May 16, 2013

There's been a lot of talk lately in the Etsy community about the flood of mass/factory produced items into the handmade marketplace.  Its been in my thoughts lately too as I work on defining/refining my "brand".  What does handmade mean to me?

To the maximum degree possible, I make by hand all of the components that I use in my jewelry.  Why?  Because its important to me...because it matters.  I think of myself as an artisan/craftsman.  I think its what helps set my jewelry apart from others.  

Maybe it would be nice to share a glimpse into that process from time to time?  Yes!  So today, I wanted to share some pics of the process I use to make ear wires. First, I choose my wire - sterling silver in this case - and then I measure and cut.

Umm, funny how this is the first time I noticed the warning about safety glasses.  Don't be like me!  Luckily, I wear prescription glasses so I'm covered...right?

Time to file!  Nothing is worse than sharp edges next to tender ears.  I'm working on the end that will make the loop at the front of the ear wire.  You'll see later on that the other end - the one that you slip through your piercing - is a little more labor intensive.

This is a handy little tool that slightly rounds the edges.  

These lucite drops require a larger loop to hang and swing correctly.  

Hammer time!  This helps harden the wire....also good for letting off excess angst and stress...not that I have any of that....

I use these handy pliers to bend the wire into an ear wire-ish shape.  They're actually good for all sorts of projects.

Add the final kick and then trim it down to a not so scary length.

Now its time to file the other end.  Yes, I'm a little fanatical about getting that kick smooth!

Hammer time again.  I actually have a specific number of hits that I use every time. Hmm, maybe I shouldn't admit these things in public :)

Ta-Da!  After a good cleaning, they are ready to use. 

I hope this post wasn't too boring.  I tend to get a little excited when I start talking shop.  What can I say?  I love what I do!