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.