About Me

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Juli grew up a shy, middle child and is a woman of few words whose jewelry speaks volumes about herself, her feelings and her perspective on the world.  A modern alchemist of design, she melds industrial imagery and organic aesthetics together to create new and unique designs.  Juli's love for asymmetrical design was immediately made apparent in her very first bead craft:  a pair of mismatched earrings created when she was sixteen.  She developed her eclectic style by reading about and experimenting with every style and technique she could get her hands on, from stitched bead jewelry to riveted metals and from wire wrapping to precious metal clays.  No matter what Juli creates, her sense of humor & fun, love of the craft and sense of style come through.  Juli would probably blog more often if her rather large tabby cat, Rocky, didn't insinuate himself between her hands and the keyboard.  However, she does regularly update her facebook fan page for Juli's Jewels.  Juli is always paying-it-forward, not only on a personal level, but through her company with "just because" giveaways.  Juli's Jewels ArtFire artisan shop is jam packed with earrings, pendants, necklaces, anklets and more that are ready to ship and she loves to make custom orders for people too!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Upcoming Events for October, 2008

Here is my schedule for October. Click on the picture to enlarge. Hope to see you at one of them.
Remember - the holidays are fast approaching!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Art Clay Silver - Background Info & My First Project


Anyone who has been into or around beading or jewelry making in the last, oh decade, has at least heard of metal clay. It has two (2) trade names. The first, and original, is PMC (short for precious metal clay). The second is Art Clay. Basically, it is tiny particles of silver suspended in an organic binder that has been mixed with water.

I have been intrigued by the idea that there was a material that is as pliable as clay (seriously!) that you can pretty much do anything to that you would do with regular clay, but after you fire it you have a piece of 99.9% silver*. (The binder burns away upon firing.) There are also a bunch of different ways to fire it. You can use a kiln, the top of your stove, a butane micro-torch, or in the instance of PMC a thing called a hot pot (which is kind of scary, but cool none-the-less.). It also comes in several forms; clay, paste, in a syringe, and even a paper type. There is some that requires high heat firing, some that requires as low as 650 degrees celsius to fire.

Well, enough for the background...I finally jumped in and did something I have never done, I took a class! For all of the jewelry "stuff" I have done before, I pretty much taught myself (through books and magazines.). But, I was a little afraid. Okay, alot afraid. I didn't want to spend a bunch of money on something and then have it go really badly (silver is getting kind of pricey, but then what isn't.). I took the class at a local bead shop in my area, Piece of Mind. The class was taught by Patsy Silva. The class was on August 23rd and lasted from 10 am to 4 pm. I was completely sold on metal clay by 2:30 pm, when I was completing my last project, a star pendant that I drew freeform with the syringe type clay. We did three (3) projects that day; a flat piece, an overlay piece and the syringe piece.

First, my flat piece. This was my favorite...I made a small rectangular pendant covered in stars. Patsy warned us to have an idea in mind before we opened the clas as it starts to dry out as soon as it hits the air. The is the only major drawback that I could see and can be worked around if you keep some water nearby. (Oh yeah, and you have to use some olive oil or Badger Balm to keep it from sticking to stuff. Not really a big deal though.) So I had a star patterned texture plate, a star motif rubber stamp, and a star shaped cutter. I had a good idea and I was ready to go. I rolled out the clay and cut it into a rectangle with a plastic knife (you know, the picnic kind.), rolled up the excess clay into a ball and wrapped in Saran wrap. I pressed the texture plate onto my rectangle and it made raised stars on the top of the clay. On other parts of the clay, I stamped the star stamp the make some depressions. I put the piece aside and rolled out my remaining clay and punched out three (3) star shapes. After taking care of the excess clay again, i brushed a tiny bit of water on the star cutouts and genlty pressed them onto my rectangle. I took a bamboo skewer and made a cute little dot pattern on the raised stars. We put the flat pieces into a food dehydrator (The clay must be "bone dry" before firing. I don't know why, it just does.) After the pieces where dry, they were fired in the kiln for a little while (30 minutes, I think.). They were a wierd white color when they came out (It was like a coating of ash, kind of.) The coating brushed off with a metal brush and they were already starting to be shiny. After about a half an hour in a rock tumbler with some stainless steel shot, they were fabulously shiny.

Look for my next blog on metal clay, The Overlay Project, coming soon!

*Sterling silver is only 92.5% silver, the rest is other metal, usually copper.

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