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Jewelry classes in phoenix az

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MissHotcakes


Arizona Artist Series: Rebecca/ MissHotcakes Q&A


Rebecca of MissHotcakes has a quirky unique style that mixes her love of the vintage and weird in a beautiful way through her jewelry designs. Learn more about her process and style in our latest Arizona Artist segment below!



labradorite ring




How did you get into metalsmithing?


Jewelry making has been something I’ve been doing since high school, maybe earlier, so it’s always been an interest of mine. It started with beads, and then in the late 90s, there were hemp necklaces/bracelets. More recently, I was on the lookout for vintage buttons, and I also was using felt for a bit.
I enjoyed that, but I found that I wanted to elevate my skill set, which led me to taking a course at Harold in 2015. I fell in love with the process and the ability to really create something out of nothing. 
Creating is just such an important thing to me, and metalsmithing is really my favorite way to scratch my creative itch.
saguaro necklace and pin

What inspires you?

So much! I find so much inspiration from the desert around me here in Phoenix. Nature in general is a huge inspiration. 
I’ve also always been drawn to some of the darker things in life – skulls and skeletons, witchcraft and other pagan symbols, the night sky! Stars and the moon have always been something I feel drawn to.
Recently, I featured Irina Ionesco’s photography on my Instagram page because her photos are just so amazing and are such an inspiration to me. They’re dark but beautiful and unique, which is exactly the aesthetic  I am after. If you aren’t familiar, I really suggest checking her out.

What is your design process?

Usually, I have one thing, whether it be a stone, a technique, or an idea that will drive the rest of the piece. Most things I plan and sketch out and think over, but there are some pieces that just come together organically that I hadn’t planned on at all. 
I’m also usually not one to start and finish a project all at one time. Instead, I have about 3 things going all at once that I work on in spurts.

What is your favorite tool?

My favorite tool is my tweezers. Why, I don’t know, but I have to have them!

What is on your bench right now?

I have a onyx and moonstone ring that I’m nearly finished with.  
I also have a picture jasper that I’m about to start working with. I’m going to use bronze, which I’ve never used before, so I’m excited for that. 
Of course, I have other things in the works, but I’ll leave it there!


ring in making


Loving this Psychic hand necklace currently available on her site. Go, take a look and shop now! At misshotcakes.com
brass and silver hand necklace

Tips on Taking Good Jewelry Product Shots from a Professional Photographer – Part 1.


Tips on Taking Good Jewelry Product Shots from a Professional Photographer – Part 1.  
By: Amy Juneau

Phoenix Photographer, Sage, of Desert Sage Photography, met with me recently to share some basic tips on how to shoot good jewelry product shots. She has 6 years of experience as a jewelry product photographer and 10 years of experience photographing weddings.  She’s been a real gem (pun intended) in creating quality photos for Harold Jewelry.  
jewelry photo tips

Check out her advice in answer to my questions below:

AJ: What do you recommend for removing/avoiding dust and debris in close up shots?

S:    It depends on what background you wish to photograph the jewelry on. A white background looks professional, but it can be tricky, as it shows lint and random debris easily. Keep a lint roller and or tape handy (Sage always asks her jewelry artist clients what is their preference for a background before a shoot).

If you have a photo editing software, like Photoshop, and are somewhat knowledgeable of it, you can remove flecks of debris or lint easily that way.

Lastly, though It seems obvious, it’s helpful to wash hands before taking any jewelry photos. It keeps the oil from your skin from appearing on the jewelry, particularly on close-up shots.

AJ: What do you advise for removing weird or distracting shadows in a jewelry product shot?



tips on jewelry photography

S: If the jewelry isn’t a reflective piece, a light box is helpful. 
If you don't have one, you can use a cardboard box with a square cut out of the side covered with white fabric.  Place your light source, (remote flash or clamp lamp) outside the fabric covered cut out square and directed inside the box.  The fabric will act as a light diffuser and even out the shadows on your jewelry.   It's good to try to keep your light source relative to the size of your jewelry.

AJ: What do you recommend in regard to indoor vs. outdoor lighting when limited to a home studio?

jewelry photo tips

S: A clamp light with powerful bulb is best if you're stuck with indoor shots. Use a white board/paper opposing the light/flash source to even out the light source.
As for outdoor shots, there are optimal times of day. Avoid twilight, sunset and high-noon. Mid-morning around 9 am and Mid-afternoon between 2 and 3 pm are best.

