DrCraze is doing some amazing things with an unusual jewelry material — concrete. By filling in his pieces with pigmented concrete, he creates an effect that is somewhere between enamel and mosaic. The results are clean, colorful designs.
Hearts? Um, no, not usually. It is a perfectly lovely shape but it does not normally speak to me from a design perspective. However, Sandra Russell took the heart and made it her own by turning it, elongating it, and adding texture and pattern.
Perhaps, the more common the shape, the bigger the challenge it is to breathe new life into it. Sandra has managed it with the heart. Her designs are dynamic and eye-catching and wearable. The great pieces featured here and more are available in her Etsy store, slradornments. Just in time for Valentine’s Day.
In this blog, I have used the descriptor “hand drawn” a few times. By that, I mean that the jewelry designer has created a three-dimensional object — an unyielding form — that also manages to have the charm and spontaneity of a drawing. It can mean that the designer has tactfully left something looking less finished or added details in a way that seems so fluid and casual. For me, it is among the highest design compliments. While, of course, I didn’t make up the words hand drawn, I sort of feel as if I made up its use in this context — I suppose it was time to define it.
If you’re into making things, you might understand the principle that a complicated or fancy design can camouflage a number of ills. You can always make it look like you meant to do that. Simple and clean is so much more difficult because the mistakes have no place to hide. Making simple design attractive and interesting can take some work. It is for such reasons that I was struck by the clean and attractive work offered by Colin and Marian of the Etsy store, Chinchar and Maloney.
I love the color of tanzanite or, perhaps, I should say colors — it changes so much in different light.
Another fine example of a gorgeous stone that gets to take center stage in a nice clean design.
Finally, it’s almost hard to believe that this is a piece of metal because it is so fluid.
Such nice work that reminds one of what good design can do to showcase beautiful materials and masterful metal work.
Metal in the hands of the right person can be an amazing thing. Metal can bend, stretch, take on a texture and more but, to make it do these things and produce a desirable result, takes talent — talent for handling the metal and a vision for the design.
Manya Pickard makes metal sing in a way that says raw talent perfected by countless hours of practice. Her pieces are created with tasteful design concepts and a mastery of metal.
I love Manya’s consistent aesthetic in her pieces. While she manages a lot of dimension and depth, there is something that gives her work a lovely hand-drawn quality. Her painterly style, for me, calls to mind things such as storybook illustrations and Japanese screen paintings.
As I have mentioned, I am in the process of learning metal work and to make jewelry. I’ve been taking classes at Scintillant Studio for about a year. Scintillant, which is in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco, is run by the fascinating Adam Clark. I began my education at Scintillant with a beginner’s class taught by Aimee Golant, who is incredibly talented and a great teacher. Since then, I’ve taken Adam’s class, which is largely an independent study style, about three times. I am pretty sure that there isn’t anything that Adam doesn’t know — seriously, bring up just about any topic.
This is my most recently completed project from Scintillant:
The stone is a Herkimer diamond. I cut the band and the prongs out of a continuous sheet of silver and the prongs were folded up to hold the stone. The band is closed with a copper rivet. It was a challenge but allowed me to practice some new skills — like riveting. But, it was a ton of fun to make and I’ve enjoyed wearing it.
These little guys are very familiar items to anyone who knows me. I made them myself and, ever since their creation a couple months ago, I have worn them frequently. To an experienced metalsmith they are very simple pieces to fabricate. For me, not so much. I sketched out a design that was small and would require some tiny torch work specifically to have a reason to experiment with that skill.
The bottom of each earring, the “cloud,” was simply cut out of brass. As I have worn these, the brass has turned several different shades. I haven’t polished them and I just let them go until they finally landed at the patina you see today. When I cut out the brass, I left little tabs which were then looped over and the ends soldered down. Thus, the tubes were made that the earring wire goes through.
The earring wires are silver, of course, and they gave me the chance to practice using the torch to ball the silver. On these, a good eye would notice that the silver is a bit pitted, which, as I understand from my teacher, means that I let the torch stay on the metal just a nanosecond longer than I should have. Practice, practice.
What was I thinking when I designed them? I was trying to achieve that casual functionality that I appreciate in jewelry. The functional component (the earring wire) as design element. I wanted to create something that worked with negative space and that had some movement. In the end, I really like them but I think it could be done better. I intend to make another version in the future with, perhaps, a focal point that has a more fluid shape.
This is one of my own creations. I made it by the lost-wax casting method and the small aquamarine cabochon was added to the finished piece. The design is meant to be an abstract rendering of the stones at the bottom of a creekbed. I like the idea of mixing organic shapes and themes with cleaner, geometric angles. I guess I imagine a piece of a natural scene removed and fashioned into a new item with angles, sides, and frames.
It was cast with largely pure silver but some old sterling silver jewelry was melted in as well — making the ring less the 99% pure but more pure than sterling. It is my hope to offer this piece for sale in the future. At the moment, I am still in the process of building a collection.