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 nicolehannajewelry.com 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.


Then comes the exciting point when to really incorporate what has been learned in a tutorial.  Another project I have wanted to do was create an interesting pendant where the front AND the back are both beautiful designs and tidy.  

I found the in the Arabian Nights tutorial with 6 wires weave (I used 4 wires in my pendant) was very handy for creating a base onto which I could attach, anchor and terminate wires.


  I also used the two wire weave from Arabian nights on the right side below.


Learning new techniques and then incorporating them into your own designs is a very exciting part of continued learning.  I'm already thinking about my next tutorial.  Unsure if I mean making one for my blog or buying one though!

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