) a tumbler, so I'm cleaning the silver with water and soap. Tumbler and stainless steel shot is already ordered, it should come within the next 2-3 weeks...


Approximately 100 rings in that cup yielded by the mandrel size.
Nice, clean and shiny. No idea yet how many I will need for my Byzantine bracelet, so I'll finish these up before making more rings.









And here are the first two segments of my Byzantine bracelet using the rings just cut and cleaned.








Hm...finished up all the rings, and I hardly have half of the bracelet done...
Which means off to coil and cut some more...but in the meantime for a break I wrapped this beautiful lampwork bead (made by an American artisan), as I intend to use it with the bracelet.



Here is my second coil. This one is beautifully uniform and all!




.....after cutting the second coil in rings (another batch of - give or take - 100 rings) and weaving in with the rest of the bracelet, tada...I present you The Bracelet...









Hm, on second thought...I don't like where the bead is...so after undoing that part, here is the final (hopefully) version of it with a nicer clasp and a small extension chain as well...

Now just to take a nicer picture of it and it should be done...






And based on Laura's input, I modified it yet again to make the beadie a clasp... (picture is at the top of the posting). Oh and yes, the silver clasp is also handmade by me, done in one of my small breaks from cutting and weaving silver. How to do that is a matter for a future post.

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I did it!  

Friday, December 28, 2007

Finally, after at least 6 months, I cut my own jumprings with a jeweller's saw. Here is the very first batch I did, which I ended up not using much, as the didn't come out the best. Nevertheless here they are for historical purposes *grins*.





Today I cut again with the correct size blades (2.0) and made this double-spiral bracelet as well. I can now safely say this bracelet is 100% handmade, lol.
Wire 1mm with 5mm mandrel, which means an AR of 5. Seems just perfect for this weave.
Up until now I couldn't get the AR for the life of me. I was reading on various websites, forums on how to calculate, without success. Now that I cut my own jumprings, I'm shaking my head in wonder as how easy it is to figure it out. Just divide the inside diameter (the inside of the 'donut' if you want) by the wire thickness. Dohh...

And with the remaining rings a small pair of mobius earrings...

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Tiger heart  

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

In honour of the human heart, which is basically kind and loving, here is a silver pendant I finished just now. The stone is tiger-eye.
I've just discovered this type of wrapping and I love it! Also figured out something that I can improve on the criss-cross wrapping. Will do it with the next piece.
I am quite proud because this is my own design, starting from the shaping of the heart to the way I wrapped the piece.

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On human behaviour and perceptions  

So I wake up this morning full of energy knowing that I'm still at home, on holidays, and will be able to practice wire wrapping, and just feeling great in general. Before anything else, hop over to the computer to see what emails I got from friends (if any), and I see a new comment on my blog. Usually these comments are either from fellow jewelry making or book lover friends, or simply from people stumbling upon my blog. Big was my disappointing surprise to discover a comment on my Merry Christmas post, with no heads or tails, not Christmas wishes or any traces of human kindness, which simply pointed out that I - according to him - made a grave mistake with regards to my current location. I know the Cypriot issue is a big issue around these parts (the Northern side is still occupied by the Turks, etc, etc), but I started thinking of why this particular post got me down right first thing in the morning, effectively destroying my good mood for the day. I realized that it was not the actual comment, regarding the political issue, but the way it was put. First of all, it was written on my Merry Christmas post, which I found a bit rude - why? because it defied the basic human kindness. No Merry Christmas in return, no 'Hello, hey you have a great blog there, or nice jewelry, but btw, could you please change the reference to xyz...'etc etc.
Then upon further contemplating on the issue, while my coffee was getting ready, I figured, if I let such a post get me down, it's bad, as the person achieved exactly what he wanted - making my day miserable, probably based on his own day. Pitty but true that there are some people who nit-pick on everything, who criticize without the basic courtesy offered to their fellow human, even these times of joy and laughter, when we should all be united in the Christmas spirit.
And now off to have my breakfast, drink my hot coffee and simply enjoy my holiday :)
Merry Christmas everyone!

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Merry Christmas!  

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Between cooking, having one of hubby's relatives for Christmas lunch and then going to some other relatives in the afternoon, I managed to make two more pendants today. Just practice pieces but I love particularly the second. It's from a tutorial by Remy (Dkheath). I think I won't oxidize this one, as it looks so neat with the purple stone (much nicer than the picture), it really shines through.

