Hello ABS-ers! I come to you today with a guest post from metalsmith and jewellery artist Marcie Abney Carroll of La Bella Joya. Recently, she has been experimenting with some new and rather lovely laminate layered pendants (I may or may not have some in my collection....) and today she shares with us a little behind the scenes. Oh, and make sure you read all the way through to the end for a super special ABS coupon code!
Three years ago, I was fortunate enough to take a few classes with one of the heavy hitters in the metalsmithing world, Melissa Manley. She taught me the necessary techniques to begin my own journey in working with metal. My favorite tool and the one that I've spent the most time practicing with is the jeweler's saw.
I enjoyed using the saw on sheets of silver, copper, and brass. But about two years ago, I was inspired by Thomas Mann's book, Metal Artist's Workbench to experiment with different mediums that could be cut using the jeweler's saw. This opened a whole new world of materials. I was particularly interested in the work I had seen other artists doing using laminate countertop samples and I wanted to see if I could use these tiles to create work that reflected me and my own unique style.
I was fortunate enough to source most of my samples from local wholesalers who were willing to let me comb through Formica sample graveyards and carry home boxes of discontinued colors and patterns. I started sketching shapes and themes and brainstorming ways to connect and combine different tiles to add more color and texture to my work.
I ended up with a pile of failed attempts as I tried to make something that still looked and felt like a kitchen counter. It wasn't until I began to look at the laminate as a vehicle of color and started taking advantage of its sturdiness that I started really creating unique pieces out of the tiles.
Inspired by my Pinterest travels, my feathers were the first batch of pendants that generated interest when I posted a photo of them on Instagram (follow me @labellajoya). I have since wielded my saw to create other pendants and components and I'd like to give you a little peek into my creative process.
Each component begins as a sketch in my sketchbook. I usually scan and make a copy and then run the individual sketches through my Xyron sticker maker and adhere them to the laminate samples that I've chosen to use.
I then cut each shape out individually using my jeweler's saw. I end up with a big pile of laminate cast offs, all of which I hoard thinking I'll use them again for smaller charms!
I drill tiny holes in each piece of laminate and rivet them together securely using copper wire. I've mostly made pendants, though I have a few pieces with two holes that could be used as connectors.
The backs are left raw and all the edges are sanded smooth for comfortable wear.
I've really enjoyed wearing and creating with these pendants. Laminate, as a material, is light as a feather (no pun intended) which means these components are wonderful in asymmetrical designs and work well with the very trendy necklaces that feature groupings of similar charms and beads on long chain.
When I listed my first batch on Etsy, I was so excited to see them fly off to other jewelry artists to include in their creations. It was definitely an exciting feeling to think that another artist was inspired by my work!
I'm currently working on birds and still enjoy rummaging through my laminate piles to create new color combos with the feathers. I'm always looking for new sources of inspiration. The color possibilities really are endless and some of the laminate samples have such great faux wood and stone textures that they lend themselves to natural inspirations.
I'm constantly adding new pendants and components to the shop as I make them. I've got a sketchbook full of ideas! Birds, butterflies, pansies, and an idea to combine the laminate with metal are currently filling my pages. The best way to follow my creative journey is to follow me on Facebook or Instagram where I post new creations, sometimes as soon as I make them!
I'd like to thank the editors of Art Bead Scene for the opportunity to share my creative process, and to celebrate I'm offering a special 15% off coupon in my shop! Just type in the code ABSFEATURE14 in the coupon code box upon checkout and receive 15% off your entire purchase! Here are all my important links:
Also, if you create something with one of my laminate pendants, I'd love to see a photo and I would definitely feature your work on my blog!
Thank you so much Marcie for sharing so generously with us today - I have loved reading this post and can't wait to see where you will go next with this versatile technique.