AJ: Thank you, Sage! You’re such a wealth of information, and we ran out of time, so this will be followed by a ‘Product Photo Tips - part 2’ next month.


S: Thank you, Amy! I look forward to it.

 Check out some of Sage’s photography for Harold Jewelry and for her other clients here.



Sacred Spirit Gems

Arizona Artist Series: Mark Plehn Q&A


Mark of Sacred Spirit Gems has a stirring array of crystals and crystal healing jewelry with stone combinations that are carefully arranged to create optimal healing results for the wearer. He was kind enough to answer some questions in our Arizona Artist Series about his design process and what inspires him.


custom ruby ring


How did you get into metalsmithing?

I began the initial metalsmithing aspect of my jewelry career learning how to set gemstone cabochons with sterling silver wire.  Almost twenty years ago I was fortunate enough to have met an amazing silver wire stone setting artist.  She had a small table at a very small northern Arizona town craft fair and after some conversation and my bold request for her to teach me, we ended up at my dining room table a few days later as she passed on her knowledge!  I was and am so grateful for her open-hearted sharing of her talents for my benefit and I appreciate the gift I received that day every time I set up a new wire wrapping design.  My ongoing desire to expand my jewelry creating skills then led me to Harold Studio and Johanna.  I feel like now the sky’s the limit after finding another amazing artist willing to share their metalsmithing gifts and knowledge!

Quartz necklaces made custom for healing

What inspires you?

For me the inspiration for almost all of my work is the gemstones and their amazing ability to receive, store, amplify and transmit light, color and mineralogical vibrations.  I’m inspired by nature and natural organic forms and I’m also very inspired by antique designs: Victorian era, the jewelry of the 20s, 30s, 40s and sometimes even ancient antiquity designs from Egypt, etc. 

What is your design process?

custom labradorite necklace
As a certified Crystologist my initial design process always begins with the energy of the gemstones and the intention for the piece I’ll be creating.  Is the piece I’m working on a single stone, stand alone pendant for a chain or is it a pendant that will be attached to gemstone healing combination design?  In what form will this healing design be most effective for my client?......in a necklace or bracelet form?  Maybe it needs to be an anklet because the client uses their hands and a bracelet would be in their way.   Most of my designs are custom healing designs with gemstones and crystals specific to addressing physical health challenges or intentional consciousness enhancement designs.  All of my designs are centered around the crystals or gemstones and I do my best to let the stones tell me the best way to create them into intentional consciousness enhancement and wearable healing art.

What is your favorite tool?

I’d have to say my favorite tool is my flexshaft.  I love all the different things I can do with it in grinding, texturing, finishing and polishing.  Not to mention the ability to change my tips to stone carving tips for working on gemstone carvings, etc.  I feel like I’ve only begun in exploring all the things I will be able to do with this wonderful tool.




custom made rings in Arizona

What is on your bench right now?

On my bench right now are a number of in process pieces.  I always have several different pieces I’m working on and usually switch between them……if I get stuck or frustrated with one thing I’m working on, I switch to something else to keep me fluid and enjoying the process.  There is currently a custom double ammonite piece I’m setting in an unusual way as well as a number of quartz crystals pendants, a ruby ring and a ring repair project as well.
what is on my jeweler's bench

 

Free Cabochon Base Patterns

30 base patterns for cabochon rings, necklaces and earrings. 


If you're like me, drawing perfectly symmetrical lines for your designs can be challenging. It's already hard enough to saw out exactly what you want when making a ring or necklace. I thought it would be fun to make up some base patterns that I use for my cabochon rings and necklaces for you to use. There are 30 of them along with a basic tutorial of how I went about using one with a bezel cup and cabochon. You can download it for free here. Let me know if you like it or would like to see different designs! It was fun to make and I hope it can help you make something special today.

This is the silver and turquoise teardrop cabochon necklace I made with one of the base patterns for the tutorial.
turquoise and silver necklace

Dear Jewelry


Arizona Artist Series: Katherine Londen Q&A

Katherine makes jewelry that mixes edgy lines with organic shapes and she always uses beautiful stones as a focal point. She just launched her etsy store, shopdearjewelry.com and we can't wait to see what she comes up with next. 

silver long earrings with topaz
Stick Earrings

How did you get into making jewelry?


