Duality In Action…

A Preamble

I must confess that as far as religion is concerned, I’m something of an enigma!  I don’t profess to any religious leaning.  Like most people in the West, I was brought up in a Christian society, though not one that has taken its religion seriously since the  beginning of the 20th Century.  Still, as a child I was exposed to Christian imagery and teaching.  What’s more, I lived half way between two churches 🙂  That said, my father is, and has been since his service during the Second World War, an atheist and didn’t hide that fact.  So I think that was a fairly balanced upbringing with regard to religion.  Naturally, in common with many others, I’ve been through periods when I’ve sought for something that I could believe in with that blind faith that is such a mystery to most, and is at times envied by the majority for the comfort it seems to provide.  One thing is true: I have constantly maintained a respect for others’ beliefs!

So what am I babbling about really?  Well, I frequently find myself making crosses!  Yesterday was one of those occasions!

The Point of This Post

I wanted, inexplicably, to make a cross.  More, I wanted it to reflect the wire working I’ve been doing lately.  And furthermore, I wanted something that was genuinely different!  Well, I believe I achieved all of that, happily 🙂  I first made a cross out of 0.8mm (20 swg) silver plated copper wire, starting and finishing at the top, where the two cut ends could be made into a bail, which is a loop of the two strands twisted together, and then the longest tail used to create a wrap beneath the loop.  I then hammered all the wire except the bail, until the round wire was entirely flat, at which point I used the ball of the ball pein hammer to create a texture.  This whole process, I calculated, would make it easier to get the wire I’d use shortly to stay where I put it!

The next step involved first attaching silver 28 gauge craft wire from The Bead Smith (I don’t know whether this gauge is SWG or AWG!  If anybody out there does know, I’d love to hear from you :)) at the bottom of the cross, leaving about half an inch (12.7mm) tail, wound fou times round the bottom then four more times across the bottom.  I now started the beading.  First on the wire were two wooden beads.  I wrapped the wire fully round the cross, then, and made sure it fixed the beads in place.  Next came two faux pearls.  I didn’t make a full wrap after that though.  I proceeded to repeat these two beaded wrap steps until I got to the intersection with the arms of the cross.  I then took the wire to the far end of the left arm and repeated the process used in the vertical.  On reaching the intersection, I took the wire to the far end of the right arm and repeated what I’d done on the left arm.

When I returned to the intersection again, I now inserted a largish amethyst chip on the face with the wooden beads on it and a large faux pearl on the pearl beaded side, making sure that they were both seated firmly!  Finally, I beaded the top vertical section as the rest had been done.  All that remained to be done then was to hide the starting and finishing tails of the wrapping wire.  Happy with the cross pendant, I attached a small jump ring to the bail.  At first, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do about turning the pendant into a necklace 🙂  In the end, I opted for a fairly narrow cord, on the cut ends of  which I used small cord grips.  A couple more small jump rings and a ring clasp and I was done!

Cross (pendant)

The two faces of a beaded cross (pendant).

WHy did I choose to express this duality of the cross?  I’m not altogether sure how my mind works sometimes LOL!  Quite simply, the wood represents the wood of the crucifixion cross itself and the humility Christianity encourages in believers.  The pearls were a consequence of a vague feeling that they had some significance to Christianity!  My head is full of trivia, not all very clear and with no indication of where it all originates from 😀  However, in Christianity the pearl is a symbol of purity, tears, love and fertility and is believed to ward off evil.  The symbolism of purity, love and fertility (and possibly tears?) explains why pearls are associated with brides.  I’ll admit to the amethyst having been simply an addition that just seemed to fit with the wooden beads aesthetically!

I have tested this and, contrary to my fears, the cross sits perfectly even when the pearl side is against the body meaning that it rests on the single large pearl!

Another web site

Yesterday, I came upon another very good jewellery making site!  How-to-Make-Jewelry.com provides a considerable fund of information on jewellery making, including advice on selling your creations.  It is well worth exploring!

Lighting Up Your Life!

Started yesterday, and finished lunchtime today, these earrings feature mookite, Botswana agate, amethyst and red manmade crystals. The findings are handmade.

Chandeliers

Chandeliers

I departed from jewellery making briefly, to make some novelty items for the grandchildren.  Here’s one as a sample:

Wyatt

Wyatt


I’d like to point you to an online shop for handmade jewellery.  CinLynn Design and Boutique offers some really beautiful jewellery, and her prices are extraordinarily fair!  In fract, having seen many of the items she has made, I’ve even been converted to pearls!  You certainly won’t regret visiting her shop!

By Moonlight…

Very recently, our eldest (Damien) gave me some beads, including moonstone!  Now moonstone is one of my birthstones, so it was very appropriate.  It was essential that I make something special, with other gems.  After some thought, I decided to make an illusion necklace, combining aventurine and moonstone, on monofilament thread.  It would be my first effort!  I’m quite pleased with the outcome 🙂   Strangely, the moonstone round reacted powerfully to the flash,  producing a fiery glow!

