07 September 2009

The marriage of metals pendant is going well. I cleaned up the gross solder and uneven tops tonight, so now they look presentable. There is still more sanding to do, but I will likely wait to do that until right before I attach the crown - which I still have to build.

The black stone is faceted onyx, but you wouldn't know that from these photos.

Here's the drawing I worked from to cut out the pieces of nickel and sterling silver. Graph paper makes everything easier, as do protractors, compasses and rulers. So glad I paid attention in geometry.

Both parts are backed with sterling, so that when worn the nickel pieces won't have contact with the skin. Though I'm thinking the wings won't be flat, instead I'll solder them at slight angles. Either way, it makes the back look better, and strengthens the whole piece.

Tomorrow: make the crown for the Rhodolite Garnet!

21 August 2009

The Accomplishment of the Week

I built a crown. From scratch. Attempt #1 melted. Attempt #2 worked!

Now I have to make it fit down into the pendant, and solder that...without melting anything. Slightly stressful, but quite exciting if it works. I also got my chain today, so this hopefully will be finished and fancy by the end of next week.

(I was too lazy to set up decent lighting, so it is dim.)

I have yet to decide if I want to have the secondary stone in a bezel below the citrine. I'm thinking it will be skipped. Decision has to be made before the citrine is set, so we'll see in a few days.

08 August 2009

Internet ridiculousness

So, I'm in the process of developing a Facebook Fan Page for my jewelry creations. If you are so inclined, you may become a fan:

Kathlyn Kremer on Facebook

(End self-promotion)

This weekend I finish the "batwax", it cast up perfectly, so I guess it's no longer a batwax. I always cross my fingers and toes when I let the centrifuge go. I have yet to get an incomplete casting though. I think the centrifuge is far more reliable than the vacuum from school, however the centrifuge at school was a bit terrifying. I'm sure most of my former classmates would agree.

06 July 2009

It's the Batwax! Ok, really, I just couldn't come up with a better name for it. This is getting cast this week. I'm thinking this will be a one of a kind necklace - I'll solder chain to it at the very end. Getting it light enough has been interesting...it probably could still be lighter, but I'll deal with that when I start cleaning up the metal.

The stone is a cushion-cut checkerboard top citrine. I think it will work well. I may incorporate another stone or two, but haven't decided yet. Sometimes it's nice to make things up as you go.

08 June 2009

Switching Gears

I am on a huge pendant kick, I don't know why. I used to be designing rings like crazy, but that has changed recently. I think I came up with five doable designs in one night, and they all use different techniques. I found that it's easier to draw up a design in a larger scale, and then shrink it to the actual size. It seems to get more of the kinks out, since I have to draw it a couple extra times.

I have a few stones heading my way this week, and depending on costs I might just order some gold. These are the stones, I have pretty solid ideas for 2 of the 4 so far.

Sunset Padparadscha Sapphire

Kiwi Topaz

Rhodolite Garnet

Mozambique Garnet

Will be interesting to see how the stones look in person. I'm still trying to hunt down a big round stone for one of the designs I came up with the other night. I suppose it would be better to start making the ones for which I already have stones.

05 June 2009

So, I checked out this International Gem and Jewelry Show that is/was at the state fairgrounds this weekend. I had no idea what to really expect going into it, other than:

1. It might be super-tacky
2. It might be a great resource for loose stones/beads
3. It might be a waste of $7 and time

I found out:

1. It was full of middle aged and older ladies
2. Mom said it felt like Vegas
3. I have ridiculously expensive taste in beads - one strand I looked at was $150 (at 50% off, yeah.)
4. There is a great local resource for cabochons and unusual stones - bought a great piece of rutilated quartz...but I'll get to that in a bit.
5. There are a kajillion beads out there. Seriously.

So, overall it was worth going. I'm currently in the process of designing a pendant around this piece of rutilated quartz. I actually think I might do a sterling/14K yellow gold combination, since the rutiles have a slight golden color.

I feel like I want to do some one of a kind pieces for a while. Doing multiples is challenging and good practice of specific skills, but it doesn't seem to flex my design muscles enough. I feel like people appreciate unique jewelry pieces, too - at least I do.

