Conversations with Rocks

Yesterday I came to an impasse with the silver so I moseyed over to the lapidary station and started going through my rock collection. That’s one thing I love about making this type of jewelry. If I get stymied in one area there are plenty of others I can jump to for a while in order to clear my head.

I’ve been looking at one particular rock for a while now, just knowing that it was meant for greater things. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of it before I started in on it but you can see it here, where I used it for a photographic prop.

Well, yesterday he spoke to me and encouraged me to use him. I had mixed feelings about that because I found it hard to believe that if something was sentient enough to talk to me, surely it wouldn’t be telling me to chop it up into little pieces. But, I went with it because I get into that stuff, and it was nice to have someone to chat with for the moment in my solitary studio. He reassured me that it was ok, and reminded me that matter is never destroyed, it just changes form. I promised him that I’d keep him beautiful and do him justice.

I think my cutting and polishing came out well, and I now had to give him a good home, or homes, in silver. But I wasn’t ready for getting back to the silver just yet. I was loving the black and white palette so I pulled out some fossil slab that had been waiting patiently for me since February.

That’s when the voices really started. And you can see why. All of those little white things used to be motile little creatures and they still have a lot to say. I set about freeing them into little vignettes of their last moments before being frozen in time.

It was hard to choose which areas to focus on. The more I looked at them, the more I saw and I know that the images are tiny and detailed but I hope that when someone wears them in a piece of jewelry that they find enjoyment in peering deeply and experience the realms that I do.

The one below caught my eye immediately. My first unicorn sighting. I have a feeling it won’t be my last.

Live on, little buddies.

Back in the Jewelry Studio

It has been almost a year since I published my last coloring book. In true form, I’m on to the next thing. Or should I say, back to an old thing? This foray finds me back in the jewelry studio. I thought it would be fun to show you the process for one of the bracelet styles I’m making using scrap soft glass and silver fabrication.

First, I pull out some old scrap glass rods, stringer, and murrine cane, and chop it all up.
Then I line a steel tube with kiln paper and throw it all in.
After a 16 or so hour fuse in the kiln i have a nice puck of colorful glass with which to work.

These pucks get sliced into disks to reveal the designs hidden within.

I then slice them up into funky shapes.

Sometimes I use the scrap from this step.

And configure for another, shorter, fuse in the kiln.

Then comes the polishing. Sometimes I stop at a matte finish.

And sometimes I take them through six different grits of grinding and polishing wheels to achieve a higher shine.

Here is where it all starts to come together. Setting them in silver. I create a silver bezel to frame the little masterpieces.

And then cut out more silver to give them a nice backing.

From there, I solder the bezel to the backing and file the edges to a nice smooth finish.

And add some type of decorative element to make the back just as fun as the front.

If it’s a pendant, with a larger cabochon I am starting to get a little more creative with the setting, for more visual interest without being too busy against the design in the glass.

With the bracelets, the chain links that I solder between the pieces are just enough to pull it all together.

It feels really good to be back in the jewelry studio. Thanks for following along throughout the years!

If you’d like to see more of my process shots in almost-real-time you can follow me on Instagram or my facebook page.

You might also want to check out  my new web site to see all of the other pieces I’ve been creating this year at www.lorigreenbergjewelry.com.

Murrine and Silver Jewelry

After a fun weekend with friends at the end of last month I’m back to the writing thing. I’ve spent months agonizing over editing the first draft and rewriting. No matter how much I learn about the ego and the human psyche, they are still bitches and I continually need to sit down with them and tell them to shut the eff up! I am so grateful to the handful of people who have been so encouraging, and to those from whom I am learning by their example. I have lots to say on the writing front but I wanted to share today what I’ve been up to studio-wise.

I’ve joined the ranks of murrine collector. Maybe not a huge collector, but enough to know what I like and buy it just to look at. Here are some of my favorites:

By Greg Chase.

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By Ryan McCluer.

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One of them I made into a ring, which caused me to buy more cane so I can make more rings. You can never have enough skulls.

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