Monday, December 19, 2011

Etsy Metal Secret Santa Gift

Every year Etsy Metal (a group of very talented metal artists from all over the world) does a "Secret Santa". Members who want to participate sign up and give their jewelry preferences (ring size, bracelet length, i don't like this or that, etc). Names are "pulled from a hat" and each member is given another member to send a gift to. You do not know where your gift is coming from and you are only given the info on who/where to send your gift to with that person's jewelry preferences.  Your item is supposed to stay within a certain dollar amount so everyone gives/receives items with the same value. This year there were 47 participants. I have been checking the mail daily since the deadline and today my Secret Santa gift finally arrived! It was this mixed metal necklace made by Kirsten Denbow from Englewood, CO and I LOVE it!  I especially love the handmade chain with the little flowers randomly placed on it. Thank you SO much Kirsten!

PS....I would show you what I sent but I haven't heard if that person received it or not yet so you will have to wait!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Etsy Metal Blog Carnival

Etsy Metal is a talented group of metal smiths from all around the world. Every month we hold a blog carnival where we all blog about the same thing and attach links to each others blogs so everyone who reads one can read and find everyone elses too.This month's Etsy Metal Blog Carnival is "Holiday Previews". The Holidays are fast approaching! Give us a preview of what you are working on for this special time of year.

This year I have been working on a lot of mixed metals. My top selling cuff over the summer has now become a full line. I have been making cuff, earrings, necklaces and rings all from sterling silver, copper and brass. Each with different textures and patterns imprinted into the metal. The new line is reasonably priced and perfect for holiday gifts! You can see some more of my mixed metal pieces in my Etsy Shop.

To see what other Etsy Metal members have created for this holiday season....
Erin Austin:
Cynthia Del Giudice: 
Rebecca Bogan:
Danielle Miller-Gilliam:
Panicmama Jewelry:
kate jones:
Evelyn Markasky

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

10th Annual Artist Holiday Trunk Show

The postcards are printed and soon to be stamped and sent on their way. There are 12 artists participating so far and the planning for the show has long been underway for at least a month now. We have food, drink and lots of handcrafted holiday shopping! You can see more info on this event here. I can't believe this is the 10th year of doing this show! I remember the first show like it was yesterday. This year, since it is our 10th year, we are trying to come up with some extra special surprises for our guests...You'll have to stop to see what they might be so mark your calendar! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Etsy Metal Charm Swap

As you may already know I am helping curate the Etsy Metal Charm Swap this time around. The way it works is there is a sign up list for the Etsy Metal members who want to participate (limited to 20). We each make 22 charms, 20 to swap with the other members on the list, 1 to sell in the team shop, and 1 will go on a charm bracelet along with 19 other charms and the bracelet is then listed in the team shop and the proceeds go to a non profit organization of the curator's choice. Not only is it a great way to raise money, but it also is very cool to receive charms from other metal artists from around the world. This time around charms are shipping from Israel, Spain, New Zealand and well as all over the USA!

The charms are due in by Sept 30. I finished my charms on Friday and have shipped them out as of yesterday and can't wait to get all the rest back from everyone else! You can see my charms below....

Some new cuffs for the Wheaton Arts show...

A new batch of cuffs right off the bench just in time for the Wheaton Arts Festival of Fine Craft this weekend! The show runs Saturday and Sunday, October 1 & 2. For more info and coupon for $2.00 off admission check out their website.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Brandywine Festival of the Arts

I will be exhibiting at the Brandywine Festival of the Arts this coming weekend, Sept 9 & 10, in Wilmington, DE. This is the 51st year for this show and it is packed with talented artists and their creations! For more info and directions check out their website. Hope to see you this weekend!

