Sunday, January 31, 2010

What I've Been Up To

Photobucket What I've been doing lately still isn't breaking a lot of the mold. Mostly, I'm honing the basics, especially wrapping briolettes. The "Absinthe Drops" to the left are larger briolettes made from glass, while the "Somewhere Beyond the Sea" earrings to the right are much smaller briolettes made from blue chalcedony. I'm working my way up until I'm comfortable with nicer stones and possibly nicer wire. PhotobucketI still work with silver plate and brass because I don't trust myself with sterling or gold. However, at least as far as basic wrapping goes, I'm really beginning to trust my hand and the process.

From basic briolette wrapping, I want to try coiling and wire weaving, and general wire sculpture in the jewelry arena. I've started a bit of it with the "Baroness" necklace to the left, the spiral wire wrapping. I'm actually really proud of that one - it's definitely a step up. It took some work with my brass wire before I understood the concept. I'm doing this mostly self-taught, by looking at other people's finished products and watching the path of the wire. At some point, I'm either going to need to buy tutorials or start experimenting on my own. I hope that the experimentation works. At the very least, wire wrapping and wire weaving is my back-up for my glue. I haven't been very pleased with all the attempts I've made to find a dependable glue, especially since, in some cases, soldering isn't an option. PhotobucketOf course, I don't put anything in my shop that I haven't made sure is adhered, but I've had other things that I haven't been able to put into the shop because it just hasn't worked. Wire wrapping can help by holding things together even more, so I may use it and glue together sometimes in order to make some really solid pieces. But I need to trust my wire sculpting skills first. Unfortunately, the cheap crafting wire you get at big craft stores is half hard, which means that it isn't as malleable or as easy to hammer. It makes knowing whether I've got a technique down hard to determine because I don't know how much easier it will be when working with dead soft material.

PhotobucketAnother thing that's keeping me from honing my wire-wrapping skill is the need for perfection. It's very frustrating, knowing that practice makes perfect, but that of course it's not going to be perfect when I try. I know it's a stupid, self-defeating way of thinking, but I can't help it. I had planned to try a three-base wire woven bracelet, but I keep putting it off, so I think I'll try a two-base wire woven donut bead bail first, then maybe a teardrop coil pair of earrings. I also want to try some hoop earrings, but I don't have the right oxidized brass wire for that right now. I need 20g, and I only have 21g. It makes a difference. I may try it with the 21g in case it works. Or maybe I can come up with a play on 18g plus 21g. PhotobucketNot sure how I'm going to manage it yet. I'm still building designs in my mind. I get frustrated when what's in my mind can't make it to my hands. I think it's the curse of the creative, though, not always being able to duplicate the mind's eye.

In the meantime, the best way to get through the worry is to do something new with what I already know. I recently received some awesome Czech glass beads with really unique finish and color, such as the "Creme Brulee and Apple Pie Dessert" cluster earrings to the right above. I also took a risk with some of my old filigree I didn't know what to do with and tried oxidizing it with fire. I half expected it to melt. Instead, I got this wonderful oil slick rainbow that's subtle in certain lights and filigrees but is occasionally bright in others. I call them my Rainbow Connection subseries within the Elysia design series. PhotobucketThe Elysia series, easily my favorite because I get to play around in the fantasy world, or the magical or mystical side of things, has really grown. There's almost more jewelry in the Elysia section than my Dulce section, which acts as a catch-all for items that don't fit into any of my other sections.

The Elysia series inspired me to search for new components, including the new Czech glass beads and the recent gemstone package I received. It'll also receive the bulk of my wire-wrapping items once I get a handle on that and get the series off the ground. Or maybe I'll create a whole new series for that ... that's still up in the air. In any case, in addition to items that are simply inspired by the fantastic, there are items with charms of fantastic creatures and goddesses. Already, there's a leviathan (to the right), a hippocampus, Melusine, a mermaid (with more on the way), and several large butterflies. Coming soon, I have two types of gryphons, more dragons, a creepy fairy, a dark angel, Ceres, a fantastic tiger, and as I said, some more mermaids. PhotobucketIt's not quite steampunk, but I still love it. Really indulges in my love of mythology and fairy tales.

And oh my goth, I've got some new things for my Bountiful Winepress gothic romance/vampire series, including this little guy on the left, my "Guardian" vampire bat necklace and different vampire bat medallion as well. I haven't received very much in the way of new deep red components, but I'm still working on that. And what I have received are two fangs for a pair of earrings. I'm really looking forward to that.

So, conclusion: Working on wire wrapping and weaving, and in the meantime, working delightedly with what I have and what I can do. December was my best month ever, and January has proved to be a pretty solid month for me, too. I have over 170 items in my shop right now, which is ... to tell you the truth, it's a bit much. But the important thing is that I have new things going in as much as possible.

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