Scouting for Diamonds

This same time last week…

I spent my morning with Girl Scout Troop 5443. This was a special treat for me because I love to share jewelry making with the younger generations and spark an interest in our industry.

What better way to spark an interest than to use a torch!

They loved anything I showed them with the torch. They were mesmerized with the Argentium® fusing and giddy over making rainbows on titanium.

I also brought out the “diamonds”

The girls were eager to learn all about the “diamonds” I brought for them to see. 

They were actually Rainbow Moonstone. This opened a great discussion about rocks and minerals and the difference between cabochons and different types of cuts.

We even got down to business

Each girl was given a holographic sticker with the Wubbers logo on it. One of the girls said she was going to stick it on her bedroom door. I quickly said “ask your mom before you stick the stickers anywhere.” The excitement was appreciated though. To see young girls absorb the belief that they could follow their dreams and that their ideas had value, made my heart very happy. It was worth waking up a little early on a Saturday morning for this.

But then the most exciting part…

The girls got to make their own necklace. 

They each used a Wubbers Artisan’s Mark Hammer to texture a copper flower blank. Since the girls ranged in age from 6 to 11, I thought long and hard about how to best avoid hammered fingers. I finally decided I would tape the copper blank to the bench block. 

I have to say this was not one of my better ideas! When it came time to patina the flowers, there were tiny pieces of tape permanently indented into their flowers causing the patina to only take on the non-taped areas. Oops! The girls still loved the outcome though.

I can’t say they loved the rotten egg smell so much.

Each Girl Scout had a cup with warm water and Liver of Sulfur. We had a little science lesson on chemical reactions as well as the proper way to waft something when you need to smell it. 

 After a few “eeews” and giggles, they started shining their pieces and adding the final step of the jump ring to slide the pendant on their ball chain.

I think they all did an amazing job!!

Girl Scout Troop 5443 was definitely a ray of sunshine and a breath of fresh air. They even gifted me with a special resin pendant I just treasure. 

My pendant has the lucky shamrock in the center which is well recognized in the Girl Scout logo. To the girl scouts the shamrock is representative of a reliable compass leading us toward friendship and unity. 

May we all carry our “shamrocks” with us and share them with others these next few weeks my friends!


Laura

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Posted in jewelry making, Local Classes, Tools, Wubbers Cares

The Water Lily Necklace

Back in July…

A dear college friend of mine contacted me to tell me about her great aunt who was a jewelry maker and had passed away. My friend wanted to know if her great aunt’s jewelry making supplies were anything I would use.

After at least 30 picture texts to let me pick and choose what I wanted, three large flat rate boxes arrived on my doorstep.

I found myself in awe as I sorted through the treasures. I did not know my friend’s great aunt, but it quickly became evident she had a love for the Chinese culture. 

Among her treasures were Jade Buddha necklaces, Chinese longevity locks (I had to look up what these were), and Tibetan silver…not to mention a plethora of beads, findings and copper sheet metal.

Last week another friend of mine came over for our weekly jewelry making get together. 

We were feeling adventurous and decided to try setting stone on stone. Of course we followed the lead of Francesca Watson of The Makery. As we sorted through my studio for the needed materials, we ran across the perfect flat cabochons. These green stone discs were a part of the stash from my friend’s great aunt. They were perfect for our first time of setting stone on stone!

Starting out, we weren’t sure what our finished product would be. We mostly wanted to see if we could be successful at our brave new adventure. Sure enough they turned out great!

Over the next few days…

I continued to work on my new skill with a necklace in mind. As I pondered how to design the necklace, I noticed the stone on stone settings reminded me of water lilies. It hit me to have the design look like each stone was in its own pond. I used some copper sheet I received from my friend’s great aunt, along with some sterling silver to create a pond setting for the stones. The necklace was coming together nicely, surprisingly without much fuss on the soldering end (whew).

Once I finished the bezels and set the stones I started on the Bow Tie Chain.

I thought it would be a good continuum to mix the metals in the chain as well.

