Don’t ever say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. At nearly 70 years old, David Webb still reigns supreme as an iconic, American jewelry house full of the most exquisite designs. One look at a David Webb piece and you KNOW it is a David Webb piece. From the finest craftsmanship, to the bold enamels and well-known motifs, the jewelry has been delighting since 1948. They have a strong following, a large amount of die-hard collectors and a presence known worldwide; not to mention a showroom/workshop located on Madison Avenue in NYC and a boutique in Beverly Hills. You’d think debuting for the first time at a tradeshow would not be on their agenda. Could such a legendary American brand make a move like that? And if so, how could they “do it their way”?
I was very curious myself…however feeling more excited than any other emotion. I made sure that David Webb was first on my Couture agenda–Villa 112 was the place and I was ready to gawk, gander and swoon. Walking into the Villa, I thought I was in their NYC boutique for a minute. Luxury was brought to the desert and the animal kingdom followed along too. I got to see many of the pieces that hit the red carpet over the past year–like totem necklaces, which one was worn by Nicole Richie back in November and I still can’t think of a better look. I love seeing David Webb worn on the red carpet and it is always magical when it happens. Speaking of red carpet, nothing would look more incredible than the turquoise and emerald necklace I got to try on while at Couture–could you imagine that on the red carpet?! Hopefully it will happen in the future. I also got to revisit some animal favorites–like panthers and cats (rings) and dolphins, fish and snakes (bracelets).
One new aspect of David Webb which debuted during Vegas Jewelry Week, is a scaled down collection with a lower price point than typical pieces. This new collection, called Motif, features black and white enamel and appeals to all ages. There are also new entry-level pieces from the Tool Chest collection, which I actually am a proud-owner of from the off-chance I entered my name into the drawing to win a pair of Nail Stud Earrings. I couldn’t believe I won! I’ve obviously been wearing them ever since. (The next day I wore them to the Antique Show, and almost every dealer commented on them!) I’ve included a photo of the earrings above (last photo) and they are done in 18k hammered gold and are only $680.
Be sure to stop by David Webb if you’re ever in the NYC area or Beverly Hills to check the new collection out. If you thought you’d never be able to afford a piece of David Webb, think again–this new collection may be your chance!
Special thanks to Levi Higgs of David Webb for taking the photos!
Doyle & Doyle is thrilled to debut pieces from a spectacular cache of rare antique jewels, all acquired from a single collector. Including jewelry from ancient Rome, 17th century Spain, and 19th century France, these are the best examples of their type and many are hallmarked by well known jewelers. Keep reading for a sneak peek of the historic collection before it goes on exhibition at Doyle & Doyle in September.
These exquisite micromosaic pieces date to the mid-19th century and are hallmarked for the Vatican Workshop of the Papal State.The Vatican’s mosaic studio was founded in the 16th century, its skilled artisans create artworks commissioned by wealthy patrons and pieces for the Pope to give as gifts. The Sistine Chapel ceiling by Michelangelo, Saint Peter’s Square designed by Bernini, and Raphael’s “The School of Athens” are among the many masterpieces you can discover at the Vatican. Originally founded in the 16th century, the skilled artisans working in the Vatican’s mosaic studio create pieces for the Pope to give as gifts and artworks commissioned by wealthy patrons. They also oversee and maintain the ten thousand square meters of colorful mosaics that adorn Saint Peter’s Basilica. This bangle and brooch are beautifully made, featuring glass tesserae so tiny that the designs look like paintings in shades of red, blue, green, and white. Perhaps a wealthy young man purchased them during his Grand Tour through Europe, or they were gifts to an important Church official. No matter their origin, they are little works of art that display the incredible skill of the Vatican’s workshop.
The collection includes other ecclesiastical jewels in addition to the Vatican micromosaics, including a variety of gem-set and enameled crosses from many different periods. This striking dimensional crucifix cross is Spanish from the 17th century, detailed with enamel and engraving that resembles wood grain. Although probably not original, we love it worn on the black ribbon choker, especially when layered with antique gold guard chains. Although these are museum quality jewels, they’re definitely wearable!
