Friday, August 23, 2013

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Wire Cages for Undrilled Stones

I love how wire responds as it warm up in my hands.  All of the links and the cages in the necklace of this video are free-form. The necklace came to be by just letting the wire tell me how it wants to embrace the stones and link each element to the other.  The two big chunks of red jasper are undrilled.  Therefore the wire cages.  This work is so therapeutic.

I was going to post a video on creating wire cages or wire bundles as of Szarka of Magpie Gemstone calls them.  Szarka does such a complete job of setting the foundation of this technique that there is nothing more I can say.  In fact I can do nothing but learn from Szarka.  What I can do and what I don't see as much of, is creating a cage for a stone that hasn't be cut into one of the classic jewelry design forms or shapes.  Let me know if that is something you would to see or if you already see a lot of it on the web.

More about cage on this blog;
  •  The Earth has Weight a collar I made with a 1-3/4" Green Aventurine  undrilled cabochon.
  • I reposted the following video from Youtube.  The artist is creating a necklace from - sea glass.  The glass is undrilled so she uses cages to make the sea glass a part of the necklace

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

We are all Pearls...Sade...India Arie thank you for the reminder

We are all Pearls...

created by agitation for agitation...

Sade....India Arie 
. . . sing of this in the song "Pearls"

While the lyrics to this cry for women who are oppressed and have no options gives a voice to the also speaks of the heroism those same women...all women who can take a gran of anything and turn it into something precious...something.  I choose to use my pliers, pearls, moon stone, cooper and aluminum wire, sodalite   white jade, crystals and glass to represent the change that women...aggregated...coming together with men who care for and support them will make for themselves. . .ourselves.   


About the design:


  • Adninka motif focal Sesa Wo Suban -  "Transformation and change" - pearls, opalite,  cooper beads, sodalite , cooper and alunim wire, white jade, crystal

  • Dangle focal;
    • 2 -  wire wrapped glass, cobalt blue, "trade beads"
    • 1- ceramic elongated drop, blue with  gold-like flakes (has a Lapis Lazuli look)
    • clasp can be substituted with a a cooper "S"
  • 1 - "star child" symbol (little more than 1" in any direction can be used to join necklace extenders and focal or used alone as a focal.  At the center of the symbol is a sodalite  bead and 2 Montana Blue crystals.
  • 12" copper chain necklace extender with small "s" link closures a each end
  • 16.5" blue suede and leather necklace or necklace extender with;
    • each end of the necklace features copper coils a little more that 3/4" in length 
    •  hand made cooper closure with 
      •  3 dangles on the closure;
        • 2 sodalite  wire wrapped beads and 1 double dangle - copper wrapped bead and sodalite  wrapped bead
  • 3 sets of earrings - all sets are finished with a coil
    • 1 set of "Sankofa" measure 3-3/4" from ear wire to bottom of coil.  Wire is shaped in the Adinkra symbol of "Sankofa - don't be afraid to go back and get what you forgot."  Ear ring is completed with a 1-1/4" ceramic elongated drop, blue with  gold-like flakes (has a Lapis Lazuli look) 
    • 1 set white jade globes encircled by tiny moonstone with a drop of Montana Blue crystal and a tiny triangle of moonstone with a fierce blue fire inside.  (These fantastic bits of moonstone fire came from Turquoise Magpie.)
    • a tiny triangle of moonstone with a fierce blue fire inside tops a Montana Blue crystal
  • Ear Cuff and dangle - cuff randomly embroiders the ear with  fresh water pearls, sodalite and tiny drops of flashing moonstone.  Cuff ends at bottom of ear and has a  space for dangle to hook into a pierce ear. Dangle is shaped as a   Nsoromma, "child of the heavens  or morning star." 


SESA WO SUBAN (Adninka term)

meaning - "Change or transform your character "

symbol of life transformation
This symbol combines two separate Adinkra symbols, the "Morning Star" which can mean a new start to the day, placed inside the wheel, representing rotation or independent movement.

sodalite = endurance, peace and harmony

moonstone = intuition

pearls = tear drops of the moon

Saturday, June 15, 2013

K A L I alkemi update . . .

