The Studio – Jewelry Blog by Rio Grande

New Directions: Powder Metallurgy (Metal Clay) in a Sheet Metal World — A Book Review

Aug 31, 2011
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Viqui Sanchez
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I just love a win/win, and this gorgeous new book, New Directions: Powder Metallurgy (Metal Clay) in a Sheet Metal World, put together by Susan Breen Silvy and Christine Norton, delivers in so many ways! First, it is an astonishing and inspiring collection of jewelry and hollowware pieces crafted from metal clay. Second, 20% of the purchase price is being donated to CERF+ (Craft Emergency Relief Fund) by the publisher with an additional $1 being donated by Blurb for Good, a program created by the website hosting the book sales, Blurb.com.

This book is a little treasure that helps support fellow artists through CERF+. Check it out!

“The introduction of a new material in the visual arts gives birth to more than just new works of art; it necessitates new ways of working, enables new ways of thinking, and encourages new ways of realizing the potential of the eye to visualize and the hand to create,” writes Michael David Sturlin in the introduction to this small, powerful book. As one of the newest materials in today's visual arts world, metal clay is doing exactly that. And the fruit of this new potential is delicious indeed.

This juried selection includes pieces that feature innovative finishes, intricate texturing techniques, and formations that simply aren't possible without the unparalleled flexibility of clay. Pieces are set with stones or inlaid with glass, enamel, and found objects. Oxidized, bright-finished, patinaed, painted—the techniques for finishing are wide-ranging and imaginative. And I don't doubt that just looking through these pages is going to sow the seeds for even more creative designs.

Then, to know that nearly a quarter of the price I paid is going to CERF+—and will help artists and craftspeople get back on their feet after disaster strikes—just adds that much more value to the book for me. Grown from the tradition of ‘passing the hat’ so intrinsic to the craft community, CERF+ has become a nationally recognized service organization dedicating to providing help to artists and craftspeople through direct financial and educational assistance, including emergency relief assistance, business development support, and resources and referrals on a variety of crucial topics such as health, safety, and insurance. CERF+ develops, promotes, and maintains resources for emergency readiness and recovery that benefit all artists.

Rio has long supported CERF+ through its “Sweeps For CERF+” program. Jewelers are encouraged to collect their sweeps and donate them to CERF+ to help sustain the careers of craftspeople affected by natural disasters and other emergencies across the United States. Rio collects all the sweeps until we have enough to refine them; all proceeds go directly to CERF+. Our collective contribution can make a big difference to fellow craft artists—so before you send your sweeps to the landfill, think instead of filling the hearts of craftspeople in need.

This book, small enough to fit into a purse or pocket, is packed with color photographs, artist biographies and website addresses, and a world of creativity. It’s easy to carry, easy to share, easy to immerse your creative self in. If, like me, you like a win/win, or if you could use a bit of inspiration or would just love to take a 30-minute vacation through a gallery of amazing beauty and artistry, pick up a copy for yourself.

Let us know what you think; what struck you? What surprised you? What inspired you? I'd tell you what my favorite is, but I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise . . .

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Book Review: Chain and Bead Jewelry Soldering Connections by Scott David Plumlee

Aug 29, 2011
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Cathy Contreras
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Chain and Bead Jewelry Soldering Connections is the fourth book in Scott David Plumlee’s series on chain making. If you love making chain, but have been avoiding projects that involve soldering, this is the book for you!

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Large Silver Hoop Earrings: A Project with Mark Nelson and Book Giveaway Winner Announcement!

Aug 25, 2011
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Spencer Baum
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Today we’ve got another wire working project to share with you. In this one, Mark Nelson creates a pair of large silver hoop earrings made from 20-gauge sterling wire and wrapped with Swarovski beads. Have fun!

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Making Beaded Triad Earrings: A Book Excerpt from Scott David Plumlee

Aug 24, 2011
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This is part two of the book excerpt from Scott David Plumlee’s terrific book, Chain and Bead Jewelry Soldering Connections. In this excerpt, Plumlee demonstrates how to use the headpins from Monday’s post to create a pair of Beaded Triad Earrings. . .

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Making Headpins from Argentium Silver Wire: A Book Excerpt from Scott David Plumlee

Aug 22, 2011
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In the following excerpt from Scott David Plumlee’s book, Chain and Bead Jewelry Soldering Connections, Scott shares a great approach to making silver headpins from Argentium Silver wire. . .

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Back to School?

Aug 18, 2011
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Mark Shipman
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This time of year is all about getting kids outfitted, supplied and registered for the new school year. There’s a lot of excitement, enthusiasm and maybe just a little bit of the jitters when faced with new ideas, new connections and new challenges, but that’s what makes it a thrill! Why leave all the fun to the kids?

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Gary Dawson on the Santa Fe Symposium: An Insider’s View of a Great Event

Aug 17, 2011
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Gary Dawson
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Santa Fe Symposium always brings a plethora of new and unique experiences. The Symposium is all about the science of making jewelry but for me it is a lot more than that. . .

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Haley Holeman: Young, Award-Winning Jewelry Designer Mixes It Up

Aug 15, 2011
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Shelby Chant
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A conversation with young jewelry designer Haley Holeman, a 2008 Saul Bell Design Award Emerging Artist winner. Haley mixes media in many of her vibrant jewelry designs, everything from Argentium® Silver with glass…

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New Bonny Doon Hammers and Stakes

Aug 11, 2011
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Phil Poirier
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In the early 90s I created a line of jewelry which used anticlastic and synclastic shapes made from strips of gold and silver. The need for efficient hammers and stakes inspired me to develop and make a urethane-headed hammer and stakes which would form the shapes I needed. . .

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Loop-in-Loop Chain: A Wire-Wrapping Video with Mark Nelson (and Book Giveaway!)

Aug 10, 2011
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Mike Schelle
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Make a beautiful chain of interweaving loops–a method developed by the Greeks and Romans. Leave us a comment about your interest in wire-wrapping techniques and maybe you’ll win Jean Reist Stark and Josephine Reist Smith’s wire-wrapping book!

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