There are also charming examples of sentimental and devotional jewelry. The rose cut diamond encrusted heart hangs from a sweet rose gold dove. The diamonds are foil backed and you can see hints of pink, gold, and even green reflecting through the stones. The rare late 17th century Spanish reliquary pendant is a small compartment that holds a tiny bit of a saint’s blood. It’s backed by a hand painted figure of a female saint and framed by emeralds and garnets. This type of jewel was probably a private devotional artwork. Spain being an intensely Catholic country, people believed in the power of saints to affect their daily life. In additional to more traditional liturgy, 17th century Spaniards prayed to their personal saint to intervene and make their lives better.
The other half of this incredible collection is comprised of museum quality Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau jewelry. The Arts & Crafts Movement was a direct response to the mechanization and poor working conditions engendered by the Industrial Revolution in the mid-19th century. Adherents looked to the Middle Ages, nature, and popular folk art for inspiration, seeking to return to an idyllic time before mass production. Shying away from precious materials, Arts & Crafts jewelers favored readily available gemstones, such as garnet, amethyst, citrine, opal, and moonstone. The delicate gold pendant is British, comprised of hand wrought wirework set with bright blue turquoise and glowing moonstone.
By the end of the century, Art Nouveau artists took the theme of nature to the next level. Art Nouveau jewelry often incorporated idealized female forms with swirling, whiplash hair framed by sensuous flora, like this striking silver mirror locket. Dating to 1900, this lovely piece is hallmarked for French jeweler Lucien Coudray. Coudray specialized in engraving medals and won several prizes for his artistry. Another popular form was a winged female with gossamer enamel wings studded with tiny gems or pearls. This statuesque dragonfly woman was created around 1900 and bears the hallmark of noted Art Nouveau jeweler, Gaston Laffitte. The light filters through the translucent green plique-a-jour enamel wings, creating a delicate stained glass effect.
This is just a small preview of the incredible historic collection – want to see it all? Doyle & Doyle is putting on a public exhibition in September. Email [email protected] for more information and to get on the invite list!
This post was contributed by Juliet Rotenberg of Doyle & Doyle, thank you!!
Want more?! To check out the store tour of Doyle & Doyle, click here.
A point of view that needs to be explored more often and more inquisitively is the role of THE MAKER. Every jewelry designer has a story, a technique, preferences and ways of doing things…but a favorite metal? That’s easy, it is usually GOLD. I teamed up with May Is Gold Month to delve further into this perspective, asking six different jewelry designers the same two questions. What will their answers reveal about using gold in their jewelry designs? Let’s find out!
You can also take a look at the MAKERS which May Is Gold Month is featuring on their page here.
Above video features Philadelphia-based jewelry designer Anthony Lent creating a one-of-a-kind engagement ring for a special client. Each piece is handmade by the maker himself in his studio.
Anthony Lent Jewelry
How is gold important in your work?
For years I only worked in gold and some platinum. For me doing non conventional designs and creating them in a precious metal like 18k yellow gold was sort of an identity- the imagery in my designs was unusual to see in such a fine material.
Why do you like working with gold?
It is the most pleasurable metal to work with! The color of a rich 18 or 22k gold piece of jewelry is unlike anything else in nature. The way light plays off the material, the density of it, and its malleability is in my opinion why people have lusted after it for thousands of years.
>> Learn more about Anthony Lent here.
Jessie V E Jewelry
How is gold important in your work?
Gold is absolutely essential in my work. The finish and feel of gold is like no other metal, and because I mostly use diamonds in my pieces, it’s really important that the jewellery they’re held in is as precious as the stones. I remember the first time I got to use gold at the bench while I was studying for my jewellery degree at university. I honestly didn’t realise it would be that different to working in silver but i was so wrong! From that moment the love affair with gold started and I physically couldn’t design anything without it. Although I don’t make the pieces at the bench myself for Jessie V E, I work very closely with the workshop, ensuring we use the highest quality gold in each expertly hand made piece.
Why do you like working with gold?
