Now for a look of some other shows and neat finds around Tucson!
I hope you enjoyed these photos and hope they have inspired you to see the all of what the Tucson gem shows have to offer next year! Photos by Heather Dean of JewelryTools.com.
Of the shows that we do throughout the year, there is definitely something very special about The Bead & Button Show. From the moment we first arrive for set-up in the Delta Convention Center, there is a certain buzz in the air; the anticipation of the wonderful chaos that is about to ensue. Thousands of people flock from all over in the name of jewelry! There is something to be said about how passionate these people are about their craft. It makes for a very fun, exciting, and successful show! Row after row of exhibitors selling everything from finished jewelry, glass, findings, tools (ah hem! You’re welcome! ), gemstones, beads, beads, beads, beads and did I mention beads?
The moment I had a chance to step out of the booth, I had to document just a little bit of the jewelry happiness happening all around me!
Never been to Tucson during the gem shows? Well you are missing out! JewelryTools.com photographer Heather Dean was hard at work snapping photos to give you an idea of what actually happens during the gem shows. From beautiful high end finished jewelry to giant crystal sculptures, you’ll always be surprised at the wonderful finds. Featured shows include: JOGS, AGTA, and Electric Park. First up: The JOGS Show!
Next stop is the Kino Gem and Mineral show (formerly knows as Electric Park).
We’d love to see you at our classes next year! Leave us your email address and we’ll let you know when our 2014 Tucson Jewelry Classes are open.
Being a jewelry artist you want to ensure you remain relevant, current and up-to-date with your designs. So, today I thought we should go over a few trends that are popular right now so you can stay on top of the latest in the fashion world. Luckily, when it comes to jewelry, the fashion tide doesn’t ebb and flow wildly. We don’t have many extremes like skinny jeans or parachute pants. Don’t get me wrong, there are wild, out there jewelry pieces, but they’re generally for the runway, not daily wear.
A couple fashion items you may have been noticing are plain white t-shirts and neon. The 80s are back, whether you like it, or not. The good thing about women wearing white tees and tank tops is that they will accessorize with flamboyant, colorful jewelry. A white background makes a perfect backdrop for bright colors and interesting pieces.
Neon, on the other hand is plain fun. Neon colors somehow all go together. You can wear pink, green, yellow and blue at the same time and it matches perfectly. As you can see by this fall’s Pantone color chart, many bright colors can be mixed and matched. While we’re still in summer, though, people want bright, bright, bright colors. They’ll cool off a bit, as they do, when autumn comes around.
A trend we’re seeing with celebrities, Jessica Alba for example, is wearing different shades of one hue. They may wear all black, green, or blue, but each piece of clothing and their accessories is a different shade of that color. This look can be very chic. You can easily incorporate this trend into your jewelry. For example, if you’re a beader, you could make a piece that’s all blue, while using a variety of blue beads in different shades. Similarly is a look called Ombre. This has been popular for awhile now, but if you’re not familiar it is when a color gradually goes from a dark shade to a light shade.
Big statement pieces are also very in. I see chunky necklaces and big hoop earrings everywhere. But really, do big hoops ever go out? Many statement pieces feature a Gypsy style. This means lots of beads, gold, fabric and metal. Metal, metallic colors; you can’t have enough metal this season. Stackable rings and bracelets are also a hit. If you can mix metals in a set of stackable rings then you’ve got something with a very edgy feel. Lots of women are wearing stacked, or cuff bracelets. Again, all made of metal. Hand made bracelets, like braided hemp ones, are also big. It’s becoming a trend to stack those creating a very bohemian, Gypsy look.
On the other end of the spectrum we have barely there jewelry. As I said before, neon and bright colors are in. Of course this means that notice-me outfits are big, too. When wearing a notice-me outfits women should sport barely there earrings and necklaces that shine. In other words, simple and metal. Gold and brass are very in, and metal pieces with texture. A simple chain necklace will accent a loud outfit. You need to have balance. Like with makeup, if have heavy eye make-up, you keep your lips light and simple. If you have simple eye make-up, rock a bright red lipstick.
When making jewelry the next few months, try to incorporate color and lots of it. The more neon, the better. And metal, don’t forget metal. It’s seriously everywhere. As we come into fall shorten those necklaces. Collar style necklaces are going to be trending this fall, but one thing that will carry over is, you guessed it, metal. Keep metal, metallics, diamonds, cubic zirconias and rhinestones in mind when creating your fall lines. If you can keep up with the current trends, you’ll be a jewelry artist with lots of repeat business.
