Welcome Spring! I love this time of the year....I love to see everything green outside, and fresh and new...I love the ladybugs, and the magic of flowers blooming.....I have always loved Spring! What inspires me during this time of the year? Everything ...

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"Sylvia Anderson" - 5 new articles

  1. April Blog Roll ~ Aspiring Metalsmith's Spring Inspiration
  2. Aspiring Metalsmith's January Blogroll ~ Tutorials
  3. New Year and New Site!
  4. What I'm Working On....
  5. Loving My Rocks!!
  6. More Recent Articles

April Blog Roll ~ Aspiring Metalsmith's Spring Inspiration

Welcome Spring! I love this time of the year....I love to see everything green outside, and fresh and new...I love the ladybugs, and the magic of flowers blooming.....I have always loved Spring! What inspires me during this time of the year? Everything really....from the sights around me, to the smells, and the chance to enjoy the outdoors again after a long and wet Winter. The colors of Spring are some of my very favorite, and ones that I like to incorporate into my work. This month's Aspiring Metalsmith's blogroll theme is how does the Spring season affect our work. For me, it breathes new life into it, and ideas tend to flow faster than I can jot them down, let alone complete them into a final piece!

 
However this year, I was determined to bring to life an idea that I had been forming for over a year....and I wanted to finish it in time for April, and Autism Awareness Month. This is the piece....Simon's Necklace, named after my son Simon, who has Asperger's Syndrome. I am really pleased with how it turned out, and I am donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of each one, to Autism Speaks. You can find this necklace here.
Another exciting idea that we discussed over on the Aspiring Metalsmith's team was to challenge ourselves to incorporate a Drusy stone into our work....hence the April Drusy Challenge was born!
One of these lovelies will be set in sterling silver by the end of the month...look for it in my Etsy shop soon. So many choices...so little time....which is your favorite?
As I mentioned, the colors of Spring really inspire me....I love the pastel shades of purple's and pinks, blues, and greens....this grouping is very yummy!
However, I really think the blue's and green's have it going on! These are some of my favorites that I hope to set soon.
Even the cats love Spring....since they don't really spend time outdoors, we bring the flowers inside for their enjoyment.....
Keiki also loves Spring....and loves to munch on the taller grass, and play hide and seek in it....
And best of all, who can pass up some tasty Deviled Eggs! These will be on my menu this weekend, and they're usually gone almost as soon as they hit the table! Wishing you all a wonderful Spring and a lovely Easter. :) Sneak peeks of my upcoming pieces will be coming soon....

Please visit the blog links belwo to see what the rest of the team had to say on the subject.....
    