Often my jewellery has a symbolic or emotional feel, with the majority of the pieces being personalised or ‘semi-bespoke’, because I want them to become heirlooms passed down and cherished by future generations. Gold not only has the nostalgic and warm feel of the jewellery you remember seeing your grandparents and parents wearing when you were younger, but also from a more practical sense, gold is a metal that very few people have an allergy to, therefore making it perfect for everyday jewellery that lasts longer than a lifetime. There is just something about the feel, weight and warm glow of a gold piece of jewellery that is perfect for attaching memories and sentiment to, while looking beautiful and timeless.
>> Learn more about Jessie V E here.
How is gold important in your work?
Gold is important in my work because it has a rich history that dates back to the ancient Egyptians. Gold never corrodes and it was thought to symbolize immortality. This makes it the perfect ring for wedding and commitment bands.
Why do you like working with gold?
Gold is a beautiful metal to work with, it’s malleable yet extremely durable. I love the range of colors you can achieve by alloying gold with other metals. It gives me the flexibility to create unique alternative engagement rings, to match my customers personalities perfectly.
>> Learn more about Metalicious Jewelry here.
Johnny Ninos Jewelry
How is gold important in your work?
Gold has played a big role in progressing my work. While transitioning from silver, the cost of gold required me to slow down and focus more intently on the details. I remember honing in on each file stroke and tightening my burr control; skills I now apply to all materials regardless of cost.
Why do you like working with gold?
Gold is an easy metal to love. It’s luscious and has a rich, deep character. When I’m working with gold it’s soft qualities preserve the handmade nature of the piece while still allowing for structure, durability, and precision.
>> Learn more about Johnny Ninos here.
Grace Lee Designs
How is gold important in your work?
Everything in my collection is solid gold and made locally with ethically sourced materials. When I started my collection, almost 10 years ago now, there was a lack of minimal fine jewelry. Personally, I was at a point in my life when I didn’t want to invest in jewelry that will tarnish or turn my finger green. If the outside of my finger is green then who knows what’s happening on the inside of my body.
Why do you like working with gold?
Gold is intrinsically a soft and malleable metal yet strong and unchanging. Its value comes from these physical properties and its rarity. Gold was discovered thousands of years ago yet still today it remains one of Earth’s most valuable natural resources. I like working with gold because of the creative possibilities with a malleable yet unchanging raw material are endless and lasting. If you look at my collection we have pieces like the iconic Whisper Ring – that is airy and whisper thin yet can be worn everyday. The fact that it is solid 14k gold means you don’t need to take it off to shower or wash your hands. The fact that is solid 14k gold also means your piece will not change and can be passed on for generations.
I think it is rare and valuable to be flexible yet constant simultaneously. It is almost an oxymoron. Think about some of your favorite people – perhaps they are flexible and can adapt to changing circumstances yet you are confident they will also remain the same at a core level. Personally, I like these intrinsic characteristics in gold and in people.
As a designer that’s what I hope to do – to evolve yet stay constant. As I continue to create new collections it is my hope that people will continue to be able to appreciate and recognize my work as distinctively GL.
>> Learn more about Grace Lee here.
Sophie Hughes Jewelry
How is gold important in your work?
Why do you like working with gold?
There is a very potent mystique intrinsic to gold – it is radiant, lush and seductive. It looks and feels luxurious on the body. The specific alloy of 18 karat gold I use in my work is bright and rich, with an old-world feel supplied by its cool undertones. As a designer, I appreciate its versatility as a material – it stands on its own but also plays nice visually when set with precious stones or fused over the surface of oxidized sterling silver.
I draw a lot of excitement and inspiration from the unlimited design possibilities of gold. Plus, working with it is an absolute dream! It remains clean when heated, is smooth as butter, and responds beautifully to the textures of the antique hammers I utilize in my work. It’s super forgiving because it has a great capacity to be worked and re-worked.
Gold is also easily recycled so its use aligns with my values as a designer. The metal mining industry is disruptive to the environment and is notorious for unscrupulous labor and business practices, so partnering with refineries who melt and mill precious, reclaimed scrap allows me access to material I feel good about working with and my clients feel good about wearing.
>> Learn more about Sophie Hughes here.
