Thursday, October 28, 2010

What's new at wiresNpliers ArtFire?

First off, I'd like to invite you to vote in our Guild's October Challenge. The ArtFire Artisan Jeweler Guild of which I am a new member, has monthly Challenges, and yesterday I got an email mentioning that it was the last day to submit entries. Those of you that know me, also know that I find it hard to let any challenge pass me by. Well this month the challenge is "Copper"(either by metal or color shade). So I looked in my files, for the appropriate piece. This Guild requires items in a person's Studio to be at least 40% created, and by that I mean not manufactured. Here is the description: items must be handmade by me, meaning by wire, sheet metal, granular metals, metal , polymer clays, glass rods for bead making, and slab stones for cab making. Well this certainly raises the bar for me, and that is very good!
(More coming in a later post later about this bar raising experience. BIG NEWS!!!)

My entry for the Challenge is "Barren, Sticks 'n Stones." While I do not expect to win, or even get votes, it is still great exposure and it stimulates my creativity. Ever since our team Jewelry Artist Guild went dark at Etsy, I have really missed having Challenges. So I am very pleased to be entered into this Challenge at ArtFire! If you have a chance, slip on over and vote! I guarentee you, that you will see some gorgeous and very creative beautiful jewelry designs, including the understanding of what I mean when I say "raising the bar" for me and my work. Just click the image of "Barren" above (and you will be whisked away to the blog where you can vote for your favorite entry). And next month, it appears that the Challenge will be "Winter Wonderland" or something of that nature. Hmmmm..

Now, for my newest pieces at ArtFire. Since my work at ArtFire is completely handmade, I don't have a lot of the do-dads that I am used to adding on my jewelry like I do at Etsy, but that's OK. It is good for my hammers and tools to do things other than create items by just squeezing things together, and connecting things, and sliding beads on headpins. Since I make my own head pins I am pretty much free of manufactured components, though I will use cones, bead tips, and even a clasp or two is I feel it is necessary for the style of the piece I am working on.
At ArtFire, of course, all of the metals are Sterling silver, Gold fill, Copper or even Brass on my pieces and if there is something that I question as to it's purity, I will mention it in a listing.

First up, my Pink Ghost Earrings: Handmade head pins, flipped and hammered at the bottom to hold the beads securely in place, these headpins create beautiful baubles which hang from my cold-forged free formed Sterling Silver earrings. I chose 2 pink/blue* matching (or as close as I could get to matching) chalcedony stones. These are genuine stones, each with its own level of minerals in the quartz makeup. Chalcedonies are metamorphic versions of quartz; the quartzes that get pressured and heated underground to the point of melting and their chemical (mineral) traces start to blend, and then cooling without crystal growth, or no space or oxygen for crystal growth, they cool as they are, dense.

Chalcedony is the smooth dense quartz one sees in solid geodes, also the solid dense base below the crystal forms in hollow geodes, and depending upon the mineral content of the quartz, one will see different colors of chalcedony. Agates are also metamorphic quartz all in the same chalcedony family.

*These two chalcedony stones I call pink/blue, because next to pink they appear blueish, and yet next to blue, they appear pinkish! Because of the mock pleichroic appearance (the changing of colors depending upon the angle of light as it strikes the molecular lineup of mineral and crystal formation), I decided to combine these chalcedony stones with tanzanite, a famous gem of pleichroicism (is that even a word?). Tanzanite is a very well known gem that can bring exorbitant prices when in perfect or almost perfect saturation and cut into gems and set onto jewelry. Tanzanite ranges from blue to violet depending upon the light. Lesser saturation will show from light blue to pale lilac. No matter what saturation level it has, tanzanite is a beautiful gemstone and usually catches the eye when worn. Two small faceted tanzanite beads accompany each chalcedony stone which has been microfaceted, and it's milky translucent affect almost glows as each facet creates a sparkle affect. The two stones compliment each other nicely. They hang approximately 2" and they dangle at about 1.5." The ear wires are handmade shepherd hook style and come with soft rubber backs for security. $34

