Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Noël 2017

This collection of chain mail just left for a Christmas market in Paris!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Happy as a fish ...

The French are "happy as a fish in water" and they are also "April fish" on the first of April. This year, April 1 is on Saturday, so my group of artists and craftspersons is doing a special long weekend exhibit "Happy as an April fish" ("Heureux comme un poisson d'avril"), and the theme is fish and the sea. A new experience for me to create a jewelry collection with this kind of theme - very interesting to work with techniques I know in a new way!

glass fish with flat crystals

earrings in a variety of styles

four different bracelets - the one in the front has charms on a chain that
I dreamed up with aluminum rings and two-holed hematite beads

the two fish are hand-made and came from a gallery in Prague

the chain is a Mobius knot pattern

a more casual look for this necklace

not all fish are blue and silver

a colorful chain that picks up the fish colors

perhaps my favorite necklace in this collection

definitely casual

And to see what the nineteen other creative types are coming up with, click here!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Byzantine in all its colored splendor!

The project: a 60" necklace in Byzantine weave, multi-colored but no black or silver. No problem for the weave ... Byzantine flows smoothly in the making, drapes well, and is generally quite a pleasant weave to work with from the creation point of view.

Multicolored: always an interesting challenge! As I have said more than once, random looks better when it has a little structure to it. The weave works up in pairs of rings, and 12 rings made a unit, so the colors need to be a different number to not fall into a regular pattern. I settled on five bright colors, five slightly pastel, and gold for accents. I set up a pattern to alternate the two sets of colors, and then I tried a random generator tool to place the various colors (which was interesting, but not very successful - however, it did take me back to my high school math days and probability and statistics problems!). The color placement needs to take into account where the colors fall when the necklace is doubled or tripled - that's the tough part! This was my color worksheet:

I was quite taken with the end result ...

... and so was my client!

Monday, March 7, 2016

New Chain Mail Weaves

I'm always interested in trying new weaves. At the same time, I have to pay attention to the size of my rings. Many/most weaves are more or less possible depending on the ratio between the wire gauge and the inner diameter of the ring. I don't have the space or the budget to stock all sizes (let alone all sizes in all colors!), so I try to stick with just a few sizes, which is probably just as well, as it keeps me focused.

I've been looking for new weaves for another project of mixed weaves (more later!), which took me first to this double spiral chain. It has to be done in three colors to see the effect. It's a hard weave to get started,but when it's on its way, it practically weaves itself. It uses bigger rings than I normally use, so it won't work for my project, but it's a nice chain to wear, and I'm planning to get this size ring in other colors. Because the rings are larger and the weave is a bit looser, it takes fewer rings for a completed piece. I'm pondering on how to do a rainbow chain with this one.

This weave, which has several names and I'll stick with inverted round, fits the bill nicely for my project. It uses the ring size I want and it has a round volume, which is to say that it is not a flat weave - it feels rather like a box weave. This particular necklace was also an experiment in overlapping blocks of color. The weave is tighter than many, so it uses more rings, and I had to make up a way to finish the ends, which seems to work.

Time to get to work on my new big project!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day!

Just a small show Valentine's Day weekend, but it's an opportunity to play with hearts, one of my favorite shapes!

Frosted pink and white glass beads, old stock from a now-defunct Paris jewelry shop - what could be more Valentine's Day??

 These thick black glass hearts have an AB (aurora borealis) finish on one side - perfect with the silvered tubes in this memory wire bracelet.

Old Czech glass hearts with new Czech clear ovals ...

Foil glass hearts, in shades of black, silver, clear, and purple.

Can't forget the earrings!

And best of all, a few new "épingles de pardon"- after all, they are for sweethearts! (Check out my post about these traditional trinkets from Brittany - click here.) I was pleased to make one with all hearts!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Brin de Magie !

Two years ago I wrote about a Christmas market that was on a farm - it was a wonderful weekend but it was a one-time only affair. This year, with one of the organisers of that market, I have been working on a Christmas market (marché de Noël, in France) in the form of a pop-up shop in Quimper. Pop-up shops are a recent phenomenon in France, and they are still relatively rare out here in the provinces. Our shop will be called Brin de Magie ! (just like two years ago) - "a bit of magic!" - and we will be open for the three weeks before Christmas. We have grouped about 20 artists and craftspersons, as well as several not-for-profits who have hand-made items to sell from the countries with which they are associated, and some local authors. If your French is up to it, you can read about it all by clicking here or by checking out our Facebook page - at the very least, you can look at the pictures (and Like in French is J'aime, so don't hesitate!). We're posting new artists every day until we open, and we'll continue to post photos of events along the way.

And so of course I'm not just organizing, I'm selling too! I've been on a push this fall to prepare enough goodies for three weeks of sales (not that I really know what that is ... ). I'm really excited about new designs, and I've been pleased to be able to do some work with stones again - it's been a while. Working with stones is rather like building sculptures - there is something about the heft that develops the sense of working with your hands!

Malachite rectangles with blue and black agates.

Black stones in various forms.

Triangles in African jade, yellow jade, and dyed howlite.

Chunks of coral with black agate and quartz.

An assortment of stones!

And I found a project that I started a number of years ago that got me started with chain mail - I had a group of agate rings that I tried to put together in some kind of a necklace, but I never managed to make it work. Several years, lots of aluminum rings, and many pairs of pliers later, I have finally finished it, and here it is!

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Project

The project (for a client): create a 60" necklace in several chain mail weaves in metallic colors with a patchwork effect.

The calculations: balance of colors and weaves when the necklace is doubled or tripled. Rather fun working with felt-tips for design!

The choices:
*weaves that were roughly comparable in volume - chaos, orbital, byzantine;

*metallic colors - silver, gold, bronze, in various combinations;

*patchwork - using different colors for different weaves in different lengths.

The necklace: very exciting!

Doubled and tripled:

The clasp is a big ring, so one end of the necklace can be pulled through to do other things, like be wrapped into a knot. 


I spent at least four months pondering this project, but when it came together, it flowed - I can't wait to do another one!