Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Gearing up for the Holidays!!

I just got back from the Denver area. I was graciously allowed to hold some shows in the conference rooms of Colorado School of Mines Petroleum Building in Golden, in Denver at Williams Petroleum, and in Ft. Collins at Style Media and Design.
On the Tuesday before I left for Denver, I had a show with my friends at the Alpine Bank location on East Main here in Montrose.
Thank you so very much to my daughters Autumn Triesch and Logan Martinez for hosting my shows in Golden, Denver, and Ft. Collins. Autumn is a senior at Mines, and she works at Williams Petroleum. Logan is a Sophomore at Colorado State University, and she is an intern at Style Media and Design in Ft. Collins.
Thank you to the beautiful and very stylish ladies of Alpine Bank East Branch.
I have a trunk show coming up this Thursday at SheShe Boutique on East Main in Montrose. I will be there all day. Please come by and see me.
New Material!

Purple Glass and Stones

Pale Seafoam Green Turquoise

Copper with stones, Ceramic and Glass
Can you tell why I can't get much work done? (Rocky Triesch)
Because I had such a nice success in the last week, I ran out and bought some beautiful new pieces to set. I picked up some tiger eye, some agate slices, some ceramic, and crystal beads. The colors are so luminous and I am very inspired to get busy! You can expect to see some new things at SheShe this week.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Some New Jewelry

Shabby Chic Style with a Cameo

Malachite, Glass and Ceramic Beads
New Zealand Coin set with Glass and Crystals

Coral with Enamel and Bras
Sodalite and Lapis set with Silver
Here are a few things that I have been working on. I was thinking about my daughter, Logan. She loves the shabby chic style, and she loves retro things. I made her a cameo necklace with a picture of my grandmother in the pendant. See it here, as well as some other new items.

Freshwater Keishi pearls strands with Crystals, Shell and Garnets
I saw a multi-strand necklace that I really liked, and I decided to create a few of my own. I love the colors of my materials, and the process of gathering the beads and stones is interesting and fun. I am making some pendants to go on these necklaces. I just finished one with a big green turquoise cross set with copper. It is on a four strand necklace of seafoam colored glass with turquoise and ceramic accents.
When I first started making jewelry with my daughters, we used fabric and ribbon with wire. We added beads to the outside of the cloth part. The other day, I found a few of these little beads that we had made. I decided to set them with some different stones and glass. The result is this pink and copper piece with a coin pendant. The coin is from New Zealand. A good friend of mine travels there every year, and brings me coins to set. She has given me coins from Saudi Arabia too. They are all so interesting! I just drill the coins and set them.

Most of my necklace sets are priced between $30 and $65. I try and set materials that are not too expensive, so that everyone can afford to splurge if they want to. I can build custom pieces, or match an outfit for a special occasion. I can do a show at your home or office, as well.

Anyone interested in buying something, or having a show for me, please contact me at <jewelrybylesliet@gmail.com>

 I am going to have a trunk show at SheShe Boutique on East Main Street, Downtown Montrose on Thursday, December 15th I will be there all day. Please come and see me there!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Shops in Montrose who carry my Jewelry

There are two shops in my home town of  Montrose, Colorado who carry my jewelry. They are both  in the old downtown area, on East Main Street.

Tiffany, Etc.
My Jewelry at Tiffany, Etc.
Tiffany, Etc. has carried my creations for over three years. They are a gift shop that features furniture, cards, holiday decor, home decor items, framed art, socks, candles, select clothing and JEWELRY. The owner, Glee Westcott also owns a large facility that boards horses. She and her husband Joe Westcott live a true Western Colorado lifestyle! The Tiffany, Etc. shop reflects this Western heritage, and much of the items Glee offers are " "Cowboy Style". The shop is housed in a vintage building with polished wood floors, high ceiling, and a beautiful oak and glass front door. The atmosphere is inviting and feels like home. there are three floors to explore. Anyone could find the perfect gift or indulgence shopping there. 
My items in the store right now include some green jasper pieces, some blue sodalite, several Picasso jasper items that are multicolored, and some coral, and green and blue turquoise, too.

The other store that carries my jewelry in Montrose is SheShe Boutique.  SheShe is an upscale dress shop that features name brand and designer clothing, accessories, and some gifts. It has just reopened under new ownership, and it has a new and exciting feel! The new owner, Kimberley Mcgehee, has given the shop a soft, sophisticated look, while still maintaining the warm friendly atmosphere. There are several unique things such as one-of-a-kind beaded purses, hand made jackets, and of course, my jewelry! SheShe is the perfect place to shop for that formal affair, a dressy night out, or just looking fabulous anytime.
The jewelry that they have right now is several petrified wood sets, some jasper,  iron tiger eye, and some beach glass pieces. 

SheShe Boutique

My jewelry at SheShe

Kimberley is always looking for ways to give back to the community, and she is featuring some fund raising events between now and Christmas. Come in and shop Thursdays from 10:00 AM till 8:00 PM and have your gifts wrapped by volunteers  who will be in the store to raise funds for local charities. 

