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Enchanted by enamel – an earring tutorial

April 29, 2016 , In: Inspiration, Jewelry, Tutorials
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Sometimes my Muse takes me on a scavenger hunt. Dropping little clues in front of me until I piece it all together. This happened recently at Bead Fest spring – let me take you through the process.

It started with these delicious enameled discs by Anne L. of Gardanne Beads. She had posted them in her FB sales group and I loved them – but what to do with them? So at Bead Fest I go to see them in person…

enamel discs by Anne of Gardanne beads
 
In my travel jewelry tote – because OF COURSE you pack really cool stuff to wear when vending (or attending) a bead show – I had these earrings by Melissa Manley. I met Melissa as I took her classes at Art Bliss a few years back. We have been friends and kindred spirits since that night! (Note to self – do not stay up too late drinking wine with your new friend when you have to be hammering in her class the next morning…) I adore her sense of color, and use of translucent enamels.You may have seen her book, Jewelry Lab?  
Inspiration earrings by Melissa Manley

Hey – Muse lights the light bulb! THIS style earring construction with THOSE enamel discs. OK! And it suits me – I like the inside of the discs where there are subtle color variations. You could use these discs facing either way… hang on. I will show you what I did. Its simple and ingenious!

(Thanks Melissa!)

Materials: 

20 gauge sterling wire
torch/green scrubby/polishing pad
miscellaneous beads: spacers and gems
size 8 seed beads (matte black)
size 2 crimps/pliers
bur cup tool thingee
chasing hammer/bench block
marker
To engineer the earring…. 

1. Cut 6″ lengths of wire. Ball the ends. Pickle and or polish as you normally do… 

 
2. Play with possible arrangements. I wanted to have a pop of interest inside the disc, but not take the attention away from the enamel. And not cover too much either…

Endless opportunities: (from top left) copper flower spacer, vintage Lucite flower, turquoise, hematite flat rondelle, sterling bead cap, copper and mother of pearl heist bead. 

I have a motley collection of leather bits and pieces – from Lindsay and other friends that work in leather. I love a little piece as a contrast, and a new texture. Now – using this amount at a time I have enough to last me a dozen life times…

 
Leather scraps

3. Decide on your combinations and thread them all together on your balled wire.

first batch ready to go
scraps of leather for a visual contrast

4. Slide on an 8 and a crimp, snug against the disc. Squeeze it flat with pliers. Hard. This secures your pieces against the head pin.

ingenious! 

5. Shape your ear wire. Hammer/ work harden the ear wire at the bend with your chasing hammer. Now your ear wire will maintain its shape during wear. 

6. Trim wire to desired length – leaving a bit long as the counter balance to the earring. Smooth wire end with bur cup so it will be gentle on you ear.

Form the ear wire shape. Get a manicure!

Now – my local gallery had been asking me for more enameled earrings… so this is very timely. These pretties are off to The Palette and the Page this week! Its a pleasure to work with such gorgeous components and I hope you find this informative and/or inspirational. Until next time…

Ready to deliver to the gallery
 
 

 

Jenny Davies-Reazor

Jenny Davies-Reazor is a mixed media artist inspired by myth, folklore and the natural world. A proud Jack-of-all-trades, she concentrated in metals and painting in art school, turned to clay during her teaching career, and is truly happiest when mixing materials in unusual ways. From clay to resin, paper to polymer... Since leaving her ceramics classroom, Jenny is always in the studio: fabricating jewelry, creating ceramic shrines and decorative tiles, and teaching in a variety of mediums. " I love sharing my passion for art, and seeing sparks light up in student's eyes..."
  1. Reply

    such a great idea of using leather – it would act as a buffer between the metal and the glass thereby reducing friction and noise produced as a result

  2. Reply

    Great tutorial, thank you!

  3. Reply

    Love your earrings, very ingenious way to make everything tight with the crimp.

  4. Reply

    Wow! What a brilliant idea to make use of some leather scraps I unearthed in my stash last winter! Thanks, Jenny, for the great tutorial!

  5. Reply

    These are way cool.

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