Sculpted, etched, stitched

Here it is, the two-inch wide copper cuff. This thing is so badass it’ll win your arguments with the mere suggestion of being backhanded. It started innocuously enough as a strip of sheet metal. I freehanded the swirly background and etched it. The keyhole centerpiece was carved from copper clay and added to the sheet after it was drilled out and pounded into shape. I can’t wear base metals, so I attached the leather backing and wrapped the sides of the sheet with it so the copper wouldn’t come into contact with skin. Finally, I stitched the edges of the sheet and the leather with sterling wire. It’s more decorative than structural, but I wanted a little silver flash and contrast. What do you think? Would you wear something like this?

Edit: Already such great suggestions! On the next one, the leather edge will be pared down and folded under, the silver wire will be thicker, and I’ll etch the pattern deeper. I’ll see what it looks like with brown leather, too. Trial and error and new bladed tools, hooray!

Contest Entry

If you would, please send me good energy and wishes for my entry into the Rings and Things design contest. I had been wanting to experiment with multicolor Viking knit chain, and this is my first effort, in silver, copper, and bronze. It was kind of a bear to get started with so many wires, as opposed to the ONE wire to keep track of with the more familiar Viking knit technique, but I’m hoping that it’ll be easier next time! I think it works well as a backdrop for the lion head pendant in copper clay. The back is three strands of poppy jasper, amber, burgundy pearls, copper, and pewter beads. At any rate, I’m very pleased with how it turned out and hope that it gets noticed among all the fantastic entries they receive. 🙂



If you haven’t heard, the price of silver keeps climbing. I’m thinking of casting pewter (lead free, of course) as an alternative. I’ve worn it and it doesn’t react to acidic me, but what about you? Have you worn pewter? I’ll still be working in silver, but this may make work more easily accessible to all budgets. I was at the Scottish Highland Games this past weekend and noted that browsers seemed to be attracted to price point as much as anything else, and silver plate seemed to be selling quite well, so the heirloom quality of a precious metal piece of jewelry was perhaps not so much a factor in decision to take a trinket home. The experiments may well begin here.


I’m thinking 2″ to 3″ wide copper cuffs, etched, soldered filigree wire work, riveted objects, drilled holes, stitched with silver and lined with leather to protect reactive skin. They’re going to be fabulous.

Hot off the bench block

I really have a range of things to show you today! There are three new leather cuffs. The third one is 1-1/2 inches wide.

I have some earrings with the most adorable owls.

I liked them so much, I made them available as individual charms to wear, also.

The major piece I’ve been working on for a while now is the Glentaisie necklace. It’s a stunner. It’s a Wedgewood Agate and faceted smoky quartz and LOTS of sterling in chainmaille and Viking knit chain. It looks fabulous at the collarbones with an open neckline but has an extension chain if you’d rather wear it over a sweater or the like. I definitely intend to make another one with different stones, maybe with colored niobium rings in the chainmaille.

And with that, I’m heading back to the shop to play with my new wax pen and make new pretties…

No room at the faire

I’ve been applying to Ren Faires in addition to art shows and the like because I think my jewels would be a fitting addition, but I appear to be running into the same issue. The vendor spots have been filled for years, and unless someone drops out, there’s no room for anyone new. It reminds me of buying a house in southern California during a hot real estate market. There simply weren’t houses for sale unless someone died. I think I make interesting sparkly things. I want to show off what I do. I get good traffic at the shows and on the website afterward and positive feedback. People would rather see things in person to pick it up, feel the weight of it, try it on. But where do I go from here when the physical market seems packed, even when those same vendors tell me that sales are not as good as they expect?


I do love doing custom work. 🙂


After many hours of mind-numbing tedium to make, I’m enjoying looking at this 7 feet of sterling Viking knit chain and whipping it around like Wonder Woman’s back-up lariat. It’s destined to be simply a component in a necklace that will take a fair bit more planning from here on out. As soon as I finish holiday commissions, this will be the next project. If it turns out as fabulous as I think it will, I’ll make a few with different colored stones. I can’t wait to sort it out and show it to you!

