Saturday, March 14, 2009

Now on Etsy

I'm making more moves to get my work and art out there and created an Etsy-based store.

You can find me by clicking on the title of this entry, or search me out by my username of BellaMoonJewels.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Summer is A[d]venturine time

Okay northern hemispherers, while we down south are cooling down, you're shedding the snowboots and opening those sunstarved arms to welcome spring and summer. What more could you ask for than cooling green aventurine to adorn yourself with?

This little set was created during Melbourne's heatwave. While the temperature soared to 47 degrees Celcius, I turned towards
the soothing grace of green. Great sort-of-dressy-casual stuff to add a swing to your step. Of course, all put together with sterling silver.

Somebody loves me

Hello - I warmly welcome my first honoured reader! What a buzz. I hope I can provide you with truly inspired words and images to help cheer up your day and inspire your life.

Speaking of inspiration, I spent yesterday in my studio working on a couple of silver pieces that I soon hope to put on my site. I'm loving being able to shape the metal in the dapping block (to de-jargonise, a dapping block is a block of steel with dome shapes cut into it that you punch a flat piece of metal into with a specially shaped punch so it comes out a nice ... well ... dome). I love the learning process of heating, forming, polishing - it's quite magical turning a raw material into something useable.

My inspiration comes from a wide a range of sources - from many cultures and different periods throughout history. While at university I studied Renaissance art and architecture, which was an incredibly wonderful and well taught sequence of units, taking us from proto-Renaissance through to the end of the Baroque era. There are so many images and moods and shapes I refer to time and again to remind myself of not just the way something looks, but the way it makes me feel. It's the feeling I hope to convey through my art, my jewellery, my work.

As I develop my metal smithing skills I want to bring the beauty, the myth, the mystical - as well as the downright funky - into my designs. They're there in my head, but it takes time and patience to translate into a sculptural piece of wearable art.

It's an exciting time!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dangly earrings

Earrings - soon to be on my website as well.

Classic Pearls

Pearls - otherwise known as tears of the moon.
I love them and feel every woman deserves a strand of real pearls. These two - a triple freshwater rice pearl necklace (above) and a classic knotted pearl choker (below) are timeless pieces.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Black is the new ... black

Another triple strand - this time in powerful black onyx. Will dress up that business suit just fine and allow you to strut that stuff with attitude. Oh, sterling silver finishes it off.

Dap dap dap

Excitement arrived in the post today - my new dapping block and punch set from the USA. Why the USA? Don't we have jewellery supply stores here in Melbourne that sell these tools?

Well the answer is: yes we do, but the prices are out of this world for income-less startups like me, and having done some research, I found just what I was looking for from America at around 1/3 the price of what I'd pay here. And that's even with the shocking exchange rate and postal (for steel!). Sad but true.

I'd rather buy locally, however unfortunately, right now I just can't afford to - and these tools will add to my silversmithing capabilities.

Tomorrow is learning the dapping block and punch set day. All I need now is a disc cutter to save some time on sawing and filing all those circles. Hmmm ... time to start making sales.

In lieu of soldered silver, some more beads

Just a little more of my hand crafted beadwork that is for sale and will go on my eagerly anticipated website / online store.

A very cute little turquoise, freshwater pearl and sterling silver number. Elicits compliments when it's worn (I've tested it out). One-off piece.

There's a lovely touch of whimsy about these Akoya pearl and sterling silver dangles. Easy to dress up or down. The pearls are 5.5-6mm with a nice lustre.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Just one of those days

Being a novice silversmith is both exciting and very frustrating. I had a lovely piece going yesterday - it had good, artistic form, nice twists and the focal wire nestled perfectly in the creases I'd formed in it. But being a novice I did something very silly. I had two small joins to solder and, with one accomplished successfully, I began to tackle the other. I was using the same grade of solder for both, so I knew I had to be careful not to melt the other join... and set to it. Patiently, patiently, carefully, carefully ... I also succeeded in getting the solder to flow. Yippeeee!

Post-pickle I checked the join and discovered that somehow I had soldered the same bit twice. What to do? I could have bent the piece a little and made it all hang together nicely, but no, the Taurean in me had the red rag in her face and was going to do this!

So I set about soldering the right join. Big mistake. I couldn't get the flame right, I didn't have easy solder to work with and, you guessed it, the first join melted while I firescaled the other side. By this time steam was coming out of my ears and I threw that innocent piece of once beautiful work across the room, before pulling it apart, cutting off the firescaled bits and salvaging what useable silver I could to work on again.

