The Year of Jewelry Project 2017

The Year of Jewelry Project 2017

Since I’m hosting the YOJP 2017 again this year, I decided that I should participate. For the most part, I’ve been able to keep up with it. There have been a few stumbles here and there, notably around my typical crunch time in April. I’ve been posting the weekly photos to my Facebook business page, and a selection of what’s been posted can be seen below. If you’d like to see the whole album, you can click on “The Year of Jewelry Project 2017” link below.

If you would like to purchase any of the pieces in the collection, please contact me for details.

Of course, comments and likes are always welcome!

YOJ11-01 Bookmarks for Pet Lovers

YOJ11-01 Bookmarks for Pet Lovers

YOJ11-01 Bookmarks Bookmarks (2011) Page Puppy (left), Kitty Klip (right) Copper, formed, hammered W 2.2 cm x H 2.5 cm (approx.)Bookmarks for Pet Lovers (2011)
Page Puppy (left), Kitty Klip (right)
Limited Edition of 100 each
Copper, formed, hammered
W 2.2 cm x H 2.5 cm (approx.)

I kick off the new YOJ with some bookmarks for pet lovers!

Page Puppy and Kitty Klip are loyal companions to help you find your place!  They’ll slide onto your page, then curl up for a nap until you’re ready to come back.

Years ago when I was still working on Bay St., I got a package one day with a wonderfully forged spiral paperclip.  I can’t remember anymore what it came attached to, but I thought it was such a subtle and wonderfully creative touch.   Ever since, I’ve wanted to create something similar.  My intention is to use them as promo gifts for my jewellery clients.

These were actually inspired by a game on Facebook called SPP Pets.  It’s like a 21st century tamagachi – you “adopt” a pet, and then feed, tickle, clean and play with it, and decorate its “habitat”.  My kids think it’s fun and are always keen to see what my pet is doing.  The game is a mindless time-waster – perfect for when I need a couple of minutes break – and the communities of “pet owners” are very friendly.  So, the bookmarks are a little tip of the pliers to the Kitty Cat Lovers Club : )

YOJ11-01 Bookmarks YOJ11-01 Bookmarks

yoj, year of jewelry, 2011, dianne karg baron, copper, bookmark, kitty, puppy

The Year of Jewelry Project 2011

The Creative Wire Jewelry Forum is once again hosting The Year of Jewelry Project.  This year the invitation went out on social media as well as the forum, and the response has been tremendous!

The basic concept of the project is “one piece, per week, for a year”.  The participants, who range from newbies to seasoned professionals, set their own goals in terms of what they want to produce and what techniques they want to focus on, but they commit to producing one piece of jewelry each week.

I have participated in this project on and off since its inception in 2004.  Last year, I ended up dropping out after the first quarter because I became overwhelmed by other commitments.  This year, given that I’m doing a studio tour at the end of April, I have added incentive to stay focused.

To find out more and to view the weekly submissions, visit The Year of Jewelry Project 2011 website.

YOJ10-15 Knotted Earrings 3

YOJ10-15 Knotted Earrings 3 YOJ10-15 Knotted Earrings 3 (2010); Sterling silver, fine silver, tourmaline; Constructed, cold-joined; L 3.7 cm x W 0.5 cm (W 1.45" x L 0.2")Knotted Earrings 3 (2010)
Sterling silver, fine silver, tourmaline
Constructed, cold-joined
L 3.7 cm x W 0.5 cm (W 1.45″ x L 0.2″)

Continuing on from last week, since I made several of the Monkey’s Fist knots, I made another pair of earrings!

I’ve been doing some experimenting with photography lately, putting my pieces on a white background instead of the medium gray.  I’m looking for ways to make the images “pop” more – in my recent work I’ve been using a lot of stones that have the same value as the background, and it makes the jewellery look dull.  “Value” in colour terms refers to how light or dark it is.  (To see check the value of your stone, stare at the photo with squinted eyes – if the stone disappears it has the same value as the background.)  In order for a photo to have visual interest, it has to be either lighter or darker than the background, otherwise the eyes see what’s there, but the brain registers “ho hum”.

It’s a bit more work to deal with a white background – inevitably, and even though I have a white balance setting on my camera – the raw photo comes out slightly grey.  Photoshop can adjust the balance it easily, but then I usually still have to do some extra clean up.  It’s a bit tricky to lighten the background enough to get rid of “noise” but not so much that the jewellery bleaches out.

YOJ10-15 Knotted Earrings 3 YOJ10-15 Knotted Earrings 3 (2010); Sterling silver, fine silver, tourmaline; Constructed, cold-joined; L 3.7 cm x W 0.5 cm (W 1.45" x L 0.2")From a print perspective, (putting on my editor hat for a moment), getting photos with white background is a godsend for layout.  I can plunk them down anywhere on a page and build text around them.  Or I can crop and put several images close together – something that isn’t possible when the jewellery is shot on a grey or staged background.   There are no distractions – you look at the jewellery and nothing else.

While they work for print and web, white backgrounds do *not* work well for jury photos.  I had the opportunity to sit in on a jury for a show recently (something I highly recommend BTW, it’s very educational), and I noticed that the photos with white backgrounds were always very jarring.  Backgrounds with a value of medium to dark (but not black) and *absolutely no props* worked best for jury photos.  Prop shots work well for Etsy, but are distracting in jury.

More photos:

YOJ10-15 Knotted Earrings 3 YOJ10-15 Knotted Earrings 3 (2010); Sterling silver, fine silver, tourmaline; Constructed, cold-joined; L 3.7 cm x W 0.5 cm (W 1.45" x L 0.2") YOJ10-15 Knotted Earrings 3 YOJ10-15 Knotted Earrings 3 (2010); Sterling silver, fine silver, tourmaline; Constructed, cold-joined; L 3.7 cm x W 0.5 cm (W 1.45" x L 0.2")

YOJ10-14 Knotted Earrings 2

YOJ10-14 Knotted Earrings 2 YOJ10-14 Knotted Earrings 2 (2010); Sterling silver; Constructed, cold-joined; L 2.5 cm x W 0.7 cm (L 0.98" x W 0.275")Knotted Earrings 2 (2010)
Sterling silver, iolite
Constructed, cold-joined
L 2.5 cm x W 0.7 cm (L 0.98″ x W 0.275″)

My life is all about choices:  if I choose to focus on one area of my life, another area gets sacrificed.  For the past few weeks, I’ve had to focus on some group endeavours, and so my work on YOJ projects ground to a halt.  I’m working towards finding balance, but haven’t found it just yet.

For this week’s project, my focus was on making bridal jewellery.  My thoughts were on “something blue” and “tying knots”.

The Monkey’s Fist is a classic macramé knot, usually used as a weight or ornament on the end of a rope.  Tying them in rope is relatively easy.  When I learned it as a child, it was just a matter of sticking a marble between two fingers, and wrapping the rope around the marble and fingers, then around the marble through fingers and then through the loops created by the fingers.  Then the loops were pulled tight.

YOJ10-14 Knotted Earrings 2 YOJ10-14 Knotted Earrings 2 (2010); Sterling silver; Constructed, cold-joined; L 2.5 cm x W 0.7 cm (L 0.98" x W 0.275")In wire, the stiffness of the metal, and its tendency to kink makes tying challenging.  There is also the issue of trying to get the proportions right:  thinner gauge wire is more flexible to tie, but the knot becomes very small and fiddly.  I found it impossible to tie wire around a bead without it slipping all over the place.  Pulling the loops tight at the end was also a non-starter, so I had to make the initial wraps as close to round as possible – challenging since without a bead in the centre, the tendency is to wrap ovals.  I ended up creating an invent-a-tool to help.

It took a bit of practice to get consistent results (doesn’t everything?), but I did end up with a satisfying “knot”. To get the “blue” part of the earrings, I decided on adding some pale 2 mm iolites. I would love to try these in a larger gauge of wire, but I think that would really only be possible with fine silver.  Sterling just gets too stiff too fast.

