Friday, October 14, 2011

Forging Communities, a MAGSF Symposium

Just a quick shout-out about this very exciting event.  If you are a local artist in San Francisco, it is a must!  Here is the schedule (starting as early as next Thursday, November 20, 2011) and description:

Remembering MAG
Lireille Gallery, Oakland
October 20 – November 13, 2011
Opening Reception Oct 20, 5:30-8:30pm
Live music by Brandon Mei
3980 Piedmont, Oakland CA 94611
Remembering MAG is an invitational exhibition in celebration of the guild’s 60th anniversary and coincides with MAG’s November 12th symposium, Forging Communities, at the Oakland Museum. Selections from the MAG Permanent Collection will be shown alongside work from founding members Tex Gieling, merry renk, and Florence ResnikoffThe exhibition will also showcase past MAG Presidents work from the era they were president as well as a piece that represents their current aesthetic. Historical documents and photos 
tracing MAG’s early years will be part of the exhibit.

California artists in collaboration with Anzfer Farms
Monday Spaces, San Francisco
November 10-21, 2011
Opening Reception Nov 10, 6-9pm
2441 Balboa St @ 26th Ave, SF CA 94121
Conspicuous, hosted by Monday Spaces in collaboration with MAG, is an intimate exhibition that speaks to jewelry and how we can put it on view in our personal settings. Conspicuous is a collaborative exhibition with Anzfer Farms who respond to the featured jewelry by creating interactive, custom displays for showcasing the work in a personal setting. Their interest is in exploring these objects as a visual experience and the role played when they are taken out of a functional context.


California artists embracing the movements that define the Bay Area

724 Studios, San Francisco
November 4-19, 2011
Opening Reception and 11-11-11 Celebration Nov 11, 6-10pm
Live music by Ramshackle Romeos and DJ Nicky
724 Valencia St @ 18th St, SF CA 94110
The Bay Area has been defined by the many movements that have come through it, and often sets the stage for the rest of the country to follow. California metalsmiths respond to the theme of MOveMENT in this juried exhibition. Jurors Julie Muniz (Curator of Decorative Arts, Oakland Museum), and Harriete Estel Berman (artist, creator of The Professional Guidelines).


11-11-11 Celebration
Nov 11, 6-10pm
An Artist Reception for MOveMENT as well as a Pre-Symposium Party , the evening will kick off with live music from Ramshackle Romeos and hors d’oeuvres and drinks made by mixologist Scott Beattie from SpoonBar (Healdsburg). MOveMENT jurors Julie Muniz and Harriete Estel Berman will be present to discuss their selections for the show. MAG will recognize a dedicated, long-term member with a special award for their commitment to the field of jewelry and metals and the Metal Arts Guild. Party kicks into full gear with dance tunes by DJ Nicky  in 70s power pop/glam and 80s punk/pop/garage rock. Local food cart vendors will be selling their bites well into the evening. An event not to be missed!

Plus see work by Forging Communities presenters:

Lola Brooks and Andy Cooperman

and work by Amy Tavern: This is How I Remember it

Velvet da Vinci, San Francisco
November 2-30
Opening reception for symposium artists Lola Brooks and Andy Cooperman, Nov 12, 7-9pm
Opening reception  for Amy Tavern, Nov 4, 6-8pm
2015 Polk St, SF CA 94019 

Friday, September 9, 2011

New Jasper Pendants

Been neglecting this little blog of mine lately.  Now that summer months are almost gone, I'm getting back into the show circuits.  Here are a couple of pendants using some new materials I got recently.  I was immediately captivated by their vibrant yellow and orange striations.  This jasper came from Indonesia.  Aren't they cool?

Right:  Large Oval Jasper Pendant
Left:  X-Large Long Oval Jasper Pendant
The large one (left) is huge, about 2-5/8 inches long.  The shorter one is about 2 inches long.  Both are set in heavy gauge recycled sterling silver for a strong sturdy frame.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

RAW 52/31 - Black Tourmaline in Quartz

Here's a ring where I used a quartz that has black tourmaline inclusions.    According to Wikipedia, Tourmaline is a crystal boron silicate mineral compounded with elements such as aluminum, iron, magnesium, sodium, lithium, or potassium. You can see the roughly triangular outline of the elongated crystal structure.