Cleaning your handcrafted jewelry

Sterling silver, copper and brass do darken when exposed to the air over a long period of time. If you would like to keep your Michele Grady Designs jewelry pieces looking like they did when you first purchased them there a few simple things you can do to keep them looking as good as new! Keeping your jewelry in a sealed, zip lock plastic bag when not in use will minimize tarnishing. You can also use anti-tarnish strips which can be purchased at most department stores or online. The anti- tarnish strips help to retard tarnish when placed in a jewelry box or other container with the jewelry. Using a pre-treated jewelry polishing cloth to buff away tarnish, oils and grime before and/or after wearing each item will help retard the oxidation process and keep your jewelry shining. If you notice an unusual amount of tarnish, a good quality commercial liquid polish and a soft, 100% cotton cloth or gloves will buff it away. DO NOT USE THE LIQUID POLISH ON ITEMS THAT YOU HAVE PURCHASED ALREADY OXIDIZED! You will remove the the patina from the item and you will not be able to get it back. These pieces will not tarnish due to the fact that they are already blackened. Copper pieces that are oxidized will turn a more warmer darker brown color over the years which adds to the beauty of the copper.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Project Runway Challenge Season 9 - week (RAW 19)

This is the fourth week in the Etsy Metal Project Runway Challenge. Here are this week's details:

Project Runway Season 9: Episode 4
Design a piece for Nina Garcia

The Project Runway Challenge:
The designers were asked to design a day to night outfit for Nina Garcia

For our EtsyMetal Translation:
Make a piece of jewelry for Nina. There was a scene where she was going through jewelry at Marie Claire. Also she notes that she likes streamlined, modern looks. Whatever you do, don't bore Nina!

I chose the winning outfit created by Kimberly as my inspiration for my piece.

I really wanted to make a large brass cuff bracelet to go with this outfit but I did not have a big enough piece of brass on hand so I decided on a ring instead.  The texture of the ring was inspired by the texture in the gold fabric. I also made it adjustable. I have been playing around with the idea of adjustable rings and this is my first real piece that is adjustable. It is a simple yet elegant ring that can be taken from day to evening and I think it works perfectly with the winning outfit!

I also think these bangles that were not made for this challenge but were made not too long ago would also great on the opposite wrist from the ring :)

To see the rest of the Etsy Metal translations of this challenge check out the Etsy Metal Blog.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Project Runway Challenge Season 9 - week 3 (RAW 18)

This is the third week in the Etsy Metal Project Runway Challenge. Here are the details:

Episode 3: "Go Big or Go Home"
Air: 8.11.11
My Lifetime, Thursdays, 9pm PST.

The Project Runway Challenge:
The designers were asked to design a piece for a model on stilts for the first ever outdoor runway show.

For our EtsyMetal Translation:
Since this challenge was all about going over the top, this week make it BIG, over the top, larger and crazier than you would normally do, but still trying to keep it wearable and fashionable. Should be a fun one!

I had this ring designed for a few weeks now. I was meaning to make it for the RAW challenge but haven't had a chance to yet. It actually is the perfect piece for this week's Project Runway Challenge as well so here it is! It's a very long Norwegian Moonstone (also known as "Larvakite") set in a sterling silver double finger ring. The stone is approx 3 1/4" long and the ring itself is about 3 1/2" long by 1" wide at its largest point. I have always wanted to make a two finger ring but never got around to it until now. I actually am typing this blog post with the ring on my left hand and even though it is really large it actually feels just like any other ring. So I guess it meets the "keeping it wearable" requirements!

To see  the rest of the pieces in this challenge you can check them out here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

RAW 16

I just realized I never posted my RAW #16 ring so here it is....better late than never!

I made a sterling silver band that I then textured and then added brass spikes to. It actually is a very comfortable thumb ring. I wouldn't really recommend wearing it any other finger's a bit too dangerous to be so close to another finger!

