Friday, February 13, 2009

Earthenwood "Arteria Arcanum Pendant" Tutorial

I designed this plain metallic ceramic heart pendant so that I could make it fancy with a Vintaj brass filigree wrap to cover it. I didn't really have a plan on how to do so at the time, so that took some experimenting, lots of experimenting! I love the end result, an art deco inspired pendant that I call Arteria Arcanum. I want to share with you the steps I use to create these pendants, and encourage you to play with some brass to wrap art beads and pendants on your own!

(above) The raw materials, 1 metallic heart, 1 brass Deco window filigree, 1 brass swooping swallow bird pendant, and 2 brass etched jump rings. Just a few simple things to make an elaborate looking artwork!

(above) I first place the bird pendant on top of the heart, with the head of the bird nestled into the central cleavage area of the heart.

(above) Using just my fingers, I wrap the wings around one side of the heart, to hug it in place firmly. Shown here are the front and the back sides of the same step.

(above) The most important thing to remember for this pendant is to be symmetrical. This step involves matching the other side of the bird wing to the first side, bending it around the heart so that the bird pendant fully and closely grasps the heart and the wings meet in the back. Again, I used just my fingers to bend the pendant around the heart, but if you need to, you can also use pliers to help you bend the metal.

(above) The Deco window filigree shown next to a fun tool available from Vintaj: a pair of Bale Making Pliers. The pliers have two straight cylindrical sides, in two different sizes. Perfect for making rings and bending filigree evenly.

(above) Set the Deco window between the pliers at the center of the filigree, on the wider half of the pliers. Fold the filigree in half, leaving a large curve at the center (where the pliers are), with the goal of the two pointed ends of the filigree meeting lining up (but they should not touch yet, you are just preparing for them to line up later)

(above) Slip the heart, with the bird pendant in place, into the Deco window. Pull up, letting the bird wings catch on the two side arms of the window. You may need to adjust and keep pulling up, to center and balance the two pieces of metal. The goal is to have the two side loops on each side of the Deco window line up so that the jump rings can be inserted.

(above) Using the Bale Making Pliers, press the two tips of the Deco window pendant together. The goal, again, is to get the side loops to meet, front and back, so that the jump rings can be inserted. There will be a slight gap between the two sides of the Deco window, even at the tip, but they should match up as symmetrically as possible, front and back.

(above) Open a jump ring with two pairs of chain nose pliers and insert in the front and back loops of the Deco window. Close tightly. Repeat on other side. It is the jump rings that hold the whole thing together, forming the connection that cages the bird pendant and Deco window in place. You can attach chain or cording to the rings themselves, or you can string through the rings and the center of the brass over the heart.

Visit Melanie at the Earthenwood Studio Chronicles blog, where she shows an idea for stringing this pendant into a necklace! You can find finished Arteria Arcanum Pendants for sale in the Earthenwood Etsy shop.

Melanie Brooks is the ceramic beadmaker behind Earthenwood Studio, who blogs from her Metro Detroit, Michigan home.


SteamPunkGlass said...

Thats fabulous! Thank you for posting as a how to! I would never have thought of putting those bits together like that

Christine Damm said...

This is a beautiful way to frame a bead. I'm going to try one with my polymer hearts. Thanks!

Stephanie said...

Hello Melanie,

I'm new to the blog but I think I catch on fast. You guys look like you are a great inspiration to each other and supporting each others work. I love it! So happy to have found all of you! Can't wait to enter a contest!


ChezChani said...

Wow, that's gorgeous. How brilliant to be able to look at those pieces and be able to see one work of art. Well done!

Dale said...

Oh this is such a cool tutorial! I do so love the complexities witin the brass ornaments. Wonderful tutorial here too... it is very clearly laid out. I'd love to try something like this!

Lisa Gatz said...

I love the layers that you got on that. I hadn't seen a double layered filigree piece. And thanks so much for the step-out pictures!

cw said...

The metallic ceramic heart pendant is a unique and well designed piece. The layering process gives it such dimension and style. The tutorial is very clear and makes it looks so easy. The tool used is new to me, well worth it's weight in gold! A unique design is what every designer strives for. This is fabulous!

Fab Fibers said...

Thanks for sharing that Melanie. Is that a special tool I see for bending the brass? It looks large in diameter.

MsAnomaly said...

Gorgeaous pendant! Love the idea of using more than one piece to create it. Thanks for introducing me to the awesome bail making pliers, too! Never knew about them. Great article, and your finished necklace on your blog is amazing!

Andrew Thornton said...

Pretty dang cool!

Connie said...

great pendant and a fabulous tutorial. I just got baling pliers - they are terrific.
connie williams

Ryan said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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