Friday, November 25, 2011

Fun with Faux Jasper

Jasper isn't an expensive stone, but many inexpensive natural stones don't come in the shapes or SIZE that I want. Good thing that Tory Hughes showed me how to mimic lapis lazuli (which isn't inexpensive) and turquoise in her book Polymer: The Chameleon Clay.

I've used combinations of those techniques again and again as a springboard for faking real and fantasy materials. Witness my latest adventure with "red jasper":

Can you believe that this mess

got molded into this

and ended up looking like this?

Then it was transformed into this?

BELIEVE. With polymer, almost anything is possible....

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Finding Time for Findings

Getting my hands on a new book always seems to bump up my creative urges.

The most recent acquisition is "Handcrafted Wire Findings" by Denise Peck and Jane Dickerson. I've been making my own sterling and copper necklace closures for a while, and have some other publications which demonstrate this technique, but I always love to see other versions. This post isn't intended as a book review, but I'm glad that I picked this one up, as it has some subtle twists (so to speak) on earring, hook, toggles and connections.

Thinking about toggle style findings, I decided to spend a day or so creating a few to have on hand. IMO, toggles are good bracelet closures, and more in scale with a typical 11BOLDstreet design than the average (and now barely affordable) sterling lobster claw clasp.

A hammered finish is one of my favorites, and very practical, as a mirror finish is both difficult in execution and for the wearer to maintain. But, shortly after I began hammering some of my favorite blank stock material - copper washers - I noticed that my favorite ball-peen hammer surface was leaving tiny lines in the hammered texture. So, I got out the 400-grit sandpaper and went to work smoothing out the ball surface.

Then, I stripped some 14 ga copper electrical wire and fashioned various bar shapes, trimming to make sure that each fit into it's intended ring. It's a fine line size-wise for a bar that will fit the ring, but not slip through on it's own. The completed pieces all assume a tiny bit of flexible leader on the bar to get them through the ring. The big decision is how to finish copper.

If they were earwires, I'd definitely opt for a clear varnish/sealant. For the moment, I'm settling for a thorough polishing with Wegol's. Working sort of "backwards" this time, I have a couple of ideas about some polymer components to both complement and show-off these babies :D