Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Results

May 9, 2015.  I'm finished.  As I mentioned in a previous post,  I've hit a creative block.  I made an appointment with myself and sat down to work on the piece I was struggling with.   And I just finished not only the necklace that was giving me fits, but the bracelet and earrings too.  I like it much better.  I haven't priced the pieces yet, but I really like them.  The necklace and bracelet are asymmetrical and the earrings almost match each other.  What do you think? 

By the Sea.  Includes stacked sequins in aqua with pewter starfish and sea horses and porcelain fish and resin accents (including the start pendant.)

Designer's Challenge Follow-up

May 9, 2015.  I spent my hour working on the piece that I was struggling with.  I think I've got it.  I'm moving forward and am almost finished with it.  Taking a break for lunch, then will add the clasp and a bit of chain.  I already have the bracelet made and will work on earrings.  I'll post photos of the completed set when I finish.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Designer's Challenge

May 7, 2015.  I've been in a slump for a few weeks, not working on any new designs and struggling with new ideas.   I'm using the blog to hopefully jump start my creativity.  

The design process can be both rewarding and frustrating.  Rewarding when your finished product turns out just like you thought it would and you really like it.  It's frustrating when it either doesn't turn out how you want it to or turns out like you want and you don't like it. The last piece I worked on was like the latter.  It turned out like I wanted but I really didn't like it.  Sometimes when I make a new piece, I'll wear it to see if it needs and adjustment.  (My friends laugh when I wear a piece of jewelry with a price tag on it.)  I wore this piece and while it performed okay, something seemed off.  Fortunately I work with designers and did a little brain storming with some of them to see what their thoughts were concerning the design.  The were very helpful, and I have a direction, but I have resisted making the changes that I know will work.  I'm concerned that if I set it aside and work on something else I will have even more trouble modifying the piece.

So here is what I'm going to do.  I'm setting myself an appointment with my design board on Saturday morning to work on the design.  I'm giving myself an hour to work on it and at the end of the hour, if I'm still struggling, I'll set it aside.  I'll do this once a week until i get it reworked.  

Wish me luck.


Monday, May 4, 2015

Etching Copper

May 4, 2015.  Last year I did a lot of research and found instruction on how to etch copper without a lot of special tools etc.  This is the first piece of jewelry i made from a piece of etched copper.

The 22 gauge copper is 1" wide by 2" tall.  I filed the edges and corners to remove any sharp areas and sanded the face with 0000 steel wool.  Next I took a stamp and using Stays-On black ink stamped the image onto the face of the copper.

I let the ink dry for 30 minutes and then laid the piece on a long piece of packing tape sticky side of the tape to the back side of the copper.  the tape is used to suspend the copper in the solution.

Into the etching solution for 20 to 30 minutes (it's been a year, so I don't remember exactly how long i left it in).  Once you can feel the etch with a toothpick or other wooden object, take the piece(s) out of the solution and neutralize it in a baking soda and water solution. 

Finally, I decided to use metal paint in three colors to help give the piece more definition and interest.  The three colors are turquoise, green and light turquoise.  I think it turned out great.  

The next decision was what to do with the pendant now that it was finished.  i wanted something dynamic and unusual, but fun.  I talked it over with my sister, who is and artist and designer.  After our talk, I was motivated to more forward with the rest of the design.

I made coils and swirls out of copper wire, created a loop at each end of the coils and the top of the swirls, attached the coils  to some chain and added some of the metal paint to the coils. 

Then, I made swirls out of copper wire, created a loop at the top of the swirl, added some of the metal paint to the swirls.

I happened to have some dyed turquoise beads in just the right colors and dangled them and the swirls from various points on the chain.

Here is the final product.  I really like it.  It's funky, has a bit of charm and is definitely unique.  I like the asymmetrical design and am really happy with the coils and swirls.  It turned out better than i expected. 

I look forward to sharing other designs with you in the future.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Beginning

May 3, 2015.  In my previous post, I told you that I share the company with my friend Lisa.

Lisa and I met when she moved into my apartment complex.  She was my upstairs, across the hall and one unit over neighbor.  That was more than 25 years ago and we still remain friends.  

  I started making jewelry when I broke a handmade necklace Lisa bought me for Christmas.  It was fun and relaxing (at least it was for me) to learn how to fix the necklace.  I was a very enthusiastic beginner.  I got Lisa hooked when she bought an outfit and couldn't find jewelry to go with it.  She had me take her to a bead store, so she, too, started making jewelry.  We quickly determined that we either needed a 12-step program for our "addiction", or we needed to start selling what we made.

When we were wrestling with a name for our company, we explored a lot of options.  As I have stated before, I'm an architect Lisa is an engineer, and as we both draw details as part of our professions and jewelry is a detail of what you wear each day. Details was born.

We started in 2004 showing our jewelry at the homes of our friends and family as well as our own homes.  Our customers gradually started telling us of craft shows and other events where we should show our jewelry.  In 2006 we started going to craft shows and art shows to much success.

We are both mostly self taught although we take classes now and again. There are a lot of videos and instructions on the Internet, so it's easy to learn new techniques and see how new tools work.  I enjoy creating pieces using new products or tools.  It's fun to experiment.

We also determined early on that we wanted to do something with the money we made and as we both had friends who were diagnosed with breast cancer, we give 10% of all sales to breast cancer research.

More later.  Thanks so much for checking out my blog.


Who am I?

May 3, 2015.  Hi.  I'm Barbara of "Details by Barbara".  I design and make beaded, metal and wire jewelry.  You can see some of my creations on Facebook, just search for Details Jewelry.  The company name is shared with a friend, Lisa, who I've known for over 25 years, so some of the photos on Facebook are of the jewelry she creates. 

I'm an architect by education and licensing and am a practicing architect. I can't imagine doing anything else in life.  As kids, my siblings and I were always encouraged to be creative.  I always loved graph paper, something about the precision and the equality of it all.  I've been fortunate to have worked in the field ever since I graduated from college.  But even though I'm working in my chosen field of work, I like other creative outlets. 

I scrapbook, I love all the tools (okay, I'm a gadget freak), the papers, the embellishments.  I have made many scrapbooks as gifts  and it's always so special when someone really likes a gift I put so much heart into.  I've made many cards for many occasions and usually custom for the person and occasion.  

Several years ago I took a class to make stained glass.  I really enjoyed it as it blended in with architecture.  The hardest part for me was the actual breaking of the glass and of course all the cuts associated with breaking glass.   I met some great people at that class and remain close to several of my classmates.  We still get together for lunch occasionally just to catch up.