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Wire practice and oxidizing with LOS  

Monday, December 24, 2007

So I went out today and bought fine steel wool and I gave LOS another shot. I think this time I had more success with it, particularly due to the steel wool, which is just great! You can actually select what to become ligher and shinier and what remains darker from LOS.
Also I've practiced some more wire wrapping. Not a very good result, but I did say this week is for practicing, not for making jewelry for sale. And I've learned a few things in the process. Plus I had this idea in my head which I wanted to try out. Now I know what I'll do the next time I try the same thing.
And of course, I've oxidized it as well, just for the fun of it.

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Wire wrapping  

I felt like wire wrapping a bit, so I made this silver amazonite pendant, about 4cm in diameter. I find wrapping around the core quite relaxing. It takes quite a bit of wire, but I love it. I remembered why I started to work with silver and semiprecious stones in the first place. Because of wire wrapping. Being so busy lately with making jewelry to sell for the holidays, I lost track of enjoying learning and getting better at wrapping techniques.
Next week I'm on holidays from work (thank god for small favours), so I will take the time to get myself more advanced in this art form. With no rush for other things, I will have all the time to just do what I like to do best.

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Necklace for mom  

Sunday, December 23, 2007

In about two weeks I am going to visit my parents, who are living currently in Hungary. I haven't seen my mom for almost two years, so I wanted to make her a jewelry gift. I know she likes green, so I though a turquoise and silver necklace should be something she might like. This is the result.

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featured on Beadaholique customer gallery  

I buy a lot of jewelry supplies at beadaholique.com and at some point I sent in my carnelian mask, as this is where I bought the gorgeous carnelian stone and the little silver beads from. While shopping at the site, I clicked on the customer gallery to see what's new, and there it is my carnelian mask, hehe.

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New line - for the younger generation  

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I'm adding a new line to my Dawanda shop, a much more affordable jewelry line, for the younger ones (say highschool, college students, or young carreer starters). Basically it will be jewelry with less wire wrapping on it and instead of silver chain or semiprecious beads for necklace, I will use various faux leather cords. Less silver = less cost and work involved = cheaper prices.

The first one is a gorgeous carnelian heart with a silver bail and wrapping. The stone itself is so beautiful, it doesn't really need any additional enhancer. The clasps on the cord are sterling silver.

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Hungry for psychical when physical not well  

It's been already a week since I last poster here. I got the flu so I've been sort of out of synchr during this time. I didn't have any mood to make jewelry, but instead I read 3 books on spirituality. I tried a couple of novels, but nothing grabbed me, so I read instead:

Reaching for the other side by Dawn Hill - this book touched on the author's psychic development, some of her stories, and storied told by others. She even has some exercises scattered here and there that one can follow, if interested in opening up (more) to psychic abilities.

You have been here before by Dr. Edith Fiore - this is a book about past lives and their recall under hypnosis. Typical stories that one reads related to past life regressions. Liked it a lot and only strengthened my belief in reincarnation.

The death are alive by Harold Sherman - this one was quite interesting. It discussed pretty much everything about spirituality, psychic abilities and making contact with the 'other side'. It even touched on EVP (electronic voice phenomena) - remember White Noise the movie?

I guess in the hectic of life lately (stress from work, busy with jewelry, etc) I didn't have time to slow down and just touch on my soul. Heck, I even stopped meditating.
Sometimes the universe has its way of reminding you of what's more important, to put the priorities straight in life. Just stop, and smell the flowers, that's already enough at times.

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New freshwater pearl set  

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Having made the pearl earrings, I wanted to turn it into a set, so I made a necklace as well. Not sure what the stone is, agate or carnelian, but it has a nice translucent shine.
I'm still trying to decide whether I like the brown stone with the pearls. Hubby said a white stone would have matched possibly better. I just didn't have anything that was matching nicely in light colors.

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Dawanda's Romanticism Christmas section  

Was browsing around in the different Dawanda Advent Calendar sections when I spotted my gray cats-eye bracelet in the Romanticism spot! It seems that Dawanda likes either cats eye or the herringbone weave, as just the other day I spotted my green cats-eye herringbone earrings and bracelet set :)
Of course whether that leads to actual sales, that's another story...

