Another quickie…

For anyone out there who would like a comprehensive tutorial on prong setting, bezel setting, and flush setting faceted stones, Ann Cahoon has one of the better demonstrations I’ve watched.

You can download it to watch immediately or purchase the dvd.

HERE

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Enjoy.

Actually they have a lot of good dvd’s.

And here’s another piece I’ve just finished because I know you were wondering.

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Silver Onyx and Charoite.

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I’ve decided that my next pieces will concentrate on finishing and polishing.

Jane I know you asked, but I’m really not that good at it.

For the pieces I make with the leaves I simply buff the hell out of them using one of these

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These

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And these.

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The bottom two make it easier to reach into the nooks and crevasses.

You can also use fine sandpaper.

I know steel wool will work also, but I threw mine away because it hurts.

All those tiny slithers of steel get into your skin and even if you wear gloves there are still stragglers on your bench etc..

They really hurt.

I know, I’m a weeny.

I actually find it very hard to finish my pieces.

My journey to correct this starts now…

stay tuned.

When I get frustrated I take it out on a perfectly innocent canvas.

Sorry canvas.

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As you all may know by now I start a lot of paintings, but rarely finish any of them.

I’ve decided not to let it bother me and just enjoy the flow.

Perhaps I’ll get to  finish this one as I’m pretty sure my acetylene is going to run out at any minute and I won’t be able to replace the tank until later next week.

Will I be able to make it…

dum dum dummm…..


I prefer stone collector to addict…

I’ve spoken about my cabochon habit before, but today I thought I’d fess up.

They do say that admitting it is the first step to recovery.

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Ocean Jasper

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African Green Opal, Labradorite, Chalcedony, and some strange pieces at the bottom.

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A mixture of odd yummies

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Some Prudent Man, Ruby things, and other lovelies.

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This is the chrysoprase, chrysocolla, gaspeite, and shattuckite page with a few odd ones sneaking in.

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Crazy Lace

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Things I don’t know what to do with

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Serpentine, blue opal, petrified wood and larimar.

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Red Creek Jasper, Sonoran Dendrite, and a few of their friends.

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The turquoise page, although I think a crysocolla has sneaked in when I wasn’t looking.

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Fossilized Coral

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And, of course, the brecciated mookite page, with some phoychromed something or others, a couple of willow jaspers?, and two stones that don’t know why I bought them.

Don’t judge me.

They actually are more beautiful that the photo’s give them credit for. The colours didn’t come out well.

I took them so that I could keep an eye on what they’re doing and print them out to design around.

Somehow I’ve got to set them before P sends the van to take me away.

I did make some pieces recently that I didn’t show you.

One of the custom pieces.

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Imperial Jasper

Which was followed by his friend who didn’t want to be left out.

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The friend

And I started another painting.

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In other news.

Spud is causing as much trouble as she possibly can.

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Except when she’s so tired she just has to fall asleep wherever she happens to be.

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Here she is at the vets

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And this is what she thought about it.

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I think she’s actually been sent here to cure me of my need for material things as she and Nutmeg continually race back and forth until all my things get broken.

And all my computer and phone wires get chewed through.

And all of my skin gets ripped off.

And my sleep is interrupted by sporadic pounces.

Darn cute kittens…


And now…

I’m going to share with you my latest adventure into jewelry making where I seemed to have fire scaled the living daylights out of an innocent piece of silver…

I have to tell you the truth, up until now I hadn’t given much thought to fire scale.

I’d heard the word bandied around the jewelry channels often enough and yet, as with many things that cross my path, I didn’t think they were talking to me.

Those colourful papers with school activities and happenings would come home from school in the kid’s backpacks and I would just put them aside thinking they were meant for other mums.

Until I missed the event and wondered why no-one told me.

Yep. That’s the world I live in.

I think it’s called dissociative.

I call it happily going on my way and ignoring the stuff I don’t want to deal with.

Like fire scale.

Then, as I was making my latest piece, I was taken by how beautiful a piece of silver was that I had just soldered.

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I mean, look at it.

And I was wondering if I could make a piece and somehow protect this finish.

