Author Archives: lauramccain

A few jewelry making resources

A nurse who cares for my dad has a sister who wants to start a jewelry making business.  I thought  I’d share some of the resources I’ve found to help build my skills. It’ll be a list with commentary.  To get the post published as soon as possible, I’ll eschew the pursuit of perfection. I don’t think I’ve ever used the word eschew Pirro to today.

Wirework

Jewelry artists who do wirework produce beautiful pieces, and learning how to work with wire takes some doing. There are so many different materials, and gauges, degrees of harness, shapes, and probably more characteristics that I don’t know about.

The little I know about wirework comes mostly from a Udemy video course taught by Jessica Barst called Jewelry Making: Wire Wrapping for Beginners. Jessica explains techniques in a way that’s  easy to understand.

Wire jewelry piece

Beaded Jewelry

I learned some basic skills for working with stringing wire, wrapping wire, and beads from a Curious course from the O’Neil Sisters, DIY Beaded Jewelry. This is a useful general purpose program. You’ll learn how to make beaded bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and some wire wrapping techniques.

Free Tutorials via Pinterest

You can find tons of jewelry tutorials on the Internet. I collect them on Pinterest.

  1. Learning Jewelry Making
  2. Learning Wire Jewelry Making
  3. Jewelry Making Supplies

pin1

Of course there are books about jewelry making. Here’s a Pinterest board that lists almost 100.

Supplies

There are plenty of options for purchasing jewelry making supplies. I sometimes shop at JoAnn and Michaels. Neither of these stores has the largest selection of supplies, but there’s enough for someone getting started with making jewelry. I need to avoid these stores because when I go in, I want to buy everything I see.

Here are some options for online supply shopping:

  1. Etsy
  2. Fire Mountain Gems
  3. Goody Beads
  4. Artbeads

Many of these stores offer tutorials on jewelry techniques.

Jewelry making tools

 

Time to start learning, and doing. Make something. It won’t be perfect.  Re-do it, or make  something else. Keep practicing and seeking instruction and you will get better, maybe even great!

 

Arty Interests from 11/3/15

15This is a rundown of my artistic life as of late.

Last month, I made a few necklaces to practice using crimps and crimp covers. I was obsessed with jewelry for a few weeks. Then, I realized that I hated all of my beads. I didn’t want to make anymore pieces with them. I considered gathering them up and trying to sell them as a miscellaneous lot on eBay. I may do that if I ever get up the energy to organize said beads.

My attention abruptly shifted to mixed media art. I became obsessed. I made this:

Mixed media on canvas.

Mixed media on canvas.

After that I found an iPhone/iPad app called Glitché. It lets  you create “Glitch Art” from your photos.

Glitch art is the aestheticization of digital or analog errors, such as artifacts and other “bugs”, by either corrupting digital code/data or by physically manipulating electronic devices (for example by circuit bending).” – Wikipedia

I went a little crazy. Did a lot of posting to Instagram. Then I found an app called Waterlogue. It makes your images look like watercolor paintings.  Here are samples of each.

image

Waterlogue 1.1.4 (1.1.4) Preset Style = Rainy Format = 6" (Medium) Format Margin = None Format Border = Straight Drawing = Technical Pen Drawing Weight = Heavy Drawing Detail = Medium Paint = Natural Paint Lightness = Normal Paint Intensity = Less Water = Tap Water Water Edges = Blurry Water Bleed = Intense Brush = Fine Detail Brush Focus = Everything Brush Spacing = None Paper = Watercolor Paper Texture = Medium Paper Shading = Medium Options Faces = Enhance Faces

And now, I think that’s out of my system for the time being.

I’m back into jewelry and  taking a course on Curious from the O’Neil Sisters. Here’s one of their videos on YouTube:

I understand the wrapped loop now. Wire is my new obsession.

That’s where I am. All over the place.

A Clearer Path? Maybe from 12/25/15

It came to me like. flash. A flash? The flashy notion was that I can use this blog to document my creative journey. I want to be an artist. No, I shouldn’t say that. I will say that I am  an artist! I have something to express. Something to share with the world. I have the passion, now I need the skill. I need to learn how to use those tools I’ve purchased.

Okay, I know that in a previous post I said the blog was going to be all about jewelry. That was a good thought, but now I’m thinking bigger. The concept may get bigger still. It may shrink.  We shall see. The important part is that I keep posting.

I was going to talk about a few things in this post, but instead, I’ll keep it short.

I will give a preview of what’s to come. Not necessarily in this order.

  1.  Learning how to make wrapped wire loops.
  2. Digital to physical mixed media.
  3. My next dance solo.
  4. Working with my new DSLR camera.

We’ll see how things go.

