Random Saturday - Taming the bronze?

I know I have hardly posted anything but the Oldies but Goodies in months, so it's about time for something else for a change.

Years ago I got my first bronze wire just wanting to try something new. Bronze is an alloy consisting mostly of copper (94% in this case), some tin and other trace metals or non-metals which often give the bronze its name, like phosphor bronze.
I was not happy with it as a wire for crocheting, but somehow I forgot about that and got some when I started wire weaving. So far it hasn't made me much happier than the last time, but today we had a small breakthrough in our relationship.

Lately I have been a little obsessed with balling up wire ends. I blame my friend Dawn. And my pal who sat down with me to show me the burner in person. I used copper, sterling and fine silver, and then I got curious about using my bronze wire.
What a disappointment! Instead of getting little balls the wire curled up at the ends looking like a little mutant snail - or in some cases a badly manufactured golf club. Now I have to admit that I'm not only obsessed with balling up wire, but also with the urge to find out how big I can make those balls without them falling off (I am a champion at dropping little copper and silver balls into my water bowl and cursing). I managed some big ugly mutant snails. For some reason I can't remember where I put those, so I can't take a picture of them. Maybe they went back to their home planet.
What did I do wrong? Was I too slow, did I wait too long, did I just not find the right point in the flame (bronze is melting quicker than pure copper), did I hold the wire wrong, did I maybe not know about the secret chant you need for success? I tore out my hair, blamed the cats and bit my desk, but that didn't bring me any closer to the solution.
I have been known to lose patience easily with some projects, but I kept coming back to the bronze wire. Then I remembered a blog post by Lisa Yang that I had found. She wrote some people had suggested for her to hold the wire parallel to the flame.
The wire melted just as quickly and wanted to curl up, but I lifted it right out of the flame and that way it was easier for me to control the shape. One length of wire after the other got treated that way on both sides.
The ends look differently for each metal. I found a picture on Nancy L. T. Hamilton's blog showing the result for fine, sterling and argentium silver, for copper and for bronze.

Bronze wire loses its shiny look in the flame and tends to look more like copper, after all that's what makes up most of it. I wanted to see what would happen in the tumbler and let the wire have a nice carousel ride for four hours (with some other pieces of jewelry).
I wonder what a longer ride would do to them, but I'm already quite happy with this result as the ends lost their red coppery touch and look like the wire again even if not as shiny.
I'll let you know if/when I try!


Oldies but Goodies - Over the top

First of all let me say that the topic for the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge does not at all mean that in a negative way regarding the following pieces. And for that matter it could even be much more over the top than what I'm showing you today! ;-)

Sometimes you feel something is over the top because you are not used to that style yourself. While I don't think any of us can make jewelry that doesn't appeal to us at all, it doesn't have to be 100% us, either - especially when making custom pieces. Maybe there's a color we wouldn't wear, maybe something is too small or too big for us, too colorful, not colorful enough.

What I like about these challenges is not only meeting old friends (as in pieces of jewelry) that fit more than one challenge, but also the inspiration I get by other artisans' and even my own pieces that I maybe almost forgot about, being reminded that you don't have to be stuck in that one groove, that there is open space in all directions and no limits to creativity other than those you set for yourself.

1 and 9 RioRita
2 and 7 Cat's Wire
3 and 5 Jewelry Art by Dawn
4 and 8 MC Stoneworks
6 The Crafty Chimp


Oldies but Goodies - Patina

Patina is not always something that we love. Blackened silver flatware or jewelry, green copper and more that we have to clean don't have many fans if any at all, and of course patina is not only found on metals, either.
Often, however, a nice patina adds to the beauty of a piece, no matter if it developed on purpose or not. Oxidizing and colorful patinas are a part of jewelry making as the selection from this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge is about to show us - and don't forget, there is more to see if you click through!

1 and 5 MC Stoneworks
2 and 8 Cat's Wire
3 and 7 Jewelry Art by Dawn
4 and 6 RioRita
9 Violetmoon's Corner


Oldies but Goodies - Personal birthstone

When you found out what your birthstone was, did you like it?
As a child I was quite disappointed about the pearl. A pearl wasn't even a stone. It didn't sparkle. Little old ladies with purple hair wore pearls. Pearls belonged to coffee or tea parties and crumbly cake in the afternoon. We were happy if we got a faceted "gemstone" ring from the gum machine. A pearl wouldn't have been the same.

Luckily I grew up and grew out of those prejudices. Today I am thinking differently, and then there is of course the moonstone for us June babies, too ;-)

It is nice that the members who participated in this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge don't share the same birthstones because that means you'll get to see even more variety. Not always is it the real thing, but if it isn't, at least the color is right, and it doesn't take away from the beauty of the pieces.
Enjoy all the colors of our personal birthstones!

1 and 5 Cat's Wire
2 and 9 RioRita
3 and 8 Violetmoon's Corner
4 and 6 MC Stoneworks
7 Jewelry Art by Dawn


Oldies but Goodies - Spirals

When I started out making wire jewelry, one of the very first shapes that came to me naturally was the spiral. A spiral is fascinating, it draws you in, it can be hypnotizing and it's no wonder so many optical illusions revolve around spirals - spinning ones for example.
Just give me a moment until my head is feeling normal again ... whew.

The spirals that I'll show you now are much easier on your eyes and head ;-) They are some of the entries for this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge. Maybe their beauty will be hypnotizing, though ....

1 and 6 Jewelry Art by Dawn
2 and 7 MC Stoneworks
3 and 9 Violetmoon's Corner
4 and 10 RioRita
5 and 8 Cat's Wire