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All things chic in metal jewelry!

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Victoria Tillotson and Her Bold, Beautiful Jewelry

Mon, 08/16/2010 - 8:46AM by tammypowley 0 Comments -


Victoria Tillotson, creator of the Chicmetal blog,is also the author of Chic Metal and a jewelry instructor at the School for Visual Arts. Her bold and beautiful piece are made to be noticed and have been published in style publications like Lucky and Allure, as well as worn by television celebrities. Yes, she is pretty busy trying to keep up with everything on her plate: writing, teaching, designing, and selling; however, lucky for us, she carved out a few minutes to answer some questions about her craft and career in this brief interview.

1.    Not including playing around as a child, what was the first piece of jewelry that you attempted to make? What was this first experience like?

Like many people, I started with beads. It was the early 1980s and I was a punk rock chick and very into vintage jewelry. I loved aurora borealis beads and anything Egyptian Revival, so my first foray into making anything was to re-string beads from broken necklaces that I bought from flea markets and vintage clothing stores . Since I didn’t know any better and was too arrogant – in that teenage way - to ask for help, I used fishing line to re-string a three-strand aurora borealis necklace. That kinda worked but also created more problems than it solved because the fishing line cut into my neck and even though I was into hardcore and had a taste for the mosh pit, I wasn’t a masochist! From there I started to make earrings from vintage beads strung on blue electricians’ wire, then went on to make necklaces using the bubble containers from gumball machines, housing within them little charms and other knick-knacks. These were lightweight so even though I stubbornly stuck with the fishing line, they were easy to wear.

"Debupunk" Sterling and Hematite Spike Bangle

As an adult, my first piece of jewelry was a sterling silver ring set with a tiger eye stone. This time I asked for advice and actually listened...and the ring is something I still show my students to this day.

2.    What originally attracted you to the idea of making jewelry, and what is it about it that keeps you interested in making it today?

As a kid, I liked to make things; I liked jewelry and accessories, so the two interests meshed. When I became more aware of the world and my place within it, I became fascinated with the way in which a person presents him or herself world and the aesthetic choices they made.  Even before I learned about semiotics, I “read” the signifiers of dress - and adornment in general – and drew conclusions about the person’s psyche and persona and modeled my own style thereon. Of course we as adults now know that “you can’t judge a book by its cover.” But I wanted to be different and to be different I thought I needed to look different. So I did.

Sterling Stingray Pendant - an early foray into forging

Now I find that I’m interested in the process of making jewelry as well as the result. I enjoy the technical aspects and make pieces which are very precise. I am driven by a persistent desire to make bold, unusual forms that make people stare. I love gigantic colored gemstones and anything ridiculously oversized. Maybe I am still that teenager I described above!

3.    You teach jewelry making, write about jewelry, and also sell your jewelry. Which of these three areas take up most of your time? Is there one of the three you wish you had more time to pursue, and if so which is it and what would you like to accomplish given the time?

Filling orders definitely takes the most time and, on some level, is less rewarding than making new things. I probably shouldn’t say that though!! Internet exploits take a lot of time, too. But I can and do write quickly and easily so unless I’m stymied for something to write about, this isn’t too much of a time drain.
I want and NEED more time to create new pieces and new lines. Since I don’t really draw and just jump right into a design, sometimes getting started takes longer than I would like. You make a bezel, whoops it’s the wrong thing, it’s scrapped and you start again. It’s the “experience vs. knowledge” method of creation which harkens back to my earliest forays into jewelry making.

 

I have no shortage of ideas for jewelry I would like to make. To quote a Beastie Boys song, “I got a million ideas I ain’t even rocked yet.” So it would be great to just start ticking off items from the proverbial jewelry to-do list in my mind. And the list never ends because I have a continual source of inspiration from the 40 or so students I teach each semester.

Studio at School of Visual Arts

4.    What plans do you have for your jewelry career in the near future?

I would like to write another book or two and also gain more exposure media personality called upon as a jewelry expert for television, broadband, etc. I love to be in front of the camera inspiring others to make beautiful things.

5.    What plans do you have for your jewelry career in the distant future?

Have my own TV show; open my own jewelry school.

6.    Is there anything in particular you’d like to add or comment on?

I’m passionate about celebrating jewelry and supporting independent designers. The best part about teaching is empowering others to gain the confidence to express their vision and then do it in ways they never thought possible. I love to share the excitement a person has when they make something and are really psyched about it. I am honored to be part of that process and happy to spread the joy.