But I believed it was just the flux having a field day with the heat and that it would just come off in the pickle.

Actually, I haven’t pickled that piece yet, so I still don’t really know.

Ah, the wonders of experiment.

Anyhow, somewhere in the back of my head the word ‘fire scale’ started to wake up, and now I think that’s what it might be.

Here’s a good article on fire scale.

So onto my latest piece.

Which might bore some of you because it’s pretty much like all of my latest pieces.

I bought a nice piece of Peruvian Blue Opal from Shirl.

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I didn’t like the shape, but I liked the stone.

So I had a few drawings hanging around and decided to make one…

or two…

You know how it is.

First up I re-cut the stone to fit my design and polished it through all of the grits of the Jool Tool.

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I do like how I can now adapt stones I’ve already bought, and for that I think the Jool Tool is worth it for me.

So here it is in its sketch.

I’m kind of over the big leaf design, but for some reason here’s another.

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I made the opal, and it’s friend, a collar.

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But felt that to just solder this onto a sheet of silver wouldn’t look good as it needed some more substance.

So I rolled out one of my silver pancakes that I’d melted down from my scraps.

Because I wanted chunky.

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Decided where I wanted the dimension.

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Used that sticky film paper

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To cut out the shape.

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And then decided it needed to be stamped.

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I then soldered the collar onto it.

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And that’s when that beautiful surface design happened.

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The back didn’t look quite as good though.

That must be the copper coming to the surface.

Still kind of interesting though.

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Because I wanted the stone to sit down further into the design I then cut the inside out of the bezel.

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This also reduced the weight of the piece.

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I try to saw as close to the inside edge as I can otherwise I’ll spend a lot of time filing away the excess.

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I want the stone to pass easily through to the bottom.

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Next I tidy up the edges of the bezel where the stamping may have distorted the shape and see how it looks on the sketch.

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Now I solder it onto its new back plate, which is 22 gauge silver sheet, making sure to leave enough room around it to be able to give it a ‘step’.

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Here it is trimmed to its final outline.

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And now a much needed chip break.

I don’t usually eat them, but S brought me in some.

I think just to make sure I was still on the property.

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You can see from the last photo (above the crisps) that I have traced a line around the inside of the bezel where I want the collar to fit against the stone.

I now also decide on the design I would like to put on the back.

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I draw it onto the inside of the bezel because it’s easier to saw it out this way. I also always use a sharpie pen because I find that pencil rubs away as I’m sawing and so I lose the shape.

I don’t cut it out before I solder the first part of the bezel onto it because I want to make sure the design is exactly where I want it to be.

I drill the holes.

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And cut it out.

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And at the same time cut away and file the extra from the height of the bezel collar.

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As you can see above I’ve already cut out the leaf shapes.

You can snip them out of scraps, but here I’ve used my saw as I haven’t got any scraps left.

They’re all repurposed pancakes now.

Oh well, live and learn.

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Then I put them onto the sticky tape and use my chasing tool from Larry to make a leaf design.

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Which I then solder onto lengths of 20 gauge wire.

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I cut a length of 16 gauge wire for the main stem and soldered it onto the top of the bezel.

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I then filed down the excess back plate to follow the curve of the stem.

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And checked it on the sketch.

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I wrapped the leaves around the main stem and soldered them onto it.

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I do this very gently.

I move my torch in and out of the piece that I want to solder, all the time watching the surrounding area.

With practice you can see when another part is going to melt and so then I will quickly take my torch away, then bring it back in again slowly.

Depending on how many different solder points I have sometimes I will do this in batches in-between pickling the piece.

This is because often, before I can get to a different solder point, the flux has become grubby and the solder won’t flow so I can just manage three or four points at a time.

I just have to be patient (not easy for me) and go into my zen place.

If you are going to try this know that it is possible and just takes practice.

I only use easy solder for all of my joins from the beginning to the end of the whole piece and I am able to do it so keep at it.

:)

I added some balls then pickled and sanded it, bringing it to its pre-finished state. Trying to get all of the excess solder and my new friend, fire scale, off and then I smothered it in Black Max.

Because I like to live dangerously.

