Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Go see the new digs!

Well I've been working on my new blog site and while it's testing all my brain cells I'm enjoying it a great deal. It's only a shell of what I want it to grow up to be but because I still have a day job...which I love...and teaching...which I also love, the blog site has to get squeezed in between the two. It's mostly the learning curve that's taking the time.

I did manage to post a photo album of the process of doing the water casting and my next step with that is to write up the instructions of how it's done...a la Bee. :-)

So here's the address for the new site... www.silverbee.ca

See you there!!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Something new on the horizon!

Okay for those of you who do read this blog...I need your help please. I'm in the process of switching over to another type of blog that will allow me much more freedom. That means the ability to list the classes and be able to find them easily, the same ability to showcase my completed jewellery and my favourite...a tips and tutorial page where readers can download the file. I'll be my usual chatty self for my weekly postings.

So the question...what was it...oh yes. What would you like to see and read about? What I have listed is my wish list at the moment but I still have time to add or delete.

One more question...in the blogging book I'm reading it says I can only ask one question...but I like to push the limits. :-) I'm stuck on colours...I need just one main colour and secondary colour. Just random thoughts would be grand!

Looking forward to hearing what you have to say!

P.S. Don't forget the Fraser Valley Bead Show

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sigh...we can't be good at all things

Okay...so I know I'm not perfect but how humiliating for the person who teaches working with wire to completely...well it was pretty bad...suck at learning something to do with wire and beads. So maybe I wasn't the most attentive student...thinking I could figure this out on my own but still. Linda, our intrepid instructor had to clean up the mangled wire mess I made. Oh well we all had a good laugh at each other, I wasn't the only one challenged with the wire today. Too many teachers and not enough students despite the fact that there was only one real teacher. I had to bribe her not to take my wire classes so she wouldn't be there to heckle me. I guess I should show the photo of the much maligned wire dragonfly. Just so you know the eyes weren't part of the class instructions...I decided to wing it (no pun intended) on my own. Clearly I was out of my element!

You have to admit...well at least I do he is kind of cute in his own special way. Anyways, thanks to Linda for a class well taught!

On another note completely...those of you who have tried leaving comments in the past and found that you had to sign up for an account I've changed the settings so that anyone can leave a comment. Be kind though...have you ever seen a dragonfly cry? It isn't pretty. :-)

Don't forget to check out the Fraser Valley Bead Show!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fraser Valley Bead Show - It's Live!!

This is the second year that I will be teaching at the Fraser Valley Bead Festival. Barrie, the show founder and organizer, has been working hard to put together a great line-up of classes. I think that you'll agree that she has succeeded.

Please click Fraser Valley Bead Show link for full details..but in the meantime...these are the three classes that I'll be teaching.

1. Basic Soldering

Take your designs skills to the next level. Discover the basics of silver smithing and make a bracelet that you’ll want to show off to friends. In this class you will learn about annealing and soldering the individual links and subsequently joining them together to create your bracelet. You will learn about sheet solder and preparing it for use, some basic texturing and shaping of the links, how to use a tumbler and a few basics of metallurgy.

Saturday, October 18 9:30am -12:30pm

2. Bezel Setting a Cabachon

Learn how to set a stone into a bezel and make a beautiful pendant you will be proud to wear. In this class you will create a setting for stone using fine silver bezel wire and a textured sterling silver base. You will learn how to use different hammers, wire and metal stamps to create a wonderful textured background for your stone. We will also be using a couple of techniques for antiquing your pendant. You can take this new skill of bezel making and apply it to many other projects for the future.

Saturday, October 18 1:30pm - 4:30pm

3. Infinite Possibilities Bracelet

Life is full of infinite possibilities! So why not create a bracelet that reflects the possibilities in your life? You’ll be making wire links, learning about jump rings, using different hammers, wire and metal stamps to create an amazing array of textures. Create personalized charms that reflect your thoughts using metal stamps. Finish your bracelet off with a flourish using an assortment of your choice of beads and charms.

Sunday, October 18 9:30am - 12:30pm

Monday Evening Class at Carson Graham

Silversmithing: An Introduction

Course #: JW04 -1 Cost: $175.00

See North Shore Continuing Education to register

Using sterling silver or copper, learn how to create earrings, bracelets and necklaces for a fraction of the retail cost. Practice and apply the techniques of sawing, piercing, soldering, and texturing. Most equipment provided, maximum additional costs of $35 for metals. Develop the confidence to continue to work on your own. (no discounts)

Number of sessions: 8
Start date: Sep 15.08 to Nov 10.08
Time: 6:30p - 9:30p Days:MON
Site: Carson Graham
Instructor: Brendalee Astells

This class is an introduction to silver smithing. It is my goal to make this an enjoyable experience for you. One way to ensure this is by choosing a project that is within your skill level. This means if you are just beginning with silver smithing, keep it simple. Experience will lend itself to more difficult projects.

