Found on Pinterest – Artists Synchroblog

Found on Pinterest – Artists Synchroblog

For June, the Artists Synchroblog task was to find inspiration via Pinterest.  Pinterest is a hugely popular online bulletin board, that lets you “pin” links and images for later reference. I used to use it quite a lot, but scaled back after concerns about copyright infringements surfaced last year.

Those concerns aside, it is a very useful tool for collecting ideas and inspirations. With a studio renovation underway, I’ve been bookmarking links like crazy for working effectively in small spaces.

One of the things I need to be able to do is photograph my work.

After investing in a good DSLR last year, I discovered one very annoying downside: it didn’t work with the light tent I’ve been using for the last seven years. My DIY setup of a food umbrella and a white pillow case worked perfectly well when I was using a portable digital camera.  Most of the photos for my tutorials were shot using that setup. Unfortunately though, with the DSLR, I needed to position the camera further from the subject, and the awkward angles resulted in ugly photos. One of the links I found last year was a portable light tent by Modahaus. Much of the Modahaus system is actually intended for use with iPhone type cameras.  The Tabletop Studio TS216 is slightly larger than a legal size file folder, which makes it portable and easy to store when not in use. What really attracted me to it were the background sweeps. I’ve used all kinds of things for backgrounds, from matte board to scrapbooking paper, and most recently plastic cutting boards.  All have some degree of texturing, which is fine, if all I’m doing is taking Etsy shots. Jury photos need to be on a dark background, de rigueur, and magazine photos work best on white.

Most of the other light tents I’d seen used fabric sweeps, which tend to be wrinkly. The Modahaus sweeps are made of plastic, and come in black, grey, white, translucent white, red and blue.

The TS216 turns out to be a bit small for my needs. I find that I have to add risers to the diffuser to make space for my props.

Modahaus Tabletop Studio setup
My tweaked setup of the Modahaus Tabletop Studio

 

So far, I’ve been quite pleased with the results I’ve gotten, but there is the inevitable learning curve of figuring out how to position the lights on the jewellery to avoid excess glare or shadows. I like the little bit of reflection I get with the black sweep and as long as I take care to minimize dust, there is less photo editing needed than my old setup.

I’m constantly experimenting with different tricks, and while taking these shots, I added a small light bounce card to reflect a bit of the light to the underside of the rings. It made a huge impact.

The effect of adding a small light bounce card to increase the reflection on the bottom of the rings was astonishing.
Adding a small light bounce card to increase the reflection on the bottom of the rings made a big difference in the final photo.

I’ll continue tweaking the setup over the coming months, but on the whole this was a very worthwhile investment, found via Pinterest!

The Artists Synchroblog is a group of bloggers who post every other month on the same topic, sharing our experience or perspective. On alternate months we undertake a Pinterest Project where we each take inspiration from a Pinterest picture, create something (art, a meal, a DIY project, etc) and then post about it.  You can read more about the Artists Synchroblog here.

Please visit the other synchrobloggers this month and see how Pinterest inspired them:

http://amyestellemetalworks.blogspot.com

http://www.islandgirlsinsights.blogspot.ca/

www.elenorbuffington.blogspot.com

http://doxallodesigns.blogspot.com

http://lesliervillarreal.blogspot.com

http://www.journeyinjewelry.com/blog/My-Journey-in-Jewelry

http://simpledesignjewelry.blogspot.com

http://designsbylynnea.blogspot.com/

http://marikach.blogspot.com/

www.createrecklessly.com

http://design.kcjewelbox.com

www.allwiredupjewelrydesigns.blogspot.com

http://shaktipajdesigns.com/blog/

http://silversmithblog.com/

http://stonezjewelry.com/blog/

Tutorial – Sweetheart Ring

Sweetheart Ring - Tutorial Instant Download from wrapturetutorials.com

Sweetheart Ring
Level of Difficulty:  Intermediate

This little ring is very economical in its use of wire, but what a pretty result! Its look is perfect for delicate fingers, but the pattern can be easily adjusted for larger ring sizes and stones. For those who have mastered the basics and are looking to move on a new skill level, this project introduces some precise measuring and calculation.

