last weekend hazel and june helped me to do a very thorough spring cleaning of my shop. this may not seem like a very big deal, but there is a reason why i am not posting any before pictures here. for some reason over this winter, which really wasn't much of a winter at all, my shop got messier than ever. and at the same time, perhaps in part because of all the clutter, my inspiration dwindled. i felt that a really good cleaning of the clutter and the energy and dust would perhaps rekindle some inspiration.
after cleaning and organizing all of my dusty cabochons, the girls helped me to clean and organize all of my letter and image stamps. june especially liked this job, each wipe with w-d 40 punctuated by her singsong rendition of the alphabet to determine precisely which hole to return the stamp to.
it felt so good to organize everything and wipe down (okay, scrub) all of the surfaces.
i cleaned and oiled all of my tools as well.
and it turns out, it worked! as i cleared away the mess and the stagnant energy i felt a weight lift and some inspiration return. when i uncovered boxes of old gemstone and silver beads that i had forgotten all about, i felt a burning desire to make some bracelets in the old style that i used to use for making jewelry before i started silversmithing, along with the motivation to try some new stone setting techniques for a line of engagement rings i've been wanting to make for a while now.
so i made a bunch of silver charms, and created intention bracelets with them. each bracelet is made using stones with properties specific to certain characteristics.
with peruvian opal, apatite, chalcedony, labradorite, moonstone, swarovski austrian crystals, and thai &bali silver
with lepidolite, amethyst, pink tourmaline, rhodolite garnet beads, and bali silver
with moonstone, aquamarine, prehnite, labradorite, peruvian opal, iolite, and thai & bali silver
with ruby, peridot, turquoise, amethyst, citrine, carnelian, iolite, and thai & bali silver
with spinel, rhodolite garnet, seed pearls, moonstone, iolite, green tourmaline, and thai silver
with apatire, turquoise, peridot, peruvian opal, chalcedony, and green garnet
it felt truly wonderful to be making beaded jewelry again. i'd forgotten how soothing and therapeutic the stringing of beads was for me. i loved the crimping of the tiny silver tubes, the closing of the crimp covers, and especially the forming of pattern and design using the various colors, shapes, and sizes. it's an entirely different type of work than smithing, and one i still very much adore. i love the way these bracelets turned out and i intend to make many more, probably some similar necklaces as well. these are now available in my etsy shop.
then i set to work making some engagement rings with faceted high grade gemstones. lately many people have been asking me to make engagement rings to accompany my wedding bands. i have continually told them no, i do not work with diamonds or faceted stones. however, i recently realized that before i made gold wedding rings, i had many people ask me if i could make the rustic hammered wedding ring in gold. and i continually told them, no, i do not work with gold. but i eventually took the plunge and learned the neccesary skills to make work with gold. and i recently realized that the time has come to learn the neccesary skills to work with faceted stones. these are the designs for engagement rings i have so far, with their matching wedding bands.
with 4 mm AA grade faceted aquamarine,
and 4 mm AA grade faceted white sapphire
i am now trying to work out how to do a flush setting, which is quite challenging. if any of you folks out there have any advice on the subject, i'd love to hear it!
in other news, spring is in fact here in southwest colorado, which means beautiful blue skies, warmer weather, and, well, wind.
but fun hiking nevertheless.
i hope that you are enjoying spring in whatever corner of the world you are in, and finding joy in the places you hope to find it.
p.s. it was finally announced that the new felice brothers album will be out june 17th. very exciting!