Moonray Egyptian Cartouche

When I saw Steampunk Garage‘s new kit Moonray Egyptian Cartouche, I knew I had to have it.  I’ve been obsessed with all things ancient Egypt since I was just a kid.

Not long after I completed my Etsy transaction to buy the kit and tutorial, I got my rings in the mail, and the kit in my email box. I glanced through the instructions and thought “Love it, but it doesn’t look all that difficult!”

HA!  How foolish that was in retrospect.

The madness begins.

I sorted out the rings and lined them up. (I also labeled them because there were lots of different sizes and some of them were pretty close in size and I didn’t want to mess them up.)

At first, it WAS easy.  I mean, just follow the instructions, which are super clear and concise.  Then I got to The Bugger Rings.  #1 was easy – deceptively so.  #2 was a little tougher.

Those open rings on the left. Those are the ones.

#3 was again deceptively easy.  Not as easy as #1, but still not terrible.

3 in! Woo Hoo!

Then I tried to put the 4th ring in that same spot.  THERE WAS NO OPENING.  I swear.  And of course the instructions say “I know you are going to tell me ‘there’s no opening’, but there is.”  There was vast amounts of cursing, manipulations, I even stuck a T-pin in at one point to try to get it to budge just a wee bit more.

Then I gave up.  Well, I didn’t really give up, I just took a break.  For about an hour, I sorted stones and put them away and did a couple of other housekeeping things in the studio (even a month after the move I’m still re-arranging and cleaning stuff up!)

I went back to it, and sweet talked that ring in…1/2 way.  Then I sweet talked it some more, and wiggled it until the end popped out where it was supposed to.

I literally yelled “YESSSSS” and cackled madly.  I think the guy in the studio next to me was probably questioning my sanity or at least what I was up to.

The rest of the pendant was relatively easy to finish.  And I LOVE it.

Hubby says I look like a Grandma Rapper with my bling.  I’m keeping this one as MINE.

 

Chunky Byzantine Graduated Necklace

One of my favorite customers (and a student of mine too) asked for a necklace that would match the super chunky Byzantine bracelet she’d gotten before Christmas.

I told her a necklace that size might snap her neck, but we could try something that graduated from the big chunky down to a smaller chain for the back.  She thought that would work!

On Saturday, I got about half of the necklace done before she stopped into the studio.  She loved the size, and I was able to finish up the weaving by the end of the day.

Just getting started.  This is how big her bracelet is – 16g 1/4″ rings.

All the rings, all the sizes. I ended up using 5 different sizes of copper rings to graduate

from the 16g 1/4″ down to 20g 5/32″

Weaving’s done. I had some 18g 3/16″ rings that were previously patina’d and they kind of stuck out.

After a bath in the pickle, all the rings are the same color!  She wants this patina’d DARK, so next up will be a bath in LOS and hours of tumbling.  I’ll post the finished product after she gets it!

 

 

Unpacking, arranging, rearranging…..

I moved out of Studio 314 two weeks ago, down to the 1st floor of the Hot Shops in Studio 109.  Because we had the kids here last weekend, I didn’t get a chance to go in and work on unpacking for a week, but I popped in for a couple of hours yesterday.

Got both of my benches set up, and I know I’ll do some additional rearranging of them once I start actually working.  My retail area is pretty set – I still want to get more on the walls, but it’s getting there.

Looking in from the hallway, the mess is diminishing….

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I turned a grid on it’s side in front of my “cold” bench because it’s going to have to help keep Rex in when I finally bring him in.  He loves to wander and visit people, but I just can’t have him doing that on the 1st floor.  Too easy for him to get out the front door or wander into the glass blowing shop!

Still working thru in my mind if I want to rearrange my maille set up retail areas or not. I’m not in love with it, might change out the lighter table coverings for something darker.  I wanted to give my daughter her own little area for her bags, and the baker’s rack seems to work well for them.  And the Christmas ornament/pendants block the front window….may make some changes there as well.

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Image may contain: indoor And while I like my door sign, I think I need another way to display it. I like showing off the “slinkyness” of the maille, but I thin it would look better if it were framed or mounted.

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Because of icy conditions today, I chose to stay home, but I’ll head back in tomorrow – hope to make more progress!

Inlay Work

I’ve started several chainmaille inlays, but have yet to finish one.  Think I might be close to finalizing my first one however!

What’s an inlay?  Basically, painting a picture of some sort with rings.  The one I’m currently working on is pretty simple, just the number of my new studio, but they can be very complex.

Rebeca of Blue Buddha Boutique created this amazing piece a few years back.  Full story is here…but some eye candy to start your appreciation of inlay work:

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That’s 27,000 rings worth of goodness!

Here’s one that’s a little simpler, but still cute and detailed.  (Artist unknown).

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When I started plans to move to a new studio this month, I noticed that there wasn’t a clear sign that showed the studio number outside my new studio.  I liked the unique “sign” we made for Pi studio (#314), and wanted to do something that would be unique to my art.

Inlay!

So I’ve been working on a new sign that I can hang outside my studio.  When it started out, my husband thought I was making a green and silver bracelet.

