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!

Breathe

Breathe

  • breathe-white1-mini
  • breathe-white2-mini
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  • breathe-white4-mini
  • breathe-etsyfiedmini
  • breathe-silver1mini
  • breathe-silver2mini
  • breathe-silver3mini
  • breathe-silver4mini
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  • breathe-silver6-mini

Breathe Scent Box (2011)
Copper, fine silver, sterling silver
Constructed, coiled, woven, cold-joined
H: 2.0 cm x W: 2.6 cm x D: 2.96 cm

Alright… I’m back… sort of…

I got hit with a perfect storm of personal and professional chaos in May, and my weekly postings to YOJ were the casualty. *sigh*

This piece, created for the upcoming HSTA Faculty Exhibition, is the only wire my hands have touched in the last month. It’s one of those pieces that has had to lend itself to being picked up and put down frequently while I deal with other pressures.

This year’s theme is “Breathe”. Years ago, during a conversation with a friend about being overworked and looking forward to a time when we’d be able to come up for air, I deadpanned “Breathing is overrated,” and then quipped about how that would make a really good epitaph for my headstone. The comment laid us both completely flat with laughter.

She reminded me of the conversation a couple of weeks ago when we were talking about all the “stuff” going on in our lives. This time she made the observation that it just seems to be part of my nature to throw myself into lots of projects at the same time. It’s true. I thrive on deadlines. However I’ve noticed a change in the last year or so in how I’m reacting: I seem to have developed insomnia. I regularly wake up after only a few hours of sleep, unable to shut off my brain, which spins with thoughts of all the things I need to get done.

I’ve come to realize that I do, in fact, need to breathe and relax.

This insight was reinforced as I was transcribing an interview I did with Dee Fontans, who teaches in the Jewellery Metals Program at Alberta College of Art & Design. We talked about the need to find balance between work and play, about re-energizing and feeding the muse. It’s something she struggles with as much as anyone else. 1

So, I’ve recently started making a more conscientious effort to slow down, go for bike rides, and take notice of Spring. And breathe.

With the lilac and lavender in my front yard coming into bloom, giving off a wonderful perfume, my thoughts focused on how to carry that scent with me. I continue to be obsessed with containers, so I decided I would make a little box for holding a sachet of herbs or perfumed salts. Lavender, in particular, is supposed to be good for helping with relaxation and sleep.

One thing I wanted to experiment with was patterning. Years ago when I visited the Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico, I was really impressed with the patterns the inhabitants carved and painted onto their pottery. Likewise, I was struck by the patterning on the First Nations baskets I saw in BC. I was able to incorporate a triangular pattern on the rim of the bottom half through a structural change in the coiling of the basket. Because I knew it was going to spin while being worn, I also added decorative elements on the base and top. So there’s lots going on.

Of course, now that this piece is done, I have ideas for a half dozen other pieces, but those will have to wait.

I still have to catch my breath.

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The Haliburton School of The Arts Faculty Exhibition 2011 will take place from July 2 to August 5, 2011 at the Rails End Gallery & Arts Centre, 23 York St., Haliburton, Ontario. Faculty will participate in a weekly meet & greet at the gallery on Tuesdays from 4:30-6:00 p.m.
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  1. My interview with Dee Fontans will appear in the 2011: Two “College Review” issue of MAGazine, which is scheduled for release later this month. The audio of the interview will be available online after the issue comes out.
YOJ11-14 The Keeper of My Secret

YOJ11-14 The Keeper of My Secret

YOJ11-14 The Keeper of My Secret The Keeper of My Secret (2011) Copper, fine silver, sterling silver, Swarovski crystal Formed, cold-joined, liver of sulphur & ammonia patinationThe Keeper of My Secret (2011)
Copper, fine silver, sterling silver, Swarovski crystal
Formed, cold-joined, liver of sulphur and ammonia patination
L 3.68 cm x W 2.25 cm x D 1.91 cm

After finishing the locket in Week 11 I said I wasn’t going to work on one of these again for a while, but the idea for this piece refused to stay quietly in the recesses of my mind.

I’ve been thinking a lot about secrets.  What private little treasures do we wear close to our hearts?  A note from a lover, or a totem object?  Does it contain a memory or a reminder?  The wearer gets to choose.

I love the shape of amphorae – very sensuous and feminine!  The construction was another learning experience – not the least reason being that I actually made the clasp properly this time.  Naturally, I now have ideas for two other projects I want to make, but those definitely have to wait until after the studio tour.

Currently available at: META4 Gallery

More photos:

YOJ11-14 The Keeper of My Secret The Keeper of My Secret (2011) Copper, fine silver, sterling silver, Swarovski crystal Formed, cold-joined, liver of sulphur & ammonia patination YOJ11-14 The Keeper of My Secret The Keeper of My Secret (2011) Copper, fine silver, sterling silver, Swarovski crystal Formed, cold-joined, liver of sulphur & ammonia patination YOJ11-14 The Keeper of My Secret The Keeper of My Secret (2011) Copper, fine silver, sterling silver, Swarovski crystal Formed, cold-joined, liver of sulphur & ammonia patination
YOJ11-13 Ruby Zoisite Pendant

YOJ11-13 Ruby Zoisite Pendant

YOJ11-13 Ruby Zoisite Pendant Ruby Zoisite Pendant (2011) Ruby zoisite (33.32 ct), sterling silver Formed, cold-joined L 4.3 cm x W 1.86 cm x D 1.4 cmRuby Zoisite Pendant (2011)
Ruby zoisite (33.32 ct), sterling silver
Formed, cold-joined
L 4.3 cm x W 1.86 cm x D 1.4 cm

By chance I’m following the YOJ theme again this week, which is “Complementary Colours”.  Ruby can be found in combination with several other metamorphic stones, namely fuschite and thulite, but my favourite is ruby in zoisite.  I picked up this cab, with its rich wine red and splash of sparkly green, at the Toronto Gem Show last year.

I’m a minimalist where bezel setting stones is concerned.  Time and again,  I have avoided the “frilly” and cage-like settings for which wirework tends to be known in favour of something simpler that lets the stone take centre stage.

YOJ11-13 Ruby Zoisite Pendant (back)There’s something about each stone I buy that has really attracted me.  This is one that begs to be held and stroked.  It has a very calming energy that makes it an excellent touchstone for meditation.  I’ve left the back of the stone open so that it can be closer to the skin when worn.

YOJ11-12 Twirl & Swirl Earrings

YOJ11-12 Twirl & Swirl Earrings

YOJ11-12 Twirl & Swirl Earrings Twirl & Swirl Earrings (2011) Sterling silver Formed, flameworked, cold-joined L 6.5 cm x W 1.6 cmTwirl & Swirl Earrings (2011)
Sterling silver
Formed, flameworked, cold-joined
L 6.5 cm x W 1.6 cm

So far in this Year of Jewelry I haven’t been following any of the themes, but this week’s theme, Made from Two Feet of Wire,  was intriguing.  The design constraint – using only two feet of wire total, regardless of embellishment – offered many possibilities.  I decided to focus on earrings.  This pair was the first result that best met the criteria.  I tried various permutations of thicker and thinner wire, some of which produced interesting designs, but used either substantially less or more wire.  It turned out to be a fruitful week!  Happily, I’m also caught up again!

YOJ11-11 Locket Test

YOJ11-11 Locket Test

YOJ11-11 Locket Test Locket Test (2011) Fine silver, sterling silver, snowflake obsidian, amethyst Formed, woven, cold-joined, flameworked L 4.7 cm x W 2.7 cm x D 1.68 cmDuring the YOJ 2009, I made a beaded puffed heart as part of a planned larger work for that year’s HSTA Faculty Show “Vessel”.  The piece that actually went into the show – Shiva’s Pomander – was originally intended as the container for the heart, but ended up being too large.  I loved the design of Shiva’s Pomander, but wasn’t completely satisfied with the clasp.

Since that time I’ve been puzzling over an alternative solution, because I’m determined to make another attempt.  Towards the end of January, I was looking at wirework on Flickr and came across Mary Tucker’s trinket boxes.  I wrote to complement her on the elegant solution she had found to her hinges and closures and asked if I could borrow the  idea.  She graciously directed me to the tutorial she’d posted on her blog.  She also recently had another version of the tutorial published in Step-by-Step Wire Jewelry.

YOJ11-11 Locket Test (front) Locket Test (2011) Fine silver, sterling silver, snowflake obsidian, amethyst Formed, woven, cold-joined, flameworked L 4.7 cm x W 2.7 cm x D 1.68 cmThe idea with this locket was simply to practice starting with a large hole, because my plan is to make a much more involved piece based on what I learned here.  I have a wonderful stash of round snowflake obsidian cabs, so I decided to incorporate one into the lid of the locket.  The weaving took a ridiculous amount of time – something I don’t really have to spare as I prepare for the studio tour – so I have stopped short of what I actually wanted to do.

YOJ11-11 Locket Test (back) Locket Test (2011) Fine silver, sterling silver, snowflake obsidian, amethyst Formed, woven, cold-joined, flameworked L 4.7 cm x W 2.7 cm x D 1.68 cmBecause I was distracted, I didn’t realize until too late that I hadn’t actually made a hook on the back of the locket!  As a result, I had to macgyver a closure/bail.

