Friday, April 27, 2012

Ilkorin Sheet bracelet

("Telerin Sheet bracelet" by Handmaden Designs LLC)

Elegant and of a good size (weighing in at 1oz), this copper Ilkorin Sheet chainmaille bracelet feels great on your skin!  When well made, chainmaille should feel as though it were fabric, only out of metal.  The copper is a beautiful rich colour and is coated so you will never have to clean it!  This bracelet measures at 7.5 inches long and just under 3/4 inch wide.

Ilkorin Sheet is an original weave by Handmaden Designs LLC.

Gemstone of the Week: Moonstone

Moonstone is a very interesting gem.  It has an unusual sheen known as 'adularescence' which is described as "a floating, shifting light effect caused by the structural unevenness of moonstone" (quote from Renee Newman's book "Gemstone Buying Guide").  Moonstone belongs to the Feldspar  group of minerals and can occur in Olgioclase Feldspar, Orthoclase Feldspar, Sanidine (an Alkali Feldspar), and Anorthoclase Fledspar.  The effect found in Moonstone results from the layering of two different types of Feldspar (often Albite and Orthoclase) and causes the light to scatter giving it it's unusual optical effect.   Moonstone can be white, colourless, light grayish-blue, gray, yellow, orange, brown, blue, or green.  Moonstone is found all over the world, but some of the major sources are Sri Lanka, Burma, and India.  Moonstone can be anywhere from $5-$100 per carat depending on how transparent or opaque the stone is, as well as, the colour (near transparent blue is generally the most valuable).

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ilkorin Sheet

("Telerin Sheet" by Handmaden Designs LLC)

Ilkorin Sheet is (as the name states) the sheet version of Ilkorin.  It is a Moibus-European and closely related to Elfweave and Elfsheet but with missing connections.

Both Ilkorin and Ilkorin Sheet are original weaves by Handmaden Designs LLC.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Why Historical Inspiration?

Everywhere around us you see either sleek, modern designs with clean lines and no frills or ultra-traditional department store jewellery, so why do I go back and seek inspiration through historical designs?  Because, to me, there is no beauty left in today's designs.

When you go into just about any department store or major chain jewellery stores, just about everything looks the same.  It's all mass produced, and it seems like all the designs look very much alike with almost no difference.  So why would I want to make something that looks like what everyone else has?

Many of these stores seem to think that the beauty of jewellery is all about how many stones (especially diamonds) you can put in a single piece.  But just as with any art form it's not simply about the materials, you may have the greatest of materials but if the composition is lacking then the whole piece fails.  The way a piece is composed/designed is more important than what kind of stones you used and how many of them you crammed into a single piece.  Sometimes, the spaces where there are no stones are more beautiful than the stones.  It's not about how many stones you use, but how you use them.

In the Victorian and Edwardian eras, no matter what they were creating, be it a piece of jewellery or something purely functional like door hardware, they took great care to create something that was not only functional but beautiful at the same time and with such great workmanship that they would endure.  This is very unlike today as now products seem to be being made simply so they can be disposed of again.  The quality of workmanship is no longer there. Why?  Because you can never take the same care to ensure the durability of a piece when you mass produce vs. when you take the time to create it carefully by hand.  

So why seek inspiration from the past?  Because I know there are many people out there, that like myself, are tired of seeing pieces that all look the same and (because they were mass produced in China) they will just have to throw out in a couple of days anyway.  Some of the most beautiful pieces I've seen were made over 100 years ago, and you know what? They are still intact.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

2012 Show Schedule

Well, I finally got around to writing up my show schedule for this year.  Looks like unless I pick up another show in either September or October (which I might), I'll only be having 2 shows this year. Which is fine, as that gives me time to pull things together for approaching some galleries/boutiques and start re-working my show display for next year.

So here are the two shows I have scheduled:

Tawas, Michigan: 52nd Tawas Waterfront Fine Art Show:

Saturday-Sunday show August 4th-5th: Saturday 9am-5pm; Sunday 10am-4pm.
The show is located in the city park.

Chesaning, Michigan: Chesaning Music Booster Arts & Crafts show:

Friday-Saturday show after Thanksgiving November 23rd-24th.  Friday 10am-5pm; Saturday 10am-4pm.
The show is held in both the Chesaning Middle School and Chesaning High School.  My booth is located in the main room of the Middle School.

