Summer Jewelry Challenge Week #9…New Techniques and Fun

This has been a very productive week for me in jewelry making.  I have four necklaces and the beginnings of a bracelet to share this week.

First I want to share the Wave Cross Pendant that I made last week.  I oxidized and polished it so it is ready to go.

Here are some pictures of the Wave Cross Pendant…

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Oxidized Wave Cross Pendant
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Oxidized Wave Cross Pendant

The second necklace I want to share is a cabochon pendant that I started several weeks ago but finished up this week.  This was my first attempt at wrapping an undrilled gemstone cabochon.  I usually work with drilled beads and most of them are made of glass so this was quite a change.  I used a video from Oxana Crafts on youtube.com to get the basic construction design and then I tried to make the details my own.  I was pleased with how it was going and thought I would try something more fancy with the top half of the design.  I twisted the wire, but found I had a hard time getting it to match up or look as smooth as I wanted it to.  Honestly, I am not crazy about that part of it, but I wasn’t sure what else to do with it so I tried to make the best of it.  The most challenging part of this pendant was finishing the back because it is an undrilled stone that I was trying to encapsulate with the wire instead of building around it with wire like I usually do.  The cabochon kept popping out of the back and it was quite frustrating, but I finished it and then set it aside for several weeks.  This week I finished up the top part of it and then oxidized it.  I am still unsure if I like working with cabochons, but I will wait to make the final call until I have done a few more.  I do know that I really enjoy looking at cabochons, especially labradorite!

Here are some pictures of my cabochon necklace…

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Cabochon Pendant
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Cabochon Pendant
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Back View of Cabochon Pendant

The last three things I have to share are what I made this week.  I have really been wanting to try some new techniques so I dove into them this week.

The first technique I tried was making swirls with my wire instead of weaving it.  The first pendant I made using this technique was using the Swirly Twirly Lampwork Bead Pendant from Oxana Crafts (youtube).  The lampwork bead I used in this pendant was made by Katerina Sojkova.  I found this technique to be quite fun and easy to use.  I was able to be relaxed about making the piece and didn’t feel like it had to be a certain way and that is the kind of mindset this technique needs.

Here are some pictures…

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Swirly Twirly Pendant
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Swirly Twirly Pendant
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Swirly Twirly Pendant

Isn’t it so cute!  I included the picture with a quarter to show how small it is.  One of the best things about this technique is that it can be done pretty quickly which gives me options to make a simple and more economical necklace.

The other tutorial by Oxana Crafts (youtube) that I used is called Swirly Bead Pendant.  I incorporate the swirl technique and wire weaving in the same pendant.  I found myself really wanting to make something else this week and this pendant was it.  It was a fun pendant to make and again didn’t take as long as some of my other pieces.

Here are some pictures…

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Swirly Bead Pendant
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Swirly Bead Pendant

Didn’t it turn out pretty!  I was surprised at how much I liked this pendant because normally I like symmetry, not organic designs.  It just goes to show that I am becoming more and more relaxed in my perfectionist tendencies…enough to see beauty where there isn’t a lot of order.

The final piece I have to share this week isn’t anywhere near finished, but it showcased the other technique I learned this week.  It is braiding with five strands of wire.  I used the 5 Strand Braid Wire Wrapped Cabochon video tutorial by CSL Designs (youtube) to learn this technique.  I may try it with a cabochon one day, but I wanted to create a bracelet with it this week.  The technique was easy to learn and wouldn’t normally be challenging to apply, but I have a knack for complicating things.  Since I was making a bracelet and I wanted it to be sturdy I decided to use 14 gauge wire to braid.  That is the thickest gauge I have worked with personally.  Most of my work is made using 22 and 28 gauge wire, so the 14 gauge was a bit of a shock to my hands.  I eventually got the braid to work out okay and did a section large enough for a bracelet.  Then I added some half round wire to hold it together and shaped it around my bracelet mandrel.  That is how far I made it before I decided to save it for another day.

Here is a picture of the progress so far…

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5 Strand Braided Bracelet

It is definitely rough around the edges, and I almost tossed it, but I saw its potential and decided to save it for another day.

Whew!  That was a lot to share for one week.  I hope you enjoyed what I made because I know I enjoyed learning the new techniques and making them.  I hope you have a great week to come!

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6 thoughts on “Summer Jewelry Challenge Week #9…New Techniques and Fun

  1. Love seeing your progress and all the skills you’re learning – I love working with cabochons, so I’d definitely recommend trying a few more projects with them – I find them a lot funner to use with more organic, free form designs, but having the hole of a bead to anchor onto is nice, too XD I’ve been wanting to try doing the braided wire again, as well: I tried it once and used too thin a Gage of wire to use it for a bracelet, so you’ve inspired me to try it again! Also got an idea for a new pendant idea from this post, so thanks for sharing, and can’t wait to read the rest of your posts from this summer jewelry making challenge!

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  2. these are just beautiful, they are all great but I must say I love the last one the best…. did you use a tutorial or just your own designs? am trying to get to this point but am having trouble…. take care and thanks for sharing these beautiful pieces

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    1. Thank you Billie! Each of the pieces I made in this post came from a tutorial. I put the name of the tutorial I used for each piece close to the first picture of each piece. The only exception is the cross and I shared the tutorial name of that in last weeks post. If you look up Oxana Crafts and CSL Designs on youtube.com you will find lots of free video tutorials that will help you create different types of wire jewelry with many techniques and weaves. If you have any more questions please let me know.

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  3. I love these. I think your ‘perfectionist tendencies’ work to your advantage in your pieces – your work is so precise it is beautiful. I find this kind of work incredibly difficult and work much better with more free form wire work. It is great to try something outside your comfort zone in order to stretch, but I also think that sometimes acknowledging and accepting what you are good at is also good for growth as well. Having said that you have inspired me to have another go at braided work.

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    1. Thank you Wenzanne! I agree that one of the benefits of my perfectionist tendencies is the attention to detail and the consistently neat weaving it helps me create. It isn’t the strengths of perfectionism that bother me…it is the weaknesses. It is the way it keeps me from starting anything new or taking a risk unless perfection and success is certain. It is the way it causes me to beat myself up when I fall short and cannot give myself the grace I desperately need to get up and try again…and the fear of failure that keeps me from trying again. It is the way that I cannot see beauty in the broken and messed up things because they aren’t perfect. It is the way I can judge and criticize myself and others when falling short…the inability to see myself and others as humans and accept their humanness. These are some of the things I am battling when I talk about wanting to be free from my perfectionistic tendencies.
      There is truth to what you said in accepting what you are good at is growth as well. For me the journey I have been on is settling into wire weaving as one of many things I am good at, but it is my favorite thing to do. I have discovered a great love for creating pieces that are full of different types of weaves surrounding a beautiful focal bead. Before I reached that point I found myself feeling that I wasn’t doing enough or I should have a different kind of jewelry making “style”…that was the never satisfied part of perfectionism. However once I realized that I really liked that way of creating, I have had such freedom and a whole lot more fun in the creative process.
      I hope your braiding work goes well. I found it to be an interesting experience and I hope to try it on a cabochon one day, but not sure when. 🙂

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