Feb 6, 2013

BTW: Mise en Place

Today's BTW is about Mise en place, a term in professional cooking for everything in its place.
It's also a beadwork term and what I've been up to.

Electronic Challenge:

 I was gifted the most beautiful new laptop from my family so I might be able to blog, photograph, and create more efficiently. But learning the new windows 8 tiles and getting browsers to work smoothly has been anything but efficient.  I've had to move photos and links, email myself my pdf collection of tutorials and transfer the many electronic DVDs & books I use in jewelry making.

 It's taken real effort, and time. And the process, like cleaning out a closet, has felt a little overwhelming but also good -- good to dig deep, and really get organized.

With everything in its place, there is now beautiful new shelving to organize & keep tidy my supplies, a fantastic new working laptop, and 3 empty bead boards!

Decisions challenge:

For chainmaille, I'm taking Scott Plumlee's advice and not using a jewelers saw to cut my jump rings.  Plumlee discusses cutting jump rings in his DVD, "Make Chain Maille Jewelry," pointing out that a good vacuum system is needed to remove the metallic dust, which is an unhealthy pollutant to us, our families, and our pets. (You'll find more tips from Plumlee in "9 Great Tips for Chain Maille Jewelry" at Jewelry Making Daily.)

The challenge is keeping the inner diameter of the jump ring correct while creating a double flush cut without using a saw. I tried the "double flush" cutters by Xuron: great for wirework, not great for cutting tiny chain maille rings. 

And so I've decided to continue to use my beloved Hakko Italian cutters and a digital caliper. Without a saw, my imperfect jump rings will continue be a part of my jewelry, but now I can cut away the un-flush side of the wire and still maintain the correct inner diameter (and with just a little squinting, they look pretty good).  Add to that a tumbler, and my handmade rings just might rock! 

Chainmaille Challenge: 

A friend challenged me to create a wonderful pendant -- the catch was to do so without a tutorial. 

Here is the beautiful design created by Kenth Kutschera, the "Helm and Mobius Pendant" at Maillers Worlwide: 

My practice run -- I did it :) And I think that by going down a gauge in each ring size it really will be perfect, and wonderful in jewelry. I'm excited to create this pendant again in brass or silver.

Upcoming Challenge:

My resin arrived and I'm excited to begin creating a fantastic project. Can't wait to share it with you next BTW. See you then! 

Toltec Jewels is an author by day, jewelry maker by night. Her literary work is housed by the San Fransisco MOMA and is published internationally in popular magazines, literary quarterlies, and university publications. She has won a number of awards for literary and jewelry arts. She is happiest making handcrafted jewelry with her entire family, snuggling with her doggies and grandkids, sewing, singing, reading, and learning jewelry techniques. She is the host of Jewel School Friends, a community of expert and emerging artisans taking inspiration from each other and Jewel School. Join her on Facebook for networking, fundraising for Beads of Courage, jewelry making challenges, contests, give-a-ways and of course, cool beads and jewelry!


  1. Oh Rita! That is just a beautiful pendant. You really rocked it!


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