29 March 2009

Welcome back, jewelry mojo

Spring fever is hitting hard this year... and just how does this differ from any other year? Well, this spring I have a lot less time to "play," so when my most recent quarter of coursework ended (I'm charging full-time through a graduate counseling program) I was happy to cut loose from my 50-hour workweeks and spend more time again at my jewelry workbench. My current obsession: bracelets.

These pieces mix things up a bit: amethyst (a perennial favorite), pearls, cane glass, fluorite, and sterling. This and the one below add in some Sassy Silkies from jewelry/fiber artist Kristal Wick. My friend Conne gave me a few of these, and like so many things that intrigue but also baffle me I simply set them in view, but out of the way of works in progress (usually a chaotic scene), to ponder. Essentially, I look at them every now and then, which seems to allow them to work their way into my imagination over time. Then one day I find myself pulling them down and making two or three or even five pieces in a similar style. Indeed, in addition to these three bracelets I made three in labradorite with some grey silkies that I'd gotten along with the purple ones.

This batch of bracelets will debut in Albuquerque, at my friend Paula's wonderful gallery that is currently at Central and University but will soon be moving downtown. Thank you, Paula, for asking to show some of my jewelry in your amazing gallery. I wish you much success and continue to be inspired by your artistic and personal journey.

03 March 2009

More amethyst (of course)

Among (many) other things, I found some beautiful, good-quality amethyst briolettes in Tucson to replenish my depleted supply. These cascade-type earrings sell very well, and I'm glad to have higher-quality gems to offer this time around. Amethyst is a quartz (silicon dioxide) colored by traces of iron and manganese. The amount and proportion of these trace minerals determines the color's hue and intensity, with darker, clear varieties considered the highest grade.

I use sterling headpins to wrap and attach side-drilled briolettes (a faceted teardrop shape) to sterling chain, and stepping the briolettes down the chain allows for the "grape cluster" effect. My variations on this theme have included darker amethyst on oxidized sterling (shown at right), which I'd love to repeat if I could only find those briolettes again. I suppose this is the downside of an eclectic approach to building one's supply, focusing on the unusual and one-of-a-kind. This simple earring style works with any briolette, of course, but we always seem to crave that which we cannot have... and so the quest continues.