Unusual Materials: Dandelion Seeds

Dandelion Seed Necklace by Karen Nichols of Karma Beads
Dandelion Seed Necklace by Karen Nichols of Karma Beads

Karen Nichols of Karma Beads has created a collection of intriguing jewelry pieces showcasing natural elements inside of glass vials and hollow lampwork beads. My favorite are her captivating dandelion seed pieces. Many of us have beautiful memories of blowing dandelion fluff into the wind as children; these memories add a sentimental air to these pieces that can not be contained by glass and metal alone.
Karen does not stop at dandelion seeds; she has captured all sorts of natural materials inside of her jewelry, including rose petals, sand, and feathers.
Don’t you love jewelry that tells a story?
Dandelion Vial "Wish" Necklace by Karen Nichols of Karma Beads
Dandelion Vial “Wish” Necklace by Karen Nichols of Karma Beads

I'm on Pinterest

Well, I finally took the plunge and decided to try this Pinterest thing, and I”m hooked!  Pinterest is a great resource for jewelry artists.  It is filled with jewelry making ideas, the work of master jewelry makers, and lots of tutorials.  I “pin” a lot of things there that don’t make it to the blog, so if you use Pinterest do stop by and check out my boards.

Beaded Drop Earrings Tutorial by Eat Breathe Design

Beaded Drop Earrings Jewelry Tutorial
Beaded Drop Earrings wire wrapped jewelry tutorial by Heidi of Eat Sleep Design

I love this tutorial! Heidi of Eat Sleep Design has made a free wire wrapped jewelry making tutorial for these lovely earrings. Simple enough for everyday wear, this design is incredibly versatile.  Her photos are very clear and easy to follow.  Plus, she has a lot more jewelry making information and several more tutorials on her web site.

Whirl Jewelry Link Tutorial

Wire wrapped whirl link jewelry component, natural and with verdigris
Wire wrapped whirl link jewelry component, natural and with verdigris

Here is an interesting jewelry link that can add a primitive look to your necklaces, bracelets, and if done on a smaller scale, even earrings. The sample shown here is quite chunky, measuring 2 cm across the spiral and almost 4 cm from end to end. It was made with a 14 inch length of 18 gauge wire, with 24 gauge wire for the small coils. To make a smaller link, either curl the central spiral around fewer times or use a smaller gauge wire. I would not recommend making a link much larger than this with 18 gauge wire as its center would be less stable. However, if you do so you may wish to experiment with adding strategic coiling among some of the spiral’s inner rings. Alternatively (or in addition) you could use a 16 gauge wire to make it sturdy at a larger size.
To begin, fold a 14 inch length of 18 gauge wire in half, using flat nosed pliers to press the bend into a sharp fold.
whirl link jewelry tutorial step 1
Fold the wire

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A Quick Tip for Reducing Noise While Hammering

Those of us who live in apartments or shared spaces often have noise concerns when hammering, such as neighbors who don’t like to hear hammering all day long! A folded quilt or towel placed under the bench block reduces noise considerably, without a noticeable effect on hammering effectiveness.
I’ve been photographing the steps for an interesting link today. The tutorial is coming soon.

Interesting Materials: Naturally Shed Deer Antler

Naturally Shed Antler Dear Necklace by Danielle R. Quigley of  Danielle Rose Bean
Naturally Shed Antler Dear Necklace by Danielle R. Quigley of Danielle Rose Bean

Naturally shed deer antler is the first jewelry making material I have encountered that feels almost sacred. The grace and peaceful existence of deer has enchanted me since my teens when I would often spot them chewing leaves in the early morning. I am happy to say that naturally shed deer antler is obtained with no harm to these lovely creatures.
Jewelry artist Jodi Rosano describes how this special material is produced:

The term “shed antler” means the antler comes off naturally in the wild. Deer, moose and elk shed their antlers every year and grow them back as quickly as one inch per day- making this beautiful animal bi-product a sustainable, natural material to use in all kinds of artistic mediums! Farmers and ranchers are quick to get rid of shed antlers because they can get caught in their farming machinery, and often cause their livestock injury when trampled. For some, shed antlers are a nuisance, but for others they are one of Mother Nature’s most beautiful gifts.

Whether featured as the centerpiece or as one component among many, naturally shed antler can add a primal, intriguing touch to a piece of jewelry.

Surf and Turf - Rose Necklace by Jodi Rosano
Surf and Turf – Rose Necklace by Jodi Rosano

Antler can also be sliced to create interesting irregular discs, as in this piece by Caitlin Dronen of Vond Work.
Antler Slice Necklace by Caitlin Dronen of Vond Work
Antler Slice Necklace by Caitlin Dronen of Vond Work

Whimsy, with Tiny Bottles

Deer, Feather, and Bottle Charm Necklace by MissSteviMarie
Deer, Feather, and Bottle Charm Necklace by MissSteviMarie

Tea cups, deer, secret keys, and all manner of enchanting charms gather together to produce sheer whimsy in Stevi Sherman’s cluster charm necklaces. Each seems to tell the story of a magical moment we would love to find ourselves in, whether having a cup of tea with a little deer or gathering walnuts on a cool fall day. A visit to the MissSteviMarie shop is like a day trip through Wonderland.
Organic Home Grown Lavender and Antler Charm Necklace by Miss Stevi Marie
Organic Home Grown Lavender and Antler Charm Necklace by Miss Stevi Marie