Through the Thaw

Good Afternoon! It’s a gorgeously gray cloudy day here today. The weather is warm despite the lack of sun, and a clean dampness is all throughout the air, a result of melted ice that the temperature belies.

Our world is become tech trouble-shooting and designing, repairing and shooting wax, with our noses at the grindstone as we look toward the fast-approaching gem show. The upcoming trip to Tucson promises to be spectacular; I’ve been an avid stone collector all my life, and the other two assure me that nothing I’ve experienced up until now can have prepared me for what I’m about to witness.

Stones of every grade and type, sourced the world over and collected in one city. Any stone you’ve ever heard of–precious, semi, or otherwise–and a good deal of which you likely never have. This is the annual trip which will have us restocking the shop, sourcing the best gems we can find to render the perfect touch to our gemstone pieces. The prospect has me a bit weak-kneed.

It also has us busy as all get-out.

Alivanna is bravely setting to against a voluminous backlog. There are some drawbacks to running a home business, and the loss of a computer is one of the more notable ones. The business laptop had been struggling for some time, and so the sad process of backing up the data began. Then once the laptop had breathed its last came the dawning awareness that the backup… wasn’t. Months of work, of photography presenting new and exciting creations, lost with that horrifying realization. So our Pharoah of Photography, our Mistress of Makers ventures forth once more, for we are bound and determined to bring you these treasures even if we have to redo six months of work to accomplish it. No small task to be sure, but it means that there will be plenty to look forward to in the shop in coming months!

Andross has been busy perfecting the masters for the pewter molds, trimming and brass-brushing the bronze so that they can be sent off. This in addition to the standard number of projects we have running in regards to replenishing our inventory with plenty to spare with an upcoming event on the horizon.

After the latest brushing we had to stop and admire the finish it left on the bronze. We’re fairly tempted to offer a line of pendants with this finish! They don’t seem to shine so much as glimmer in the light; what say you all? If there’s an interest we’ll be happy to produce several items in this finish–we serve at your pleasure.

 

As for myself, I’ve been busy cross-training on jewelry production as well as keeping up to date with the content for this blog! Throw in a bunch of new product descriptions to write up and a giveaway that we’re running, and it seems almost as if the busy season has begun already!

Speaking of which, don’t forget to check out our giveaway if you haven’t yet. There’s still time to spare, but expires along with the month of January at the stroke of midnight.

We’d love to hear from you!

Oh Frabjous Day, Callooh, Callay! It’s Time for Our First Giveaway!

Greetings and Salutations!

We’re about to hit 500 sales on Etsy, and we’re celebrating!

While Andross and Alivanna have been on the road for several years now selling our wares at Faires and Festivals all over the country (coming soon, to a city near you!), we’re about to hit the five hundred mark on our Etsy shop and we’re here to say THANK YOU.

 

From now until the End of January (the 31st at 11:59 pm 😉 ) we’re holding a giveaway of one of our sterling silver Life’s Heart pendants! This is one of my favorite pieces; composed of two triquetras overlapping each other, opposite but aligned in a continuous balance, this piece almost has a resonance to it that catches the eye and causes the mind to linger. I love how the gear adds the feeling of the design radiating outward. It is also highly reminiscent of the Flower of Life, which is a piece of sacred geometry that have been found in sacred sites and holy places the world over.

Ready to play? Here are the rules:
Participants must be 18 years or older. This contest is open to all countries. Participants must successfully complete one of the options below in order to get their name in the cauldron, and may obtain an additional entry for for each option they complete.

  • Share this post on your blog and paste the link in the comments section below
  • “Like” and “Share” our original facebook giveaway post
  • Share this post on Twitter and paste the link in the comments section below
  • Share this post on Tumblr and paste the link in the comments section below
  • Share this post on Instagram and paste the link in the comments section below

The entries will be drawn on February 1st–keep your eye on this site because we’ll be posting who the lucky winner is same day, and you won’t want to miss out!

Time to Sneak a Peek at our Technique!

Happy Friday!! The weekend is coming! You can make it!

Its full steam ahead here at the shop. We’ve had one of our best holidays yet, and that’s thanks to all of you! Its thanks to the love you have for our wares, and there’s no way we’re going to stop creating new gems that we all love!

molds1molds3With gratitude, here’s a little sneak peak of more of our jewelry making process and some of our new designs for those with a keen eye. In this part of the process we reveal how new molds are created from Masters, which will later be used to create the many waxen pendants for treeing.

