Sunday, 29 April 2012

Messiness: only to be attempted after mastering tidiness

I've seen lots of examples on others' blogs of "messy" wire-wrapping. Here's an example, by someone far more competent than me. It looks deceptively easy (sigh). But it's a lot harder, in the same way that playing jazz- piano is a lot harder than a nice regular bit of Haydn.

I decided to experiment with a similar technique for my new pair of earrings, using 0.4mm silver-plated  wire. I think I can say, with fairness, that the results were mixed. It does kind-of work, but not if you look too closely, especially with a Macro lens :-D

It might have gone better with thicker wire - but I wanted the earrings to be delicate and pretty, not all chonky-like.

Clearly, further practice is required!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Two heads are better than four

It's been a really rainy week here. Occasionally, it's been sunny in the morning, just to fool you into putting fine-weather clothes on, and then as soon as you leave for work - that's it! It's set for rain for the rest of the day. I didn't even go out for a run tonight: I like running in light rain, but not when it's absolutely tipping it down. The raindrops cover my glasses and I end up running into lamp-posts and the like.

Anyway I decided I needed a bit of cheering up - so here are my Happy Earrings!

They're made from a mixture of factory-made beads (on the top half of the dangle; the interesting rhomboid-shaped ones are Preciosa Czech beads) and hand-made beads (on the bottom half of the dangle - I like the irregular shapes of those ones at the bottom). It's a bit of a random selection, but I really liked the way the colours and textures went together.

I wanted two dangle sections for swinginess, and because the beads are so non-matchy I wanted to make each section out of the same sort of wire. In the end I went for the easy solution: I took four headpins and beheaded two of them! What do you call a headpin without a head? A pin, I suppose...

Monday, 23 April 2012

Baby steps, baby blues

I do like blues. Did I say that somewhere already in this blog? Never mind, it's true.

These earrings are made from two sweet, slightly-mismatched little Czech glass hearts, paired with little crystals that my sister gave me. I named my son after her, by the way. Or I named her after my son. Or something. I think actually time short-circuited itself somewhere because I get those two names mixed up all the freaking time, even though I actually know they are different people.

Anyway, enough talk about baby names and back to the earrings. For a change, my wire-wrapping here was actually quite neat (woo! maybe I am getting better at this wirework thing after all - baby steps!). I made these earrings small and light because these sterling earwires can be a bit bendy and I didn't want the earrings to fall out and get lost.

My next aim is going to be to try hammering wire to make it stronger. The problem is, most of my wire is silver-plated copper, and I predict that it might look rather rubbish when hammered. Maybe I need some different wire... Hmm, I can feel a shopping trip coming on!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Stoney asymmetric necklace

This is the necklace I worked on for ages - I mentioned it in my post "On having things in progress".

This is made from a combination of handmade beads (the opaque purple and green beads, the gold-streaked black beads, and the lampworked spotty bead on the dangle section) and high-quality Czech beads (the green hearts, the crystals, and the purple veined cube beads). The two long silver beads are upcycled from a very special, handmade, baby-safe necklace which I used to wear a lot when my son was very small. I guess that's why I spent so long trying to get this right.

I like the design of the main section - it has a nice heavy, drapey feel - but I am not convinced I have got the dangle section quite right; it has to be light enough not to pull down too much on the main section, but interesting enough to balance out or complement the main section. I wonder now whether just a single silver charm pendant might have been better. Still - I can always wear this for a bit and switch the dangle section for a new pendant (possibly a handmade silver one I bought on Folksy ages ago) pretty easily, since I just used jump rings to attach everything.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

The funky dangly earrings

Right... have had a chance to quickly photograph the funky dangly earrings.

The leaf charms were chosen by my sister when we were shopping in Australia, so of course they were the most important part of the earrings and I designed the rest of the earrings around them. The vivid turquoise and contrasting red are inspired by the bright colours and crisp dark shadows you get in Australia.

I originally planned three-section earrings with the leaf at the bottom, for maximal dangliness, but then I thought it would be nice if the leaves could hang as a backdrop to the three (brass / twotone / turquoise) beads, which looks a bit more organic and informal. Above that, in the top section, I reflected this arrangement but I substituted turquoise crystals for the brass beads, because crystals catch the light so nicely on earrings as they swing around.

I'm pretty pleased with these, they hang nicely... I will ask my youngest sister whether she would like these for her birthday, since she chose the charms herself.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

On having things in progress

I like having things in progress. Although, also, I like finishing things. This invariably creates a tension which I'm not very good at resolving.

This is what I have got in progress at the moment.

1. I am making a pair of funky, dangly earrings using brass, green, turquoise and those cool two-tone glass beads which I seem to be slightly obsessed with at the moment.

2. I am designing an asymmetric necklace with a sort of stoney, organic, irregular feel. This is taking a while because the design is more challenging than most of the ones I've made before. I keep trying to improve it, but I've hit a kind of block with it.

3. I am also starting to design another pair of earrings. I can't quite get them right, either. This is taking a long time, which is annoying.

4. I am tidying out the spare room. This is also taking a long time. It's like an archaelogical dig, except of course much more emotional.

5. I am cooking the potatoes.

It is good to cook the potatoes sometimes. It gives you a sense of achievement.