Welcome to Stormflight Designs


If you've always wondered about how jewelry is made and fine craft is done, this is the blog for you! Our intent is to show you the step-by-step of creating jewelry from a silver-smith's and lampworker's point of view. We'll throw in some other interesting craft-work too. Consider this a "tutorial-light" blog in a way. You'll get to see the creative process from start to finish. Sometimes it may take a while to get to the finish, so please be patient! We often have to wait for the muse to strike--sometimes in the middle of a different project!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Searching for the Perfect Bread-Box

A dear friend of mine has been looking for a bread box and sent me some pictures of what she was thinking of purchasing.  She asked if I could make one for her as she'd love to have something handmade from me.  Of course I'm always up for a challenge so I started scouring the re-sale shops for just the right box...and I found it!  Of course, it had to be totally re-done!  Strip and sand and then paint.  While that was going on I had to search for the perfect scene to Repousse'/Emboss into the pewter.

I searched and searched images online and in my design book once I had narrowed it down to roosters.  I don't know why, but I've been into roosters lately...this may be influenced by the fact that a close friend of mine has chickens and roosters and I get the freshest eggs possible from her.  When I found this design in one of my books I knew it was perfect!

So, step by step this is how the rooster emerged from the pewter...

 Working from the back side I pushed out the detail lines.  You have to work slowly and carefully so the metal doesn't crimp or wrinkle.
 Slowly adding volume...you have to keep flipping it over to define the details on the front size.  Then go back to the back-side and add more volume.
Just keep working until the design is all done!

Then it is time to add a bit of patina to give it an old-world feel.

The voids have to be filled in so that all that hard work getting the design just right isn't ruined by getting smushed (technical word) with use. 
The final breadbox...I'm really happy with how it turned out!  I think I'm going to have to look for another bread-box to fix up and make one for myself!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

My First Student - Her Finished Ring

Its pretty great when a student makes a piece of jewelry that you'd like to keep for yourself!

Here is Stephanie finishing up her ring...she is setting the stone.  My compliments to her for doing such an awesome job! 

She choose a beautiful turquoise stone that was hand-cut by one of the silver instructors from William Holland School of Lapidary Arts.  If you have the desire to learn and you can get to Georgia, this is a wonderful school...I like to call it Art Camp for Adults!  It is non-profit and the instructors volunteer their time so it is so affordable!  http://www.lapidaryschool.org/

Her ring turned out beautifully!  Don't you think so?  And it fits--that's always a bonus!

If her friends don't believe she made it, you can see why!

I guess I should start worrying about the competition she will give me!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Teaching For the First Time

I got a wonderful opportunity to introduce a friend to the fascinating world of Silversmithing!  It all came about through my husband.  He is a Professor at a nearby University and he was showing some of his Graduate Students my website. 
Working Out Details
One student in particular was very intrigued and really wanted to learn how to make Sterling silver jewelry like I do.  I wasn't so sure if I wanted to teach or not at first, but the more I thought about it the more I liked the idea.  I decided she could be a 'guinea pig' for me. 
Learning to Manipulate Wire
I could practice teaching basic skills and in doing so could learn what teaching techniques work and what doesn't.  And to see if teaching suits me.  So, she came for her first lesson this past weekend--it actually turned out to be a long lesson--6 hours.  Long, but very satisfying and the time went by so fast! 
Ring Ready for Polishing and Stone Setting
She got a lot done and we had lots of fun too.  Well, I had fun...and I think (hope) she did too!  She picked out a beautiful turquoise stone and made a ring.  As you see in the picture above, it is ready to be polished up.  It is going to be just beautiful when it is sparkling and shiny!  So stay tuned for the final product.  Wish her luck on learning to set the stone!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

All Work and No Clay? A visit with Christi Friesen

How lucky am I that my sister Christi got to visit me last week?  Yea!

Since she lives on the West Coast and I live on the East Coast, we don't get to see each other very often.   Maybe that is the secret to why we get along...

For the few of you who might not know who she is, check her out at: www.cforiginals.net

But, the other week she was in Laurel, MD which is about 1 1/2 hours from me so we planned a long overdue get-together.  She was able to work her schedule to fit in a few days of "leisure" with me before she had to head out to Chicago.  Amazingly, the weather cooperated and didn't interfere with any travel or plane flights.

Look at all the "leisure" fun we are having...

hmmmm....this looks like a lot of fun.... (sarcasm detected?)

Loads and loads of fun!

Yea, we had fun...even while working!

I was able to distract her from work a few times...

We went shopping!  If you have ever owned a pair of Dansko shoes, you know how awesome they are!  We have the outlet/headquarters here where they make them, so everything is about 50% off.  A good pair of shoes and a bargain!  Throw in some chocolate and we are in heaven!

We Skyped our Dad and sister Lyndi in Arkansas (check out Lyndi's foodie blog:  www.nwafoodie.blogspot.com)

It was fun to chat with them...it's been a long time!

We spent the last day together in Baltimore at the Fine Art and Craft Show.  It was lots of fun and lots of walking.  Christi doesn't look tired at all, but I am all glassy-eyed and ready to flop!  We finally got to eat dinner after looking at every single booth.  My husband, Mike, looked at all the booths by the time Christi and I had finished 2 rows.  Then we made him slow down and re-look at every thing!

Mike and Christi seem to be less than charmed...was it something I said?  Perhaps it was because I forgot to bring my wallet to pay for the meal...

....who knows.

We had a super great time hanging out together...(well I did anyway...she might have a different story to tell!) 

Aren't I lucky!  Try not to be too jealous that she is my sister :) 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Pulling My Family Into the 'Fun Side of Life'

Cutting Slabs
After years of doing different arts and craft projects, none of my family members have really found what they have liked doing enough to join me on the 'Fun Side of Life.'  Of course, as all artists know, that is the side of life where, once you are in it, you completely forget there are necessities to do--like taking care of food and shelter...(not that I don't eat...there is a lot of that going on, unfortunately).

Grinding Away
I have been trying to find something that my Dear Husband (DH) would enjoy doing.  Most of the things I do require too much detail work for him.  He appreciates the outcome, but wouldn't want to do it himself.  BUT...I have finally found just the right thing...Rock Cabbing!

Polishing Up
I found a great little machine on ebay (good shape and good price) and then I had to search for a good trim saw.  I happened to be at "gemarama" this fall and there was a great vendor who had lots of different lapidary items to choose from.

So, I got a great little saw and then just needed some time to get DH to sit down and try it out.  For some reason I am intimidated with the saw.  I am a happy camper using my torch and other machines, but something about that little blade spinning around so fast makes me quake.  I value my fingers too much I guess.

He is used to woodworking and this is very similar.  Just a lot harder to cut than wood.

While at the show, I picked up some rock slabs so he can practice.  It took him about 3 stones to get into the groove.

Well there have been a hitch or two...a couple of the stones kept popping off of the dop stick for a while, but he conquered that.  Sometimes a stone has a fissure in it that will split when you are grinding it. But, no worries, you just re-grind it to the new size!

Now the challenge will be to keep up with him and make jewelry fast enough!  I am going to make a bracelet out of the first stones he cut - Lapis.  It will be a nice thing to keep to remember our beginnings.

So, if you are trying to figure out what to immerse yourself it, keep looking and you will find it!