studio shots

  I have been trying my best to get into a good routine in the studio. My stores have been so kind and patient in requesting my jewelry to replenish their diminished supply. If you have been waiting for some shiny objects with dashes of color at a boutique near you please know they are being made with love. 

Here's a peek at my process. 

 step one: sanding the edges of fine silver discs

 [why yes, that is a hammer in my apron]

 step two: dapping discs

[this slight cupping gives the enamel a home and allows the glass to fuse to metal just a little better]

 step three: sifting glass onto silver

step three: fusing glass to metal with my torch

 here's the crop!
 [this gets me through a long studio day, a soy cappuccino and a coconut macaroon.]

 step four: sanding stray enamel from the edges of silver

 [view of my soldering set up with a nice chuck taylors shot!]

step five: soldering ear posts to my enameled dots

step six: sanding solder and silver to a shine!

[the finished product photographed for my shop.]

 step seven: product packaging

step eight: packing up for shipping. my favorite step!

thanks for taking a peek at my studio shots. 
xo, kim


rockin' the craft world once more this year

There is just one more crafty event on my calendar for this season, Mass Market. There is a smashing vendor line up. Why not come on down and get your holiday shopping done? After all you did take the handmade pledge didn't you?

And where else can you find my new morning glory earrings? I haven't had time to list them in my shops yet, so get your buns to Mass Market for some handmade goodness. 

Everyone else is doing it so why aren't you?

happy shopping!
xo, kim

studio sundays

I never could have imagined how busy the holiday season could be for the crafty. It is quite amazing to see the number of people who come out to buy handmade for the holidays. I would like to thank these shoppers and lovers of handmade for allowing the crafty to be crafty. As a fellow buyer, I always wonder what goes on in other artisan's studios so I decided to try and capture some photos of what goes on in mine. 
I am always inspired by nature. It's color and patterns always amaze me. 

I take bits and pieces of what I surround myself with to make my jewelry. 

I may take color from one form and apply it to another, but it always comes down to an influence from nature.

Not everything about jewelry making is pretty or elegant. These trivets are certainly no exception.

But they do the job. 

Although it may not be elegant, playing with fire is quite fun. Rewarding even!

These are poppies but the inspiration for color came from the photo above of black eyed susans. And one day soon, I will take a break from making and photograph these fun earrings to put for sale in my shop, well shops. { on the photo to see these sweet earrings in my shop. I finally got to list them!}

happy making, kim

studio sundays

Sometimes, I slow down in the studio and take in my surroundings. Like the pictures I hang up for inspiration on shape or color. 

Such photos may hang for quite sometime before I discover the influence they have on me. 

Then one day, I notice that I am doing more than looking at these photos. 

I am absorbing them, appreciating how the colors interact. And relaying these reactions and emotions into my work. 

 I come to realize what attracted me to these photos from the start. 

They usually hold color combinations I wouldn't dare try on my own. But, maybe that is why I need some time to see them day after day or even year after year. They need to catch my eye just right so I realize just how great nature is. How perfect the colors are and that I can only attempt to capture them in my pieces. 

This inspiration got me on a roll resulting in many new enameled pieces in my etsy and supermarket shops. Well, these are the ones left over from my crazy craft sale weekends. 

happy shopping!
xo, kim

studio sundays

My poppy earrings have really started to take off this sale
 season. Finally! I started making them in poppy colors and I think it has helped. Though I love red, orange and yellow I thought I needed a little something to mix things up. So, I did a little research and found this poppy in one of my favorite books. 

I rummaged through my transparent blues and after firing it the plain blue wasn't enough. 

I realized what I needed was some pollen. It is the orange that really makes this poppy color work. The opaque orange gives the true appearance of pollen as it looks grainy and suspended in the clear blue. I do wish I had a better photograph. Maybe if these are still around after the weekend you will soon find them in my etsy and supermarket shops. That is, if I have time to photograph and list them!

happy end of weekend! 

studio sundays

 I am still heavy into preparation for Twist and Craftopia. No matter how hard I try and plan ahead there is always more that needs to be done. This week I will be working on my enameled pieces. There will be lots and lots of enameled pieces on my table. Even if the enamel is acting up and trying to bring me down. 
It seems there is a new fad with my enameled pieces. As I am finishing them up, thinking all of the enameling is over with and it is just clean up time, it happens. It being, that there are mysterious matte spots on my otherwise fine specimen. I tried to problem solve and I can't find the problem. It doesn't seem to be that the pickle is too hot because it happens when I don't heat it. It isn't my new soap because I changed that and I still get some matte spots now and again. It isn't the white out I had to use either as I didn't need to use it on the latest batch because I didn't need to muck up the solder area for any reason. And everything else is the same as always. Same flux, same solder, same torch, same person behind the work, same setup. 

It is really frustrating to have to stop production to see out answers that don't seem to be there. But that is what I did for a while. Seeing as it didn't get me anywhere I am back to making and fixing and making again. 