Aspiring Metalsmith's January Blogroll ~ Tutorials

So the theme this month was for us to share our knowledge about something that we feel we are pretty good at, or at least something that we know how to do fairly well, and after much thought, I decided to write my post about how to polish metal. I am by no means an expert at this, but have done it enough that I feel comfortable discussing my methods, and how I achieve a good final finish on a piece of jewelry. There are times when doing a proper polishing job might actually take longer than the amount of time you spent making the piece. You might think it could be tedious, but I find that I actually enjoy it, because I know the end result will be a beautiful piece of wearable art that will be worn for many years to come. Here is my process...
To tackle this project I decided it would be nice to be able to see the progression of the metal so I decided to use a piece of sterling silver sheet, and divide it into sections so that you can see the differences. This is what the sheet looks like straight from my metal supplier...you can see all of the tiny scratches that need to be sanded out....
First I score the metal with a scribe to divide it into sections....
I start the sanding process using a cloth sanding paper....I love the medium grit made by Vitex...it's flexible and soft and very easy to work with. When sanding, be sure to lay your sheet flat on a table and sand going back and forth in one direction only. If you change directions, you will give your metal scratches that you will see, and that are hard to get back out.
Normally I would sand the piece face down onto the paper, but I wanted to what it looks like when you start the sanding....on the left is the section with no sanding, and next to it, I have sanded for a few seconds.
Here is what it looks like after a few minutes of careful sanding....
Next I will start with my 3M brand polishing papers. I also love these, and use them constantly in my studio. They last a long time, and come in an assortment or individually, and do a great job of getting your metal prepped for polishing or soldering. Here is an assortment of different grits, and I've also shown the sanding sticks I use which are great for sanding the edges of your metal. You'll want to start with the lower number paper, in this assortment I start with the green which is a 600 grit, and will finish with the pink, which is a 4000 grit.
Here is how it looks after a few minutes sanding with the green paper....
And after the grey sheet...it's getting there....
Then the blue and the pink....and I needed to re-scribe my lines so you can see the three sections clearer......
Now my piece is ready....you could either solder or polish at this point, but to show you two different finishes, I decided to use my chasing hammer and bench block, and add some texture to one of the sections.
We are ready to get polishing now! Here are the needed supplies....polishing compounds, alligator tape to protect your fingers, safety glasses, and muslin buffs....
Safety first!! Always be sure to wear your safety glasses and a dust mask that filters fine particles when polishing! I can't tell you how many times I was polishing something and it caught and flew straight at me, and hit my glasses....had I not been wearing them, I surely would have lost an eye!
I like to lay a clean soft cotton towel over the top of my bench pin to use under my pieces when polishing. I find it helps them to stay put, and avoids scratches that may be caused by the wood. These towels I buy in big packages from Ikea....love that store...and I write the color of the polishing compound onto the bottom of each with a sharpie. You will need to use a separate cloth and separate muslin buff for each type of compound....you want to avoid cross-contamination between the different grades....
Now I wrap my "holding" fingers....the ones that will be holding down your piece while the other hand holds the flex shaft or dremel. I always wrap my thumb, and the first two fingers....that's all that I find is needed.
Here I am in all my garb....I look like an alien or maybe it's my has-mat suit.....hair pulled back, glasses on, dust mask in place, and fingers protected....the hat to keep my hair clean, because as you'll find, the dust and polishing fibers go everywhere!
There are many different polishing compounds available. I started out using the traditional Tripoli and various colors of rouge and Zam. The helpful folks at Rio Grande jewelry supply, turned me onto Dialux brand compounds, which are much safer and do not contain Silica, which is a cancer causing agent. I decided to give them a try last year, and fell in love with the results. I especially like that I am not risking my health, but get the same high shine finish, and with one less step! I used to use a three step polishing process...now it's down to two. Step one is the yellow Dialux....
You'll use a muslin buff on your flex shaft or dremel just for this color compound, and start the wheel spinning and slowly press it into the bar for just a couple of seconds. That's all it takes to load it on....a little goes a long way. Then you'll hold your piece firmly, and start polishing, pressing down to help remove any tiny scratches or imperfections that may be left after the sanding, and to give the metal a nice even finish.
Here's how it looks after a few minutes of polishing. I have polished both the center section and the hammered one....not the one on the far left.
Then you will need to clean your piece thoroughly before starting with the next compound....Dialux blue. Be sure to get off any black residue, use a different muslin buff, a different cloth under your piece, and change out your finger tape if needed.
This is how the piece looks after the first round of polishing and cleaning in the ultrasonic cleaner. Now I am ready to start with the blue Dialux....
When polishing, you'll sometimes see black grime appear on your piece as shown below....this is normal, and will come off as you continue polishing or after when you clan your piece. It can be rubbed off with a soft cotton towel.
Here is how it looks after polishing with the blue compound, and cleaning it in my ultrasonic cleaner. A nice high shine mirror finish! I could stop right here, but I want to show what the hammered section looks like oxidized, so that's up next.....
I like to use this great liver of sulphur in a gel form. It last a long time, and it very easy to use! Just mix up a tiny bit in a cup with HOT water, and dip in your piece. It will darken it quickly. The stuff is stinky, so I work quickly and get rid of it after....otherwise my hubby complains. :)
Here I am dipping just the last section into the liver of sulphur.....
It's looking good....but needs a couple seconds more in the dip.....
After i get it as dark as I like, I rinse and dry the metal and I am ready to remove the top layer to show the high points and leave the recessed areas dark. I do that with a small piece of extra fine steel wool. Just like with sanding, you'll want to rub the metal in a straight line back and forth, otherwise tiny scratches will show, should you change directions. That may be a look you like though, giving the piece a more rustic feel, so have fun and play with it a little!
I take enough oxidation so that I can see the added hammer texture and then I rinse it off, and buff it with a rouge cloth to give it a nice sheen. Below you can see the stages....from left to right....unfinished metal sheet, polished to a high shine and then textured and oxidized.
I hope you've enjoyed my little tutorial on polishing, and I am happy to answer any additional questions that you may have....just leave me a comment! All the supplies shown here should be readily available from the many online jewelry supply sites, and from your local lapidary shops. Please continue on the Aspiring Metalsmiths Blogroll and visit these great blogs to learn something new!
Metals Addict - www.metalsaddict.com
Shannon of Gifted Designs - gifteddesigns.blogspot.com/
Pennee- All Wired Up Jewelry Designs - allwiredupjewelrydesigns.blogspot.com/
Jessica @ Abella Blue - www.abellablue.com/blog



    

New Year and New Site!

