Monday, June 28, 2010

Jewelry Inspirations by Sherri Haab Review


I have been remiss! I thought I'd reviewed this new book a couple of months ago, but when I went through my blog tweaking keywords here and there, there it was, saved as a draft. (I blame the end of the semester. But here it is now -- better late than never?).
Oh, and I saw copies at Barnes and Noble the other day, set up in a nice little display at the top of the craft racks, so I would assume you could find it at the other chains too.
First off, I have to admit, I'm the hardest person to impress with a jewelry book, partly because I'm not a beginner any more, and partly because I prefer to sell stuff that is based on my own ideas. So I like a book that shows me new ways of doing things that I can use as a starter idea for my own work. And this book delivers on that count.
Coincidentally, I had a big bag of silver filigree bezel findings that I was getting ready to donate -- but I kept them after reading this book, so I could play with Sherri's polymer clay and beaded solstice charm idea. Putting a charm w/loop under the clay is a great idea for turning the bezel into a pendant.
She covered a lot of bases, and a lot of materials, which is why this book is 150+ pages. I like that she did not devote too many of them to how to use the materials -- some books overdo that part in my opinion, but Jewelry Inspirations covered that subject just right I think. I like that she devoted a few pages to finding inspiration, and being in your studio. After seeing all her little bottles of beads, I found myself pulling out all my antique and vintage bottles and fitting them with corks, then filling them up with vintage leftovers such as little glass pearls.
I had never seen her method for making a 3D (2-sided) silicon mold. I've seen other ways of doing them, but Sherri's makes a lot more sense to me.
This is also the first book where I've seen epoxy resin clay used. Hopefully it will be available locally at some point, but for now you can order it from the Internet. You can tint the clay, form it, or press it into molds and it cures (dries) overnight. Sherri tints it and embeds objects in it in her projects.
Sherri uses simple knotting in several projects -- I liked that the projects are simple but tasteful and her intro instructions are very clear. My favorite knotted jewelry project was her Sea Glass Image Pendants, because the cord was a bit thick and looks nice with or without beads woven in.
Silhouette projects seem to be very retro trendy these days, and, again, I appreciated that she used jewelry stampings in her Silhouette charm bracelet (since I seem to have pounds of stampings around here).
She also plays with papier clay to make pins -- her theme is Halloween, but I tried the project with crows, our perennial neighbors here on the Rio Grande. This project would be fairly easy for kids too, I think.
Her bead and wire jewelry designs were not what inspired me most but only because I know those techniques; however, her colorways and use of chunky gemstones were lovely, and caused me to paw through my semi-precious drawers for pretty colors like hers.
There was a fun cracker jack charm bracelet -- you can, of course, substitute your own collectibles, but I just wanted to mention that you can buy Cracker Jack charms on eBay. Sherri pairs hers with a substantial silver chain that really elevates the look of the charms.
By far my favorite projects were the resin ideas. I've seen other books on this subject but could never see myself wearing candy-mold jewelry in a million years. It never occurred to me to make my own molds, as Sherri does.
And finally, being a funky found object and recycled art kind of gal, I really like the braided torn handkerchief bracelet. It seemed sturdy and adaptable to many variations, and I plan to try it down at OFFCenter, where we tear strips of fabric into "pitchy patchy" every summer in preparation for the Folk Art Festival. Sherri's technique would come in handy for ornaments and other hanging things too, not just jewelry.
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Sunday, June 27, 2010

More Antique Purse Photos

Here's the bottom half of the purse. It's huge! Reds and greens in the center, blues and oranges on the sides. The yellow and "brown" flowers near the bottom right are actually purple -- the tan thread changes the look of the amethyst beads.

And finally, the whole thing, minus the chain.

More photos are HERE!

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Got Micro Beads?

I'm just getting ready to list this in my Etsy supply shop. In addition to the five photos for that listing, I took these closeups of the bead crochet patterns for all you fanatics fans of antique beadwork.

First off -- check out the color palette. This beauty contains dozens of colors because each motif uses 5-6 colors. Love these old fashioned micro-bead colors, especially the metal lined crystal beads used for the background. They were crocheted with tan thread, so there's still plenty of contrast, but not a stark white background.

Here's the palette -- mainly reds and greens, with some blue and amethyst.
A tiny bluebell motif? These old purse patterns translate easily to loomwork or square stitch.


Here's a rose for you. :-)



And some other flowers -- orange to balance out the blue. Notice the aqua/jade green color in the bottom right of the photo. Several metallic beads are tossed in too, but there surfaces have worn off over the years.

And finally, the fringe. Notice how white the crystal beads look with white thread, compared to in the background where colored thread was used.
I'll post some overall pictures a little later. For now -- Enjoy!
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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Nifty New Photo Table

Speaking of yesterday's pretty silver things, the MOTH brought home a gorgeous adjustable hospital table, with a faux dark walnut top. At first I thought "Ugh...where will we put this?" but then he said, "No more backaches from your microphotography," (That's not actually what he said but it hardly would have been proper to type type "No more bending over for your photos...")

However he said it, he was right! It pulls up high enough for me to shoot straight down or across the objects. And the surface -- my goodness, it's darned rich and lovely. I prefer to use decorative papers under my schtuff, I went ahead and christened my new table to shooting this vintage steel mesh purse straight on the surface.
Previously I used a folding wooden tray table up against our patio door. I found that using the higher table isn't just easier on my achin' back, being up higher means I also avoid getting reflections and shadows and color casts from various things on the patio. Still get the blue sky cast, as you can see from the photo above. But the price (only $10 bucks) and the pretty, pretty surface is totally worth a wee bit of color correcting.

Monday, June 21, 2010

An Etsy Treasury of Pretty Silver Things

A pretty little vintage mesh bag I just listed in my shop yesterday found its way into this Etsy treasury by OdetoJune, a seller of lovely vintage things. Thanks!
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Friday, June 18, 2010

A Semi-glorious Sabbatical

Wow. Has it really been this long?

Where to start. Summer is hot, and I'm laying low. Wiggling my toes in the shade, watching the big yellow marigolds stand up to the heat. Watching my husband paint the front porch a 1970s gold. (If tupperware had a yellow to go with its retro avocado and pumpkin, it would be this color gold.)


My hands have been folding paper, tying vintage ribbons, rinsing out secret vintage glass bottles and filling them with almond colored glass pearls culled from salvaged purses.

I've been glittering eggs in German silver, and tucking them into tiny nests of medicinal herbs.


I guess that's enough for now. It's a healing time, a deep recharging. Not much else is going on. My last semester of grad school starts in the Fall -- and that feels a long way off right now.