Multiple Choice

And now....for our 'Name That Workshop" Contest Official Vote....(see original post here). The title with the most votes will win fame, fortune, and fuzzishu earrings. ;)

The title of the workshop should reflect the fact that students will design and create a set of jewelry based on a theme of their choosing. Please leave your vote (the number of the title) in the comments section.

1. 'You Decide'
2. 'Imaginings'

3. 'Whatever'

4. 'It's Up to You'

5. 'Guess What'
6. 'Jewel What'

7. 'Think It,Do It'

8. 'What Now'
9. 'Design it and Do it!'
10. 'Think once, Make thrice!'
11. 'Imagination in threes'
12. 'Three pondered pieces'
13. 'Thinking of three'
14. 'A Theme in threes'
15. 'Brainstorm to Bench'
16. 'Creative Juices'
17. 'Where the wind blows'

18. 'Theme J103'

19. 'Solder-n-Sweat'

20. 'Jumpring Jive'

21. B.E.N - bracelet earrings necklace

What do you think?

earthdesignsindia ♥s fuzzishü

Thanks to EarthDesignsIndia for featuring my 9 pc. a go go necklace in their 'closing the circle' treasury. My necklace is in good company with lots of cool pieces, go here to check them out.


sonyarasi ♥s fuzzishu

Knock on wood, Iowa hasn't gotten its first major blanket of white...but it's dark out most of the time and who can't use more 'merry & bright' in their life? sonyarasi has put together a great treasury of bright and dazzling etsy creations and was kind enough to include the 9 element a go go necklace from fuzzishu. Thanks sonyarasi! Check out the treasury here.


Name that Tune! Er, Workshop!...

And win! I am offering a new workshop in 2011 and it is the Class-Yet-To-Be-Named. I'd love your input. I'd love your input so much I am offering a jewelry prize (joie earrings) to the person whose suggestion I like most. Plus you'll be famous (in Iowa...ok, not really. Just at studio fuzzishu) for having named this awesome class.

What is this class you ask? Go on, ask. I'll wait. ....

It is a class in whence students brainstorm several themes and narrow it down to one then proceed to design a set of three jewelry pieces around their theme. ie - themes 'romance and rock'n'roll', 'forests', 'circles', etc. Let's say Student X chooses 'forest' for their theme. They might then make a branchy looking bracelet, a pair of leafy earrings, and a ring with winter berries on it. They can use any material and any techniques they may have learned up to this point. It's a more self directed class. I am there purely to advise on a technical level.

To enter this contest simply leave a comment or email me with your idea and your email/a way to contact you. You may enter as many times as you like. Keep it fun and creative!

So...any ideas yet? 'Cause I'm fresh out. fuzzi-mom affectionately refers to it as BEN, you'll have to ask her why yourself though. ;) Good luck and happy naming.


artandstory ♥s fuzzishü

Thank you to ArtAndStory for including the a-go-go 9 element necklace in their Christmas treasury. You can see all of the shapes and sizes of Christmas goodies here.


Oohhhh Waaaaatttaaaaa Goooooo Sssiiiiaaaaam...*

[ a plethora of texturing tools]

This Sunday was the last segment of the Mantra Bracelet workshop at the Des Moines Art Center. There were 5 students and I think they all did a wonderful job. I know we all had a bunch of fun with 'hammer therapy' and the feeling of accomplishment when the piece is done and being worn? Priceless! The students hustled their buns and finished these earthy and heavily textured pieces in only 4 hrs. I will also be offering this workshop at the fuzzi-studio after the start of the new year or if there is enough interest expressed (they'd make great xmas presents!)

maggie - "love you to the moon and back"

megan - "faith, hope, love"

betsy - "believe in who you are & what you do"

eden - "carpe diem"

katie - "if it is to be, it is up to me"

*My grandpa was always a bit of a jokester. This used to be a 'mantra' he would have us kids say faster and faster 'til we 'got it'. Get it? ;)


Like quicksilver...

J102's cast pewter 'reflection' pendant photos are up. Go check out their awesome pieces (WITH artist's statements!!!) here.

This was the first project for J102 and was a quick little piece. Students learned how to carve their designs in plaster and cast with molten pewter. I hope to get some 'in progress' photos up here soon. This was also the first project that students were 'strongly encouraged' (read: harassed non-stop) to write artists' statements. Eventually we'll get to the point of holding critiques after they complete a project. :D Watch out, students!!!