This sponsored post was brought to you in collaboration with May Is Gold Month.
Miniature white enamel egg set with a red enamel coin of Elizabeth I and four cushion-cut sapphires. By Fabergé, ca. 1895.
Miniature egg with white enamel stripes and set with a turquoise. By Fabergé , workmaster A. Hollming, ca. 1900.
A jouré yellow and green gold egg, punctuated with rose diamonds around the center. By Fabergé , workmaster A. Hollming, ca. 1900.
A two-color gold-mounted egg-form aventurine quartz hand seal on brilliant translucent green enamel base. By Faberge, St. Petersburg, ca. 1900.
Legendary Fabergé eggs–eggs so popular, that almost everyone knows what you’re talking about when you mention their name. For me, these were my first obsession above all other types of jewelry. I remember going to my local public library and wanting to check out a book on making crafts out of egg cartons–I saw the recommendation on Reading Rainbow! Instead, I found my way to a book on Fabergé eggs and was infatuated. In fact, for the first time in my life, I loved the book so much I never returned it. I didn’t care it was wrong because this book lit up my life! My second run in with Fabergé eggs happened when I was in high school. I became obsessed with watching Joan Rivers on QVC and admired her love of Fabergé eggs. Back then, she had created her own jewelry line with bundles of three eggs per chain of her own miniature versions of “Fabergé eggs.” I ordered my first trio of eggs and was hooked. I can’t remember how many I collected over the next few years, but after graduating college, I was able to pay for my trip to study abroad from selling my Joan Rivers Egg Collection. It was quite a few. I honestly wish I still had those eggs, but I wouldn’t trade my overseas experience for anything!
It is no myth that Fabergé eggs are enchanting, often mysterious, and full of intrigue. If you were married to a Russian tsar, the ideal Easter gift would be a Fabergé egg designed by none other than Carl Fabergé himself. The first ever Fabergé egg was made in 1885 and presented to Alexander III. Since then, it varies as to how many are apparently out there, but some sources say 65 Imperial eggs were made, some say 50, some say 52, but it is known that only 43 have survived–there is a really comprehensive table that describes each, citing where the egg is now. A few are cited as “Lost” and it is with lots of hope that they will be recovered someday.
Circular aquamarine and diamond Imperial Presentation brooch with an Imperial crown decoration. By Fabergé, workmaster A. Hollming, St. Petersburg, ca. 1913.
Natural pearl and diamond floral brooch with blue enamel border. By Fabergé, Moscow, 1896-1908.
Diamond and green garnet necklace mounted in platinum. By Fabergé, ca. 1900.
Natural pearl ruby and diamond necklace set in platinum and gold. By Fabergé, ca.1900.
Fabergé gold-mounted lozenge-form brooch, set with diamonds and red enamel wreath over white guilloché enamel ground. By Fabergé, St. Petersburg, ca 1890.
Lozenge brooch with a central cabochon moonstone, set with rose diamonds, and white enamel. By Fabergé, workmaster A. Hollming, St. Petersburg, ca. 1900.
Fabergé eggs created for the general public, not just zsars, continued being the company’s most popular pieces. In the year 1900, the House of Fabergé was completed which literally was a large building which centralized all the operations–bringing together workshops, artisans, a design department, even Carl Fabergé’s own place of residence, in one large building. Throughout the turn-of-the-century, Fabergé turned out elaborate pieces of jewelry, decorative drinking cups and bowls, items for writing, miniature hardstone animals, a wide variety of photo frames (as Kodak launched its first camera), and much, much more. He employed hundreds of craftsmen under conditions that were very superior, with great pay. As success continued, expansion happened, until the first World War broke out in 1914. The House of Fabergé lost a lot of workers to the draft, precious metals were haulted to use, so the items that were produced during this time were created from materials like copper, nephrite, brass, and silver. Carl Fabergé ultimately fled Russia and died in 1920.
Many of the pieces of jewlery and decorative arts which Fabergé created during its height of success are highly collectible. A La Vieille Russie, a shop in NYC, has specialized in Fabergé since opening in 1961. You’ll be amazed by these authentic, one-of-a-kind Fabergé items, including some eggs that ALVR currently has in their inventory. If you haven’t read the blog post featuring my visit to ALVR, you must! Here is the link.
White enamel and two-color gold hanging bellpush. Contained in original fitted hollywood box. By Fabergé, St. Petersburg, workmaster H. Wigström, ca. 1915.
Carved two-color jasper miniature egg in the form of a Kingfisher with diamond eyes. By Fabergé, Moscow, ca. 1900.
Gold-mounted brilliant pink guilloché enamel egg-form pendant locket, the opening set with rose diamonds. By Fabergé, workmaster M. Perchin. St. Petersburg, ca. 1895.
Anyway, I thought the quick history on Fabergé paired with some pieces that are available would make my readers very happy on Easter! Hope you enjoyed!
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts app called Fabergé at VMFA
This sponsored blog post was brought to you in collaboration with A La Vieille Russie.
My last stop on my Boston tour for my #JewelryRoadTrip project took us about 30 minutes outside of the city, to a town called North Andover. Here, a jewelry empire is taking shape and they’ve only been in business for a few years. Melanie Casey Fine Jewelry began with a sketchbook of designs and Melanie’s desire to work with her hands. Her whimsical, antique-inspired rings, necklaces, earrings and bracelets are just what every girl dreams of–and if the Instagram likes are any indication of success, she is blowing up! It has been great to watch the growth and finally seeing everything in person is the best part.
Melanie just recently opened her own studio/showroom, a space unitentionally ideal for a growing business, as she has plenty of room to grow. There are two sections that make up the space: the work room and the showroom. The work shop is where jewelers’ benches are lined up, a laser welder sits in all its glory, and computers are ready for emails and website updates. The afternoon that I visited, there were four jewelers (all women, yay) working their magic, creating the delicate jewels that will soon be found on their new, forever owners. It was like Santa’s workshop in there and you would think they have been a part of this production for several years–but alas, some have just started and Melanie is looking to add more bench jewelers to her team! I never knew this until recently, but you can actually follow @MakersofMelanieCasey on Instagram to see the behind-the-scenes of the studio life.
Changing gears–only a few steps away is the showroom–a definite juxtaposition from the work room, however equally as important. This enchanting space has been furished and decorated with antiques from Brimfield (only an hour and a half away) and displays made by Melanie’s dad. The showroom reflects the exact vibes the jewelry gives off, and I love that. The pastel-colored, circular ring boxes are all handmade right in studio and they will be coming soon to the website, available for purchase. To me, they look like macaroons in the best way possible. If you’re in the area, you can make an appointment to stop by and have access to all the jewelry so trying things on will be effective and help with decision making. There are also times where there are open showroom hours, so no appointment necessary! To find out when those happen, just follow Melanie Casey Jewelry on social media and/or sign up for their newsletter.
It’s no secret that the Melanie Casey Jewelry line is every bride-to-be’s wish list engagement ring. With ethereal styles and unique wedding band options, you can find your perfect ring for your big day. One trend that is major right now for brides is minimalistic engagement rings, and you will find lots of great examples of this from Melanie. Below are my top picks you can shop now and be on the lookout for some new, amazing designs coming soon–I got to see them in early production stages and they are so pretty (hint: butterfly)!