Illusory Moon Necklace

Illusory Moon Necklace

The wire cone I made myself, using my round nose pliers.

In my stash was a strand of Picasso jasper puffy coins.  While using these, I noticed that some had such beautiful markings on their faces that it would be a shame to, effectively, hide them by stringing them normally.  As a result, I turned four of them into a pair of earrings:

Picasso Jasper Earrings

Picasso Jasper Earrings

For the Love of Jenny…

There is no doubt in my mind.  My jewellery making efforts originate in my fascination with gemstones and, more powerfully, my love of Jenny.  In the case of the former, it represents the fact that I would  love to become a gemologist, an ambition which is sadly unrealistic.  The latter case is something I can and will continue to demonstrate.  So, these new items are most definitely in pursuit of the second, and primary, motivation!   Oh, and you’re likely to find that amethysts feature frequently, because amethyst is Jenny’s birthstone.

First up on the ‘gemwalk’  is an earring set, which I rather lamely called the Triplets Set.  Inspired by nothing more than possession of the rather beautiful findings from the Precious Accents range by Cousin Corporation of America (indubitably my favourite accessories supplier!).  The gemstones are carnelian, smoky quartz, garnet and amethyst.

Triplets Earring Set

Triplets Earring Set

The following is the Amethyst Falls Set.  Based on a desire to make an attractive but minimalist piece, it obviously required something other than my usual stringing material.  The necklace is based on oval chain.  The drops are populated with smoky quartz nuggets, as a weight, and amethyst chips.  The two flanking drops terminate in eyes, to permit some degree of adaptation, so that the necklace may have different looks.  The earrings reflect the centre drop of the necklace, and features the same gemstones.

Amethyst Falls Set

Amethyst Falls Set

I’m happy to say that Jenny loved them!

A Miscellanea

A good mix of jewellery here.  First, a bit of fun.  Our daughter’s moving this Saturday.  When I saw a set of charms to do with that very subject, well I just had to make this necklace:

Moving Home Necklace

Moving Home Necklace

Second is another bit of fun – a charm bracelet featuring Noah’s Ark and various animals.  Sadly, the animals are not even to scale with each other.  The bracelet consists of the charms and aventurine chips and smoky quartz nuggets

Noah's Ark Charm Bracelet

Noah's Ark Charm Bracelet

Sadly, Buttons Galore, the manufacturer, are no longer making these charms.

Thirdly, a piece that hung about for ages until I finished it this week.  Unfortunately, the photo doesn’t show how it sparkles.  It’s a daisy chain necklace made in seed bead.  It’s suited to a girl, being just 16 inches long.

Daisy Chain Necklace

Daisy Chain Necklace

The pattern is in A Treasury of Beaded Jewelry: Bead Stringing Patterns for All Ages by Mary Ellen Harte.

Finally, a simple pair of earrings, each featuring a smoky quartz nugget and a plain oval carnelian:

Gem Drops Earrings

Gem Drops Earrings

 

 

The Pleasure of Sharing

For the last few days, Jenny and I have shared our jewellery making hobby.  We’ve both been working on various projects, though for different reasons.  Most of what Jenny has made will be used for Christmas presents.  Mine, however, are simply a result of the pleasure I derive from making things!  It’s been rather magical though, both of us sat here surrounded by beads, findings and such, each enjoying the company of the other and sharing the trials and triumphs.

Obviously, as Jenny’s works are for gifts, I don’t want to risk them being seen so I’ll just display some of the pieces I’ve made:

To Boldly Go….

OK, so I’m not going where “no man has gone before” as in the quotation!  In fact, there are many men and women making jewellery.  Probably more than ever before in our history!  It is, however, very new for me!  I’ve spent years watching my wife Jenny working on various beading projects, from 3D animals and flowers to exquisite jewellery sets.  She’s tended to work mostly with seed beads and crystals as she loves their delicacy and flexibility.  Of course, I said on many occasions that there was no way I could do anything like it, especially with beads that I could barely see, let alone find the holes in!

A few months ago, in the wee, small hours of the morning (I have major problems with sleeping!), television was so entertaining that I was browsing through the hundreds of entries in the on-screen guide provided by Sky.  It was then that I discovered JewelleryMaker.Com.  I was immediately impatient for Jenny to get up LOL!  I just knew that I’d found a very valuable channel for her beading hobby.  What I didn’t realise, of course, was that my fate was sealed!  The more I watched, the more fascinated I became.  Before I knew what was happening, I was hooked!  I just had to get some gemstones and have a go…

I purchased a strand of purple/pink banded agate from Magpie Jewellery and a strand of peridot chips, of picture jasper rounds and a half-strand of faceted amethyst rounds, plus a set of antique gold tone heart-and-bar toggle clasps from The Crafty Beggar.  I’ve used findings provided by Jenny to produce several pieces, some of which are below:

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