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1  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Discussion and Questions / Re: Where to start???!! on: November 11, 2012 07:15:42 PM

i was wondering what kind of jewelry you would like to make.  do you want to make some earrings with semiprecious gemstone beads?  or a pendant of soldered or cold-connected metal like copper or silver?  or a bracelet of found materials like plastic doll parts, bottle caps, and cutouts from cookie tins?  or how about some chain mail jewelry out of various colors of aluminum jump rings?  there is a whole, big vast world of jewelry out there.

if you don't already have something in mind, here is what i would recommend: start out by going to your local library and browsing the jewelry section, both the history and the craft sections.  you can spend quite a bit of time looking at all of the different books, and at some point something will jump out at you, and you will know: "i want to make this!" 

check out some of the more interesting-looking books, and take them home.  a lot of the books will probably have long lists of tools and equipment you need to get, but try to start out choosing a project that you can make by improvising mostly with tools you have on hand.  as for materials, you can find lots of materials to start out with at michaels or hobby lobby, and supplement with supplies like chain and/or findings on etsy and elsewhere.

it's okay to copy stuff out of books to begin with, but when you start getting your own ideas, don't hesitate to try making things from your imagination.  and make sure you try to wear something you make every day--next thing you know your friends will be begging you to make something for them.  it's amazing what you can trade for pizza.  :-)

especially make the stuff that you think is so way out there that no one else could possibly be interested.  _that_ is going to be the really interesting jewelry.
2  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Discussion and Questions / Re: Where to find faceted briolette beads? on: November 11, 2012 06:53:39 PM
just like lauren, i recommend etsy.

doing a search for faceted briolettes turned up these:







someone, somewhere on easy should have the kind of briolettes you are looking for.  if not, check out firemountain gems at http://www.firemountaingems.com

i hope you are able to find them!
3  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Discussion and Questions / Re: I want to make some lightweight sculpted plug earrings and I need help! on: November 11, 2012 06:23:01 PM
i second onyxnox--

polymer clay like fimo or sculpey is probably the best way to go in terms of a lightweight material.  they make great flesh-toned clays and lots of other great colors. 

if you don't have a lot of experience with sculpting, it could be pretty difficult trying to make something so small as an earplug.  however it's not impossible, especially if you are willing to go for the "chestburster effect" rather than trying to render the chestburster as you see it in the pic you posted.

i'm no sculptor, so i can't give you experienced tips, but as someone who loves trying to make new things (and often failing miserably, but hey, i learn a lot!), here is what i would do:  start out by creating the general shape of the thing, but a little bit bigger and fatter than i'd want the end product to be.  then i would start removing bits here and there, trying to produce something with more definite lines like what i am going for.  it's a lot easier to remove than to put back what i removed, so i would go slow and just remove tiny little bits.  once i got the flesh-colored bits the way i wanted them, i would start adding the little bits of colored material (red! and some black/brown) until i had achieved the effect i was going for.

or, i would buy a pizza for one of my sculptor friends and get them to make it.  :-)

if you do have a go at it, i hope you will post a picture of the result!  good luck

4  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Discussion and Questions / Re: Good suppliers? on: November 11, 2012 06:01:52 PM

these look like findings by Vintaj.  If you can't find them at Michaels or Hobby Lobby (do you have Hobby Lobby where you are at?), you should be able to search for them online.

i found a picture that looks to me like what you posted at:


at the very least it will give you a name for the product so you can do some etsy, ebay, and other google searches.

good luck!
5  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Discussion and Questions / Beginning and Advanced Silversmithing Classes on: November 11, 2012 05:57:08 PM

For anyone interested in learning the basics of silversmithing and coming away with a finished, bezel-set pendant, I want to recommend a teacher who teaches classes all over the MidWest as well as other states.  I am recommending Dave Smith because I have taken a 2-day beginning silversmithing class with him, and I was amazed by how much I learned.  I had spent a long time looking for an introductory class like that, and I wish there would have been an easier way for me to find one.  I ended up being lucky enough to find out from our local bead store owner here in Cincinnati that Dave was teaching a class locally soon, so I signed up. 

I got a solid introduction to the craft of silversmithing in a two full-day long course that had me: measuring, cutting, soldering, and filing my first bezel; soldering the bezel to the support plate; pickling and quenching hot metal; creating textures on metal with various hammers; fabricating accents like "rope" (twisted) wire and silver balls/granules and soldering them to the jewelry; fabricating a bail for my pendant; setting my hand-picked stone; and cleaning and polishing the finished product. I left the class with a pendant that I wear with pride, and when I get frequent compliments on my pendant I love being able to say "I made it"! 

Dave Smith is a really good teacher. He packed the class with demonstrations, gave everyone plenty of personal attention, answered our nonstop questions, and never stopped reminding us to be safe with our equipment, materials, and chemicals. To top it all off, when the class was over, he gave us a DVD with a ton of content, running the gamut from reviewing what we did in the class to giving advice and wisdom about marketing and selling our jewelry if we should want to go that route. 

I left the class fired up about silversmithing. I've been devouring books about metal ever since and have just about burnt up my first charcoal brick with all of my experiments. I am getting just confident enough to know I now need to take in the next level of learning, so I am planning to register soon for an advanced silversmithing class with Dave Smith. I know I will get a solid chunk of learning compacted into a very brief time, come away from class with some more jewelry I love, and feel ready to create more demanding, skilled work with silver.

Dave is also very safety-oriented and took the necessary time to instruct us in proper safety practices and then kept emphasizing it throughout the two days so that we had the best chance of developing good safety habits while working with fire, acids, and hammers!  He did this in the midst of demonstrations and while giving us individual attention and answering all of the students many questions, and he did it in a no-nonsense manner but with a sense of humor, which is a rare feat and made everything we learned a pleasure. 

Dave travels all over the U.S. to teach his classes, but is based in Indianapolis, and also teaches his beginning and advanced silversmithing classes out of the bead store that he and his wife own called Beads Amore.  BTW, its a pretty nice bead store, and totally worth a visit if you are in Indianapolis.  They are located at 3834 82nd Street Indianapolis, IN 46240.

If you are interested in taking a class, you can check out his website, http://silversmithingclass.com/ to see when and where he might be teaching soon near you.  If you cant find the information you need, you can just call Dave at 317-755-0095 and hell tell you when hell be teaching near you.

I am not Dave, nor am I related to him, nor a paid lackey.  I am just someone who is so happy I finally found an affordable class to learn the basics of silversmithing, which I had wanted to learn for a while, and if someone else got the information sooner than I did, then I feel Ive done my good deed for the day.  :-)
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