Sunday, March 7, 2010

HOW TO MAKE A TROPHY or A Silversmithing project

Silversmithing (and goldsmithing) is the art of forming sheet metal into hollowware, flatware, jewelry etc.
Hollowware: dishes, bowls, vases, urns, cups, teapots etc.
Flatware: forks, spoons, knives.
Other things produced by a silversmith include weaponry, like swords or sword handles, armor, as well as various decorations for the table, walls, yards, yadda yadda yadda.
Traditionally, a silversmith works directly in silver sheet or bar-stock. But for learning purposes, a novice silversmith can work in copper or brass as it is cheaper. Sometimes, a silversmith may want to work in copper, despite their higher level of skill, so that the copper piece can be a prototype or a master model for casting purposes.
The difference between a silversmith and a blacksmith, is that a blacksmith forges iron and steel. Iron is a "black metal" due to the black layer of oxides that forms during heating. Both types of smithing have been in practice for thousands of years, and not much has changed in the techniques of production despite the technology of today.

This semester, I will be making a prototype for a trophy. Ideally, I want to have it engraved with something that strokes my ego when I am finished.
Soooo the first few steps are as follows:

1. Sketch out an idea. Tighten up the design,and make sure to be technical about everything..maybe do some mechanical drafting, despite how absolutely terrible mechanical drafting is...

2. Now comes the time to decide which piece to start with first. The best route is to begin with the cup, as it is the main component. The handles will be either carved out of bar-stock or wax and cast later. The base will be last, to ensure that the cup will be balanced and proportionate once both handles are soldered on.
3. Supplies include 20 gauge copper. Copper is a soft metal, and easy to work with. Compared to brass, copper will not need to be annealed as much. By the by, annealing is used to enhance ductility. To anneal metals like copper and silver, heat the material until it is glowing then quench in water. During silversmithing (and various other procedures) metal becomes 'work hardened' and you must heat the piece to above its re-crystallization temperature.
Other supplies include things all jewelers should have, like a saw frame, various saw blades (I'm partial to 4/0's and 6/0's), a multitude of files that range from coarse to fine, sand papers ranging from fine to coarse, dividers, rulers, a caliper, a scribe....Luckily, I'm in school, where the studio has a plethora of hammers and stakes.
4. The cup piece of the trophy will be formed with a technique called 'raising.' In particular, synclastic raising, in which the curves of the cup will be forged at right angles and move in the same direction. The piece will be formed on a stake will repeated passes of hammering and annealing.
5. To prepare for raising, you must prep your metal by drawing out a pattern. This is a simple the pattern will consist of a small circle (the base of the cup) inside of a large circle. The small circle will be placed on a stake and I will hammer the metal outside of it, thus 'raising' the metal into a cup shape around the base.
6. To figure out how big the circles need to be, go to the technical drawing and find the dimensions. The formula for the main circle that will be raised will be height + diameter + 1 inch. I like to give myself a little room for error, so I added 2 inches instead of just one. The inner circle is the length of the base of the cup.
7. Draw the circles directly onto 20g copper sheet with a pencil, sharpie, or a scribe/dividers. Dividers are nice because they work like a bow compass.

8. Saw out the large circle from the sheet metal, then file the edges.
9. Anneal the piece. This puppy is ready to be beat the f up. Next week.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Graduation is no longer a speck on my radar. May 25th is looming and I find myself spending my time planning cap and gown measurements and looking for new apartments. Senioritis is an understatement when it comes to school work..buuut I'd also like to blame the numerous snow days and a semester start date of February 2nd for the boredom/laziness.

Soo whenever I'm starting a new class or getting a new instructor, I rape and pillage and google the hell out of the professor to A. see what people are saying B. to prep myself for them (get a visual of the hotties) and C. check out their work. Sadly, I won't be able to do this anymore, as I'm graduating. But last night I took it upon myself to look up some of my current professors and see what's good lately. Five minutes into it I realized, again, that jewelry design, and FIT as a whole, was an incredibly great decision of mine. I'm proud of my work and proud of the professors I study under. Needless to say, it was a very inspiring night for me.

FIT is a cheap school (if you're a NY resident holla) but spending thousands of dollars on supplies kind of cancels that out..that's really the only flaw. For nearly two years I have studied with masters of their craft. People educated all over the world, and even some educated at FIT. I love all of my professors, but I'm only going to praise a few at the moment...

