Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Handmade Jewelry - Process

The 2 classes I have taken already (Intro to Jewelry making, and Intermediate Jewelry making) I have been focusing on a "loss wax" process. For me, it opens the most possibilities to what I have been wanting to and have been creating.

For this process you start out with wax that you carve, or shape in the designs you want. One wax I use is a tube, and you use a cool shaving mandrel that shaves the hole to the size you want. From there you can carve the outside to be what you want. I also use a lot of wire wax, this wax is in strands of varying thicknesses. I find this to be easiest to work with when making rings that look like branches. :)

Wire wax is the left picture. Carving wax tube is on the right in 2 different profiles.

From the wax you attach whats called sprue wax on the bottom of your piece, usually 2 or 3 pieces of it. Then you mount that onto a rubber base that has a metal cylinder that fits onto the base. This is for the investment (like plaster) that you mix water with it to make (slightly thinner than pancake batter). You pour that into the cylinder mounted on the rubber base, and tap it on the counter to get the air bubbles out. After that, you let it sit 10 minutes before carving your name and I like to put what project it is that's in the mold. After leaving it overnight, my teacher takes the molds, takes the rubber bases off and fires them in a kiln. This melts and burns the wax out of the mold. Hence the name, loss wax.

You start out with the ring you want to put in the investment.

You add the yellow sprue wax, weigh the ring, and then mount it on the rubber base.

Showing you how it looks when mounted,  from above.

With the metal cylinder before and after pouring the investment.

After the mold is burned out, you can then cast the ring/jewelry. The way you do that is on a centrifuge type contraption. You mount a crucible on an arm that spins after winding up and releasing it.

But first you need to get your mold hot again. Usually 400 degrees F is enough to get really good detail out of your mold. When your mold gets hot enough, you mount that on the arm along with a crucible. Depending on  the metal you should get the crucible hot first. In my class we use a large torch. Once the crucible is hot, you add the metal and flux (keeps the metal from oxidizing). Melting the metal can take 10 minutes for silver, you have to get it to where it is liquid. Silver melts at 1,763 degrees F, so you can see that is very hot. Once the metal is liquid, you release the wound up arm, and it spins the whole thing around very fast. In doing so, the liquid metal is shot into your mold. Once your mold and crucible spin slow enough that you can stop it, you take the crucible out and set it on a firing block, so it doesn't burn the table. Usually 5 minutes is enough for the mold and metal to cool enough to quench it.

Once the mold is cool enough (not glowing), you take tongs and submerge it in a bucket of water. I usually use a butter knife to dig my pieces out of the investment. Unless the mold is still quite hot, then the piece usually boils out of the investment, making my job a lot easier.

This is what you end up with after digging the (now metal) piece out of the investment.

After cutting off the sprues (now in metal) you have a lot of work to still do!

Now you have a piece of jewelry! But your work is not over yet! You then have to cut the sprues off your piece (which are now metal). Then you have a lot of post work to do to clean up your jewelry! Filing, sanding, and polishing are just some of the things you still need to do to your piece.

Handmade Jewelry - Fall and Winter Term's Projects

As some of you know I have been taking Jewelry making/Metal smithing classes at Portland State University. Since I switched to a new major (Arts and Letters, which is a general degree) I am taking the jewelry making classes to help satisfy upper division credits. The last 2 terms Ive been taking the classes. I wanted to share the pictures I have been taking of the finished products. I am in love with the process of making jewelry.

I thought some of you might want to see a little into what I do when I am not working on business stuff, shooting sessions and editing.

I am a little obsessed with making rings. Until now, I have not been a big jewelry person, and didn't used to wear it a lot. Now, I am able to wear my latest rings! My goal is to be able to sell what I make, and have been getting a good reaction from people that see them. If you are interested in how I make them you can read my post next week!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Song of the Week - April 14, 2014

Today is 4-14-14! And its a Monday, so here is my song of the week post!

My taste in music is very wide and diverse. It ranges anywhere from (good) rap, to contemporary pop, to country. The kind of music that keeps me the most motivated and productive isn't too slow, or too fast. Just upbeat enough to keep me happy and in a good, productive mood. If I am not in that mood, then I will not get anything done.

One song that keeps me in that mood is Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave. This song really is great, and reflects a lot of what I have to keep in mind. One thing I get from it is to not judge yourself by what other people think of you, God loves you regardless of what you do. God's not done with me yet, he has great plans for me! I hope if you take the time to listen to it, that it encourages you too!

Stay tuned, Wednesday I will be posting projects from last term in jewelry making, and a post on the process I use to make those pieces!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Referral Program

Being a small business in a competitive field, I rely on referrals to keep clients coming to me. I am so appreciative for those who have been referring people to Nature by Design Photography this year, and for clients that have stuck with me as I've grown this past year and a half since I started my business. I couldn't have gotten as much experience as I have without you guys!

As a thank you, I have  created a referral program for clients.  This is an easy way for my clients to earn free print credits! Who doesn't love getting free prints?!

After booking a full session with Nature by Design Photography, you will receive a set of 10 referral cards with your print order. These cards are customized with your session images and are valid for a year. You can give them out to friends and family members who are not yet Nature by Design Photography clients.

When one of your cards is returned to me by a new client, that person will receive $20.00 off of their session fee. In addition to their money off, you will also get a reward – a $20.00 print credit! That print credit can be redeemed at your next portrait session (not valid on prints from prior sessions). If all 10 of your cards are returned to me by new clients who book a session before they expire, you can receive a $200 print credit!

The cards will be 2"x7", so the size of a bookmark.

Here is a spring/summer version of the referral card. 

Here is a fall version of the referral card.

Here is a winter version of the referral card.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Song of the Week - April 7, 2014

In my attempts to start blogging more, I have decided to do Song of the Week posts!

All week long I am constantly listening to music. Commuting to Portland State University 3 days a week, editing photos throughout the week, and doing business things opens up a lot of time to listen to music. I find listening to music helps me be more productive, and has a big effect on my mood.

This week I have been slightly obsessed with Dan + Shay's new album "Where It All Began". It came out on April 1! They released a debut single on October 14, 2013 called "19 You + Me".

While that song is one of my favorites from the new album, I have picked one of their other songs to name as the song of the week, Show You Off.

I've been listening to it non-stop for the past few days.. :) Dan + Shay is technically a country duo, but I would say its borderline country. Its slightly a mix of pop and country. I hope you enjoy it almost as much as I do :)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Maddie - Salish Ponds and Sandy River Delta Park

Last week I got to take my new friend out and take pictures of her! The weather is gradually getting better here, so I thought it would be fun to get some nice spring pictures of Maddie. I took her to the Salish Ponds and the Sandy River Delta Park. Maddie was so fun! She was so giggly and natural in front of the camera, it was quite easy to get smiles out of her. I am a terrible story and joke teller, so it was nice that she would laugh and smile at everything. This girl has an abundance of beauty inside and out, I think I got a lot of both in the pictures :) I am so excited about these pictures! I hope you guys like them too!

We saw a minimum of 10 snakes, well, at least I did. :)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

5 Year Old Birthday Session

I got to take pictures of Gabe for his 5th birthday. He was so great! Gabe was so excited to get his pictures done, and had so many ideas of what he wanted to do. It makes my job so much easier when clients are energetic and listen as well as he did. I hope you enjoy!