Back from Tucson

By Cindy Goldrick It was, as always, a whirlwind of excitement under sunny blue skies. I got out to a few shows but spent most of my time at the To Bead True Blue show.  At the Pueblo show I drooled over the Fretz Tools and ended up splurging on Bill’s new cast iron soldering pan — just the small one though, since I was pretty sure the big one would tip my luggage over the 50lb mark. I’m in love with it and I know it will last a lifetime.  Also at the Pueblo show I found a smoking …

Pretty pretty porcelain!

Ceramic beads – I bet most of you think of them as “cheap” and mass produced. But nothing could be further from the truth if you do a little sleuthing. There are some beautiful, handmade, one-of-a-kind, ceramic beads being created around the world, just waiting to be added into your beautiful designs.  Ceramic, or porcelain beads, have been around for thousands of years and have been unearthed in graves from China to North America. Clay is easily shaped into beads of any size and can be air-dried, sanded and painted. The first beads created by humans were likely air-dried.  Then …

Book review: Metalsmithing Made Easy

One of the best teachers and writers I know is the amazing Kate Richbourg. She is an expert at breaking down the steps in metalworking to ensure no tears and great results. Her first book, Simple Soldering: A Beginner’s Guide to Jewelry Making (Interweave, 2012) is an indispensable guide to soldering. If you don’t have it, order it today. You won’t regret it.  A few months ago Kate’s second book from Interweave was released and it picks up where her first left off, but can also stand alone: Metalsmithing Made Easy. This book will hold your interest if you sit …

Looking at 2017 jewellery trends

I’m looking forward to an exciting 2017 – a year of designing, teaching and attending events and classes such as the shows in Tucson and Bead & Button. As I make my plans, I spend a lot of time researching trends in jewellery. Following up on my fall 2016 trend report, I can see that many trends I reported on are still going strong while some have been modified and new ones added. Here’s what the major fashion magazines are reporting as major jewellery trends for spring 2017.  Statement necklaces – the longer the better and the bigger the better. …

Monograms in wire

By Cindy Goldrick I mentioned in an earlier blog post that I was making presents for friends and family this year and that people would be getting steel wire ornaments or broomstick lace cuffs. Well, I taught myself broomstick lace in my leftie way, but I’m not ready to move on to smaller projects yet so I decided to throw myself into what I know better — steel wire and designing on the Now That’s a Jig! I set about creating letter ornaments for my great nieces and individualizing each letter to reflect their loves and unique personalities. I’m really …

Bezels, and how to fill an empty space

By Cindy Goldrick I love bezels. They are open spaces that have infinite creative possibilities. No matter what kind of technique you use, there is some way for you to fill that space with something that speaks to you. Here are some inspiration pieces and also suggestions for online tutorials to get your creativity flowing. Fill your bezels with paper and glass I’ve used watchmakers quality glass and glue that dries transparent to assemble this easy pendant. It’s a great way to feature a family photo or souvenir from a memorable trip. Fill your bezels with metal Here I used …

Stick a pin in it

The humble pin. It’s back in the news this fall in a big way — both as a political statement and as a fashion statement that harks back to a political statement of the 70s.  Here’s a sample of pins used in runway jewellery as part of the fall collections.  As we are all very aware, after Brexit and now the US election, safety pins are being donned by those who want to indicate they are friendly and a safe haven for anyone experiencing hate crimes and to show solidarity against xenophobia.  But today’s blog is about this oldest and …

Why, thank you. I made it myself…

Fall weather triggers two things (at least) in me: the back to school/back to learning mind-set and the urge to start making handmade presents. When I was very young and without income of any kind, relatives received pot holders and trivets woven from scraps of wool. Then when I was in my late 20s I went through a phase when I made my own paper and bound it into small books and spent a lot of money on Japanese paper that I covered hat boxes with to make my presents fully reusable. The boxes were great year-round storage containers. In …

In a pickle

By Cindy Goldrick Firescale is the residue layer of oxides that forms on the surface of metal when it’s heated. At high temperatures, oxygen mixes with the copper to form cuprous oxide and then cupric oxide. Pickle is, at its most basic, a liquid that allows you to quickly and easily remove this oxidation from your metal, especially if you’re soldering bezels and need clean metal for further soldering steps. There are many kinds of pickle. The one you’re likely most familiar with is a sulphuric acid that’s often sold under the brand-name Sparex. It is a dry acid compound …

Chain Gang

Deciding how to hang a finished pendant is a very important part of your jewellery design process. You have to consider several things: weight of the pendant, size, material, colour, delicacy and, of course, cost. In addition, whether you’re framing this work of art for personal wear or sale makes a huge impact – if it’s for sale then cost of the material and ease of replication are likely more important to you. I’ve used informal materials such as leather and ball chain to suit more contemporary designs (these materials are inexpensive and quick, easy solutions for items you are …