Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Inspiration, Dimension, Tutorial of sorts……..

By Staci L. Smith

I love the beach.  I could spend hours upon hours, just standing there, where the land meets the sea.  When we go,  I can often be found scouring the shoreline for goodies……mostly sea glass, but also shells, old, full of holes, broken, smoothed, beach stones, driftwood, and anything that makes me look twice.

They end up in bowls and cups and sometimes just piles everywhere in my home. I just love to look at them, and they always inspire me, and remind me of the shore I long for.

You see, I love texture, so to me, these little items that I collected become endless inspiration.........the shapes, lines, and TEXTURES find their way into my jewelry.

I promise, this is going somewhere!  Stay with me.

So the other night, I was in my studio, with lots of sheet metal. I wanted to make something with texture and dimension to it. I tried some fold forming and made some cool leaves…..but I needed it to be round. Thats what was in my head, and I wasn't going to rest until they I had them (I am drawn to circles and spirals, in case you didn't notice..…)

So I got out my handy dandy, super awesome, disc cutter and began to cut out discs. I cut them out in all kinds of sizes, and then I went further and cut some of the centers out of them too. I planned to make some funky version of a lentil bead for charms and pendants.

Since I walked you through the inspiration, I will walk you through the process. It amazed me how simple it was. It amazed me, how transformed my little metal discs were. I loved it so much, I made a zillion of them (ok, not a zillion, but a lot for sure)!

First, take two discs, one a little smaller than the other.

Place the larger disc on the dapping block, and dome it.

Take the smaller disc, place it on a rubber block, and with a center punch, make pointy dots on it for texture. (you can make any texture on yours, this was inspired by a shell a found with little points on it)

Then place that disc, texture side down, in the dapping block and dome it.

Then punch a hole in the larger disc towards the top.

Smear some Easy Solder Paste on the bottom disc where they will meet.

Put them together, lentil style, and place onto your solder block.

Torch it.

Quench it.

Pickle it.


Then tumble and patina.  These were antiqued in Liver of Sulphur.

There are still cookin’ in some cool Miss Fickle patina’s.
Do they look sea shell like in nature?  Do they have that "found by the sea" feel to them?  I think they kinda do.....
Tomorrow these will get buffed, and sprayed, sealed and then waxed.  Then, they are ready to go.  Some for my designs, some for my shop. 

See, you can take any simple design idea (like a lentil style bead) and turn it into something all your own....all you need is a little inspiration!!

Have you ever taken a common shape or form, and re-made it into your own style somehow?


SummersStudio said...

I can see the shell inspiration here. These are great. Thank you for taking us throught the thoughts and steps.

Alice said...

Thanks for the tutorial! It looks like a lot of fun!!!

What brand of torch do you use? It looks a bit larger than a little butane torch.

Your finished pieces are just amazing!!!

Marla James said...

Great post. I love seeing the pieces from start to finish. It's like being in the studio with you. :-)

KayzKreationz said...

These look so easy (although so far I've been afraid to light my torch and try it) LOL but this makes we want to break it out and give it a go. Love the look.

Artisan Beads Plus said...

Great post, Staci! I'm going to be watching to see where they end up ;o) Love it! I love taking out the torch too.....I always keep some spare gas on hand because I've been known to get a little carried away :o) I did remake flat smooth stones that I found on the beach. I recreated them (by request from Kelly Pope) and drilled 2 holes so that designers could create their own piece of art from that.

stacilouise said...

I use a butane torch. It the large butane torch you can get from It does a great job for the pendant size pieces. I have a smaller one too.....but use the large one the most!

Natalie -- NKP Designs said...

That looks like a lot of fun to make. Love it! Thanks for sharing!

mairedodd said...

fun! and so many ways to change it up... great post, staci...

SoulsFireDesigns said...

Ohhh, Staci! So lovely! Thank you for sharing :)

William Archer said...

Love the metal beads, but what is Miss Fickle patina?I haven/t been happy with the diy solutions I've tried...

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