 

 

Master designs are first printed with plastic resin, then are cleaned and posted into a frame. This frame will create the shape for the mold, along with the seal and channel for the wax to be shot through.

molds5molds2The frame is banded with two plastic sheets, and a silicone rubber is poured in.  At this stage in the process it is imperative that no bubbles remain in the rubber, so it is placed in a vacuum sealed chamber where the air bubble get suctioned out both before and after pouring.

 

 

 

Once poured the molds are left for 16 to 24 hours to cure. We leave them in the warm office, where the Forest Lord watches over our work from His domain. When they are finally solid they get popped from their frames, trimmed of ragged edges, and then the painstaking process of cutting them apart in just the right way begins.

molds7molds8This is a very careful procedure–one must take care to cut the mold in such a way that wax cannot squeeze through, without damaging the master and while still allowing it (and therefore any wax copy) to pop out easily. The exacto knife is brand new and wicked sharp, gliding through the rubber like a hot knife through butter. As such concentration is key; there was some hesitation over whether or not we should even take pictures! But where would the fun in that be?

(No molds were unduly damaged in the taking of these photographs 😉 )molds9

One might think that once the mold has been created we can make as many copies of the pendants as we want; normally that would be the case, but not so here! These pendants are destined to be a part of our new pewter line–they’re quite solid and so would end up with a pretty hefty price in silver! No, these molds are just so we can get masters made for the pewter. That’s a different process entirely from bronze and silver, and requires a master that can withstand high temperatures so that a mold for pewter casting can be created.

That’s all for now! Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the peek behind the curtain into our process. We’ll keep busying away–so many new things to create! Keep tuned and we’ll share what the pewter molds look like once they’ve arrived. May your weekend be relaxing or exciting, whichever you need more. Until next week!antler-medallion

 

…And a Happy New Year!

Who’s ready for 2017?!

As one year turns to rest, we look back on what has gone before and prepare to release the past–what no longer serves us, what is time to set aside. It is important to make way with the old, because there are a LOT of new changes around here that we are incredibly excited about!!

We here at Odyssey Craftworks have a bunch of new events we’ll be going to this year, which has us positively giddy. Soon enough we’ll be heading to the Tucson Gem and Mineral show–not to sell of course, but to stock back up on the precious shining gems that make some of our best pieces truly sing.

Not a moment too soon either, because just a few short weeks after getting back we’ll be speeding on out again to vend our wares at Estrella Wars! Calling all SCAders, come and test your mettle in battle! We’ll be happy to chat once you’ve a moment to spare–we’ve got several very sturdy bronze cloak clasps for you to choose from that outlast just about every other model we’ve found. Or if there’s a particular design you’ve always dreamed of, let us know and we’ll be happy to manifest it for you. So don your armour and ride out to Arizona; we’ll see you February 21st!

As much as we look forward to the events, however, they still don’t come close to our most exciting news yet. 2017 heralds a brand new line of jewelry!  After much saving and searching, we have finally acquired the equipment necessary to cast pewter. If cost has ever held you back from a piece you’ve set your heart on, we are happy to announce that many of our pieces will be made available in this new cost effective form–and not just old favorites, but a whole new line of designs! We are busily working away to get these ready, and CANNOT wait until we can reveal them to you! More to come!

The approaching year will also be bringing new products to Underhill Alchemy. What herbal delights might we devise to please your palate? Time will tell friends, for we’re donning our alchemist’s caps and diving deep into herbal studies, concocting such boons that your senses will go wild!

Last but not least, we are happy to announce the addition of a new member to our team! Now introducing yours truly! You’ve had a taste of my writing for the past little while, as I have taken on the duties of blogger extraordinaire. 😉 You’ll also be seeing my touches in the new products and designs to be released; hopefully you find something that enchants you! (I won’t pretend that isn’t the intent.)

Wherever the night finds you, we hope that you are safe and sound as you too prepare for the new year to arrive. Remember to release the old, so that you can make way for the new. May the coming year shine on you, that you may realize happiness once more. Joy and Blessings to you!

‘Twas the Night Before…

Happiest of Holidays to you all! Its been a whirlwind of activity for us here at the shop, making sure purchases get out in time while still trying to have everything ready for our own celebrations! (Admittedly, there are STILL a few gifts in the works that at the time were hurriedly wrapped with a note pinned saying “To be continued…” and in the case of one hapless sock, “Dobby is Free!”)

