Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mystery stone and the creative process

Wandering around a bead show recently, I happened upon my favorite vendors and their well-stocked booth. Rows upon rows of semi-precious and other beads beckoned me to browse. Just before I rounded the end of the table to pick through the bargain bin, I spied these treasures. First drawn by their high gloss, I stopped to examine their texture, and scan the tag. Finding none, I asked the owner what she thought they were. Surprisingly, she didn't know, either!

I had to have them. The beads were just too gorgeous to put back. I was already finished purchasing my finds, but the card came back out again, and I bought these, too.

My first opinion was that is was Crazy Horse Jasper. But I had never seen a high gloss like this on that kind of stone. All of mine were rather matte in finish. And there was an interesting mustard yellow that I was not familiar with in Crazy Horse Jasper. I decided to turn to trusted Etsy sellers in the Etsy forums for help.

Etsy is an amazing place. If you are a crafter of any kind, it is worth your while to investigate selling your goods there online. They require a minimal charge of 3.5% only on a sale, and each four-month listing costs $.20. That's twenty cents. Amazing!! Compare that to the big daddy auction house! Etsy is also a great place to meet other craftspeople, and, for the most part, is a very cooperative environment where mutual promotion and cooperation is the norm rather than the exception. I've been very happy as an Etsy buyer AND seller.

After posting a query about this "mystery stone," other bead-holics and lapidarists weighed in with their opinions. Crazy Horse Jasper seemed to be the consensus, with one particular jewelry artisan explaining her position that it is Apache Dendritic Jasper, which is mines not far from her house. After Google-searching both terms, I've decided that both are right. They seem to be the same kind of stone. Crazy Horse, the real-life man, was not an Apache. The Apache tribe originated in the area now known as New Mexico, where this stone is mined. Because of this, I'm calling it Apache Dendritic Jasper. Crazy Horse is secure in his place in history, and doesn't need this particular semi-precious stone to protect this legacy.

I paired these luscious beads with Rhodolite Garnet, a perfect match for the raspberry highlights, and tiny citrine button rondelles. The beauty of the mustard color in the beads was just too juicy to ignore. Fastening the back is a hand made copper S-clasp. Mexico is the largest producer of copper in the world, and the United States is second. Currently our most productive copper mining is done in Utah and Arizona. Copper was just perfect for this color combination. What do you think?

I might have to keep this necklace set. Rarely do I take one for myself, since I want to list everything that I make, "just in case." But these beads are just too beautiful to pass up. I'll use perforated beading discs to make some vintage-inspired earrings to complete this set. Encrusted with 8mm Apache Dendritic Jasper, and the rest of the Rhodolite garnet and citrine, along with copper beads and wire. Dangles of the last two beads from the jasper strand will finish the pair.

Monday, August 17, 2009

On my Beading Table Today....

Continuing on the theme of fall colors, I hit my local bead show really hard yesterday, and came home with this juicy combination, among other treasures. Yellow jaspers and red and orange aventurine reflect the glorious fall colors reminiscent of the Blue Ridge mountains in the fall. Paired with copper spacers and the extraordinary copper-dipped Maple leaf I'd already purchased from Etsy sellers, my next project will be a 3 strand collar, similar to the previous carnelian one I posted. I think I will also add some brown goldstone, which should pick up and carry the sparkle from the leaf all the way around the necklace. Time to get the Round Tuit out again, and get this thing assembled!!

My favorite bead show sellers were these, with their fabulous selection, as usual, and I picked up some lava rock rounds and barrels, some blister pearls, pink and red coral buttons and rounds, and some larger red coral nuggets. I also found some carnelian rondelles and barrels. I could have broken the bank with all of the beautiful beads I found yesterday! This time, though, I was able to control myself. Maybe having my three-year-old there with me was a good thing, because by the time I got my treasures purchased I'd only hit two tables and he was ready to go. Next time he'll stay home!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

You CAN get it done, when you have a Round TUIT charm or pendant

This 16mm fine silver charm has a long history, even though it was just finished today. When I was little, my dad carried around a wooden nickel in his pocket with the word "TUIT" stamped on it in red ink. When I'd say I'd get around to cleaning my room, he'd pull it out. "Now you have one, go ahead and do it, " he'd say, laughing. I miss his smile and the twinkle in his eyes when he was pulling my leg.

The highest-hitting post on my blog is about having a round TUIT. I posted the graphic, and people hit on it off of Google like crazy. So I figured that people everywhere are looking for a round TUIT, and I thought I'd make one available in fine silver. This charm is fashioned from PMC silver, which starts as recycled silver in an organic clay binder. When fired in a kiln, it becomes pure silver metal. This one has a particularly rustic finish, and is oxidized with liver of sulfur. I can remake it with a brushed or shiny silver finish, with or without oxidation. This one will be an open edition, as everyone needs a ROUND TUIT.

I can create a bracelet or a necklace, or even mount this to a bookmark, so you can read that book you've been putting off, or a hair stick. The sky's the limit. If you'd like a custom order, please convo me. I can also make pairs of these into earrings, if you'd like.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

New creations for the day...

I've been so busy promoting my jewelry that I've not been creating much lately. I have a stack of custom orders on my desk, and I couldn't be happier. Beads are in the mail, on the way to my house. Every day the mailman brings new toys to play with. I'm happy as a clam! Creating is very therapeutic for me. Do I need therapy? Maybe -- ask my kids! But as I'm finishing new pretties for my customers, I'm going to post them and tell a little of their story. Otherwise I'll burst. That would not be pretty!

First up is a pair of earrings I created for my mother for her birthday --- which is TODAY! Happy Birthday, Mom! She gets them next week when she comes for a visit. Juicy little faceted Rhodonite rondelles are embraced by copper wire, and are accented by tiny Tierracast hummingbirds. They're my mom's favorite. Hat's off to you, Mom! Just what you needed, more jewelry, right?

Next up are two pendants created for very special people in very special situations. "neveah" is for the mommy of a very special little girl, and "angela" is for a newlywed soldier stationed in Afghanistan until November. Each are fashioned out of PMC silver clay, then fired. The pure silver that results is then polished and oxidized, then buffed for character. I'm hoping to send these out on Monday.

Next? I'm still working on that. I have about 7 custom orders on my desk, and I'll be working my way through it. First up, a bridal order! A multi-strand bridal necklace and bracelet set with glass pearls, crystal, and other sparkles, and bridesmaids' necklace sets with those beautiful copper-dipped Maple leaves in the last post. Also coming soon: Amazonite graduated rounds with hand-knapped red agate and gold heishi; more blue larimar, this time with lava rocks; Apache dendritic jasper with rhodolite garnets and citrine; faceted chunks of amazonite with rough-cut citrine nuggets; Blue Dyed crazy lace agate with silver and teal..something, not sure yet; white turquoise with carnelian and copper; I have a list a mile long and a heap-big-stash of beads. Time to roll up my sleeves and dig out my Round TUIT!!