Sunday, October 21, 2012


The wife and I visited the Bella Vista (AR) Art and Craft Fair over the weekend.  We go principally to visit with artist friends that we have known for decades.  We look back at all the trials and tribulations we went through as exhibitors and we wonder, "How did we ever manage to do what we did?"  And now, we are so thankful that we are retired and no longer have put up with the rigors involved.  For many that show their wares, it is a way of life.  They are trapped.  Their art is their sole income, and there is no predicting whether you will have a good show and make money enough to pay for all your expenses. or whether the show will be a bust with little or no income.  We have had a few shows exactly like that.  Sometimes through no fault of our own, such as promised advertising by the show's promoter, only to find the promoter has absconded with the money and is nowhere to be found.  Later run down and ordered to refund the show fees.  But still, the artists have the expense of transportation, meals, etc.

Anyway, we did cruise through the show, looking, but not buying much.  The wife; an illustrated book by a favorite artist, me; a jar of crabapple jelly.  As far as jewelry went, it varied for just plain bead stringing to some very fine silver jewelry, and a very nicely done scrimshaw.

John DeRosier, so glad to see you back posting again.  Sorry you lost you cartoonist job.  Maybe with that fertile brain of yours, you could entertain us with cartoons based on jewelry making.  I am reminded of an old cartoon series, of which I have forgotten the title, principally about the trials of an apprentice machinist who was always getting something wrong, or doing something wrong.  The cartoons were hilarious!  It wouldn't fly nowadays because America has gotten away from old time machining, backyard mechanics and blacksmiths.  Time was as an apprentice machinist you had to learn how to run ALL the various machines.  Now, we have computerized machines to do the work.

Anyway, John has a great plier rack that worth taking a look at.

Sharilyn Miller has come up with something completely new for her.  She's made ceramic beads and they are gorgeous!  Wow!  To visit, just type in your search engine search box, Sharilyn Miller

On the home front, my bench is a total disaster.  I am forced to stop.  This week, I must put up some shelving in the garage to store some of the overflow, move some of the benches around  to make things work better.  Spent quite a bit of time tossing out a bunch of stuff which I will never use to make a little more space.  Maybe someday, I'll post something on the jewelry making front.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


In this pic, a pile of square, half-hard, 18 gauge, copper wire, heavy duty round nose pliers marked for positioning wire, the resulting "S" connector, all resting on a rubber filing block.  Necessary tools not shown: flush wire cutter; small hand file, No. 4 cut, for filing the wire ends, (more on this later); brush to clean file; steel bench block; rawhide mallet and fine point Sharpie pen.

Some wire cutters, sold as flush cutting, actually don't cut perfectly flush.  Cut a piece of wire.  Take a look at the "flush" end with 10x magnifier.  Aha! You see that tiny pip a the end?  Not truly flush.  Sometimes, when you think you are holding your cutters square with the wire, you aren't, and the cut is  slanted.  In both cases, this is where the fine cut flat file makes the wire end nice and square.

The mallet and the steel bench block are used to flatten the connector should the wire twist a bit and the connector is a bit crooked.  A couple whacks with the mallet sets things straight.  I made some round wire connectors the same, with soft wire, and whacking them 10 times on one side and 10 on the other, to work harden them.  Rawhide is sort of old school nowadays with nylon and plastic mallets available.

A small display of various other wire forms.  By no means all that I made.   Just a small sampling. The purpose of these, is to use them singly, or maybe two, to add interest to the overall composition of a piece of jewelry.  By themselves they don't look like much at all.  None of the forms shown are completely finished.

Shown are dimpling pliers.  The one on the right makes a 1 mm dimple, the left one is 3 mm.  Why would you want one or both of these?  Well, the best reason I can think of, is they provide a quick way to add some texture to a metal element.  Sure, you can do the same thing with dapping punches and a steel block.  Or, dapping punch and a hardwood block, or a lead block, (not used too much nowadays.  But, you have only one tool to make a dimple, in place of three.


Well, I gone and done it again.  Forgot to welcome new followers to the blog.  My bad.  Anyway, glad your here, it's always nice to have new followers.  WELCOME!

Comments.  Got an unexpected, nice comment from Michael David Sturlin, about the piece I wrote way back in 2010 on the Goldsmith's Hammer.  Thanks, Michael, nice of you to take the time to write.

METALSMITH magazine, Volume 32, No. 4.  devotes it's pages to Gothic Jewelry.  Beautiful work, but it would take a special person to wear it!  Wow!

Mary Hettsmansperger is out with a new book, HEAT, COLOR, SET, & FIRE, published by Lark Crafts.  Lark almost always has outstanding books. Better than Klambach or Interweave.  Northlight also produces some good ones.  I've always like Mary's work.  I guess the reason I relate more to her work is that I sort of follow along similar lines.

In this book there wasn't much new to me, but there were things I never thought of using to add color to metal.  There's a lot of material available on the market now not covered in the book.  Then again, you can't cover everything!

Well, folks, that's it for now.  Hope to be back soon.