Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Stickers! | Go to post ➜
Whipped up a huge pile of pretty sea and sand coloured watercolour stickers last night:
Happy words and pretty colours, I'm pretty pleased with them (& they come free with every purchase from my Etsy, ValkyrieCouture ) Still lazing in the happy-high that comes from being beside the sea day and night, I want to go back on holiday and never start school...
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Fine Silver + Topaz Pendat (Wirework + Metalsmithing + Art Clay) | Go to post ➜
Been a very very long while as life is super busy, but I just had time to make a quick pendant. First one in fine silver, I'm quite pleased with how it turned out though it broke halfway and ended up a bit different from what I'd planned. Posting some process shots since I don't think I'll have time to take proper pics anytime soon..
Bits and pieces - The frame for the stone was made from Art Clay Silver (which fires to 999 fine silver). Wire pieces, soldered and put through a rolling mill.
Soldering on the bezel & bottom pieces - the top bit broke off so I made do without
Added a bail and sulphurised it
Polished the piece and set the stone (Topaz) - I'm not totally happy with the length so I might saw off a bit.
All in all it was a pretty good practice piece, I wanted to try bezel setting a faceted fancy stone as well as try soldering fired Art Clay - which was harder than expected, sintered silver doesn't take solder well at all and needs a bit of filing to get a solid surface to solder to. I'm not happy with the workmanship on some parts, I think I got a little sloppy and could have planned it all out a bit better. Hopefully I'll have time to try again soon :) Cheers until then!
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
So school swept me off my feet more thoroughly than expected, but the term is over, and VC on Etsy is also finally open again: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ValkyrieCouture
And here is a quick summary of life so far before I hurry off again to work on restocking~
1.Coke while doodling~
2. Tea while studying..
3. Page of my notebook (from Supernova by Eminem)
4. Atlas Moth! (This one had a wingspan of ~8" and was sheltering from a rainstorm under my block)
5. Little red fox named Yoohoo~
6. (Finally) settling in to work - too many designs, too little time.
7. Mother's Day bouquet I tied for my mum ♥
8. Peacock half-work shot (Still trying to figure out how to do its head-?)
Til next time!
Friday, February 15, 2013
Pendants~ | Go to post ➜
Chinese New Year was last weekend and it was terribly hectic, and school is heating up too OTL so I'm sorry, this is a spam post of everything I've been up to for the last few weeks. Warning: pic heavy post coming up!
So I made these two pendants (one red jade, the other with Swarovskis). No detail or making shots because I'm not particularly fond of either and they were so frustrating. Although - I really, really love the colours in the yellow one. I found this colour of Swarovski called 'sunflower' - I have never fallen in love with a colour that fast in my life, it's so lovely ♥♥♥ (it's the bright yellow diamond shaped drops.) Bonus shot of my pretty jewel box :) I bought a tumbler so I put all of them in for a spin and they come out so lovely and bright ♥
And then the next pendant - Nausikaa. I wanted to try out mini bezels (the small round one is 8mm) and it was tricky to solder and set, but I really love this piece! Especially since it's the first one to benefit from the new tumbler so you can really see the smooth chocolaty colour of oxidised copper ♥ Oh, and I used balled wire ends for the first time. It's really frustrating trying to get them equal so the piece will be symmetrical. OTL
And below is the making of. I realise most of my process shots start off with the base frame.. actually by that time, hours and hours could have gone into making just the frame alone OTL. This stone has such lovely flash, only it has a black mark in the centre so it's not so perfect. I think it looks cute though, like a beauty mark ;)
And the next one, Laodike. Super challenging, reversible pendant. Because I really love the flash on the back of the stone too much, it's blue and gold ♥ And also, experimenting with hammered+textured wire. Not sure if I like this look or the round wire with balled ends like the necklace above, hmm.
And here is the making of - not so detailed because I was grumpy and also got so caught up making it I forgot to take pics. But if you notice, the stone looks really different from the top right to the closeup pic. Cough. It was a smooth cab originally, but with small pits in the surface. And after I tossed it in the tumbler the cracks and pits got worse, so I gave up trying to polish it smooth and sanded it down to a matte texture instead. I was in a really bad mood the whole day making this because everything was going wrong and wronger, but suddenly I fell in love with the stone after I'd sanded it. OTL Matte/rough stones have a totally different look from polished ones, they seem like they're glowing and look so touchable okay I admit I spent way longer holding the stone than was necessary - it's an unhealthy obsession. And I feel so bad for thinking such things, but I want more roughed up stones like this so some of the nice ones shall be sacrificed soon...
Whew~ Okay that's all the new stuff for now, but here are some last shots of things - sketches of new designs (I want to make medallions, been thinking and thinking of how - because I'm utterly terrible at symmetry, I think having to make 4-6 identical little things is absolute torture.) And also, some pretty packaging for stuff I'm sending out tomorrow. I'm still in love with paper doilies + chiffon ribbon ♥
Monday, January 28, 2013
Lanhua Pendant - Making of | Go to post ➜
I try my best to blog about what I make BEFORE posting them on DA, it helps to clear my mind. And to distract me from the fact that I really should be working on the slowly growing pile of schoolwork that's being neglected. Anyway, this is the latest piece made, Lanhua:
Somehow, things always get complicated when I try to plan. The original frame didn't work out so I changed it, and halfway through I decided to use a teardrop stone instead. (More painful bezel setting practice, huehue. It's such a failure.) I think I might buy bezel wire soon. Rolling it out from round wire, it's hard to get straight and even and thin bezels.