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Earrings by Helen  

This is the book I just got in the post a few days ago and I was anxious to work from it. I has some really nice earring designs, along with different styles of earwires.
I've worked a bit on my earwire skills, the first is a more secure type of regular earwires, as the loops are inside, they hold better the whole wire in the ears.
The second is a pair of ball-post earrings. There are people who don't like the long earwires due to the way their ears are pierces (ex. too large holes, etc), so I will get my skills up and offer some ball-post earrings as well in my shops. I will use smaller pearls in the wire, as when I tried out my prototype, I had a feeling like I had two earrings in my ear, lol. It's quite interesting though.

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Featured on Dawanda's homepage  

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I've just noticed today my green cats-eye set is on the front page at Dawanda. First I though it's the section with the new products and was wondering how was it shown as new, and then it clicked that it's in the Featured section yayy! (second right from the bottom) I was so surprised as I have never seen my jewelry featured there yet!! But there is always a start for everything :)

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A new Tree of Life  

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Here is my today's attempt at a tree of life. I like this one much better. The size is normal now, 3x3 cm and it just sits much nicer on the chain. I'll have to make a few more to get it really 'right', with different combinations of stones and beads.

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Tree of life pendant  

Monday, December 10, 2007

I must be the only one who hasn't done yet a tree of life pendant. So here is my very first one. Silver wire, jasper and crystal chips. Not sure how I feel about it. It's quite big, maybe bigger than I wanted it to be. And the colors are kind of gloomy. I think I'll do another one and use this as a prototype. Or something.

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Mock jewelry display table  

Sunday, December 9, 2007

I have a mini jewelry party on Thursday (I won't be the main attraction there but was also invited by somebody who bought some of my jewelry and she liked it), so I'll get a table there as well.
Today I spent my whole day polishing up my jewelry (making new ear wires, filing away burrs, adding price tags), and making the mock display in the picture so I can sort of see how it will look in real life when I get there.
If you read this post before Thursday, please give me your comments on what do you think I should change - if anything.

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Day and Night  

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Here are a couple more things I've done lately for the 'party' on Thursday where I will have also a table to display my jewelry.
I particularly like the black and white necklace, which I named Day and Night. Onyx and white jade, and of course silver. All with matching earrings.

The next one is rhodonite with silver. I'm modelling it.





Third is amazonite beads and turquoise pendant, and earrings.

This mosaic silver pendant with jasper and quartz crystal chips is something I made just now, mostly for fun. (this one just SOLD)



On the left is a simple chain with agate square stones.



And finally I have two moonstone sets, one with small bone beads, and one with Swarovski crystals.

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My first commissioned work  

Monday, December 3, 2007

I've just finished my first commissioned piece. Usually a necklace takes me 2-3 hours, I was working on this necklace a month LOL! (not full time of course)
My friend wanted a very specific mix of stringing with chains and with wire works as well included, quite asymmetrical, so here is the (finally!) final piece!! :)

Some things I've learned in the process:
With commissioned work, you do not always do what you think the piece should be like, but what is requested of you. You need to follow certain specifications - which sometimes change in due course, add certain materials as what you had before as per Murphy's law was either too thin (and it cut the piece) or too small or just not right (thank god for internet supplies shopping). Then you need to alter it a lot of times, and it tends to take much more time than a regular piece.
Having said all that, I quite like the final piece. It definitely stretched my abilities and made me learn a few additional things. I always thought simple stringing is quite 'simple'. I learned herewith otherwise! Never take again bead stringers for granted!
Now I only hope my friend's mom will like the necklace!

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Few more earring designs (earrings on the left - SOLD)  

Saturday, December 1, 2007

I've picked up Moods in Wire by Ellsworth 'Ed' Sinclair and tried out a couple of things from the book. I couldn't get his single wire cabochon for the life of me - and I've read in various forums that several people are having troubles following those instructions. So I let it be - and instead focused on making some earrings. Starting from something very simple in the books, I've twisted and turned the wire until the earrings became something quite different. I like specially the second pair, it looks very cool in the ears :)

I'm a bit pressed by time as Dec. 13th I have my first small jewelry 'party'. It's actually a party for somebody selling cosmetics to a group, and as he has already bought from me some pendants, she showed them and they liked my stuff. So now I'm also invited with my jewelry. Of which I have not too much! So I'm feeling a bit stressed as I don't have much time and I need to make and make and make pendants, earrings, bracelets, so I have something on that table :)

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Mistake turned to a new design  

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

This pair of earrings was born out of a mistake. I made some hoop earrings, but didn't make the top part even between the two, so I cut it up and remodelled it so that it became a mini-hoop, which I like maybe even better than the original. I'll keep this pair as a 'prototype' and do more with different stone, see how they turn out.

