Monday, February 8, 2010

Made It Monday with Wild Heather!

We've gone from necklaces to descriptions, and now rings! Amazing how well soap and jewelry go together! But, before I ramble too terribly much, here's a little bit about today's guest writer, Heather!(minor issues with pics, I will be adding them in again as soon as I can!)

I got started making jewellery about 4 years ago, after dabbling in lots of different crafting trends. At the time, I was working with a woman who used to make jewellery during mother/daughter ‘dates’ who would occasionally sell a few pieces.After carefully looking at the pieces I purchased, I thought, “I bet I can learn to do that!” I started picking up beading books in the library and bookstore and making note of the types and styles of beads, I liked.

That summer, I happened to be in my favourite bead store in Victoria BC, and I asked a helpful employee if she could make a pair of earrings for me if I picked out the beads. She informed me that if she put them both together for me, she would have to charge me a (rather steep) design fee, but if she helped me put one together and then watched while I put the other one together, there would be no charge! That was my first pair, and I have never really looked back. After about 3 months of making earrings for myself, people at work started asking me if I would sell them. The first week I started selling, I sold over 20 pairs of earrings! That co-worker that had inspired me to make my first pair bought three pairs from me!

I find making jewellery to be incredibly fulfilling. I am always challenging myself to learn new techniques and styles. I have gone from basic ‘cold process’ assembly (making earrings solely by putting together purchased components) to learning wire wrapping, ‘Viking’ knit woven chain and even silversmithing. Once you fire up that torch and watch the way the silver melts and fuses together, everything changes! I love working with semiprecious stones, freshwater pearls, and combining colours and textures. I hope people derive as much pleasure from wearing my jewellery, or from giving my jewellery as gifts, as I do from making it.

(Note: I was absolutely delighted to be asked to contribute to HeathensHearth’s blog on Make It Monday! I absolutely love every product of Amy’s that I have tried, but my very favourite has to be her Pink Sugar Goatsmilk soap. The lather is just ridiculous, and it feels like an incredible luxury to use, but it’s so good for my skin at the same time! The wonderful fragrance doesn’t hurt,either!!!)

So, without further ado, here's today's Made It Monday!

This post gives a before and after look at how I made a moonstone ring. Or rather, two rings. These are works currently in progress, and they were both created using materials purchased at http://www.capilanorock.ca/. The first ring is composed of silver wire, hammered for texture, a sterling bezel cup and this lovely moonstone. (The first part of this entry has already appeared on my blog, My Jewellery Box, which you can find at http://wildheather-handcrafted.blogspot.com/.)

The front view of the bezel cup and the ring shank. The ring shaft was crafted from sterling silver halfround wire, formed around a ring mandrel and then bent to meet the sides of the prepurchased silver bezel cup. I could simply have mounted the cup onto a perfectly circular band of sterling halfround wire, but what fun would THAT have been?

The view of the left side

The view of the right side

The lovely moonstone cabochon. 

If I place the cabochon in the bezel cup before I solder it to the ring shank, I'll ruin the stone. If I simply place it in the cup, to show you all the effect, it can be difficult to remove.  HOWEVER, I have a great tip for this, courtesy of Barrie Edwards. Simply drape a piece of dental floss (UNUSED, PLEASE!) across the bezel and drop the stone over it so that it lays behind the stone. Then  Here’s what came next!

I painstakingly soldered the bezel cup into the ring shank, using flux, easy solder cut into TEENY little squares, and my handy little butane torch. Once the pieces were solidly joined, I filed away the excess solder using an emery file. Yup, a plain old acrylic nail grade emery file that I bought at the dollar store!  Then I filed down the edges of the bezel cup to prep it for the stone.

I really wanted to make sure that the stone  would sit solidly in the cup. I knew from fiddling with it beforehand that it was quite a tight fit, but I wasn’t quite willing to risk it dropping out. Before pushing the stone down into the cup, I cheated JUST a little. Using a toothpick, I dabbed a smidge of E6000 jewelry adhesive into the centre of the cup. Make sure (and I can’t stress this enough) that your studio is well ventilated when you use that stuff, and that you put the cap back on right away, or you may have trouble tying your shoes (or doing anything else requiring coherent thought) for the rest of the afternoon! The fumes are pretty potent. Then I applied gentle pressure to the stone to seat it in the cup.

After applying pressure for a few minutes, I applied pressure to the cup itself using a cute little tool from Grobet: it’s a bezel rocker. It allows you to form the sides of the bezel firmly around your stone. Here’s the final result!


I have already produced one custom version for a long-time fan who asked if I could do it for her in size ‘huge’. It was only an 8.5...I can make them up to size 15! The next one I make, though, I think I am keeping for myself, because it looks so great on my hand!


As a special thanks to Amy for featuring me today, I am going to send her a giveaway for readers: a pair of my Pick a Pearl earrings in either grey peacock, black peacock or pink! I’ll let Amy decide how to do the giveaway! 

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YAY! Give aways!  I think we'll do this nice and random! :)  Tell me what kind of tutorials you'd like to see here, and next Sunday I'll select someone at random using random.org!

As a special gift, You can get 20% off at Wildheather's shop just by answering the following question:


What is her favorite product from my shop? If you answer the question correctly at checkout from her shop, you'll get 20% off your order!

2 comments:

MAB Jewelry said...

Amazing! I am afraid of soldering.

WildHeather said...

It's only scary the first time (or if you have long hair and forget to put it up first! HA!)