Monthly Archives: June 2014

Leather Bracelets

Mostly botanical designs, some bronze and one sterling silver tree. I just finished these and they are ready to be shipped off to a gallery! I’m not really into bracelets myself, partially because I have very skinny wrists and also because they tend to present a hazard when working with equipment. I did, however, make one of these for myself with leather from a discarded briefcase in the trash and a face plate with larkspur stems. I love the larkspurs because they attract sphinx moths and tiger swallowtails to our garden.


Commercially mass-produced jewelry is ubiquitous…


Barbara Briggs Designs

It can be found everywhere from high-end jewelry stores to shopping malls and discount stores. It is obviously popular and preferred by many, but I find it soul-less. It’s just a lot of shiny bling made by machines. I feel it lacks spirit and substance, whereas art jewelry created by hand is imbued with the imagination and passion of the artist making it. Usually one-of-a-kind or produced in limited edition, art jewelry just feels special!

Worn long or wrapped lariat style, I’ve been wearing my latest art jewelry piece constantly since I made it last week in Susan Lenart Kazmer’s class at Bead&Button. I have titled it “Good Juju”. Juju refers specifically to objects, such as amulets, and spells used superstitiously as part of witchcraft in West Africa. The caged element in this necklace holds an Azurite crystal believed to have healing powers and metaphysical properties. A bone bead from West…

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Tree Pendant

Tree_1_Back_6June14 Tree_1_Front_6June14

Tree Pendant, Mixed metal with Bronze, Copper and Brass. Sawn, Hammered, Riveted, Antiqued.  Based on a post from Barbara Becker Simon, I tried several new firings of Metal Clay Adventures brand BronzClay. I have had decent success with firing the bronze clay in small stainless steel boxes (lunchbox style nesting boxes from The Container Store), coconut shell carbon, Full ramp to 1600 F, hold 3.5 hours. But sometimes random items would not sinter fully. Fortunately I was able to catch them before they were sent out to customers. Re-firing again for a second time solved the problem. Most of the time.

Barbara recommends firing base metal clays on an open shelf at Full Ramp, 1000F, hold 30 minutes and let cool. When cool, bury in the coconut shell carbon nest and fire as you normally do. (For me, this is the Full Ramp to 1600F, hold for 3.5 hours).

I have tried this method 3 times and it works PERFECTLY. The pieces are about 3 cards thick and though some are seriously warped after firing, annealing and hammering allows them to be flattened for riveting. I have had no cracks either after firing or after flattening. I generally drill holes before the firing.