Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Facelifts and advertising...

I need a facelift. No, not cosmetic surgery, but my blog and brand need a facelift. As time has come along, my style has changed a little, I've acquired new skills, and my jewelry has taken on a new daring. I'm not afraid to go big. and bold. and chunky. Well, that just suits my personality (and, I'm afraid, my figure!). So with all the wonderful photography being done of my pieces recently by awesome photographers like Araceli Diaz, Sarah Dial, and others, it's pretty much time to give my business a facelift. One that note, please enjoy the following photos, from my recent photo shoots, and model photography... and the new stuff will filter into my online image in the next few weeks! Thanks to the great photogs and models who make it all happen! I appreciate you!
Top photo -- by Araceli Diaz, model is Danyelle...Shell flower and copper wire scrollwork necklace, inspired by the CCC group (Color Combo Challenge) on Facebook. Second photo by Sarah Dial at Dial Photography, model is Heather Portferfield. Third, photo by Appleseed Photography (appleseedphotographyjax.com).

Friday, September 2, 2011

Medusa...of the sea creature kind...

color combo challenge facebook laurastaley.etsy.comI'm rocking along with the weekly color challenge! Week 38 brought colors reminiscent of the sea shore, and, since it's late in the summer, this seemed most appropriate. I started musing about the materials I wanted to use, and my first thought was sea glass.

Now, I purchased a lot of sea glass from a lady who lives and combs the beaches in Scotland. When I first joined Etsy, I was looking for some for a project, and it's so beautiful I've only used it sparingly since then. The glass is really old, from a glass company that was located on a bluff near where she picks up the sea glass, and was in business from the 17th to the 19th centuries. So THAT, I thought, was really cool. But I wanted to use more than one piece, being the over-the-top optimist that I am, and then my stash of recycled glass beads sparked an idea. Pulling from a suggestion from a friend of mine, I decided to create a jellyfish pendant, and call it Medusa.

In mythology, Medusa was an evil character whose visage turned people into stone. I wasn't fond of that connotation, but the jellyfish is a different story. Our family trips to various aquariums (especially the one in Atlanta) and the beach have given us plenty of exposure to these gracefully swimming mysterious wonders. Have you ever seen one swimming? Gorgeous! I thought the idea was perfect for my challenge piece.

medusa jellyfish facebook laurastaley.etsy.com or creativejewelrydesignsbylaurastaley on facebook
My "Medusa" is made from recycled "sea glass" beads. Glass is taken, shaped, drilled and tumbled or etched with chemicals, then left in it's frosted and unpolished state, resembling sea glass. The colors of glass used also suggest sea glass that would be gathered on a trip to the beach. I used copper wire and made the frame for the jelly, along with tentacle elements that would suggest the tangle of the tendrils falling from the underside of the actual jellyfish. The pendant was finished, and I chose sea foam green faceted barrels and small white faceted rondelles for the strands suspending the pendant, and added a hand forged clasp with extender chain to make it adjustable. After the necklace was all assembled, the shiny copper frame and "arms" needed a patina.

Metal is so much fun. Shaping it and bending it to your will can be very satisfying. You can pound it with a hammer, burn it with a torch, or texture and shape it with just about any tool. It can also bring out your inner chemist. After remembering the AC repair guy saying that full-strength bleach was too caustic to put in my AC unit, I thought maybe I should do just that to the copper. I used Tilex Mildew Root remover, because it was the strongest bleach spray I could find )plus I happen to use the product in our bathrooms). Lining a plastic container with folded paper towels, I sprayed the piece with the Tilex, snapped the lid on, and set it out on my porch. Bleach degrades when exposed to sunlight, so I changed the contents every couple days and watched the finish develop. I've used household ammonia with sea salt, and I'm told that MiracleGro works as well. I'm not sure if Tilex needs an additive like salt as a catalyst; it seemed to work fine without it, though it was rather slow. 10 days after I first put the necklace into what I've started calling my patina pot, it was ready to be washed and finished.

Where the "Tropical Storm Warning" necklace (in the "Monkey Business" color combo, week 34) had the ammonia/sea salt patina that is very blue, this patina is a verdigris. Spots of lichen-green scale adorn various points along the wire wrapped portions, and the scrollwork has a pale misty green finish. I'm really happy with the way it turned out!