My Precioussssss

Isn't my new baby pretty? I am so incredibly psyched to have gotten my hands on a rolling mill. Granted, it isn't the stacked Durston D2 130 that I've been lusting after...then again it wasn't $2,000 either! I'm looking forward to future classes being able to use this to texture their metal. It will be especially good for the cold connections project that J102 is doing right now. I am still working on getting a stand for it so that it may be used. I'm heading out to Bob's* this weekend to try and find something that might work.

This mill has a lot of history, the grandfather of the woman I got this from used to work for one of the major film production companies in Iowa. He used to collect the silver dust from the process, refine it and make jewelry. Since then the mill has been used by the grandkids to squish apples and various other objects. She approached me at state fair and asked if I might be interested in such an object. Of course I was!

I'm trying to figure out exactly what brand of mill it is and perhaps a little bit more about its history. If any of you out there have a clue, please let me know! I took her apart to try and clean it up a bit and saw a 'made in italy' stamped into the metal. There are also some letters/numbers near the top that you can see in the photo...looks like EC 82? Any ideas?

*I really really want to get one of Bob's redheads (see below) for the studio. Some day!


It's a bird. It's a plane. It's....

Lucky hears a noise on the street....

...and Superdog hops up on the radiator to check it out.

'Fear not, citizens. All is well with Superdog on the prowl!...Now please help me down.'


J102 Cold Connections - Now with FREE pdf tutorial!

For the second project ('But Rachel', you ask, 'where's project 1?' Fear not, gentle readers...post coming soon - posted here!) in J102 students will learn various cold connections (more info below) to create an amulet bracelet.

I have several examples of bracelets made with cold connections but my favorite one is the one I just completed - my 'Lucky Penny' bracelet. I was thinking of old penny loafers with the slot and the 'find a penny, pick it up' rhyme.

I'm hoping that by wearing it I will attract all sorts of good luck. I'll post the J102 students' pieces when we finish them.

Cold connections include such things as wire rivets, flush rivets, tube rivets and more. You can find the J102 Cold Connections Exercise document I created* for free HERE. You're welcome ;)

*Why, yes, all of those little black and white icons were painstakingly created from scratch in Photoshop (over many many many hours). I am happy to have you share this tutorial or use it in your classroom but please give me credit for its creation. Thank you.


Steampunk-ish at the Des Moines Art Center

This evening concluded a short but intense bracelet workshop I was teaching at the Des Moines Art Center. Luckily we had a very small class and even though everyone was a beginner with no previous metalsmithing experience they were able to learn quickly, be adaptable, hustle and almost finish in the allotted time ;)

Students learned how to add textures to several kinds of metal using stamps, hammers and the rolling mill. They also learned how to use cold connections to finish their neo-rustic steampunk style bracelet.

This basis for this project was found in the Dec. 2007 edition of the Lapidary Journal/Jewelry Artist magazine and is the property of Helen Driggs. A tutorial on how to make the bracelet can be found here.

Here are a few of the finished bracelets. It's interesting to see how one own's aesthetic taste and method of working changes the final piece despite everyone beginning with the same materials and instruction. I think they did a great job and look forward to seeing everyone again soon!


J101 Fall 2010 edition

And so ends another session of J101. Our happy little group was 4 members strong and what a group. We had every experience level from total novice on up and everyone was very enthusiastic. It was a great time and they did some fantastic work. See their finished projects below....

You can see more students' previous pieces here.


AutumnsAnticsStore ♥s fuzzishü

Big thanks to AutumnsAnticsStore on Etsy for including the 9 element a go go necklace in her rainbow treasure. Check out some of the other great work featured here. Mmmm taste the rainbow!


Boathouse Bracelet

One of the benefits of being in a warehouse full of studios is being surrounded by other creative individuals. Rebecca Eckstrand created the amazing mosaic seen above for the University of Iowa boathouse. She is also one of my fellow Fitch Studio artists and asked me to help create a bracelet to commemorate the experience using one of the glass tiles from the mosaic.

The original design for the piece is Becky's and 3D interpretation/format is mine. We both were pleased with the outcome and I look forward to future collaborations with my fellow artists.


JewelrybyTamar ♥s fuzzishü

Check out this fantastic treasury on etsy by JewelrybyTamar. Tamar thanks all of us for being beautiful and I thank Tamar for seeing the beauty in the simple geometric design of the squaring.


C is for Charms...

