Sunday, December 18, 2011

Recent Jewelry Projects

Now that I'm getting time away from the torch, I'm having fun actually making things with my beads! Sadly, our camera seems to have suffered a scratch to the lens, so I apologize for the haze. 

This is my first custom piece. The customer chose the glass colors to match a special dress. 

Wirework has been calling me lately. I made this for myself, including the jump rings. It has no clasp as I can easily just slip it over my head. I figure I should have some of my own stuff to wear! 
This is how it hangs. The Cranberry pinks and greens make a great necklace for the Holidays. I expect the copper wire will patina nicely. 

But wait! There's a bracelet too! 

I'm very proud of the wirework clasp I made for the bracelet. 

Blue swirled glass on stainless steel wire. This is a necklace to go in the shop...

...with matching earrings. 
Hangs like so. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tutorial: Making Wire Work Chain

This is a simple wire work chain to make, but very pretty. I wish I could remember where I learned this! I hope you enjoy it, and have fun! 

Chain from the front.

Chain from the side.

What you need: Round nosed pliers and a supply of wire. I have pre-cut 22 gage, copper wire into 1 inch lengths.

Grab near the end of the wire with the tip of the pliers.

Roll the wire around the tip, until it forms a loop. 

Turn the pliers around, so that they are positioned opposite of the end of the loop.

Bend back the wire, forming a nice balanced "simple loop". 

Repeat on the other side, wrapping the loop in the opposite direction. 

Squeeze the loops *gently but firmly* in the flat part of the pliers. Flattening them slightly will help harden them, making them stronger. You don't want to over squeeze,and munch them out of shape.

Hold the center about 1/2 down your pliers. This insures that the link will be wide enough so that the looped ends can move freely on it. 
Bend the looped ends back until they touch. Keep the center balanced. 

Place the looped ends in the flat part of your pliers.

Squeeze gently until they meet.

Voila! You have your first link! 

Add to the chain by placing the wire through the loop ends before making the second loop. Repeat!  

Hollow Vessels

Ah well, it has become too cold to work out in the Glassebo for the time being. When your fingers get numb, and you can see your breath when your face is a foot away from the flame...  it's time. I'm just glad I was able to get my last couple of projects finished. For the "Holiday Ornaments" swap, I decided to make tree-light inspired Hollow Vessels. 

Making Hollow Vessels is a bit like making a coil pot, but out of glass. You coil a thin string of glass off the end of the mandrel and build it out in a bubble shape. If you do it right, you don't get any gaps in the layers. Once you close of the end and then heat it evenly, it does a neat puffing thing as the air in the bubble expands.  It took a few tries, but I got the hang of it. 

This was my first successful Hollow Vessel. You can really see the hollow in it in this picture, but in person, it's a very dark glass. 

I also learned to make the wire-wrapped dropper and chain for this project. Green went nicely. 

But, red was the winner! These were the charms I sent out.

I started playing around to see what I could do with beyond "lightbulb" shapes.  Decorating is going to take more practice, but this is the largest, most hollowest vessel I was able to make. 

And finally, a proper Hollow Bead. This is made by coiling up two disks, spaced near each other on the mandrel, and then joining them. The hole goes all the way through!  I was hoping that the dark glass  in the center would let enough light through to show that it's transparent purple, but no such luck. Still I'm happy with my efforts.