My Heart Sleeps by the Sea

 

Early mornings outside always make me happy. The air is quiet and calm and the whole world feels hushed in the light of the rising sun. I settle into a little nook on the patio to continue the work I’ve already begun for another wooden sign. The wood has been sanded, white-washed, and dried. This happened days ago and the boards have since been tied together to hold the order in which they will be arranged. After breakfast and some yoga, I organize my materials and carefully begin to plan out the beautiful quote by Anne de Lenclos. It takes a few tries to get the perfect shade of teal, but a few hours later the quote is complete. Copper chain holds each verse together and the light colors of the paint mimic the hopeful air of Anne’s words.

 

Handmade Wooden Signs

 

Since early this spring, my newest creative adventure has involved re-purposing weather worn pieces of wood. I fell in love with the the decorative quotes I kept seeing on Pinterest and finally decided to make my own version. The beach-worn wood gives the signs a more earthy, rustic feel and I chose copper chain so that it would contrast nicely against the washed out paint.  You can find my hanging wooden signs at The Mermaid’s Purse in Surf City, North Carolina.

 

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To see more of my handmade wooden signs, click here

Sneaky Goldsmith Trick: Finishing

This is such a great tip for sanding/polishing hard to reach areas. This would have been ridiculously helpful for a few of the pieces I made in college…

 

A “Sneaky Goldsmith Trick” to Detail-Finish Problem Areas

by Douglas W. Canivet – © GIA – 2011

Every bench jeweler has experienced the frustration of trying to sand and polish a nearly inaccessible area on a piece of jewelry. The goldsmith who can detail these small corners and crevices can bring his or her work up to the level of fine jewelry. Anything that gives the work a cleaner, more attractive look translates into greater sales in the showcase.

One of my favorite “Sneaky Goldsmith Tricks” involves a lowly material not normally associated with making jewelry: fiberglass-reinforced packing tape, found in supermarkets and stationery and office supply stores. It contains many very fine fiberglass filaments that create a super-strong hold for packing parcels.

Bench jewelers use this tape to reinforce sanding and polishing papers. Once the tape is applied, the papers can be cut into small shapes that exactly fit the problem area you are trying to finish. (Cut the shapes you need with an old set of scissors — the abrasives will dull the blades over time.) These custom-shaped papers are flexible, easy to hold and can reach spots that files, gravers or traditional polishing tools may not.

We use the packing tape in GIAjs Jewelry Arts classes. We apply a piece of tape the same length as a jewelerjs saw blade to a strip of abrasive paper and then cut it into several narrow strips that fit the saw frame. This makes it possible for students to precision sand and polish internal edges and surfaces.

Shop Number Five!

I am very excited to announce that my jewelry was recently accepted at River to Sea Gallery in Wilmington, North Carolina. I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful little shop. It’s located in Chandler’s Wharf  – where you can find several other galleries, Barista Cafe & Bakery, and plenty of free parking!

Tim and Rebecca (husband and wife) own the gallery and are both extremely talented artists. You can find them on Facebook or at www.rivertoseagallery.com. Stop by next time you’re in the area and make sure to look for jewelry by Andrea Watson Designs!

 

Newest Earring Designs

Here are some of the most recent designs I’ve been working on. I’ve really been enjoying experimenting with forming the wire into various spiral shapes and finding ways to include those shapes  in my jewelry. Several of the new designs may not be permanent, but it’s always interesting seeing what people are most attracted to. So many times I am surprised with how often people enjoy even the simplest of designs. Feel free to leave any thoughts or comments you might have… I love feedback!

A Morning in the Studio

The shells are clean and ready to be sorted. This is always one of my favorite parts of the process. It’s very relaxing and almost meditative, although I find almost all of my jewelry work to be that way. Tommy always joins me in the office and is constantly attempting to “help”. He is also very odd and likes to knock small objects onto the floor, so he knows he’s not usually allowed on my desk. He eventually settles into a spot in the room and I’m happy to have the company while I work. Although I did not make any jewelry this morning, sorting the shells and organizing the desk will make my next day in the studio much more productive.

New Retailers

I’m extremely excited to announce that Andrea Watson Designs is now being sold in a total of four shops in North Carolina! As of this Saturday, you can now find my jewelry at Bella Anne Boutique (Hampstead) and also Tickled Pink of Lumina Station (Wilmington). I’ve included some pictures of both shops. They’re absolutely adorable, so if you haven’t visited yet… make sure you stop by! For a list of all retailers carrying Andrea Watson Designs, please see the “Stores” link at the left.

Studio Revamp

Over the last two Saturdays I’ve spent a good amount of time re-organizing the office/studio and I’m happy to say that my studio is finally ready to go again! My studio had temporarily moved into our bedroom to make room for our good friend Joe who decided to move to Wilmington in November. He moved into his own apartment at the beginning of January and it gave me the motivation to get my studio revamped and ready for production.

I’ve had a studio ever since we moved to North Carolina, but its been a work in progress. Originally I had only a marble counter-top workstation that my Dad made for me the Christmas before we moved. I still use that now, but I also have a beautiful solid-cherry desk (with the workstation on top), a large tool organizer with see-through drawers, several tool boxes, and a bookshelf that is the perfect extension to my workspace. Needless to say, I’m thrilled with the setup and the basic tools I have now.

The most exciting part of my new setup though is my torch. For Christmas, Danny bought me the acetylene I needed to actually use the torch that I bought over 9 months ago. The torch itself was $215 and the tank of acetylene not far from that. So I’m incredibly thankful to have such a wonderful fiancé and now a working torch for my studio! It’s by far the most expensive (and most useful) tool I’ll need for a while…

Shell Earrings

These earrings are made from the shells I’ve collected while walking along along the beaches of eastern North Carolina. After forming the hooks and jump rings from sterling silver or copper wire, I choose a matching pair of shells from my collection. I very carefully saw off any rough edges from the shells and then thread the shells onto the wire so that they hang as evenly as possible. It sometimes takes a few tries, but I eventually come up with a beautiful and unique set of earrings.  I absolutely love making each pair and I hope that whoever wears them will enjoy them just as much!