Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Black Gold, Earrings Part II

Just finished this pair for the Black Gold series; prefabricated chains in 18kt gold, blackened sterling, with glossy black spinel briolettes, 18kt beads and rondelles of sparkly black garnet:

As usual, the photo isn't very good... it's on my must-do list for today, to play around with the new camera lens and settings. *sigh*

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Silver Experiment

Last year I wanted to give PMC clay a try. I asked for, and received, a PMC silver clay kit for Christmas. Nothing fancy, but enough to give it a go and experiment. But that little packet of clay was so intimidating, not to mention playing with the fire in that little "hot pot" kiln! And so the kit was stashed away at the bottom of my supply closet, to await a heroic moment when I'd get up the nerve to try.

That moment came this past Saturday morning, and with nerves of steel (and a cup of stronger than usual coffee, which is probably where the nerve came from!), I set it all up and then tried to think up what to make. I finally came up with the idea of making little keishi pearl shapes, small enough to keep the experiment easy, and more importantly, not using up all the precious clay in that little package...

Moments later I had ten little clay "keishi pearls" to fire. With more than a little fear I lit the fuel in the kiln and put the top on. About 10 minutes later the fire burned out, and giving a little time to let everything cool down I removed the top of the kiln, and there were my little "keishi pearls"...looking white and claylike! Nowhere in the directions did it say that they would look this way after firing, and I naturally thought that it didn't work. But I picked one up and with my fingernail, carefully scratched the surface of one and underneath... shiny, gleaming silver! :)

I don't have a tumbler so each piece had to be cleaned, burnished and polished by hand, and they're far from perfect. But I learned a great deal in the process, and the next attempt to make the fine silver "keishi pearls" that I'm aiming for will, I think, be much more successful. Next time I'll make them much smaller and lighter, as I made them overly large to compensate for shrinkage that turned out to be much less shrinkage than I anticipated. Overall, I'm just very happy that I finally gave it a try!

Here's my little silver "keishi pearls". Shiny on the outside, and left matte finish on the inside for texture:

Friday, September 19, 2008

Black Gold Series

A sneak peek of the Mardi Black Gold series:

Today is another day immersed in this little series, with a second pair of earrings nearly finished.

I was discussing (actually, ranting) to JP a couple of nights ago over dinner, the problems I have photographing my jewelry...and I had read in a few places that in order to bring more of an item into sharp focus, a low f-stop (excuse my terminology, I think that's what its called; a photographer I'm not!) was needed, but I couldn't get our camera to do anything less than 5.6. "Ah", he said, "That's the lowest the camera lens will allow". News to me!! So today, after the usual struggling to take decent photos, with the subsequent deletion of nearly all of them, I called JP at his office in desperation to ask what in God's name type of lens we needed so I could at least price them! He told me, I went to and found what I hope is the perfect lens...and with 1-day shipping it will be here on Monday. Huge relief if it does the trick, with countless wasted hours and tons of frustration behind me if it does! Now I'm just hoping for some sunny days next Monday and beyond. :)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Black Gold, Parts II & III

I had a stellar day today, very productive (and without any interruptions, so no wonder)! No photos of today's work, but I did finish one pair of earrings that I had started on Monday, and then made a pair of earrings and a necklace for the Black Gold series, a mini collection of 18kt gold and blackened sterling pieces. I've sketched ideas for other pieces and no sooner is one sketch finished than another idea presents itself, so I think I'll be very hard at work in this series for a while.

Speaking of sketchbooks, these are two that I use, the beautiful Sari brocade ribbon ties an inspiration in itself. They're to be found at the lovely shop of a lovely Etsian, Rumah Kampung.

With some heavy rains behind us we're now entering into magnificent weather, the kind that makes New England the very best place to live in at this time of year. Bright sunny skies, warm sun, crisp and cool air. Trees will soon be changing to brilliant, vivid colors, and here and there there is already evidence of it.

I've always found this time of year to be the most inspiring for me and already I'm finding myself working with gemstones that reflect the colors of autumn...

'Til next time...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Black Gold

As I was slipping off to sleep last night I had the flash of an idea for a bracelet,
which I vaguely remembered when I woke up this morning. With morning coffee in hand I sketched what I could remember and added some new ideas, then started work. Using Silver Black, I blackened lengths of sterling silver chain and headpins, then searched through my gemstones to find the perfect stones, brilliant Madeira citrine nuggets. Added to this, 18kt gold beads and clasp, which looked fabulous against the blackened silver!

I started at 9am with what seemed like such a simple design...until I started! It took several taking aparts and starting overs before I had what I had envisioned, and it wasn't finished until 5:30pm. The whole day! Luckily I cleaned the house thoroughly yesterday so that I wouldn't have to do anything but stay in my studio all day!

The result is very different from anything I've done before, but I love the way it turned out. I took a hurried pic of it even though we've had a dark and rainy day with very little natural light; so it's a very poor photo but gives some idea of the finished piece:

Ah well, very poor photo indeed! The blob of gold at the front is actually a very lovely 18k "S" clasp - LOL ...I'll try for a better pic tomorrow if the rain lets up!

...And so the Black Gold series is born, touched off by wearing a black sweater that day which looked lovely against the gold rings I had on! :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Where Has Summer Gone?

I never intended to take an entire summer off from posting; I was actually embarrassed to even write a new post... Until I noticed when catching up with some of my fave blogs, I'm not the only one! :D

Summer is nearly over, and though it will be missed, I won't be missing the hectic world I've been living in. I'm looking very forward to fall, and even winter (my fave season), for things to be much more settled, and for me to have much more time for myself.

Busy-ness! One of the very busy things I've been up to has been the creation of Mardi Studio's collection for Fall 2008.

The Soleil Earrings

There's been no lack of inspiration with many new and beautiful additions to my gemstone stash from my latest buying trip to a gem show in August. I've started to add the new pieces to my Etsy shop and to my website. Speaking of my website, I'm holding a "Free for Fall" drawing for the month of September. Sign up for the Mardi Studio newsletter and you're automatically entered to win a pair of Muguet earrings from the Fall collection! Read the details here . :)

Much to my pleasant surprise, my Soleil earrings were included in a treasury that I found last night! Thank you so much to BBB Creations!