I was talking to my friend and fellow blogger a few days back regarding her Europe travels and she remarked that she had only travelled to all those places as she was already stationed abroad and that it requires dedication to travel to another country (and continent) just to learn a skill and better yourself. She, ofcourse was referring to my latest USA travel to attend Beadfest Workshops
I was talking to my friend and fellow blogger a few days back regarding her Europe travels and she remarked that she had only travelled to all those places as she was already stationed abroad and that it requires dedication to travel to another country (and continent) just to learn a skill and better yourself. She, ofcourse was referring to my latest USA travel to attend Beadfest Workshops. Some people might consider me lucky but only I know the hurdles that I had to cross and planning and work that I had to do (and still doing) to make the trip happen. Many have also written to me asking if I could teach them enamelling or Precious metal clay that I learnt there. As a full time design educator, I am not someone who takes teaching lightly and without really practicing what I had learnt ( I mean I just did it once in a few hours time!) and experimenting with different techniques I cannot teach them. But this Diwali, we are all indeed lucky. You and me can take any class we want, from world class instructors in the comfort of our our own homes for just $20 at Craftsy. Post contains affiliate links
Yes you heard it right! Craftsy is now having a mega sale on its classes – you can learn anything from water color painting to how to sew a bra or how to solder metal for $20 starting today till Monday. Isn’t this a great Diwali bonus? The best part about craftsy classes is, once you buy a class, it never expires. So you can watch the demo over and over again or go back to it and watch a particular step if you ever get a doubt which is not possible in a live class which far outweighs the other benefits
I do agree that not everything can be learnt online, in a asynchronous platform. As jewelry being a touchy feely subject you might think that learning online might not work out for you. This issue can be simply solved by picking classes and techniques that can easily be learnt online. Here is a handy guide aka cheat sheet to help you figure that out.
How to Pick Jewelry making classes online
1. Material Availability – Pick a class where the materials are easily available to you (locally) or that use materials in stock as you need to be able to practise the skill that you just learned. For E.g – Take a Creative wire jewelry class if you already have base metal or artistic wire and required tools with you 2. Technique Up gradation –A new or advanced technique class where you have experience with the material For e.g A Metal Form folding class will help advance your sheet metal skills, A Resin casing and sculpting class will help you further polish yourresin jewelry making skills
3. Learning tips and tricks –To get guidance from a master – to learn tips and tricks of the trade. If you are self taught in soldering, then taking a course like Soldering Success in Every Scenario will equip you with tips and tricks that you would take years to learn by yourself. 4. International Exposure – Pick a class which is not taught locally in your state or country. Believe me, it is much easier (and cheaper) to import materials and try out a technique taught online rather than flying to another country to try learning it, especially if you are not sure if you are going to practice it professionally after learning it. It is almost impossible to find a tutor to teach Torch fired Enamelling in India but it can be easily learnt online.
Pin or print out the above cheat sheet on how to pick a online class and use it as a guide whenever you are faced with a dilemma. Remember to never let your age, health or financial issues come in the way of your learning to be the best that you can be. Whether you are looking to add a new skill to your repertoire or pursue a new hobby, I hope that craftsy’s classes give you the best that you are looking for.
I hope you found it interesting. Wishing you all a very very Happy Diwali. May this festival of Lights with your lives with happiness and prosperity Cheers
Whenever I show the pieces that I made at Beadfest to my relatives, they ask with wonderment – “How did you make so much in four days?” My answer was and is that after years of instructing students to concentrate in class, I took my own advice and applied it to the workshops. Still, I too was amazed to see how much one can accomplish with hard work.
Whenever I show the pieces that I made at Beadfest to my relatives, they ask with wonderment – “How did you make so much in four days?” My answer was and is that after years of instructing students to concentrate in class, I took my own advice and applied it to the workshops. Still, I too was amazed to see how much one can accomplish with hard work. But it wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t have wonderful and generous instructors. I spoke about Jean Breaderoe and Marti Brown in the part one of the Beadfest post. In this post, I would like to share my experiences of the other two workshops that I attended with Richard Salley and Lisel Crowley.
Day 3: Stacking Stones
When I was selecting workshops to attend, I was very particularly that I learn at least 4 different skills. I chose metal as my common link and wanted to pick one metal clay, one coloring or patina, one bezel setting and an another class for some extra soldering input. I kept changing the classes to fit into the available time, skill level and their affordability. But, however, I chose I kept coming back to the stacking stones class by Richard Salley. His pieces looked so chunky and store bought (meaning so well made that it could be casted using a machine mould) I backed off thinking that I don’t have enough soldering experience to do justice to it and then he wanted us to bring tools. How was I going to carry saw blades and hammers on an international flight? Finally, I summoned up some courage and wrote to him. He was very sweet and offered to teach me if I was interested. Ofcourse, I was interested! He stayed true to his word at the workshop and taught me very patiently, calling me “Little girl” all the while 🙂
In a few hours, I learned how to size a cab, drill a hole in an agate cab (it was super hard!!), make a bezel, saw the backplate, make silver balls, rivets stones, set a stone, and solder a ring base to the bezel. I did that all at one shot for the first time. My very first bezel was a perfect fit for the stone OMG!! Though I melted one of the silver beads during the final solder and had a normal redo with the riveting (flaring) the turquoise stone setting to agate, the ring turned out to be pretty decent.