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The Whimsical World of Chris Wrinn

Wed, 08/11/2010 - 11:24AM by Chicmetal 0 Comments -

"Tweet" Pendant in PMC

Twitter is an odd creature; love it or hate it, it’s here to stay. I started as a non-believer, but then I started “tweeting” fellow jewelers like Chris Wrinn of Gilded Owl Jewelry and started to think it's not for the birds.
 
Chris is an award-winning artist who hails from Milford, Connecticut. A commercial illustrator, she also makes one-of-a-kind sculpted PMC jewelry. Like so many of us, Chris turned to jewelry-making to relieve stress of handling persistently tight – indeed overwhelming - illustration deadlines. Her jewelry embraces the intrinsic realism of her vocation in drawing and rendering which can be seen on her website for her commercial art for clients like American Express and Doritos (yum!). I love the detail and playflness of her animal pendants. Sure, they’re “realistic,” but with a distinctively fun twist.

 
Copper Owl Pendant

 

Chris explains how she got into jewelry: “I knew I was going to be an artist from day one. After getting tired of drawing dinosaurs and horses for the first part of my life, I went into comics and on to fine & commercial art…Illustrating is a wonderful career, but I felt the need to start on another journey. I...learned from a master, Ray Cooper, who was taught & certified by Tim McCreight.”
 
Her creative process is based on the love of the process of creation: “I love and enjoy making jewelry and find myself totally lost in the process. Since I never want it to become 'a grind', and therefore no longer creative for me, I have a limited number of...pieces available. It's always a mystery to know in what direction my 'muse' will take me; or when.”

 
Fish Pendant
 
 

Chris’ muse is certainly onto something: her work will be featured this fall in Bead Trends and Step by Step Wire Jewelry.

Chris ends each of her emails with an eye-opening, bird-loving quote: "Birds can't read pesticide signs on lawns, and therefore feed their young with poisoned grubs & insects." A gentle reminder to protect and celebrate nature...just as Chris' jewelry does. Thank you for sharing your playful passion with us. 

Turtle Pendant



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Metallic Makeup

Sun, 07/18/2010 - 11:03AM by Beauty By Benz 0 Comments -

We've all heard of building an outfit around a pair of shoes, but what about building your makeup look around your jewelry? Most of the time a new necklace or a new ring can make you feel just as pretty as a pair of new shoes. If the makeup compliments the jewelry just right, you can sparkle just as much as the ring can.


One of my favorite beauty looks this season is silver metallics. What better look to go with a new silver knuckle ring than a subdued smokey eye and a silver nail polish?

Some of my favorite nail colors are OPI for Sephora in “social climber” (an Opaque metallic silver) for a more natural look, or Essie’s “over the top” (Metallic midnight silver) for a night-time event.


To re-create the perfect smokey eye, try Too Faced eyeshadow duo in “ooh & aah”. (Silver pearl/black with silver glitter).

 


Another great product is MAKE UP FOR EVER’s Aqua Cream. This waterproof color in #2 “steel” can be used as a shadow or a cream liner.

Top this eyeshadow look off with YSL Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils in “sublime grey”, a universally flattering shade.

 


If the smokey eye is too much of a night-time look, you can add metallic touches to your day in subtle ways. Try a little sparkle on your lips with Urban Decay Lip Junkie in Perversion.

 

MAKE UP FOR EVER Star Powder (shade #948 shown) is a loose shimmer powder that can be worn on its own or mixed in to eyeshadows, nail polishes, or lip gloss for a nice glow. This product contains Mica, which gives it the iridescent shimmer.

 

 

 

Model Credits: Carolina Ramirez as shot by Bonita’s World Photography.  Styling by Dorian of DLUX NJ.



 



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Tia Kramer: Metal Butterfly

Mon, 07/12/2010 - 10:53AM by Chicmetal 0 Comments -

 
Sometimes jewelry captures the eye because of its complexity; other times minimalism dazzles with its deceptive simplicity and use of negative space. ven when most “wacky,” my statement pieces are grounded in simplicity and I use scale rather than detail as my modus oparendi. I love the mobiles of Alexander Calder and the ground-breaking geometric jewelry of Ed Wiener, Art Smith, Paul Lobel and other masters of the 1950s. I also love suspension bridges, scaffolding, armature and even the ole’ George Washington that spans the Hudson with its clean, perfect cabling.




