Wedding Jewelry

Wedding Jewelry
Wedding Jewelry

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A fresh start!

I've said it before, but I do love working on many, many pieces at once. I've got tons of ideas, and it's just too hard to choose which ones to make next, so I usually just make everything. It really brings each step into perfect focus if you get to spend days doing one simple step. Warren read somewhere that to become the master of a task, you should do it for 10,000 hours. I must be getting pretty close by now!

For this new batch, I spent two solid days just cutting out all the shapes. I'm trying something new with this batch. For the earrings, I've switched to 22 gauge fine silver. I'm making some larger earrings this go-around, and I was concerned that they might be uncomfortably heavy for the wearer. That, and I've had a couple of 22 gauge silver sheets hanging around my studio for ages, and I need to use them for something!

The bases need to be fused, as opposed to soldered, because the enamels hate solder. I set up a little tripod and heat the two pieces from beneath. I've tried doing it from the top, but the smaller cutout tends to heat up way too fast and will melt long before the larger sheet underneath comes up to temperature. It's a very intuitive process- I keep my torch moving and try to heat everything up evenly. Just as things start glowing a dull orange, I'll look for the barest shimmer of melting silver. It happens lightning fast. At that moment, you need to draw the shimmer across the whole surface and then pull away! One moment to long, and the silver will pool into a sad little puddle.

The 22 gauge was tricky, since it was thinner that I'm used to. I did finally get the hang of it, but I have to say that 20 gauge is way more satisfying. Here are some fused pieces:

Not sure you can tell, but here's a pic of what I'm looking for in a perfectly fused piece. Do you see that perfect line of silver where the two pieces meet? The edges are still crisp, and the surface of the silver has taken on a strange and lovely crystalline appearance. And the two pieces have become one solid unit:

Besides the 22 gauge silver, I had one other challenge with this set of designs. My dragon necklace is the largest single piece of fused silver that I've ever done. I wasn't sure it was even going to be possible to fuse such a large piece. I approached it a little differently than I would a smaller piece. Instead of trying to do it all in one go, I fused it in stages, and hammered it flat in between. It took seven torchings, and each one was agonizing, but it all finally came together. The final necklace will consist of two pieces. The second wing will be connected with loops to the main body. You'll just have to wait and see:

Lastly, here's a pic of my friend Betty McKim, who is getting ready for all her upcoming shows, and who is a phenomenal jeweler! I love working at Pullen and chit-chatting with Betty!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Getting organized!

Color samples:

Here are the rejects...

More winners than losers though...

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hi everyone!  

I've got a tutorial in this month's issue of Art Jewelry Magazine!

If you are looking to purchase the "Blue Fuse" fusing liquid I described in the tutorial, here's the link:

Happy Enameling!

New studio space!

I've recently moved into my new studio at Artspace, located in downtown Raleigh. The space is enormous! I've got plenty of room and the light is perfect. My studio is open to the public from Wednesday through Saturday, so stop by and visit!

201 E Davie Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
Studio 105

Vintage Wedding Dresses at the Movies: my Top Three unveiled!

Dear Reader,
What fun I've had truffling through these wonderful old movies to find my very favourite vintage wedding dresses! And now I'm delighted to share my Top 3...

3. It Happened One Night (starring Claudette Colbert, 1934)
Never seen this wonderful 1930s screwball comedy by Frank Capra? Seek it out - you have such a treat in store!
The charming Claudette Colbert wears a slinky satin 1930s wedding dress by Robert Kalloch, one of the biggest Hollywood trendsetters of the 30s and 40s.
And there's that lovely Juliet Cap veil again! In this case, full length and swirling around the base of her gown... fabulous! I am so inspired by these pretty veils at the moment. A lovely addition to my Top 3.

