Each month 5 metal workers are selected to work with 5 pieces of metal to see what they can create. At the end, the work is revealed! The latest issue of ArtisanWhimsy Bead Chat, released Friday, May 3, shows the most recent group of 5x5 Tester results! You can find them on pages 21-26 of the Glossi magazine!
These are the 5 metal pieces that each of us received:
The very first thing I did was take everything, except the filigree piece, and run them through the tumbler to clean the metals well. Sorry I didn't take a photo after that stage; they came out so beautifully! These are each pretty heavy gauge metals, and are of good quality, so they took well to any altering I attempted.
#1. This was my first piece, the brass circle.
This was a very hard, mesh-like, raw brass piece, that arrived in this circular shape with a cut in it. My first question was whether I should try to straighten it (which seemed like it would be very difficult, and then what would I do with it), or fasten it into a circle (a much more favorable solution.) I decided to try just a bit of wire to hold the ends together. It all looked easier than it was, of course, but it worked. Then I looked through my collection for something to put in the middle...beads, pendents, wire, metal.... What I would do with the metal piece in terms of color, wrapping with wire, ribbon, or waxed linen cord, would depend on the center piece.
Button by Sharleen Newland
#2: This was the "X" piece.
I decided immediately I wanted to make a bail out of it, then couldn't figure out what to do with it after that! For a long while, I considered it using with another one of our 5 components. If it was going to be a bail, it needed a pendant to go with it. I had run the piece through the tumbler, and it was a beautiful, shiny brass.
When all was done, I just didn't like how that shiny gold-like brass stood out against the black and silver. I tried to dull it with shades of olive and muddy-color patinas, but it didn't look right. I added black. Not right. I covered the entire thing in black. Much better. I only wish I had blackened it before I wire-wrapped it. I could have done a much better, even job of it.
Eiffel Tower Tile Pendant by
#3: Copper "Apron"
I may have over-processed this one, or perhaps, I'm not yet finished... I started with the copper piece, and cut out a larger piece of brass to fit behind it. I stamped one design on the copper, and a strip of another design on the brass.
Then I made silver dangles for the bottom. It looked pretty good, I thought, but decided the copper needed some color. I dipped in liver of sulfur, but still wanted more color, so applied some color patinas. Then it seemed too dark, even when I buffed much of it off. It also covered most of my stampings. Bummer!
I couldn't decide what chain to use, but had this copper chain with green beads that was forming a a natural patina and thought it enhanced the color on the copper part of the pendant, so I went with that. (I'm still trying to improve on this necklace and have continued working with it, trying to make have less contrast between the aged and super-shiny parts.)
#4: This is my favorite!
When I dipped the piece into liver of sulfur, it turned this brilliant magenta color! I've never had that happen!
After applying Rennaisance Wax, I just wrapped a bit of brass wire around the middle and tried to find something interesting to do with it! (Both brass and copper are repeated throughout the design.) I found this large, lovely boro lampwork bead by Amanda Cargill-Austin in my stash, used that, a few assorted beads, and some wirework to add color and design. I antiqued this lovely copper chain too. I love the colors! Wa-la!
#5: This was the last piece I worked on.
I felt pretty secure when I started this piece because I work with filigree quite a bit. I have tools to bend it, which came in handy. I also already had a larger but similar silver-plated brass piece on hand that I could place beneath the brass piece we were given, and they lined up so well! I had such a good start, I saved this until the end to finish.
But, well, talk about your "cold connections." (It's embarrassing to say, but I don't have a torch yet.) Wire wasn't working for me; I couldn't seem to draw the two pieces up close together. Glue? I've never tried it on metal and didn't know how effective it would be. So I used hand-dyed silk ribbon, which I have used before, and tied it very tightly.It's very smooth on the wrist too, one nice advantage. I did use wire to attach the Mother of Pearl bead in the center and tucked the wire under the ribbon. Then attached chain and wire-wrapped pearlized glass beads on jump rings to make the length of the chain adjustable.
I often mix metal colors. In this bracelet you see antiqued silver, antiqued brass, bright brass, and a bright silver clasp. I found myself mixing metals even more than usual in this challenge. It was fun working with types of pieces I might never have chosen for myself, and really trying to think of something different to do with them!
I worried I wouldn't be creative enough.... then I worried I may have gone too far when some pieces started to be unrecognizable! All my fears were eased in that regard when I saw the wonderfully delightful, wonderfully unique pieces, from the wonderfully talented other 4 participants.
I'll link you to them now:
Charlene Bausinger Jacka “Clay Space”
Lesley Freedom “SweetFreedom Designs”
Heidi Mansfield Kingman “Heidi Kingman Jewelry”
Joan Williams “lilruby jewelry”
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson “Sharyl’s Jewelry”
A special note of gratitude to Heather Kelly Martson, who donated the metal pieces for this month!
Additional thanks to Alicia Marinache for coordinating the project and Melinda Orr for creating it, and for all she does to create this wondrous world of Artisan Whimsy!
GIVE-AWAY! I'll be giving away one piece from my 5x5 collection! Please leave a comment on this page by Wed, May 8, at 11:55pm Central time, and make sure I have a way to contact you for a chance to win!