So I was thrilled to learn about the mixed-media jewelry of Tia Kramer, a sculptor and installation artist who lives and works in Seattle. Her delicate paper and recycled sterling pieces are small mobiles that interact with the body and the environment, and, she says “emerged first as miniature three-dimensional models for a large permanent sculpture installed at Macalester College in 2003.” I haven’t had the pleasure of holding one of Tia’s kinetic earrings, for example, but I can imagine it fluttering around my neck. The forms interact with the body and create a dialogue, delivered in whispers. Similarly, her layered necklaces evoke a feeling of delicacy shot through with exciting color - like the sun piercing a canopy of tree branches.

 

 
Tia’s background is in fiber arts and she makes the vibrant, durable paper that forms the “wings” of her pieces by hand out of Philippine plant fibers that are treated so they do not fade. The look is elegant and sophisticated and airy and ludic. It reminds me of the phonoaesthetic phrase “cellar door” that melds sound with meaning and has been celebrated as one of the most beautiful phrases in the English language. But I digress...

 

 

Inspiring and eloquent is the artist’s description of her creative process. Tia writes: “I look closely at our everyday environments: telephone wires suspended amidst tall evergreens, the negative space stretching between neighboring skyscrapers. Using cold-form fabrication, I build organic and geometric wire jewelry structures that pare down these environments to simple line modules. I then wrap translucent handmade paper around sections of each form. [They] become taut kites of color that highlight ephemeral negative space...Each non-soldered jewelry structure moves independent of the others, dancing on the ears, neck and wrists of the wearer. Like leaves on a tree limb, my adornments punctuate the wearer’s movement and expression. Just as a door or window makes a room useful, it is the wearer that awakens the spacious structures and playful movement of my work.”



I could not - cannot - say it better myself. It’s no small surprise that Tia’s pieces are featured in museums across the country, including the SF MOMA, Seattle Art Museum and Museum of the Art Institute of Chicago.



Fly on, Tia.



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Vera Tse: Evoking Joy One Ring at a Time

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 8:26AM by Chicmetal 0 Comments -


A few days ago I sang the accolades of Canadian jeweler Claudio Pino. Now to another Canadian-born artist, Vera Tse. Vera hails from Toronto and is an architect in New York. Her rings have the overtones of modernist architecture and in creating her sculptural works in sterling silver, Vera uses the most architectural of gemstones, shimmering pyrite.


I met Vera when she enrolled in my advanced jewelry class at School of Visual Arts. It’s rare for a teacher to encounter a student who simply does not need instruction! It’s discomfiting but also exhilarating. I could not wait to see her pieces. Since Vera needed absolutely nothing from my class in terms of technique, I tried to help her trouble-shoot and solve. And I learned a lot in the process.


Vera’s rings are like mini buildings growing up from the finger; tiny fingers of silver rod clutch shiny pyrite blocks that remind me of monolithic I. M. Pei structures. But there is no massiveness to the rings themselves here: they are airy, precisely formed and dazzlingly geometric. Vera uses tons of negative space to the rings may be “big” by most people’s standards, they have a delicacy that belies the heft of the pyrite. (And it IS heavy!)

Vera writes of her pieces: “My jewelry draws inspiration from the architecture of cosmopolitan cities that I have lived in to create sculptural space using geometry with silver, crystalline and reflective stones such as pyrite that engage the wearer. The idea is for the jewelry to evoke joy through the exploration of the piece by looking closer so that scale depends on perception.”

 

It’s true: the more you interact with her rings the more you love them because, as she says, the more they reveal to you.

Vera is now working with a celebrated gallery whose name I can’t reveal as yet. I’m sure her pieces will turn up at SOFA (Sculpture Objects & Functional Art) next year. I’m sure they will be enjoyed by many collectors. And I know that Vera will continue to make minimalist wonders that pull you in and make you happy.




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Household Stuff Jewelers Heart

Fri, 06/25/2010 - 11:41PM by Chicmetal 0 Comments -

Household Helpers

Old is new. Recycling, repurposing and re-creating are the marching orders of the day. THIS is nothing new to jewelers who, over the centuries, have become quite adept at adopting tools and tricks from other trades for their craft. Here are some creative tips of my own using humble household goods. They work great in a pinch…or just want to try something new!

1. Frozen juice can. Mmm, orange juice. Cranberry? How about those frozen daiquiri mixes? Use them for jewelry now and savor the flavor later, for in a pinch, these cool columns make a great alternative to a bracelet mandrel. I use frozen juice cans for several projects in my book Chic Metal and they work like a charm. And taste great, too!

