Saturday, September 14, 2013


The Cambridge Center for Adult Education --in collaboration with the Cambridge Arts Council, the Somerville Arts Council, Cambridge Local First, and Somerville Local First -- is repeating its very successful Community Supported Art program (CSArt) to help get affordable work by local artists into the hands of local buyers. This project is partially funded by an Adams Arts Program grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
CSArt 2013 shares cost $300 and will feature works by nine new local artists. No more than 50 shares will be sold in each round, to keep the line of art special. Shareholders receive all nine works of art -- at a fantastic value -- from emerging and mid-career artists; develop relationships with local artists; discover new artists; meet their fellow shareholders; and explore a variety of disciplines. CSArt features unique art, not commercial, mass-produced articles. 
That's what makes it special!

Go to CCAE/Shares for more info.
To purchase a share in this year crop simply click here!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Bead Soup Block Party No. 7
The First Reveal!

"rubber ducky, you're the one..."

My partner for this round of soup is Amber Dawn of Inventive Soul.
Here's the Soup that I received from Amber...
To say I was challenged by her wonderfully fun and creative focal would be an understatement. I made several attempts to complete this necklace. It's amazing how something can look so good in my head, but in real life... not so much.

The focal is dynamic. Duckie didn't like the big bold beads I chose and had no trouble telling me. Duckie didn't like the black and pearl seed beads that I carefully threaded in strands to repeat the black and white "rising sun" pattern upon which he sits. No, no.

I finally got the go ahead when I chose to compliment the bubbles in his bath with a bubble chain pattern. It compliments, but doesn't compete. He was okay with that. I wire wrapped the little faceted glass beads that Amber sent with the soup which reflect back to the irridescent bath bubbles.

The beautiful magnetic faceted glass clasp gave my mind a bend. I knew I wanted to include it in this piece, but wasn't sure how I could make it work since they haved a wide bar that looks like it may have been meant for ribbon. In the end I wrapped cord around the bars and through the large "bubble" links and secured the ends with flattened crimps. The cord is hidden when the clasp is closed.

If you follow my work you know that I believe the back of a pendant should be just as interesting as the front. So, I punched one black and one irridescent-y blue disc from tin to insert into the opening at the back. I added a vintage japanese made miniature compass to the back... since I had so much trouble finding my way.

I have a few more pieces that are almost complete from this delicious soup. Check back to see what's cookin'!

In the mean time, be sure to visit the many participants in this
first round of the Bead Soup Blog Party!

Pam Farren ** You are here!
Amber Dawn Goldish ** Amber is my partner!

Lori Anderson ** Our fearless organizer!

Pam Farren ** You are here!

Images & Text © re-maker
All rights reserved.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How2~ Add a Spring to Hand Tools

Back in February, I entered a pendant in the
Artisan Whimsy Valentines Challenge and was lucky enough to win
a $20 gift certificate to Melinda Orr's supply shop. Psych!

I love tools, so chose this nifty pair of multi loop pliers.
These pliers are really well made, but they have no opening mechanism. Since I spend all day at the bench I like to have tools that will do some of the work. This means pliers have to open. I'm pretty old school and prefer a spring. Not a box joint or a spring leaf, but a regular ol' spring. So, I decided to add my own.

If you'd like to give it a try
 you'll need to gather a few tools & supplies...

~ fine line sharpie
~ center punch
~ titanium drill bit
~ drill press
~ wood supports
~ hardware store wire cutters
~ chain nose pliers
~ drill bit template
~  rubber band
~ safety glasses
~ bur life or wax
~ locitite super glue gel
~ rubbing alcohol
~ q-tips
~ spring from a broken pen
~ hand tool to modify
~ patience
Hand tool, sharpie, center punch, drill bit, spring

The first step is to draw a line across the point in the pliers you'd like to locate the spring. Mine is drawn approximately
1/4" from the joint of the pliers.

Once you draw this line, open the pliers up and continue the line on the inside as shown below.

