December 18, 2008

Angie's Bangle

I've been working on this bangle for my sister Angie off and on for many months. I like the coiled bangle style from Eni Oken, but I also like asymmetrical, almost chaotic designs with a crazy wrap like Lisa Niven Kelly's. This is what I came up with late last week.

It has a memory wire core, strung on it are polished rose quartz nuggets and silver beads. 26ga SS (half-hard) wires are first wrapped around and crisscrossing each bead and between beads randomly, then a twisted wire follows similar pattern, finally a double wire which is coiled over with 28ga AS wire, plus many, many tiny silver, jade, amethyst, and glass beads. The clasp is handmade with 14ga wire. Total length of wires: 9' of 26ga, 13' of 28ga, and 1.5" of 14ga.

I like the way each core bead looks like a little present all wrapped up with silver threads, while the overall color scheme gives a hint of spring blossoms, perfect for the holidays. A brilliant bangle, wouldn't you say?

Couple of more images here.

December 14, 2008

Chain Maille Bracelet - Take 2

Did I mention I'm hooked on chain maille right now?

Here's the same chain maille design as the one for my brother Steve but in a smaller size:
35 big rings in 14ga SS, 5mm ID, flattened and dimpled; 138 20ga SS jump rings, 4mm ID; clasp and 2 rings (one as catch ring) are also 14ga; total length 6 7/8", width is just under 1/2".

This bracelet went a little faster than the first one, but not by much, the most time consuming part is still making jump rings since I'm trying different sizes again. Last time, it felt like throwing darts in the dark (about a total 8 hours of darkness); this second one has better clues to follow, but still just clues.

So here's my question:
If one insists on making everything from scratch, any handmade jewelry will take longer time to complete, and will most likely cost more than what the market will bear. But does the idea of "handmade" jewelry or the appreciation of "craftsmanship" carry less weight if we swap in some machine-made elements into the final piece? I hope not, cuz I love working with wires, but I'm not about to saw silver nuggets and draw wires myself, been there, done that, got myself burned a few times, didn't enjoy it. So I'm going to continue buying silver wires for my "handmade" jewelry. But if I go a step further and buy those nice and neat jump rings that are machine-made, and make another bracelet out of them, is it still handmade, or is it just "hand-woven", or does the combination of machine and human make it some kind of Cylon Skin Job (hee hee)?

December 11, 2008

Wrapped Rings

What do you do with 7 or 8" of scrap thick wires? Turn them into rings.

This is from a piece of 8" 12ga AS scrap wire. Considering Rio Grande charged me almost $7 a foot for these wires, every millimeter counts. So here it is, a simple wrapped ring, size 8, 3/4" at the longest points, comfortable to wear. Surface textured with small dimples from the round end of hammer and mesh imprints from a needle file. The dimples give it sparkles; the mesh imprints tone it down here and there.

This is another piece of scrap wire; 7" 14ga SS. Similar concept, with squiggles this time. I ran needle file all over the surface to produce a muted shine. More dainty, still fun to wear. I can see many other possibilities with this technique...

More images here.

December 8, 2008

My First Chain Maille Bracelet

It's real interesting how I went from struggling with making jump rings to becoming addicted (almost) with chain maille. I'm not saying I've mastered making jump rings (still far from it), but from testing and making all sizes of rings with all kinds of wire, I'm starting to understand how the tiniest changes in wire thickness and ring interior diameters (i.e., aspect ratios) can do to their final look and feel.

This is my most sincere appreciation (otherwise known as "copy") of a bracelet from Scott David Plumlee's designs. So it's not exactly the same, but it's my best guess, for now. This is for my brother's medic alert tag; don't know if it'll fit since I haven't seen the tag yet... I'm almost secretly wishing it won't... cuz I really like it, for myself :-))

Materials: 14ga SS for big rings, 16ga SS for small rings, 12ga AS for clasp. The whole thing weighs a ton!

If I ever get to make another one of these, I'd try oval shape rings for the small rings and lighten upon hammering the big rings (oh, the operative word here being "if").

UPDATE, 12/9/2008:
Good news, it fits Steve's left wrist with little slack, almost too little; so I added one more link which make the total length 8 1/8". It also goes with his medic alert tag nicely which is on a black double cord. Tumbled the bracelet overnight; it's looking shiny and pretty!

More images here.