Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Many Facets (pun intended)

It seemed about time that I got back into blogging since it has been OVER a full year since my last post. My "other life" seems to take over sometimes and it always becomes hard to fit in everything I want to do.

Before I became interested in art and design, I wanted to become a doctor. This interest lasted up until I was a junior in high school, when I discovered art class: painting and drawing soon became my new obsession. After my switch to the artistic world, I went to college got a degree etc etc. Soon after I was a full-time graphic designer fresh out of college. Although graphic design has a huge streak of creativity, I found myself forced to lay out dismal and lifeless designs (per customer wishes) I began to lose interest and even though I loved graphic design, I needed a more creative outlet. I wanted to have more control and put more creativity into what I was doing.  You can see some of my older work here: www.annaheron.com

I had somewhat dabbled in beading and other crafts but was ready for something else. For some reason I was perusing the coursebook for the continuing education classes when I came across jewelry design classes.  I signed up and just loved it! I had a great teacher and was so excited about turning ordinary silver into something that I had imagined. I loved it. I only took two beginner courses and managed to learn a variety of other techniques online. I'm still learning new things every time I visit the bench.

Here's a picture of one of my favorite pieces: The Queen of the Ocean.
Right now I'm having a hard time juggling all of my responsibilities. I work a full time graphic design job at a place called MediaWorks (in case you're that interested...  www.mediaworksdesign.com ) I work with the youth at the church that my husband and I attend.  And I also help with the Family Readiness Group for my husband's detachment (Army) With all of that going on, I sometimes find it difficult to get as much jewelry made as I want! Working 8 hours a day can really wear you out. There is never enough time in the day...which is why I'm writing this at 10:00 pm at night.

Some things I would love to do if I ever get a break from the job and jewelry: reading, sewing, gardening, shopping, photography. I miss doing some of these things as often as I want.

It's all about balance...I'm getting there!!

To read about these fellow metalsmithers' "Other Sides", visit their blogs!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Ring For Veee!

Here are some process photos for a ring that I'm custom-making for Veee...

I haven't blogged in a while, so I figured I should at least start somewhere.

So this ring is about 80% done. All that is left to do is the rivets, set the stones and polish it up! The name of the ring is "dichotomy" (which is stamped inside the band) since I love the contrast between the surfaces and styles.

If you don't know by now, I'm a huge fan of rivets, so I've been working with them more and more.


Here are my sketches and the paper cut outs for sawing out of the silver sheet.

Here are the pieces...not even soldered together yet (or sanded!)

Arranging how I want the little silver balls to be....

All the little silver balls are soldered on...as well as the bezel...just have to 
put the names on the back and the ring band!


..after more soldering...


bottom part is oxidized...(note the setting for the flush set pink topaz is already done! Yay!)
More to come!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Homefront Team

When I joined Etsy I wanted to be a part of a Team that meant something to me, so I found the Homefront Street Team. This team is a group of shops run by military spouses that aims to support and promote each other's shops.  We also share a common bond of living the military life, and support each other as we move, change jobs and meet new people.

Military life really is a unique experience that is mostly understood only by those that live it.  The deployments, the moves, the unknowns, the training weeks, the long work days and the many other things that come with marrying into the military. Besides learning what TDY, PCS, BAH, BAS, DITY, LES mean, this life comes with many trials and responsibilities. 

My husband has been in the military for around 3 years and I'm still learning the in's and out's and the do's and don'ts of military life. It's been a complete eye opener but I am definitely up for the challenge.

Here is the Homefront Team's new Facebook Fan Page. Feel free to become a fan and browse some of our member's shops!


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Working With What You Have

When you start out with something as expensive as jewelry making...you get by with what you can. Granted, you just HAVE to have some tools and supplies. But usually there are some things that you can just ad lib. Here's a couple of the things that I get by without:

1. A super duper nice camera: In other words, my dream camera the Canon Digital Rebel.
I have a Canon...a very nice one indeed. However it's 35mm and as much as I love using it, it's not practical to develop every single roll of film. Believe me, I take a TON of pictures and this is not the way to go. However after I discovered the "macro" setting on my dutiful little Olympus, I've been doing fairly well. There are a few tricks to getting my camera to behave and produce fairly good photos. I have to hold EXTREMELY STILL when taking the picture. And since it has a little "delay"...I have to hold my breath too. Oh and don't forget to wait until you hear the "beep" that lets you know it's actually focused on something.