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Green herringbone set  

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Since I've sold the other set to my dear colleague, I used the green cats-eyes beads I bought today to make another set. Strange how the same, yet so different the two sets look, due to the color. I am not sure which I like best, I think I like both.

Today we spent the day with hubby outside, I went to the local gemshop and spent a fortune there, then we went to the new Ikea (which didn't impress us much), and then we went to eat souvlaki. We got home after 3.30. It was a nice day, it's so seldom that we get to spend some quality time during weekends together, I really enjoyed this outing.


And since I was working on herringbone, here is one I made for myself. Well, unless someone is begging me to sell it *grins*. I only need to add another clasp on it, most probably I will make one tomorrow as the small clasp I put on it takes all my energy on trying to close the darn bracelet. I am not even sure why I actually purchased these tiny little things. Bleah,waste of money and silver.

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My first sale on Etsy!  

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Woohoo, I've just sold my first pair of earrings on Etsy! I'm so excited! I woke up this morning, checked out my mail and there was my first order and paid too!
It was from one of the promotional games I was playing, but was not the cheapest items, like they usually buy, so it did give me a boost of confidence.
So just had to brag about it a bit :)

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SOLD - Herringbone silver earrings and bracelet set  

Monday, November 19, 2007

A colleague at work just bought this set from me. She told me a while ago that she wanted them when she had money, and now she went for them, yayy!
Now if only my Etsy sales picked up...
I love this herringbone set, I think I will make another similar one with different stones.

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My earrings featured on an Etsy treasury!  

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The orange pair second in the second row, woohoo!!

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Roses are red...with a dash of white  

I made this silver and swarovski pendant today, it looks really cool. Project taken from the very new Easywire magazine.

I've decided to keep and update also my Etsy shop. It's amazing how chatty the forum there is, nothing like Dawanda,where you're happy if you get 3 posts within a day.

So if you're in the US and want to shop from me without having to convert Euros to $ and back, check me out here: http://marikajewelry.etsy.com

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Reasons to buy handmade  

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I've read on a forum a post by an artisan about various reasons to buy handmade, specially with the holidays season coming up, and I thought to post them here as well.

1. Handmade products are unique. Do you really want the same scarf, mug, or other item that 20,000 other people have? Of course not! Handmade items are always unique, even if they are the same type of product because they are not made by machines they are crafted by human beings so each piece will have its’ own unique characteristics.

2. Handmade items have personality. Life is not about being blah. Life is about expressing yourself and to do that your things need to have as much personality as you do. If you are happy with buying mass produced items that have no personality off a shelf at Wal Mart or Aldi think about what that says about you. Don’t you want to express some personality?

3. Handmade items are special. When you get a gift don’t you feel a little bit more loved when someone gives you a handmade gift? Everyone loves getting handmade gifts or wearing something that was made just for them.

4. Handmade goods are high quality. If you are a person who values craftsmanship then you already know that handmade items are far superior to mass produced items. When quality matters, go handmade!

5. When you buy handmade you are supporting traditional arts and crafts that have passed down through generations. In today’s high tech world the old arts and crafts traditions are being replaced by mass production but when you buy handmade you are saying that you prefer your items to be high quality pieces of art instead of mass produced trinkets.

Keep these things in mind the next time you see a scarf, a bracelet, some great handmade soap or other item and think,” I could get that for half price at Wal Mart/Aldi.”!

Buying handmade also means that you can spend the same amount you were planning on spending, and you can get unique gifts for everyone on your list. Please, shop handmade this holiday season!

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Unakite cluster earrings  

I just got the winter edition of the Step by Step wire magazine and it has a lot of great projects. One of them is the cluster earrings that I made this afternoon. Took me quite a while to finish, but it was fun. I'll try it out with other types and colors of stones as well, for a different look.
I've used unakite pearls and the little cubes at the bottom are yellow orange jade. Sterling silver all around.

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