Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Jewelry Widower - Is that your tool or mine?

Like most men, I have a bunch of tools. A passage of manhood, you might say. Heck, some of them are still in their boxes. I swear I will learn to use that router some day, and every guy needs to have a belt sander.
With my wife doing a lot of jewelry work, of course she needs tools. The other day she asked me if I had a dapping block? It bugged me that a) I didn't know what she was talking about, b) she had to tell me what it was and what she needed it for, and c) I did not have one. I have loaned her several of my tools, and have to follow up on getting them back. Her complaint is that I leave tools all over the place. You never know when you will need a screwdriver, Vise-Grips, hammer, wrench, or nail setter, right? I just like to have them quickly available.
Ever since my wonderful wife began creating her marvelous jewelry, I have been supportive. At first she was interested in the gems, so I bought her as gifts all different types of scopes, weighing devices, magnifying visors with a cool light, tweezers, and other types of gadgets that I thought she would be interested in using. She has taken over the back bedroom and has multiple work areas, though after all that she is frequently doing her work in the bedroom. I even put in a high def TV so that she could have entertainment while back there. I have built her a neat bin holder on wheels so that she could store her different beads, fittings and other whatchamaycallits she may need. There is a great vise with a vacuum bottom so that she could attach it where she needs it. To top it off, she has her photo studio set up in there, with a tripod from my photojournalist days and a photo cube with lights. All she would need is a fridge, microwave and a hot plate and I might not see her for weeks.
Having found myself at a nearby Harbor Freight on the way home from work today, I thought I would surprise my wife with a gift of the dapping block. I went in and asked one of the workers there where I could find one, and received the strangest look. He had no idea what I was talking about, and after consulting with several of his co-workers he told me that they did not have any dapping blocks of any size. I went back to my car to call my wife on the phone, asked her what size dapping block might she be interested in for her work. Lois informed me that she did not remember what project it was for, or what she was going to do with it, but thought it would be nice and a handy tool to have.
I believe the gulf between men and women is not as large as one might be led to believe. I plan on buying for myself a very large vise that will be mounted on my almost completed workbench in the garage, and that way I know that it will not be borrowed, along with my router and belt sander. If I can find those missing instructions for the bench then I can finish putting it together. Heck, it's been almost a year. But that is another blog.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Copper Wire Jewelers Welcomes 600th Member - Christina Stewart - White Rose Creations

One of the best things that has happened to me as a result of opening the jewelry group, Copper Wire Jewelers, is getting to meet so many wonderful artists I might never have met but for the group. One of those people
is Christina Stewart of White Rose Creations and TwistedWireJewelry. I’d like you all to help me welcome Christina, our 600th member and learn a little bit about her with me.

Christina hails from Oak Harbor, Washington on the Island of Whidbey with her supportive husband who’s getting in the act too by working on Viking knit and considering some lampworking and her nine year old son who seems to
have final approval on each piece. Isn’t it wonderful to have such support from your family? She has her craft table set up with all her supplies but finds herself creating where ever the mood strikes. You might find her on the couch or creating at the kitchen table or even on occasion at her day job. Time not spent with family or wire often finds her with sketch pad in hand designing future pieces.

I asked Christina how she got started making jewelry?

“I started out with chainmaille. A friend was working on a shirt, and we used to have chainmaille parties where several of us would work on various parts. The classic 4 in 1 pattern was too plain for my liking and I ventured into doing more difficult weaves. I was working on chainmaille jewelry when my friend pointed me to DeviantArt so that I could put pictures of my work online. I got to cruising the site, looking for other chainmaille when I stumbled upon wire wrap jewelry. It was craft at first sight! I began looking at what other artisans had done with their pieces and it just clicked.

I downloaded several tutorials, and failed at every single one of them. I went back and looked at the wonderful pieces that others had done thinking that this was just not something I was meant to do. That was when my creative muse stepped in and slapped me. My first piece took forever to make, but was worth it in the end. It was more elaborate than the stuff I ended up making later on, but I'm slowly progressing back into that type of wrapping as I learn. I just started making some really nifty looking rings out of silver, gold, and copper that really challenge my skills.”

I enjoy the earthy tone of Christina’s work. She says, “I'm a big fan of rough stones as opposed to cabbed or faceted. I use them all but there's just something about the natural look of the rough stones with the orderly wire
wrapping that calls to me.” Combining stone and wire is not new but there’s a freshness and individuality about her work that is very appealing.

Asked who she admires, Christina sites Sarah from Paradigm Shift Jewelry. Of her swirling wire work and gemstone creations she says, “It was her wire work that got me making wire jewelry. Eventually I would like to be able to make wire pieces with as much flow as the pieces Sarah makes.”
Above piece by Sarah - Paradigm Shift Jewelry

For the future, Christina looks forward to having her own studio some day and not having to share her space with her son’s dinosaurs, who she says are “starting to give her looks”. Ahead, the artist in her would like the opportunity to
leave her day job and create jewelry as a career. Keep an eye on this talented lady. It’s possible she may be one that goes the distance.

Thank you Christina for sharing a bit about yourself and your art and for being the 600th member to join Copper Wire Jewelers. Our group has grown so much in such a short time. It’s a treat to be able to feature one of
our new members.

If you work in copper or any alternative metals and you are looking for some
inspiration, stop by Copper Wire Jewelers for an incredible array of artwork you can wear. Now 600 members strong, over 3000 individual photos and the 3rd issue of Copper Wire Jewelers Magazine will be coming to a computer near you on July 15 with all new work and many new artists along with some old favorites.

Leave a comment on this post if you’d like a link to the magazine sent directly to your email.

See our previous issues here: Issue #1, Issue #2

Don't forget to stock up on copper wire, beads and findings at A Beaded Affair .
New in this weekend 16gauge 1/2 round wire. Great for wrapping on bracelets!