Sunday, October 28, 2012

Winter is coming

I had to take a picture when Yasmin made these pretty
paw prints on the frozen bannister today.

Yes, I am one of those (hooked on Game of Thrones). But winter IS coming and that means the end for my leaf jewelry until May next year. It's sort of nice - all summer long I am in search of perfect willow leaves and have in the back of my head that I should make some more fern rings or pendants before it's too late. But now it's too late, and I feel pretty good about it! Those of you who have gardens will recognize the feeling: spring and summer are glorious times in the garden but are filled with musts, shoulds and have to's.

Winter is the quiet time where nothing needs to be done (except shovelling snow, which I will ignore for now). Without winter, I wouldn't enjoy spring and summer as much.
The last of the green leaves are now on their way out.
Here the raspberry leaves that give their pretty texture
to my small post earrings with leaf texture. 
Little bird at the bowl of peanuts. Winter is high season
for the birds.
For my jewelry, I wouldn't enjoy making leaf jewelry as much in summer if I didn't have that winter break. I should really focus on my vast stone collection and try to make it a little smaller (I'm starting to believe it is impossible).

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Etsy front page!

My Henry the Hedgehog is in this beautiful grey-toned treasury on the front page of Etsy today!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

On the front page!

My honeycomb ring was featured on the front page of Etsy last night in this beautiful treasury:

:) yay!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Signs of spring

For this month's blogroll of our Etsy Aspiring Metalsmiths team the topic is Spring, and how it affects our jewelry design and work.

Now, about spring. Having grown up in the Netherlands but living in Sweden, I have realized that my definition of spring is not like the Swedish definition of spring. My mother always lets me know when the first spring flowers come. Snowdrops in January, crocus in February-March, etc. Easter dinners often have fresh spring vegetables and you see lambs in the meadows and ducklings everywhere.

Here, we often have snow, ice and wintery weather well into April, the food you get at Easter is basically the same food you have at Christmas, and if you're lucky and the snow has melted, you can see one or two flowers carefully peeking out. When I hadn't been living in Sweden long, people would surprise me with their talk about spring (to me it felt and looked like winter) and 'springwinter' (vĂ„rvinter in Swedish). Now that I have lived here longer I can appreciate springwinter. It still looks like winter but it's lighter out. There is melting water running in the ditches besides the roads and there are definitely signs of spring. Dirty, melting snow, gravelly roads (annoying but a sign of spring!), and if it's sunny out you feel the warmth of the sun rays. The plants wait and wait, especially if April is cold, and then suddenly everything explodes.

This year we have been lucky with a warm March, and even though it's cold again now, we have some bold pioneers:

For me and my jewelry, spring is a big deal. My stock of willow rings is declining now that we are at the end of winter, and I have to turn down people who inquire after fern rings in popular sizes. But once spring starts and the leaves are there, I have a couple of busy months. See here for instance. Many leaves need to be at a certain stage where they are the prettiest, usually when they are just unfolding and they are all crinkly. And right now I feel anxious like a farmer about his crop - will there be any frost just as the leaves are unfolding? Has my fern survived? Will my willow produce good leaves or will it be attacked by a moose? (you never know!)

Check out the posts on the same topic by my talented team members:

Friday, February 3, 2012

Tutorial - fold formed earrings

It's been a while since I did a tutorial. In part it is that I don't feel my skills are on that level that I can tell other people how to make something. And when you see how these earrings are made you will see that it is actually very easy.

For the first pair of these earrings I made I used sterling silver sheet, pretty thin - 0.3-0.4 mm. For the pair in this tutorial I used 0.3 mm fine silver, and it's extremely easy to work with. You don't have to worry about firescale either, which is very handy since there are multiple heating (annealing) steps involved. If you use sterling silver, you have to pickle in between, which is not necessary with fine silver.

So I start with cutting two pieces of my fine silver sheet. It is not necessary that they are absolutely identical, but approximately the same size.
I usually order my silver sheet dead soft, so I can fold the pieces of sheet directly as shown in picture 1 below. I can't fold the corners flat with my fingers, so I use my plastic mallet (wooden or rawhide mallet can also be used) on a wood surface to flatten the folded piece of sheet (picture 2).

I then cut a halfround-ish shape out of the sheet with my metal sheers, and try to cut approximately the same shape of both pieces of folded sheet (pictures 3 and 4). 
Now we start the hammering and forming of the earrings. On picture 5 you see that I'm using the sharp side of a riveting hammer on a steel block. I hammer perpendicular to the seam and do not hammer on the seam itself but on the rounded side. As you will do this again and again, remember to keep hammering perpendicular to the seam (it will curl into a croissant). I hammer one side, then turn it around and hammer the other side. Then I anneal the piece and redo the hammering on both sides until I'm happy with the curvature.

On picture 6 you can see the difference between having done one earring once on both sides, and the other earring twice on both sides. Sterling silver may need a little more hammering than fine silver.

When I am happy with the curvature of the croissants I will make room for an earring post on one side (picture 7) with round nose pliers. When you've hammered one side, the pattern on the other side will get smooshed by the steel block, so as a finishing step I hammer the smooshed side once more on a wood surface (picture 8).
I then solder earring posts to the earrings. I may reconsider when I do this step, since there is a risk that the solder flows between the two 'wings', so they can't be opened properly. I then pickle the earrings and open and shape them with my fingers, and this is the result:
I then throw them into the tumbler and out come a pair of shiny fold-formed earrings.
This blog post is part of the blogroll of the Aspiring Metalsmiths Etsy Team, so please check out the other blogs that contributed to this month's tutorial theme:

VCArtisanOriginals -
Sylvia Anderson -
Metals Addict -
Lilian Ginebra -
Esmeralda -
Amy Estelle –
Mary Anne Karren -
Stacy -
Shannon of Gifted Designs -
Pennee- All Wired Up Jewelry Designs -
Jessica @ Abella Blue -
Elizabeth Brown –

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The sweat of the sun and the tears of the moon

Weird title? A few days ago I went to see the Inca gold exhibition in Stockholm and I wanted to remember this.

According to the Inca, gold was the sweat of the sun and silver the tears of the moon. Isn't that pretty? Of course it had implications - no regular people ever wore gold or silver, only royalty did, since they were believed to be the living descendants of the sun god, Inti.

Anyway, they showed the most amazing and delicate gold and silver work there. Some of the jewelry could be mistaken for modern art jewelry - big solid gold ear plugs, giant (giant!) ear pieces or neck pieces, forehead, chin or nose decorations.. Not your everyday jewelry.

I definitely got inspired - now I feel like making all kinds of nose jewelry :)