Monday, November 9, 2009

Sterling and Turquoise Dangle Earrings

I know I haven’t posted anything for quite a long time. Due to a destructive fire, I have not been able to craft any new jewelry or take the time to post to this blog. But, a couple of weeks ago I did take the time to hammer out one pair of earrings. There were a few short pieces of sterling flat bar stock left over from making bangles so I thought to make some earrings out of them. After annealing the silver pieces to soften them I hammered them into the shape I wanted. A little filing completed the shape. Next, I drilled a little hole in the end of each dangle, added a wire and a turquoise bead and connected them to ear wires. I textured the dangles surfaces with a peen hammer and then put on a high polish. The picture at the left was taken before the final polish. The earrings are available in my Icraft store.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Native American Single Loop Earrings

The single loop earring is a common Native American style of earring and is found through out most tribes. The loops were frequently made using porcupine quills and seed beads or bird bones and seed beads. Sometimes the loops were made with just beads alone. Here are three examples. The first is constructed with porcupine quills and the second with spiny oyster shell. The third is a contemporary version made with 3mm turquoise heishi beads and sterling noodle tubes.

A selection of single loop earrings can be found in my etsy store and in my artfire store artfire store

Monday, May 11, 2009

Handmade Sterling Silver Beads

I have been experimenting with making sterling silver beads, sometimes called bench beads. The first two beads I made are saucer shaped beads. They are also called lentil beads. The process is fairly straightforward. First, texture a piece of silver sheet with a stamp or rolling mill. I used a rolling mill and sand paper for the texture. Next punch out the disc, mark the edge holes, and dome with a doming block. Finally, sand the edges and solder together, file the holes and polish. It is fairly easy but a bit time consuming. I made this pair of earrings with the lentil beads. The two small stone nuggets are good quality American turquoise from the Kingman Mine. They have a nice soft blue color and a light brown matrix.

I also made two rolled tube beads. Again the process is straightforward. Texture a piece of sterling sheet with a stamp or a rolling mill. I used a stamp. Cut out a triangle and solder the base end to a length of sterling tubing. Roll it up and solder the center tab to keep it from snagging or unrolling. Polish! It is easy, but a long process. I made a necklace with two of the rolled tube beads. I used a Lewis and Clark feather bead for a focal and flanked it with the tube beads.

Both of these items can be purchased at my Etsy store. Just click on the picture and you will be taken to the store.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Beaded Stretch Bracelets

This is another style group of bracelets that I particularly like. I put these together using the peyote (or gourd) stitch. The beads are 4mm Miyuki cubic beads. I chose opaque earth tone colors to give the bracelets an earthy masculine look. Instead of using regular beading thread to string the beads I used an elastic thread. The elastic thread is extremely strong and makes the bracelets stretchable. What I really like about the bracelets is, when sized correctly, they are very comfortable to wear.

This bracelet I made with black white and red beads in a bold geometric pattern. Geometric patterns were common among many Native American groups. However, the Chippewa and other woodland tribes made use of floral patterns rather than geometric. The large beads used in this project do not lend themselves well to floral patterns.

This second bracelet has a more contemporary look. Again, I used opaque earth tone colors. Two of the rows of beads are gold plated (24k). They provide for a more conservative but expensive appearance. The gold beads do not show up well in this photo. They appear to be yellow but they are actually metallic gold.

Both of these bracelets are available for purchase in my etsy store. Just click on the picture to get to the store. There, you will find more photos of the two bracelets and listing for more bracelets of the same style but with different patterns. And, remember I can re size any bracelet to fit your wrist exactly.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Native American Bead and Leather Bracelet

Here are two of my early bracelet designs. Beads are strung between two leather end straps and two snaps secure the bracelet to the wrist. The two snaps allow for a bit of adjustment.

The first bracelet has five rows of bone hairpipe beads and teal blue white heart beads. Bone hairpipe it is closely associated with the American Indian. Today most bone hairpipe is imported from India or Asia and comes from the domesticated water buffalo.

The second bracelet has a more contemporary appearance. It has four rows of Bohemian dark brown cylinder glass beads, Chinese light brown round glass beads, and black onyx beads. The brown beads are from the African trade and the black onyx is of contemporary manufacture.

Both of these bracelets can be purchased from my etsy store. Just click on the picture.