Tag Archive for jewelry

New Jewelry in the Shop

And for those of you looking for shawl pins, I promise they’re coming! Shawl pins are a little more complex to make, and I have learned to never, ever, try to take short cuts when it comes to resin. Patience my dears! when they are ready I promise they will be gorgeous.

In the meantime, have a look at the new goodies, which include etched copper earrings, and spherical pendants :)

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What We’ve Been Up To

Actually, I’ve been up to a great deal more than this – I’m building out an e-commerce site that will allow folks to purchase patterns, books and jewelry from us, without having to bother with Etsy, but it’s not ready for release just yet :) In the meantime, here is some eye-candy of our latest pieces (including our first in sterling silver!).

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The Latest Goodies, and Musings on the Blue Brick

IMG_9150Tito and I have been extremely busy people lately, but we finally have our first confirmed art show! We will be at the Frogpond Farms Organic Winery on June 20th and 21st, participating in their annual ‘Art in the Vineyard’ show. There will be great food, great wine, and many other talented artists, so if you’re in the region of Niagara-on-the-lake then come on out! We’d love to see you.

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I wanted to show off some of the work that Tito and I have been doing together. While I still do use some commercial bezels, I much prefer the uniqueness of Tito’s hand-wrought copper pieces. We’ve even placed an order for sterling silver, so we can start creating fine jewellery with resin and flowers. We appreciate all the inquiries we’ve gotten about purchasing a piece (it’s so encouraging!) and we’re hoping very much to have a small Etsy sale around the end of March. It will be a tiny update, maybe 10 pieces or so, but we’d like to make sure we can ship in time for Mothers Day so the sale will last only 1 week.

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I have been working on a few other things behind the scenes as well, and one of them is changing the Blue Brick’s blog into an e-commerce site, with the blog nested within it.

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I’d really like to free myself from Etsy; I don’t agree with the policy changes that they made which allow resellers and mass-produced items to be sold on their site. I was one of the lucky ones, I don’t pay my rent using Etsy, but my sales did take a tremendous hit.

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I am not looking to knock the lives of factory workers. I’m sure the work is hard, difficult and even dangerous. But what system would you rather support? It may be cheaper to buy costume jewelry at Walmart, but would you rather have dozens of cheap things, or a few, carefully selected handmade treasures?

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I believe in supporting handmade, buying ethically, and when I can, locally. I do it with my choices in yarn, food, and even clothing. To me, a part of the Blue Bricks development as an Indie handcrafting business will be to free it from having to deal with Etsy, so look for some site changes in the near future :)

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Which brings me to my big announcement. The Blue Brick is officially a business! I feel very grown up. I officially own a tiny, indie crafting business and I’m proud as punch to say it. This small change has had a huge psychological impact on Tito and I, as we’ve made the transition from hobbyists to business owners. We feel inspired, energized, and it has shown in our productivity and our latest pieces. It was a huge step for us, but we felt like it was the right one, and it can only bring good things!

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Family Pendants

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Some friends of mine requested a family set of pendants, made from purple tulips. There are 2 mothers, and 3 children. To celebrate the thought of family I chose to make all 5 pendants from the same flower by carefully preserving the flower to lay all of its petals flat.

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Once my tulips were ready for resin, and I was satisfied with the colours, I chose one flower to cut all 5 pieces from. I used jewellery-grade resin to preserve the beautiful colour and texture of each petal.

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They’re going in the mail today :) I hope they love them!

If you’re interested in my methods for preserving flowers, or want to try your hand at making your own, check out my e-book on Resin Jewelry :)

Commercial Bezels

After I posted the photos of jazzed up polymer clay I had a moment of enlightenment that, in retrospect, felt bit silly. I realized that instead of going to such trouble to frame my polymer clay, resin it, and add metal components to the back, I could simply put the polymer clay piece into a bezel. What a concept, eh? One method feels like I’m building a bezel around a finished piece (which does have its advantages) and the other involved putting my piece into a finished bezel. I feel like I’ve arrived at a familiar destination, but took the long way ’round.

However, like all good creative experiments, I learned a lot and I think both methods have their pros and cons. Here are some current pieces I created using commercial bezels :)

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Jazzed Up Poly Clay Jewellery

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I’ve been experimenting with using metal inclusions and resin coatings to jazz up my polymer clay jewellery – and to give them a more polished feel overall.

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There are other benefits, besides the aesthetic ones; the resin lends not only shine, but strength to polymer clay jewellery, allowing it to take a lot more pressure before it cracks. This is especially useful with brittle clays.

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Even the pieces above, created with leftover extrusion canes and scrap clay, look like intentionally designed piece of jewellery when you add metal and resin to frame the lovely patterns created by the clay.

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And when you add silk screening, like the piece above, the results are so lovely!

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For this one, I have used a laser jet print and a simple transfer technique to create the tree motif.

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I will be writing up tutorials for adding the metal elements, and also for the laser jet transfer just as soon as I can! In the meantime I wanted to share some pics, I love the shiny, polished feeling results.

Faux Enamel Resin Earrings

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Using resin to create a faux enamel effect is super easy, and once you get the hang of it you can mix virtually any colour you want and use it for all kinds of fun applications. This is a very simple project to make adorable fake enamel earrings.

If you enjoy this tutorial please consider checking out my e-book on resin jewellery to learn more, including how to preserve and resin flowers, making bangles and spheres, and layering elements in the resin to create more complex pieces. If you’re interested, click here :)

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You will need:

2 part epoxy resin. Because I plan to add pigment to my piece, I don’t need to use jewelry grade resin so I am using Easy Cast, which is slightly more affordable. If you were planning a transparent piece, or using flowers in your work I definitely would recommend you use a jewelry grade resin (such as Ice Resin or Envirotex Jewelry resin) instead.

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Bezels and earring hooks. I am using 2 heart-shaped bezels by Susan Lenart, purchased from BeadFX.

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1 small, graduated mixing cup.

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Pigments for the resin. Here I am using opaque white resin pigment from Castin’ Craft and pink Pearl EX powered pigment by Jacquard

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Stir sticks, in this case a couple of craft (popsicle) sticks will do well.

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And finally, a large plastic cup to cover your pieces with, to protect them from dust as they cure.

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Begin by mixing your resin. Into the graduated mixing up, add 15 ml of resin. It’s a good idea to put plastic cling wrap over your working surface before starting.

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Into the same cup, add 15 ml of hardener. It is crucial that you achieve a 1:1 ratio between resin and hardener, or your mixture may not cure.

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Using your stir stick, mix the resin gently. Work both clockwise and counter clockwise, using your stick to scrape the sides and bottom of the cup. Make sure you scrape off the resin that’s on the stir stick as well. You want a uniform mixture, without any striations, and as few bubbles as you can manage. Don’t ‘whip’ the resin as you’re mixing it – this will introduce lots of bubbles! Getting a nice even mixture should take about 2 minutes of constant stirring.

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Add just 2 drops of the opaque white pigment. Don’t overdo this part – a little of the pigment goes a long way and too much will extend your cure time.

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Blend it into the resin by mixing gently until it’s evenly combined.

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Use your wooden stir stick to scoop up a green pea-sized amount of the powered pigment.

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Blend it into the resin by mixing gently until it’s evenly combined.

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Use your wooden stir stick to add it to the bezels drop by drop. Resist the urge to just pour the resin in straight from the cup – spilled resin is very hard to clean!

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Add resin until your mixture starts to ‘dome’ slightly out of the bezel. Resin will contract slightly as it cures, so adding a little extra will give you a nice even surface. You can see here that the heart on the left has been domed and the heart on the right is still under-full.

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Now both hearts have just the right amount of resin. If you have any bubbles, you can use use a pin to prick them.

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Cover the pieces with the plastic cup and let them sit undisturbed for at least 24 hours.

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Add your earring wires, voila!

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I would advise that you let the resin sit for at least 72 hours before wearing your earrings. Resin will come to a soft cure in 12, but a full hard cure takes 72. If you enjoy this tutorial and you give it a whirl please share photos, I’d love to see what you make!

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