This piece was made to learn how to do the swirl designs, my mother calls them 'tadpole ends'. And it was inspired by lanterns. Chinese New Year is coming, there are lots and lots of lovely lanterns all over the place with cute little tassels below ♥ But in my dorm lobby there are giant pineapples instead OTL. Anyway. I get so excited looking at the decorations, putting up lanterns and peonies in my house ♥ And then I found a string of rutilated quartz I bought a long time ago, the black slashes against white stone remind me of calligraphy and ink paintings. (I wanted to use a rutilated/dendritic quartz or carnelian for the focal stone, but I don't have either so it's back to clearing the labradorite stash.) I think it would have looked nice with a red stone, red is a lucky colour for this time of the year~
And also, I'm trying to make neater open back bezels and frames-
I think I did quite well on this :) Doesn't hurt that the stone has lovely flash behind! I'm really happy with the swirls and the tassel, I think they look really pretty, so I want to make more pieces like this. If only the darn chains weren't so hard to photograph! And, wondering about how it would look in silver -
Blue stones really do look much brighter in silver. Copper is warm and lovely, but silver is so ethereal ♥. (The problem is, I don't want to indulge in making silver things unless I'm going to to sell them because I spend too much money. But I don't want to sell them because they are too precious. But I want to buy silver.) I think probably I will hoard them for a little while yet, before opening shop.
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Laika pendant - making of | Go to post ➜
Here are some process shots of the pendant I made this weekend, Laika -
The making-of went surprisingly easy, I had no sketch or plan, just trying to learn new things with each new piece I make. So this piece was made to learn how to do the flattened curved metal pieces at the side. (Stupidly enough, it first occurred to me to cut them out of sheet, which was a huge waste of time.) And also, to work on my bezel setting skills. I am bad at it, it is hard to make the rims for non-circular stones, and they are always somehow a little loose after setting.
I've actually been picking out stones from my collection which aren't the most impressive, because I feel like I'm still practising and not very good yet. The one used in this piece was a slightly lopsided oval, chipped on one end - both flaws that can be hidden with a bezel. Labradorites with this colour flash somehow don't have one "stunning" angle where the flash is strong, instead it has little clouds of colour all over the stone from every angle, and is infuriatingly hard to photograph. In bright natural light, it looks almost translucent dark grey and there is very little colour.. but indoors at my workbench (as you can see in the pics above) it has an almost black colour with flashes of bright blue. A mysterious look and lovely colour, I've been looking all over for smaller accent stones that match this brilliant blue and finally found some pretty cat's eye stones that came close enough :)
The one thing I'm annoyed by now that it's done is the fact that the cat's eye on the piece itself has a diagonal flash, while the ones on the endpiece both have a horizontal flash. I don't even know why I'm so annoyed. Maybe because I really like symmetry and so having just a small anomaly like that frustrates me. Should have checked the stone instead of just picking the first one off the strand! =/ That, and it's also diagonal in the opposite direction of the inclusions in the main stone. OTL
(It's really obvious, I can't un-see it after noticing.)
But I'm still happy with how it turned out, and finally got some copper chain so I could finish the whole necklace, clasp and all. Although making the endpiece isn't half as fun as making the pendant, but when the whole thing is complete it does look much lovelier.. Here's another clasp I made for the piece in the previous post:
With the little matching stone at the end it really seems more complete :)
Monday, January 21, 2013
Wire Wrapped Pendants + Labradorite | Go to post ➜
School has started and I'm really busy, kind of sorting things out but wanting to go home and make things all the time - it's very ironic that during the holidays I waste my life rotting in front of the computer, and only when I actually have work to do does the jewelry-making bug bite. Ahh well. Made this one for my sister -
(I don't think it's so nice but she likes it.) And I made several terrible mistakes with this, decided to solder the frame after setting the stones and wasn't careful, so the smoky quartz briolette cracked and went clear, and the labradorite probably got more brittle because when I dropped it later it chipped. I get really angsty whenever a stone breaks, especially when it's a labradorite like this lovely one -
And I hadn't even started working/designing yet, it just arrived in the mail yesterday and I was just polishing the oil off it and it came apart in my fingers OTL Probably the internal fracture was already at breaking point. Because they have so much individuality you can't just find another one to replace it - and I'm so attached to the bright blue flash of this one, I'll probably try and design something asymmetrical just for it. It is a sad fact that I design many many things and never get round to making them, though. This is one of the few that was actually completed -
I really, really love this stone ♥ It's even more lovely in real life, with a darker gold flash and some tiny bits of bright blue and green near the cloudlike inclusion on the left. And here are some progress shots -
It was made more with soldering practise in mind, so the base frames are more complex - maybe ~20 solder joins, all done with the same solder (unlike silver, copper solder only comes in one melting temp.) The labradorite was set in an open backed bezel, which was the simultaneous source of much pride and frustration - these stones usually have amazing flash across the flat surface of the cabochon back, and this one in particular had a gold-green-blue flash ♥ So the open-back design allows you to see the stone from behind -
One day I will design something meant to show the flat side of the cabochon instead of always hiding it behind. And I'm sorry this post has been 90% rambling about labradorite, but while we're on the subject, the new batch I ordered arrived yesterday and just looking at them makes me to happy ♥
Hopefully I have time to make more things (instead of just doodling designs in class all the time and throwing them away) :D
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Stickers! | Fine Silver + Topaz Pendat (Wirework + Metalsmithi... | Hello♥ So school swept me off my feet more thorou... | Pendants~ | Lanhua Pendant - Making of | Laika pendant - making of | Wire Wrapped Pendants + Labradorite | Merry Christmas + Happy New Year! | Hello, Some shots of simple watercolour + typewri... | Updates! |
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