Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Great Little Christmas Art Show

 This was Brenda Benson's first time exhibiting at the Randy Brodnax and Friends Christmas Art Show. Brenda sculpts glass and "light" in most inventive of ways. Each of the lighted glass sculptures evokes a different emotion. For example the tree form next to Brenda in the photo has a surprise - the back of the light box creates an entire work of art in colored light on the wall behind the light. My photo from my phone does not do justice to the inventiveness of this piece of art. The next time you see Brenda at a show take the time to have her show you the subtle beauty that she creates with glass and light.
Another fun part of this show is that Randy shares his Cajun roots by reading a Cajun Christmas Story. Great fun for kids and adults alike.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Importance of a Craft Support Group

Like most artists I find creative inspiration from many different things, but I sometimes find it difficult to creatively promote my work. Fortunately I have found a great network of creative people from which to draw inspiration, Etsy Fort Worth. 

Members find artistic expressions in many ways - Art/Photography, Ceramics, Children's Clothing and Accessories, Handbags, Hats and Accessories, Home Decor, Jewelry, Pet Products, Screenprinting, Soap, Cosmetics and Candles, Teen  and Adult Clothing and more. With such diverse medium and artistic styles its no wonder that there are just as many great ideas on marketing, creative copy writing, photography, and social media.

At each meeting ideas are freely expressed and every time I feel energized, excited and equipped to promote my business. Brain storming with a creative group opens up many more ideas and refines these ideas.

Esty Fort Worth is the group to join to learn the skills, get the inspiration, and the accountability to build your craft business.  These are some of the benefits.
  • Live member support at our monthly team meetings
  • Live member socializing at our monthly "Coffee Time" and quarterly craft parties.
  • Feature in our "Spotlight Moments" blog column
  • Free promotion (team blog, twitter, facebook)
  • Vendor priority at all Etsy Fort Worth events
  • Free business advice at our mini "Indiepreneur" classes held at our live team meetings
  • Access to our members only calendar of local events, craft shows, deadlines and more
Membership is open now - Applications will be accepted from  December 1, 2011- December 15, 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011


Starting today I am participating with some other Etsy Fort Worth shops in a Friends and Family Sale!

Use the code "EFWfriends" for 15% off your purchase. This includes everything in my shop.

Lots of other great shops are also participating in the sale so go take a look at their shops, too. You can find everything from handmade soaps and jewelry, to children's clothing and pet goods.

Remember shop Handmade for the Holidays!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Fold forming adds dimension to working with metal. These leaves were made using the instructions for the Romero Leaf Fold as written by Charles Lewton Brain. I found the instructions in the September 2008 Issue of Art Jewelry Magazine. Charles Lewton Brain also has written a great book on fold forming and there is also information on the the Orchid Jewelry website

I'll be adding some more examples of fold forming in the weeks to come.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Copper Shell Box Reveals Its Secret

Boxes, hinges, latches, and lockets – adding functionality, dimensional form and compartments that can hide secrets to your work.  My copper shell box hides a lovely free form pearl that is secured to the inside with copper prongs.
Here is a hinged box that I made with a friction clasp. This is a simple hinge created with copper tubing for the knuckles and the hinge pin is a brass rod that fits snugly inside. Just like with rivets it’s important that the hinge pin is the correct size. It will be much easier to flare the ends with a snug fit.
On the left and right of the Shell are the plexi-glass die and the rubber build-up I used to push the metal in the die. A very low tech way to add volume to your work.
One of my favorite books is sure to inspire and instruct you is Tim McCreight’s The Metalsmith’s Book of Boxes & Lockets.  This book will take you from the basics to complex construction. Chapter 2 covers hinges and lids, with pages 49 – 50 explaining how to make the basic hinge.  The photos and the step by step instructions are clear and concise. Tim includes tips to make the hinge stronger and soldering using a clamp made from a coat hanger. This is just one example of the detailed and helpful information packed into this book. This book is a must read for any jeweler or metalsmith wanting to add a more enticing tactile element to their work.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Copper Leaf Pendant at the Dallas Arboretum

On a beautiful fall day in the gardens of the Dallas Arboretum I taught basic jewelry skills to 10 wonderful ladies. We hammer textured, stamped and added patina to a copper leaf which was the focal of the necklace. Using basic wire wrapping techniques we added colorful bead accents to our pieces. Every one's pendant looked great.

