Beginning


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This is my first attempt at writing a blog. I hope I can find things to say that will interest you.

The main thrust for this blog will be regarding my work designing and fabricating beaded jewelry. I use, so far, primarily commercially available stones, crystals and findings. We have such a selection today that it is rarely necessary to make your own. However, I do have a difficult time getting metals in the forms I prefer them. Here comes the first of my personal hobby horses: In general, I hate antiqued or “dirtied” metals. I can see some high lighting of designs with the use of colorants such as Liver of Sulphur, but only sparingly and when it truly adds to the emphasis of the design. Mostly, I think such things make the jewelry look as if it has been stored in a cesspool.

I love the look of clean silver and copper especially and muddying them up just annoys me. I often look at such pieces and think: “That would have been a lovely piece it wasn’t smeared with dirt.” So if you love this process, we have to agree to disagree.

And I love the ease of magnetic clasps, but hate that they pull off so easily. Especially bracelets come off when you put your hand in your pocket or your purse and they can be pulled off when you are driving or otherwise being active. They do make some that incorporate a fold over as well as a magnet which are quite secure, but that does tend to increase the size required. They are much easier to put on and off than the more traditional lobster clasps or even toggles. I hope they continue to develope the combination types because they are especially useful for anyone without extra hands to draft into closing their jewelry or with limited use of their own hands.

And one of my design rules is to make the length adjustable whenever possible. This means necklaces can be made to fit various necklines. Bracelets are not so easily made adjustable but even just an extra ring or two will add a lot of variability to the wrists that will be comfortable wearing it without leaving a long dangle to catch on things. With bracelets, incorporating chain into the design itself usually makes them very flexible since any link that accepts the catch can be used to close the bracelet.

So flexibility is one of my key rules. Another, probably more important still, is durability. Lots of things look lovely and fragile and elegant on the display but will not last when actually being worn in the real world. Unless you are designing very high end, formal wear jewelry, most people have to do things with their jewelry on, such as drive or carry packages or children. So jewelry should be made to withstand the ordinary stresses of life. For me, this means things such as firm connections, carefully chosen and closed jump rings and knots that are glued. It also means keeping these stresses in mind when I am choosing components and not using too light weight a chain, for example, no matter how lovely and ethereal it looks.

Bracelets get the most stress in use, I think. Necklaces and even earrings have to withstand caught hair and the pressure of collars put on and taken off, but bracelets are really in the wars, so to speak. They are right down there reaching into pockets and purses, picking up items in the store, reaching into grocery baskets, office drawers and filing cabinets, driving, washing hands, catching wayward children, etc. etc. In other words, they are at risk almost every minute they are worn. So designing a bracelet is almost like building a fortress. Its integrity will be threatened over and over.

Rings suffer the same punishments as bracelets but are usually much smaller and more compact. The design must reflect the expected use, I think. Large, extravagant pieces may be fine if they are intended to be worn while engaging in limited activities. But remember, an elaborate ring may cause problems even in the prosaic process of using the bathroom. So try to envision the sort of things your wearer will do while wearing the ring. You have no way of knowing for sure, of course, and some of the responsibility for this decision must rest with the user. But you can think ahead and try to guess what sorts of situations your ring will have to withstand. If the owner chooses to wear something totally inappropriate to the laundromat, you can hardly be held responsible for the outcome, after all.

So durability and flexibility are two cornerstones of my jewelry mantra. I very much hope you will contribute your experiences and suggestions on these topics by clicking
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For now, that’s all folks!

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