Monday, December 28, 2015

My Feature In Jewelry Affaire

A few months ago Natalie Way, the lovely editor of Jewelry Affaire magazine, contacted me about doing a feature article for them. I happily agreed, and sent them a small collection of my work. The pieces were based a trip to France I took with my brother Wynn. This work is going to be featured in the Winter 2016 issue. It hits the news stands on January 1st.

Can I admit that I got a little choked up when I saw the article? It's such a huge honor and I am so grateful to Natalie and Christen, and to Stampington in general. I love writing for them.

Bracelet made with 5 strands of vintage chain

There's something magical about vintage components. I don't know exactly what it is.
It might be the fact that they have lived other lives and have been treasured by other people.

I inherited a rather large collection of metal stampings from my brother. 
I am always reluctant to use them. Most of the time I keep the pieces I make with them. 
I am so glad they used this piece for the article.

The hand was cast in solder, a technique I learned from the talented Janet Loomis of Anvil Artifacts. Her tutorial is called "The Easiest Metal Casting You Will Ever Do."
It truly was. Here's the link to her tutorial:

I used Tiffany Green Swellegant Patina directly on the focal bezel for this piece. 
You can buy the patina from Christi Friesen here:

They made the article look so beautiful. The whole magazine is, as always. I feel so happy and grateful when I see my work in Jewelry Affaire.

Since my last post I have been very busy, mostly with the holidays. I came up with more ways to use vintage filigree stampings. One fun experiment began by pressing the stampings into polymer clay to make these pieces:

I ran the clay through the pasta machine on the smallest setting and pushed stampings into the fronts.The images were made using my Microsoft Works program. It's such an easy way to do it. 
The images were covered with epoxy dots and the whole thing went into the dedicated clay oven. 
They were then finished with several coats of Swellegant Iron Paint:

I finished them with Tiffany Green/Rust Patina, which you can find again here:

The product is green when used on some metals. When used with the iron coating it turns a lovely shade of rust. I love the effects I am getting with Christi's Swellegant products!

Here's the back of one of the pieces. I used E6000 to attach the filigree piece. 
I brushed the highlights and parts of the back with a little copper Gilders Paste.

I was on a roll with the filigree, and then Christmas took my attention away for a little while. I decided to make another Christmas tree this year.

This Year's Christmas Tree

There are two different trees on the table. The one in the back is made from parts of a tree that blew down in a windstorm a few years ago. The new one is in front. It's made from a small plant stand, covered by a tomato cage, and is topped with a tree-shaped metal candle holder. The whole thing is covered in ornaments. 

After the new tree was up and decorated, I made some things to submit to Willow & Sage.

Mountain Pepper Salt Soaks
The vines are made with hemp rope, paper leaves, and mulberry flowers. 
The mountain pepper, or May Chang plant, smells like lemons

I hand-stamped the labels, using my 1/4" metal stamps and a black Stazon Pad.
I used Mod Podge to adhere the stamped paper to a piece of vintage dictionary paper,
then a little more to adhere the whole thing to a scrap paper background.

The peppermint salt bars were given packaging made from freezer paper,
tea-stained seam binding, and Tim Holtz word bands.

Then I made a strawberry lemonade milk bath recipe.
I decided it needed shabby chic retro packaging. 
I bought the essential and fragrance oils from Brambleberry. They have wonderful scents.
Seriously. This stuff smells heavenly.

After hand-stamping all of those little tags, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and invest in a vintage typewriter. I've always wanted one. I looked on eBay and found one I loved... a Smith-Corona Silent model from the 1940's. I put it on my "watch" list, but they were asking over $300, which was more than I wanted to spend. As luck would have it, I found the exact model in a nearby antique store with a $55 price tag, so I bought it! 

My new typewriter

The ribbon even works. I put it to good use immediately. Instead of making batches of Christmas cookies this year, I made batches of easy melt-and-pour soaps. I wrapped them in freezer paper, tied them with string, and typed a label for each bar.

Tray of Christmas soap, instead of Christmas cookies!

I think it was a hit... everyone in the family seemed to find at least one scent they liked. I made hot cocoa peppermint, pineapple cilantro, grapefruit, lemon, orange spice, and chipotle caramel. My personal favorite was the clementine cupcake with cream cheese frosting, made in my handmade molds.

I seem to approach bath and body products with the same attitude I have when I am making jewelry. While everyone else is trying to make things as perfect as they possibly can, I am trying to make everything look rustic, even melt-and-pour soaps. 

Now that Christmas is over it's time to clean and reorganize my studio again. I've started with my beads. I'll post photos as I make progress.

The beads in the front are faux amber, made by Leslie Aja. 
I want to use them to make something really special.

To end the year on a very bright note, I've recently discovered the most wonderful writer and poet, Victoria Erickson. I'll leave you here with one of her fabulous quotes: