by Susan Olivio
Ever since I can remember, I’ve had this need to create something. When I was really young, my mom taught me to knit and crochet and since then I’ve been hooked. My father was actually the artist of the family. He was a master at leatherwork and did a more than his fair of painting.
I have had fun painting, quilting, sewing, working on mosaics, some leatherwork and many other mediums. Whenever I explore a new medium I buy as many books on the subject that I can find and immerse myself in trying to learn as many techniques as I can. Most of the fun for me is in the exploring. New ideas keep running through my mind and I can see so many possibilities. I still want to learn how to weld, make fountains, fuse glass and I’m sure a lot of other things.
I have been making jewelry for around 13 years. It is the one medium I have stuck with for some reason. I started off with wire jewelry and made simple earrings with loops and wrapped loops. I wanted to learn more so I took an introductory metalsmithing class and have evolved from there.
Each time I sit down at my bench, I try to push myself to learn a new technique or add a new mechanism to my repertoire. I have dabbled with resins, wire-wrapping, soldering, stamping, forging, enameling chain maile and etching to name a few.
My recent passion has been with cold connections. I have been happily experimenting with different cold connecting techniques for the last year. I love mixed metals. The way that copper, brass, nickel and sterling play off each other is truly beautiful to me. I am able to add contrast and interest to a piece by adding texture and different patinas.
My only regret is that I don’t get to make jewelry full time. At least I know what I want to do when I retire and it’s something to look forward to!
This necklace was one of the first pieces I cold connected. It started off as an experiment to see if you could dome something after you soldered something to it. It came out a little crinkly but I liked it. I added a tube rivet to make a dressed up hole for the jump ring. I thought it lacked something so I added a nickel back that I notched to set the brass dome. It still looked like it was missing something so I added the soldered rectangle piece that I found in my stash of projects that aren’t quite finished.
I love Richard Salley’s work and after finding an online tutorial on his blog, I followed along and made this locket with a large washer that I found in my junk drawer.
I like to make as much of my jewelry by hand as possible and this one featured a handmade copper chain.
For this piece, the new technique I tried was the tab/prong setting. I ended up liking it so much that I’ve been adding it to a lot of my newer pieces. This piece reminds me of a sundial.
I used the tab/prong setting again in this piece but what you can’t see is another new technique I figured out in my head. There is a loop on the back of the toggle (see below). I wanted to figure out a way to how to add a loop without soldering. Another handmade chain completes the piece.
Here’s the tab/prong setting again but in a smaller scale on a pair of earrings. Everything was handmade except for the glass bead and the little rondelle on these earrings.
I’m sure my journey will take me along another twist in the path leading me to another technique or medium and I know I will have fun each step of the way.
You can find the amazingly talented Susan here:
Etsy - Mixed Metal Studio
and be sure to visit her supply stores here:
Etsy - LuxeOrnaments
Etsy - solivio