I will likely come back to this at a later time and rework it.  The result I got here is not quite as refined as I would like it to be, but given my schedule and deadlines, I can’t spend any more time on it right now.  It was a very good test piece, and I’ll look forward to applying what I’ve learned to the next one. YOJ11-11 Locket Test (interior) Locket Test (2011) Fine silver, sterling silver, snowflake obsidian, amethyst Formed, woven, cold-joined, flameworked L 4.7 cm x W 2.7 cm x D 1.68 cm

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Locket Test (2011)
Fine silver, sterling silver, snowflake obsidian, amethyst
Formed, woven, cold-joined, flameworked
L 4.7 cm x W 2.7 cm x D 1.68 cm

 

 

YOJ11-10 Wave Bracelet

YOJ11-10 Wave Bracelet

YOJ11-10 Wave BraceletWave Bracelet (2011)
Sterling silver
Formed, fused
L 17.5 cm x W 1.1 cm (variable)

 

I’m still behind with posting, and I’m remembering that it was at about this point last year that I gave up on the YOJ because other parts of my life were overwhelming me.

I’ve been doing interviews for the next College Review issue of MAGazine this week, and talking to the instructors in various Canadian metals programs. One of the questions I’ve been asking everyone is how they balance their academic life with their own creative work. Across the board, all have commented about how challenging it is.

At the moment, I’m juggling work on MAGazine with trying to get ready for the Lake Scugog Spring Studio Tour. I’m trying to strike a balance between production work and some more involved one-of-a-kinds. I’ve been working on a challenging woven piece for about 1 1/2 weeks now. It’s a dry run for another piece I want to make to submit to the HSTA Faculty Show in June. It’s taking up more time than I expected, and I’m becoming very conscious how quickly my deadlines are approaching.

So, I’ve had to set it aside and go back to production work.

YOJ11-10 Wave BraceletThis bracelet is a repeat of one I made for YOJ 2004-05, only more refined and simplified. I love bracelets, and this one lends itself to being worn in multiples. I made them quite small, but they are still quite loose on my wrist. Surprisingly they fit my husband’s wrist comfortably as well.

I’m still determined to keep up with YOJ, and hopefully between now and next week I’ll be caught up again.

YOJ11-09 Spiral Wand Pendant

YOJ11-09 Spiral Wand Pendant

YOJ11-09 Spiral Wand Pendant Spiral Wand Pendant (1) (2011) Argentium silver, quartz Formed, knotted L 4.4 cm x .5 cm (6 mm bead)Spiral Wand Pendant (1) (2011)
Argentium silver, quartz
Formed, knotted
L 4.4 cm x .5 cm (6 mm bead)

I pulled out the spool of argentium silver while working on the week 8 project, and this pendant grew out of one of the failed attempts at embellishing the earrings.

I used to make little mini-wands with quartz points set in copper tubing and wrapped in leather for the New Age crowd. Clear quartz is regarded as an energy amplifier, and in wand form is used to direct healing energy to a specific place in the body. This updated version of the wand gives a nod to the DNA helix in the knotted spiral, and the faceted quartz bead adds a little touch of bling.

YOJ11-09 Spiral Wand Pendant Spiral Wand Pendant (2) (2011) Argentium silver, quartz Formed, knotted L 3.3 cm x .5 cm (6 mm bead)Macramé is one of those techniques that makes a very natural transition to wire, but the stiffness of the metal requires that the knots be planned out to minimize kinking.  Pulling the knots tight also quickly work-hardens the wire.

Besides a bit of coiling, I haven’t worked with the argentium silver, so this was really my first experience with it.  I’m finding it a bit stiffer to work than sterling, but I’m looking forward to seeing what it can do.

Spiral Wand Pendant (2) (2011)
Argentium silver, quartz
Formed, knotted
L 3.3 cm x .5 cm (6 mm bead)

YOJ11-08 Teardrop Spiral Earrings

YOJ11-08 Teardrop Spiral Earrings

YOJ11-08 Teardrop Spiral Earrings Teardrop Spiral Earrings (2011) Sterling silver Formed, forged, soldered L 4.3 cm x W. 1.95cmTeardrop Spiral Earrings (2011)
Sterling silver
Formed, forged, soldered
L 4.3 cm x W. 1.95cm

I’m late posting this week.

I had started working with this teardrop shape last week, after doing research for the next installment of my essay series.  There are many historical examples of boat-shaped earrings, and I found myself paying particular attention to how they were closed.  I wanted to make the earrings secure and still maintain a sleek line.

