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Monrovia Art Festival 2016

I just spent the last weekend at the 53rd annual Celebrate the Arts Festival and Chalk Walk in Monrovia, California. The Monrovia Association of Fine Arts does a fabulous job setting up this event. I had so much fun and met a ton of great people. The music was perfect, and the weather mostly cooperated.

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I love my community of fellow local artists! I met the absolutely wonderful ladies Barbara and Colene at Beaded Asylum, the passionate geologists at Monrovia Rock Hounds, Midge Crossan from Paladin Collections with her lovey lifelike pencil drawings, Jo Ann Page with her leather goods, and many more.  I also got to see some old friends and met some new ones. You never know who will walk up to your table on a Sunday afternoon.

In the process of getting ready for this show I learned many things, but the most important was “Don’t save everything until the last minute!” Thankfully, Staples carries a Paypal credit card reader and they are open late or I would have been sunk! 🙂 I cannot thank my family enough for all of their patience and help.

If you didn’t get a chance to make it out to my booth this weekend, you have more opportunities to see my jewelry in person coming up soon. I will have a booth at the Whittier’s We-R-Crafty event on November 26th. I will be there from 10am-3pm enjoying my fellow artists.

These are a few of the items that will be for sale:

I will also be in Pasadena at the Handmade Holiday Boutique at Pasadena Nazarene Church on December 1st and 2nd from 4-10pm.

In Upland Sunday December 4th at the Shop til You Drop event from 11am-4pm.

And in Upland again Saturday December 10th at the Annual Upland Christmas Parade and Holiday Faire from 8:30 am – 3 pm.

It is going to be a full couple of weeks, but worth every minute, if I get to share my artwork with all of you! Hope to see you soon!

 

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Branching Out

I can’t believe I have taken so long between posts! Time flies!
My sons and I have all celebrated our birthdays, my oldest started school, soccer practice, and Boy Scouts, and I started taking a blacksmithing class. Halloween was an adventure since I always put off making the costumes until the last minute. So much to do, and so little time!

My latest project is a commission I made for a woman with a grandson with childhood cancer. She wanted two bracelets, one for her daughter and herself. The project was a bit of a challenge because I decided to use a design that isn’t my typical aesthetic. In the end, I enjoyed working on them and I love the way they came out.

I hand wrapped all of the crystal beads and dangles. I hand forged and shaped the cancer awareness ribbons from solid brass wire. I am really pleased with the drape and sparkle of these bracelets!

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Soldering Silver Wire on Copper

I love combining metals! One technique that I like to use is to solder sterling silver wire onto sheet copper. Some examples of this are:

copper soldered flower earringsCopper and sterling with green dangles

This technique is tricksy because you have to get the copper really hot with the torch, but not so hot that you melt the silver. It is worth it, though. The end result is a rough but delicate look that allows the silver to really stand out.

Copper and sterling with green dangles

Sadly, I still haven’t figured out which torch I am going to use. I bought one online from a random seller (mistake!) and when it arrived it was not the correct torch! I tried to return it, but their phones have been mysteriously down since my purchase. Hmmmm…. Very suspect! I learned my lesson.

In addition to the torch, there are a bunch of other things that go along with soldering that I have to find or buy. A fire block, a charcoal block, flux, pickle, a pickle pot, etc. Sigh. So many projects on hold.

One of the things I have been thinking about trying is a copper bangle or cuff with the silver details. I like to use Zen Brush to brainstorm. Here is what I have so far:

Copper cuff idea

It wouldn’t be all wobbly, but it is hard to draw on a touch screen! I would have to solder onto a flat sheet and then shape it into the cuff.

What do you think?

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Working With What I Have

Lately, I have discovered that I used the tools in my classroom more than I thought. I am taking a continuous course at the local adult school. I have learned so much, and loved having all of the resources available to me. But now class is out for the summer.

I usually like to work with sheet copper. I have been blessed that my grandmother has a copper roof, and due to a previous repair, has century old copper shingles available for me to use. I clean them, cut and shape them to make many of my favorite pieces of jewelry.

copper dropsflower earringscopper bangle copper plate bracelet copper soldered flower earringsJewelry 253

The problem I am having lately is that many of those pieces require an anvil and many of the forming stakes that I used in class. I was looking online for anvils and stakes for sale and found quickly that they were way out of my price range. See here and here. Sigh. I am going to have to be creative. I have spent a bit too much time online researching DIY jewelry forming ideas. I found this handmade jewelry blog, Create Recklessly, by Melissa Cable. She recommends using a trailer hitch ball as a forming stake. Genius! I can get a stainless steel ball for less than forty dollars! I haven’t had a chance to shop for one yet but updates coming soon! The other tricky part is going to be attaching it to something. Hmmm….

Another shape I have been trying to find is a simple cylinder. I have had some interest in one of my copper bracelets, but I need a round shape to hammer on. After talking to my grandfather, he was generous in offering a scrap end of one of his pieces of scrap metal.

Load Frame Scrap as Mandrel

I can’t use a steel hammer on it, but it works great with my (borrowed) rawhide mallet.

Makeshift Mandrel in ActionI tried to edit out my incredibly cluttered work space in those pictures, oh well. The last picture includes a peek at a current project. It is a different take on one of my other bracelets. Without a rolling mill in the classroom, I am stuck trying to find other ways to texture metal. For this bracelet I experimented with hammering a metal shape to make an indentation on the copper.

Hammering texture on copperI am pretty happy with how it turned out, even if my brother says he sees elephant shapes.

I hope to have pictures of the finished bracelet soon. I’ll keep you posted!

Rebecca

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Trying something new!

Hi Everyone! I have been told that it is customary for someone starting an online business to also have a blog about their adventures as an entrepreneur. As I write this I am still unsure whether this blog will be solely jewelry related or if it will include all of my adventures as a mother of rambunctious children. I guess I will see how it goes and leave it open ended for now.

I had NO idea how much went into starting a business! As soon as I think I have covered everything, some other huge project comes up. Right now it feels like I am spending all of my time on the business side and not as much as I would like on actually creating jewelry. Oh well. I am so thankful for everyone who has helped and offered advice, whether it pertained to the website, business or the look and feel of the website.

I still have so much to learn, and, hopefully, you will join me in the ups and downs.

Rebecca