  • I enjoy classes with Tony Lent the most. Lots of people are offended or intimdated by him. But I really think they need to get over it and grow the fuck up. Tony was initially educated at Pratt (like so many other people in my circle) then went on to be trained as a goldsmith in Germany. I can't even imagine what a German education is like. In any case, it's hard to find a program that cherishes classical jewelry training and pushes their students to sweat, cry, and bleed through it all to achieve advanced technical skills like FIT does. Tony Lent has taught me soldering, piercing + sawing, diamond jewelry techniques, and currently teaches die forming. He and I both know that bench work is challenging for me, but I like to think he sees my effort. And I enjoy having him as a resource and role model. He does what he wants, he does it beautifull, and shits all over your 'fine jewelry.'

  • Gennady is a professor that taught me wax carving and costume jewelry (white metal model making). He was trained in Russia and he, like Tony, makes things that make my brain hurt trying to figure out how human hands made it...Besides teaching at FIT, Gennady works for Zadora Timepieces.

Zadora Coral Snakes Timepiece. 'Two inter-twining coral snakes executed in 18kt yellow and white palladium gold with pink and white diamond detail with green tsavorite eyes and blue sapphire, white diamond and green tsavorite detail with purple sapphire eyes resting on a 18kt yellow gold guilloche top. 18kt yellow gold case.' I've seen one of Zadora's timepieces in person. Words cannot describe. Absolutely amazing craftsmanship and major bling. The texture on the wristband is very unusual. If I'm remembering correctly, Gennady said that they use sting ray skin.
  • William Manfredi is a master silversmith. Up until a year ago he owned his own business in Manhattan restoring. During that time he began teaching at FIT, and has been there for decades. He learned his craft and worked in Italy during the 70's when, as he says, there were thousands of people like him. Apprenticing, working, refining their craft as silversmiths. Sadly, today you can count the remaining silversmiths on one hand. During his career, Manfredi has made pieces for the likes of Cartier and Tiffany's. It is a privilege to learn silversmithing with Manfredi; a true master of his craft and one of the kindest, most encouraging instructors I have ever encountered. Unfortunately, I can no longer post examples of his work, as his website is down and google images are way to small to give him, and his work, justice.
Thank goodness for good professors!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Welcome Back, Kotter

Almost a year's hiatus...

Things I'm digging these days...besides "Welcome Back, Kotter" episodes...
  • gorillaz, lady gaga, the talking heads, bjork, j. dilla, jack white, the magnetic fields, charlotte gainsbourg and van halen (duh)
  • cheetos
  • year one, angry beavers (spoot), rocko's modern life, among other silly things
  • still hating cats, snow, several inhabitants of my neighborhood..fucking Mark's mother and Mark's stereo to name a few..
  • versani inlay rings
  • wishing I could own a Balenciaga scarf coat
  • me through my days..
  • neglecting my online art history class..any professor who flaunts their "avatar" from Second Life falls a few spots down on my 'respect' ladder and a few spots up on the the 'you're fucking weird ladder
  • being in love with a professor...le siiigh...(n.b. not prof avatar)
  • wishing I could wear something like this
  • taking advantage of The Museum at FIT's website/database
  • tryna woo someone for the second time in our relationship
  • dollar beer nights at Rope. Monday is now Friday.
  • reading sociology books..then finding out how ridiculously riddled they are with feminism...not hating..just sayin
  • cheeses
  • bothering kate baldwin
  • eating lots of bad things and blaming it on pms 3 and 1/2 weeks out of the month
  • trying to get a damn job!!! someone send the waaambulance!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I still don't really understand this weird obsession people have with Hello Kitty. I really love that the packaging is supposed to look like a purse.


Does anyone else hate how bulky and uncomfortable their bulletproof vests are? They are completely unflattering and totally cramp my style. Lucky for me, urban body armor brand, Anxo, has created a new line of bulletproof clothing!
Comfortable, lightweight, stylish. Ahhh finally, I know everyone else has been demanding a better design for everyday body armor.


Sippin' on haterade...
Johnny Fuckin Cupcakes. What. the. hell. Fucking CUPCAKE AND CROSS BONES? I'm sorry but the people of the world are thoroughly disappointing me. This completely non creative, absentminded crossbones design is plaguing the fashion and accessorizes industry. Not only do Johnny Cupcakes designs span across mens to girls apparel, but you can now purchase a $8.99 Johnny Cupcakes flashlight keychain!!! Oh boy, I sure have been needing one of those to replace my old one!

Oh, and legend has it that Johnny started off his gnaaaarly career selling shirts out of his trunk in the parking lot after his metalcore band had a show. The name of the band? "On Broken Wings." Enough said.

Kudos, Johnny. You are ahead of the game, totally banking in on the countless amounts of mindless people who want to wear a shirt with a fucking cupcake on it. With crossbones for godsake!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I stumbled across this website a few months ago; I immediately thought it was really interesting and neat. Trixie Delicious is a line of vintage china that a New Zealander paints vulgar words and statements on. Simple, but cooooooooool. "Vandalized Vintage," greatest description ever.