 

2. Dental Floss. Yes, good oral hygiene is important. But good old floss is good for several things in the jewelry world as well. Here’s how: place a strip of it in a closed bezel so you can take out the stone easily if necessary without endlessly thumping the back of the bezel with a wooden object, mucking up the stone with mortician’s wax, or nicking up the bezel by trying to pry it open. Another plus of the floss: you can use it to remove tiny shavings in tight corners that you have sawed. Just like your teeth! (if you’ve been chewing on metal, that is).

3. Wite-Out. It’s kinda fallen out of favor in this day of e-mail and word processing, but it’s still around and as white and thick as ever. For lawyer’s offices, its uses are obvious. For jewelers? It’s a great alternative to yellow ochre! Who knew that this pale sludge could stop the flow of solder as well as its icky brownish counterpart? Well, it does. And believe it or not, it’s actually a bit less messy.

4. Black plastic garbage bag. Of course, of course you say! Use it for…stone setting??? Yes. A small piece of black garbage bag placed under an opal in a bezel setting makes the stone look great. You can also oxidize the interior of the bezel but why not just use the bag and save the environment while adding beauty to your piece?

 

5. Krazy Glue. No, NOT for setting stones! It’s too brittle and will flake off the setting. But for gluing a paper model/template to a sheet of metal to saw, nothing’s better. While rubber cement can peel up at the edges and gunk up your saw blade, Krazy Glue sticks like, uh, crazy! When you’re done, just burn off the template with your torch.

6. Coat Hangers. Forget Joan Crawford in Mommy Dearest, you WANT the metal ones. Cut them in 8” lengths and use them as cheap-o soldering picks. ‘Nuff said.

7. Alka Seltzer. If you’re of a certain age, you may remember the Alka Seltzer jingle “Pop Pop Fizz Fizz Oh What a Relief It Is.” Whether you do or not, you’ll be relieved to find that Alka Seltzer dissolved in water makes a nice cleaner for jewelry.

 

 

8. Ketchup. Hold the fries this time! Ketchup works great as a cleaner for copper to get the verdigris – otherwise known as unattractive green sludge – gone. Slop it on, rinse and dry. And you can amuse the kids: put a tarnished penny in some of the tasty tomato condiment. Take it out after a bit and rinse it off: presto! A new shiny penny! Fun for the whole family!

9. Lemon Juice and Vinegar. They're fish n' chips best friends, plus vinegar and lemon juice make a nice, cleansing bath for copper and brass.

10. Hard Boiled Egg. We’ve all enjoyed the delectable smell of liver of sulfur when we oxidize our metal. Here’s a less odiferous way to achieve the same delicious dark result. Boil up some eggs. Enjoy a few, then place one in a plastic bag with the would-be-oxidized piece. Leave it be for awhile until achieves the gothic color you want. Take out the piece and wash with soap and water. Discard the egg. (That last line was obvious, wasn’t it).



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Claudio Pino: Lord of the Rings

Tue, 06/22/2010 - 9:26PM by Chicmetal 0 Comments -

I don’t usually let jewelry order me around, but when I saw Claudio Pino’s rings, I had to – in a moment of “Wayne’s World” insanity – bow down and say “I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy!” Like a frenzied groupie following a band, I even had the crazy notion to go to Canada and study with The Master himself!

Now, Claudio is probably really glad I didn’t turn up on his doorstep but all hyperboly aside, he makes some of the most exciting rings I have ever seen. Technically, Claudio harnesses the workhorses of the fine jewelry industry in his pieces: sterling silver, gold, faceted colored gems, soldering, riveting, polishing. When directed by a truly innovative, even radical driver, this team creates something altogether new.

In French, the term for Claudio’s rings might be sculpture portable – literally portable sculpture. Part wonderful machine, part exquisite fine jewelry and altogether explorations of form and function, they certainly push the envelope of what a ring is, and does.

Rings are my favorite style of jewelry, even though they are disdained by many jewelers as being the most limiting of forms. No way, I say. Following in the footsteps of Rachel Gera and Bjorn Lapponia in my love of huge “statement” rings, I say the wilder the better. And thus my admiration for Claudio’s creations.

