With Summer finally on the horizon, we are all spending more time outdoors enjoying the beauty of the season. Flowers in bloom, and so many intense colors popping...great inspiration for jewelry, no?
|A few of my mixed media designs using odd bits and pieces. The one on the far right is called Tallmadge's Dragons. |
I wrote a short story to go with it...you can read it here.
|This is one of my favorite optic lens designs. I used cicada wings and a |
fantastic tintype circa 1840. I imagined her to be a pioneer woman of
science, an adventurer and explorer. Isn't she just wonderful?
1. Why not resin, you ask??? I have seen some wings set in resin that look okay, but most look crappy. It’s all about how the light hits the scales on the wings. When they are flattened and coated with liquid resin, the entire wing tends to lose its luster and intensity. Some just turn black. And, unless the wing is framed somehow it will collapse on itself and turn into a ball of goo. You can set a laminated wing in resin, which brings me to…
2. Laminating. I picked up a low heat plastic laminating machine at Office Depot for about $20.00. Worth it if you like to use delicate items like flowers, insect wings, etc. Must be low heat or the wings will discolor or turn black. Simply slip the wings into laminating pouches leaving a good amount of space between each wing and run it through the laminating machine twice. I tried do-it-yourself laminating sheets, but as I said, the wings stick to NOTHING and you need to get a good, air-tight seal around the wing that will not peel apart. The “dust” on the wings keeps them from sticking to any surface, no matter how adhesive the surface is. A laminating machine creates a true seal around the wing. After laminating, cut around the wings leaving at least a 1/8thinch border of laminating material. If you cut too close you will see that the laminating sheets will pop apart and the wing will slip right out. The border is also important if you plan to drill holes for rivets, etc. At this point you can coat with resin if you want the wing to be stiffer, but good laminating sheets will do just fine.
3. Mica and plexiglass. I love mica and plexiglass. These two materials work really well with butterfly wings (and dragonfly wings) for many reasons. The material is easy to use and cut to shape. You can drill it for rivet setting. It doesn’t affect the appearance of the wing in any way and protects perfectly. Simply cut to fit the wing (leaving a 1/8thinch border around the wing), drill and rivet in place. My go to materials for setting wings.
4. Glass. This is probably the best way to set the wing in a high-end, professional manner. You can buy glass domes and rounds in many sizes and these can be beze- set very easily. The best way I have found to bezel-set a wing fragment is under watch crystals. Optic glass cut in calibrated sizes from tiny to huge. The variety in size and shape is endless, and many come trimmed in 14k gold and sterling silver, as well as endless fashion colors. These make fantastic rings, earrings, cuff links and pendants. Simply create your bezel setting to size (or use premade settings), cut the wing to fit (more on that in a moment), set it in the bezel, top with the glass and VIOLA!!!! Optic lenses are also great and can be used to create wonderful pendants.
|A sheet of laminated butterfly wings.|
Here are some of my favorite butterfly wing designs. I just had one featured in the most recent issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry Magazine. I created it for Nunn Design, and instructions are included in the magazine, so go get it!!! This issue also features work by other LMAJ members, so I am in fantastic company….
I won’t list all my sources for wings and watch crystals—a girl has to keep some secrets—but the Google machine will lead the way so I’m sure you will find whatever you need. If you do give working with butterfly wings a try, please post pictures of your creations—I’d love to see what you come up with!!!!!