Tourmaline in Quartz Ring

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

RAW 52/30 - Pyrite in Quartz

A cute button shaped quartz with glittery pyrites, and it has such a wonderful tactile feel.  I might have to keep this one.  :D

Sunday, August 7, 2011

RAW 52/29 - Misty Mountain Ring

Another incredible picture stone I picked up recently.  It's a Montana Moss Agate that has landscape-like dentritic moss.  I think it looks like one of those Chinese ink paintings where the misty fog hovers around a mountain top.  To preserve the translucency of the chalcedony, I left the back of the ring open.  It makes me want to stare at it to see if I can find any human inhabitant.  Can you hear the two birds flying above?
Misty Mountain Ring with Montana Agate

Saturday, August 6, 2011

RAW 52/28 - Labradorite Ring

Blue Labradorite Ring

This labradorite has a really nice brighter blue sheen to it, which contrasts nicely with the silver.  Ring is listed in my etsy store.

Friday, August 5, 2011

RAW 52/26 & 52/27 - Circles & Squares

Using smaller stones, I created the next 2 rings for the Ring A Week design challenge.   I used circles as a design theme for the first ring, and (rounded) squares for the second ring.  Each stone sits in a blackened well to contrast with the stone and the silver.  The stones used are blue sheen rainbow moonstone and a soft green prehnite.
Faceted Moonstone Sterling Ring

Prehnite Ring

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

New Necklaces

A couple of new necklaces with some Montana Agates that has amazing picturesque coloration.  Since these stones have translucent backgrounds, I left the back and parts of the sides open to allow the most light through but still securely holding the stones.

New Moon Rising

Tahoe Sunset

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Apologizing for the Look Here

7/25/11 Update:  Looks like I have to reload every single picture to my Picasa Web album first for the pictures to "stick".  I will try to do a few a day. *sigh*

7/23/11 Update:  I tried to reload some of the recent photos, and checked those posts to make sure the photos are showing up.  When I check back after a day or two, some of them are disappearing again.  Anyone know of a fix?

Not sure what happened but I'm losing all the blog pictures from posts from last year as well as this year.  I'll try to repost, but it will take some time.

Do check back later as I scramble to "rebuild".  Ugghhh!!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

EtsyMetal Blog Carnival - July 2011

Every month my teammates on EtsyMetal choose a theme for our blog posting.  We call this our EtsyMetal Blog Carnival.  For this month, the topic is "Artist's Work That Has Influenced My Own".  Be sure to check out posts by the other participating members (see list at the end).
John Cogswell has been teaching jewelry making for thirty plus years and had recently retired from teaching at SUNY New Paltz.  When I found out that he was going to be teaching stone setting at Revere Academy 3 months ago, I jump at the opportunity to learn from this man LIVE.  Besides, I learn better by watching, and I heard he is a wonderful teacher.  The class was a real joy, and he has endless funny stories to share. 

If you don’t get a chance to attend John’s workshops, I highly recommend getting his book, Creative Stonesetting.  Here are a few of the results of his class demo:

John demo-ing how to raise stitches
Shoulder Bezel
Tension Setting
Basket Setting, fabrication
Basket Setting, finished
Slotted Assembly
Hope you enjoy reading the other team member's blog posts on the same topic:
Kate Jones -
Fluxplay Jewellery (Maria Whetman) -
2Roses -
Elizabeth Scott -
Andrea Ring -
Nodeform -
Beth Cyr -
Inbar Bareket -
Cynthia Del Giudice -
Evelyn Markasky -
AdobeSol -

Quercus Silver -

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

RAW 52/25 - Indicolite in Quartz

Indicolite in rustic cut Quartz
Indicolite encapsulated in white quartz.  Nice tall bezel walls to protect this lovely stone.

Inky blue Indicolite Crystal
Isn't that the prettiest blue?  Such an amazing stone, and that rough surface is incredible.

RAW 52/24 - Green Tourmaline in Quartz

Rustic & Natural - Rutilated Tourmaline in Quartz

Another rustic stone with soft green colored tourmaline, trapped in quartz.  I've only seen black tourmanated quartz, so this is an unusual find.  Here, the band is not soldered to allow custom fit.

This ended up being a ring, along with the other 2 rustic top quartz rings, will be heading to Australia.  Yay! 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

RAW 52/23 - Gold Rutilated Quartz, Raw and Natural

Here's the gold rutilated quartz set in sterling.  Instead of the usual gold rutiles running through clear quartz, these needles are buried in white translucent quartz.  That surface is so bold and rustic, like touching the walls of a mine.  Again, I want to protect this stone by surround it with heavy gauge sterling bezel walls.

The heavy bezel walls are very strong and fits around the stone very snugly.  This allows friction to keep the stone from falling out.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

RAW 52/22 - Raw Aquamarine Ring

Raw Aquamarine Ring
Got this and a few other stones at the recent gem show.  They have the split-face concrete block texture, which I've never seen it cut like that before.  Of course I can't let these beauties slip away from me.

From the top left, blue aquamarine, gold rutilated quartz, indicolite (blue tourmaline) in quartz, and green tourmaline in quartz. I love how the cutter preserved the natural beauty by not grinding or polishing them to the usual glass-like finish. I'll be setting these in the next few days.

Can you see the little bit of pink tourmaline mixed in with the green tourmaline in the stone at the lower right?  So amazing.  Since I consider these as rare finds, I will only finish making them half way.  This way, each of them can be customized to the client's specs - be it a ring or a pendant.  Contact me if you are interested.

Willow Bracelet

To go with my Willow Earrings, I made this out of one continuous flat strip and hammered it to shape.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Long Green Turquoise Pendant Necklace

Green Turquoise Pendant Necklace
This long slender green turquoise (32 x 8 mm) matches the ring I listed in the last post.  It is set the same way, and finished with the same texture on the silver.  The heavy bezel provides such a nice frame to the stone.  Yeah, a bit more silver used but so worth the uniqueness.

Friday, June 10, 2011

RAW 52/21 - Green Turquoise Ring

Long Oval Green Turquoise Ring

Love the dark matrix and the long slender oval shape of this green turquoise cab.  I thought of setting the stone horizontally and make it a two-finger ring.  But then the stone didn't quite span 2 fingers.  Hmmm, ideas are spinning for future rings.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

RAW 52/20 - Faceted Carnelian

Big Bold Orange Carnelian Ring

This is my 20th ring for the Ring A Week challenge - a nice bright orange carnelian with faceted top.  And I'm having fun with the texture on the silver.

Another View

Thursday, May 19, 2011

RAW 52/17, 18 & 19 - Moonstone Rings

While working on a custom ring, I just thought I would make a few more.  Each of the rings have an inner bearing, open back, and a U shaped band.  Each bezel is treated slightly differently.
Pinstriped Moonstone Ring with a simple bezel.
Teardrop Moonstone Ring with a textured outer bezel.
Round Moonstone Ring with stamped squares.
Each moonstone has wonderful ice blue schiller, and they were fun to make.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Quick Tip on Separating Discs

Separating discs are very useful in scoring metal for bending and when cutting tool steel like graver blanks.  The discs are very hard but brittle.  I use to get really nervous when using these discs to cut because I keep wanting to see if I'm cutting at my marked line or not.  Here's a quick tip to make the task easier.

1.  Here I mark a line for cutting.
2.  As you can see, you can't see through the disc.  It's like trying to drive in thick fog.

3.   I use my pliers to make a notch on the disc.  How much to break off?  If the notch goes all the way to the screw edge of the mandrel, then it's too deep.  Even with the notch, it will still cut like a new round one.
4.  Now I mount the disc back on the flex shaft after the "enhancement."
5.  See how I can see through the notched disc?  Now I can cut or score with more confidence.
6.  Another look at the modified disc at high speed.

And of course, ALWAYS wear eye protection when using separating discs.  A dust mask is highly recommended as that disc can kick up a lot of dust.

(This post also appears on the EtsyMetal Blog.)

Monday, May 9, 2011

RAW 52/16 - Amethyst Crystal Cluster

Amethyst Crystal Clusters
Amethyst Crystal Cluster Ring
Trying my hands on setting crystal specimens.  This is a small cluster of amethyst where the crystals are left in their natural state.  Amethyst is a purple quartz and the birthstone of February.

Friday, May 6, 2011

RAW 52/15 - Dovetail Ring

Dovetail Ring

The dovetail joint is one of the oldest and yet most common joinery in carpentry.  Examples can be found in tombs of ancient Egyptian, Chinese and Japanese civilizations.  The concept is to rely on a series of trapezoidal shapes to interlock two pieces of wood boards.  When fitted properly, it requires no glue or fasteners like nails or screws.

Since the dovetail joint and hundreds of others joinery techniques are not rigid connections, the wood (being a material that flexes a bit) can expand and contract in different humidity and temperatures, allowing some lateral movements from winds and earthquakes.

For the May 1 Ring A Week challenge, I wanted to spotlight the dovetail joint as found in many traditional Japanese structures.  Had it not been for the tsunami, I believe many buildings would have survived the magnitude 9.0 earthquake in March earlier this year.  This ring, together with many other artisan created rings as featured on flickr, is donated and the proceeds will go toward relief for Japan.

My ring was cut from one sheet of heavy gauge sterling silver.  No solder was used to join the trapezoidal ends together.  It is free to flex a little.  Only a small disc of silver was soldered to provide enough thickness for setting the garnet.  Fits like a US size 5.5.

1.  I drew a template first for cutting.
2.  The sheet was bent into a ring shape.
3.  Dovetails are locked in and pilot hole drilled for the stone.
4.  Finished ring, garnet is set with the pavilion facing out.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Willow Earrings

Willow Earrings with Dark Patina
Willow Earrings in Golden Bronze

These earrings have the willow leaf shape and are cut out from flat sheets of bronze.  After series of hammering and annealing, they are shaped into these swirling leaves.  Quite time-consuming to make but well worth it.  The curves lines have a lot of visual movement.  They are available in golden bronze or a darkened bronze.  The darker version has burnished edges and spine (back side) for a very dramatic contrast so you can really see the curving lines.  Holes are then drilled and ear wires attached.  I hope you like them as much as I do.

Friday, April 22, 2011

RAW 52/14 - Tension Set Ring

Just finished today - tension set ring.  Sterling silver and CZ.  Tension rings rely on the stiffness of the metal to press the stone to hold it in place.  That also means, the stone need to be sufficiently strong to resist the compressive forces.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

RAW 52/13 - Willow Ring

I was working on some new earrings, using bronze.  Too lazy to change out the old pickle (which is perfect for copper based materials), I decided to raise a piece of the same earring material and shape (willow leaf) for this ring.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

RAW 52/12 Kinetic - No Nuke Ring

No Nuke Ring
This week's Ring A Week challenge is to create a ring with moving parts, a kinetic ring.  I've never made one and thought I should.  It took me so long to decide on a design concept, but I know that I've been following the news on the recent Japanese disaster.  The reports have saddened all people around the world.  Imagine, even an economic and technological powerhouse like Japan is at the mercy of the natural elements and nuclear catastrophe. It reminds us how vulnerable we are.

Closer to home and as of this moment, I still haven’t heard from our 5 year old nephew, Rui, living near Tokyo. I can only pray for his safety, not just from the events so far but also for the tainted food chains and for the uncontrollable radiation.  Radiation particles have spread to the northern hemisphere.

My response to the ring design challenge is based on my views on nuclear power plants - we need to seriously focus on alternative clean energy.

Raw Materials - Sterling sheets, wires, and tubes.
I hammered 1 of the 2 pieces of sheet stock for texture.
The windmills spin and turn to catch the winds.
Another view of the No Nuke Ring
I'm having trouble loading the video, so you can see it on my flickr page -