13 pages, 45 photos, 40 steps, plus design notes

USD $15.00

Tools & Materials You’ll Need:

Tools:
Flat Nose Pliers
Round Nose Pliers
Chain Nose Pliers
Flush Cutting Wire Nippers
Vernier Caliper
Permanent Marker
Measuring Tape/Ruler
Jeweller’s File
Rouge Cloth
Wooden Ring Mandrel
1/4″ (6 mm) Masking Tape

Materials:
16″ (41 cm) 22 ga. (.65 mm) Soft Square wire
1 1/2″ (4 cm) 22 ga. (.75 x .5 mm) Half-hard half round wire
1x 6 mm facetted Cubic Zirconium or other stone

Substitutions:
Substitutions are not recommended for this project.

Available now from my Tutorials Page and in my Artfire Shop.

YOJ10-10 Ring Week at the Studio

YOJ10-10 Ring Week YOJ10-10 Ring Week (2010); Copper, iolite, amazonite, smoky quartz; Constructed, cold-joined; Various sizesCopper Single Bead Rings (2010)
Copper, iolite, smoky quartz, amazonite
Constructed, cold-joined
Various sizes

It’s ring week here at the studio!

For a long time, I’ve been wanting to develop an original method for constructing a single bead ring, so this week I spent some time playing around with a couple of ideas.  The one I teach in my course at George Brown College is Mavis Llewellyn’s One Bead Ring (published in The Wire Artist Jeweller, September 1999).  According to her daughter Susan, Mavis developed the design back in the late 70s-early 80s as a quick-to-make-project to sell at shows.

Other single bead ring patterns are easier to make (i.e. 3-minute ring), but the shanks (to my eye) are sloppy looking.  In square wire, they often look tortured. If you’re looking for something quick and dirty to sell for $8 and you work “organically”, then Bob’s Your Uncle…

The thing I like most about Mavis’ design is how elegant it looks, especially the shank.  The ones I produced this week haven’t achieved anything resembling elegance or consistency yet, but I’m happy to have made progress.

YOJ09-28 Prong Set Ring

YOJ09-28 Prong Set Ring (2009) YOJ09-28 Prong Set Ring (2009); Sterling silver, cubic zirconium; Size 7; Constructed, cold joinedProng Set Ring (2009)
Sterling silver, cubic zirconium
Size 7
Constructed, cold joined

Life is crazy busy right now as I finish preparations for Haliburton.  So this week’s entry is a variation on Jorgen Greftegreff’s Prong Ring (published originally in the April 2001 issue of The Wire Artist Jeweller).

The good news is that my wire arrived finally, and I didn’t need to reorder anything!  *Whew*

My computer access is going to be limited for the next two weeks, so while I’ll try to post YOJ pieces on time, more than likely it will wait until I get back.

YOJ09-20 Viking Knit Ring

YOJ09-20 Viking Knit Ring (2009) YOJ09-20 Viking Knit Ring (2009); Fine silver, malachite, howlite; constructed, cold joined; Size 8 1/2Viking Knit Ring (2009)
Fine silver, malachite, howlite
Nalbinding, single knit, constructed, cold joined

I finally got back to writing this week!  I have six tutorials to write in preparation for my class in Haliburton in July.  So far I have completed writing the draft on one of them.  Photos and actually putting the tutorials together are still outstanding.  I’m keenly aware of how quickly the time is going, so a few weeks ago I decided to put Tigger into daycare two days as week.  That is giving me several hours of uninterrupted work time, since it co-incides with the days that Thumper is in school.  What Heaven!

Usually I make the project, writing the steps as I go.  Then I put the text aside for a week or so, come back to it and reconstruct it following my instructions.  If I stumble on any part of it, that means a rewrite is in order.   Refining continues as I take the photos and do the layout.  Lots of work… which means I gotta start makin’ like a bread truck and haul buns…

This week, I was working on instructions for viking knitting.  I experimented with incorporating 2 and 4 mm beads, which led to a screw up – err… “Design Choice” – when I went to draw the chain.  I ended up having to take the chain apart, but salvaged enough to make this ring.  It’s been an interesting experiment in timing myself as well – construction of enough chain to make a bracelet is taking a little over 2 hours.  Adding the beads was just for my amusement, and won’t be part of the final instructions.

More photos:

YOJ09-20 Viking Knit Ring (2009) YOJ09-20 Viking Knit Ring (2009); Fine silver, malachite, howlite; constructed, cold joined; Size 8 1/2 YOJ09-20 Viking Knit Ring (2009) YOJ09-20 Viking Knit Ring (2009); Fine silver, malachite, howlite; constructed, cold joined; Size 8 1/2 YOJ09-20 Viking Knit Ring (2009) YOJ09-20 Viking Knit Ring (2009); Fine silver, malachite, howlite; constructed, cold joined; Size 8 1/2

YOJ09-16 Beaded Channel Ring

yojwk16-beadedchannelring.jpg Beaded Channel Ring (2009)
Sterling silver, constructed, cold worked
Size 5 1/2

My lack of energy is starting to concern me.  If this keeps up I’m going to haul my carcass off to the doctor and find out what’s going on.

