Lisa / Behind the Scenes

  • LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Copper Hearts and Sterling Silver Ring with Custom Initials

    Part of the joy in making one of a kind pieces is creating something that people love to give and receive. My Copper Hearts and Sterling Silver Rings with Custom Initials have been so fun to make, because each one is custom made with any initial you want! Whether it be your own initials, loved ones, a pet or a place, you can choose one to three letters that are hand stamped into the floating hearts.  Take a look at how these sweet little rings are made.

    Just like you saw in my earlier post, Behind the Scenes: Metal Clay, the individual hearts are made using copper clay.  Copper clay is a unique material, because in the early stages I can manipulate it just like clay.  For these pieces, I roll out the clay to a very precise thickness. Too thin and the metal clay will break, but too thick and it will be too bulky. Then I carve out my varied size heart shapes, texture each surface using hand tools and add your custom initials.  I love them because from ring to ring, the hearts are texturized in all different ways, each one unique. Once I am happy with each heart, I put them in my kiln for firing.  Here is a picture of the last batch of heart rings I made after they came out of the kiln and cleaned up.  You can see that some people order them without initials, which is nice too, because you can really see the texture on the surface.

    LPDstudios: Behind the Scenes - Copper Hearts and Sterling Silver Whimsy Rings

    To make the sterling silver shank I start with square sterling wire.  It comes in big spools, so I cut the length of the wire based on the size ring desired, and flatten it using a hammer.  

    LPDstudios: Behind the Scenes - Copper Hearts and Sterling Silver Whimsy Rings

    Using a hammer on sterling silver is a balance between using enough force to flatten and forge the wire without having thin spots or damaging it.  My goal is to get the shank thickness as consistent as possible on the entire length of the wire, but making the ends flatter than the rest in order to solder my hearts on!

    LPDstudios: Behind the Scenes - Copper Hearts and Sterling Silver Whimsy Rings

    The next step is to fix my copper metal hearts onto each end of the sterling silver wire by using solder. To summarize the soldering process, I take a piece of solder and put it in between the copper and sterling pieces, heat the site, and the solder melts, affixing the two pieces together.  Here is a picture from above looking down at the sterling wire and copper heart being held in place with tongs before I take the torch to heat the solder to its melting point.

    LPDstudios: Behind the Scenes - Copper Hearts and Sterling Silver Whimsy Rings

    LPDstudios: Behind the Scenes - Copper Hearts and Sterling Silver Whimsy Rings

    After joining one side of the wire with a custom made heart, I now shape the wire into a ring shape using a mandrel and a jewelers hammer.  This special type of hammer typically has a head made of raw hide, rubber or plastic so that you can shape the metal without damaging the surface.  Here you can see what they look like after shaping some, and then I will repeat the soldering process to affix the other heart.

    LPDstudios: Behind the Scenes - Copper Hearts and Sterling Silver Whimsy Rings

    This is the finished product after soldering the other hearts on and polishing everything up! What is nice about this ring is that it comes in two sizes, small or large, but you can also pinch it or pull it slightly for a closer fit.

    LPDstudios: Behind the Scenes - Copper Hearts and Sterling Silver Whimsy Rings

      Visit LPDstudios to find out more about the Copper Hearts and Sterling Silver Whimsy Ring, or the Copper Hearts and Sterling Silver Ring with Custom Initials!  And place your custom order within the next week to receive your ring in time for Valentine's Day!!!  

  • Behind the Scenes: Leather and Copper Cuffs

    From start to finish, my leather and copper cuffs are labor intensive, but so worth the work!  Here is a behind the scenes look at my creative process to make these unique pieces:
    I start by cutting copper metal in the size and shape I want for the cuff.
    Leather and Copper Cuffs
    Then I snip and sand for rounder and smoother edges.
    Leather and Copper Cuffs
    Next is the really fun part! I distress the copper metal using various hand tools, as well as my rolling mill to impress texture into the surface of the metal.
    Leather and Copper Cuffs
    Here you can see how the copper metal looks after it has been through the metal rollers.
    Leather and Copper Cuffs
    Next step, I cut a leather strip, slightly smaller than the size of the metal cuff, and cut out a unique design using sharp tools for precise lines.  I also use the same hand tools and rollers as the copper metal to create textural surface patterns into the leather.
    Leather and Copper Cuffs
    For the rustic and weathered aesthetic of the cuff, I blacken and polish the copper metal, as well as dye the leather band. This is also when I water proof the leather, smooth out an rough spots, and polish both pieces for a low luster finish.
    Leather and Copper Cuffs
    The leather is attached to the copper by a process called "cold joining". This is done by sawing copper tubing into small lengths, which are called rivets.  I then saw a cross pattern into the rivets on both sides.  This allows me to slide the rivets through each hole made in the copper and leather bands, and hammer the cross stitch down to keep the leather in place.
    Leather and Copper CuffsLeather and Copper Cuffs
    Leather and Copper Cuffs
    Leather and Copper Cuffs
    Here is what the piece looks like after the rivets are in place and the metal and leather have been joined.
    Leather and Copper Cuffs
    Up until this point, I have been working with flat pieces of copper and leather, and once the pieces are joined I can now shape it on a bracelet mandrel.  Using a rubber mallet I gently hammer the piece into an oval cuff shape. 
    Leather and Copper Cuffs
    And here is the final product!! A one-of-a-kind Copper Leather Cuff with Floral Cut Out :)
    Leather and Copper Cuffs
    Click here to see my full leather and metal cuff collection!
  • Behind the Scenes: Metal Clay

    Creating has always been in my life.  Starting with my love of vintage cloths and sewing to my education in art and design, moving through a fifteen year career in fashion and now being a creative person with a family.  About five years ago I felt that I wanted to explore a new art form and on a whim enrolled in a metal smith class.  Since that class and many workshops later, I have been invigorated by a new art medium, metal clay!

    A majority of the jewelry pieces I create are made using bronze and copper metal clay, which is a clay like material made up of fine metal particles combined with an organic binder and water.  In the early stages I am able to use it just like clay.  I roll it out, cut any desired shape, add texture to the surface, and manipulate it in any way I want to create my pieces.

    LPDStudios Metal Clay Tools

    Once happy with the shape and design, I cross my fingers and place pieces in a special kiln designed for metal clay.  The high heat of the kiln is what burns off the binder in the metal clay and the metal particles fuse together to create a solid metal item.

    LPDStudios Metal Clay Pieces in Kiln LPDStudios Metal Clay Pieces in Kiln

    LPDStudios Metal Clay Kiln

    Once the firing process is complete, I reach into the cooled kiln and remove the finished pieces!! Even though the binder has burned off, there is still a residual white reside present on the metal, so I brush, rub and polish to bring out the true luster in each piece.

    Here you can see how much of a transformation metal clay takes between its pre-fired state and post-fired state!

    LPDStudios Metal Clay Pieces pre-fired   LPDStudios Metal Clay post-fired

    LPDStudios Pre-Fired and Post-Fired Pieces

    I really love working with metal clay and am always in the studio exploring new techniques to create original work.  Keep checking back to see whats new!

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