After you have the line drawn, use the center punch to make an indendation at the center of each line. This indentaion allows the drill bit to catch in the spot that you want to drill and not skitter about the metal aimlessly.
To figure out what size drill bit you'll need you will first have to measure the diameter of the spring. The easiest way to do this is to use a drill bit template. Simply try fitting your old pen spring in the openings until you find one that's a perfect fit. A little bigger is better than a little smaller.

Once you know the diameter of your spring you can cut it down to size with a pair of hardware store wire cutters. Start by cutting it to 3/4". Please don't use your good cutters because the spring is hardened so it'll retain its' shape. It will damage your good cutters. Trust me!

Hardware store wire cutters, chain nose pliers, full spring, cut spring

As you can see from the photo below, I've tapered down the first two twists on each end of the spring with my chain nose pliers. The tapered ends will push inside of the spring allowing more surface contact when you set the spring into the drilled holes with the glue.

Note: I used a pair of jewelers pliers, but it would have made for an easier job if I had used pliers with a serrated grip.

3/4" spring with tapered ends

Now, you want to don your safety glasses.

As you can see in the photo below, I've opened the pliers to beyond 90° and supported them with a series of wooden blocks and a pencil. It is very important to have the tool supported so that when you start to drill it isn't wiggling all over the place!

Support the tools with blocks

You should take great care when using any power tool.
If your work isn't secure, the speed of the spinning drill bit will catch and propel whatever you're trying to drill. It can be very dangerous.

As you can see, the tool is supported by blocks. What you can't see is that the blocks are clamped to the drill press plate and I am holding the handle of the pliers.

Be sure the bit lines up correctly

Once your tool is secure you should apply bur life to the bit. The bur life will lubricate the bit once it starts to heat up from the friction caused by drilling. You should then line the bit up over the indentation you made with your center punch. Lower the drill bit down to make sure it lines up before you turn on the drill press.

Now, this is where the patience comes in...

Although you do have to apply a little pressure to the drill bit you do not want to apply too much! Let the bit do its' job. Applying too much pressure won't make the job go any faster. It will, however, create more friction which will cause the bit to get hotter than it should. Once this happens the cutting edge of your bit will begin to loose its' temper and begin to dull.

Continue to drill into the tool, lift the bit to apply more bur life, and drill a little more. Repeat these steps until you achieve the desired depth. How deep does the hole need to be? Deep enough to hold the ends of the spring securely. So, you may have to try fitting the spring into the holes until you hit the right depth.
Keep checking the fit of the spring against the depth of the holes you're drilling.

Clean-up with alcohol
Once you have a good fit you'll want to wipe the metal and wax debris from the pliers. Be sure to do a final clean-up with rubbing alcohol to make sure all of the wax is cleaned away. If it isn't the glue won't be able to create a strong bond with the metal.

Pliers, spring and Loctite Super Glue Gel

I really like this Loctite Super Glue Gel, but you can certainly use whatever brand of adhesive that you like to bond metal.

Apply enough adhesive to fill each hole. Once the glue is applied you can set the spring in place and then close the pliers to apply pressure. Be sure not to close them too tightly or you may glue more of the spring than you had intended.

Loosly wrap a rubber band around the tips of your pliers to hold them closed while the glue dries. Then, walk away.
This is actually the hardest part, the waiting!

And Voila, you are done!

Images & Text © Pam Farren
All rights reserved.

Every effort has been made to ensure that all of the information in this tutorial is correct. However, due to differing conditions, tools and an individuals skills, the author of this tutorial cannot be responsible for any injuries, losses or other damages that may result from the information presented.  

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Challenge of Music

Welcome to the Challenge of Music blog hop
hosted by Erin Prais-Hintz!

We were challenged to find a piece of instrumental music that spoke to our soul. The goal was to find a piece without any choral accompaniment, so that we had the freedom to interpret the colors, textures, shapes, movements or images that it evokes.

I knew immediately that I wanted to use

This song has always been one of my favorites. Even back in the 80's when I was sporting a paper white mohawk and dancing to imported industrial vinyl, it spoke to me.

It makes me think of New York and Chicago in the 1920's when steel was king and we were a hopeful, industrious nation. 

