New Year, new skills: Rivets


Tube Rivet Tutorial by Janice Fowler
With the new year approaching faster than we can imagine, it's time to think of learning new skills and new techniques. One technique that has really caught my eye is the use of rivets, thanks to the excellent tutorials by Janice Fowler. I'm looking forward to January, when I can try these two...

Slide Pendant -- Telescoping Rivets by Janice Fowler
Both tutorials presented by JewelryLessons.com.
(Click on the images to go to the tutorial description).

Weaving with wire basics


Weaving with wire is all the rage these days in the jewelry making community. If you would like to try your hand at this fun technique, check out first the tutorial by Donna Spadafore, Basic Weaving Techniques which shows the essentials on the figure eight with an extra turn.
FREE at JewelryLessons.com!

Trillion Heart Pendant

This heart was made as a commission for an exchange: I was handed a "trillion" stone, which is a faceted point-back rutilated quartz and asked to set it in a heart pendant. Faceted stones always pose a challenge: if not set in a deep enough setting, they can poke the wearer and become uncomfortable. The last pictures shows the back and how the setting was worked in double layers to make it high enough and resolve the issue. The heart is approximately 1.5 inches high, not including the bail.

Variation on Rosary Chain


I just love this variation of the simple rosary chain! It has an extra little tiny spiral on each side of the wrap which gives the link an apparent complexity much greater than you would imagine.
Check out this free tutorial written by Kelly Mohr Eaton: Spiral-Locked Link at JewelryLessons.com.

Identify Rocks!


A very interesting free tutorial created by Shelby Raymond on how to identify rocks in the wild. This is an unusual tutorial since it is not a step by step, but yet sort of a guide of sorts on the properties of rocks. This is how she describes the tutorial:

Identify Rocks! by Shelby Raymond:
"This tutorial will help you identify rocks "in the wild". I'm constantly on the lookout for cool new rocks and gems to incorporate into my jewelry. I'm also a lapidary and collect rocks and minerals. I enjoy finding, cutting, shaping and polishing my own rocks. Being aware of the properties of different stones will also help you when you buy beads by enabling you to determine whether or not the description is accurate and if they're worth what the seller is charging for them. It's also handy to know about the rocks and minerals in your jewelry when it comes time to sell!"

The tutorial is available for FREE at JewelryLessons.com: Identify Rocks!

Creative journal

Creative journaling is an excellent way to work your creativity. It works as a depository of ideas for those times when you can't think of anything to do! Here is a page of one of my own journals:

In the journal, I draw designs, techniques and just scribble!

Upgrade to new server on JewelryLessons.com

So the event of the week was that my new site JewelryLessons.com had so many visitors during it's first few weeks that we had to go through an emergency upgrade to a new and more powerful server! That's a good problem to have!
The site was closed for a day, when it went through a quick and very successful transition.
Thank you all for your cooperation and support!

JewelryLessons.com First Monthly Event

We have our first JewelryLessons.com event:
Suggest an event, challenge, promotion, contest or any other site related event you can think of. Any suggestion which is actually used will earn the poster 150 JewelryLessons.com userpoints at the time it is used.

To participate in this contest, you MUST post the answer at the JewelryLessons.com site at this thread: September 2008: Suggest an Event Contest.

VALID FOR THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER 2008 ONLY.

JewelryLessons.com has launched!


Finally, after an entire year of hard work and development, my new jewelry website is up!!!! The new site is called JewelryLessons.com and it will be a community of artisans focused in sharing information and lessons on how to make jewelry. We want to *empower* users of all levels, that is, novices and beginners will be empowered by being able to find specific information from teachers; more advanced users will gain from being able to sell their tutorials online easily and earn monthly income.
The mission statement of the site is: Learn. Share. Teach. Earn.

The site will be a community, sales venue and bank of knowledge all wrapped in one. It will have articles, tips, tutorials, Q&A section, member profile pages, student galleries and a lot more. The idea is to SHARE information on jewelry making -- not only wirework, but all artisan techinques -- and store it in more efficient ways than the traditional forums and newsgroups.

The site just opened to the public yesterday == so come visit, register, browse around and contribute with your content, images, information and questions.

