It's taken forever to finally get all the photography done, but I'm so excited to share the first new designs I've made in over a year. Between work, single parenting, fatigue, and frankly what I think was a pretty severe bout of depression, I just couldn't seem to kick start my brain into anything creative.
I got a Vintaj Big Kick machine for Christmas, 2012, and really enjoyed playing around with embossing and patinating metal blanks and I fully intended to turn them into finished designs and post them in January, 2013...and then as soon as the holidays were over, I just went into this dark place where even getting out my supplies seemed like too much effort. Who knows, maybe after 15 plus years of constant beading, I just needed a good long break.
And I got one! A whole year's worth!
Cut to Christmas, 2013, and I made the decision to take a full 10 days off for the holidays. After celebrating with family and friends, I had a couple of days to myself as Ryan went off to be with his dad. I was puttering around trying to clean up the Christmas bomb that went off at our house and passed by my lonely, dusty beading tray and suddenly, I thought, "you know, if I want to, I could actually sit down today and make something..."
And sitting right on tope of the tray were some of the last things I made a year ago...the Vintaj blanks that I ran through the embossing machine and played around with. Now, I don't know that they are really artistic, but they were all ready to go and the perfect size for earrings which is exactly the right type of project for me to ease myself back into things...so I grabbed my tools and a few accent beads...and next thing I knew it was 11 PM at night and I had forgotten to even eat dinner!
If you're not familiar with the Big Kick machine - it basically embosses designs into metal. You can buy blank disks of copper, arte metal (black), or brass from Vintaj (on-line or Hobby Lobby carries them) as well as etching or embossing plates and you stack everything together and run them through the machine and the design gets embossed onto the metal. Then you can use the Vintaj patinas and a sanding block to create different effects. This pair of earrings started with round Arte Metal blanks. I embossed a cute owl design, painted with white, pink and lavender patinas and then sanded off the raised areas to make the design pop. One of the things I like about the Arte Metal is that when you sand it - the raised areas turn bright silver in color...I sanded the branches on the side of the design slightly more than the rest so they look "icy." I was going for a wintry snow owl night type of scene. I added some silver beads, and purple Swarovski crystals and presto! Snow Owl Earrings.
These disks are brass. I embossed moons, clouds and some branches and then used lavender, gold and silver patinas. Silver moon charms and pinky-gold Chinese crystals finish off these earrings.
This is the same embossed "scene", but this is on Arte Metal and I used more vivid patinas in deep blue and bright pink. Pink candy jade rounds and tiny silver stars made perfect accents. The other fun thing about these is when you wear them, the metal of the squares and the metal of the star charms bump into each other and make a sweet little chiming noise. Okay, some people might be bugged by that, but I like it.
This tiny pair of copper rectangles came out the best, I think. I was following a Vintaj video (they have tons of them on YouTube for techniques - be sure to check them out!) for creating sort of a verdigris patina. Then I buffed the finished piece so that the copper would stand out. For the earrings, I added copper chain, tiny copper butterfly charms, a few seed beads and the turquoise barrels at the type are dyed Tagua nut beads.
Here's a closeup of the bottom section of the earrings.
I am so glad I did this! Worlds greatest designs they are not, but spending this time was like popping a cork on a champagne bottle...or maybe it was more like a dam bursting LOL! Either way, I have continued to spend a few days here and there since the holidays creating more new designs and I have so many more ideas that they are even invading my dreams at night so stay tuned for more postings!
P.S. I forgot to mention that...after I made these last year, I went through them all and separated them into two piles. One I felt was worth of actually being made up into jewelry and one that was...okay, but would probably be "second choice." Cut to a year later when I went to make things and only found this bag...and completely forgot these were not my best work. I only realized that a couple of days ago when I found the other bag LOL! So, if you thought these were good, you'll be blown away when I get to use the other stuff. If you thought these sucked and that I'd lost my mind wasting wire and beads making them up, well, at least now you know I'm not totally delusional. Although, I do apparently have memory issues...