Oh, and I decided on that little ball thing hanging from the bottom.

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I buffed it a little bit and then set the stone.

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I prefer to use the bezel roller.

I started with the square pusher thing, and did find that easier at first, but I like the smoothness of the roller.

It’s worth practicing with if you can take the pain of constantly pushing it into your fingers when you begin.

And voilà.

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Yet another viney, leafy piece.

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I really need to get some new designs going.

BTW

If you read the Ganoksin article on fire scale (linked above) you will have read this line.

“Traditional polishing apprenticeships lasted from three to five years”

No wonder I find the polishing part the hardest.

Aint got no time for five years though so I’m just going to have to keep on winging it…


A hundred days of what?

I came across the 100 day project and thought why not.

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Trouble is I didn’t know what I’d want to do for a hundred days.

I’m not usually up for challenges as I believe they are set ups for failure, but I thought, hey, I might give this one a go.

So I decided I could either:

1. Make a piece of jewelry every day, but as I pretty much do that already it kind of seemed a bit like cheating.

2. Clean a little part of the house every day… Nah. Don’t think so.

3. Stop drinking wine for a hundred days.

That would definitely be a set up for failure.

4. Take a photograph.

5. paint a picture.

6. Create a doodle.

Etc., etc., etc…

I could do all of these things, but my dad’s coming to visit within the hundred day period, and my sister, and I don’t want to take up my time with them. It would have to be something I can do that doesn’t mean going into the isolation tank for long periods of time.

And, of course, number 2 would just about do me in and that wouldn’t be fair to my visitors, or to me.

So I chose Cornelius.

Remember?

My little botanical book?

Titled.

The Ledgers Ledgend of  Cornelius Audenberry III.

Intrepid Explorer and Royal Botanist to HRH Significanta Regina, Queen of Spry.

I started it when I was creating a run of triffid paintings.

HERE

Of which, you can be assured, there are many more.

And of course each triffid begged for a story.

Well, o.k. they didn’t actually beg, but rather was given one whether they liked it or not.

And so began Cornelius’ adventures to document the wildly fantastic flora of the Copstan Islands.

Of course his voyage on the Encumbrance had to be postponed due to his narrator taking all of the time she could be writing making jewelry instead, and whining about the house keeping, so to Cornelius the 100 day project seems to be a brilliant idea.

(Or not)

And one that I can easily do when my dad and sister come.

At first I thought I’d give myself a word or page goal for each day then I realized that I really just needed to write anything and not worry about giving myself rules.

So today is day four.

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And I’ve already discovered a new member of the crew.

Who knew!

I usually get caught up in grammar and spelling and reorganizing the words, but this time I am simple writing it down.

One day at a time.

Other news.

Here’s a picture I’m working on because I was getting a little bored with the jewelry.

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It’s got nothing to do with Cornelius as this is an entirely different world which he hasn’t discovered yet.

And a necklace.

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#the100dayproject


Sad news

Guinness passed.

It was quick.

One day he was there, rummaging around his cage, making important decisions like what to have for lunch. Oh yeah, that dried up food in that little bowl there. That’ll do.

Then he got pneumonia.

And died.

He went to the vets.

Had an x-ray (don’t talk to me about it)

Got medicine and special care food.

Came home with a 50/50 chance.

And died.

S cried.

I cried.

And all I could think about was how I called him a sex offender.

Not to his face though, so that must count for something.

Yes?

:(

S kept him overnight in one of the small dorm room fridges that came home with one of the kids (don’t talk to me about that either) and he’s now on his way back to his college town to bury Guiness. I know. Strange lad, but apparently all of his college buddies had been involved in Guiness’ life and S felt that he’d want to be back there…

with everyone…

I think S has forgotten that he isn’t going back there next term.

Me thinks this was just an excuse to get out of dodge.

Where’s the guinea pig love now boyo?

So he’s gone to bury Guiness.

With the hand-made ceramic bowl that he ate from.

Because it’s a king’s bowl apparently.

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I daren’t ask what else he’s going to bury with it.

RIP little one.

I loved you really.

Not because you were a rodent…

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Guiness 2013 – 2015 :(

but because you were our rodent.