More photos:

YOJ10-14 Knotted Earrings 2 YOJ10-14 Knotted Earrings 2 (2010); Sterling silver; Constructed, cold-joined; L 2.5 cm x W 0.7 cm (L 0.98" x W 0.275") YOJ10-14 Knotted Earrings 2 YOJ10-14 Knotted Earrings 2 (2010); Sterling silver; Constructed, cold-joined; L 2.5 cm x W 0.7 cm (L 0.98" x W 0.275")

YOJ10-01 Marquise Series: Pendant 7

YOJ10-01 Marquise Series:  Pendant 7 Marquise Series: Pendant 7 (2009); Sterling silver; Constructed, cold-joined; L 5.2 cm X W 3.3 cmMarquise Series: Pendant 7 (2009)
Sterling silver
Constructed, cold-joined
L 5.2 cm X W 3.3 cm

I made this pendant in the early part of the week, knowing that the first project for the new YOJ was due today.  Up to now, I’ve been working with marquise shapes as single pieces, either as pendants on their own, or linked together in a bracelet.  This one is a compound structure, made from one piece of wire.  It took a bit of torturing to get it to look like this, LOL, but I like how it resembles a whirligig.

Year of Jewelry 2010 – 1st Quarter Goals

The turn of the new year means that a new Year of Jewelry is beginning.

The push to get the previous year’s YOJ projects done has gotten me fired up again in terms of making. While challenging, the thing I like most about the YOJ is how productive it makes me feel.  The project forces me to focus.

Many of the issues that were influencing me in 2009 are continuing, so I’m not going to including them as specific goals, more as over-arcing themes.

For the first quarter, in terms of goals, I think I’m going to keep it straightforward:

1)  Complete at least one piece, every week, photograph and post.
2)  Complete a piece for the HSTA Faculty show.  This year’s theme is “Passages”.  I have a mixed media piece in mind.
3)  Continue series work.

Off we go!

The Year of Jewelry Project 2009 – In Review

Okay, time to take a deep, cleansing breath and look back at 2009.  When I read over the post I wrote in Dec. 2008 laying out my goals for the year, I see that I was able to stay reasonably true to them.

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Goal #1, making a piece every week, was not met.  Unfortunately, I got blown off track by a serious personal issue in October.  I’m still dealing with its aftermath.  My energy levels are not where I would like them to be, and I’m still finding it very hard to motivate myself to do what I know needs to be done.

The process involved in documenting my pieces every week often takes longer than the actual making.  Part of that is because I now take multiple photos, from multiple angles, in an effort to make every piece “Etsy-ready”.  So where in previous YOJ’s, one photo would have been enough, I now take five.  That means editing takes 5x longer.

I will quite often write a post, walk away from it for a while, then come back and edit.  I used to be an avid diarist, which makes the composing a bit easier, but at the same time I eventually gave up keeping a diary because it took too long to write things in longhand.  One of the smartest pieces of advice I ever got from my Dad was to take a typing class!  LOL

The time demands of this project cannot be underestimated.  In 2010, I’m going to be prioritizing my commitments, and seeing which ones can be let go.

Goal #2 was to incorporate mixed-media and flame-worked elements into my pieces.  The mixed-media work did happen early in the year, but dropped off as time went on.  I did start adding torched elements into some of the pieces, as planned.  My “purist” attitude has become much more flexible than in the past.  It is largely influenced by time/cost pressures, but I’ve also recognized that some of the designs I’m thinking of just need the structural stability soldering offers.

Goal #3 was to explore haute couture vs. ready to wear in my work.  Originally, I had intended to create a “designer” or “art” piece, and then rework it into an affordable line.  I got it backwards:  the Marquise Series, which has been my focus for the past few weeks, started with the bread-and-butter pieces, and is now moving into the complex and involved “art” work.

Finally, Goal #4 was to rediscover the joy and fun of making jewellery.  I’ve certainly been having fun with the Marquise Series, but looking back over the year, I see a lot of seriousness.  Some of the pieces are narrative; that’s a new experience for me, drawing on my spirituality and life stories for inspiration.  There is a lot of emotion tied up in them.  It wasn’t until the fourth quarter of the year that I started to let myself loosen up.

I have a few favourite pieces:  The Moonrise Pendant, accepted for exhibition in the Metal Arts Guild of Canada’s “MAGC 2067 – Crafting the Future”; “Shiva’s Pomander”, exhibited at the Rails End Gallery in Haliburton, Ontario as part of the HSTA Faculty Show; the Mother & Child Pendant; the Viking Knit Torus; and the Art Nouveau Cabachon Bangle, which has proven to be a hugely popular tutorial.

It’s been a challenging year, but also a fine journey.  I’m looking forward to what 2010 brings!