Some pieces of mine at SheShe

I will be having a trunk show at SheShe Boutique Thursday, December 1st. Come in and say "hi" and see all of my new jewelry designs!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Buying the Copper for the Jewelry

Big 2 headed vulture at the gates

 I get all of the copper that I use in my jewelry from Recla Metals Recycle Center in Montrose. The copper is brought in to be recycled, usually from building remodel jobs or tear downs. The wire is weighed, sorted, and stripped. It is stored in various bins until it is crushed into huge bales for shipment out. The warehouse where the copper is sorted also has brass, steel and some other recyclable items like old computers. There is usually a big pile of unsorted items near the front of the warehouse. There is evertything from pots and pans to discarded Grammy Awards. Not that any famous musicians chunk their Grammys. The company that manufactures the actual brass Grammy statues is near Montrose. They recycle the rejected ones.
It is fun to sort through the pile and look at the stuff in it. I have found a lot of brass horse figurines, some interesting copper teapots and flowerpots, and one turkey roasting pan. I can buy these by the weight, just like the copper. I usually have a particular item that I need, like wire of a certain size. The copper is in dumpsters and bins in the back of the warehouse. The men who work at the recycle yard all know me. The generously let me sift through just about anything. Larry, the man who works in the warehouse, saves some items that he thinks I might like or need.
When the wire comes in, it has plastic insulation. this is stripped away using a tool that they have. The wire is then sorted by size and put in dumpsters or piles. From there, it goes to a big compressing machine to be baled. I usually get my wire right out of the compressing machine. (not while it is on!) I can get pretty dirty, so I try and make my copper runs on days when I am in jeans. (that is most days, actually)
After I pick out my prizes, I take them to the scale to have them weighed. I get a slip and go into the counter to pay. Diane, the owner, sometimes buys jewelry from me. If she is around the office, we have a nice visit.

Recycle yard, they take everything
Various metal items waiting to be sorted

I like to try new forms, shapes and textures. Sometimes, I will see something made of copper that I want to try and use. These experiments will often lead to a new jewelry item, or a one-time object. It depends on what is in the warehouse.
I bought screen, some corrigated copper from plumbing, and some heavy plate copper that had a natural patina. 
I use 4 or 5 different gauges of wire, and some strapping that makes nice cuff bracelets. I have made the mistake of just buying a little of something, then when I go back it is gone. Now if they have something that I use, I buy a lot of it.

Copper Bales

The copper wire is soft, semi-soft or rigid. I have learned to bend the wire and test the rigidity before I get it. Really rigid wire can be brittle, and really soft wire will not wear well over time.
Some copper has a very red color, and some is
just brown. I like color variations, so I buy it all.
It's shopping!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Flash of Inspiration, or Not!

Sometimes I lack inspiration. When this happens, I look to my material for a little spark. I have a dozen plastic containers with beads, stones, and copper pieces in them. I can pull out a tray and look through the stuff. Before long, I have an idea for something new. Sometimes, I see something in a magazine, at a craft show, or in a store that gives me an idea. If all else fails, I re-create a winning design, and add a variation that will make it unique.
People will ask me where I get my material. I order a lot of it on the web. Ebay is an essential tool. Where else can you order tools, stones, lapidary supplies, even precious metals? I look for new things at rock shops, bead stores, and especially at gem and mineral shows.
I actually find some stones and drill, polish and shape them myself. The only reason I do this is to entertain myself. When I take this much time with a stone, my wages drop to pennies per hour. It is fun for me and it's good therapy.
The drudge work for me is pounding and shaping the copper. I buy recycled copper wire by the pound. Some of it is heavy strapping, or sheets, but most is wire. I cut it, shape it, and pound it flat. I use a small steel anvil and a chasing hammer that has belonged to my husband for forty years. (it's mine now!) It feels good to use tools that have a history. They are like comfortable faded jeans.

After the pieces are shaped and pounded, they go into a container of brine. About 24 hours later, they go onto a rack in a sealed container of vinegar. If I do everything right, the pieces come out with a nice turquoise, green, orange and brown patina on them. The color can vary greatly. I rinse the pieces, then fix the finish with Crylon. It is a water based finish that keeps the copper from turning the wearer blue.

Materials: Getting started

I get new inspiration from materials that I buy or find. Currently, I am working a lot with petrified wood. I have to drill each piece, which can be frustrating! I use a diamond encrusted bit in my drimmel tool. Sometimes the rocks do not cooperate, and I break a bit. The results very satisfying when I am able to complete a set. I spend as much on drill bits as I do on the rocks!
I also love to set picture jasper and lapis. The rich colors go great with the copper. Each piece of stone is unique. The colors and textures vary a lot.
I use household substances like vinegar and salt to apply a patina to the copper that I use. The copper may turn turquoise, dark brown, or even red. Usually a mix of these colors. It varies with the metal, the vinegar, and the time of exposure to each phase of the process. I guess that I could eventually figure out exactly what causes what, but I like suprises! I buy copper in bulk from Recla Metal recycle center. The age and exact compsition of each piece of copper can vary. I love to visit the recycle yard!