My goal with this piece was to give it a retro industrial art deco kind of feel. I love to work with steel wire so I fashioned steel beams that are connected by copper rivets. These rivets allow the rigid steel beams to have movement. I chose to frame a beautiful vintage Russian stamp that has an amazing industrial deco image from 1970. The pendant is allowed to move across its' beam via a bail crafted from a link of steel bicycle chain.

close~ up of pendant

When I was two years old my Mom, Dad, Grandmother (aka Great-mother!) and I drove to New York for the 1964 World's Fair. I have a few remembrances of this trip to New York. I remember the elevated train tracks in Brooklyn (apparently, we got lost), the Ford Magic Skyway and the Unisphere. So, it seemed appropriate to add a vintage teal carnival token to the back of the pendant.

close-up of the back ~ a vintage carnival ticket

The necklace is finished with linked chain and a clasp that are
hand-crafted from steel and copper wire.

I can't wait to see & hear what inspires everyone else!

***Pam Farren***

Images & Text © re-maker
All rights reserved.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Ingredients for My Soup!

I have been served a delicious soup by

The goal of a Lori Anderson Bead Soup Blog Party is to partner participants and challenge them to work with materials they normally would not. I have been good and truly challenged.

My soup contains:

An Art Deco Focal Bead made by Amber
An Amazing Polymer & Swarovski also made by Amber
Vintage Crystal Channels
Rhinestone Barbells & Rondelles
Whirlwind Cut Silver Beads
Austian Crystal Settings
Beautiful Crystal & Glass Beads
Sunny Yellow Cane Beads
Something Blue Beads
A Silver Rhinestone Toggle
A Magnetic Rhinestone Clasp

You'll have to wait and see what I make
from these very cool soup ingredients on March 30, 2013.

Images & Text © re-maker
All rights reserved.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Lucky Charms

Ornamentea is once again hosting their Lucky Charm Swap.

I finally got my act together and've sent my charms merrily on their way. This year I decided to make faux vintage stencil charms...

I love vintage stencils, but they're ususally too big for the jewelry that I like to make. So, I made a template and cut my own!

Step one... pierce the brass

Once all of the number details are pierced from the brass sheet they get cut apart, and then the real work begins. Filing, shaping, sanding, tube rivets, patina, tumbling and making jump rings...

Hand~cut Stencil Charm No. 4

...but look at how great they look once they're done!

Charm No. 3 and Charm No. 4 are available in the shop today
with more on the way. If there are letters or numbers you'd like to make your very own just send me a note.

Images & Text © re-maker 
All rights reserved.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Be My Lucky Valentine...

Happy Valentine's Day!

Today is the day to let randomizer select a winner for my

And the winner* is...

Please contact me by Monday February 18th**
so I can send your Winter Berries on their merry way.

Images & Text © re-maker or Randomizer
All rights reserved.

* How the winner was selected... There were a couple of entries that made a single comment, but performed actions to gain them multiple entries (ie left a comment and followed the blog).
These posts were given multiple entries.

** If I do not hear from the winner by midnight Monday February 18th
a new winner will be selected via Randomizer.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Outlandish Toggle ~ Pattern No. 97

I received the greatest compliment the other day.
A new someone visited my blog and found the post for an
Alice in Wonderland Challenge. She sent me a message to say she thought my necklace, Off with Her Head!, was extraordinary (extraodinary, really!) and wondered if it was for sale?

Off wih Her Head!

I'm very happy to say that I sold the piece at a show last summer to a woman that was over the moon to make it her own. But, I was also happy to tell this new someone that since I had handmade the major components I could make a similar piece if she might be interested... and she is!

Outlandish Toggle  ~ 1937 Garland Raptures Pattern®

The fun thing about making a piece for someone is that they can participate in the process. Here are the two toggles from which she has to choose. She'll also get to choose the tin that'll be used to create the bezel for the pendant and any of the other elements that make up this piece including glass beads and length.

Outlandish Toggle™ ~ Pattern No. 97

This project has also got me thinking about spoon toggles again. I've had a fair few people ask me about purchasing the toggles to use in their own work and I really enjoy making them so I've decided to start selling Outlandish Toggles in my resupply shop.
Images & Text © re-maker
All rights reserved.

Sunday, February 10, 2013