Friday, May 28, 2010

May Challenge~ Under The Sea~ Vote for your Favorite!

We have some amazing entries for your consideration in this month's "Under the Sea" challenge. This challenge was conceived by Brenda of Millcreek Collection and inspired by the movie The Little Mermaid. Brenda challenged each of us to create a extravaganza of at least 4 different hand-created textures with an ocean theme (you can view the complete challenge rules here). With that in mind our teamies went to work and the entries this month are absolutely stunning!

Our first entry was this creative piece by Carole of Caroleaxium. The wee details on this are so wonderful, and the stone seems to be the perfect color of the deep blue sea!

Here is a really lovely seashell necklace by Nickie of Caoimhe Lily in copper. The hinge adds a fun touch so that is can be worn closed and then opened for a surprise found inside!

Clarity of Scrollwork Designs really outdid herself with this fabulous mermaid necklace! The colors and textures are beautiful, and it is really a unique design!

I just fell in love with this turtle brooch by Lori of StonePeace. I think she did a fantastic job capturing the likeness of a sea turtle, and the different textures really add great dimension to the piece!

This seahorse brooch by Brenda of Millcreek Collection is so full of depth and texture. I love how she was able to add the layers of the seaweed and plant life, and included a lovely accent stone.

Here is a really interesting sea themed charm necklace made by Vicki of Kaleida Eclectics. She has added several elements including swirls and balls, beads and sea themed charms!

This is one of three amazing copper cuffs made by Julie of WabiBrook Studio. She really took the challenge to heart, and explored painting her copper with fire to achieve lovely color combinations, and the use of riveting to add some pretty pearls!

Gloria of Hemlock Hollow made this tiny copper treasure chest with an assortment of gems, pearls and beads spilling over the top. I thought it was a really creative approach to this months challenge!

Who doesn't love Jellyfish! This necklace made by Addie of ScrapMetal2 really captures the feeling of a jellyfish floating along in the ocean current. I love all of the intricate tentacles that she added, and the sea themed charms finish it off nicely!

More fabulous jellyfish! Claire of Brightstar109 came up with a fun and original idea for the challenge with these jellyfish earrings, and the added bits of dangling chain really give them movement!

This entry by Heather of MistyRidge features a pretty sea themed scene that can be worn as a pendant or a brooch! I love how she used different metals to add depth, and the pearl really adds a nice finishing touch to it!

Our last entry for the challenge was by Jessica of Abella Blue....another jellyfish piece! I love the contrast of the silver against the copper, and the beads added are just the perfect color to finish it off!

As usual our teamies really outdid themselves and picking a favorite will be a challenge in and of itself! Remember to vote for the piece you think best embodies the challenge parameters while displaying the most original, out of the box design. It will be a hard choice as they are all so unique and different! Everyone did a fabulous job stretching their creativity and their metalsmithing skills for this month's challenge and my hat's off to all of you!

Voting begins now and runs through midnight on Monday, the 31st. Please restrict voting to team members only since this is a team challenge. Good luck!

*A very special THANK YOU to Sylvia Anderson who is so much more organized than Clarity and has been kind enough to do the lion's share of the work on this month's challenge post in addition to her recent work on the much-improved blog layout. THANK YOU Sylvia!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Interview with Clarity Collins

Clarity Collins -- Scrollwork Designs on Etsy

What I love about Clarity's work is her experimentation with different techniques and genres. Her newest items, like her Mermaid necklace and especially her Medusa bracelet (my personal favorite) are definitely setting her apart from the crowd.

How did you get interested in metalsmithing
I didn’t even know it was CALLED metalsmithing when I first picked up a torch, I was just determined to do something more than wirewrapping and this is where it took me.

Do you get more excited about the design or technical aspects of jewelry?
Both! I love a good design but the design isn’t complete until it’s realized in the finished piece, so the technical aspect is part of the design process in my mind.

Do you find the process of experimentation frustrating or inspiring?
Depends on the day, lol. When I try something I wasn’t sure I could do and succeed I’m on top of the world, when I try and fail ….well, ‘Beware the Crabby Tadpole’ as my son likes to say

What part of your work do you most enjoy?
Construction. Putting the pieces together is my favorite part, it’s like playing with the world’s coolest legos.

What part of your work do you find the hardest?
Finishing. Definitely finishing, although I’m not a huge fan of sawing either. I don’t like the slow parts!

What technique do you wish you knew or want to learn?
So many stone setting techniques…flush settings, graver settings, better prong settings. And casting eventually of course. And Makume-gane, and  PMC, and….oh I could go on and on!

Where do you get/find your inspiration?
Sitting silently with a sketchbook is when I find my designs, but inspiration seems to come from every aspect of my life. Beauty is always right there waiting if you’ll only take the time to look for it.

What are your 3 (or 2 or 1) most favorite items in your store right now?
*The three photos in this interview are what Clarity said were her faves!

Name a metalsmith whose work you admire? (NOT a team member)
This is hard because when I find a metalsmith who’s work I admire I usually invite them to the team, lol, but here’s one of my recent faves:

What is the best advice you have received?
I’m trying to think of all sorts of life lessons and what keeps coming to mind is “polish all your pieces before you put them together”. I think this is great advice for metalsmithing, marketing, and day-to-day life. Finish each step before you attempt to put it all together because the time spent in prep-work determines the quality of the outcome.

Clarity's FB Fanpage: Scrollwork Designs

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

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Vote for a New Blog Banner!

To help give the blog a little face lift, I created two new banner choices using a cross section of different jewelry designs from the members of our group that have posted their work on Flickr. I tried to show the range of styles and materials that we use and to feature as many pieces as I could without it looking too cluttered.

Please take a look, and vote for your favorite (click on each to enlarge them)...either the ASM banner in Grey....

Or the ASM Banner in Teal.....or, if you don't like either, there are two other options in the poll. Thank you!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Interview with Alicia Faith Hubbard

Alicia Faith Hubbard from Richmond, VA -- AliciaFaith on Etsy

Up and coming metalsmith Alicia has a beautiful modern simplicity in her work! Alicia hasn't done a lot of hardcore metalsmithing yet, but she has some great wire wrapped jewelry so I know her metalsmithed jewelry is going to be awesome!

How did you get interested in metalsmithing
That is a rather long and convoluted story, the short version of which is:  One Christmas I made beaded ornaments, then I got a "jewelry making" kit and started stringing, learned wirework, and am now learning to metalsmith.

Do you get more excited about the design or technical aspects of jewelry?
Actually, I usually get excited about the stone! :-) All right, to answer the question asked, I get excited about the design more often but can get excited about the technical aspect too.

Do you find the process of experimentation frustrating or inspiring?
Both by turns! I love finding new ways of doing things, but get frustrated when they don't work.

What part of your work do you most enjoy?
Getting to create beautiful jewelry!

What part of your work do you find the hardest?
Trying to learn new techniques and having trouble with them. :(

What technique do you wish you knew or want to learn?
Setting faceted stones.

Where do you get/find your inspiration?
Most of the time it comes from the stone(s).  I just love to work with them!

What are your favorite items in your store right now?
My pink chalcedony pendant (my second bezel!), pink sapphire spiral earrings, and lab opal pendant. The last two are wirework, I don't have many metalsmithed pieces because I'm still playing around with soldering. :)

Name a metalsmith whose work you admire?
I admire Alex Maryaskin's work, especially his filigree.  He also has this AMAZING silver goblet with an amethyst crystal for a handle. His website is   I was amazed when he asked me to be his apprentice!

Alicia's FB Fanpage: AliciaFaithJewelry

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