Friday, May 22, 2015

Relics & Artifacts, a tutorial

On a previous post I told you about my fascination with pearls, today I am sharing another passion: Cameos!  It goes way back when I was a little girl, sneaking into my Mother's black lacquer jewelry box.  We didn't have much but my mom had impeccable taste.  I don't know how she saved to buy earrings, ring and pendant, but they were the real thing, hand carved in Italy and set in gold.  Maybe when she reads this post she will see my confession and finally know who went into her box to model in front of the mirror her precious things.
Using the Fabulous new Relics & Artifacts Sandra has created I am doing a Cameo bracelet I envisioned in my dreams.

When I first saw Sandra with all her Relics dangling from her neck at CHA in winter I wanted them all, I was wearing a suede choker with a Cameo brooch in the center.  Maybe when she reads this she will probably remember the face of this eager girl going to meet her!
Now gather your supplies because I will take you on a step by step journey so you can make your own!
Since I am using a copper sheet from Spellbinders Media Mixage I am also using their Artisan X-Plorer Machine designed to work with heavy metal. I wanted to wear my cuff and for it to be functional you need the heavy artillery.  You will bend this to your will, or your wrist!
When I saw the new Vine Border die I just saw the possibilities, what if I could make me a bracelet?
I promise you it will NOT be easy to cut, this die I bet my life, was designed for paper.  But there's nothing wrong about being strong willed and focused right?

the results are SO worth it!

Positioning my cameo to see if it would fit...

Bending to fit my wrist, did you know it never occurred to me to cut it on paper and try it first?
Focused I tell you, that's what it was...

I am a very happy girl!
Now the cameo doesn't look good with the wire in it if you are planning to make a cuff
using Mr. Tim Holtz lifesaver scissors I twisted the metal until I took it out without damaging my plaster sculpture

Now I know they are actually screws that I can twist away
although using my dremmel to drill the ExVoto was the perfect solution on my previous piece.

Have you ever seen how Cameos are made? They are beautiful carved sculptures from a certain shell, thus their beautiful coral hues with the contrasting white.
I set up to paint mine and for that I gave it a coat of clear gesso on all the places I wanted to paint

After it dried I used a combination of gelatos to give me a beautiful shell finish, to set my sculptured head apart

here are the colors so you know what I used, subtle hues
Metallic Melon, Peach and Butterscotch, hungry anyone?

I was thinking about my hole on the top and this was a perfect solution to camouflage it with a ring of pearls

but I didn't like the white contrast and remembered my mom's with their setting in gold
So I took all the pearls away ( my brain doesn't come with instructions, I just have a vision)

So I used Versamark, Ranger's Sticky embossing Powder and Finnabair's Mica Powder in gold

see the difference?

she almost looks real!

Thanks you for bearing with me 'till the end, I hope this tutorial helps you in your next creation,


I want to thank my lovely 10 year old Mercedes, who took the photos of me working, who cranked the Artisan X-Plorer when I was tired and who was as excited as I was about creating and sharing this with you!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. There were 2 identical comments - so I tried to delete one - but ended up messing up everything. Let me try this again!
    What a gorgeous and elegant piece of jewelry you've created - truly amazing. You had a vision and it became an exquisite bracelet. Thanks for sharing the steps.

  3. OH MY!! I love your wonderful childhood story and could really just envision the whole scenario! As for the project itself... well in the first pictures you sent to me I didn't even recognize it as one of my own pieces!! I am blown away, this looks like a real antique cameo, Bravo!!

  4. A lovely story and an equally lovely piece. It is so great to hear about an artist with so much enthusiasm! Please if you get a chance, blog about your adventures in Relics and Artifactsland, I'll be sure to read!

  5. I love your bracelet so much and the description of your process is almost as lovely! You really capture the enthusiasm and vision so well! Thank You for sharing your beautiful art; your process and the delightful story that went behind it! I could so envision the little girl in front of the mirror with her mum's jewellery, enchanted and then the dream come true of creating something so special. xx