What you can count on learning in this class

1. Soldering
2. Sawing
3. Piercing (using a flexshaft to drill the metal)
4. Basic surface techniques
5. Tools

What you can consider learning in this class

1. Chain – necklace or bracelet
2. Charms to add to either your necklace or bracelet
3. Basic clasps
4. Making a simple ring shank
5. Chain mail
6. Cold Connections
7. Simple Bezel Settings – for rings or a pendant
8. Trinity Ring – 3 single bands linked together to make one ring
9. Designing your own piece of jewellery
10. Using a project or design that has caught your eye from a book or magazine

Blogging 101

I've spent the better part of the day trying to learn more about blogging...specifically how to improve my blog and make it a more useful tool. I suspect that will take more time but for the time being I've added a welcome message, a bit of a personal bio and labels. The labels are what I'm most impressed with even though they were the easiest to figure out...once I knew what I was looking for. :-) I know I got carried away with how many of them I created...but once I got started it was difficult to not keep making them up. Reason did prevail eventually but not before I had some fun with it.

I was trying to figure out if I could add tabs to the blog but so far what I found went right over my head. I'll have to do some further research but another day. I haven't spent this much time trying to learn something on my computer in ages. Since I started working with silver and tools my computer skills have been on a need to know basis.

My plan for the future is to add tutorials, information about classes and a photo album which is why I thought that the tabs would be useful. For now it will have to be labels.

If you have any ideas or thoughts on things you would like to see on this blog I would love to hear what you have to suggest...honest!

Oh one more thing...feel free to pass this blog address on to anyone you think or even remotely suspect might be interested.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Melting moments

I really have to stop with the cheesy headings...but then why...it's who I am. :-) So as you may have guessed today was another fun filled time melting silver and seeing what sort of shapes I could create. There's one thing I have learned about water casting...never have a plan in mind! It just doesn't work that way...they are organic shapes dictated by the temperature of the water, the rate of pour, how much silver you are using...oh and pure dumb luck...sometimes. I melted and I poured, melted again, poured, melted again, poured. Are you getting the picture? I didn't want to give up my idea and I'm stubborn. However hunger finally got the best of me and I put the torch aside in favour of dinner. So I didn't take any photos of my castings today...they were okay but not what I was hoping for. Tomorrow I'll look at the same pieces and absolutely love them. Fickle characters some of us creative types are! I did start out the day taking photos, first the bracelet for my "Basic silver smithing" class at the Fraser Valley Bead Show. After I was finished what was supposed to be done I took some photos of a new water cast ring and of a ring that I made about 3 weeks ago. The stone in the water cast is a champagne cz and the stone in the larger ring is citrine.

The photos aren't the best but if I spent the time making sure they were perfect...well you know my problem...they would never be good enough!

I'm quite excited about my current projects. Well it's a bittersweet excitement. Two of our work mates at Capilano Rock and Gem are leaving us at the end of the week. Alla has her first full time position in her new chosen career and Leah is leaving to go to university in Prince George. I am of course happy for them but I will miss their smiling faces at work. Oh yes...the part I'm excited about...I'm making each of them a ring...they know all about it because I needed their ring sizes. It's difficult to be sneaky about that, I mean how do you fit that one into a conversation. I prefer the direct approach...just ask! It was a bumpy start getting the sizes right but that's history and so far it's working out great. I'll post photos later.

Well it's that time when all good bees should be getting ready for sleep. Another day, another blog post (yeah) and .... well I don't know the rest...that's tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

We three rings...

As promised I am posting the three water cast rings in a larger size. I have a fourth one almost finished...but another day. I have plans for doing more of the casting this weekend...might even try some gold!
So far using the water has been my favourite of the new techniques that I've experimented with in the last while. It has inspired me the most. All of a sudden I want to dig through my stash and use some of my favourite stones. I thought some of those would never see the light of day...that I would hoard them forever just to look at when I felt like it. I have a new theory today...if I use them up then I'll have more room for other "pretties". What could be better?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Can you believe it?

I actually took photos so I could show off what I've been up to. The first one is of the water casting that I did...I hope that you can get an idea of what they look like. It's hard to photograph bright silver if you're good at taking photos...really tough if you are me. :-) Oh and notice the background props...all from our beaches tour. There are kelp root bulbs as the background from Storey Beach in Port Hardy, slate from China Beach on the way to Port Renfrew,and pebbles from San Jose Bay all personally carried by moi. Okay that's a little fib...Fred did most of the packing...I did the picking. Although he is the one who found the wonderful kelp root bulbs.

Actually I just noticed that I cropped them out of these photos...they will be in the next one which is of some rings I've been making and stock piling. You know the ones I keep saying I'll take into stores to see if they will sell them for me. There are three water cast rings. The first one looked like a little nest so I added three silver eggs. The second one has a pinkie peachy fresh water pearl...it's reflected inside the setting which really shows it off. The third is the first one I tried making into a ring and it has a 4 mm faceted peridot in the centre. The other rings are some little stacking ones that I had fun with and a pearl ring that I salvaged from the scrap heap...the ring shank...not the pearl. There is also the 4 gauge 1/2 round silver band with 3 mm cz's...note that there is only one...and it will stay that way until I get a ring bender or some such tool. Big Bertha, my rawhide hammer, really helped but it is not easy wire to work with. The smaller one beside it is an exercise in opposites. It is 8 gauge 1/2 round with 1.5 mm cz's. I've made a few of them...one for Fred...using dark blue sapphires and the rest with cz's.

I just noticed how small the one of the rings is...perhaps I'll break up the image tomorrow so that you can actually see the water casting rings. I'm quite pleased with them.

Again no editing or proofreading. What you see is what you get! :-) I'm getting better at this.