Monday, September 26, 2011

Phoenix Pendant-Arising From The Ashes

Wikipedia describes the Phoenix as a bird who: 
 "has a 500 to 1000 year life-cycle, near the end of which it builds itself a nest of twigs that then ignites; both nest and bird burn fiercely and are reduced to ashes, from which a new, young Phoenix or Phoenix egg arises, reborn anew to live again." This pendant is a Phoenix.

Finally,  For The Teal Blue Druzy From New Mexico
I worked diligently on a new type of setting for the base, making a seat out of 12 gauge square fine silver wire and then filing out the edge on the top so the odd shaped stone would fit. At this point, I used too much flame and the base fell apart.

That was the first time it fell apart. I soldered it back together and then I set up prongs around the edges
by pushing them into my new Cotronics brazing board--more about this board in a later post. Again, I used an acetylene torch and some of the prongs fell off. At this point, I walked away for a couple of weeks.
After a brief vacation from the heavy prong setting on a square wire seat, I picked up the pieces and started again. I was beginning to understand this strange, exotic cabochon. First, it is not symmetrical and one side is higher than the other. Second, the bottom is not flat as its beveled edge connects the curved top to the flatter base. It would be hard to set without prongs and without the thick wire seat. The dark bottom of the stone presented another issue. Since the bottom looked more like teal blue polymer than stone, it really needed to be hidden. For this reason, I decided to solder the square wire seat to a sterling backing and make it solid in back. Once this decision was made, the rest of the setting went together easier.

I then split a double half-round sterling wire for the bail and placed it so the tip of the stone would fit just at the bottom of the bail. All that was left was to place the stone and bend the prongs. This was a gift for my daughter as she selected the stone in New Mexico. It looks great on the 18" patterned sterling chain that I finished with a double S hook. So there you have it--a blue teal druzy, shot with titanium and set in a heavy prong, heavy seat setting dangling from an 18" sterling chain. A Phoenix pendant--risen from the flame and destruction to beautify a simple outfit.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bath To Bench Upcycled Organization Solution

Everyone that purchases a blow dryer--you know the kind--for blow drying hair, has received an additional attachment in the box. One of the more common of these is the diffuser pictured below.  I'm not sure what the diffuser is used for in this day and age but I do know, I hate to throw it out. It is such a well-formed piece of plastic with its little spikes and perfect holes all placed at even intervals.

A Diffuser Attachment Waiting To Be UpCycled

Instead of throwing this blow dryer attachment away, try using it to organize your dremel mandrels, polishing brushes, rubber wheels, and all other dremel bits and pieces! It will also work for your flex shaft attachments. This dryer attachment can be upcycled from bathroom use to workbench use allowing you to tame that workbench clutter!
Dremel and Flex Shaft Mandrels, Bits, Wheels, and Brushes Stored in a Diffuser

What do you upcycle for your home studio? Give us some ideas. We all need to reuse and upcycle.

Friday, September 2, 2011

More On Etching

I've had so many pieces in the process stage during the last three weeks that I have forgotten to add to my post on etching. Here is my etched bi-metal piece on a handforged copper neck ring:

Bi-Metal Etching of Mimbres Pottery Shard
Another etching design I have used is a print of New Mexico artist Nan Orr's black and white designs. So far, I've only etched these on copper by printing them first on Press N Peel paper and then transferring the designs to copper with heat from an iron.
Copper Etched Pieces on Fused Fine Silver Chain

Two 1"x1/2" Etched Copper Rectangles

Nan Orr's Sunflower Etched on Copper Square

It is really fun to transfer this artist's designs to copper with PnP and then etch them. If the designs don't fill in when transferred, you can fill them in by hand with a Sharpie fine tip, permanent marker. I love having that ability to fix the design before it goes into the etchant.

Annie at A Spinner Weaver blogspot, has a post about an artist in Illinois, George Colin, who paints in a colorful, primitive style. When I saw the post and his work, I thought how it would look when transferred to copper for an etching. Hmmmmmm. Ya never know what will happen next!