New to the Iowa State Fair for 2010! You've made a ring, now create your own sterling silver charm or pendant to match.

They make excellent gifts for new mothers, teens, grandmothers, mothers and more. You'll start with a small silver blank and learn how to file, stamp, solder and finish these small pieces of jewelry all in about half an hour. Hope you'll join us!


J101 Final Project

This session of Jewelry 101 ends with both pleasure and sadness. We had a fantastic, creative hardworking group of students that made some stunning pieces of jewelry. I look foward to seeing them all again (I hope!) in J102 this Fall.

Here are some photos of their final project, a wire bracelet. You may notice I was a bit more...hmmm...flexible with the parameters of the 'wire' part of the bracelet this go around.

Teri blended her handmade glass beads and funky floral aesthetics in this fun summer-y bracelet. The back is just as decorative as the front and a textured leaf clasp completes the piece.

Amber's final piece incorporated dark lusterous pearls paired with natural patina'd and dapped copper. Her bracelet is finished off with a retro looking clasp.

[kristin's bracelet goes here]

I forgot to get a picture of Kristin's piece but will make sure to get one soon.

Hannah just returned from her European Jaunt and is working hard to catch up! Bracelet photo to be added soon.


Profession Rings

My current J101 class did a fantastic job on their second project - soldered rings. Some of the designs morphed and changed as we worked on them but I think everyone was pretty happy with the final results. They had a chance to show them off at ArtFest Midwest while assisting me last weekend. I think they impressed many prospective students. :D

Teri chose to commemorate the textile industry by weaving silver strands to decorate her ring

Amber created a fun and funky retro vibe ring based on the idea of skee-ball

And Kristin's ring is an abstract representation of a fountain in a zen garden

All in all, great rings that anyone would be proud to wear. I am really looking forward to our final wire bracelet assignment and seeing what these creative chickies come up with.

dm art center teen class

This summer I taught a beginning metalsmithing techniques at the Des Moines Art Center to a class full of 13 to 17 year olds. For a week they sawed, filed, riveted and finished reversible pendants as well as a stamped ring. Lots of work but well worth the effort!


KerstinHanson ♥s a go go 9 element necklace

A big thanks to Kerstin for featuring my necklace in her fantastic colorful grouping!


Start my 15 minutes Mr. Warhol

Mollie Cooney did a fantastic segment on her 'In the Artist's Studio' program of studio fuzzishu, myself and my upcoming classes. A big thanks to everyone at KCCI who helped make this happen. Even if I do sound more than a little bumbling ;-p There's a reason I stay in the studio people!!!


Selling at 80 mph

What a weekend! I just came back from Wheaton, Illinois where I took part in the Cantigny Fine Art Festival. The weekend started off inauspiciously with a major storm - 80 mph winds and torrential rain - just in time to set up! Sadly, I didn't get any photos of this phenomenon. Many tents ended up flying like kites...one or two landed on my car. Luckily my tent stayed put.

I did get to try out my new display. It was a breeze to set up and tear down each day...just take the frames (with jewelry still on them) with me. However, if they are customer friendly is still up in the air.

Also, my aunt and cousin were in town for the day and we all went out for a delicious dinner at Tango in Naperville, Illinois - home of the world's longest steak...and amazing tapas! Having grown up in Naperville it was kind of fun to see how the town has changed and view it with new eyes. I also was able to catch up a bit with my best friend from childhood. Not a bad weekend, despite the weather!


Sneak Peek

Here's a sneak peek of some new products/workshops studio fuzzishu will soon be offering.


Whimsical Pendants

I've been a brutal task master and had my students saw and file til their little fingers fell off for our first project. Here are the fruits of their labor.

Teri based her pendant on her whimsical homelife in this smart geometric design. She also created each of the glass beads to represent her and her family members, including the black and white schnauzers!

Kristin was inspired by the curly vines she and her mother observed on a walk in the Greenbelt. The chain and bead really pull the piece together and help to express 'nature'.

Hannah's love for baking might not be readily apparent in this abstract pendant but look closer and the swoops and swirls. Is anyone else hungry for cupcakes?

Amber used a photo she had taken of some octopi and reinterpreted their tentacles in her asymmetrical copper pendant. The sinuous curves, warm hue, and balanced 'suction cups' say sealife.

I think my students did a fantastic job on this first project and I'm eager to see what they come up with for the next assignment! Watch out, world, we're soldering!!!