For now, another simple offering this week – a beaded channel ring.  The tutorial for this ring was published in “Contemporary Bead & Wire Jewelry” by Nathalie Mornu and Suzanne Tourtillot, one of two projects I contributed to the book.

YOJ09-02 Standard Form Ring

YOJ09-02 Standard Form Ring YOJ09-02 Standard Form Ring: Sterling silver, carnelian; cold connected; Size 10Standard Form Ring (2009)
Sterling silver, carnelian
Size 10

I wasn’t intending to post this as my second entry for the YOJ, but it’s now Sunday, the due date for this week, and the piece I actually wanted to post isn’t finished.  I’m “tweaking”.  It feels very much like I’m doing a science experiment.

So… in the meantime…

I’m going to be teaching at Haliburton again this summer, and I have a bunch of tutorials I need to write in preparation for the class.  Last fall I proposed a second level wire jewelry course, which was accepted.  One of the projects is going to be the Standard Form Ring, aka Pharaoh’s Ring.  (Why it’s called the “Pharaoh’s Ring” is a mystery:  I haven’t been able to find any historical examples using wire.  References to cast versions, yes, wire, no…).  It’s called the “Standard Form Ring” because it’s one of the all-time classic wireworking ring patterns.  A version of this ring was published in Moods in Wire by Ellsworth Sinclair, Beginning Wirecraft by Jessie Donnan, and in the Wire Artist Jeweller Magazine (June 2003).  It’s a substantial ring, usually worn by men.  I started writing my version this week, in between printing off “printing sheets” for Number 2 Son, who likes to do “homework”.

(Edit Jun. 25/09:  Thanks to some excellent detective work by Helen Goga, a historical reference for the Standard Form Ring has been found!  Mr. Thomas Vincent Phelan received a patent for the ring design (US Des. 150,726) in August 1948.  The patent lasted for 14 years, and the design went into the public domain in 1962.)

My own personal artistic proclivities don’t lean towards classical wirework, so I haven’t made this type of ring before.  I followed the WAJ instructions for my first two attempts.  I often tell my students that they shouldn’t worry about what their first attempt looks like:  usually with the first one, you’re just trying to get your head around the steps, so clumsiness is part of the process.  It’s no different for me.  This ring was attempt number 3… and I’ll likely make at least two more in the process of refining, writing and photographing the steps for the instructions.

There are useful wireworking skills to be learned from doing this project.  There are definitely some “tricks” to getting it to look nice.  Notes are being scribbled…

Some other views:

YOJ09-02 Standard Form Ring YOJ09-02 Standard Form Ring: Sterling silver, carnelian; cold connected; Size 10 YOJ09-02 Standard Form Ring YOJ09-02 Standard Form Ring: Sterling silver, carnelian; cold connected; Size 10 YOJ09-02 Standard Form Ring YOJ09-02 Standard Form Ring: Sterling silver, carnelian; cold connected; Size 10 YOJ09-02 Standard Form Ring YOJ09-02 Standard Form Ring: Sterling silver, carnelian; cold connected; Size 10

Tutorial – Micki Ring

Micki RingMicki Ring

This bold, geometric design was inspired by the work of Max Froehlich (1908-1997), a Swiss-born goldsmith who was part of the “Modern” school of jewellery design. With one change, it is possible to make two variations of this ring! In heavier gauges, it makes an appealing men’s ring! The ring is named after Micki Bleily of Parma, ID, for whom it was made as a Secret Santa gift in 2002.

Project instructions contain both variations – 11 pages, 52 photos, 43 steps, plus design notes

USD $5.00

Available now from my Tutorials Page.

Tutorial – Illusion Prong Ring

Illusion Prong RingIllusion Prong Ring

This quick and simple ring creates an illusion prong setting for a 6 mm bead. A modified version of this project was published in “Contemporary Bead and Wire Jewelry” by Suzanne Tourtillott and Nathalie Mornu.

5 pages, 16 photos, 14 steps, plus design notes

USD $5.00

Available now from my Tutorials Page.