Tag Archives: wire wrap

Royal Purple

Amethyst from Erte’s Precious Gems Suite

Amethyst is the traditional birthstone for the month of February.

 

(I remember being jealous as a kid, since there were purple stones for February but October always got something pink instead of opal or even fake opal!)

 

Iron impurities in quartz give amethyst its wonderful purples-from pale lilac to royal.

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To look at things in bloom

“Loveliest of trees, the cherry now…”

A. E. Housman (1859-1936)

 

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

Is hung with bloom along the bough,

And stands about the woodland ride

Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,

Twenty will not come again,

And take from seventy springs a score,

It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom

Fifty springs are little room,

About the woodlands I will go

To see the cherry hung with snow.

 

rhodochrosite-tree

I’m cheating a bit, since his cherry blossoms are white. Right now white on trees is a little too much like snow. The cherry I watch every year (a little nervously the past two-the recent winters have left it very bent and twisted) has pink blooms. Light with darker centers, as if they’d been white but stained with cherry juice!

 

I’ve made pink pearl trees to try to get the feel of cherry blossoms, but I haven’t found any small enough to please me. I’m perpetually on the prowl for deep enough rose quartz, but this fall I stumbled on another option for cherry blossom pink stone chips. It’s called rhodochrosite.

 

In its pure form rhodochrosite is nearly rose red. The name comes from the Greek for rose and coloring. Its more common forms are pink and light brown, sometimes grey. Rhodochrosite gets its color from manganese, and the more calcium replacing the manganese the paler it is.

 

Rhodochrosite is fairly soft; it has a Mohs hardness of 3.5-4. That’s one reason it’s rarely faceted, and when it is it’s normally the purer red form for collectors. This does mean that it can be carved into wonderful figures and turned into decorative boxes. I think I first saw the stone with its banding on boxes rather than jewelry. The downside is that it isn’t a good gemstone for rings, and possibly not for bracelets, depending how tough you are on them.

 

It seems to form near silver mines. First it was found in Romania, then later banded stalactites were found in an old Incan silver mine in Argentina. They’d been forming since the mines were abandoned in the 1300s. Argentina is still the principal source of banded rhodochrosite, which is why rhodochrosite is sometimes called rosinca or Inca Rose.

 

The manganese content makes it difficult to refine silver ore so miners used to just dump the rhodochrosite. (*cringe*) Then collectors realized what was being lost!

 

Now it’s Argentina’s national gemstone, and also the state mineral of Colorado.

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Hints of Green

Copper Seraphinite Wrapshadows,

wind and rain

-shivers-

a semblance of life.

false starts.

hope rises before sap

-finally-

            late,

the world begins to grow.

 

Spring wire wrap and spring poem. The season’s been a long time coming. (Still waiting actually…) The crocuses are finally out, but pretty much everything else is still gray.

 

This started out as a tanka, but one syllable was sticking every time I read it and things felt a little out of place. So it went freeform.

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Artisan Haiku

You guys all know I’m guilty of the occasional haiku.

 

Another wire worker on etsy found me, and I found out that they’d done a haiku that sums up wire wrapping brilliantly:

 

Tedious wirewrap
Painstakingly intense task
Lowers blood pressure

D. Kanester

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Fossil Monochrome

orthoceras

 

straight horned fusillade,

storm of black and white bullets

shot through ancient seas

racing head and foot into

eternity’s sediments

 

Orthoceras are ancient mollusks. They first emerged nearly 500 million years ago and went extinct nearly 200 million years ago. (They existed from the Ordovician through the Triassic. They had a 200 million year overlap with their younger cephalopod cousins, the ammonites.)

 

Imagining orthoceras alive.

 

Their name is descriptive, it means straight horn. They were soft bodied creatures that lived in the newest segment of the shell. Periodically they would grow a separating wall called a septa and close off the too small part of the shell. The different composition of septa and the external shell allowed them to fossilize differently, so we can still see their shapes today. (The curved lines running perpendicular to the outline of the fossil.)

 

The long channel you can see running along the center of the fossil-two parallel thin dark lines-was a hole that housed a strand of tissue called the siphuncle. It was (and is in nautiluses today) a way for them to filter water in and out of closed chambers, controlling buoyancy.

 

They probably worked in a similar fashion to those of creatures living today. It’s a pretty interesting method of control. It isn’t a muscular thing like you’d imagine. Instead it works by osmosis. Basically the change was controlled by blood salinity. Water would move from areas of lower salinity to higher in an attempt to achieve an equilibrium. Gases dissolved in the blood would slowly fill the chambers as the water moved elsewhere.

 

Despite the likelihood of this passive method of control, some propose that this might also have aided in propulsion.

 

Since all of orthoceras relatives were/are predators, it is fair to guess that they were as well.

 

Their fossils are often found in assemblages-like sheets of them mostly parallel-the only species present. It looks like an Edward Gorey inspired repeating wallpaper pattern! You see beautiful displays of them in museums or at fossil shows. (I’ve also seen really cool things made out of them, including the best bathroom sink ever!) Interestingly these groupings are found mostly amongst the older of the fossils.

 

Scientists aren’t sure why this is. Some believe it is evidence of post mating mass deaths, others that they simply traveled in schools. It’s been suggested that they are aligned so nicely because they shifted after death due to currents over the ocean floor.

 Minimalist Monochrome Orthoceras Pendant

I’m fascinated by the elegant simplicity of orthoceras fossils. They’re often black and gray and the smooth bullet like shape is a lot of fun to work with. It suits a lot of different styles. In my most recent turn with them I used three different colors of wire to try to mimic the tones and striped effect of the chambers in a simple woven frame.

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Through the Looking Glass Invite

I’ve had my dolls in the Wesleyan Potters annual juried show for the past few years, but this is the first that some of my jewelry will be joining them at the exhibit and sale. I’m really excited. (And perhaps a little terrified, I hope it goes well and they make a good impression!)

It opens this Friday. To my great regret I will not be able to attend their little mid-morning champagne to-do, but consider yourselves invited if anyone is in the area!

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Tektite Earrings

A quick show and tell.

I did experiment with the tektites a little-they’re awfully difficult to wrap-so I ended up just making simple coil to hold them. I opted for silver earwires, since less people have an allergy and made them out of twisted square wire for some textural interest. Plus two-tone projects match more things!

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