Thank you Simbi Kali for wearing my "Cuff 4 the Hand"
and matching "ring" in your beautiful video.  I'm not just bragging.  The way the video transports is the same way Simbi's essential oils and salt transforms the day and the night.  

K A L I akemi...for those times when you need to adorn your body with something for your soul or when you need to wear nothing at can find her beautiful products her blog

Be sure and make the video full screen before you start it.  Do loose a single speck of it lovelyness.

K A L I alkemi from jj huckin on Vimeo.

Post also related this story:

Sugar Creek Beads Deliver

Just received a purchase of Rhodosite coins and a bonus of matching pearls...Nirvana ... Sugar Creek Beads is so fast and communicative. I was working on my project when the mailman delivered the beads. The rest of my day is blocked out because their delivery was so quick and exactly what I expected.  You can find  Sugar Creek Beads is on Facebook .  Also look for Sugar Creek Beads on Etsy.  

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Another treat to adorn the ear...Donna Spadafore

Alternatives in ear adornments fascinate me.  In my last post I featured one of the best "ear cuff" tutorials I've seen by Shealynn's Faerie Shoppe.   In this posting I'm featuring the another styleof ear cuff by Donna Spadafore.  Her work is a delight if what you enjoy in jewelry is detail and craftsmanship.  I've re-posted the images of ear cuffs as they appeared on her Facebook Page.  I've also included links to some of her on-line sites.  

As a person who works with  wire, I find all of her work inspiring.  Please check out her work.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

One of the best Ear Cuff Tutorials

Shealynn's Faerie Shoppe...offers one (actually 3, scroll to the end of this post) of the best ear cuff tutorial(s) I've seen! 

I urge you to go directly to her her blog "Shealynn's Faerie Shoppe" and see all the great work she is creating. 
Ear Cuff Tutorial: The Double-Loop Technique

It's been a bit since I've done a proper tutorial, hasn't it? Don't worry, I'll be doing some craftsy
ones soon-- but fellow jewelers are in luck today! I've photographed the making of another kind
of ear cuff (which I'm calling the "Double-Loop" because you kind of loop it twice... I'm having
a really hard time coming up with names for these different ear cuffs!)

For those unfamiliar with ear cuffs, they are awesome and comfortable pieces of jewelry that
simply wrap around the cartilage of the ear-- no piercings required! They are easy to put on and
really stay put!  If you aren't up to making some yourself, be sure to visit my Shoppe, where I sell 
some and also do custom orders.

Before you begin, I recommend that you check out my tutorials on the basic ear cuff 
and the swirly ear cuff. You should be able to create both styles proficiently. You can also 
check out the bow-tie ear cuff tutorial (which is about the same difficulty as this ear cuff). 

Now then. With a few cuffs behind you, it's time to get started with this fun technique! 

We are creating a left ear cuff. Simply mirror the design to create one for the right ear.

This particular design is a bit more understated than the other ear cuffs because the decorative 
are limited to the bottom of the cuff!

You will need:
- 8 inches of 18 ga wire
- needle-nose pliers
-a marker (see my discussion of the type of marker or mandrel you will need)
- (optional) beads, other wire for decorative wrapping, headpins to add dangles, etc.

Cut a length of wire at least 8 inches long.

Bend it at the three inch mark. Make sure that the small loop this creates is actually a loop
-- it's not as comfortable to wear ear cuffs in which the wire is pinched together tightly.

This is where the "double loop" comes into play.

First, bend the wire into a 1 inch zig-zag (just as you did with the swirly ear cuff). The next
part is a bit tricky if you are working with tough wire like me (hard copper is not recommended to
begin with). Take the tail end of the wire on the right-hand side and fold it down and 
around the right-hand loop. 

Did that make sense? Here's a picture of the finished double loop:

The next few steps are just like the other ear cuffs, so I won't narrate these photos...

Okay, now you get to have fun. How do you want the ends of the wire to look? What beads will 
you add? What loops and swirls and decorations will you make with the wire? Have at it!

I found that I had a bit of a hard time keeping mental track of the placement of the ear cuff, so
I kept putting it on the marker (or my ear) as I designed, in order to make sure the swirls and 
beads were just perfect.