I was super thrilled that I bought more silver from him to try and set a chunky lapis lazuli cab that I had bought in Mt.Abu in 2012. Then disaster struck at every stage, I melted the bezel wire, burnt away silver beads and my base plate became shapeless. How much ever I tried I couldn’t fix it, even after Richard taught me how. By this time, even those participants who were trying complicated cutouts for their first piece had finished them and left. But Richard was extremely patient, and he fixed the bezel for me and showed me how to smooth a setting over a large stone. The “D” is slightly tilted and the texturing has flared out the metal in a couple of placesbut overall I am happy with it. So I patina-ed and sealed it after coming home but I am yet to string it.
Day Four – Romancing the Stone
On the final day I took up he Precious metal clay class with the PMC queen Lisel Crowley. I am not a clay person to begin with, so I took up this class to challenge myself knowing fully well that I will not be working with PMC anytime in the near future as its very expensive and I don’t have a kiln to fire my pieces in. As expected I didn’t enjoy this class much.My clay was extremely dry and it had to be reconditioned many times and I had to redo my bezel over 5 times as it kept cracking. Also the stone that I initially picked turned out to be too big for the amount of clay that we were given so I had to change my design as well. But somehow I figured things out and made one Art Nouveau style vine pendant and another mini charm using a cubic zirconia stone that I had with me and scraps of leftover clay.
I did learn a lot about what not to do with clay in this class – like, if you want a textured impression at the back plate then you must be careful during the final cleanup before firing and you must not sand after dehydrating but after firing. I also found that cold hands like mine are actually an advantage when working with PMC.
I brushed it clean, patinaed and sealed this piece after I came back but I am yet to string it or wear it. I like the fact that it is quite heavy and looks like an antique heirloom (probably worn by some medieval princess)
I cannot conclude writing about my beadfest experiences without mentioning all the wonderful people I met there. Everyone was so friendly and even extra nice when they found out that I had come all the way from India.I had a fan girl moment when I clicked a selfie with the Susan Lenart Kazmer of Ice Resin and Justin Russo of Ranger inks. I cannot forget the ever helpful and ever Ellie who manned Beadfest’s FB page and answered all my queries patiently. On the second day after the niobium I met Lori Schneider and Robin Showstack who stayed with me as roommates for the rest of the fest. It was so much fun being with them – listening to their stories, learning from their experiences and at night showing off each others haul of the day. I have never stayed with or even spent a lot of time with people (in person of course, nah, Social media doesn’t count!) who share my love for all things jewelry in a very long time. Thank you guys for making my beadfest trip very enjoyable and memorable. If I ever get an opportunity to attend beadfest or a similar event with beads and jewelry I would definitely be there. It the meanwhile I need to work on my completely diminished physical health and slightly shaky financialhealth and get back to normal boring life. I hope you found it interesting Cheers
Beadfest Fall is almost upon us (from October 13-16th 2016) at Tacoma but I realise that I am yet to write about my experiences at Beadfest Summer 2016. The last month has been pretty exacting – I have been extremely sick yet was working full time.
Beadfest Fall is almost upon us (from October 13-16th 2016) at Tacoma but I realise that I am yet to write about my experiences at Beadfest Summer 2016. The last month has been pretty exacting – I have been extremely sick yet was working full time. I was the organiser of a 2 week long event with competitions and ceremonies at work and then came the navaratri display. But slowly I am getting a handle on things so without much ado here are the highlights of my beadfest workshop experience – well in two quick successive posts. Beadfest Summer 2016 happened at Oaks, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. From King of Prussia (where I stayed at) I had to go through the valley Forge park to get to Audoban and Oaks. The first morning I was pretty scared, for the route looked like a hill station roa d- completely green and devoid of houses or stores for a few miles but then slowly I began to enjoy it for it is impossible to find such beautiful trails in Chennai. So coming back to the workshops – I had such fantastic learning and so many experiences in four days that I cannot do it justice by by cramming it all into one post. Hence in this post I am going to only talk about the first two workshops.