I absolutely loved the way this necklace turned out.

I also love the symbolism of the water lily. In the Chinese culture the water lily is a sacred plant offering love and a place to rest…a reminder to myself to provide a safe place for others to find rest. And, in times of uncertainty in my own life, to go to the sacred space that provides peace and understanding.


In honor of those who have gone before us and to those who are just beginning their jewelry making adventures…

Here is wishing you much love and peace,

Laura

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Posted in jewelry making, Jewelry Tips

Caption This Giveaway!

OFFICIAL RULES/TERMS AND CONDITIONS  

  1. Write a caption for the chosen photo and post it in the comments section of the giveaway post on Facebook or Instagram.
  2. One entry per person.
  3. All persons, ages 18 and older, are encouraged to enter.
  4. Giveaway is open to all US and Canadian residents who are not employed by Wubbers.
  5. Deadline for qualifying captions is Midnight CST, August 27, 2020.
  6. Winners will be notified by August 31, 2020. Check our Facebook* page at www.facebook.com/WubbersU for giveaway updates and announcements.
  7. Participants must be willing for their caption to be posted on our websites, social media, and/or in our newsletter.
  8. For participants who are unable to access Facebook or Instagram, please email your caption to Info@wubbersu.com.
  9. TWO WINNERS will be chosen. One winner will be chosen at random to win a $40 gift card to WubbersTools.com. A second winner will be chosen, based on the creativity of his/her caption, to win a $40 gift card to WubbersTools.com. Creativity of caption will be determined by a panel of judges.

*This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook or Instagram. You understand that you are providing your information to the owner of this Facebook page and not to Facebook.

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May the 4th be With You!

In a galaxy not that far away…

All of the loyal Star Wars fans are aware of what day it is. We are quoting every movie line we can recall and telling each other the well known pun, “May the fourth be with you.” 

In honor of this day, I have spent the past week coming up with several jewelry pieces to commemorate it. This shut-in may have provided a little too much time to play haha. 

I couldn’t help but to start with the lovable and furry Chewbacca. 

The picture below is of my son when he was 6 years old meeting Chewbacca. The actor had to be at least 6’5″! 

Of course I had to make earrings furry and tall just like Chewbacca. They demand attention just like he does when he enters a room. It was a challenge to cut the fur without strands flying all over or clumps coming out. The Tierra Cast Crimps were perfect for holding it all together.


And how about the beepy little robot R2-D2.

R2-D2 has always been a favorite of mine. Did you know he and C-3PO are the only characters who appeared in every Star Wars film? 

R2-D2 is the inspiration for this blue and white beaded and wire wrapped bracelet. The blue beads in the center spin around reminding be of his head spinning. The white shell beads roll around my wrist as smooth as R2-D2 rolling in the sand. I always wondered how his wheels never clogged up in the sand or got stuck on rocks?

Then there is the Dark Side

What would Star Wars be without the enemy? When we went to Disney World in 2008 my 10 year old son would have waited in line all day to fight Darth Vader. 

Luckily they picked him from the crowd in the second battle round. Perhaps the Dark Side of Star Wars reminds us that good can still come from evil. The Dark Side gives us the chance to be better, to perfect our skills for good. 

I will admit the ring below tried my patience. Do you ever have that piece that you had big plans for and then it feels like it is all going wrong? Repeatedly, I had troubles with the bezels on this ring as well as with the solder. 

Eventually I just embraced the imperfections and saw the beauty that was in the ruggedness of it. Besides, the Dark Side isn’t always pretty right?

But the darkness just makes the light shine brighter!

The Jedi, they were the peacekeepers. When the galaxy was in disarray, the Jedi were the ones who defeated the darkness. The force was with them. My favorite Jedi of all is Yoda. He has so many inspiring quotes and he is just so cute!

I felt the force was with me on this pendant. The tiny Yoda silhouette was sawed from sterling sheet. The background is titanium with the colors produced from fire. The frame soldered beautifully. I might have melted 4 bezel cups before the 5th one finally set on the bail, but overall I am very pleased with the outcome.

