Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tutorial 101

Bonjour! I'm still having formatting issues, but I didn't want to let that stop me from offering my first tutorial! I have been getting inquiries and comments from readers about offering classes, so I figured this would be a great place to start! For our first lesson, I wanted to keep things simple, starting with a basic symmetrical necklace design. Please note, this tutorial is assuming you already know how to wire wrap. (If you need help with this, please feel free to comment or e-mail me and I'll walk you through the process.) In the above photo you can see the tools I use for most of my projects: round nose plyers, flat nose plyers (ideally two pairs), wire cutters, 24 and 26 gauge wire, and a ruler. I also like to work on light-coloured muslin, which keeps my table clean, beads from rolling around, and I can see the colours of the stones more clearly than on a darker surface. The necklace I will be showing you today features a small but good quality shell cameo set in a filigree frame. I removed the pin back with wire cutters so it would lay nicely on the wearer's chest. Because the cameo is on the smaller side, I wanted to give it more impact by hanging it from this vintage Art Nouveau brooch with an amber-coloured glass stone in the centre. Once obstacle I ran into is that the cameo's filigree frame has two holes at the top, rather than one centered hole. I overcame this by wire-wrapping two tiny citrine stones from each of the cameo's holes to the large brooch. I used 26 gauge wire here because the tiny stones sometimes have equally tiny holes, and it can be tricky wrapping stones so close together. There is not much room to swing the wire around, and I find the thinner wire to be more flexible in tight spots. To start forming the necklace's chain, I wanted to attach links from this Art Deco filigree bracelet to the brooch. Whenver possible, I like to keep the linking pieces intact so the wire does not slip around too much. Here it is wire-wrapped to the brooch. Next I wanted to add this freshwater pearl with filigree bead caps on each end. Using 24 gauge wire, I stacked the bead cap, pearl and another bead cap in that order, then closed the loop. Making progress! :) After wire-wrapping silver rose-embossed beads and citrine nuggets, I am ready to attach some vintage bronze linked chain. I unhinged the links in the middle to form two halves of my original chain. And here it is wire-wrapped to the citrine stone. When I measured the necklace, it was too long for my liking, and I wasn't happy that there were four bronze links on each side toward the back, since I prefer an odd number. So I decided to remove one link from each side. These can be saved for use in another project... earrings perhaps! ;) I then attached a gold-filled watch chain bar to one side, and mother of pearl bead and bone circle to the other. I usually place the part of the closure that requires the most manipulating for the wearer (in this case, the bar) on the right side (which is to your left when the piece is laying on a table in front of you), presuming most people are right-handed. Finally, I wanted to add a gold heart locket to one side for just a touch of asymmetry, and had two options from which to choose. Option 1 is smaller... And Option 2 is larger. I thought it was too big, so I went with the smaller piece. Voila! Here is the finished necklace! :) I hope this tutorial has been fun and informative! Please offer your comments and suggestions on what you may like to see in the future. Happy creating, everyone! :) Robyn

Thursday, February 21, 2013


This week I'm trying to make sense of the new Blogger format (how am I doing so far?), and wanted to go easy on myself by just sharing some pictures of the details of my most recent designs. OK, I can see that my photos still aren't centered and the text is wrapping around weird, but at least I figured out how to type in between the pictures. (Special thanks to Glenda of Dab of This and That for explaining it to me!) If anyone knows how to center the photos with this new format, I would be very grateful for that mysterious piece of information too! ;) Providing that I can get my formatting back to normal, I'd also like to try a new feature on my blog... Since I've noticed that many of my readers are other jewelry designers or those aspiring to try their hand at it, I am planning to offer some simple tutorials. My idea is to feature one piece of jewelry and explain my design process and how I assembled it. How does that sound? I would love your feedback, ideas and suggestions for what you would like to see! Of course, first it looks like I will be needing a tutorial on how this new Blogger format works! Thank you in advance for your help and patience with my formatting issues, and I look forward to your suggestions about some jewelry tutorials! Enjoy your weekend, everyone! :) Robyn

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Darkness and Light

I don't know if it's just me, but my Blogger composition screen has completely changed and I can't figure it out at all! I was lucky to get these photos uploaded, but can't seem to type in between them! If anyone knows the secret, I'd appreciate some help! In the meantime, here's what I've been up to in the jewelry studio this week. A combination of darkness and light as we transition into a new season. Sorry for the sloppy formatting. I hope you will enjoy the pictures. :/