Day 1: Celestial Fusion I couldn’t have asked for a better class to start my beadfest experience or a better teacher than Jean Van Brederode of Charmed I’m Sure Studio. Jean was very sweet and patient and her work with both Crackle Enamel and stamped solder was fantastic and very inspiring. Including me there were only five of us in the class so we got to learn and experiment a lot. At first, we learnt was to create the back piece for prong setting – cutting the plate and wire, making the bail and soldering them together using sheet solder which was all very new for me.
Then we domed another disc and enamelled it in layers. I was working with full dedication at great speed (inspite of cutting my thumb in the first 10 minutes) until I spilled a load of enamel powder on my disc and panicked. Jean calmed me down and helped me streamline it. I did a couple of firing adding colors each time that I had a fabulous piece in the end that I set and wore it immediately. I then made another piece to practice – this time using black crackle enamel.
Some instructors do not like to part with extra supplies but Jean encouraged us to make as many pieces as we wanted in the 7-hour class which was so refreshing. I made three extra discs and 2 sets of earring charms. I also tried counter enamelling. In the Beadfest site this class was referred to as “Kiln enamelling” which troubled me as I wanted to learn torch enamelling (something that I could do at home) but it turned out to be torch enamelling only. Jean had brought a kiln but we never used it.
As a kid my mom would tell me stories of palaces and forts in places like Agra and Jaipur but instead of focusing on the prince- princess part, she would talk to me about architecture and ornamentation. Years later, at the age of 12, on my first trip to Agra and Jaipur I fell in love with inlaid stones, marble and enamelling (meenakari) and the stories I heard before started to come to life.I have been enthralled with the richness and smoothness of colour that meenakari gives jewelry and I have tried more than once to find tutors who would teach and have failed.
As a kid my mom would tell me stories of palaces and forts in places like Agra and Jaipur but instead of focusing on the prince- princess part, she would talk to me about architecture and ornamentation. Years later, at the age of 12, on my first trip to Agra and Jaipur I fell in love with inlaid stones, marble and enamelling (meenakari) and the stories I heard before started to come to life. I have been enthralled with the richness and smoothness of colour that meenakari gives jewelry and I have tried more than once to find tutors who would teach and have failed. But after every such attempt, I would ask myself if I could do such fine, precise work and even if I could, did I want to do it? I realised that I wanted something more organic, something that would flow and merge without being held down by conventional rules. I wanted a medium that would resonate with my free spirited nature and after a lot of search I found Relique powders
Before moving on into the technique let me give you a bit of background here. I came across the Iced Enamelling process in 2013 via videos and was fascinated. As it was a bit expensive then, I let it go. Then in 2014, as fate would have it, I became a part of the Ice resin Creative team and was soon sent Iced enamels relique powders to try.
What is iced enamelling
Iced enamelling is the process of using ICED enamel relique powders to color metal in a fun way. Though it comes under cold enamelling process (which requires the use of neither the kiln nor the torch), it does require a little heat to fully form. There are 14 available colors out of which three are glitz metallic (fine glitter), three are matt metallic and the rest are solid colors. Watch the video by Sun Lenart Kazmer for a simple DIY
Materials required for iced enamelling Apart from the Relique powders, you will also require a bottle of Enamels Medium, a heat gun, a tile to work with, a two part epoxy resin (preferably Ice resin) and ofcourse the metal piece that you want to enamel. It is interesting to note that though enamelling is a technique that is commonly associated with metal and the powders have been specifically developed for this purpose, they also work well with a resin or a plastic base. I did try this technique in my Nouveau roses necklace‘s pendant which won the ABS monthly challenge for Art beads. The butterflies and leaves shown in this post were made by participants in my recent resin workshops. Arent they pretty sweet?