“Do or do not. There is no try.” ~ Master Yoda

Star Wars is not everyone’s cup of tea, I completely understand that. The main takeaway is that you continue to find what inspires you and do not let the Dark Side, so to speak, tell you “that’s dumb” or “you’re not good enough.” Sometimes you just have to put yourself out there and when you do…

May the Fourth be with you!

Laura

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Posted in jewelry making, Jewelry Tips, Sawing, Uncategorized

Teeny Tiny Giveaway!

One winner will be randomly selected to receive the following prizes:

1 travel size Lysol spray, 1 travel size Bath and Body hand sanitizer, 1 Wubbers Teeny Tiny Chain Nose and Flat Nose Pliers, Cutters, and Hammer.

           OFFICIAL RULES/TERMS AND CONDITIONS  

  1. Send email entry along with your name, phone number (for notification only), and let us know you want to win. Include a picture of something you are making right now only if you want to.
  2. One entry per person.
  3. All persons, ages 18 and older, are encouraged to enter.
  4. Entrants must live in the USA or be able to ship their prize to an address within the USA.
  5. Deadline for submissions is Midnight CST, April 9, 2020.
  6. Winners will be notified through private email and/or phone call by April 10, 2020. Check our Facebook* page at www.facebook.com/WubbersU for giveaway updates and announcements.
  7. Participants must be willing for their name and photo entry** to be posted on our websites, social media, and/or in our newsletter.

*This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to the owner of this Facebook page and not to Facebook.

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Giveaway Time!!

One winner will be randomly selected to receive the following prizes:

One Wubbers Parallel Rectangle Pliers 8mm x 4mm – valued at $59.95

TierraCast charms and findings of Wubbers, L.L.C’s choice – Value to be determined

           OFFICIAL RULES/TERMS AND CONDITIONS  

  1. Submitted jewelry entries must include a picture of entrant’s favorite piece they have made or a favorite piece they want to create. Proper credit must be given to the designer.
  2. Send one photograph per email entry along with your name, phone number (for notification only), and a short description of the piece to info@wubbersu.com.
  3. One entry per person.
  4. Jewelry makers of all levels, ages 18 and older, are encouraged to enter. If an entry is created from a tutorial or inspired by an instructor’s work, please give appropriate credits in the description of your piece.
  5. Entrants must live in the USA or be able to ship their prize to an address within the USA.
  6. Email entry should include the word “2020” in the subject line.
  7. Entrants agree to receive periodic emails from the Wubbers Weekly email list. 
  8. Deadline for submissions is Midnight CST, March 20, 2020.
  9. Winners will be notified through private email and/or phone call by March 23, 2020. Check our Facebook* page at www.facebook.com/WubbersU for giveaway updates and announcements.
  10. Participants must be willing for their name and photo entry** to be posted on our websites, social media, and/or in our newsletter.

*This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to the owner of this Facebook page and not to Facebook.

**By submitting your photo entry, you are acknowledging you agree to the above Terms and Conditions.

Posted in Uncategorized

The World is Your Playground

Get ready, because the picture overload is coming!

There were just too many beauties in Tucson to pass by and not share. I just love the creativity that overtakes my brain when rummaging through the plethora of shiny and colorful playgrounds at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. I also love to read the articles and see all of the posts about the show due to the fact it is literally impossible for one person to cover the entire event. Everyone’s eye and mind is different. Enjoy this opportunity to see it through another view…

One of our favorite playgrounds is Potter USA’s Open House.

We love to see the huge selection of dies and stamps, live sand-casting demonstrations, our friends, and eat food. Much to our surprise, Laura and Patti found a father/son team in the back room of Potter’s this year.

Ron Alexander and his son had a huge selection of Hubei turquoise. Of course Patti and Laura couldn’t walk away empty handed! We not only found some amazing pieces, but we were able to make new friends as well. Meeting new friends is always a bonus to this job, and we love to see other families who enjoy this industry together.