I first became interested in metalsmithing in college, when I worked for a year as a sales assistant at a boutique jewelry store in Tucson called Viir Jewelers. I learned a little about gemstones and how they form in the earth, what gives them their colors, where they come from, etc. and I was fascinated by it. Jewelry making is really the intersection of art and science. I think that is the coolest thing! Years later, I read an article about Harold Studio and when I ended up taking a job downtown, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to take a class and learn. I've since taken several different classes.

What inspires you?


Science and nature - the things we see all around us, like our environment and its creatures, but also the things that are hidden to our eyes, like diatoms, which you can only see with a microscope. I'm also inspired by gemstones themselves - a particular color or shape or type of gemstone will get my creative thoughts racing!


What is your design process?


Bubble ring with tube set diamond in 14k gold
Silver Diamond Ring
For me, it's mostly about the stone itself, because I want the stone to look its best. Its color, shape, etc. all give me ideas. Sometimes those ideas work, and other times I have to rework the ideas!

What is your favorite tool?


I don't know that it's my favorite, but the tool I use the most and that I find comes in handy all the time for all sorts of things is my bastard mill file. Also, I couldn't live without my optivisor.


What is on your bench right now?



I rent studio space from Harold Studio (thank you!!!) so right now, nothing. But there's usually my optivisor, saw, a bunch of stones, silver sheet and wire, files, bristle or silicon discs, and some works in progress. I think you can testify to the fact that a lot of the contents of my toolbox, in fact, find their way to the bench, creeping across two spaces rather than one. The organization aspect of my jewelry making is a work in progress itself, haha!

A metalsmith and her wall hangings

Arizona Artist Series: Melanie Channon Q&A

Melanie Channon is a scientist who makes beautiful wall hangings that will leave you breathless. 
One of her pieces, Octopus is currently being featured at Arizona's Herbergur Theatre's Face Off Exhibit with some other amazing artists until January. 

Metal and stone wall hanging of an octopus
You can see more of her work on her instagram



How did you get into metalsmithing?

  I took a class at Harold Studio in February 2013 and immediately fell in love with manipulating metal.

What inspires you?

  Metalwork made for religious purposes and/or royalty in the middle ages.  Pieces like reliquaries and crowns that were obviously time consuming and painstaking to make.  I really admire the dedication it took to make them.  I strive to reflect that kind of dedication in my pieces, even though they are not for religion or royalty.  

What is your design process?

  I try to think of things that I personally like (skulls, animals, characters) that would accommodate a lot of metal techniques (gems, rivets, etc.) and interesting details (textures and patterns).  But really some of what I consider to be my most creative design ideas have come from the logistics of trying to put the piece together.  For example, some of the designs that I do with rivets were partly out of necessity to attach the different components together.  

  However, I also purposefully try to use different techniques for each piece, both to challenge myself, and to distinguish the style of the pieces from each other. So, sometimes the image or character that I come up with is from what I think would be a cool image that is suited to whatever new or different technique I want to use.

Metal and stone owl wall hanging



What is your favorite tool?

I think this changes around a little depending on what I'm working on.  But, because I do so many rivets I really love my flush cutters.  I paid a little more for a decent pair, and I'm really happy I did. https://www.riogrande.com/Product/Italian-Flush-Cutters-TR5000R/111105 I also love all of my stamping/chasing/repousse tools.  Some of which I've made myself and some that I've purchased.  I probably like the ones I've purchased a little more, just because I'm not that good at making them yet, lol.  I also could not live without my miter cutting jig; I can't even cut a bezel straight without it. https://www.riogrande.com/Product/Economy-Miter-Cutting-Vise-and-Jig/112700

What is on your bench right now?


Coincidentally, both my flush cutters and my miter cutting jig, along with various sizes of drills, a center punch, a small ball peen hammer, a large half round file, safety goggles, metal scraps, and my medusa piece (but I'm actually not working on Medusa at the moment; I'm working on signature tags for my skull and owl pieces).  Plus, all the other stuff that normally lives on my bench: all my other hammers, other files, stamping/chasing/repousse tools, pliers, saw, flex shaft accessories, bench block, wood block for drilling, etc.

messy bench with metal and tools scattered around

5 Tips on creating with intention

how to be creative and productive

How to create with intention.

It's so easy to focus on the negative, or the overwhelming list of things to do. The reason I am drawn to create is because it forces me to focus in the moment. But sometimes I can get so caught up in the process of making jewelry, I lose track of time and, more importantly, the goals I have for myself.