If you are adding beads, be sure to very, very slightly bend the wire just above and
 below the beads in order to hold them in place.

I only recently perfected this design, so I don't have any more double-loop ear cuffs to show you. 

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Please be sure to leave a comment if you used it!

Also, please note that you may use this tutorial to make your own jewelry to sell, but only if you 
credit me for showing you how. It does take time for me to make these tutorials! Thanks!

How to Wear an

Simple Ear Cuff

Fancy Ear Cuff

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The following is from the FLICKR site of Julie a polymerist she does exquisite things with polymer clay.
...They're purse handles. Julie wrote...

...They're purse handles. I've been working on this on and off for so long, I thought it would never come to fruition. Finally, the prototype is finished and I'm ready to start knocking them out! Yee-Haw! It's a stylized version of an Indian Wedding Bag. This one uses old silk men's ties for the body. The handles are quite a bit larger than a bracelet bangle and quite a bit thinner. I wanted them to easily slide over one's arm. There's a heavy wire going all the way through each handle and they're double cured for strength. The seam, where the ends meet, is sewn together with many strands of heavy Nymo thread and covered with seed beads. These handles won't break. I've tried. I've thrown them on a sidewalk 20 times ("Oh no, I dropped my purse!") and smacked them on a hard table at least 20 times. Not even a scratch...well, mabe a little scratch...and not these actual ones - my practice ones. Field tested and approved. The bag design is my own after looking at countless pictures of real ones. Just another view of the Indian Wedding bag
See more of her work at

dixie103's photostream

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Tree of Life by Copar Aingeal

I really enjoy and admire the "Tree of Life" forms (most often created as pendants) but this one by Copar Aingeal and speaks to me most elegantly...the color, the use of metal and beads, the shape and the balance...

Saturday, March 30, 2013


I want to introduce my friend Simbi Kali...artist, photographer, writer, actress, alchemist (  She has just started a new product line "KALI alkemi" that features essential oils, bath salts and fragrances.

Over the years she has gifted me with oils and sprays (for the home) that were just what I need, when I needed my mood altered.

Simbi has been such a support to me...taking  many photos of my jewelry as well as being a patron of my work.   Back in July of 2009 I featured a ring I made for her.  I had one trying time finding Hessonite Garnets.  But it was a pleasure also.

 When Simbi began to coordinate her "looks" for promoting "KALIalkemi" she asked me if I had any pieces that might work with the image she was trying to create.  As we talked a memory was pulled out of the back of my mind of very organic vine like jewelry that I saw and tried to recreate a few years ago.  That night I began to pull out incomplete pieces; a focal of copper and brass that featured a Labradorite briolette, veining earnings and necklace that I had cut up so I could use the beads on another project.   I pick this focal because Labradorite is for me the physical manifestation of the word--alchemy.

I had some quality Critne chips I brought years back from Silver Sky in North Hollywood.  I had organized the Citrine on loops of copper wire by color.  The richest color on one loop, palest on another and all of those in-between on a third wire loop.  When Simbi saw these she automatically put the loops and focal together as if the loops were an element not just a way to organize some of the chaos in my work space.

On the vining side of the adornment I decided that my color pallet would include every copper,  green copper,  gold copper,  cream and clear bead and fresh water pearl I had in my stash.
 The other side of the adornment is hand crocheted to create a soft--yes the metal wire is soft and flexible, as many of you know who crochet or knit with wire.

While Simbi wore the adornment as a head dress it can also be worn as a soon as I add a closing.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Wire Cages an Alternative to Drilling Jewelry Elements

I love this technique and the results it produces. So I've re-posted the article that this video was a part of.  Re-posted from The Beading Gems Journal: Jewelry Expression in Bloom.

When it is too cold to go outside is a good time to reminisce over your previous summer holidays and maybe plot your next one. Even better if you have a project to do to preserve summer memories.  Here are more sea glass jewelry tutorials for all you hoarders out there!

If you can drill holes in the sea glass pieces yourself, try making a wire crochet necklace (above) as shown by Cyndi Lavin's tutorial over on Beading Arts.  You canpurchase frosted fake sea glass beads too if you don't have any real ones on hand.