Bird mixed media painting/photo print, Nikon DSLR, wire wrapped bracelet

I’m beginning to love jewelry from 8/24/15

I recently discovered something new about myself. I kind of love jewelry. This is a big surprise to me because I’ve never been one to wear a lot of jewelry. My mom bought me a pearl ring with little diamonds when I was in high school, and I wore it every day for several years. When I got to college and started taking dance classes on most days, I stopped wearing it because, as a rule, you take off jewelry before participating in a dance class. I was afraid of losing the ring, so I stopped wearing it.

I got engaged in 2009 and married in 2010. I wasn’t dancing as much, but I was still afraid of losing the rings, so I decided not to wear them. I sometimes get on kicks where I like to wear earrings, but those kicks don’t last for long.

The point is, you wouldn’t expect me to be as interested in jewelry as I am. But, something happened to me. I began learning how to make jewelry. I decided I want to sell the jewelry that I make. Now, I’m obsessed with looking at bracelets and necklaces to see how they are constructed. I’ve also become interested in vintage jewelry, because I wouldn’t mind collecting and selling it.

So this blog is going to be the place where I talk about my interest in making, collecting, selling, and learning about jewelry.

I’ll start with showing off a necklace I finished today. The beads are from a necklace of my Aunt’s that I took apart. I finally learned how to use eye pins to link beads together, and I’m getting a little better and opening and closing jump rings. I’m really proud of myself for finally diving in and practicing these techniques. If you want to learn how to do something, you have to just do it. You’ll fail at first, but it’ll get better.

Here’s the necklace. I’m calling it a prototype because I’d like to make another with better quality materials before trying to sell it. I’ll keep this one for myself and hope that it doesn’t fall apart.

Necklace made with beads, chain, and a clock charm. Necklace made with beads, chain, and a clock charm.

Comfortably Unhappy

I’m going to call these pieces writing sketches. They’re short and meant to go nowhere.  I might do something with them one day.

Edmund wore a hat on most days because he thought it made him look friendly.  Theresa thought he wore the hat to hide his receding hairline. He was one of those balding guys with long hair. He played guitar in a local band that was destined to remain that way. But he refused to give up his rock star aspirations. Theresa had been his on and off girlfriend since their freshman year of college. She believed she could find someone better than Edmund, but didn’t have the will to leave. They were both unhappy, but comfortable with the lives they were living. Making the smallest change seemed too risky a proposition, so the couple kept any hopes and dreams in check.  Then Sam came to town.

Guy with bike and polar bear.

Sam was what you’d call a go-getter. Edmund and Theresa met him at the university. He was a business major who was always thinking of new ways to make money. His schemes worked about 40% of the time, but he looked at each failure as a stepping stone to success. You would expect someone like Sam would achieve a moderate amount of success in life. Don’t be too quick to make assumptions.

What would happen if these characters met a woman and her imaginary polar bear?

A man named Loyal

I had a friend whose husband was named Loyal. He’s the only person I’ve with that name. According to one source, the name Loyal peaked in popularity in 1890 when it reached 555 on the list of top 1,000 boys’ names.

That friend and I lost touch after she moved to New York to be an arts administrator. That’s one small story in my life. I’ve met a lot of people over the years. I bet that you lose contact with the majority of people with whom you’ve been socially acquainted. If you move away from your hometown, friends from childhood slip away. I sometimes wonder how my next door neighbor is doing. We called ourselves best friends when we were 5, 6, 7, 8. My family moved out of state, and that was that. I heard she majored in Math in college. I would have never taken her for a numbers person. We probably would have drifted apart if I hadn’t moved. Who can know?

IMG_1302

Is the Autumn of the year a time when we tend to ruminate on the past?  Lately, I’ve felt like I’ve lived a thousand lives. It seems as if the places in my dreams are spots I have physically inhabited. There’s a dream I have where I find possessions that I hid away in an attic. It always seems so real that I expect to come across the items in my waking world.  I keep asking the universe to tell me what is real and what is not. I probably know, but don’t know that I do.

Polar Bear

There doesn’t seem to be a way to ignore the world’s realities anymore, so Cassie is ready to create a world of her own. She has adopted an imaginary polar bear named Gordon.

Gordon appears to her when she’s anxious. He show’s up when feelings of doubt creep into her mind. He reminds her that life is good regardless of what the newspapers say.

Gordon doesn’t talk. He’s simply a presence. If Cassie is feeling down, Gordon does things to entertain her. He dances, juggles, wears funny hats–anything to brighten the moment. The bear will not let his friend succumb to negativity.

Cassie understands that Gordon is not real, but she also knows that he is. Does that make sense? Can we know what is real? Is reality just something everyone agrees on?

She has considered telling her friends about Gordon, but worries they will think her crazy. She is also  little concerned that one of her friends might try to get in on the Gordon phenomenon. Cassie knows how greedy and selfish that sounds. She will try and do better.

Polar bear

 

 

 

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