For inlay work, a lot of people use graph paper or a computer program to lay out their rings.  I hate counting rings, however, so I just freehanded it.  Went fairly well – I had to rework the “9” once, but otherwise not difficult.

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This was after I reworked the top of the 9.  The first attempt was too pointy and looked more like a 4.

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So the number section is complete – I’m going to add a few silver rows along the top and bottom to frame it, and have some ideas on the rest of the piece.

Hoping to have this done and hanging in my studio by next weekend!

Show me your workbench!

Periodically I get asked what my work space looks like.  Well, it’s a mess!  I do sort of know where everything is, or at least where it should be.  Too many times, it’s right in front of my face, on the bench somewhere.

I’ve actually got two work benches.  One is for “hot” – soldering, pickle, but also do most of my forging, sawing, drilling, and polishing on this bench.

The other bench is my “cold” bench – I do most of my maille work here, as well as sketching and designing.

With both of them, I “built in” rulers across the bottom, marking off inch and 1/2 inch increments.  Saves me a lot of time searching for a ruler.  Although I do know exactly where those are!

I probably have too much junk on my benches – bowls full of tumbled stones, dishes with scraps of metal and in-progress projects.  I really don’t think it distracts me too much though. Sometimes having that “thing” sitting in front of me will make me pick it up and re-think how to use it.

If you see anything that you want to ask about, whether it’s a tool or piece of work, let me know in the comments!

Saturday routine

I’m so glad we didn’t end up with the 6″ of snow that was forecast earlier this week today!  Saturdays are my day in the studio, and I was pretty bummed about missing that time.

Instead of 6″ of early March snow, we ended up with nothing.  Well, nothing but cold.  Perfect day for hanging out in the studio and creating.

I finished a brass Euro 4:1 necklace that I’d started last week, and made a Phaedra pendant from a tutorial I’d purchased this morning.  The Phaedra pendant is really cool – I love the way it came together – and I’ll be making more of them!  Mine is sterling with a clear crystal, but here’s the general idea.

After I finished the pendant, I poked through some old silver components I’d made a while back, and used them to make a new bracelet. While the bracelet was in the tumbler, I took photos for my Etsy shop so that I could post a few items (check out the Shop page!).

Spring Forward tonite….looking forward to warmer weather and no threats of snow!

Shop is open!

I’m excited to announce that my online shop is now open!  Click on the Shop tab, and you’ll see links to the pieces I have currently listed in my Etsy shop.  Easy peasy, click on a photo, and you’ll be taken to Etsy to purchase!

I’ll be adding more items soon, both one-of-a-kind and unique chainmaille works of art.  If you are looking for a custom piece, please send me a convo or email and we can work together to design something just for you.

What a weekend!

I’ve been in the Hot Shops Art Center for almost three years now. Every December and May, the Art Center hosts an Open House.  This spring, the center’s managers decided to push our open house back one week so it didn’t have competition with another big event in Omaha (Berkshire Hathaway’s Annual Shareholders meeting).

I was a little worried about the date, but I didn’t need to be!  I ended up having the most successful Open House yet…great traffic, lots of sales, and a number of custom orders – some of which are really going to push my creative and technical skills.

So, THANK YOU if you were able to make the Open House.  If you didn’t, make plans to visit Omaha and the Hot Shops the first weekend of December (or sooner!).  We’ll do it all over again. 🙂

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Personal Touch

For years, I’ve put tags on my sterling silver necklaces and bracelets.  The tags are tiny, and actually serve a functional purpose – the wearer can use them to help hold the end of the piece that needs to go in the clasp, making it easier to put on a bracelet or necklace.

They also add a bit of weight to a bracelet on the clasp end, which keeps the clasp inside the wrist when the bracelet is being worn.

Each tag is stamped with “CMY”, symbolizing C-My Designs and “signing” my work.

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Sterling Silver Dragon Steps weave bracelet

While I’ve been doing this for a long time with sterling, and added copper tags a couple of years ago, I didn’t have any tags in aluminum, which is one of my best sellers.  I finally found some time aluminum tags, and I was excited to add my “signature” to my anodized aluminum bracelets!

The stamping process is fun!

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Aluminum tags

I try to do a bunch of tags at one time so I have them made up when I create a piece that’s going to be tagged.  When I’m stamping, I do it assembly line style.  First, I line up the tags, pull out my stamps, and grab a small hammer.  In the photo above, I’ve stamped the C on all the tags.

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These tags are done!  They aren’t all exactly the same, but that’s the beauty of handmade. 🙂

Now my aluminum bracelets have the same personal touch as my sterling silver bracelets.  I love the way they look, and that they are now “signed” too.

Scraps to Treasure

Just a short post today – I worked on a custom request last week, and while I can’t show that project yet, I took a quick video to show how I take little cuttings of silver and turn them into something usable.

Those little scraps?  They are the ends of some silver rings that I had to clip off so the rings would have flat(ter) ends.  I didn’t want them to go to waste, and I’ve been making fun things with silver balls, so I used the torch to heat them to melting point, and they all run together and become one.

Enjoy!