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. 🙂

THANK YOU on speech bubble price labels

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.

IMG_2066

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!

IMG_2015

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.

IMG_2017

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!

Ridonculous.

I know, it’s not a real word.  But it fits.

I had this vision when I was walking earlier this week. I’d seen some stone cairns in a stream at the park I like to walk at, and I thought they would make awesome pendants.  I didn’t get a picture of those actual cairns, but you get the idea. These are at Jenny Lake, near Jackson, WY.

cairns

So I thought, rather than make stones or blobs, I’d try making silver discs, and “flute” them a little.  I cut out 7 discs, annealed them, and drilled holes in the centers.  Here’s a pic of how I get them lined up so I can drill them without drilling my fingers.  The tape holds them in place on the wood block, and there’s a little divot in each disc to drill. I didn’t want them exactly centered, to get the offset and random look.

IMG_2043

(Well, technically, I’ve already drilled the holes here.)

Next, I went to town with a pliers. They ended up looking more like petals than stones, but I liked the effect.  After getting a nice little ball on the end of some 18g wire, I threaded all of the discs on it.  My original intent was to have them able to move around, but it really didn’t work out well. So I decided to solder the disc/petals to the wire.

Pretty much disaster. The wire wasn’t flush to the holes I’d drilled, and I couldn’t get the solder to stick. After working with it and getting two discs to stick, but the next one I soldered cause all of the previous ones to unstick, rinse and repeat about 12 times, I decided to try a larger gauge of wire.  16g to the rescue!

Better – I still had some difficulty in keeping previous disc/petals soldered when I heated up subsequent ones (even though I followed the rule of starting out with hard solder and working my way back to medium, and then easy) – but while I had to re-solder a few disc/petals, eventually I was down to the last one.

IMG_2045Here’s where I left it when I locked up the studio tonite.  The top disc/petal still isn’t on there solidly, but I just had to walk away. I REALLY like the concept however, and I’m excited to go back and finish it up.  Going to be a pendant, and I think I’ll work on the concept a bit more and see where I can go with it.