Friday, July 16, 2010

Interview with Elizabeth Duke

Elizabeth Duke, East Liverpool, OH
Elizabeth's Exclusives on Etsy

Elizabeth has a simple, elegant style with fresh colors and design. Beautiful to look at!
How did you get interested in metalsmithing?
I have always made beaded gemstone jewelry and wanted to start making my own findings - ear wires, clasps and headpins.  From there it was a natural jump into learning other techniques.  Oh and I LOVE stacking rings - had to learn how to make some for myself

Do you get more excited about the design or technical aspects of jewelry?
Definitely the technical aspects.  I don't really sketch anything out, I've found that if I try to draw it my vision changes and is skewed.  So I just keep it all in my head and use a lot of trial and error. 

Do you find the process of experimentation frustrating or inspiring?
Both at times - I get very frustrated if something doesn't come out the way I envisioned but at the same time, it usually turns out better if I stick with it for long enough. 

What part of your work do you most enjoy?
The best part for me is the finishing process.  Once I have an item completed and it comes time for the final polish, it is very relaxing and I can just sit and enjoy what I've made while cleaning it up and removing imperfections.

What part of your work do you find the hardest?
Patience - I tend to be a little bit impatient and I can't wait until at item is ready to come out of the pickle so I can start that next step.  Or if I have to tumble a piece for over an hour I keep checking on it and wishing it would hurry up so I can do more. 

What technique do you wish you knew or want to learn?
Absolutely want to learn sawing.  The whole process intimidates the life out of me and I'm too timid to pick it up.  I have my saw, cutting lube, bench block - everything I need but I just can't take that step and pick it up yet. 

Where do you get/find your inspiration?
Ideas just pop into my head randomly.  One day I was watching my son play with his golf clubs and it was the curve of his neck as he leaned forward that inspired my hammered copper cuff.  The sun was shining on the back of his neck and it gave his skin an odd tinge that reminded me of copper. 

What are your favorite items in your store right now?
I'm most proud of my Labradorite necklace - it was my first experience bezel setting and I loved how it turned out.  Second would by my Sterling Swirl Pendant - it was a complete accident.  I cut some sheet off a backplate after I soldered on a bezel and it came off on a spiral.  I threw it in my scrap box but it kept staring at me.  I had to start messing and filing it even before I finished the first piece. 

What is the best advice you have received?
To just jump in with both feet.  If you give yourself time to think too much you may not achieve what you want.  Don't think - just do.

Thanks Elizabeth!

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Give Elizabeth some love. We're all here to learn and grow and all input is welcomed! Visit her Etsy shop: Elizabeth's Exclusives

Friday, July 9, 2010

July / August Challenge - Designing for the Stars

While thinking of a challenge idea today I knew I wanted something broad enough to allow everyone to participate, but with a theme that would inspire some creative thinking. I have done a few custom pieces lately for close friends and have enjoyed designing something that was still in my style, but specifically for them.

There are a lot of joys and challenges in designing for a specific person in mind and so here is this month’s challenge: Choose a famous person or character and design a piece of jewelry especially for them. Make sure to take into account how well that piece matches their personality and overall “look”. For example you would not make pearl earrings with delicate scrolls for Ozzy Osbourne. To take into account for the different skill levels there are no special techniques or requirements. Just remember that to get better you have to challenge yourself and try something new!

For this Challenge the deadline has been extended to August 27th to make sure everyone has time to participate.

Have fun!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

And the Winner Is.........

Good morning everyone. First let me say that everyone did an awesome job with the challenge entries for June. This was an extremely close competition this month. So without further ado, Congratulations go to.......

Linda of Ciaobela for her lovely tiled bracelet entry.

Congratulations Linda. This is a very pretty piece. Great job. I will contact you via Etsy convo to let you know what you need to do so we can get the July challenge started.

As I said before this was a very close race amongst the entrants this month. In second place we had a two way tie between:
Jessica of Abellablue with her "Galaxy" Pendant

and Clarity of Scrollworkdesigns and her lovely charm bracelet

Third place this month went to the unique "Hubble Bubble" pendant by Barb of Bboyce 

So congratulations to everyone who participated this month. All of the entries were truly great. I will let you all know when the July challenge post is ready. Have a great day everyone.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

June Challenge Entries- Vote for your Favorite!

I can't believe another month has passed but here we are going into July and you know what that means:

Time to vote for the June Aspiring Metalsmiths Team Challenge!

This month's challenge was inspired by phrase"Go then, for there are other worlds than these, and was designed to stretch both our skills and our imaginations. I hope it's done just that. The rules were as follows:

1. Interpret the phrase "Go then, for there are other worlds than these"
2. Create an item you've never made before
3. Incorporate at least one material you've never used before
4. Attempt at least one technique you've never tried before

As usual we have some wonderful entries so with pleasure I present to you:

This gorgeous "Galaxy" pendant by Jessica of Abellablue

And the back just as stunning!

The newbies are taking over and many of our entries this month come from new members, like this stunning "Commet" pendant by Kaelin of KaelinDesign who did a wonderful job on her very first flush setting:

Judy of Jazjewels, another new member, stepped far outside of her comfort zone to create this OOAK crocheted bracelet:

Barb of Bboyce wowed us with a tiny hand-forged spiculum on her "Hubble Bubble" pendant:

Clarity of Scrollwork Designs worked her little fingers to the bone creating a charm bracelet with various charms including a tiny hollowformed book:

entered this adorable "Comet" brooch, her very first pin:

And last but not least, another newbie, Linda of Ciaobela entered this Raku inspired bracelet:

As always we have so many incredible entries it will be hard to pick a favorite, but pick a favorite you must. Please use the poll HERE to cast your vote by Midnight on Tuesday, July 6th. I know we usually end voting on a Monday but with the holiday everybody will be busy and I want to make sure everyone has a chance to vote.
Good luck to all of our incredible entries!!