The point is: I'm not going to invest in a super duper nice camera unless I know that it will pay for itself. And right now, it won't.

2. A light box of sorts
I found a method that works for me...and everything else seems to, well, not work! My workbench is by a window. So I just cover it with a white piece of cardstock or my infamous red piece of fabric. Too much light? A little glare? hmmm let's see if I can position my hand or another piece of cardstock juuuuuust right so that it will filter the light. Nope, nothing fancy about that. And while I know a tripod could help me immensely, I can't seem to find the one I had lying around! So propping my camera on my stamp box or anything else similar works pretty well. I was using a yellow pitcher/vase that I had, but I found it was putting a yellowish hue on my silver. I retired that thing really quickly.

3. A "real" jewelry bench. Yes, I've looked at them. I drool over them. Am I going to pay for one? Heck no! When we were living in NC we kept this corner tv cabinet out in the garage forever. I had intentions of turning it into a wine storage thingy or even something else....so I didn't want to get rid of it. Well lo and behold I started getting into silversmithing and this was the PERFECT height and size for a little work bench. Even now I'm so happy I didn't get rid of it.

One last little thing that I thought was super cool: When I bought my flexshaft I wanted to buy one of those contraptions that held up your motor. I found that a plant hanger worked extremely well. AND I already had it stashed in the closet. How perfect.

I love repurposing things and making do with what I have. It's always a sort of challenge that keeps me interested and motivated. I guess it's also a result of my packrat tendencies.

I'd love to hear anybody else's repurposed ideas or uses!

Monday, October 5, 2009

The accident

I thought I'd go ahead and share what happened with this crazy earrings. These are hollow earrings and I was planning on only putting Liver of Sulphur on the inside of the hollow (so it would be black inside) but my funnel was slightly too large...and it spilled all over the outside. I rinsed it off as soon as I could: but it was too late! Alas! The colors were so beautiful I couldn't bear to take them off. So they stayed and I made another pair just like them.

I believe the key is to have the LOS hot and fresh. Dip it in and rinse it off to see the colors progress. Make sure to seal the patina with Renaissance wax or a lacquer so that they do not wear off.

I think I'll have to try more of these

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Demon Brooch

So I've been working on this brooch for the past three days and it's given me so much trouble I thought it only fair to give it a posting.

It started out very simply. I had a bunch of pieces of silver that I wanted to fuse together to make a very textured brooch. Well that was the only part that actually went well. Everything else was a disaster. Nothing was soldering correctly...the back pin wasn't working etc. etc. Just a general bad day and it only got worse.

We even got into making back pins on one of the threads on Etsy....which helped me finally finish after I figured out why the pin wasn't working.

After being coined "the demon":
I had originally planned on not oxidizing the piece, and went ahead and set the peridot stone that I had. Well it just wasn't looking right..it needed more depth and I went ahead and put it in the LOS (liver of sulphur) If something else couldn't go wrong...some of the LOS got underneath my stone and oxidized just a bit of the silver underneath. The result? The stone now looks like an eye, most likely a demon eye for my horribly misbehaving brooch. ha. ha.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Treasure Box

Ok so maybe it isn't a treasure box that everybody would like...but it certainly is mine. When I'm stuck or I'm not sure what I want to work on, this is where I go to peruse all of my pretty stones. Some may sit in there for weeks, waiting for their moment to shine, and others are snatched up straight out of the delivery box...their setting already planned and waiting.

Notice the coins in the lower right hand corner. These coins are from a variety of countries in Europe and I think in Canada. I've been considered doing "something" with them...but nothing that I've sketched or imagined seems quite right. I'm sure it will come to me soon.

I think it's a whole lot easier to lay out all of your stones so they are visible. I just recently collected all of my stones from everywhere and put them in one central place. This way I'm not searching high and low for that peridot cab I had two days ago.

It just works for me.

UNFORTUNATELY...I have a half grown kitten who is horribly bad at stealing small items. I've managed to store this box away so he can't get at it...but the day will probably come where he steals a small bag of my aventurines or the like. And I'm sure I'll find it a day later in the water dish (which is where he sometimes drops his plunder) I'm still looking for the screw on cap for my rock tumbler. I'll probably find that when we move. Ugh!

Don't let his "innocence" fool you! He's BAD.

Just thought I'd share!