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The May book for Andrew Thornton‘s Inspired by Reading Book Club was Steve Martin’s An Object of Beauty.  It was a good story and fascinating to learn a little something about works of art and the workings of the art world. This might seem funny in a book chock full of art and pictures, but the passage that most inspired me was a conversation between Lacey and Patrice about the “dark secrets” of art.  Patrice explains to Lacey what he means:

“…ephemera and notations on the back of the canvas.  Labels indicate gallery shows, museum shows, footprints in the snow, so to speak.  Then pencil scribbles on the stretcher, usually by the artist, usually a title or date.  Next the stretcher itself.  Pine or something.  Wooden triangles in the corners so the picture can be tapped tighter when the canvas becomes loose.  Nails in the wood securing the picture to the stretcher.  Next, a canvas: linen, muslin, sometimes a panel; then the gesso….”

This paragraph reminds me of posts by bead and jewelry makers – all the steps that go into making the art, the secrets in the art like a little fingerprint left behind in a handmade bead or a color they might never replicate.  I really wanted to make something inspired by this passage.  I envisioned fabricating a little metal frame and putting a tiny picture of some sort inside to make a pendant that looked like a painting, but I simply don’t have the technical skills.

I was saying this to my sister, and she said maybe this is the impetus to learn more technical skills.  Siblings sure know how to cut through your, umm…rubbish.  I keep buying books and materials, but I act like osmosis is going to transfer the knowledge and skills into my head and hands.  Ain’t gonna happen. So my inspiration for this hop is the discussion the book led to.  I’ve wanted to increase my skill in wire work, and my sister’s words gave me the push I needed.  I have Cindy Wimmer‘s The Missing Link as well as various untouched tools and supplies. Here is what I have done since that conversation.


The square at bottom right are some of the things that didn’t turn out, but I kept trying.  I’m not perfect, but I have some decent clasps, links and a whole bunch of my own handmade jump rings!  It was very satisfying to make these things. Now here is a picture of them after liver of sulfur in process of being cleaned.


Using the liver of sulfur was so easy.  They turned black the second I put them in.  Cleaning them after is quite a fiddly process, but I am so pleased with how they turned out.  Then I tumbled them all, using my tumbler for the first time. Fear of tumbler conquered!  I have sealed them once.  I think I will do it at least twice.

I also tried a second technique based on a mini-tutorial in the Summer 2014 issue of Jewelry Stringing magazine.  I did a simple alteration of a blank using script paper and Mod Podge.  I’m really pleased with this and can see a lot of applications for it in future projects.


Then I broke out some Color Me This patina samples I had gotten from Metal Me This a while ago and tried my first crack at color patina on a couple of large silver rounds I had.  You can see the un-patinaed version on the right.  I was overly anxious about it and tried to sand off a bit of color before it was totally dry.  (I’m not so great at reading/following directions/being patient, which is one big problem in learning new things.) So then I decided to fix that by layering on another color, which I also don’t think I let dry all the way.  I preferred the original color that I had, and I might steel wool them a bit more, but I learned a lot from this one experience.  I think they are decent enough that I will probably make them into earrings, and I’m no longer leery of color patina. Now I’m excited about it!


It feels great to have been inspired on a journey of learning that will enhance my creativity.  This experience has taken some of the trepidation and mystique out of learning new techniques and using new tools.  I plan to keep practicing these as well as trying some other new techniques soon.  I hope you enjoyed my post, although it feels a bit like inspired by reading once removed.

As always thanks to Andrew Thornton for putting this group together and doing the work to host this wonderful hop!  I’m particularly thrilled and grateful this month.  My hopping will be delayed as I am helping with a move today, but I invite you to visit Andrew’s blog to see a full list of participants.  Their creations will inspire you!