The boy is back in town.

And when the boy is back in town things happen that you didn’t want to happen.

Like coming home to strange animals.

First there was Guiness.

Imprisoned for his sins.

(If you remember he was found guilty of the sexual abuse and consequent death of Thor. RIP)

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Then Nutmet.

The clumsy kitten with diarrhea.

Thankfully that little episode is over now,

but she’s still here…

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And then, just when we thought we were safe, we come home to a strange dog standing deathly still and silently staring at us with his eerie eyes.

As though he owned the place.

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Zelda

Actually that was kind of freaky and I was glad to find out that the boy had brought him over from a friend’s house because he was scared of the noise from the graduation party going on there and that he was going home that night.

He was just so completely quiet and his eyes, though beautiful, gave me the creeps.

Next up.

Spud!

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What can I say.

Ridden with fleas. Just the way we like ’em.

Not.

Here she is preparing for the flea washing ritual.

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She wasn’t happy.

It was kind of tragic seeing her cling on for dear life to the enemy.

Yes, the water of death comes from the faucet little one.

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She was left utterly exhausted

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But very soft and fluffy.

That’ll teach her to turn up without an invite.

Ultimately Pickles (don’t look at her fat) is just baffled as to why these creatures keep turning up

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And Wally and Willow are just so over the drama already.

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They can’t even be bothered to pretend they’re interested.

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Meanwhile…

In the studio I’ve been working on my silver scraps.

I’ve loads of them.

Four years worth I should say, give or take a year.

This is what’s left after my scrap silver melt down extravaganza.

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A while back I bought a new torch head because the one I use for soldering didn’t give out enough flame to melt anything and I was just wasting gas.

The one I use for soldering is a number ‘0’ (can there even be a number ‘0’?) and I really like it.

So, not one to mess about, I decided I’d get a number ‘4’ nozzle.

That’d show the scraps.

 Well it came and veritably scared the sh@* out of me when I tried to light it.

The bang was a loud explosion of black smoke and I thought I’d have a heart attack right there at my table and no one would find me until it was time for dinner.

After the initial shock, and not one to give in to intimidation, I decided that the thing was obviously new to the game and was just adjusting itself to its new job and so I tried it again.

It scared the sh@# out of me just the same this second time,

and the third

and the fourth…

Don’t tell me I’m anything if not determined.

Eventually I decided that perhaps continuing wasn’t the best idea I’d ever had and that my heart probably couldn’t take a fifth explosion so I packed the torch head back in its box and sulked a bit before giving up on the scraps as a lost cause.

They’d have to go back to Rio.

That was until I had the bright idea of ordering a number ‘2’ head.

This one.

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Now it might sound obvious to anyone reading this that a number ‘4’ was just way too large for the job I needed it for, but why the h@#$ would a jewelry store sell a torch head that could take down the Eiffel Tower just by looking at it?

Not my fault.

The number ‘2’ worked like a dream and now I have a huge stack of silver just waiting for something to do with itself.

Look at it!

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It’s brilliant.

So here’s to my little scrap necklaces.

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This could be the beginning of a wonderful relationship.

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May you always choose your torch head with care

and not blow up…

:)


Just a quickie…

I wanted to show you what I do when I’m buffing one of my pieces.

Full disclosure here that I’ve only just started to do this because I’m the SLOWEST learner IN THE WORLD!

You probably do this already so don’t rub it in.

When it’s finished but before I put the stone in I give it its black dunk or liver of sulphur spa treatment and buff it up as much as I can.

Then I set the stone and cover it with masking tape.

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I trim the excess tape away with an xacto knife

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and then really go to town on it.

I don’t buff it completely before putting the stone in because I don’t want to harden the collar too much, but I’m pretty sure you can do it all before the stone goes in.

I just like to make it harder on myself.

It’s more interesting that way.

I started to use these some time back.

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I like to use three of them together for the general buffing, after which I soften the look up a bit with a fine buffer.

Either this.

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Or one of these.

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And I use one of the yellow wheels on its own to just touch up the top edges of the bezel collar to give it a pop.

You can just use a general burnisher for this also.

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:)

 


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