Happy 2012! Wow...it's been a long time since I have updated...too long really! What's new and exciting you ask? Some new sterling and cabochon pieces are in the works and I have re-vamped my website and you can now purchase directly from my site, which is great for those that don't like to shop on Etsy. I am really excited about the change and will continue adding new pieces as time allows. You can check it out here...

I have also designed a new logo as seen on the new banner here on my blog, website and on Etsy...putting my Photoshop skills to the test. I enjoy pushing myself to learn new techniques with Photoshop, and since I was long overdue for a banner make-over I decided to jump in and see what I could come up with. I am happy with the results and will probably keep this one around for a while.

I'll be back soon with some sneak peeks of upcoming new work...
    

What I'm Working On....

It's been far too long since I've updated my blog, so I thought it would be great to jump back in with a post about things I'm currently working on here in my studio, and since it was also selected as this month Aspiring Metalsmith's Blog roll theme, it was perfect timing! I always have many projects going at once...sometimes certain ones will be put on the "back burner" while I work on new idea that comes up, or because I have customer orders to fill, or just because I am not inspired to sit and finish them. The picture above shows a pretty Sillimanite faceted bead and a sterling silver ring, which will eventually become a hammered hoop necklace. I started on this one piece back in April.

This picture below is my sketch of the next stone set piece I'll be working on, featuring two cabs cut by Laura of Cabbing Rough. They are so pretty together, and will be blooming into a pretty flower themed necklace! You can see the sketch next to it, which I did for the finished necklace that's in my shop currently....you can see how it turned out here. I always do up a couple of sketches when deciding how I was to set a cabochon. I find it helps a lot to have something to refer back to, and I make changes as I go. This is the first rough sketch for this piece.
This next picture shows a simple set of three sterling rings, which still need to be textured and polished, and will be listed in my shop soon. I use my old Looney Tunes mouse pad under my bench block so I don't scratch my table....I love the Warner Brothers Looney Tunes! Whose your favorite character? Mine is a toss up between Michigan J. Frog and Gossamer....
And lastly are these sweet kitty and baby whale pendants still waiting to be sawed out and finished. I sketched these out over two years ago, and these poor creatures have been waiting to come to life for far too long. One of these days I'll get around to them.... I hope anyway! :)
And that's what I'm working on here.....to see what my fellow team mates are working on in their studios, please check out the links below.

    

Loving My Rocks!!

I have become quite the stone collector in the last year....I've always been a collector of things...all of my life....it's in my blood. My passion for rocks started last year when I realized that I could actually incorporate them into my art, and share their beauty with others. How exciting it is, to take something from the earth, that in some cases is millions of years old, and turn it into a piece of wearable art that can be enjoyed for years to come!

Their allure is undeniable....the sparkle of druzy entices me....
The beauty and mystery of tiny transparent windows tingles my imagination...
The power of stunning turquoise calls to my soul....
And I can't resist the sparkling crystals that catch my eye, and make me stare with wonderment and awe....
Such things of tiny beauty....so amazing....so interesting....some may say they are just rocks, stones, just hardened hunks of earth....but really they are so much more.....
I love looking at my rock collection...and really, I do hope to make some jewelry with them, to share with others....really I do...but, some are just so pretty, just so amazing, that I may not be able to part with them....they may have to stay here with me just a little while longer.....
I'm sure you'll understand....right? I mean, we all have our vices....and some of these recently acquired stones, I just couldn't bear to part with....they are just so stunning!
Please take a peek at my fellow Aspiring Metalsmith's blog posts, to see their rock collections. Maybe you'll be enticed to start a new collection yourself! :)

Autumn Bradley - http://www.autumnbradley.blogspot.com/
Clarity @ Scrollwork Designs - http://thesquarepegnation.blogspot.com/
Stacy Low - http://www.formandfunktionaccessories.blogspot.com
Chrissi Lynn Designs - http://www.chrissilynn.blogspot.com
Sylvia Anderson - http://www.sylviaanderson.blogspot.com/
Jessica @ Abella Blue - http://www.abellablue.com/blog
Contemporary Jewelry by Beatriz Fortes - http://cjbf.blogspot.com/
Esmeralda - http://jewelry-by-silverblueberry.blogspot.com/
Steph Stargell - http://www.stephstargell.com
Pennee - http://allwiredupjewelrydesigns.blogspot.com/
Silver Pearl Jewelry and Metalworks - http://silverpearlmetalworks.wordpress.com/2011/02/20/show-us-your-stones/#more-4
ArtistiKat - http://artistikat-scratchingpost.blogspot.com/
Claire - brightstar109.blogspot.com/


    

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