Sunday, July 20, 2014

Other Creative Endeavors - Jewelry

In my last post, I shared some of my non-card making projects that were stitched.  In this post, I will share some of my jewelry projects.  My family has a bead and jewelry store in Joplin, Missouri and I am fortunate to be able to work with my two oldest daughters and my mom.  We make jewelry pretty much every day and even though we have had a store for 15 years, we still absolutely love it.  We have a full line website where you can purchase both our artisan jewelry and the beads and findings to make your own at Dry Gulch.
This is a pair of earrings that I made using solid copper components, my lampwork beads and patinaed rectangles.
This is my lampworking station.  This is where I take glass rods and melt them into beads and headpins with a torch.  A single bead can take anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour to complete.  I am always impatient, so most of my beads take under 10 minutes.  I love working with "silver" glass (glass that contains silver) because the results are always unpredictable.

This is a pile of lampwork beads that I made.  The rough looking ones are called "sugar beads".  They are made by rolling the hot bead in frit, or broken pieces of glass.  Then the frit is only melted enough so that it adheres to the bead.  This is a tricky technique because if you melt the frit a second too long, it melts smooth.


These are lampwork headpins that I also made with the torch.  These are so fun to make - I love the endless possibilites.  These headpins make really cute earrings.  You can wrap the wire into a loop and hang them like charms.

This is one of my latest chunky charm bracelets (which you can find on Etsy under DryGulch). I love to used vintage components like clip earrings and brooches.  I scour antique stores and flea markets for unusual beads and findings.  These bracelets are always one-of-a-kind and I love seeing how each one turns out. 
This necklace has a pretty cameo that I mounted on an antique brass setting.  The sparkly milky beads are Chinese crystals and the white beads are vintage silk beads.  I wire wrapped each bead together using vintage bronze wire and links.
I hope you have enjoyed my tour of what I do for my "day job".  I am often torn as to whether I should create a piece of jewelry or whip up a new card.  No matter which medium I choose, I am happy to be able to express my creativity every day.

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