In an article published in Modern Silver Magazine, I talk philosophically about jewelry in general and the magic of the ring in particular. It’s perhaps the most powerful piece of jewelry a person can own. I use Tolkien’s novel The Lord of the Rings as an example of a work that celebrates the power of a ring; in the trilogy, not only does “the ring” galvanize a whole host of peoples and ideologies, it literally transforms those who own it. Or, in a more quotidian example, a wedding ring transforms the wearer from a fiancé or fiancée to a husband or wife.

And now back to Claudio’s rings. The modest tagline on his website states his jewelry is: “a continuous search of innovation and elegance.” That’s perhaps the understatement of the century! Sure, it also mentions his awards, the galleries that represent him (truly the best of the best), and the books he’s in (Lark’s 1000 Rings, to name just one), but the jeweler himself is quiet.

I had to look deeper to find out about the jeweler himself, and most telling is Claudio’s description about his creative practice as quoted in an article in The Toronto Star. He says: “When I draw my design, I always have in mind that one day, it will find its owner and create a special relationship with it.” The idea that a piece of jewelry is alive, has intentionality and potentiality resonates with me. At its best, jewelry is not just a form of adornment, but transforms its wearer and simultaneously is transformed by it – it’s the Hegelian dialectic, a search for synthesis, the finding of truth.


I could talk on and on about the technical wizardry of Claudio’s rings; the exquisite sensitivity to scale; the luminous quality of his color choices, the quirkiness of the angles and sophistication of kinesis…and just how freakin’ cool they are! But I will not. I will end with something poetic, something simple. Because at heart, Claudio’s rings are poetic, and despite the complexity of movement, are born of a method uncomplicated and beautiful.

A French article celebrating Claudio’s work states: “Above all other artists [in this exhibition, Pino is] fascinated by movement, celestial bodies and space.” This reminds me of the poet Paul Eluard’s famous line: “I have so many excellent reasons to walk this pathless earth beneath this horizonless sky.”

Claudio, let us walk beside you.



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Claudio Pino: Lord of the Rings

Tue, 06/22/2010 - 9:26PM by Chicmetal 0 Comments -

I don’t usually let jewelry order me around, but when I saw Claudio Pino’s rings, I had to – in a moment of “Wayne’s World” insanity – bow down and say “I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy!” Like a frenzied groupie following a band, I even had the crazy notion to go to Canada and study with The Master himself!

Now, Claudio is probably really glad I didn’t turn up on his doorstep but all hyperboly aside, he makes some of the most exciting rings I have ever seen. Technically, Claudio harnesses the workhorses of the fine jewelry industry in his pieces: sterling silver, gold, faceted colored gems, soldering, riveting, polishing. When directed by a truly innovative, even radical driver, this team creates something altogether new.


 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In French, the term for Claudio’s rings might be sculpture portable – literally portable sculpture. Part wonderful machine, part exquisite fine jewelry and altogether explorations of form and function, they certainly push the envelope of what a ring is, and does.

Rings are my favorite style of jewelry, even though they are disdained by many jewelers as being the most limiting of forms. No way, I say. Following in the footsteps of Rachel Gera and Bjorn Lapponia in my love of huge “statement” rings, I say the wilder the better. And thus my admiration for Claudio’s creations.

In an article published in Modern Silver Magazine, I talk philosophically about jewelry in general and the magic of the ring in particular. It’s perhaps the most powerful piece of jewelry a person can own. I use Tolkien’s novel The Lord of the Rings as an example of a work that celebrates the power of a ring; in the trilogy, not only does “the ring” galvanize a whole host of peoples and ideologies, it literally transforms those who own it. Or, in a more quotidian example, a wedding ring transforms the wearer from a fiancé or fiancée to a husband or wife.

And now back to Claudio’s rings. The modest tagline on his website states his jewelry is: “a continuous search of innovation and elegance.” That’s perhaps the understatement of the century! Sure, it also mentions his awards, the galleries that represent him (truly the best of the best), and the books he’s in (Lark’s 1000 Rings, to name just one), but the jeweler himself is quiet.

I had to look deeper to find out about the jeweler himself, and most telling is Claudio’s description about his creative practice as quoted in an article in The Toronto Star. He says: “When I draw my design, I always have in mind that one day, it will find its owner and create a special relationship with it.” The idea that a piece of jewelry is alive, has intentionality and potentiality resonates with me. At its best, jewelry is not just a form of adornment, but transforms its wearer and simultaneously is transformed by it – it’s the Hegelian dialectic, a search for synthesis, the finding of truth.