Just for kicks, here is a closeup of the Hubei turquoise. It’s gorgeous!

I would like to say the Hubei were the only cabochons I purchased while in Tucson.

However, that would be a lie. I will spare you pictures of every last one, but I will share my favorites. How could I say no to these rose cuts or rubies and sapphires?   

It wasn’t a trip entirely full of shopping though.  

Demoing our tools is one of our favorite ways to meet you all and learn exactly what each of you enjoy making. In fact, this year one sweet girl and her friend caught on so quickly to the Ring and Hoops Press, they offered to give Laura a break and do the demoing themselves! They were such a joy and agreed to let me share this picture. To find out more about the Wubbers Ring and Hoops Press you can visit us at WubbersU.com.

Patti decided she couldn’t miss all of the fun though, and on the last day in Tucson, was able to join Laura at Kent’s Jewelry and Lapidary Tools. We were able to meet several of you and see your most recent designs while sharing ours with you as well. Thank you to all who came out and said hello!

And, we can’t leave you without a little Tucson eye candy!

I found myself being drawn to the geometric designs and sharp lines this year. One of my favorite purchases is this cubed sterling silver bracelet made by Glynn Powell of CHUMÏL Studio. Glynn was a pleasure to chat with and very talented. This bracelet has a kinetic movement that is captivating.

At Jogs I couldn’t help but be pulled into one of the Polish amber booths. I am convinced someone was calling my name from that booth…who knew necklaces could speak? Wouldn’t you know, I walked away with these two gorgeous friends.

“Speaking” of necklaces, I also managed to purchase this one from Jeff Fulkerson while at Potter’s House. Like I mentioned earlier, I was really drawn to the sharp lines this year.

Then there were the rings.

Oh my goodness the rings. I do not think it is possible for me to pass Bora’s booth at the Holidome and not buy a ring. His ability to tension set stones is mesmerizing. His booth is always packed and can’t be much larger than an 8×8 with three people working the crowd to ensure no one steals something. Bora’s ring is the one on the far right of this picture. I have always had an admiration for him know he started selling his jewelry with his brothers on the streets of Brooklyn.

While I was paying for my Bora ring (with none other than the man himself completing the transaction), I was wearing this simple little necklace I had made. He started to tell me about his early days of jewelry making on the streets of New York while working with copper. He then told me he liked my necklace and asked if I made it. Wait, what?  Did Bora himself just compliment some piddly necklace I made? I stood there, mouth gaping and managed to utter out a “thanks.”

He proceeded to tell me more about his early days and told me if I just set a stone at the bottom, my pendant would be perfect. It has been a week since then and I am still stunned. I have debated taking his advice to set a stone in it and possibly melt the whole piece, or just leaving it as is as a remembrance of this magical moment.

We all need those giants who believe in us.

No matter if your giant is a parent, a friend, or a respected mentor…we are all seeking some form of validation. Let this be an encouragement to you all to not give up. You never know when or where the validation will come from!

Finding joy in the journey,

Laura

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Posted in jewelry making, Tools, Tucson

3 Ways to Boost Creativity!

For most people, the new year brings new goals and fresh starts. I want to provide some inspiration for letting the creative flare roar this year. Here are my top three suggestions to lead the way!

1. Conduct a workspace tidy-up

Creativity tends to get messy at times. The new year is a great time to conduct a tidy-up! Many of you may ask, “but isn’t the chaos where most creative minds get their inspiration?” I say yes…and no. I am the first to admit I thrive in organized chaos. Below is a picture of my workspace following the holidays. A lot of new designs and elements left this space in pretty wrapped gift packages.

messy-desk

However, at some point, the inspiration and new ideas are repeated enough to become ordinary. This is a good indication it is time for me to wipe the slate clean and allow a fresh space for the process to start over.

Perhaps that is why January 13th has been declared National Clean Off Your Desk Day? Take this opportunity to give yourself the gift of a clean workspace in order to rejuvenate those creative juices.

clean desk

Be sure to share your workspace tidy-ups with us on Facebook! You could help inspire others!

