Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Coming Up for Air

Phew! I'm buried in work, making many lovelies for my summer shows and stock for the upcoming holiday. With almost 70 pieces approaching the finish line and a box of castings schedule for delivery tomorrow, the next week promises to be a flurry of filing, hammering, soldering, and oxidizing. A quick glimpse of my works in progress and my cluttered bench.

button bracelet

the mess that I call my bench

bracelet with boot buttons from the 1930's

Pendant, almost complete and my new favorite

pendant with sweet carved button

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


My latest treasury graced Etsy's front page yesterday (with a few adminstrative changes, of course). The title and inspiration came from fellow Mainer Sixhours Photography (her photo is in the lower lefthand corner). Do be sure to check out her work...beautifully disturbing and gracefully quirky.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Two Quenches

I am amused at the technical differences between my "collections". The earrings below are from the Vintage Collection and, if you have followed this blog, you know that I incorporate vintage buttons and explore hand-pierced filigree. For me, the collection is frustrating....lots of time involved designing and sawing out these intricate patterns, lots of broken buttons from the riveting process, and lots of broken saw blades. As much as I detest the work I devote to this collection, I am repeatedly rewarded with the end product. I see my grandmother and her mother in these pieces. This collection is my homage to embroidery and sewing and I believe that my gram would be proud that I honor this tradition with my collection.

Pendant with sterling and 18k gold dots

The other collection, Dot, is an all out fun fest. The pendant above is the latest addition to Dot. The work involved is remedial...meaning a bit of soldering, a bit of hammering, minimal filing, no fancy patterns, no repetitious sawing and piercing. I form the dots by melting scrap sterling or gold, add a little boric acid while the metal is molten, quench the dots, and hammer flat. The process is a bit crude, but that's the appeal. This collection gives my brain, eyes, and hands the break it needs from my other challenging collection.
In the end, I am both collections (and I didn't even get to dissect my Armor collection!). I'm the consummate metalsmith who fusses over the tiniest blemish; I'm also the experimental artist eager to try create timeless designs. I hope you find a bit of both in my work as well!

Monday, June 15, 2009


Even though the rains are relentless, my poppies bloomed! I so love this plant...crinkled petals, black stamens, the funky seed pod. I just had to share!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Sneak Peek

I have a load of new pieces to add to my Etsy shop this week. Here's 2 pairs of earrings from the bunch.

Friday, June 5, 2009

New Work, Sort Of...

This pendant has been kicking around for a while. I made it for Maine Team's winter challenge. It was ok...but lacked the grittiness I like in my work....you know, oxidation to the sterling, scraps, bumps, and bruises. And I really detested this chain. So, I updated the pendant and it feels more like a Quench piece.

Just a little coloration to the sterling, sanding of the rivets, and a modern sterling cable wire to replace the chain. A vast improvement, wouldn't you agree?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Interview with Corybethy

Since joining Etsy, I have "met" and befriended many talented folks from all over the world. I thought that I should start introducing you all to these incredible artists as well. Below is my first blog interview with Corybethy. A dynamic jeweler and regular contributor to Team Metalsmiths in Action, Cory's work is vibrant, fun, and unique. Read on!

Tell me a bit about yourself (name, where you live, age?, zodiac sign, family, pets, etc).
My name is Cory Howard. I live just outside Columbus, Ohio where I've lived my entire life. I'm a 26 year old Scorpio and I live in my house with my sister, her cat, my dog Axel and my parrot Zorba. I love love love animals and would have hundreds if I could afford them and could have time enough to spend with them.

How long have you been making jewelry?
I began making metal-smithed jewelry when I was 20ish where I first took a class at my college (Columbus College of Art and Design). I had a free period and decided I would like to try metal smithing as I had been working with beads since I was a kid. Well, needless to say =) I fell completely in love with it thanks to my wonderful professor and ended up taking 4 more classes.

What is the inspiration behind your work?
Inspiration is a tricky question. I am an artist who loves multiple media outlets. I love crafting anything whether it's painting, drawing, building, sculpting. I pretty much will take anything that holds still and try to make it into something I deem pretty =) I think that's why I like making jewelry so much. It's like tiny pieces of art that you can keep with you and admire all day. I also have a great affinity for toys. I love the ones that have a function especially if it's silly. Noise makers, wind ups, whistles, kaleidoscopes, stacking dolls... I could go on and on. They just make me happy. Bright colors are another love of mine. I love to surround myself with them. It's hard to be sad when you are surrounded by bright cheerful colors!

What is the one technique that you would love to learn.
A technique I really want to learn is enameling! Another outlet for color. Yippee =) And I just love the glassy, mixed hue techniques you can get with enamels. They are beautiful! I'm planning on taking a class at my community center pretty soon. I'm just dreading the thought though because I know how much I'll love it and that can only mean one thing... MORE SUPPLIES! I'll have to fork over my savings on enamels.

Tell about working with epoxy resin. How did you learn this process?
Ahh my history with Epoxy Resin is a funny one. During my second class with my wonderful professor, she said to me, "Cory, I think your work is great but it's just calling out for some color!" She had seen my other forms of art and knew how much I loved color. She really encouraged me to try epoxy resin. Well, I have not looked back since! I love epoxy resin. The color possibilities are endless and it gives me a form of art that's not metal but can be so easily combined with metal. It's really a blast. I come up with new ideas for it everyday it's so versatile.
How did you find Etsy?
A friend of mine found Etsy when it first started and talked me into looking it up. I started an account and shop and browsed around a bit but never really got into it much as I was busy with school. After school when I found my full-time job, my friends at work loved Etsy and would shop there all the time. I had recently gotten a torch for Christmas (thanks mom and dad!) and thought, "what the heck, I'll try it out!" Well, It was so fun to start making metal work again and now I had an excuse to spend countless hours and sleepless nights at my table crafting! I was selling stuff and it was amazing.

Do you sell anywhere else besides Etsy, either online or offline?
Recently, a friend's wife has started a shop in a small town outside of Columbus and they thought my jewelry would make a good addition. I'm so excited to be able to display my work in a gallery setting! I'm working on that project as we speak. I also do occasional craft shows but I find it hard to stay at my booth instead of wandering around seeing what goodies there are to be had.

Is CoryBethy your full time job? If not, are you working towards that?
CoryBethy is not my full time unfortunately. I work as a graphic designer from 9-5 weekdays. Someday I think it would be wonderful to open my own little shop with lots and lots of local lovelies to sell.

What is the most beneficial aspect of Etsy?
I love that Etsy is global. So far I've had the privilege of selling items to such countries as Canada, Ireland, Australia and Denmark! It's so cool to think of my items being worn in such far away places! That never never never would have been possible, or at least as easy, without Etsy.