Year of Jewelry and 30 days of Art

I have felt like I have really been out of sorts for a long time when it comes to making jewelry. For 2 1/2 years it has been even worse. It started when I found out I was pregnant with Kiari. I thought for sure I would just change the medium I was working with to  make it safe during the pregnancy. However, I was so sick and then on bedrest at 18 weeks and then she was born at 29 weeks, and then the 2 1/2 months in the NICU, and then having a preemie home (so we couldn’t go anywhere and nobody could come over), and then the sleepless nights, and then the move, and then the studio that doesn’t work. Whew, that literally sums up the past 2 1/2 years.

In 2007, I was VERY new to making jewelry. I had had a couple of simple workshops that taught me how to properly use a small butane torch and a wire wrapping workshop. All the rest was learned by trial and error and asking questions online. I learned about a challenge called the Year of Jewelry. Unfortunately, I learned about it after the signups were over. So I started this blog so that I could document my own progress as I continued to learn. It is so fun to go back to my first posts and see what I was working on. Then again…. some of them I cringe at seeing. LOL. I really have come a long way since that time.
This year I am doing the Year of Jewelry Challenge once again. I tried to do it last year and the year before, but it was just too much with the baby and the move and such. But this year I am hoping to be better and use it once again to springboard my creativity and skills.  There is also another challenge that I was invited to participate in called the 30 Day Art Challenge. It started January 2nd and ends January 31st.
I am off to a great start and it has been so nice to be in the studio and working once again. Things I don’t miss…. ragged fingernails, fingers that feel like sandpaper or velcro and dirty fingers. LOL.
This first bracelet I actually made a little while ago. It was made for another challenge on another forum, but I never got it photographed. So it isn’t technically a part of either challenge, but thought I would post it anyway.

The flowers are made from one of the pancake dies I have from Potter USA. They are riveted together with a leather rivet, and then riveted onto the bracelet with scrapbooking eyelets.


This next piece is my first entry into the Year of Jewelry Challenge and Day One of the 30 days of art challenge.


This cuff is 20 gauge sheet and has been formed with the anti-clastic bracelet formers for my hydraulic press. The entire face has been slightly textured with a planishing hammer. Of course it has also been pierced. And what a chore that was. I think I went through no less than 8 blades on this one. Mostly because the bracelet was long and it was awkward working with that and the deep throat saw frame, that and I am pretty rusty with my saw.



For my Day Two of the 30 days of Art Challenge I did a little sketch with watercolor and regular pencil.


I didn’t think about this piece being a zentangle, but I guess that is kind of what it turned out to be. But it was fun, especially where this isn’t a medium I really ever use. I am really hoping to get some other art skills developed so that I can decorate the walls of our new home when we move.

For Day 3 of the 30 Days of Art I did another cuff.


Made with 20 gauge sheet and 18 gauge wire. The cuff is about 2″ wide and has been formed with the anti-clastic bracelet formers with the hydraulic press. A slight hammering texture adorns the edges.

And for Day 4 (today) yet another cuff.


Once again, 20 gauge sheet, 22 gauge wire is used for the outer stitching and 24 gauge is used for the middle stitching. Once again, formed with the anti-clastic formers, but this one I altered further by taking it to a stake to bring out the edges just a little bit more.

It no longer looks like this though. One of the things I wish I had done was to oxidize the bracelet before doing the stitching. So I oxidized it afterward and polished up the inner stitching. It looks great, but not as great as it would have been if I had all the interior stitching completely bright. I will post a picture of it later.

Speaking of Hydraulic Presses:

Kevin Potter has come out with a new one. It is MUCH smaller than his previous models. It is only about 45 pounds and I am very excited about that. The best part of this press??? It fits into the large Flat Rate Shipping box for the USPS making shipping under $20. AMAZING! How does he do that? Well, the press comes apart completely. Instead of being one solid piece for the frame, it comes in parts that you just simply bolt together. It is really simple to do too. Check it out for yourself.

I made this video demonstrating how to assemble the press. The video takes you from me opening the box all the way though the finished and assembled press. Another great feature of this press? It is several hundred dollars cheaper than the other models.


8 thoughts on “Year of Jewelry and 30 days of Art

  1. Aimee Biondolillo

    Great work so far! I can’t wait to see the rest…also sounds like I need one of these presses as it took some pounding to get my last cuff formed just right…where can I find one? Thanks, Aimee of Aimee’s Jewelry Treasures.

  2. Anige S

    Good for you on taking up the YOJ and the 30 day challenge!!! You are off to a fantastic start – all of your cuffs are beautiful! Thank you for showing the new press, it looks fantastic and the size is perfect! Keep on it!

  3. Melissa Muir

    Thank you Aimee. I really like my press. I got it from Potter USA – Kevin is wonderful to work with. And I love my bracelet dies. The forming tools are wonderful and make very quick work of the bracelets. Don’t get me wrong, I still like forming them with a hammer… just not ALL of them.  

  4. Melissa Muir

    Thanks Angie. I am really hoping to keep it up. It is a lot, but it is good to be back in the studio once again. This press really is great. The new little one is only 12″ wide and 6″ deep. It takes up so little space. It won’t be replacing my larger press, but it is nice to have for classes and such, at least I hope it will be.


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