Sunday, February 27, 2011

My Studio - Come On In

cutting and filing station

This is where designing, sawing, piercing, stamping and filing takes place. Look at my adorable new swivel vise! The wood boxes store sterling silver sheet and precut ring shanks. My tumbler sit on top of the black metal shelving. The white plastic drawers beneath my bench hold sterling wire, copper sheet, design stamps and letter sets plus a whole bunch of other goodies.

middle of bench

Middle of my bench. Texturing, hammering, and drilling station.

soldering station

Soldering station. This is where the magic happens folks!

to the right of soldering area

This is my beading table, but when I'm working on metalsmithed pieces this area is where I do all the finishing work such as setting stones, and final hand polishing. This is also where I sketch my designs. I call this table my 'Inspiration Station' because I have pictures on the wall that inspire me. I also have a rock collection in a bowl, and I take out a different rock everyday and set it on the table for me to look at throughout the day. Those two cabinets are filled with cabochons and sterling silver findings. Various cabachons get pet several times a day.

Notice the little 'Dream' carving? I also have a framed picture with the word 'Believe' that my girlfriend Pat gave me for christmas. Those two words are what keep me moving forward. No matter whatever else is going on in my life...deep inside at my core I am always dreaming and believing in my dreams. I hope you're believing in your dreams too.

Ronnie is the jewelry designer at RadianTrace Jewelry. She's also the graphic artist at Mable's Makings, and the author of Ronnie Unplugged.

Creativity Re-Ignited

I've been feeling much better lately. Thyroid levels are at the high end of 'normal' which means I'm not shakey anymore and my heart rate has stablized. Feeling better allows me to be active and creative again.

I'm taking a second metalsmithing class on Tuesday evenings. The last class is on March 29th. My own studio is now fully equipped and up and running. I've been working on my class projects at home inbetween classes.

As you all can guess I've been buying cabochons to make metalsmithed pieces. Well, I received this gorgeous picasso jasper cab that reminds me of a Monet painting. To me it looks like a field of wild flowers. Notice the pretty mauves, greens, yellows and browns. So, it's being made into a ring with a floral patterned band, and I'm calling it 'Monet' Ignore the surrounding silver. I was just checking to see if the bezel would fit.

Picasso Jasper Monet Ring

The bezel is now soldered together and then soldered onto the back plate, and the back plate has been cut away, and then filed flush to the bezel wire. It's now a perfectly smooth bezel cup ready to have the band soldered on and then it will go in the tumbler, then the stone will be set in the bezel, then I'll oxidize the whole piece in Liver of Sulphur...then the final stages will be lightly buffing off the LOS from the high spots which will leave a dark color in the recesses of the floral patterned ring band to help bring out the details.

I'm thinking of keeping this ring in honor of it being my first completely solo project made from start to finish in my own studio.

Ronnie is the jewelry designer at RadianTrace Jewelry. She's also the graphic artist at Mable's Makings, and the author of Ronnie Unplugged.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Illness and Inspiration


I have Grave's Disease which means I'm occasionally a crumpled, trembling mess who can't lift her arms high enough to scratch her head without crying out in pain. I won't even mention what a blubbering baby I've been while trying to sleep on my aching shoulders. Laying on my back or front is impossible because my goiter is so large and restrictive it feels like I'm wearing a tight turtle neck that I can never take off! Any additional pressure on my throat is out of the question.

I've been back on anti-thyroid meds for 12 days now so I'm just putting in the time waiting for them to bring my hormone levels back down into the 'normal' range.

I haven't been able to make any jewelry because of shakey hands and double vision. I'm also back on the beta-blocker propranolol which has helped calm the racing heart and hand tremors. My vision is getting a little better each day so maybe I'm not going blind like I feared I was a few days ago.

So what have I been doing all this time besides feeling sorry for myself? Surfing. Surfing the net looking at jewelry, and individual beads in particular. I also pulled out and dusted off all my polymer clay books and I've been thinking. Thinking a lot about my goals. I've started playing with my clay again. I've been going away from it then coming back to it over and over for the past 4 years.

It's the only material that I can create with that won't cause injury to my fragile and hurting body right now. No heavy tools, no hammering needed, no torch that I could drop if my hands get shakey. I think I'm going to stay with the clay for awhile this time and see where it takes me.

Ronnie is the jewelry designer at RadianTrace Jewelry. She's also the graphic artist at Mable's Makings, and the author of Ronnie Unplugged.


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