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Category Archives: Copper

Rustic Gear Pendant Sets

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Super fabulous sets of necklaces and earrings! I had the most fun making these… molds made from actual clock gears used to create polymer clay medallions, hand coloured with chalk and gilded, or painted with metal paint and patinaed with chemicals, then sealed with a diamond-hard finish. I strung these on bead chain with hand-forged clasps and hand-made earwires.

Enjoy!

Copper Daggers & Gems

Quick look at my newest design, consisting of hand-forged copper dagger shapes, some fire-balled copper ends, various gemstones (labradorite, Russian chaorite, fossilized coral, malachite, and what I think is lapis lazuli) and lots and lots of finicky fiddling. No pre-conceived wire weaving here – it’s all freeform wire art.

My favourite part is the way the tumbler makes the copper GLOW. Way better than just sanding off the antiquing patina! I’m so happy with these.

 

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The labradorite I’ve claimed, probably forever, and the large fossilized coral is adorning the neck of a co-worker and it looks FANTASTIC on her. I can’t wait for the weekend to make more!

Copper & Beach Glass

It’s just occurring to me that I’ve been lazy all year and putting my work on Facebook instead of my blog. So I’m backtracking a little in the next few days to get my site up to date.

Beautiful cat's eye marble suspended on a slightly larger frame than the others.
Beautiful cat’s eye marble suspended on a slightly larger frame than the others.

 

With that in mind, here are some of my favourite things from last year: beach glass suspended in soldered, hammered, copper circles!

After I made the circles (WITH FIRE!) I suspended each piece of beach glass in the centre, then dunked them into liver of sulfur (stinky) to instantly darken the surface of the copper.

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Blackened copper

 

 

My friend Amy and I then painstakingly ground the patina back off the top of the wire, leaving it only in the crevices. I’m so glad she was here to help, this is hard on the hands!

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Extremely helpful friend.

 

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Dirty and is that a broken thumbnail!?

 

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Left: finished & oiled; Right: blackened only

 

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After the liver of sulfur and sanding down, the beach glass needs oiling again.

A bit of creative staging and voila! I love these:

 

Cobalt bottle rim
Cobalt bottle rim

 

Soft aqua beach glass... beautiful colour.
Soft aqua beach glass… beautiful colour.

 

Kelly Green glass; this almost looks like a bouquet!
Kelly Green glass; this almost looks like a bouquet!

 

Dark lime green. Really gorgeous colour in person.
Dark lime green. Really gorgeous colour in person.

 

Soft green
Soft green

 

Amber brown
Amber brown

 

Antiquing Copper!

Today I’ve been having fun with copper and oxidation. First, I created some earrings out of non-non-tarnish wire (bare copper!).

Next, I prepared a solution of Liver of Sulfur and dumped all my shiny pretty earrings into it. They instantly turned black! But that’s OK, that’s the point:

Next, I gathered some supplies – my dremel with the flex shaft (invaluable), some earplugs, a  face mask to avoid getting little bits of black dust up my nose, some safety glasses, and a few abrasive pads for the dremel:

Then… I just started buffing! It’s almost magical to watch the black come off and leave behind this gorgeous, soft finish to the metal, with dark crevices to show off the wire work.

The process is so amazing, I had to show you a video!!

How cool is that?! And here are some finished pairs of earrings:

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Antiqued Copper

My whole weekend has been consumed by bare copper (weird for me not to use non-tarnish wire!), chasing hammers, sea sediment jasper, liver of sulfur, dremel collets, and the new ceramic tile which I’m really enjoying as a photo background.

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I’ve never done this before but I LOVE it.

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Liver of Sulfur is this goop you dump your metals into in order to make them oxidize – that is to say, turn it black.

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Then, you buff it back off the raised areas to get this lovely soft contrast between the dark crevices and the shiny copper.

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I didn’t actually know how to buff it, or what to buff it with! I have a dremel rotary tool and a kit full of random bit-type-attachments, so I tried a few and found one.

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I wore that one to a nub on the first half-dozen pieces, and then had to wait until today to hit the hardware store to find a replacement.

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As it turned out I found a BETTER buffer/polisher-thing and it did another dozen buffs without being worn down at all!

Yay for home hardware!

I ran the liver of sulfur three times, which is a waste, but the first time was a test, the second time was being over-eager once I knew that it worked, and the third time was because I was done wrapping for the weekend and wanted to have the rest of the pieces finished before I quit for the day.

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The small wire here is my regular 22ga wire, made to look miniscule by the very heavy 16ga wire I’m using for the main wrap.

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The 16ga is very heavy but surprisingly easy to wrap with; I make a curl and then hammer it, and then it’s essentially immovable after that, which is great for trapping a stone.

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I kind of like how the bails at the top mostly look like hearts! Trying to come up with a name for these that isn’t as corny as “for love of the ocean” but that does mean kind of the same thing (since these are sea sediment jasper).

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This is the newest direction for Gayle Bird Designs; expect to see more of this style, probably mostly at the Cape Breton Centre for Craft & Design high-end gallery in Sydney.

A Spoonful of Ocean

You ever get new materials and then have to wait until you have time to play? Spoonful of Ocean And then MORE new materials come in, and you still can’t get to them… and it builds up until you end up combining them all at once into some crazy conglomerate project? Spoonful of Ocean Well, that’s how these pendants came into being! Spoonful of Ocean Teaspoons, copper wire and beautifully dyed ocean sediment jasper were piling up in my studio while I got married. Spoonful of Ocean Well, the honeymoon is over and here they all are on one new pendant line! Spoonful of Ocean I love the contrast of the brightly coloured stone against the patinaed age of the silver. Spoonful of Ocean And then I had fun taking them outside to take photos. Spoonful of Ocean So happy right now!

New Product!

NEW Copper Bracelets

This came out of NOWHERE. I realized early this afternoon that I was finished all of the work I’d put out for myself for this show. Now what?! I looked around aimlessly for a little while and decided to take my older pieces and start marking them down for the sale box. In the middle of the pile was a single bracelet, an old design I haven’t tried for years.

I tossed aside the older work and started working on bracelets!

I tried two in the old style but really didn’t care for how they were working out, so I tried something new – a 4-strand braid.

I’ve had the 4-strand braid on my mind for a while as the next possible tutorial – it’s really useful for wrapping large, flat stones such as agate slices – but it suddenly occurred to me that it might work really well as the basis for a bracelet, especially if I hammered it. The first couple were a little wobbly but I got into the groove pretty quickly and voila! Lovin’ it!

NEW Copper Bracelets

NEW Copper Bracelets

NEW Copper Bracelets

What do you think?

Art Nouveau Hammered Necklace

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A book of art nouveau designs caught my eye as I was passing the bookshelf in my downstairs hallway on the way to the studio so I grabbed it and brought it down with me. Flipping through was pretty inspiring so I grabbed a heavy-gauge wire and my hammer! There’s minimal bling on this one because the design itself should be the focus. I used a bit of grosgrain ribbon for the rest of the necklace.

Lookit how pretty!

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This piece is available in my new Etsy store, too :D