Experiments and new partners

Here’s something new for me. My blog partner, Rings and Things, sent me a package of goodies to try out. I got some glass tiles and bezels along with some base metal bails in various finishes. What first?

The resin pieces that are part of my regular stock are made by soldering sterling bezel cups to sheet, then filling the cup with resin. I started doing it that way after discovering that resin would find any possible microscopic opening to leak from, and the bezel cups prevented this. Rings and Things sent a few glass bezels to play with. They have much thicker walls than my metal bezels but the same basic idea. Being clear, they just disappear in the finished piece. I also like making something interesting for the back. They’re also deep enough to embed just about anything you might want to drop inside. The little metal rose here is completely submerged. I found that if the resin has any drips down the glass walls outside the domed surface, a light hand on a buffing wheel after full cure will clean that right up. The glue-on bails make these a snap to hang. I used a 2-part epoxy.

The glass tiles were a bit more of a puzzle to me. I’ve seen these for sale but never looked too hard into how to make them myself. The Rings and Things description page says to “attach an image to the back,” then attach a bail. What’s the best way to do that exactly? Epoxy? Mod Podge? Spray mount? White glue? I tried all of those, by the way. I painted these images on watercolor paper, but I think next time I’ll use something a little less textured. I liked the spray mount because it didn’t smudge the paint I used like a liquid glue did. Acrylic paint would prevent that, I’m sure, but I used a highly saturated, glittery watercolor paint for the bright colors and sparkle.

Now that the image was attached, I wanted to seal the back. I’m in Florida, after all, and it rains daily in the summer. Paper backed by glue isn’t going to last long here. I floated a thin layer of resin over the back, which worked pretty well once I got the hang of how much to use. Again, the buffing wheel helped clean up any cured resin that didn’t stay precisely where I put it. (If you’ve ever worked with resin, you know how it tends to creep slowly.)

Then I got to thinking, what else can I do with these? Would it be possible to fuse metal clay to them? I think it’s a possibility, but I ran out of time to experiment much before posting this. I fired some of the tiles with syringe designs on the top, and I planned to paint on the back between the silver designs. It appeared to work after a 30-minute firing at 1150. I tossed them into the tumbler, where the silver slid right off the tiles. Perhaps it would work if fired to 1450 and the glass started to slump, trapping the metal into the surface? I’ll give a shot later, and if anyone reading this has tried it, I’d be curious as to your results.

Overall impressions on the glass bezels and tiles is that they’re very handy and easy to use. I’ll be watching for more sizes and shapes to come out in the bezels. As for the tiles, I’m not sure if I was doing it right to end up with a durable product. If I knew what I was doing, however, I’d be all over them. They certainly do have a sturdier, more substantial feel than the thinner ones I’ve seen elsewhere. I’ll have to play more with them to see if metal clay can be used to come up with an interesting look. Thank you, Rings and Things, for giving me a reason to experiment!

Symbols and Lines

For a while, I’ve been meaning to make some interchangeable links for bracelets and earrings, and I finally came up with a couple of sets. First up is a stylized line drawing of a stand of trees with garnets. It’s over an ounce of silver and hangs nice and stable with those double links. There are sweet earrings to match.


I also made an elemental set with pictographs of earth, water, fire, and air, bound by spirit. A full ounce of sterling, similar design as the trees above, so it’s really comfortable to wear. With links that are 7/8″ tall, it will be noticed! I made two earring options, but of course, since everything is made by me, in my shop, I can make whatever you like. Alternating links of water and fire? Sure thing, just ask. I’ll need some time to get it done, though, so keep that in mind if you have a date to keep. I’m so delighted with how these came out that I’ll likely be making more groups in the same vein. I’ve had a lot of requests for owls after I posted the custom pendant, so maybe a set with them?


And the custom piece with opals and aquamarine: