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Monday, February 11, 2013

Art Jewelry Boot Camp: Balled Headpin Blog Hop

Love My Art Jewelry is sponsoring jewelry technique "boot camps" with a new skill every six weeks.  The first boot camp focused on learning how to make balled end headpins and the challenge was to learn how to make them and use them to make original jewelry.

I have been making my own headpins for quite awhile so, I chose to view this as a design challenge.  I had been doodling a few "lacy" designs in my sketchbook for some time and this pushed me to try some of them using double-ended headpins.  I love to use wire that has had the ends torch-balled because it keeps the jewelry item from snagging clothing or skin--it's really a comfort factor.

The first piece of jewelry that I made was a copper choker.  I started making double-ended 18 gauge copper headpins in a variety of random sizes.  These headpins were then pickled to remove the firescale.  I then shaped them and soldered them so that jump rings could not slip out.  The soldered sections were then pickled once again and I then hammered them to work harden them so that they would hold their shape better.  I copper plated the silver solder seams and the sections were then tumble polished.  After laying out the sections in a visually pleasing arrangement, I joined the segments with 18 g 4 mm ID copper jump rings.  I had already made a soldered spiral clasp which I adorned with a sterling silver granulation made from a small piece of scrap wire.  The little ball was sweat soldered to the clasp.  After I added this clasp to the necklace, I treated the completed necklace with liver of sulphur and hand polished it.

Balled Headpin Copper Choker
 Balled Headpin Copper Choker Necklace

Edited to add:

I received a request for a photo of the necklace being worn.  I made it to fit my neck:

Copper Choker As Worn By Me
   Copper Choker As Worn By Me

The second idea that I had was for hammered frames to be used to create simple chandelier earrings.  I cut two equal lengths of 16 gauge sterling silver wire which I then used to create double-ended headpins.  After I pickled the headpins, I formed them and soldered them.  The frames were then pickled, hammered,  and tumble polished.  I hung these frames from my handmade ear wires and added bead dangles made with 20 g sterling silver headpins and 6/0 glass beads.  The assembled earrings were treated with liver of sulphur and hand polished.

sterling silver chandelier earrings by Cicada Silver
 Balled Headpin Sterling Silver Chandelier Earrings

I hope that my designs encourage those of you who have yet to try making your own headpins, to give it a go.  It's a very good skill to possess and the resulting headpins are useful in far more than just making earrings and bead dangles.

Please visit the other participants:

Edited to add:

I just got my Metal Clay Artist Magazine February Newsletter in my email and found this beautiful necklace.  If you liked how I used double ended headpins to make a chain, you'll probably love how Catherine Witherell made her chain for her entry into the Metal Clay Artist Magazine Tales of the Heart competition.  

Necklace by Catherine Witherell
 Third place: $500.00 winner: Catherine Witherell, ‘My Heart’s Golden Secret Gives Me Hope’

28 comments:

  1. Both pieces are wonderful but.my favorite is the chandelier earrings. Lovely, just lovely. I wish I could make those headpins!

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    1. Thank you so much, Shelley.
      You're just one butane torch away from making your own headpins. I don't even use the acetylene to make them.
      Give it a try; you'll do great!

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  2. Thanks so much for participating! I love how far your took the design of these. That chain is just amazing!!!!!

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    1. A big thank you to all you guys at Love My Art Jewelry for having the "boot camp"! It was that prompting that got me to *do* something with my designs.
      I am so thrilled that you like my chain! :)

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  3. The designs are great! Nice boho feel to them....do some more variations, you nailed something....here...nice work...

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    1. Thanks so much, Lisa. I've definitely got some more ideas and I'll be sure to post some photos when more are finished. I've had some fun making earrings using copper segments similar to the ones in the necklace.

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  4. I love the way you used the balled headpins! That necklace is the bomb! (I think bomb is still the "hip" thing to say!) lol!
    MaryAnn

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    1. I'll take your compliment (hip or not) any day of the week! Thanks, MaryAnn. :)

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  5. Really great usage of the headpins here...I agree with MaryAnn...the necklace is the bomb! Would love to see what it looks like on the neck!

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    1. I had intended to include a photo of me wearing it but didn't have the time. I'll add one tonight or tomorrow!

      Thanks for your kind words!

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  6. this all sounds kinda' like a foreign language to me, but oh how i do love looking at the pictures. gorgeous jewelry, sugar.

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    1. It was a foreign language to me not too long ago. I've got to admit that I'm glad that I figured it out!

      I'm thrilled that you like my jewelry! Thank you immensely. :)

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  7. Your necklace is super!! A lot of skill and artistry went into both of your pieces. Very inspiring!!

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  8. I love how you took it to a new level! I'm always envious on those who have the patience to make handmade chain! Thanks so much for joining us!!!!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Barbara. I really enjoy making chain but I'll admit that it sometimes takes a bit of patience. Many thanks to you and everyone else at LMAJ!

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  9. I just love the sprial with the balled ends - it really makes for a gorgeous finish! What amazes me is that each of your links are the same size! Great job!

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    1. Thanks, Patti! The links are relatively close in size. ;)

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  10. Gorgeous links, Susan! Love that you've shown both designs for earrings and necklaces. And you have encouraged me to keep going with these balled head pins!

    Lynda

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    1. Thank you so much, Lynda.

      Definitely keep going with the headpins. I left you a comment with a few suggestions on getting it to work for you so, check your blog! Good luck--it *will* work for you! :)

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