Sunday, January 22, 2017

Using What You Learn

One thing I still struggle with today is how to further my skills without spending a fortune.  I mean, while my jewellery is something I love to do passionately, I don't want to work it seriously enough to earn full time money.  So there is not a lot of income coming in to support expensive education bills, and alas current trends are for local Tafe and Tech colleges to shed 'extraneous' curriculum like jewellery making so I would have to travel far indeed to take classes.

On the other side of the coin, while face to face classes dwindle in traditional education avenues, the internet based education opportunities are opening up faster than I can keep up with new sources.  Not only that, but as more competition comes to the market, the quality of content and instruction is improving vastly as everyone clambers for their little slice of the market pie.

Enter me, Where to go, what to do!  Between Youtube, Instructables, people's personal design blogs (like mine) and many new sources, jewellery (and crafting) enthusiasts have never had it so good for the education opportunities available all at a click of a few buttons.  And let's be honest, it's always fun to learn a new thing!

I was given the challenge of setting in sterling silver wire a carved heart stone without any holes and both sides were curved.  I knew how I wanted the final pendant to look, slightly asymmetrical with deeper wire heart shapes to emphasise the gentle stone shape.  But I have not tackled the 6 strands of wire wrapping before and .... what to do with twelve ends!

My attention has been drawn to Nicole Hanna of and her drool worthy tutorials.  I chose the Arabian Nights for USD $6 as a good base line for learning that beautiful asymmetric, chunky weave look.  It turns out that the ends just have to be cleverly nested behind the scenes as it were.  I followed her tutorial faithfully and was very pleased with the result.

I wasn't happy with the tiny tiny bail that is supposed to be a simple cut jump ring.  I like the bail to be a complex part of the design and big enough for numerous different chains.  So I was ready to attempt the heart setting now with my new skills.

Argentium Silver in 0.8 mm and 0.4 mm round wire. This used about 50 cm of the 0.8 mm and 4-5 meters of the 0.4 mm. The stone I think is crazy lace agate made into the shape of a heart.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Request Next Post

Hi Everyone,

I know that I don't have a lot of followers or views, but thought I'd put it out there that if you have a question about metal work, wire work, beading, sewing, knitting that I might be able to answer - drop me a line and I'll see what I can do for you!


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

2016 Cold Connection Workshop Aussie Bead Retreat Supplier List

Supplier List for the Forster August 2015 Aussie Bead Retreat

Findings and Wire

Monday, May 25, 2015

Hammer Facts

Hammers come in many shapes and sizes for jewellery making. There are many specialised hammers, too many to mention. The big question is which to use when?  How many does one need to buy in order to successfully do cold connections or other jewellery techniques?  Those are very loaded questions indeed.

Some basic understanding of use, shape and result is useful to know what hammer needed for the job required.  One important thing to keep in mind, do not use highly polished, mirror finish hammer faces to strike punches or stamps as this will mar the surface of the hammer.  Then when using the same hammer face later on, that mark will transfer to metal being struck.  Use the hammers for their appropriate use!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Take Care of Metal Tools

The biggest bane of having my workshop downstairs in our defunct garage, is the damp.  The back walls are exposed bedrock that weeps water for weeks after heavy rains so no amount of anti-humidity products or mechanisms are viable.

The roughest effect is the rust on my budget steel tools.  Budget because my hobby exists on a minimalist income since I am not full time professional.  Not only does it make the tool look awful, but soft steel becomes pitted with bumps and divots as the steel is oxidised into rust.  But these tools can exist happily with a bit of care.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Head Pins and Spirals

Headpins are an expensive finding to buy when you are making dozens or hundreds of dangles for a piece of jewellery.  Not to mention the frustration of locating a head pin the exact shape or style that is required for the specific bead in the right metal.  Especially when working with fine holed beads, what a nightmare!

With a wire cutter, round needle pliers and some continuous wire, a head pin can be made in under a minute for a fraction of the cost, especially if using silver, gold filled or gold wire.

Hammered Clasp

Hammered Clasp

I am a sucker for textured, hammered, twisted, tortured wire.  I love it, the whole rustic look.  I was first exposed to the whole concept when I was looking at a website by Connie Fox of

This clasp is best made from 1.00 mm (18 gauge) or thicker wire and is easy to make if you have a few tools around the place: ball pein hammer, round needle nose pliers, flat needle nose pliers, fine metal file and steel plate or concrete to hammer against.