I've added another deadline besides the Fall art crawl, which is good. I need to have deadlines otherwise I feel like I'll never get anything finished. A friend and fellow artist wants to have a jewelry party with my stuff in the Fall. It should be fun and hopefully I'll have things that will interest the people. Wine and excellent food will be involved, so no matter what it'll be a good time.

25 May 2009

Took a Break

Well, I did not mean to take an entire month off. But somehow it happened?

I have been working on some drawings and designs for some new items, and I still have the pod earrings sitting half-finished on my bench. My job has been going pretty well, business seemed to pick up once the weather started to resemble Spring.

I finally have all my finished items up on Etsy, will be interesting to see how that pans out. I also just put in an application at a local bead store. Maybe I'll get some weekend hours to help finances, plus a discount on beads. Just have to keep trying different things, I suppose. Something will stick eventually.

26 April 2009

The Art Crawl is going well - lots of good feedback from the public! It's reassuring when people I've never met seem to respond positively to my designs - not that opinions of friends and family don't do the same. The website has been updated, thanks to my dad. He redid the site as well as shot the photos of the new work. So if you want to go check out the new stuff, head over here.

Tomorrow is the last day of the crawl, and whatever I have left is heading to Etsy!

17 April 2009

I located display supplies yesterday! Yay! I'm going to keep it simple, a few neckforms and a box with a lid for the expensive pieces - so sticky fingers won't be as much of an issue. I wish that didn't have to be a concern, but I'd rather not risk it. I just have to find a good neutral grey fabric to cover the table, since I have some pieces that disappear on the black velvet forms.

After the Crawl, I plan on playing with some packaging ideas. One of the perks of living in a good-sized city is the number of local resources for boxes and the like. I'd really like to have a brand, and not just use the same cotton filled cardboard boxes that everyone else has.

Today I got the two pearl rings ready for their final polish. Those will be finished on Wednesday for sure. I have four or five split channel rings (in non-tiny sizes) in the filing and sanding stages. Three bird rings are in the sanding stages. Two bayonet balls are in progress - and those take a lot longer than I expected. It takes about 5 hours to file the inner band so it will fit within the other half. One of the balls is sanded, the other needs to go through the 5 hours of fitting then cutting the bayonet grooves. I think that will be my Saturday project. The pods - of which there were going to be 5 - have decreased in number to 3. They have color schemes that remind me of elemental things, so I have fire, water and earth in progress. So it looks like I will have around 15 metalwork pieces to show. I'm honestly surprised - in a good way.

My goal is to have everything ready for final polish on Tuesday night, so I can be completely finished by Wednesday night. I plan on taking portfolio quality photos of everything Wednesday and Thursday. Then overhauling the website on Friday during the day.

I'm feeling the pressure, but it feels like the senior show...and that's not a bad thing.

05 April 2009

Weekend of ruined projects...it got better!

I had a bunch of days in a row where one thing would work, and the next step went horribly wrong. This was quite annoying. Things were melted, solder went everywhere it wasn't supposed to, and I learned that the purple 2-part silicone mold putty from Rio doesn't make great molds. Good thing I bought some green Castaldo putty. I now have three molds that are ready to use!

As a side note, for some reason I am better at mixing the stuff at home than I am at work. I'm thinking it may be the temperature difference, or maybe it's just a matter of having more practice. Either way, I'm very glad to not be screwing up that end of things.

Only 19 days until I have to be ready to display, speaking of which...don't have a display figured out. I guess I'm winging that on the last week. I'm surprisingly not stressed, and have all of my lower end beadwork/enamel pieces finished. I found three enamel panels from school while cleaning and organizing the studio, and figured they were worth putting out there. I'm hoping that the beaded pieces will sell and help me fund the metalsmithing. I really would rather put my focus on metalsmithing, however the beading was kind of a nice relaxing activity. Time will tell. Here are a couple pictures of the enamel and beadwork necklaces:

Vitreous enamel on pierced copper, sterling silver findings, vintage German glass beads, amazonite & apatite

Agate, glass & hematite

17 March 2009

Bayonet Ball #2

I just finished the bayonet ball in sterling. Also discovered that it will hold one Excedrin Migraine or two Advil. I'll take it to work with me and give it one final polish to really get a nice mirror finish.

