I’ve been of two minds here lately – on one hand I’ve been making larger, chunkier ethnic eclectic pieces and I am so in love with them.

On the other, I’m equally enamored with a series of pieces based on images from the forest floor – tiny leaves, pods, vines, moss, lichen.

This pair of earrings is from the latter.  I’m working in brass primarily, cutting tiny designs in it, and then adding a second layer of related designs by stamping the metal.  I then add additional interest by darkening the brass, sanding it, and then darkening it again.  The result is darker edges – a small touch, but one that I think matters.

When I first learned to saw metal and was breaking saw blades right and left, I could not have imagined making such tiny cuts.  It’s nice being better with the saw and being able to make some of what is in my imagination.  So far, I’ve done two necklaces and this pair of earrings in the series.  I’m calling it “Secrets from the Forest Floor”.  I’d like to explore it more over the coming months.

I love playing in  my button jar and finding ways to make jewelry using buttons.  Button jewelry can be colorful and fun, buttons can also be used to make jewelry more contemporary and sophisticated like these earrings.  I like the color palette – everything is in dark neutral and muted tones.  The adventure for me in making these earrings was to use the holes without using a lot of jump rings.  I could have done it that way but I think the visual emphasis would have shifted away from the buttons and towards the jump rings.

I used one jump ring in each earring – to attach it to the earwire at the top.  The other connections were made using head pins that start in the center of the smaller button at the bottom.  The head pin at the top bends up, through the back of the top button, back down and then around to complete the attachment.  The second head pin bends into a loop in the back used to attach the brass dangle below.  I’m going junk shopping today and hope I can snag a jar or box of more buttons.

PowerfulWinI like a certain mint and it comes in a little tin.  Once the mints are gone, the tins just don’t look like something that should be thrown away – they look useful, they look open to the idea of being reinvented.  So, I’ve been saving the empty tins, not sure how I would use them or what I would do with them, until now.

In the back of my mind, I see the tops of the little tins evolving into bracelets somehow.  That idea is still germinating.  But, while at Penland, I did get this pair of earrings made using the mint tins.  Penland had a circle punch and I used it to punch out both the tin curcles and the larger silver circles underneath.  I punched out a few circles while I was there since I don’t have a circle punch.  I still cut circles by hand and find they have their own charm too.  I then drilled the holes in both circles, used chasing tools to texture the silver circles, darkened them, made the earwires, and assembled the earrings.

I have a few of these tins and only used a small bit on these earrings.  Expect to see more later.

Trio of EarringsOver the past few months, I’ve been exploring beaded earring components created using square stitch (my favorite bead weaving stitch, at least for now).  I’ve posted about a pair of purple teardrop earrings and the gorgeous Adriana earrings.  The ideas kept flowing and I kept making little beaded squares.

I ended up using some in this trio of earrings.  They are all in the blue/green/gold color family yet each is different in each own way.  For some reason, the little squares reminded me of Chiclets, little pieces of gum I chewed as a child.  I remember they had a small pack of mini Chiclets – tiny squares of gum in different colors.  These earrings look nothing like them, but that’s what they brought to mind.  Funny the things you remember and what triggers the memory.

I have in my sketch book ideas to use the squares in necklaces.  We will see…

nanette earringsLengths of sterling silver wire were looped around to create silver tangles or knots at the bottom of these earrings.  For whatever reason, working with metal has made working with wire seem less intimidating, so I’ve been doing some experimentation with wire.  The trick with these was to make the second tangle look reasonably close in size and shape to the first and to keep from kinking the wire.

After practicing with copper wire, I got the knack of it and then moved on to make the earrings in silver.  I named them Nanette and hope the lovely young lady who now owns these earrings enjoys wearing them.

kendra-earringsIf you’ve read my blog before, you know how much I love beads.  Ethnic beads, in particular, have a special place in my heart.  Okay, so do gemstones and crystals… I could go on.  Truth is, they are all just fabulous.  But ethnic beads have a presence and poise that no other beads come close to because they reflect the culture and art of people.  I have genuine love and respect for them all and cannot think of a place on the globe where something beautiful, something that honors the land, resources, and history has not been made.

The metal beads in these earrings are African Baule bronze beads and they are just gorgeous.  They have so much presence that very little was needed to accent them, just a touch of turquoise in a color more green than blue.  Nothing more.

adrianaearringsThe glass beads at the bottom of these earrings are made by glass bead makers encasing gold or silver foil within beads.  The most famous of these are Venetian glass foil beads and the inclusion of the foil just make the beads sparkle.  I used clear glass beads here, but when foil is used under colored glass, the colors become even more rich and vibrant.  They are hard to resist.

I accented the gold foil beads with some bead weaving in my favorite stitch – square stitch.  It’s a stitch I find to be very versatile and despite the name, you can make much more than squares.  In this case however, I did do squares in rich golden and deep pink tones.  Exquisite earrings waiting to adorn the right ears.