Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Designer's block and two for one

Hammered discs
How often does it happen, you are trying to come up with ideas and get hit with a designer’s block barely coming up with one design and then you grudging start work and hey presto you are hit with ideas galore! Well something similar happened with me, I was travelling for two weeks and then what with unpacking and preparing for Diwali , I could my creative juices just stop flowing. So last weekend when I finally got this idea for a pair of earrings, I took up my hammer and figured something better than nothing and while I was texturing these discs it occurred to me why not fold form the larger discs? This is what came of it;
Fold formed discs
Fold formed discs
Naturally the next thought was ‘I can’t put these in the same design!! ‘ so naturally I ended up with two pairs of new earrings :D
lilly pad earrings
The earrings with the fold formed discs and blue patina with a brass component
Textured discs with blue patina and riveting
Now that is what I call a Diwali bonus :) two for the price of one

Thursday, November 7, 2013

How to turn plain old silver bangles into a pair of designer bangles

Well here’s how !  For the longest time I have been crazy about silver jewellery, way before I even thought of making  jewellery by hand. So about eight or so years ago, I was on vacation in Baroda  and was told it was the place to pick up silver jewellery. I couldn't find anything special but found these thin silver bangles that looked great worn in a bunch so I bought ten of them . I did wear them for a while but for the past few years or so they simply sat in my jewellery box not doing anything, and after all these years my hand had changed in the sense it was stiffer and I could not wear the bangles. So here is what I came up with – combine the bangles into a larger piece .
Silver bangles
 The original 10 Silver bangles
I cut these up and straightened them resulting in ten pieces of 7 inches long very nicely drawn half round wires in 18 ga. I was initially skeptical and thought maybe the bangles were of a base metal with fine silver plating on them, but to my relief the cut portion revealed the bangles to be entirely fine silver.
Bangles cut and straightened
Bangles cut and straightened
Next came the design, I knew I wanted something simple that could be worn everyday and would not snag on clothing or anything else. I had initially thought of using granulation but then I realized my meagre silversmithing skills and the added disadvantage of having the pieces snag or catch on clothes or other day to day friction meant I had best keep things simple.
Wires twisted into gentle curves
Wires twisted into gentle curves
I used my chain nosed pliers and gave each wire a gentle curve warying the angle slightly each time. Next I placed the wires curved side down slightly overlapping each other and used medium silver solder pallions to solder them together. I took care to vary the position of the wires as I had to lengthen the total size by a half inch.
Soldered wires
Soldered wires
Having worked with copper for such a long time I never realized how much heat copper can take, the silver wires gave me a few moments of anxiety attacks when they reticulated and nearly melted a few times ! :( After all the wires ( I use four on each bangle) were soldered I formed the bangle and soldered the ends together.
Blog post5
Finished bangle
I still have to throw them in the tumbler but here is what they look like , I am really happy with the results although I know my silver soldering skills need a lot of work! A very fun gift for myself this Diwali and speaking of which wishing all of your a very Happy Diwali and a prosperous new year from Nayna Studios ! :)
P.S : I still have two wires left over having used only four per bangle ( will add a picture of both soon) I hope to  use the remaining two wires to gift myself a pair of matching earrings. Post coming up soon :)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sweating it and a sweet mango drink

So the summers have basically been here for a good three months now and will still be here for atleast 20 days more. Not exactly the most productive time of the year for me as the whole thought of spending a few minutes in front of the soldering block and my faithful soldering torch is enough to make me sweat a puddle! But what with the new studio furniture I was dying to do some work on it :D
Did I mention 'Patina' :)
So the next best alternative chainmaille and patina jewellry that does not require too much soldering. For now though I am concentrating on catching up with blog posts( kind of admitting to being absent here :P) working on the mockup of my brand new wordpress website ( yup kind of letting the cat out of the bag here)  and trying to cool down with sweet mango drinks

Here is my recipe for a very refreshing Mango drink called " Panha" that is an all time favourite with all of us at home :

1Kg Raw Mango ( mostly the large ones , if you live in Mumbai just ask the vendor for " Panhachya Kairya" ( translation: "Raw mangoes meant for making Panha" in marathi )
1/2 Kg Sugar
2 tbsps Cardamom powder
1 tsp Saffron (optional)

Method: Wash & boil whole raw mangoes for a good 2 hours or until they turn a dull yellow colour and let them cool overnight. The next day peel off the skin using just your fingers don't worry the skin will be super soft and will easily come off. You can scrape the pulp with a spoon or a fork or well just your fingers. Put all the pulp minus the stone in a large bowl, stir in sugar, cardamom powder and saffron, add enough water to make a thick paste. I usually give it a whirl with a hand blender at this stage. That's it your drink is ready just pour two to three tablespoons of this into a tall glass top with water, ice cubes and stir. This drink truly helps cool me down :) Remember to store your drink concentrate in the refrigerator its lasts longer that ways.

Do drop a line if you try this out at home :) 
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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Second life for a bunch of enamelled arrowheads.

Fresh out of the studio are these bunch of pendants. These enamelled pendants started out life as arrow heads for a sculpture I was working on. Over the years though that project kind of died and I had these beautiful arrowheads on hand and figured I had to do something to make them wearable. Here they are as pendants with a copper accent designed for each one :) I already sold the one shaped like a pipal leaf and the one with the copper half moon ! Still have a couple left and will be posting those soon .