On packing and cleaning up after all that, I came in and Google-searched for why my soldering isn't working very well (I've been having some balling up issues too). From my reading I gained a powerful insight that I've been told before but chosen to forget. That the beginner will have more ooops moments (I hesitate to call them failures, because each one is a learning experience) at first, before it all starts to work perfectly. It was a good reminder that patience is a virtue in this game.

Lessons learnt:

  • Check twice, solder once
  • Practice on scrap first so I can use hard solder with success and downgrade hardnesses as I go
  • Stay calm - if the frustration is rising, leave it until the next day or work on something else that I'm getting right
  • Keep practising, practising, practising
  • Appreciate that I'm a novice and enjoy the learning process
Time to get back out there and back into it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Off topic: The world of screaming kids

About three months ago my next door neighbour's youngest started screaming. I don't mean 'the baby's crying' type of screaming, but a high-pitched, blood-curdling, squealing scream. I started to become sleep deprived, because this would go on all day and all night! I mean, did that child ever sleep? It became so annoying that my husband and I started yelling words of discipline and what's acceptable over the fence (much to the Mum's annoyance), but it worked from time to time.

I guess we could have done the nice neighbourly thing and gone and spoken to them, however there are some rather marked cultural differences and we weren't sure whether having a good set o' lungs was how it should be for them. What I did know, it was rapidly getting under our skin.

I guess I've become a bit hypersensitive to screaming children now, because I've noticed every time I go out - to the supermarket, walking down the street, just about everywhere - there is a child screaming its head off. For a lolly or for attention or just for the sake of hearing its own voice. What's the matter with words? Teach children words, for heaven's sake!

Children are taking over!
Why, oh why is this happening? Is it because parents are lazy? Because they simply can't be bothered saying ssssshhh, or because they're afraid of a tantrum? All I know is that babies aren't born with rules and boundaries or a sense of what is acceptable behaviour - and it's up to us adults to teach them! If this means the odd tantrum or argument, so be it. They'll get the message eventually.

And don't go thinking I'm just a grumpy ole thing who's never had children. I have one child (now 25) and I'm about to become a grandmother in May this year. What I do know is that my daughter was welcomed at the places we visited because she knew how to behave herself in public - and I wasn't afraid of the arguments (of which there were many as she grew up) or the storming about behaving like a spoilt princess.

These days she thanks me for giving her the lessons in life that she had while growing up. She now cites how some of the free range kids she went to school with are now off the rails, while she's a business owner and soon to be a mother herself.

Let's stop being so soft on children and teach them how to be good people, how to have good manners and how to respect the adults around them. And this includes not screaming every time they want something.

Bella Moon - fine, hand crafted jewelry

I'm excited about jewelry and all things beautiful.

I began making beaded jewelry over three years ago - it started when I walked into a bead shop and had images of things I could make just from looking at all those temporarily strung strands hung along the walls. I purchased some small pearls and coral beads, some tigertail and basic findings to put it together. Then I went home and made a couple of necklaces. They were quite good, actually. But I knew I had much learning to do - I wanted perfect finishes, great designs and jewelry I could be proud to say "I made that".

In early 2008 I undertook a short course on silver smithing and at that time I realised it was time for a career change. But that took a bit of a back seat for a while, because it's difficult to work with metal in the back yard. Soldering's quite difficult outside in the breeze, especially with the el-cheapo torch I was using. Hmmmm ... ok, time to head back into the office and put the career change on hold.

As of a few days ago, the studio/workshop my husband has been building has been put into action. It's fantastic, and I've churned out a few bits of (ok, unsellable) practice jewelry and can't wait to develop my skills. With so much costume jewelry on the market, I figured one needs to have a signature style to go along with the bead skills, which I'm working on.

Soon I'll have some wonderful silver and gold pieces to offer, but until then, my bead work, wire work and stringing designs have a place around the necks, on the ears and on the wrists of women of this world.

Girls need their pearls

This is a recent addition to my collection. It's made with 11 gorgeous black coin pearls (11-12mm), round and flat sided coin pearls, on sterling silver belcher chain, with a sexy 14mm bolt ring clasp that does up on the side.

I'll be selling this through my website: - once it's up and running, which should be soon. It's priced at $325AUD. It's certainly for sale now - so feel free to email me at if you're interested. It also has matching earrings (picture coming).

And this little number is a simple, elegant mix of white freshwater pearls and faceted onyx rondels, all neatly hand looped together with sterling silver wire. It sits beautifully, feels great to wear and that's for sale at $180AUD. Once again, matching earrings are available.