Some groupings I am considering for pendants of vintage French flea market finds.
Though I love most any kind of period look, and often use vintage materials, I have decided to go on a modern kick for the Hexagon holiday collection. To wit: 4.5″ dangle earrings in 14k gold-plate chains ($29 per pair). They thread with a .5″ solid piece at the tip, and the wearer can pull the chain to her (or his!) desired length in front and back. We’ll keep it a secret that some of the beads are at least 2 decades old.
My favorite thing to do with glass is to use the tiny bits to create a confetti effect. Here’s a ring I made last night and two larger pieces that will probably become pendants.
As with my first glass pieces, made in a class in Paris, I chose primary colors on a white background for a clean, ’60s French look.
It’s only in retrospect that I see my tendency to add a bright, tomato red to jewelry these days. It’s a color that loves silver and gold equally—unlike green, which leans strongly towards gold. Here’s the latest batch of creations, which are all for sale on the Hexagon Etsy shop starting at $29.
Sometimes you need a second opinion on something. And/or a cocktail. I sought both last night with my friend Sylvia. Over a Moscow Mule and a Millionaire, I told her I couldn’t decide how to embellish this metal vial before turning it into a pendant. I laid several beads on the bar at Providence (a Los Angeles restaurant). Sylvia methodically removed beads until she came down to the last two, the red wooden one and the translucent white glass one. “Why not both?” she suggested. Using more than one had not even occurred to me. Once home, I decided a third bead–a small ring of rhinestones–might provide an unexpected element. I guess you could call this Hexagon’s first collaboration.
So much for the trip I’d been planning for NYC, to seek stores to carry Hexagon. The Big Apple has become The Apple Fritter, with sweltering temperatures unlikely to fall anytime this month. (If an actress like Ashley Greene has resorted to dressing this way, imagine what mere mortals are suffering.)
Thinking about the sweaty souls in Manhattan, and in Cincinnati, where my family lives, I wondered if jewelry could possible offer any respite. Silly question? Mais, non! Especially when you happen to be a designer big on vials. I have just filled a round plastic vial with water and set it in the freezer. In a few hours I’ll add wire, attach a chain, and wear it to see if it provides a satisfactory cooling effect on the décolleté.
Literally, silver paste. I’m not sure if that is what it is called in English. It’s silver in moldable form, like modeling clay. Yesterday I got training in how to mold it and fire it in a kiln.The class was at La Petite Manufacture, a jewelry store in Paris’s 11th arrondissement. (Its back-of-the-shop studio is pictured below.) I drew freehand on the paste with dentist tools. After it was fired I finished it by sanding the sides in an irregular roundness and rubbing an agate polishing wand thing-y over it (about thousand times). This polished the charms without making the surface too even and shiny. The agate tool leaves little dings which result in a more vintage-looking surface.
I went straight from the training to a dinner at a friend’s house. “Cute,” he said when he saw the charms. “What is that–a penis?”
When I told my friend Karen, who is a fellow writer, that I was changing track to make jewelry and handbags, she made a brilliant suggestion. Why not take people’s jewelry and jewelry-adjacent keepsakes, she said—the ones collecting dust in a drawer—and put them together into one new piece?
She said that she had a cache of items that she could not bear to throw out, but that she had no daily use for. She gave me the doo-dads you see in the image on the left. On her back porch overlooking her yard, where her dogs and cats romped, Karen and I fiddled with the tchotchkes. After starting with a concept for a charm necklace that would incorporate all of the items, arranged more or less symmetrically, Karen began stripping away piece by piece until only 4 remained: a name bracelet given to her when she was born, a rosary, a gold heart with a little girl’s silhouette, and a green gem from a grandmother’s earring—probably jade or chrysoprase, a kind of chalcedony. With only 4 items, it was easy to arrive at the way the necklace wanted to look (and believe me, a jewelry piece will let you know).
Since the addition of the silver bracelet shortened the length of the necklace’s neck diameter, I added short pieces of a rosary from my vintage stock.
Now that’s Karen’s piece is done, I am eager to start on a revamp of my own pieces carried around for years but never seeing the light of day—including a round beaded change purse given to me as a fifth birthday present, and one of dad’s cufflinks.
It is said that design is solving problems. In my designs, most of the problems I solve are ones I have created myself. This bird nest pendant is an example.
I had glued the round silver “jumps,” which attach the chain to the plastic nest, to the plastic nest itself. Nathalie, the owner of the store that is carrying this style, gently told me she was worried it would separate too easily (like when you get a pen between your pendant and a piece of paper).
I decided to fix it with my new Dremel. A Dremel is a handheld rotary tool used for everything from drilling to buffing.Pictured on the left are the homeless abalone birds awaiting their new home as I drill a hole for threading through the chain.
Ignoring the advice of my friend Toast, a motorcycle mechanic who gave me the tool, I did not use the cooling goop that she gave me apply to the plastic before drilling. I also didn’t test the Dremel on anything before using it on a “live” piece. So as I drilled, I saw some smoke and watched some of the plastic turn to liquid. I also didn’t hold my hand all that steadily. Result: ugliness.
But I didn’t panic. (My rule is “No need to panic unless someone is putting Jews in ovens.”). I tried to buff over the gaffe, but could not get the buffing tools onto the Dremel. So I hand-sanded it until the damaged area was smooth.
Then I looked for something to cover the gaffe. What is a bird nest near? Tree branches, leaves, fruit. I got out all the metal leaves that I have collected, even the petrified wood that looks like black twigs, but decided in the end that a cloud-like silver shape would look best over the spot.
I’ll be honest. I like the nest better without the silver cloud. But I know now that the pendant won’t come apart. And I learned yet another lesson about patience and testing toold and techniques on something first before drilling into a piece that isn;t even technically mine anymore. It goes back to Nathalie’s boutique today.