TruSTRIKE(TM) hammers are the latest addition to the JewelryTools.com family. Direct from EURO TOOL, TruSTRIKE(TM) offers seven different jewelry making hammers. You can find one for any jewelry project including embossing, raising, planishing and forming. Here at JewelryTools.com we enjoy testing new hammers because, let’s be honest, is there anything more fun than demolishing metal and getting paid for it? When we received this fun new line of TruSTRIKE(TM) hammers I was excited to get hammering!
At first glance I was taken with their appearance. They look dainty, but pack a punch! I have a thing for black and silver color combos so these jewelry hammers were immediately aesthetically pleasing to me. They all have heads that are just under 5″ and most are about 10-1/2″ in length. The smooth hardwood handle is comfortable to hold, as well.
Before getting started I grabbed a couple of bench blocks to hammer upon. I really enjoy using our 2″ Steel and Rubber Bench Block (DAP-520.00) and the Large Economy Steel Bench Block (DAP-540.10). I have a hard time choosing a favorite between the two. I also grabbed a few Rectangle Copper Sheets (MET-120.43) to practice my hammering on. Then, with hammers in hand, I was ready to start pounding away.
The raising hammers (Large, HAM-235.25 and Small, HAM-235.20) create seamless forms without thinning the metal. The different heads enabled me to create two different textures with just one tool. All of these hammers made it easy and quick to form the metal I was working with.
The Domed/Round Embossing Hammer (HAM-235.15) is great for working the metal from the back to form three-dimensional shapes. All in all I’d say these are a must for jewelry artists, metalsmiths and crafters, alike.
Have you tried TruSTRIKE(TM) hammers? What do you like about them? Leave your response in the comments section below.
Who’s going to the Bead & Button Show?? We are! The Bead & Button Show is June 1-10 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at the Frontier Airlines Center. Ah, Milwaukee, I have too many Laverne and Shirley puns in my head, so I’ll just let you insert your own here and press on with Bead & Button Show information. With hundreds of jewelry making classes, contests, art exhibits and a marketplace, you’re sure to find more than enough to keep you entertained. If some folks in your group aren’t up to a bead show, you can leave them down the street at the Milwaukee Public Museum where they’ll have aquatic and animal displays to see, or the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum where they have a Weebles exhibit! Milwaukee has something for the entire family, but we don’t think you’ll want to be anywhere but surrounded by mountains of beads.
If you’re in town June 5-10 then you’ll have loads of jewelry making classes to choose from and the Bead and Jewelry Marketplace to peruse. If you’re one of the lucky folks who are in town early then you’re probably attending a Master Class, Fundamentals in Techniques, Workshops or the Moonlight Sonata Workshops. On Wednesday, the 6th, you can attend the Meet the Teachers Reception! This is considered the kickoff to the Bead & Button Show and a great opportunity to meet the faculty. You can visit with the teachers before you take their class or just see what’s being taught this year. Fair warning, you will probably leave signed up for an additional class or two!
On Friday, June 8, Bead & Button is hosting Flame On! This is an exciting event where famous lampworkers create pieces and teach you a few tips and tricks along the way. If you see something you like, you have the opportunity to purchase their creations at the Bead Social and Auction Night on Saturday evening to benefit the Bead Artists Against Breast Cancer fundraising efforts. The silent auctions begin accepting bids on Friday, the 8th. Another must-see is the Japanese Exhibit. This exhibit is made up of the top award-winning pieces from the Arts J Crafts Exhibition 2012 that was held in April.
I mentioned classes, right? If you’re not already signed up for, ummm, all of them, then get on it! OK, sign up for one at least. Many are already sold out, so don’t wait another day. These jewelry making classes are being taught by world renowned jewelry artists so you’ll learn all the latest trends and tricks to make beautiful pieces on your own. Classes include lampworking, beading, peyote stitch, metal and silver clay, lapidary, wire crochet, chainmaille and more. If you’re interested in it, there’s probably an instructor teaching a class about it. Some of them will even be using our very own tools! We’re also going to record video demos while we’re in town, so stay tuned for those.
You may get to the show and find you need a last minute jewelry making tool, or you just want to stock up in person where you can actually see and feel the tools. Well, that’s where we come in. We’ll be at booth #738 and #740 in the Bead and Jewelry Marketplace.
JewelryTools.com will be bringing hundreds of tools and we enjoy meeting our lovely customers, so please make a point of stopping by. We’ll also be bringing instructional DVDs from our sister-site, Wire-Sculpture.com! If you’re a wire wrap jewelry artist, these DVDs are a must-have. You can find them at booth #637. It’s just $10 to get into the show (we hear there’s a special two-for-one deal on Sunday), and if you’re a registrant you get a special preview night Thursday, June 7, from 4-9pm. The showroom floor opens to the public Friday, June 8, and the hours are as follows: Friday 10am-8pm, Saturday 10am-6pm and Sunday 10am-4pm.