I toyed around with a brushed finish first, but it just didn't look quite right. My bayonet skills are still a bit rusty, but I think if I make a few of these that won't be an issue for long.

Today I also carved a "normal" sized bird ring. I plan on casting both that and the "normal" sized v-channel ring this week. If I didn't have skinny fingers I would have been able to just make molds off of the rings I already made. I think the rest of the day is going to be working on a bunch of beadwork to try and get that out of the way.

03 March 2009

In the middle of working on some data entry for an art related non-profit organization, I checked out some people's websites. I started at the Grand Hand Gallery - which has some interesting pieces, and I ended up at the website of Heinz Brummel. I just had to share that link, because it's some very cool work. I might have to go to the Grand Hand and see it in person, it just looks so amazing.

I think having a solo studio is a bit of a drawback these days, I miss the co-inspiration of having plenty of creative individuals in the same space. Exposure to other artists and their work really is beneficial to every artist's creative evolution. I get more excited about making things, when I see that other people are out there already practicing their craft.

02 March 2009

Turns out, I *can* indeed make a bayonet ball - It's about 3/4" in diameter. Next step is figuring a way to make it a pendant, which I think I may have figured out already. The cats think it's a toy, so if it doesn't work as a piece of jewelry, then I guess I have a fancy shiny cat toy.

And that is what I did with my Sunday. Was good to get some practice in with the acetylene-air torch, made a much more even solder joint for the interior band.

28 February 2009

Silver Linings

So, it turns out that the economy has caused my job to drop to two days a week instead of four. Not the best situation, although in a way it's beneficial. I now have five days a week to work on my own stuff, which is great because I only have 7 weeks until I have to show.

I visited family in New Mexico and went to an awesome bead store called Western Traders. There were insanely beautiful gemstone beads that I could not afford, but I did get some nice stone beads to work into designs. The show I'm in tends to have a lower pricepoint for things that sell, so I figure it can't hurt to put together some sharp beaded necklaces and earrings for the $30 and under crowd. They'll go up on Etsy if they don't go at the show.

I don't have any new photos of stuff yet, although I'm working on a copper mock-up of a pendant. It's going to be a sphere that opens, and locks with a bayonet. Possibly will have some stones on it. I drew up this insane idea in the wee hours of the morning a couple weeks ago, and now I've got it in my head that I need to make it just to prove I can. Should be interesting. I've missed the engineering end of design, work doesn't provoke that part of my brain very much. Hopefully I will have some photos of the copper/brass piece within the next few days. The first few steps have gone relatively quickly...maybe it'll be a continuing trend. I like how copper is completely unintimidating, so I am free to experiment and figure out this design without spending a fortune.

29 January 2009

Something New...

I'm starting this blog to follow my works in progress, sort of a diary to shadow my creations. I'm sure this blog will evolve as I use it.

Presently I am preparing for the St. Paul Art Crawl, which is coming up in April. I hope to get some good local exposure, and if I'm lucky some sales.

I have a few series of jewelry in progress, eventually they will have names. This week I have been working on some sterling silver fabricated pendants which will be set with semi-precious gemstones. I've had quite a bit of success in getting these together - of course now that I've said that, something will go wrong. The design is based on a terribly rough doodle I did a year ago, and is turning out even better than I imagined. Below is an in progress shot of some of the components.

These five will become pendants, I will also be making earrings and possibly bracelets & rings. I had forgotten how fun hollow construction was, it's been a couple of years since I've done any.

Before this past Christmas I finished a couple of pieces - a ring for myself and a pendant for a friend's sister. I'm hoping to expand on both designs.

It's a bit scuffed up since I've been wearing it, but the groove is developing a great patina. Top stone is a created Padparadscha Sapphire.

Each side has three flush-set garnets.

This will be the only one of its kind, I am going to experiment with a similar design but not copy this one. I'd like to keep it so my friend's sister has something original and unique. The stones are both London Blue Topaz.

It's pretty amazing to see how my skills have developed in the two years since graduating. Stone setting was next to impossible in school, now it's not so daunting.