JEWELRYLESSONS.COM

JewelryMaking: Learn the Technique first

Question:
"I am person who also likes to create jewerly and clothes. I am writing this e-mail in hopes that you will be able to help me on something. I like to sketch and design clothing, with clothing you have to sketch befor you create; however with jewelry i am at a loss. Should one sketch before they create, or is sketching just a waste of time. Some other questions revolving around jewelry making and sketching is. If one does sketch do they sketch not knowing what materials they are going to use and just do a design, should you gather materials then sketch knowing the materials you have or.... "

Answer:
I understand your question completely. Let me explain to you how it works, at least for me: there are two ways to go about designing jewelry and they are totally based on your experience and confidence in using specific TECHNIQUE and CONSTRUCTION:
1) If you are confident with a specific technique and have practiced it repeatedly, then it becomes easier to allow your mind to experiment WHILE you are working on the piece. You just KNOW how the materials are going to behave with that technique. For example, I had a bangles phase, when I created hundreds of coiled bangles strung on wire. I felt so comfortable with that particular technique/construction style that I allowed myself to play with it, adding changes here and there, until new designs appeared which didn’t seem at all like the previous bangles. Still, the underlying structure and construction was the same.
2) If you are trying to develop a new technique or construction: this is MUCH more difficult, because you need to be comfortable with the medium altogether (for example, in my case wire and beads) to know its potential and limitations. You need to EXTRAPOLATE and use the medium in a completely different way.

In both instances, you can sketch or not. In the first case, where you are comfortable with the technique and construction, you can just draft something since you KNOW it can be made. In the second case, sometimes drawing helps to develop a new design altogether.

I think the main problem here that it doesn’t seem like you know your preferred technique or construction – at no point you mentioned it in your message. What is your favorite medium? What materials do you like to use? How do you like to manipulate them? How are the materials joined together?

Jewelry Making has such a large variety of materials and techniques, it would be very difficult to just generalize. Get your TECHNIQUE and CONSTRUCTION down (and if that means working with other people’s tutorials over and over so you get the hang of it, then so be it), and when you are comfortable with it, the new designs will just come flowing out, on paper or not.

Caging Pebbles

Question: I understand that using beads and gemstones that have been drilled add to the security that they will stay in place with a strung wire. However, I have a large selection of loose tumbled natural gemstones (not cut or faceted) that represent a sizable investment (over a period of years) and I want to do something with them. Most between 1/4" to an 1" in diameter. None of these have been drilled, so I understand I will have to "cage" them in order to hold them securely. I've fiddled and fiddled with various ways to do this attactivly and keep falling short. I wonder if you might be able to, some time in the near future, create a short tutorial addressing a few attractive ideas on caging loose tumbled stones of various shapes.


Answer: I have worked on the same issues, and come up with a few alternatives. The first and most versatile one is to use a netted bezel, which traps stones, especially cabs, very well. You can use the net with tumbled stones also, as long as you make the net cover the stone in such a way that it won't fall off. Net Bezel Tutorial.





The second option is the Basketweave bezel: a little tricky, but very sturdy and nice.




I also have a design which I do not have a tutorial for, but it's a fun design, maybe you can figure it out: http://www.enioken.com/journal/2006/05/lantern-pendant-with-tumbled-stone.html .
I am constantly working on finding new alternatives for caging stones, especially without holes.

Live Class with Eni Oken: Netted Cap

One of my very rare and few live classes: the Netted Cap, presented by yours truly during a three hour class at Surf City Bead Shop, down in Orange County, here in California. The class will be held on Sunday, July 13, 2008, from 3:30 to 6:30pm. The cost of the class is $99, which includes materials.
To reserve your spot in this class, email Kerry directly at surfcitybeads@hotmail.com. We need a minimum participation to confirm the class!

Stop the wire from breaking

Question: How do I get the wire to stop from breaking when I am weaving the net bezel with it?
Answer: You have to make sure you do not let the wire kink, and not even form any small loops. As soon as you see it forming a loop, carefully straighten it out.

Does tumbling break stones?

Question: Have you ever had any gems break during tumbling? It seems pretty rough to use with gemstone beads, or do you add the smaller ones after tumbling?

Answer: Most stone are fine during tumbling and will take it very well. I find that tumbling softer and porous stones such as turquoise or pearls can make them a little dirty. Even smaller and delicate stones are usually fine during tumbling.

Question about tumbler

Question:
I want to purchase a tumbler to strengthen some of my work. I was wondering what tumbler you use and what a good capacity size would be. Also, do I need two different solutions for polishing and strengthening?

Answer:
You don't really use a "solution" for polishing and strengthening. Instead, when you put the silver piece in a tumbler with steel shot (tiny pellets made of steel), the natural friction of the pellets against the piece polishes and hardens the silver. You should also add a dab of dawn detergent to clean the piece as well and cover everything with water (just an inch higher).
The final shininess is determined by how much time you leave the piece tumbling, normally between 1 and 2 hours.
I personally have a Lortone 3 pound single barrel, which I really like. Connie Fox's site www.conniefox.com sells it for a reasonable price. She also sells bags of steel shot, you should get a couple of pounds.

Using 26ga wire instead of 28ga

Question: Can you use 26 guage wire for the [weave] wrapping? or is it to stiff?

Answer: Yes, you CAN use 26 gauge wire for weaving and coiling, but it will be a little bit trickier to work than the 28ga -- make sure it's soft and not half-hard. Also, if you are wrapping it around other thicker wire, then use thicker gauges, such as 14 or 16. That way, proportionally the entire piece will be bigger and bulkier.