I don’t know about you, but I worry about getting my haul back home after these shows. Nowadays it’s cheaper to ship items than to check an extra suitcase, or two….or three. Don’t judge…on a plane. It can be inconvenient to run to the local post office, so The Bead & Button Show has done you a favor. The Hyatt Hotel and the Hilton Hotel are offering shipping services. If you’re staying at the Hyatt and want to mail your goodies home, simply visit the Business Center in the first floor lobby. Staying at the Hilton? Swing by Guest Services in the lobby on the second floor. Not staying at either hotel? It’s OK, they just ask that you pay for these services with a credit card.
If you don’t live in the great city of Milwaukee, or the surrounding area, then you may need some help in the travel department. The wonderful folks at the Bead and Button Show have a great page set up with travel information about Milwaukee, where to stay and where to grab a delicious meal.
What classes are you signed up for? What are you most looking forward to at the show? We’d love to hear about it! See you soon at the 2012 Bead & Button Show!
All photos courtesy of Bead&Button
Today we’ll be talking about crimping. No, not the totally rad hairstyle you rocked in the ’80s, I’m talking jewelry. One of our best sellers is The Original Bead Crimper (PLR-585.00) for beads, from 2 to 3mm. There are many crimping tools from EURO TOOL in this line, but jewelry artists seem to like this pair the best. They’re ideal for general crimping purposes. We carry three other pairs of crimping pliers: the Pocket Crimper (for 2 to 3mm beads), Micro Crimper (for 1mm beads), and Mighty Crimper (for 3mm beads). Any of these crimping tools will work with either tube crimps or round crimps. It is generally recommend that you use round, spherical crimps if you’re going to hide the crimp bead as they hold better than tube crimps. Tube crimps, however, are more attractive when they are to be seen. And, in my opinion, crimp tubes are a little easier to crimp. These crimpers all have blue PVC handles for comfort and leverage. The jaws are made of high grade steel with non-glare black oxide finish, and precision ground to assure perfect crimps. The Original Bead Crimper is 5″ in length so it comfortably sits in the palm of your hand.
So, how do you use this wonderful tool? It’s actually quite simple. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Once you’re finished with the fabulous design on your bead thread, or wire, slip a crimp bead on followed by the clasp you’ve chosen. Make sure you take the thread through the hole in the clasp and then back through the crimp bead once more. Your crimp bead will look like a threaded needle. (Figure 1)
Now, pick up those crimping pliers. See how there are two cavities? The dimple shape is in the back, by the handle, and the rounder is the cavity in the front. Make sure both ends of the wire or thread are on the same side, facing away from the clasp, and using the back cavity (Figure 2), squeeze the crimp bead. (Figure 3) Rotate the bead so the dimpled part is facing away and then squeeze the bead in the rounder cavity. (Figure 5) You can trim the excess bead string with some wire cutters or thread it through the end beads. It all depends on the style of your piece, and you, the artist.
Need a visual? Me, too. Here ya go…
For added security, you may prefer to use the rounder cavity to go over the other sides of your bead. This will secure the crimp and also work harden the metal. If you’re working with bead string then you’ll want to do this. Don’t forget to leave at least an inch on your string or wire so you have space to add the crimp beads.
What are your crimping tips and tricks? Let us know in the comments section below.
You may have found your way to this blog, or our website, by way of Wire-Sculpture.com, our sister-site. If this is the case, then you probably already have a general understanding of wire wrapping. If not, then allow me to tell you a little bit about the wonderful world of wire wrapping. Here at JewelryTools.com we have a huge assortment of tools for your wire wrap projects. Just beginning? Visit Wire-Sculpture.com to stock up on some instructional DVDs, or find some free patterns to try out.
Wire wrap jewelry is something most anyone can do. All you need is a few simple tools and your two hands to twist, bend, wrap and shape wires into rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings and more. Because you’re working with wire, the creative options are endless. You can use gold, silver, brass, copper, and colored craft wires to create unique pieces of jewelry. Adding a gemstone, CZ, or cabochon (pronounced ka-bə-shän), is another way to bring individual personality to your work.
Different forms of wire wrapping have been around for ages and there are different schools of thought on the subject. Some purists prefer to make their jewelry without soldering or gluing, whereas others incorporate whatever methods they want to. There is no right or wrong way to make wire wrapped jewelry if it turns out the way you want.
Now, you may be wondering about the tools you’ll need. As with most jewelry making, you’ll need your basic pairs of pliers: flat nose, chain nose, round nose, and a good pair of cutters. You can purchase these tools individually, or in a set. If you intend to make rings, then you’ll require a ring mandrel, as well. A ring mandrel ensures you make the correct ring size. You may also want bracelet and necklace mandrels; however, they aren’t necessary for a beginner. You can always find objects at home that will work when you’re just starting. Another must is a polishing cloth. You’ll need one of these, or an old cotton t-shirt, to straighten and clean your wire before you begin your work.