How cuuuuuuuuute. A skin couple; I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The garden looks nice and well-kept, too.

Monday, April 20, 2009


I often find myself remembering how I first got into this whole fashion was many years ago and it is actually a really stupid story. You see, I loved Saved by the Bell, f-ing LOVED it. This is where I harbored my love for Lisa Turtle, the fashionable gossipy one, who after graduating from Bayside High, went on to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Get out of town! I go there toooooo.
Besides Lisa Turtle, I loved Andie Walsh. Ya'll know whoooo. Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink! She and I not only shared a love of being fashionable and crafty, but also our names (Andie/Andi) and our great love for New Wave music. Also, our boyfriends had similar names..Blane..Blaise..same thing!
I remember the epic scene when she was making that pink prom dress. The toughest New Order song was blasting, the camera was zoomed in, catching all the seams being ripped, stitches being sewed, pearls and beads being attached. Molly Ringwald was the shiiiiit.
The other great thing about this movie? Duckie was THE greatest. I wish he was my friend.


I love menswear, I really do. I love when a dude knows what the f he's doing when he steps into his damn closet. It's so rare though, especially now, when HIPSTER has become such an easy outlet for men(and chicks but who gives a shit about them) to look fucking grimy. I hate those little mustaches, i hate dirty dirty skinny pants, i hate dudes in those stupid hats, and I hate when a dude is wearing something completely fucking ridiculous, like this guy from H&M's Spring Style Guide:
I know, I highly doubt that this guy in particular dressed himself in that outfit, but I still despise it so much that it makes me hate him...I have my eye on you, buddy...

Now these guys know that they look good. They look cool, they look confident, they look CLEAN.

Michael Bastian, thank you.
Since I'm on the topic of menswear, I can't go without mentioning my fav designer, Thom Browne. He is basically a god and forerunner in the whole menswear industry. His suits cost upwards of $5,000 and are rarely EVER confused with any other designer suit (unlike all those Armani's and shit that look all the SAME) for their distinctive style and fit. The signature look of a Thom Browne suit is flat front pants that have ankles exposed and no belt loops. Wearing a Thom Browne suit is effortless and classic.
Ahhh the beauty of Thom Browne Thom Browne is seated, surrounded by his beautiful friends.
Thom are so beuatiful, and you design beautifully tailored suits. It really really makes me wonder WHERE IN THE HELL DID THIS COME FROM!!!!!!!!!:
That was Fall '08...I'm really hoping he has turned a new leaf.


H&M..I love you, you are the reason of my recent credit crisis, I love you
and now...
Matthew Williamson for H&M; he's KILLING IT.
The 80's style that has been raping and pillaging the fashion scene is still a dominant figure.
I ALMOST thought the lifespan of waist-belts was through, alllmost. Love the silhouette of this dress, it's so dreamy..uggh I feel like a pre teen pining for the Jonas Brothers.
I am a huge fan of the slick style of a blazer paired with a tee and stove pipes. It's so menswear. It's especially glorious when you're a hottie, it's such an oxymoron. Anyway, I really enjoy that these pants have a center front pleat..makes me laugh.

Seriously, look at this fucking dress! It's soooo great, long overdue, too. H&M has been thoroughly disappointing lately. The only thing is the print on this dress is not summery at all...oh well, it's a mad short hooch dress I love it.
Ahhh the maxi dress, a roleover from last summer season. I, unfortunately, cannot indulge in this dress length because I look real reaaal stubby. I love how nice the mannequins butt looks in this dress. I would feel really comfortable with an online purchase; knowing confidently that my ass with be hugged all day by this SILK DRESS WITH NO STRETCH.

I almost started losing faith in you, allllmost.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


For spring break, my jewelry design professor gave us quite the hefty project, three earrings and a ring with pearls. But I finally had the chance to branch out and use other things besides bugs as inspiration. For example:
That thing around Jesus' head, not really your everyday halo. That is what I based my following designs on.
I started with some really REALLY rough sketches
Tightened up the designs and painted a few. The one on the left is 18k yellow gold, black pearl post earring. Middle is 18k yellow gold, black pearl, white teardrop pearl, diamond drop earring with sapphire cluster (this is obviously a nod to Metal Monk), and the earring on the right is a fluke. All are pencil and painted in gouache and watercolor. Work in progress.


