Archive for the ‘Jewelry’ Category

It's been almost three years since I last designed a new jewelry piece. I stepped away when I lost that spark for making jewelry, when the "want to" became "have to". I've even turned down a few custom requests. But I received one recently that touched my heart and I couldn't say no. And in making that piece, I found the spark again.

I rediscovered the joy that simply comes from the process of making. Not because I have to sell something or prove to myself that I can do something. Just the creative high I get when working metal, soldering joints, revealing a beautiful patina.

I started small and made two pairs of silver ball stud earrings...and these. Hand cut, hand stamped leaves, jump rings and ear wires made from scratch. Each touch of the hammer and sanding wheel deliberate.

They have my heart in them.

silver leaf stamped earrings

And then, without trying very hard at all, someone bought them. Someone who appreciates them as much as I do. I had forgotten how sweet that exchange is.

My priorities have shifted recently, leaving creativity on my mind but not necessarily on my to-do list. Hopefully in the next year I can share exactly what that means. But for now, I'm going to put first things first and as I have the time, reward myself with a little drawing here, a little jewelry-making there.

I've also been moving my existing jewelry pieces back over to the Etsy shop (though some are still on this site). Over the years I've bounced between using my personal website vs. Etsy. I've finally decided I'd rather spend less time on my website and more time on the things that matter.

So click over to my Etsy shop if you're curious about what I currently have on hand. Moving forward, I'll add new jewelry pieces there, too.

Goodness I've missed this. Blogging, too. :)

~ Christina

I learned how to set a cabochon gemstone in a bezel setting during my first metalsmith class years ago. The stone was a warm speckled jasper, oval in shape, and set in a split ring band. I *loved* the way it turned out. Since then, however, I've only set a handful of stones, with an even smaller subset actually making it into the pieces I've sold. For some reason, I just haven't enjoyed the process. At least, that's what I've been telling myself.

The truth is that I've often felt all-thumbs when setting stones. I'd either make the bezel too small or too large, or I'd melt the bezel, crack the stone, or I couldn't seem to get the right leverage when rubbing the bezel over the stone. You name it, it happened to me, often at the same time. So in that sense, I truly didn't enjoy stone setting. But I also knew I wasn't consistent in practicing the technique, either.

In a way, it's been a mild case of torture. Natural gemstones are so beautiful and really enhance jewelry designs. I've been missing the pop of color they lend to pieces. So recently I checked out an online class on bezel stone setting, a class offered in partnership between Rio Grande, my favorite jewelry supply company, and Craftsy, a website offering a growing number of creative classes and supplies.

It was my first experience with Craftsy and I have to say, it was a good one! I received 7 video lessons on setting stones of various shapes and sizes and a number of different tools to use in the process. The instructor, Danielle Miller-Gilliam, was very knowledgeable and an effective communicator. While a lot of the information I received was a much-needed review of what I had previously learned, there were some golden nuggets of information that were priceless to me. There were things I was doing that made stone setting more difficult than it needed to be, and I immediately knew her tips were going to help. I could hardly wait to get started, so I grabbed a couple of amber stones I had sitting on the bench, already having cut their back plates forever ago, and got to work.

I could not believe how much easier it was this time.

I was confident, knowing exactly what I needed to do in the most efficient manner possible. It may have even been fun. :D It was one of those moments where I felt a shift in my head and heart and knew my jewelry making was headed in a new direction.

Amber Clover Necklace 3

Amber Clover Necklace 2

Amber Clover Necklace

I have a number of stones I've been hoarding saving for a time such as this. I have the knowledge and, now, the determination to build them into beautiful jewelry pieces.

The necklace shown here is currently available for purchase in my Etsy shop. Click here for details.

~Christina

Newbie

It was the Spring of 2012, just a few months after I began selling jewelry. Up to that point, all of my jewelry orders had been from friends and family members. They were (are) so supportive that way.

I was thrilled when I received an order from someone I didn't know, someone who found me on Etsy. She was the very first to order the copper bangle bracelet set, and I wanted it to be perfect.

Copper Bangles → Continue Reading

Recently I had the honor of making this artist palette necklace pendant for a fellow artist and friend. She's a super talented painter, so when she asked me to make a custom piece just for her, I was extremely flattered. She had a strong design idea for me to work with, knowing she wanted paints on a palette, a brush, and my signature mixed metals.

Artist Palette Necklace Pendant → Continue Reading

For generations studio artists have adopted their own personal ways to be more efficient in their work, saving both time and money.  And when it comes to problem solving, artists naturally get creative.

When I saw this first tip shared by my friend, fine art painter and instructor Dawn Kinney Martin, I couldn't believe how simple yet genius the idea was. Do you find yourself quickly going through expensive paper towels to clean up messes? Make them go further with Dawn's solution here.

Tip #1 - Paper Towel Hacking (literally) → Continue Reading

This copper twist ring came back to me from a young lady who needed to have it re-sized for her fiancé. She sent it back in the original kraft jewelry box that I packaged it in, except this time, I received it hand-painted as a special surprise for him when he opened it again.

Isn't it beautiful?

Painted Box

I've haven't personally met her or him, but her thoughtfulness says so much about them.

A simple act of love touches not only the recipient, but those who witness it.

Maybe a little-known fact about me: I like technology, but I don't like paying for it. That's ironic for someone with an IT background, isn't it? A prime example is my cell phone. A friend recently asked when seeing it: "Is that a flip phone?" → Continue Reading

I didn't know it was possible, but I've discovered that making graphics art actually rivals jewelry-making. I've reached a sweet balance that meets my passion for art and design and my love of metalsmithing.

When I opened my Etsy printable art shop in September I wasn't sure what to expect. I thought, at most, I'd add 1 or 2 new designs per week and hope that was enough for others to discover my work. Instead, I've averaged more than 1 per day since then. Clearly, I have a new obsession love.  I've already had a few sales since opening the shop (thank you!), so I'm confident there's a market for my digital artwork.

Here's a sample of the designs I've created since my last blog post:

Believe Sign - Chalkboard Printable Art

A "Believe" inspirational print on a chalkboard background with monarch butterflies.

→ Continue Reading

I've been slowly building a small collection of jewelry pieces to add to my Etsy shop. Most of them I had professionally-photographed, so that took a little extra time. But I'm happy to say nine pieces were listed today!

Sept-Shop-Update-Pieces-sm

(FYI - all the ones shown, with the exception of the copper chain bracelet and necklace, were captured by Leah Judway Photography. There is a huge difference between her photos and mine. She makes my jewelry look beautiful; I try and make it look beautiful. ;))

It's fun to see my work progress. From etching silver to forging chain to trying a design in a different metal, each of these pieces evolved from an existing design. And in some cases, it improved on the previous one. More ideas have sprung from these, so I'm anxious to get started on the next batch of designs.

Fall is in full-swing and this is going to be an extraordinarily busy season for me, in addition to the usual increase in holiday orders. But, I'm trying to remember to take it one day at a time and just enjoy each day that I'm given. And above all, to be *grateful* for the life I have. I hope the same for you.

~ Christina

It's easy to get frustrated when a design doesn't go as planned, but if you push through, it almost always works itself out. I began these mixed metal teardrops with a completely different vision for the teardrop shape (I didn't plan on a teardrop at all), but I think the end result turned out even better. They are after a stacking ring I introduced early on with a similar copper accent. I may need to bring that ring design back; the one I wear still catches attention!

Mixed Metal Teardrops