Two specialty tools that will make your work easier are the Multi-Size Wire Looping Pliers and a wire twister. Multi-Size Wire Looping Pliers enable you to create loops quickly and easily and will ensure your loops are always the same size. These pliers are also great for making jump rings. If you can learn to make jump rings right off the bat, you’ll do yourself a world of service. It’s always inconvenient to have to stop mid-project to go to the craft store for those tiny circles. Why not make them yourself? A wire twister is a fun tool that will add a different element to your pieces. We carry a great pair of manual Wire Twisting Pliers. This tool will quickly twist a single piece of wire, or twist two separate pieces together, for a neat effect.
Once you’re comfortable with the basics of wire wrapping you may also want to incorporate a hammer into your work. You can use a hammer to texture and flatten wire to create different designs. When using a hammer, you need a bench block to protect your
work surface, wire, and tools. We have many to choose from on our site, but our favorite is the Bench Block Helper. This one is nice because you can use the steel, nylon, or rubber sides depending on your needs. When using the steel or nylon disc the rubber absorbs shock and noise. Want to get all of the tools you need to get started in one fell swoop? Try one of our many wire wrapping tool kits. These kits come with pliers, mandrels, hammers, rulers and more. There are many resources out there for the beginning wire artist, but JewelryTools.com is your one-stop-shop for wire wrapping tools.
Want to see demos of some of the videos mentioned in today’s blog post? Check us out on YouTube! The following are links to the tools mentioned above: “Brilliant” Polishing Cloth (POL-705.00), Lindstrom RX Plier and Cutter Set (PLR-7000RX), Multi-Size Wire Looping Pliers (PLR-736.00), Chasing Hammer (HAM-150.00), Bench Block Helper (DAP-500.30).
Keum-boo, or Kum-boo, or Kum-bu (pronounced Come-boo) is a Korean technique meaning “attached gold.” It’s also popular in Japanese and Chinese cultures and may also have been used by the Greeks and Romans. So, basically, Keum-boo is when you add 24k gold to the surface of silver. You can attach it to other metals, as well, it’s just most commonly found on silver. It can also be applied to all types of PMC. The technical term for this whole process is diffusion bonding. The metals don’t melt together; the atoms of the two metals are exchanged and bond together.
Keum-boo begins on a hot plate. Yes, like the one you had in your college dorm to heat up Ramen (Sorry, we don’t sell hot plates here at JewelryTools.com, but you can find one at your local retail store). You heat up the hot plate to somewhere between 650 degrees to 850 degrees Fahrenheit, or hot enough that it blackens the tip of a wooden chopstick or Popsicle stick. When it’s up to temperature you place the gold leaf on with tweezers, grab your burnishers and starts pushing the gold into place. Now, if the burnishers get hot, trade them out for cool ones. If you continue using a hot burnisher you run the risk of tearing your gold leaf. Once you have the gold in place you can place the metal or PMC onto a steel bench block to cool it off. The steel block will pull the heat away without damaging the metal or PMC.
Just a few notes before you begin the fun of Keum-boo. A few different sources argued about what type of gold to use in this project. Some say to use gold leaf because it’s thinner and easy to put into place. You have to be careful with gold leaf, however, and place it between two thin pieces of paper, like tracing paper. Then trace a design or cut it out while it’s between the paper. There are experts who don’t like how thin gold leaf is and so they suggest Allcraft KB24, Art Clay or homemade. Rolling your own foil may produce a thicker foil that you’ll enjoy.
Remember I mentioned cutting shapes out of the gold? You can cut shapes using an X-ACTO knife, paper punch, craft knives and most scissors. After all is said and done you may have some burnishing marks left on your work. Cleaning those isn’t too hard. You can get a small amount of pumice damp and, using your finger, give it a light rub. Or use pumice on a soapy brass brush. The same can be done with baking soda instead of pumice, you’ll simply achieve a softer look. Just steer clear of satin finish wheels and other harsh abrasives. If you’d like to learn more about the art of Keum-boo we invite you to pick up Keum-Boo on Silver Techniques for Applying 24k Gold to Silver by Celie Fargo. She’s a wealth of knowledge on the subject and will teach you more than you thought possible.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBY3dR66b6Q: 1312-4 Mark Nelson Rio Grande Keum-Boo on Beads, Baubles and Jewels
Fargo, Celie (2007) Keum-Boo on Silver Techniques for Appying 24k Gold to Silver.
Hinged Bracelet: http://www.celiefago.com/about_my_work.html
Cuff Bracelet: http://www.liloveve.com/classes/keum-boo