2. Funny Face (starring Audrey Hepburn, 1957)
In this 1950s musical, Audrey is actually modelling the dress, rather than getting married. 
This gorgeous gown is one of Audrey's most iconic looks - a perfect blend of 1950s modern and romantic, with its ballerina-length net skirt, slim-fitting bodice, and the chic boat neckline Audrey always favoured. I love too the pretty veil, fastened with its tiny bow...
The dress was designed by Hubert De Givenchy who was working on the film with Edith Head - another of the all-time-great costume designers. Givenchy had given Audrey many of his gowns to wear in her earlier film Sabrina. When Head won the Best Costume Design Oscar for Sabrina, Givenchy never received proper credit. So Audrey went out of her way to see that he received full credit on Funny Face. She and the designer became lifelong friends. 

1. The Razor's Edge (starring Gene Tierney, 1946)
And finally... my number one is.... drum roll... the wonderful actress Gene Tierney swathed in head-to-toe 1940s lace wedding dress by Oleg Cassini.
Gene was engaged to Russian-born costumer designer Cassini, and he designed this glorious dress for their own wedding. But her parents opposed the marriage and in a romantic twist, they eloped. So Gene wore the dress for her film instead!
Sadly, the film was panned by the critics. But the dress... I think you'll agree is a perfect success! 
So there it is: my very favourite vintage wedding dresses from the movies. I hope you enjoyed seeing them as much as I enjoyed choosing them. Please do stop by my facebook page and let me know which of your favourites I've missed!

Heavenly Vintage Brides

If you missed the rest of my Top Ten Vintage Wedding Dresses from the Movies, check it out 

Monday, July 27, 2015

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"L33 is looking like a "no"... NG314 is buttery and nice!"

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sandramcewen shared an Instagram photo with you

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sandramcewen just shared an Instagram photo with you:

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sandramcewen shared an Instagram photo with you

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"I've had these colors for ages. Time to make some sample strips and see what colors they really are!"

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New work...

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Wedding Jewelry!

Here are the first batch of photos from the photo-shoot we did last week.  Thanks to Cara at  F8photostudios for doing such a good job!

Pretty Blue Cloisonne Hair Comb w/ Blue Topaz

Roman Style Necklace with Peridot

"Bright Wing" Tiara

"Moonlight" Tiara

"Violetta" Necklace with Earrings

Dragon Necklace.  (I Love this pic!!!)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Vintage Wedding Dresses at the Movies: the countdown continues...

Dear Reader,
Here we are... the second instalment in my Top 10 vintage wedding dresses from the movies. So many glorious gowns to choose from!

7. High Society (starring Grace Kelly, 1956)
Another fabulous dress by Helen Rose, one of the great Hollywood costume designers of the 1940s and 1950s. First, take a look at the designer's original sketch...
And now, at the dress itself... Perfection!
Aside from her Hollywood costumes, Helen Rose is of course most famous for designing Grace Kelly's own iconic wedding dress. What a beauty.

6. The Godfather (Simonetta Stefanelli as Appollonia, 1972)
The Godfather includes two gorgeous wedding dress scenes. Appollonia's demure head-to-toe lace dress for the simple Sicilian country wedding is my favourite. (And one of my favourite movie wedding scenes too.)

5. The movies of screen goddess, Billie Dove (1920s)
Stunning beauty Billie Dove started as a Ziegfeld Follies girl at the age of 14, and went on to become one of the biggest stars of silent film. So many of her glamorous 1920s dresses would be wonderful for a wedding... 
Some of Billie's films are lost now, so it's hard to choose a favourite. She played a bride in at least two movies. Would it be cheating to include all Billie's gorgeous dresses in my Top 10?
And remember the Juliet cap veils we were thinking about last week, here she is in a stunning example...
At the height of her fame, Billie was more popular than even Greta Garbo. Jazz singer Billie Holliday is said to have named herself after her. Let's remember her with these beautiful images.

4. Come Dance with Me (starring Brigitte Bardot, 1959)
And my last choice for today? La Bardot wearing a classic late 1950s lace wedding dress in this silly French movie...
I've had so much fun choosing. Do check back to see my Top 3, and post your own favourites on my facebook page here. And to enjoy lots more lovely original vintage dresses, click here.

Thanks for looking
Heavenly Vintage Brides

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