I did leave the studio late Saturday night, or early Sunday morning, with a pair of these done amongst some other things. I wish it were more so I would be closer to completing my list. It is starting to look like a wish list and not a reality list. Let's hope this week brings glossy enamels and speedy recovery.

happy sunday!

i {heart} enamels: more new work and inspiration

I left the studio on Friday feeling accomplished. All of my new pieces were finished for Craftland, plus I had new work to display under my tent. It seems I get along with this new work schedule. One full day in the office and the rest of the time in my studio. I am happier and more productive. Life is bliss!

All I have seen lately are the walls of my studio and that is where I have found inspiration. 

Lichen green is subtle and pretty. The background of the photo above is so soothing and I wanted to recreate that feeling in these earrings.

Specks of color can be fun too. The white of the petals can be seen in most of my recent enamels. I have been using it as a canvas instead of plain silver. It creates a sense of depth and texture. I am smitten with color.

I have been studying the warm colors in this photograph. How the orange compliments the yellow in the wings of the butterfly, making it more vibrant.

Playing with color is fun. Enamels are my adult box of crayons. I can use the color straight from the packet or play around with layers of color or introduce a few specks of a contrasting color. 

For now, I will keep having fun with my color explorations. It seems you like them too! I can't keep some of the colors or styles around for long but I won't ever complain about people loving my work!


i {heart} enamels: new work and inspiration

Lately, I have been spending my time in front of a 1450 degree fahrenheit kiln sifting and firing enamels. My canvas has been fine silver circles dapped into cups, some with ear wires attached and some with holes, waiting for ear wires once they are finished. My inspiration has been photographs of nature.

For some time now, I have been studying this picture trying to decide how I will capture these colors in enamel. I love the subtle color variations. When you think the petal has finally gone to white you see the palest of blues or the faintest yellow.
{Please excuse the poor quality, this is a photograph taken of a magazine.}

Here are the first few layers of color. It seemed too subtle with white and transparent lilac with areas of light chartreuse. Out came the opaque purple so I could add a dash.

I do love the result but I feel that the inspiration was lost. This is a whole lot of color and lacking in the subtle changes that I had admired. But this is a constructive criticism on my ability to become too enthusiastic with sifting color. I will accept these and try something new next time. That is what I love about this design, they are made to be experiments in color, no two the same. 

.....Onto the next photo of inspiration.....

How I love lady beetles! Isn't the quote sweet too? Oh, I am getting side tracked. What I am really looking at are the colors and how they contrast each other. I tried to capture the lovely orange red which jumps off the green leaf.

I feel I was more successful in capturing my inspiration on these poppy earrings. My favorite part about these is that the color properly reflects their name. It isn't always the case for me because I get taken away by the world of color, but sometimes it is nice to be able to paint your own landscape isn't it?

Soon enough, I will have a few more pairs made and they will find a place at Craftland. But only for a little while until they find themselves a caring home.


Grand Re-Opening {Finally!}

I am relieved, my etsy shop is finally full of all of my new work and a few old favorites. I am quite pleased with my photographs too. My cozy bungalow has a great window for photographing jewelry.

So, take a peek.....

This bamboo coral ring is the start of my specimen series. I have a few ideas up my sleeve and hope this project takes me in the direction of really glamorous cocktail rings.

I started my pod series last summer but started to focus on it more this spring. This ring is one of the first of the series that I made. It is a piece of faceted carnelian with a textured silver backing riveted onto a ring band. This ring is inspired by the bittersweet berries we enjoy decorating with in the autumn. 

This is my favorite of the pod series thus far. It is reminiscent of plump summer berries, not yet ripe enough to eat. The color of olive jade (or serpentine) is the essence of life to me. Watching spring bud to life around me has surrounded me by this color.

This pod ring is representative of decay. Not all buds blossom, some come to an end before they start ,and it doesn't necessarily lack in beauty.

Moon earrings are an old favorite. Inspired by lovely texture on left over scrap metal, they had a humble start. I have been having fun with different sizes and noticing that customers love the options. These are medium. Here are the small and large. Look and see which ones are for you.
{read: these are the start of a new series also. I have a feeling that these moons will appear on necklaces and dangle earrings too!}

I have been away from enameling for too long. To get myself back into the swing of things I designed some earrings that I could use as color palates for my explorations in color. After I have finished playing I get to come up with fun names for my studies. This one is Freckled Pink!

This was a fun exploration. The chartreuse was labeled as a transparent purple but I was pleasantly pleased with the outcome, I am smitten with chartreuse! Even more so in combination with lavender. The combination reminds me of lilacs blooming from green leafed bushes. 

These were the first pieces of metal that I enameled since university {it was long ago, trust me} and I started with my old favorite colors. Robin Egg Blue and Leaf. How could you not tell they would be a favorite? They have taken over my business theme. Banners, cards, stickers, ricrac, you name it is covered with this color combination. Luckily my customers seem to like my love for greens and blues too.