Etsy Metal Charm Swap 8

As you may already know by following my blog, or following me on facebook and/or twitter, I am helping to run the Etsy Metal Charm Swap this time around. Check out all my blog posts on the Etsy Metal Blog about this fun and exciting challenge! There are only 6 weeks left until all the charms are due and since I still have not come up with an idea for my charms that I am happy with I am kind of starting to freak out! The last Charm Swap I participated in only happened for me because someone dropped out the day the charms were due. And since I already had an idea for what I was going to make I was able to pop out my 22 charms in 1 1/2 days of non stop work....I am hoping I will not have to do it again this time around! Check out the charm bracelet made with all the Etsy Metal Charms from  Charm Swap 7. It's for sale in the Etsy Metal Team Shop along with all of the individual charms including my charm from the bracelet.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Project Runway Challenge: Season 9 - week 2

This is the second week in the Etsy Metal Project Runway Challenge. Here are the details:

Episode 2: "My Pet Project"
In this episode, the challenge was to create an outfit using pet store supplies. They were allowed to use muslin as well, but were encouraged not to.

For our Etsy Metal Translation:

To make a piece of jewelry using pet store supplies! We were told to try to limit our time in the pet store to 30 minutes. We may use some metal in the piece but must try to use as little as possible.

I went the pet store on Friday of last week but really couldn't look at anything except for the animals since I had my 7 year old nephew with me. Not having a chance to go back since Friday, I stopped in Walmart today and had a quick look in the pet section. The pickins were slim compared to what they had at the pet store. I ended up with these cat toy replacement feathers which I turned into earrings.

A simple project with not much imagination used but with the short amount of time I had  to work on them I think they turned out pretty good!

To see the what everyone else participating in the challenge has created check out the Etsy Metal Blog.

Friday, August 5, 2011

New challenge...Project Runway Challenge Season 9 - week 1 (RAW 17)

As if the RAW (ring a week) challenge wasn't enough for me to handle.... which by the way every day life has made me fall slightly behind in that challenge.... I have decided to participate in the Etsy Metal Project Runway Challenge as well. How it works is we watch Project Runway, which airs every Thursday night, and then their challenge is translated into a jewelry challenge which is due the following Thursday night. This week the designers had to use the clothes they slept in the night before plus one of their bed sheets to create a new look. Taking something old and making it into something new. They also had access to dye and trimmings. This translated into a jewelry challenge is to make something only from scrap material that is sitting on your bench. Since the designers got a sheet, we get to use some extra sheet metal. We also can add stones from our supplies since they got use dyes and trimmings. I found an old ring band from a ring I took apart last week, a piece of scrap wire and a piece of scrap silver sheet left over from another project.

I cut the ring band down and made it thinner. I also added some texture to it. I used the wire to make the "stilts" and the scrap sheet became the top piece of the ring. The only other things I added was another small piece of silver sheet and a stone and this is what I came up with....

I am hoping to be able to combine some of my RAW and Project Runway pieces so I can get caught up on RAW and participate in Project Runway challenge as well.This is one of those pieces...So far so good!

You can see some of the other Etsy Metal members Project Runway Challenge pieces here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Haddonfield Crafts & Fine Art Festival

Mark your calendars....The Haddonfield Crafts & Fine Arts Festival is around the corner! It will be held on July 9 & 10 on Kings Highway in Haddonfield, NJ. The show opens on Saturday at 11am and will go until 7pm. Sunday's hours are 12 noon to 5 pm. You can find my booth on the smaller side of the street (for those of you who have been in the past you know what I mean) down by the PATCO speed line. This is a really great show and with all the talented artists who participate there is definitely something for everyone! Hope to see you there!

"Once again Kings Highway, the businesses and residents in Haddonfield are set to host their nationally ranked Arts Festival. During the borough's premier event, Kings Highway and Tanner Street will be closed to vehicular traffic. What is a usually a busy main artery through the center of town is transformed into a festive corridor, alive with a panorama of artist's tents and various crafts on exhibit to Haddonfield residents and visitors. Area restaurants will set up outdoor caf├ęs and musicians will entertain the crowds as they view the unique work from artisans from across the country.