This year, I will be set-up to accept credit cards.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Gemstone of the Week: Chrysoberyl

(Image found on Orissa Gems Exporters)

Chrysoberyl is a gorgeous green to yellow gemstone.  In general, Chrosyberyl crystals are not uncommon, however, Alexandrite (discussed in an earlier blog post) is a form of Chrysoberyl and is considered one of the rarest and most expensive gemstones available.  Chrysoberyl is composed of beryllium aluminum oxide and is a hard and durable stone (hardness 8.5 on the Mohs scale).  Often this stone is found granite or granite pegmatites although Alexandrite variety is found in mica schists. Chrysoberyl is found in many countries including: Russia, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Madagascar, Brazil, Sri Lanka, and a few locations in the U.S.. Chrysoberyl can also occur as a Cat's-eyed variety.  Cat's-eye Chrysoberyl ranges from $100 to $3,000 per carat depending on the size and quality.  Although other stones may have a cat's-eye variety, when the term "Cat's-eye" is used on its own without another mineral following or preceding it, then it is refering to the Cat'seye Chrysoberyl.  Regular Chrysoberyl ranges from $100 to $500 per carat depending on the size and quality of the stone.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


("Charlotte" by Handmaden Designs LLC)

Inspired by the festoon necklaces worn during the Victorian and Edwardian eras, this set is reminiscent of the jewellery that would have been worn aboard the Titanic. However, here, the only 'ice' to be found are the brilliantly clear crystals.

This set combines the chainmaille weaves of Telerin and Not Tao 4 Chain with wire-wrapping with elegant results.  The set is made out of copper, Black Onyx, Hematite, and raw Quartz crystals only recently dug up.  The set is entirely handmade with every ring coiled and cut by hand with even the clasps being handmade.

The necklace is 17.5 inches long and should lie at just below the neck at the collarbone; the bracelet is just under 7.5 inches long and is 1.5 inches wide at the widest point; the earrings are just under 2.5 inches long.

Telerin is an original weave by Handmaden Designs LLC.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Gemstone of the Week: Cuprite

(Curpite image found on

Cuprite, as the name suggests, is a copper-based gemstone. It forms as cubic crystals and can also be cubic aggregates with fibrous crystals (this is a variety known as Chalcotrichite or plush copper) Other tie=mes, it may be found as earth massives,  Cuprite forms when copper sulfide veins oxidize.  Cuprite tends to be various shades of red to black in colour.  Great examples of Cuprite can be found in Australia, Namibia, Russia, France, and the U.S.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wire-work Tendril pendant v.4

("Tendril v.4" by Handmaden Designs LLC)

Copper wire-work pendant.  The pendant was allowed to oxidize and then selected portions of the pendant were polished to re-brighten the copper.  The piece has been coated to retain the two-tone copper.The pendant is just under 2 1/4 inches long and is almost 3/4 inch wide at the widest point.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Excited, relieved, and nervous

Well, the title of this blog post pretty much sums up how I'm feeling right now.

I just received my sales tax license from the state of Michigan, so all my business and tax registrations are now complete!  I've been working on this for about a year now, so I'm relieved to finally be finished with it and excited to now start working on really growing my business.  However,  I am really nervous about what this next phase includes.  I am now at the point where I can start approaching galleries/boutiques about displaying my work.  This is both exiting and terrifying at the same time.  I'm excited about getting my work into galleries/stores, but really nervous about the whole process of how to do so. This is all so new to me.

I'd really appreciate any advice from others that have been down this road!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Gemstone of the Week: Mesolite

(Mesolite sample from
Images of Mesolite

Mesolite is such a cool looking gem.  It looks like a crystal puff ball!  Mesolite has long, slender crystals the radiate out in all directions.It generally forms as radiating masses of slender crystals, but sometimes it will also form as compact masses or fibrous stalactites. Mesolite is a rather widespread stone being found in cavities in Basalt and Andesite, as well as, in hydrothermal veins.  Some of the best specimens are found in India, the Czech Republic ,Antarctica, the Faroe Islands, and in the states of Washington, Colorado, and Oregon.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Wire-work Tendril pendant v.3

("Tendril v.3" by Handmaden Designs LLC)

Copper wire-work pendant.  The pendant was allowed to oxidize and then selected portions of the pendant were polished to re-brighten the copper.  The piece has been coated to retain the two-tone copper.The pendant is just under 2.5 inches long and is 1/2 inch wide at the widest point.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Clara: Steampunk Huntress

("Clara: Steampunk Huntress" by Handmaden Designs  LLC)

This beautiful set is perfect for the Steampunk lady, whether dressing up for the evening or going on safari or a geological survey.  A Steampunk lady does not bow to popular fashion, she creates her own and one that is as unique as she is.  And this set is certainly unique.

The chain is made from handmade copper chain, sterling silver Half-Byzantine chainmaille segments, and brass clock gears.  The centerpiece of the necklace is a sterling silver and copper wire-wrapped either clear Topaz or Quartz crystal set in a Remmington 22 calibur bullet casing.  The earrings, are also either clear Topaz or Quartz crystals set in brass clock parts with a handmade copper and sterling silver chain.  The necklace is 18 inches long and the earrings about 2 inches long.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Wire-work Tendril pendant v.2

("Tendril v.2" by Handmaden Designs LLC)

Copper wire-work pendant.  The pendant was allowed to oxidize and then selected portions of the pendant were polished to re-brighten the copper.  The piece has been coated to retain the two-tone copper.  The pendant is 2.5 inches long and just over 1 inch wide at the widest point.