Originally my intention was to incorporate some sort of weaving, but my muse wasn’t co-operating.  Time and again, I cut the bits off the frame to start over.  Finally, I decided to develop the spiral idea I used on last week’s earrings.YOJ11-08 Teardrop Spiral Earrings

There are so many things on my To Do List at the moment that I’m waking up in the middle of the night thinking about it. It’s one of those situations where I’m too awake to sleep, but too tired to get up. So I just lie there with my mind spinning circles and then during the day I feel exhausted and unproductive. Finally yesterday when I had a chance to sit down to work on jewelry, I couldn’t find my flow. It’s kind of ironic that I ended up with spirals – it reflects what’s going on in my over-active mind!

YOJ11-07 Butterfly Twirl Earrings

YOJ11-07 Butterfly Twirl Earrings

YOJ11-07 Butterfly Twirl Butterfly Twirl (2011) Sterling silver Formed, soldered 2 cm dia.Butterfly Twirl Earrings (2011)
Sterling silver
Formed, soldered
2 cm dia.

This week I had one more idea for the butterflies – a pair of hoop earrings.  Here, the butterflies fly around in a loop.  The earrings insert from the back of the earlobe and curl around to bring the butterflies to the front.

It’s been a frustrating week.   I went back to my projects notebook to work on one of the tutorials I wrote in the fall.  I quite often write a set of instructions, then put them away for a while, so I get it completely out of my head.  Then when I come back to it, I’m looking at it with fresh eyes.  It lets me test whether I can follow what I wrote.

I tend to go through several attempts at making the project while I’m writing instructions, refining the design as I go and making sure the steps make sense.  Because of the rising cost of silver, the prototypes for the project I’m currently reviewing were originally constructed in copper wire.

Well…  that was a mistake.

Silver, even in dead soft temper, is stiffer to work that copper – a small detail I forgot to consider – so the only thing I succeeded in doing was adding to my scrap bin.  I’m now revising the project so it will work in silver.

YOJ11-06 More Butterflies :)

YOJ11-06 More Butterflies :)

YOJ11-06 Fluttering Butterflies Fluttering Butterflies (2011) Sterling silver, aquamarine Formed, flame-worked, cold-joined L 4.8 cm x W 1.9 cm Fluttering Butterflies (2011)
Sterling silver, aquamarine
Formed, flame-worked, cold-joined
L 4.8 cm x W 1.9 cm

 

This week has been very satisfying, both in terms of the pieces I’ve made and the quantity of work I was able to produce.  On top of it all, I had fun!

Early in the week, I was still thinking about butterflies and how they flitter and loop around each other.  That lead to this pair of earrings, and a matching pendant (not shown).  With our local temperatures here still below normal, spring really cannot come too soon.

I’ll be happy to see real butterflies again.

YOJ11-06 Butterfly Drop Earrings Butterfly Drop Earrings (2011) Sterling silver, aquamarine Formed, flame-worked, cold-joined L 3.8 cm x W 1.0 cmButterfly Drop Earrings (2011)
Sterling silver, aquamarine
Formed, flame-worked, cold-joined
L 3.8 cm x W 1.0 cm

Last year, as part of the Marquise Series, I made an earring with drops that were interchangeable.  I continued that thought with these butterfly drops – the briolette can be removed and exchanged for a different drop, or can be worn plain.

The rest of the week has been devoted to other production pieces, and I’m pleased to be in a good groove!

YOJ11-05 Butterflies

YOJ11-05 Butterflies

YOJ11-05 Butterflies Butterfly Earrings (2011) Sterling silver Formed, flame-worked L 1.9 cm x W 0.5 cmButterfly Earrings (2011)
Sterling silver
Formed, flame-worked
L 1.9 cm x W 0.5 cm

This week, after Snowpocolypse rolled through, Canada’s own Wiarton Willie brought the very welcome news that we will have a early spring this year!  Woo hoo!  That got me looking forward to sunshine and flowers… spring weddings and butterflies.  I love watching tiny butterflies flittering around, oblivious to me being there.

I’m still in production mode, so I’m focussed on quick to make jewellery.  I wanted to make something that would appeal to brides, but also to young girls.  These little butterflies are lending themselves to drop earwires, like the ones shown here, but also to studs and to pendants.  This is one of those rare times when the design I’ve come up with uses soldered elements.  In this case, the structural requirements of the design didn’t lend itself to working cold.

I’m really looking forward to warmer weather.  I’m done with the cold feet, cold hands, and sniffles that have been my constant companion since October.