This year's show will feature many fine artists and craft persons who come to Haddonfield to exhibit and sell their work. Artisans will exhibit a wide range of arts and crafts including ceramics, glass, jewelry, wood, fiber, metal, paper, drawings, paintings, photography and wearable art. This year's show brings a wonderful mix of new and old artist, with exhibitors who have come as far as Israel to participate once again."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

studio tour

People are always asking me how I do what I do and what my studio space looks like so when the Etsy Metal team decided to do a blog carnival about our studio spaces I thought it would be the perfect way to show everyone! Below are some photos of my studio. The photos were taken after I clean up a LOT. It usually does not look anywhere near as neat and clean as this when I am working but I had to clean for a class I was teaching so I thought it would be the perfect time to take some photos.

My jewelers bench is up against the wall (where all the magic happens) and I have a table behind it in the middle of the room where I lay out my designs, put my supplies when working and also have my students sit when teaching. The table has 2 leaves and can extend to seat 12 people.

 On the left side of my bench is I have lots of cabinets where I store all of my mess and I also have a sink. I love having a sink in my studio! In my last studio space I had to leave my studio for running water so this makes it much easier.

And to the right of my bench I have more cabinets for storage as well as my "office space". This is about as clean as that space ever gets and although its not the most organized it works! The painting over my desk was done by my sister and given to me for my birthday 2 years ago. She also has a shop on etsy where she sells her pocket monsters. To see more studio tours check out the other great jewelry artists below:

Rebecca Bogan
Shirlee Grund
Beth Cyr
Elizabeth Scott 
Cynthia Del Giudice 
Erin Austin
Evelyn Markasky
Kathryn Cole
 Lauren Anabela Beaudoin/Creative Dexterity

Monday, May 16, 2011

pages from my sketchbook....

This month's topic for the Etsy Metal Blog Carnival is "pages from your sketchbook". Although I don't really have a sketchbook and I don't draw out each piece before I create it, I do jot down some ideas here and there on random sheets of paper that eventually end up all over my studio.  Here a few of my doodles that I have already made into jewelry.

The first doodle is of one of my rings for the ring a week challenge.... RAW #12 

And this sketch is a shape I have used a few times when making earrings. I have posted photos of 2 different earrings using the same shape below.

sterling and tiger eye teardrop earrings (sold)

To see some of the other Etsy Metal members sketches check out the links below... 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Photo Etching

I have decided that for my Etsy Metal Charm Swap 8 charms I am going to try some photo etching which I haven't done in quite a few years. (You can see a "how to" article on photo etching here with more info on the process.) I have wanted to make a piece of jewelry that was in the form of a sugar skull for quite a while. But due to all of the detail on these skulls I have put it off because it would be a very time consuming to cut each piece from metal and solder all the pieces together. Since I haven't photo etched in years and have wanted to try it again I thought the sugar skull would be the perfect design. And not to mention the charms will be shipped just in time for Dia de los Muertos (Mexican Holiday of Day of the Dead).

Here's a bit of what I did yesterday....First I sketched out my design.

I then scanned it into the computer so I could shrink it down to the correct size and print it on the special transfer paper I needed. I then transfered the image from the transfer paper onto the copper. Here you can see the original sketch, the image on the blue transfer paper and the image on the copper.

I then put the copper into the etching solution. It is attached to a piece of tape so I can pull it out easy and check the progress.

After about 30 minutes the image was etched into the copper. But because I have not etched in a long time I forgot that the image transfers backwards onto the metal so the parts I had drawn in solid black on my sketch were not hollowed out like I wanted them to be. They were actually raised. You can see here in the prototype the eyes, nose and mouth are solid and not hollow.

So after all that I had to go back to step one and start all over again with a modified sketch which I edited on my computer. This is the second version.

After retracing all of my steps with my new version of my sketch I ended up with this (the one on the left), which is much better than the first one (the one on the right). You can see in this photo that the detail of the nose, mouth and eyes on the one on the left look much better than the one one the right. Especially the teeth.

Although I am not sure what I am going to do with it next, I am pretty happy with the results of this process so far.
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