YOJ09-52 Marquise Series: Pendant 6

YOJ09-52 Marquise Series:  Pendant 6 YOJ09-52 Marquise Series: Pendant 6 (2009); Sterling silver, ribbon; Constructed, cold-joined; L 9.8 cm x W 3.4 cm, Ribbon: L 52 cm x W 3.0 cm (approx.)Marquise Series:  Pendant 6 (2009)
Sterling silver, ribbon
Constructed, cold-joined
L 9.8 cm x W 3.4 cm/Ribbon: L 52 cm x W 3.0 cm

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My ex-husband used to say “Go Big or Stay Home”, so I’m finishing off the Year of Jewelry 2009 with a super-sized version of the Marquise Pendant.  This started off as an experiment to see if the basic marquise shape would translate to a bangle, but I haven’t worked out the kinks to that yet.

I also decided to give the ribbon necklace another try, although again, it’s technically uneconomic to make.  Ah well, I wanted to finish up the year in style!  LOL

YOJ09-52 Marquise Series:  Pendant 6 YOJ09-52 Marquise Series: Pendant 6 (2009); Sterling silver, ribbon; Constructed, cold-joined; L 9.8 cm x W 3.4 cm, Ribbon: L 52 cm x W 3.0 cm (approx.)Here’s another shot of what it looks like on:

And so this very challenging year comes to an end.  I’ll have a look back over the year and post some thoughts about what I achieved.

Until then, I wish you and those close to you a very Happy New Year, filled with enough challenge to keep you interested, and enough joy to keep you inspired!

All the best in 2010!

YOJ09-51 Marquise Series: Pendant 5

YOJ09-51 Marquise Series: Pendant 5 YOJ09-51 Marquise Series: Pendant 5 (2009); Sterling silver, fine silver, Swarovski crystal; Constructed, cold-joined, nalbinding; L 6.5 cm x W 1.3 cmMarquise Series:  Pendant 5 (2009)
Sterling silver, fine silver, Swarovski crystal
Constructed, cold-joined, nalbinding
L 6.5 cm x W 1.3 cm

This pendant is made of two “recycled” pieces from Bracelet 3, which didn’t match the other links.  Initially I only added the Swarovskis as embellishment, but the pendant looked unbalanced.  So I decided to add some viking knitting – nalbinding – and create a ribbon-like effect.  The work involved in adding the nalbinding bumps this up from production piece to a “couture” One of a Kind or Limited Edition.

I’m not completely satisfied with how it turned out, but I’m also not able to define what is bothering me about it.   It might just be that it doesn’t work as a pendant.  The design would certainly make a fabulous pair of earrings.  Comments are welcome!

YOJ09-50 Marquise Series: Bracelet 3

YOJ09-50 Marquise Series: Bracelet 3 YOJ09-50 Marquise Series: Bracelet 3 (2009); Sterling silver, copper, fine silver; Constructed, cold-joined; L 16.8 cm x W 1.1 cmMarquise Series: Bracelet 3 (2009)
Sterling silver, copper, fine silver
Constructed, cold-joined
L 16.8 cm x W 1.1 cm

For this piece, I took the idea developed in Week 48 and extended it to a bracelet.  The design looks simple, yet it surprised me how much work was involved in adding the copper beads.

I like the bi-metal toning – it’s a nice effect, and would really sparkle on tanned, warm toned or dark skin.

Like the project in Week 45, I alternated the links in mirror image; however, the alternating pattern sets up an issue for sizing.  I noticed it with the Week 45 bracelet as well, but because it’s all one metal it’s not as obvious.   With this bracelet, because there are two metals, it becomes clear that there can’t be an odd number of links: it throws off the pattern.  This design will fit either a very small wrist (like this bracelet does), or a very large wrist.  On my wrist, which is a little thinner than standard, but not small, the bracelet fits comfortably with room to move easily, but I generally like to wear my bracelets loose so that they jingle.

The design would look stunning with the Swarovskis I used in Week 48, but adding them will also add to the price of the finished piece.  If you’re interested in a Swarovski version, please email me for a quote.

YOJ09-49 Marquise Series: Pendant 4

yoj09wk49-marquiseseriespendant4-mini Marquise Series:  Pendant 4 (2009)
Sterling silver
Constructed, cold-joined
L 3.6 cm x W 1.6 cm

Here is one more variation in sterling silver.  The original idea was to add a 2 mm Swarovski crystal, similar to what I did in the Week 47 project, but I ended up deciding against it.