Now that I have filled my shop I find myself wanting to get back to my bench to design some more new work. As an artist are you ever done designing? I doubt I will ever be.

xo, Kim

my fetish with object fetish

I love being saturated with images of jewelry. Seeing how other artists use the same materials in different ways, or how they problem solve in their fabrication process. Aside from taking in the beauty of the objects, I have become fascinated with what makes the pieces come together to form an earring, ring or necklace. Then I wonder what can I learn from the images before me? What draws me to admire these pieces and what can I make that will cause admiration?

Seeing the work of April Higashi on object fetish made me realize that I need to step away from the traditional when it comes to using enamels. 
I get so carried away making certain the finish on my enamel is like glass, however, in my perfection I leave behind some hidden qualities of enamel that I love. April chose to keep her enamels in the sugar coat state, making the white appear crystalized, adding texture to the bold color. 
There is more to these earrings than the texture of the enamel. The tiny hinge attaching the ear wire to the setting the enamel sits on is simply beautiful. It allows for subtle movement, a chance for light to allow the viewer to pick up the texture of the enamel. 

I walk away from the picture of these earrings reminding myself to keep all of the techniques I learned in mind. Hinges don't need to be saved for boxes, enamel doesn't need to look like glass, prongs aren't just for holding faceted stones. Metalwork is versatile, you just need to keep our bag of tricks handy. Now, to put all of this into practice so I can make something worthy of awe.   


inspiration for enameling

Lately I have only jewelry making on the mind. With a large inventory due by the week's end at Craftland all I can think about is my jewelry that needs to be made and delivered there. I have designed some new earrings which are to be enameled and I have been trying to decide on which colors I will use. If left to my own preferences they will all be chartreuse and robin's egg blue. So, it was time to pay more attention to my surroundings on my walks in the city. Through the screen of my iPhone I have captured some colors that will push me out of my comfort zone, or maybe lead me to a new place of comfort. 

I have been thinking of my approach to applying color. Will I just use one color? Or more than two? Will the colors blend or be definitive lines? My attraction to this leaf tells me that there will be more than one color and they will blend, seamlessly. 

And, maybe I can step away from using bold colors all of the time. Time to mix things up a bit and use muted tones too. Seems like a lovely idea to me.

I vow to use a variety of muted tones. Not only will there be reds and oranges but golden yellows. Do I dare sneak brown in too? 

I can't let my true nature escape me, however, there will be some earrings where the boldness of color will just jump out at you. If I made everything the same it would be so very boring wouldn't it? Besides, it wouldn't be made in the spirit of all that is handmade if they were all the same, now would it?

Definitely blurry lines. Blended colors, just like autumn will soon be in our memories. A haze of hues, some muted and some bright, but all lovely.


slightly glowing trivets & molten glass = luscious color...

....and oh, so much fun in the studio....

After a long hiatus (from blogging & metalworking) I have found myself enameling again. And am I ever smitten with it. Using a piping hot kiln to create vibrant colors on fine silver is an exciting process. Could you possibly think of a better accent for a design based on line and shape? I simply can not.

For those of you who haven't enameled before you may be curious as to what tools are used, so that is where I will start. They don't make for a pretty picture so those folks who enamel are going to have to wait for the good stuff. The good stuff being my finished piece.

Here are the sifters which the dry enamel is placed in. The sifter is filled so when you tap the handle a generous amount will cover your piece to be enameled. Brushes are also handy to have nearby for removing enamel which has lost it's way. I also use a brush to apply the gum agar which is like an adhesive. It is applied before the enamel creating a sticky surface that will hold the enamel versus naked metal which the enamel would slide off of. 

I enamel on old magazine pages. They are nice and smooth so the excess enamel easily runs off the page and back into your enamel packet for future enameling adventures. I find some of the pages inspiring as the colors are bold and you come across the occasional advertisement which strikes a chord.

My domed discs are carefully arranged on my handmade props. They are now ready for that piping hot kiln I was talking about. And when I take a peek into the kiln and see that the trivet is a dull red, I know that the enamel will have taken on a glassy sheen.

An apple green glassy sheen in this case. These domes will become earrings which are a compositional study of color, shape and line.

I had also used some mica to enamel on and it didn't behave. The mica stuck to my piece, causing me to take my discs over to the flex shaft bench and use some abrasive wheels to remove the flakes of mica. Seems that my handmade props worked best for this situation. After the grinding I need to fill the spaces with some enamel so I used the wet packing method. You can see my teensy spatula and palate which make wet packing easy.

Back into the piping hot kiln, this time on my props. I don't think I knew what shape these earrings were going to take, even at this point. 

Out came lots of pliers and wooden rods. I played around with these tools and some silver wire with the end balled up and this is what came out of it....
 tendril earrings

I promise they can be worn, easily, and you will never lose them while they are on. They are really fun earrings. I can't wait for them to make their debut at Craftland's holiday sale. They have some family members too which need a little more work. I will share them as soon as they have cooled. 

P.S. this post has been updated. Click on the photo if you are interested in buying them from my shop!