One way to avoid having to drill is to wire wrap large pieces of sea glass.  I have covered the tutorials before (see links below) but here is a lovely video tutorial by Gayle Bird

She demonstrates a really easy way of making a wire cage by using wire twists.  Just make sure you start off with a generous length of wire because it is difficult to predict how much you need with such an informal method. She introduce kinks in the wire which are necessary to tighten the "cage". They do add charm to the design.

Not everyone can drill holes in sea glass nor do they wire work, so check out this even easier solution!  Just glue the pieces onto a disc and loop bracelet. This works also if the sea glass fragments are too small to drill or wire wrap.  The idea is from Martha

Before You Go:

Other "Wire Cage" articles on this blog;

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Adinkra in Brooklyn


reposted from The Approach features the innovative ideas, creative endeavors, and research discoveries of students and faculty at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
"black is the nite (Round the World)" a stop motion animation by Pamela Sunstrum on exhibit at MoCADA
Just a few weeks ago I was writing about fractals as part of a post about a piano concert featuring Debussy’s La Mer. Wouldn’t you know it, they’ve cropped up again.
An exhibit opening this weekend at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) in Brooklyn - with ties to Rensselaer - will feature several fractal-based works. The exhibit is titled “Feed Your Head: The African Origins of the Scientific Aesthetic,” and, according to the description on the MoCADA website, the works featured  “join together two visual artists with a physicist and ethnomathematician to explore the aesthetic convergence of science and art.”
The ethnomathematician is none other than Rensselaer Professor Ron Eglash. Eglash, a professor in our Department of Science and Technology Studies, has made fractals a keystone in his efforts to show minority students the cultural relevance of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.
Here’s how Eglash summarizes his work:
Fractals are patterns that repeat themselves across several scales. They were first thought to be purely mathematical abstractions, but in the 1970s mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot realized that many natural structures have this “scaling” characteristic: trees are branches of branches, rugged mountains have peaks within peaks, clouds are puffs of puffs, and so on. Fractals became an exciting new frontier for mathematical models of nature.
In the late 1980s I noticed that aerial photos of African villages also tend to be fractals: circular houses in circles of circles; rectangular houses in rectangular clusters. A Fulbright research fellowship allowed me to spend a year travelling in Africa interviewing the artisans who created these structures. I found that these patterns were intentional and that the repeating process of shrinking scales— what mathematicians call “recursion”—often symbolized recursive cosmologies, the infinite regression of kinship, the self-generating power of life, or other concepts that mapped fractals to spiritual and social ideas. Fractals showed up not only in African architecture, but also in African textiles, sculpture, hairstyles, metalwork, and many other designs.
Thanks to funding from the National Science Foundation, we have developed educational software that allows K-12 teachers to use these African fractals in the classroom ( Architects working in Africa have also started to look at fractal structure for contemporary buildings, and there is even an entire university campus planned for Angola which will have a fractal layout.
As for the project, Eglash said:
We began our discussion with a focus on the work of Sylvester Gates, who has been visualizing his supersymmetry theory with some diagrams he calls “adinkra,” after the Ghanaian print tradition. I described some of the work I had been doing on adinkra in Ghana, and Kalia Brooks, the curator, suggested we make adinkra the central theme.
A few months later Taena Richards contacted me and asked about an adinkra symbol she had seen called “linked hearts.”
Eglash says this pattern is slightly different from a traditional Ghanaian adinkra pattern (in which the hearts would be more circular, reflecting the actual shape of an animal heart). Nevertheless, he used her version as the basis for a fractal which he returned to her:
The finished piece is a collaboration between Eglash, theoretical physicist Sylvester  Gates, and artists Pamela Sunstrum and Richardson (full disclosure – “black is the nite (Round the World) ” - the image of which opens this post - is not one of the pieces on which he collaborated, although it will be featured in the exhibit).
As part of the exhibit, on December 6, MoCADA will offer a workshop for educators on using African arts to teach STEM, run by Rensselaer Professor Audrey Bennett.
The exhibit will be on view November 17, 2011 to February 25, 2012.