Another new item is also a freeformed style, tentatively named Purple Rain, this pair of earrings being a bit different in that they hang balanced from their handmade and latching ear wires. Two wavy loops free hang unevenly from the earwires in a movement effect. Each loop holds a beautiful briolette cut, grape colored amethyst from which small labradorite faceted beads accent them above their wraps. Their length is 2 3/8" with a dangles of about 1 3/4" creating a chandelier effect. $34

The freeformed shape is created by shaping both earrings together at the same time then hammering, filing , more shaping and hammering (hammering changes the shape by spreading and moving the metals in different directions when the molecules get warmed either by adding pressure or applying heat, and the item must then be reformed during the process). This is one of the reasons that each piece is slightly different. Sanding with finer and finer grits not only smooths the metals, it also starts the buffing process. I also love to polish every metal item with Renaissance Wax, a museum quality preservation wax, that is the utmost in waxing products.

And now, the reason for all of the free formed earrings: The Carnelian Teardrops.
These were custom made to match a necklace I previously made, also of a freeformed style, with all of these stones coming from the same lot, since carnelian has such a wide range of shades. This particular lot of stones, when I saw them, I immediately bought them, mainly because they
looked so much like some of the amber Fire Opals that come from the eastern side of my own state (Oregon). Now I have used them all up, save one single stone, which I may brio wrap in gold making a beautiful and dainty solitaire necklace.
I was asked to create a pair of earrings to match the necklace, and I gave a choice of 5 styles to view, from which 3 were chosen. I then made all three styles and from temporary wraps, I hung the stones and took images of each pair. Then I emailed the images for her choosing and she made her choice including her choice of earwire, and I completed her order, and shipped her new matching earrings to her. The remaining two styles were made into the earrings above! Perfect usage!


the hard part

Now, in keeping with my nature of being somewhat of an heelkicker, I would like to list an item that is related to the now infamous Etsy scandal of Fall 2010, when Etsy invited a guest blogger with an eco agenda, that titled her blog entry: Declaring Coral Too Precious To Wear. It was an article that focused on endangered corals being over harvested while proverbially kicking-the-shins of every etsy jewelry maker that owns and uses small inventories of coral in their designs when she asked readers to sign a pledge NOT to buy any jewelry with coral in it.

This of course has led many sellers to scratch their heads saying to Etsy: What were you thinking?
Etsy also allowed her to link readers away from Etsy, to her personal sales website; something that other Etsians are forbidden to do. Once again, Etsians scratch their heads wondering if there are duvets actually large enough for that bed they're all in together?
So, in the name of Etsy's Notorious Etsy CoralGate Fiasco let me introduce:

Black Soot Carbon Free Coral Rebellion Earrings: Safely harvested (in other words: inexpensive non collectible coral, dyed black) on handmade headpins with spiral bottoms surrounding freshwater oval shaped white pearls (also farmed) with pretty 24k goldplated (uh-oh, ok they claim it is 24k gold and I do believe them when they say plated) granulated disks and dark gold charlotte beads. Handmade 14k goldfill latching earwires are also on these earrings. $15
They will be listed at both ArtFire and Etsy, because I can create an additional pair if they sell at both sites at the same exact moment in time.

I will not be linking this blog article to Etsy, because I have heard rumors of sellers/hecklers having their shops "go dark," and suddenly showing the infamous "Uh-Oh" page that states: "This shop no longer exists" on the hallowed grounds where their shop once stood. So much for carbon footprints, eh? Or is that what they mean by carbon footprinting? hmmm?

Thanks for visiting my blog today, and I apologize for the buzz kill that I may have left anyone feeling. Hopefully, I will never have to voice my opinion like this again. Because I prefer laughter and happiness, though I acknowledge that it takes all to be well rounded.

And without the occasional negativity, how can one recognize all the positive things in life?

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