2. Commit to learn something new

There are several studies proving the benefits of learning something new has on the brain. From fighting off dementia to improving your self-esteem, the benefits are numerous.

Gardening Gloves Cradling Baby PlantsWhether you decide to make jewelry, cook a new recipe or read a book about gardening, introduce yourself to something that is intriguing to you. Research has found our brains make connections across all fields of interest. Learning something new in one category, can trigger ideas in a completely unrelated interest.

Whether it is once a week, month, or quarter, make the commitment this year to learn something new. You never now how it will influence and translate into a phenomenal new jewelry creation!

WubbersU with T words

To help you get started, check out our free classes on Wubbersu.com!

3. Dedicate your time

Night and day

How easy is it to come to the end of a day and wonder where exactly it went? I will be the first to admit I loathe the words “time management.” My days can be demanding and pull me in several directions. Before I know it, I can go almost an entire week and realize I have not stepped one foot into the studio.

For me, it is important to carve out specific time dedicated to creating in the studio. This might mean planning ahead with that dreaded phrase of “time management,” but every time I do this, the payoff is wonderful. I am happier and feel more accomplished. My creative juices have their outlet to run free!

Smooth Stacked StonesKeep in mind, we are all different. For some, the struggle may be dedicating too much time to creating. This isn’t the same concept is being “in the zone” and cranking out masterpieces. I am talking more about when you spend so much time making jewelry, you catch yourself squinting and causing eye strain. Or, the bail you just tried to solder melts for the second time. Both of these examples are a good indicator it is time to take a break.

As the saying goes, the key to keeping your balance is knowing when you’ve lost it. If you have lost your balance, perhaps it is time to take a break and go find it again.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure it works for you. I look forward to sharing a creative year ahead with all of you!

~ Laura

View More: http://carriescreationsphotography.pass.us/laura--patti

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Posted in Creative words of wisdom, Handmade Business, jewelry making, Tools

At The Makery with Francesca and Robert

The Hill Country was calling and Patti and Laura had to go…

to the cozy downtown of Bulverde, Texas. With it’s charming Hallmark feel combined with the friendliness of the locals, this small town made us feel like we hit the jackpot for a girls retreat. We were eager to explore Francesca Watson’s lovely studio and store, The Makery.

sign

Francesca welcomed us into her spacious studio for a three day workshop with none other than Robert Lopez of Robert Lopez Designs!

instructor

If you haven’t been introduced to Robert Lopez, he is as cheerful and exuberant as the vibrant colors he creates in his metalworking.

Robert's pieces

Several of Robert Lopez’s pieces.

Well known for the use of titanium and his mastery of fusing Argentium, Robert brings a raw and organic element to the jewelry industry.

The Fractured Mine

This beautiful piece by Robert Lopez titled The Fractured Mine is what he taught us to make in the three day workshop!

Robert's

The Fractured Mine by Robert Lopez

When I (Laura) first saw it, the colors mesmerized me. The bottom disc of the necklace is titanium set in Argentium. I was ecstatic to learn how to achieve the vibrant colors in the titanium as well as in the top portion of the pendant which is fused Argentium.

Under the direction of Robert, Patti and I were taught several techniques using the torch and liver of sulfur. It was amazing, and fun!!

fusing

Patti with the torch

Did I mention Robert was a master at fusing Argentium?

Argentium is Patti’s and my favorite silver to work with. When you fuse it, there is no need for pickling. It is also very fragile! You must always let Argentium cool before quenching it.

fused

Patti’s Fractured Mine piece

Due to it’s fragility, Robert was able to show us how to use that to our advantage in our designs. This is Patti’s fractured Argentium piece she fused her faceted nuggets to. Yes, we even got to learn how to make Robert’s faceted Argentium nuggets!

The finished piece! 

After three days of concentrating, learning, laughing and eating yummy food, I finished my masterpiece. Okay, don’t look too closely…I never said it was a perfect masterpiece, ha. I will, however, be able to transfer what I learned from Robert into my own designs and jewelry making.  I would love to take another class of his if the opportunity so happens. His classes sell out fast!