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How to give your studio a makeover in the existing space

Losing a studio or a workspace can be extremely devastating to any artist ( trust me I know) so when I lost my studio last year in August I thought I was doomed :( For months I tried to work out of my room with barely any space to move around. Every time I turned around I either scraped my elbow on my bench vise or bumped my knee on my bench. Eventually I lost the will to work on my jewelry. I figured what was the point every tool either dropped and broke ( my soldering torch) or fell on my foot almost breaking it ( my forming block) . My mind kept going over ways to find cheap rental places or day dreaming about if only I was rich ( I know sounds terrible ) . Soon I too realized that it was time to get practical and accept facts that my old room was the only space I had and I was unwilling to take over the living room since I still wanted to keep my home looking normal. So one fine day I had this epiphany what if I  only had this space but empty minus all of my bulky studio furniture ( See half of my studio furniture were hand me down tables that I had modified and the rest haphazardly bought ) It struck me that if I completely redesigned my tables to my exact specifications I could actually be saving a lot of space so after a week of measuring,  drawing and redrawing I came up with a sketch and called my carpenter over for a quote. He of course had to make quite a few modifications and this is what I finally had made

I do not have the 'before' shots unfortunately but as you can see there is quite a bit of open space in the foreground even with a chair kept in front of my bench on the right. The multi drawered table on the right actually holds all of my tools, metal, scrap and wires. 
Its not all done yet as you can see my tool board isn't up yet and will be going above my bench and hold all my precious hammers and mallets. Plus I only just figured out a great way to neatly store all my wire roles. Most copper and brass wires are sold by the running length and not rolled onto a spool but merely twisted into a roll, that stays neat for a grand total of about 3 projects by which time finding a free end is a nightmare. So here is what I did I bought cheap pvc pipes and cut them up into 5 inch pieces cut notches with my trusty saw on either ends, then simply stuck in one end of the wire into a notch rolled the wire onto the pipe and stuck the other end into the opposite notch and voila mess free wire roles.

So now that the tables are here guess its time to get back to work :P 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Movie mania !

       I often have people ask me what I do for a living and the minute I explain that I am a metal artist who also loves to paint I get a response "Oh Wow So Exciting !! you're an artist!!" Well I hate to burst their bubble and tell them that while I am lucky enough to be doing what I love for a living it still is a lot of hard work! From coming up with new designs (I actually love that the most) to working out techniques to taking great images of my work and coming up with content for blogs, newsletters Facebook fan pages, Networking, organizing the umpteen details of an exhibition to .... well you get the picture :) So while it is fun in some parts in others its just plain old work.
Recent exhibition featuring my work 
            Today I got to see the other side and by that I mean the hard work side of another glamorous and exciting profession - Movies, motion pictures, films call it what you will its what really excites most of us. Me I get completely gobsmacked when I see animation films and special effects. The sheer brilliance always has me staring open mouthed at the screen. Well today I had the most amazing experience of getting a behind the scenes glimpse of things. A friend of mine is a film maker and is working on her very first independent film Its a children's film and while I am not allowed to give out any more details I can say this : A brilliant piece of work and I will be sharing details once it releases :) ( sneaky huh? ) Well anyways its been shot in a remote village and it has some scenes involving village women talking, laughing and such and my friend wanted me and a few of her friends to pitch in with these'extra' voices. Some of us jumped at the idea and yours truly was a bit skeptical about being able to help. So what was required you ask? well we were to dub the voices of the women in the background, village women to be specific . In certain scenes it was women talking or laughing or giggling ( oh  yes it gets very specific) women fighting at the water tap!
           Thing is it just looks so easy but when you get down to it I realized there is so much attention to detail in voice pitch, volume, language, tone ....  I mean have you ever fought at a water tap? I certainly hadn't and getting the correct tone of indignation at another woman shoving her water pot under the tap was impossible for me to get! What completely amazed me was the sheer amount f patience these people have,there was a guy who was actually directing all the dubbing and he analyzed every hmm , haw , laugh, giggle word or tone that went out and each time it was recorded with every little change and then this guy, the recording artist and my friend get together at a later date and design the sounds ! Whew now I know why a film costs as much as it does and takes as much time .
All in all though it was an amazing experience and sure am glad I went :) So what new and fun experience have you had recently?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Beginnings

Come New Year and everywhere I turn there are talks of New Year's resolutions what with every person you bump into asking " So what's your resolution this  year?"  well I hate that question it sort of reminds me of my dad putting me in a corner by asking 'so how much time do you think it will take for you to finish your homework :(  So instead I figured I will come up with a new habit for myself ( habits are hard to kill ever tried to kill a bad one?) plus I figured if I can stick with one long enough I can add more to it sort of a snowball effect :)

So what is my new habit you ask? Getting my butt off my jeweler's bench and nope not into my computer chair but out for a walk ! Well I did it today and was rewarded by some seriously yummy crisp air two Labradors out for a walk one brown and one black and one simply gorgeous Golden retriever with luxurious fur ! Not to mention two cute little babies one in a stroller all bundled up and one with squeaky shoes :)

While I can't actually click images ( don't carry my phone or camera while on my walks I find them too distracting ) here is an image of another sweet habit that I have gotten into what you ask? more jewelry of course :D 
Air chased copper cuff in the works in my bench vise

Air chased copper cuff
©2013 Nayna Studios™
Here is what I have been up to recently. I followed instructions by Wendy Edsall-Kerwin in the Art Jewelry Magazine November'12 issue  . Its an amazing publication if you like love to learn new techniques . Anyhoo more on that in another post :) Happy New year too all my readers and do drop a line as to what your new habits are :)
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