Rio Grande has the honor of having almost 27,000 "likes" on its Facebook page—and what a great community it is! In January, we decided to give back to our Facebook friends by offering our banner space as a place to showcase their great jewelry pieces. We see it as free ad space, so to speak.
We generally hold a contest each week so that our Facebook fans can "win" that space for several days or a week. In our latest contest, we called for a photograph with a piece of jewelry alongside the Rio Grande tool that was used to create it. The winner? Denise Harrison of Sterling Echoes in Bend, OR!
Beth Millner was the winner of one of our first calls for jewelry photos this year when she sent us a great photograph of her impeccable work. Beth began her jewelry career in 2007 at her kitchen table, and now she’s in 20 galleries. Read more about her ascent at her website, Beth Millner Jewelry. You can also check out Beth's Pinterest page. How inspiring!
Her description of the winning earring and pendant set really helps us understand her process:
Pierced and sawn silver tree earrings with textured landscape layers in copper and brass. Size = 1.25" (3.2cm), long not including the length of the sterling silver ear wire. I use a jeweler’s saw to cut the shape of the tree. The saw is hand-held and manually powered and has a very fine serrated blade. The patina is applied by hand into the recessed areas, contrasting the brushed surface of the metal. All handcrafted sterling silver pieces are made from Recycled Eco Silver.
Would you like to see more? Check out Beth's website and her Etsy store, Beth Millner Jewelry. Her work can be found right now in a fantastic group show at the Peninsula School of Art, Nature of Jewelry Exhibition in Fish Creek, Wisconsin. The show is open now, until July 13, 2013.
Jon M. Ryan
Jon M. Ryan won another of our banner contests with his Aluminum and Diamond earrings. Not only was the combination of non-precious metal with diamonds unexpected, but the cool, bold anodized blue of the aluminum was stunning against the sparkle of the stones.
When I spoke with Jon this week, he told me, "I’m teaching English in South Korea and taking a break from most jewelry making til probably 2014. So the only work I'm doing now is wax carving, learning watercolor rendering, and CAD." He’s an interesting guy! But it doesn’t stop there – check out his blog, Blue Aluminum: Documenting the process of designing and making my jewelry and metal work. There you can see a photo of the students he just finished teaching in South Korea, his adventures in anodizing, and his wax carvings (rendered from a photo of flowers in Laos).
Just like Beth Millner let us in on her journey from her kitchen to a full grown business, Jon let us follow him on the various journeys of his artistic development.
Pamela K. Bellesen
Pamela K. Bellesen won our contest with these fabulous Harvest Basket earrings (that half of our call center cooed over!). Check out Pamela's website, Wide Mouth Frog Designs, and while you're at it, take a look at the post from The Studio archives about the evolution of Pamela's unique business name, What's in a Name? The Story of Wide Mouth Frog Designs.
A few words from Pamela: "I don't sell online and am currently doing all wholesale with only one retail show a year. My affordable wholesale line is done in predominately aluminum. It's funny, I started using aluminum about two years before I started seeing it in your catalog! . . . I was ahead of the trend!" If you’re interested in learning a little more about her wholesale model, her website gives a good window into that world.
Francine Ruth’s Florala won a spot on our Facebook banner too! This is how she describes the piece on her Etsy page:
Three layers of sterling silver were used to create this pretty pendant. Each layer was handcrafted and textured to give life to the flower. Three petite circles were then soldered to the middle. These circles are 22k bi-metal which is 22% gold fused to sterling silver. Please note that this is not gold plated and has much more gold content.
She explains how she serendipitously and almost accidentally started her jewelry career, "I am relatively new to the world of jewelry. About six years ago, I decided to take classes to relieve stress from my work in the insurance industry, and I became addicted. I am currently only doing regional art shows as I still work full time at an insurance company but hope to expand [my jewelry business] in 2014"!
Karla Wheeler's winning piece was this great, oversized paisley cuff. When we posted her photo as the winning piece, other Facebook fans were eager to know how she created it. Karla explained that the cuff's surface decoration was etched using Press-n-Peel photo transfer film as a resist.
Based in Chicago, Illinois, Karla's innovative and modern work can be found on her website, Karla Wheeler Design. I love her artist statement there:
I like classic lines but I am drawn towards statement jewelry, so many of my pieces are classic with the twist of being slightly larger than life. I also like to hide details that are only known by the wearer; such as etchings on the back of a ring. I believe it makes my jewelry feel a little more personal.
Everyone should have one piece of jewelry that is special, whether it is a statement necklace for special occasions, or a ring that is worn every day. If I can create those pieces for someone, I am happy.
These are just five of the jewelry artists who are making us look GREAT by inviting us to feature their work on our Facebook banner. We encourage you to look at the album of winners, and to enter our contests whenever you see us post a call for entries. You'll win great exposure in front of almost 27,000 members of your Facebook jewelry-making community.
We hope to see your entries there soon!Comment on this article
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