New Directions in Jewelry Making

Door 44 Studios - Free Tutorials - Chalice Necklace and Earrings

Has it really been nearly a year and a half since I last wrote a post on this blog? It has indeed, and what an eventful seventeen months those have been! We moved into a new apartment last summer, and our new place is so much nicer. I think I might have mentioned before on this blog that my cat, Rose, and I are 100% solar powered. I don’t drink coffee, and I rarely drink tea, so I run on sunlight alone. Fortunately for Rosie and me, our new apartment is flooded with the most glorious light you can imagine from dawn to dusk.

As luck would have it, we found a rare corner unit on an even rarer south face. We have eight large windows that face southeast and southwest. And if that wasn’t enough good fortune, we also have fabulous views of Pike’s Peak from our balcony and our dining room, which is where I do the bulk of my writing these days.

Suffice it to say that Rose and I are supremely happy with our new surroundings. Rose’s days now consist of a well-established routine of following the light around the apartment and napping in the sun. Meanwhile, my days have been filled with the thrills and challenges of building a brand new blog.

The Lilium Bracelet - Design by Sarah Thompson - Crafted by Wendi Reamy of Door 44 StudiosAs I mentioned in my last post, Door 44 Jewelry is dead, but sort of like a Phoenix, Door 44 Studios was born of those ashes. Single-handedly running the small manufacturing company that Door 44 Jewelry was rapidly growing into proved to be wildly incompatible with the demands of my personal life. But I still love making jewelry, and I’m still compelled to be creative. So I’ve taken an entirely different approach to the jewelry business: I’ve switched from full-time jewelry maker to full-time jewelry blogger.

What does that mean, exactly? Well, I still love to design and create jewelry, and I still want to do something productive with my time. So, I’ve made the transition from maker to teacher. Door 44 Studios is, as I like to think of it, the first step in the path toward wire weaving mastery. There I will be sharing free wire weaving patterns and tutorials for all of my original Door 44 Jewelry designs along with all the lessons I learned while running my own jewelry business.

Jewelry makers are notoriously secretive about their processes, which makes it unnecessarily difficult for those who are interested in the craft to break into the field. Well, I’ve decided to change that. So far I’ve shared some useful tips and tricks for product photography and tumbler maintenance. I’ve shared three free wire jewelry tutorials, I’ve pulled back the curtain to reveal my favorite jewelry supply resources, and I’ve reviewed the most recently published wire weaving book. And there is so much more to come!

Door 44 Studios LogoSeriously. My editorial calendar is booked into August so far, and I come up new ideas for blog posts and tutorials every day. Maybe it’s the light in our new apartment, or maybe it’s that spectacular view of Pike’s Peak, but I haven’t felt this inspired in years!

I’m not sure yet what will happen to this blog. It might become the place where I share more personal musings, or I might decide to shutter it completely. I’ll leave it up for the time being while I figure that puzzle out, but this is the last post that I’ll be publishing here for the foreseeable future.

If you’re interested in learning to weave wire, or if you’re a jewelry maker running a small business, I invite you to follow me at Door 44 Studios. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter so you’ll be among the first to know when I release my latest jewelry tutorials or jewelry business-related blog posts! I’ve also reopened my Etsy shop where you’ll find printable PDF versions of my tutorials and even a few new jewelry pieces now and then. Although making finished jewelry is no longer my primary focus, I will occasionally list pieces for sale — particularly for some of the new designs I have coming up on my editorial calendar.

Finally, thank you so much for joining me on the journey that was Door 44 Jewelry and Beyond Door 44 over the past few years! I sincerely hope that you’ll hop on over to Door 44 Studios so we can continue our journey together. I can think of no better travel companion than you, dear reader.

Cheers!

Wendi

Door 44 Studios - Free Tutorial - Easy Infinity Clasp

Advertisements

Fly With Me

fly-with-meWhen it comes to jewelry, there are two kinds of people. There are those who see jewelry strictly as fashion accessories, and then there are those who see jewelry as deeply personal pieces of personal expression. I find that most of my customers tend to fall into the latter group, which is extremely fortunate for me because I learn so much from their stories and from working with them to create something that is uniquely their own.

Every now and then, I get a custom request that reminds me that I am ultimately in the business of helping people, and “Fly With Me” began with one such request. On December 3rd, I received an inquiry for a custom piece from a guy who is clearly head-over-heels in love with his girlfriend. He explained that his girlfriend lost her horse suddenly eight months ago, and she’s been grieving ever since.

I’ve had a life-long love affair with horses myself, and I’ve had some mystical experiences with them through the years. So, I completely understand the depth of the bonds that form between horses and the women who love them. The story broke my heart, but at first I declined the request because I’m unfamiliar with horsehair as an art medium. I referred the customer to a company that specializes in horse hair jewelry, but sadly, the lock of hair his girlfriend managed to keep from her horse was too short for that company to use. They’d already been turned away from there. At that point, I realized that I needed to take this commission, if for no other reason than to give a grieving young woman some peace.