Debut of my work on the interwebs..homework is my boyfriend and I must show him off. Contrary to popular belief, I don't have a weird obsession with bugs. I actually think all bugs, including the most beautiful majestic magical damn butterfly to be horrible creatures that must be annihilated. BUT having a common theme, in my case bugs, makes for a really strong portfolio and I've been having fun manipulating ideas.
Descriptions below each slide...
Mock up for a flexible bracelet. Bug wing motif is hand carved in wax. Will be cast in sterling silver. Toggle and other findings to be cast later. Obviously a work in progress.

The following are samples of work from my jewelry design (rendering) class. I never appreciated painting until this semester, as I am pursuing a degree in studio. Thanks, Lauren Pipkorn!
18k yellow gold flexible bracelet. Pencil and gouache. This is when I first started incorporating the bug wing motif and the insect theme as a whole in my designs.
18k yellow gold and citrine "June Bug" flexible bracelet. Pencil, gouache, watercolor.
18k yellow gold and pave diamond "Ant" flexible bracelet. Pencil, gouache, watercolor.

The premise of the project above is basically, an old lady comes to you with a family heirloom (in this case, a big ass sapphire) and you have to design a brooch or pendant that is animal or nature themed. How convenient! I didn't even have to start trying to design for a different theme/motif even if I really really really really really seriously wanted to.
I mean, I actually really seriously wanted to...
In any case, this is 18k yellow gold, sugarloaf sapphire, and diamonds. Spider Brooch.

Monday, April 6, 2009


I haven't felt such love for something like this in a really long time...

embellished tights, embellished tights, embellished tights!!!
zac posen, doo.ri, miu miu

Sunday, April 5, 2009


I stumbled across this jewelry designers website a week or so ago and I thought it was pretty interesting. Emiko Oye uses new and used LEGOS, precious metals, gemstones, among other recycled materials in all designs. Some of the earrings look really chintzy...actually really shitty. But other than that, there are some really interesting necklaces and bracelets. I'm not sure how much creativity went into play here....and the price point is kind of outrageous. $165 for a bracelet made of LEGOS, come on!
Now look at this crazy thang:

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Is it weird that I enjoy scouring the inter webs and magazines, creating outfits by copying + pasteing or cutting out and taping together different pictures of garments/accessories? WELL I ENJOY IT.
The white button down blouse(Topshop) is in honor of the store's US opening in Soho today (after a horrible, horrible months long delay). Leggings by Angie Johnson are crazy cool burn out velvet. Nude wedges by Nine West are a perfect compliment to the blue and white garments, while the black and gold studded belt (Streets Ahead) brings a little edginess to this otherwise soft and feminine ensemble.



Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I'm not sure how I feel about this...
Eric Klarenbeek (sometimes Eric Lauren Beck), an artist based in the Netherlands, has created eye jewelry that is essentially an embellished contact lens. This may creep some people out or seem worthless, but this is actually a novel idea. Some prime time thinking outside the box was definitely had. According to the designer, and models who have tried them on, these jewels do not cause eye irritation...I would hate to see what those feel/look like after having a crazy night out...or on a really windy day...or on someone with pets and small children around...or when they swing up and hit the wearer in the eye....just saying...

All in all, pretty cool.
Check these out in action on youtube...


The first result for a google image search of "gaudy jewelry"

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I’ve quickly realized that I enjoy being on the outside looking in with certain scenarios. In this case, I’ve learned that sometimes it’s much more pleasing to merely admire a garment, a painting, or an accessory, than it is to indulge and buy it. There is no need to be another number falling into the ranks of those suckered by the retail markets. I can appreciate the stitching on a pair or pants, the way a stone was set on a ring, how fabrics and colors are manipulated to portray a certain vibe, and an infinite amount of other things that are overlooked by probably 97% of the population aka those non creative types, to be blunt.

Number One will start off the collection of things worth looking at and appreciating. Proof that things do not need to be bought to be enjoyed.

I would like to start off with introducing one of my favorite jewelry designers, Dori Csengeri. Really, this lady is nuts. She is actually trained as a textile designer, but she makes the most wonderful hand sewn jewels around. She uses silk, cabochons, fine stones, shell, wood, leather, and magic in the majority of her pieces. Absolutely gorgeous; statement pieces that need to be the focal point of an outfit. Kudos, Dori.

Her website,, is really easy to navigate, and the quality of the pictures is really awesome, it’s easy to see all the details of each piece. There is also a great “color search” where you can pick a color/color combinations and every piece of jewelry that matches the criteria pops up, no matter what collection it is a part of. Many people think the earrings she designs are too big (example below). These are statement pieces, people. Meant to be worn alone. The days of matching sets of earring, bracelet, necklace, and ring are over. As an overly proud owner of a pair of huuuuuuge Dori Csengeri scarlet red chandelier earrings, I can vouch for the designer with the fact that they are not “too much” or “too heavy.”

Beauty is pain, anyway.