I could talk on and on about the technical wizardry of Claudio’s rings; the exquisite sensitivity to scale; the luminous quality of his color choices, the quirkiness of the angles and sophistication of kinesis…and just how freakin’ cool they are! But I will not. I will end with something poetic, something simple. Because at heart, Claudio’s rings are poetic, and despite the complexity of movement, are born of a method uncomplicated and beautiful.

A French article celebrating Claudio’s work states: “Above all other artists [in this exhibition, Pino is] fascinated by movement, celestial bodies and space.” This reminds me of the poet Paul Eluard’s famous line: “I have so many excellent reasons to walk this pathless earth beneath this horizonless sky.”

Claudio, let us walk beside you.



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Copper and Brass in Vogue - by Tammy Powley

Wed, 06/16/2010 - 10:58AM by Chicmetal 0 Comments -
For some reason, Tammy and I can't get Onsugar to recognizer as a writer for this blog! But no matter, here is a new article by her:

Years ago when I took one of my first metalsmithing classes, we used a lot of copper sheet and wire to practice with. It was less expensive than the good stuff (aka sterling silver), and it could handle the torture of an overly hot torch and the inexperienced person holding the torch. Once we got the basics down for a particular technique or made a prototype or two in base metals, we were ready to graduate to precious metals. At the time, base metals such as copper and brass were not even considered when it came to designing a finished piece of jewelry.

Well, as the saying goes, “times have changed,” and today, base metals are no longer the step-children when compared to precious metals. In fact, they are in vogue, trendy, even stylish. Better yet, mixing metals – silver, brass, bronze, steel, copper, yes, even gold – is very popular.

What caused this big move from junk jewelry to treasured trinkets? The answer is primarily pure economics. If you have been in the metal world at all over the past 20 years, you can testify to the fact that metals are not what they used to be: they cost much more! I am stunned when I realize that back in the late 1990s I was taking a lost wax casting class, and the casting grain I used to purchase through a vendor who sent it with an invoice – you paid later – charged us around $6 an ounce, including shipping!

Sure, those where the good old days. I doubt now the same vendor has his customers pay later, and the same amount of casting grain goes for about triple that amount. However, on the flip side of this sad turn of events is that metal jewelry makers are now challenged to come up with equally amazing designs using less expensive materials. And, there is plenty of talent out there doing just that: Angela Fung (http://www.angelafung.net); John S. Brana (http://www.johnsbrana.com), and Timothy Adams (http://timothyadamdesigns.com/) are just a few of the jewelry artisans who have found success by embracing base metals.

I have also changed my own mind about mixing in low-cost metals with materials I would have one time never considered. What about you? Have you started using base metals more in your designs? Or, do you know of a jewelry designer who creates fabulous designs with less expensive supplies?

Tammy Powley is a teacher, designer, and author of several books, most recently The Complete Photo Guide to Jewelry Making, and has been About.com’s Guide to Jewelry Making since 1989. See her web site at http://www.tammypowley.com for more information.



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Kind of Strange: Metal, Bones and Whimsy

Mon, 05/17/2010 - 9:57PM by Chicmetal 0 Comments -
Peridot Earpiece

Twitter can be a snarly jungle to trudge through but every once in a while you come upon a real "jewel." Something about Tara Brannigan (@kindofstrange) drew me in and once I saw a piece of her jewelry, I knew why.

Antelope Horn Ring
class="inline">Techie by day, jeweler by night, Tara's sterling silver and natural element jewelry is some of the most unusual I have seen. Of her mixed-media, fantastical creations Tara says: "I use organics frequently in the form of bone, fur and claws. Much of what I do is tied to the idea of life and death, as I feel that the visceral nature of the material ties strongly to the concepts and emotions of those ideas."

"Crabulous and Key" in bronze PMC and an actual crab Tara found

Barnacle Brooch

Tara attended the Revere Academy in 2009 and the it shows. Her final project is a sophisticated hollow-construction box ring titled "Predator & Prey: Life & Death" that honors the brother she lost and the family she cherishes. She writes: "The organic elements and stone are symbols of remembrance, death, healing and strength. The golden hoop at the bottom is meant as a connection point on which to suspend the name of the person I am remembering, which is then held in the palm of the hand. The golden hoop on the side of the ring is meant to hold charms that represent life and growth, though I haven’t sorted out what those are just yet. "

It's rare to find a jeweler who is also such a thinker..and only 28 years old! I can't wait to see what the future brings for Tara and her jewels.

Tara's website: http://www.kindofstrange.com