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Wired Up Beads

I was featured on our blog at Wired Up Beads. We're having each of us write about our creative process. I think its fun to see how we each work through our ideas. Check it out.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Stacking Rings

Fabulous and Fun stacking rings made by fusing Argentium Silver wire. 

 Using Argentium Silver makes it a breeze to make
ring bands the same size.

  I was able to fuse the band and the rivet wire at the 
same time - only heating to fuse 1 time.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Argentium Hollow Bead

A multitude of uses - A bead is a small, decorative object that is usually pierced for threading or stringing. I will be teaching a class showing how to create a hollow bead of Argentium Silver. I’ll be demonstrating and teaching fusing Argentium Silver. For those of you who have tried to “sweat” solder sterling silver and had a frustrating experience, come and learn the joy of fusing Argentium. Also there is no fire scale to add more finishing time spent polishing the purple stain away. It’s more fun to spend time creating and not at the buffing wheel.

I absolutily love working with argentium silver, I’ve learned to use the unique properties of Argentium to make the metal work to my design’s advantage.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Custom Ring

A custom ring designed for one of my customers. Picture Agate Cabochon in Argentium Silver.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cabachon Bezel Setting Tips

For those just learning to bezel set stones here are a couple of things to keep in mind. Choose a round or oval stone, save the irregular shapes and pointy corners for when you have a bit more experience. Also the profile or the how the stone is doomed will affect how easy it is to set.

Stone 1 is a little high proportionally for a first try. Stone 2 does not have a smooth dome, it comes to a blunt edge which makes is a little more difficult. Stone 3 has the best profile for a first time bezel.  

Once you have the perfect stone for your first try the above diagram shows how the bezel should fit around the stone. It would just firmly grip the edge at about one-third of the height of the stone. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mixed Metal Monday

Start the week off right in class learning Metal Piercing and Riveting

Metal Piercing and Riveting with Ilene Kay--Monday, February 7

Come create this mixed metal pendant with in my class. You will learn how to pierce (to make interior cuts on) your metal, opening up a new world of design possibilities. We will layer the pierced copper piece with textured brass underneath, adding a stunning level of dimension to your piece. The two pieces of metal will be joined with Argentium silver tube rivets. One of the rivets will also function  for the opening for an S hook bail.
This Mixed metal pendant is the perfect way to start accessorizing for the spring!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

More Rings in 2011

In 2011 I want to make more rings. I've decided to make a personal commitment (a promise to myself) to make more rings. Something that I have struggled with in the past  is when I have made a personal commitment is that there are many things the compete for my time, distracting me from the course that I desire to follow.

I believe that I have a way to stay with my promise to myself to make more rings. I have intertwined this desire with other jewelry making commitments. I regularly teach at Wired Up Beads and at the Creative Art Center and at both venues I teach making band rings.

The first step in building a ring is the band. I am designing some interesting variations of band rings to share with my students. This is a photo of one of those designs. I will be posting more soon.
Mod Pod Ring - made of Argentium Silver - Class offered at Wired UP Beads

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ancient Fossil Pendant

This Pendant deomonstrates techniques that I teach in my Jewelry Basics Class at the Creative Art Center.  Piercing and hammer texturing are featured on this pendant, which are basic skills that lend themselves to many projects. I also used tabs to hold the Ammonite Fossil in place. Tabs are a great option for unusual shaped objects that will not work with a bezel.

I decided to make the piercing a stylized version of the Ammonite Fossil. I also textured the metal with the Fretz Narrow Raising Hammer to mimic the pattern of the Ammonite.

This gives the pendant a cohesive look. I love creating texture and I feel like this pendant shows the texture of the Ammonite Fossil to its best advantage as well as the hammer texture of the metal adding interest and beauty.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 A New Year and New Beginnings

"Ring Up a Message" Argentium Silver Ring

 "Ring Up a Message" Argentium Silver Ring with Ilene Kay -- Monday, January 10, 2011

Ring in the new year with your own message ring. Create your own personalized Argentium Silver ring at the first workshop that I'm teaching this year at  Wired Up Beads. In this workshop you will use metalworking techniques to complete a soldered band ring that is stamped with a personal message.

Argentium Silver is the most tarnish resistant of the sterling silvers.  Its special alloy includes germanium oxide, which makes your finished product harder and more durable than fine silver.  It can even be made twice as hard as traditional sterling, yet it is very malleable in an annealed state.  This metal is exciting because its unique qualities offer many new possibilities for jewelry makers.