Laura-finished-necklace

Laura’s finished Fractured Mine

If you are curious as to how we achieved the texture on the back-plate of the top portion of the pendant, it is all thanks to Rolling Mill Resources paper patterns.  Our friend, Gwen Youngblood, not only owns Rolling Mill Resources with its plethora of patterns, but she was also able to attend the workshop with us!

friends

Laura, Francesca, Patti, and Gwen

Gwen even supplied every student in the class with free samples!

Gwen texture samples

We could not have had a better weekend. An excellent workshop full of engaging and intriguing ideas, good friends, warm hospitality…the perfect girls getaway!

friends wubbers

If you are ever in the area…

We highly suggest you stop in The Makery. Say hello to Francesca. Perhaps even take one of the many workshops offered there. Then hop next door for a one of a kind leather handbag, maybe even cross the street for some pumpkin chocolate muffins. Whatever you decide to do, continue to find the joy in creating!

~Laura

View More: http://carriescreationsphotography.pass.us/laura--patti

Visit us on WubbersU.com for free tutorials and helpful tips!

Enjoy our newest tip from Laura.

What are Francesca and Robert up to now? Here is a sneak peak!

Robert and Francesca are collaborating their talents, time, and supplies to raise money for the Semper Fi fund! Semper Fi’s new Welcome Home Fund program is specifically geared towards supporting Vietnam-era veterans. The veteran population is near and dear to both Francesca and Robert.

Elements (1)

The final piece they create together will be auctioned off before Christmas, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Welcome Home Fund. As an added bonus, the Semper Fi Fund has received a pledge of a matching grant from the Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation – so any funds raised through the auction will be matched dollar for dollar!

Lace-and-Shields (1)

To see the current progress Francesca and Robert have made and the final piece, visit recent posts on The Makery’s Facebook page.

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Posted in Gwen Youngblood, jewelry making, Patti's Jewelry Travels, Tools

When Bikers Wear Jewelry

View More: http://carriescreationsphotography.pass.us/laura--pattiThere are pieces of jewelry we design for fun. There are pieces we design to sell. Then, there are those special pieces. The ones we design with purpose and meaning. They can be some of the most challenging to make, but oh so worth it.

Allow me to share…

My good friend and her husband recently joined Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA). Working in conjunction with local and state officials, BACA members provide protection for abused children and create a world in which they can feel safe.

When BACA members make the initial ridbaca-logoe to meet a child, 20 to 30 bikers go together to deliver gifts. One of the gifts is a teddy bear. All of the bikers hug the bear and fill it with love. If the child is feeling low on support and needs more hugs, the bikers ride out again and fill the bear up.

If a child has to testify against his/her abuser, BACA members assemble and are ready to ride. They will escort the child’s car all the way to the courthouse. Can you imagine the confidence the child feels looking out the car window seeing these bikers by their side?

Then my friend showed me a small marble.

It was a marble she obtained on her first ride, symbolic of all the tears of the child they were going to “catch.” My heart let out a sigh. She asked me if I could somehow take the marble and incorporate it into a pendant held together by chains. The chains are symbolic of the bikers being united in their cause. Yes! Most definitely I would make this pendant! Marble

Little did I know how challenging encasing a marble with tiny chains can be! 

I made a prototype. Remade the prototype. Remade it again…. So many times I just wanted to break the chains, bust out the torch, and solder together a silver cage for the marble. Each time I struggled to get the chain to close and hold its shape, I was reminded to honor the symbol of love and sacrifice my BACA friends were giving to these children.

Realizing they would ride 30 minutes to a scared child’s house in the middle of the night and surround the house to keep the “bad guys” away, my heart let out a bigger sigh.

Then finally it came together…

hanging

The marble of tears caught; held in chains that were meant to be tough enough to withstand fear and violence. Encased in love. Worn with compassion. Oh. So. Worth It.

 

Finding joy in the journey,

Laura

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