Once I agreed to the commission, the design came together almost effortlessly. “Fly With Me” is one of those rare pieces that allowed me to get into that elusive flow that every artist lives for. Anyone who has ever galloped freely across an open field on the back of a beloved horse knows very well the sensation of flying just above the ground, and the horses we’ve loved and lost remain forever in our hearts. They’re angels with hooves. Wings seemed like the perfect theme for this piece, and I love the way the wings turned out. They’re subtle, and they frame the focal piece—a tassel, which is made with a lock of a beloved horse’s mane—perfectly.

Since this is the first time I’ve ever worked with horsehair, making the tassel was a bit nerve-wracking. The client provided precious little hair, so there was absolutely no room for error. Once I finally worked up the courage to give it a go, however, even that part of the process flowed effortlessly. “Fly With Me” is just one of those pieces that was meant to be, and I’m so grateful to have been a part of it!

“Fly With Me” consists of .999 fine silver wings which frame a horsehair tassel capped in silver plated pewter and sterling silver wire. The pendant, which is approximately two inches wide by three inches long, is suspended from a patterned sterling silver chain. The chain is accented with pretty little gray and aqua blue Amazonite beads and finished with a hand forged sterling silver clasp.

Amazonite is a healing stone that is believed to help soothe emotional trauma, and I can think of few things more emotionally traumatic than suddenly losing a beloved horse. They’re such powerful creatures, yet their lives are startlingly fragile. That, of course, makes them all the more precious to those of us who know and love them.

If you’d like a special horse remembrance necklace of your own, please email your request. I plan to make this design, along with one or two other concepts currently in the works, available in my shop in 2017 as made-to-order semi-custom designs.

 

Four Blue Moons

One of the things I enjoy most about the work I do is that I get to meet some wonderful people. Since I opened Door 44 Jewelry for business exactly ten months ago today, I’ve corresponded with dozens of customers from all corners of the country (I’m still looking forward to my first international order), and I’ve grown to think of many of those customers as good friends.
 
Two of my new friends are a sweet young couple from California. I first met them when they purchased one of my all-time favorite pieces, Blue Moon Rising. They also happen to have a little girl who may very well be the most adorable toddler on the planet. She was about eighteen months old at the time her daddy started wearing his new choker, and she was thoroughly fascinated with it.
 
 
As toddlers are prone to do, she got a little excited one day and tugged a little too hard on Daddy’s choker, so it came back to me for repair. I’m completely smitten with this beautiful little girl, so I decided she needed a Baby Moon necklace of her own, which I included as a surprise for her when I returned Daddy’s repaired choker.
 
 
At that point, we all agreed that Mommy needed a coordinating necklace, too. So, along came Mother Moon.
 
 
Since baby #2 is expected arrive within a month, I just had to add a second Baby Moon necklace in that final shipment last week, bringing the L. Family collection to four Blue Moons.
 
 
It’s customers like these who’ve made me fall in love with making jewelry all over again. These are the people who give meaning to my work. I’ve done a lot of jobs through the years. Some of them paid well. Some of them were fun while others were challenging. All of them were educational, but this is the first job I’ve ever had that feeds my soul. Thank you for that, L. Family. Thank you to all my customers–my Door 44 family!

Going With the Flow

The Florence Pendant: Design by Sarah Thompson; crafted by Wendi Reamy

The Florence Pendant: Design by Sarah Thompson; crafted by Wendi Reamy

Something broke loose recently. I’m not sure what or how, but after months of being stuck in what felt like a mental logjam, I’m finally back in the flow. Back in a flow, that is. I have no idea where the current will take me, but I’m so relieved to finally be moving forward that I don’t think I care.

On the jewelry front, I’ve been busy. As I mentioned in my last post, I’m working through Sarah Thompson’s new book, Fine Art Wire Weaving. I’ve been making jewelry my whole life, and I’ve been focused on wire jewelry specifically for about five years now.

The Calligraphy Pendant: Design by Sarah Thompson; crafted by Wendi Reamy

The Calligraphy Pendant: Design by Sarah Thompson; crafted by Wendi Reamy

I feel like I’ve explored just about every wire wrapping style and technique there is at this point, but the techniques I’m picking up from Sarah Thompson are proving to be the key to unlocking my own personal wire wrapping style. After years of creating jewelry that was almost, but not quite, what I’d envisioned, I’m finally starting to find my own creative “voice”.

The Raindrop Pendant: Design by Sarah Thompson; crafted by Wendi Reamy

The Raindrop Pendant: Design by Sarah Thompson; crafted by Wendi Reamy

The three pieces featured in this post are Sarah Thompson’s designs–projects from her book. Sarah’s book has not only been instructive, but it’s been tremendously inspiring as well. Stay tuned for some of my own original designs, which I can create to my own satisfaction now that I’ve finally found the right weaves and construction techniques to translate my ideas into finished jewelry.