Yet still the Long Night came, and as the Darkness enshrouded us the hearth was lit, with loved ones arriving from their travels afar to gather close. The armada of cookies were assembled to battle hunger, meaty turnovers sizzled enticingly in the oven while wine was mulled, and the cinnamon rolls sat expectantly awaiting the dawn. Lights were lit within our Sentinel Red Cedar and all through the Hall, and the chest of games uncovered as we determined what merriment was to be had.

Longer still the Long Night stretched, and as the yawns increased photobooks were fetched and memories relived, laughing at the outrageous hairstyles of days gone by (mullets, anyone?)  Some went out and watched the moon before hauling more wood in from the pile.

Slowly, ever so slowly, the sky lightened to a shade lighter than black, then to blue, then lighter still. As the sun rose so too did we, leaving the warm hearth and gathering drums as we went out into the cold and the snow to greet the sun reborn. We stomped feet and beat drums and listened to the pulse of the earth. Words were spoken, life was honored, and finally the sun had risen as we stilled to quiet and gradually trudged back indoors.

Cinnamon buns were baked as tea and coffee were brewed alike, and then it was time for presents and stockings. Gifts were opened and stockings divested of their chocolates, shaken until finally the orange and penny fell out–gifts from Father Winter for health and prosperity in the coming year. Then finally, blessedly, to sleep.

To all who still prepare for their own celebrations, may your hearth and hearts be warm, may your travels be safe, and all your presents ready in time!! Blessings!

Busy, busy, Busy as Bees!

Hello there! Hopefully everyone is excited for and already enjoying their holidays! We’ve had a fantastic slew of Yuletide orders that are already swiftly bearing ways to their respective new homes. We can’t wait for them to light up people’s holidays!infinite-love

The number of jewels flying out has us gearing up, ready to stock some gorgeous new designs! If you would like a brief respite from your own busy preparations, come take a look behind the scenes with us as we prepare new designs and old favorites via the lost-wax casting method.

wax1Once the wax is hot it is “shot” into prepared molds. When cool each waxen pendant is carefully removed from the mold and examined closely for any bubbles or thin spots–some can be repaired, but most are discarded to be melted down again later.

wax3All of the pieces that can be repaired at that point are, gently melting wax off of the bottom to touch up the thin spots, then carefully shaving down the now-thickened areas until it is once again flush with the pendant.

Once done, all of the perfect pieces are ready to be treed! What is treeing, precisely? wax4

wax6Treeing is the method by which all the pendants are attached to a central pole, melted into the surface and angled upward. Just a few more steps and we’ll have silver version of the trees you see here:

But don’t think we’re limited to silver! We cast gold and bronze as well, in both white and yellow varieties. We’re even capable of getting a piece forged in platinum if that is the heart’s desire.

The sky is the limit, even in wearing our pendants! Don’t think silver or gold chains are the only option–with just a little creativity, our pendants can be the centerpiece of what is truly a stunning work of art!beads1

May your own creativity shine forth this season, making dreams into memories for years to come. Wishing you the greatest warmth and love this season. Blessings!

A Scent that Wraps itself about You like a Shawl

tannenbaum‘Tis the season! Hail and Well Met!

The season where the night grows long and the stars blanket you in quiet stillness, when snow filters silently through the air dancing in the breeze, when the smell of pine and spices fill the home with warmth. Its good for the soul to cultivate these moments whenever one can, and when the right elements come together it is life’s elixir. We’ve just had our first snow here, and our red cedar stands sentinel in the hall.  Continue reading “A Scent that Wraps itself about You like a Shawl”

Winter is Coming…

…and along with it, the holidays! No matter the form your celebration takes, we hope it finds you blessed and bright. For any wishing to add the shine of the stars to their gathering, we ask that all orders be placed by Friday, December 9th. Orders placed by this date will by shipped by the 16th to be delivered by Yule (Wednesday December 21st) in most domestic locations.

stars

Custom Cast pieces we are offering include:

  • Items ordered to size set with specific stones
  • Items requested in Gold

We look forward to hearing from you! Wherever the season finds you, so too may warmth and love. Brightest Blessings!

In Honor and Thanks

With Thanksgiving come and gone and the year winding to a close, we here at Odyssey Craftworks are mindful of the things that we are thankful for. We are thankful for clean drinking water. We are thankful for those who have gone before us and made this life possible. We are thankful to those who are taking a stand with Standing Rock for the sake of us all, demanding clean water for generations to come.

The time that we were able to stay at the camp was inspiring and all too brief.  We met people of all ages, nations and creeds; mothers, fathers, lawyers, forest park rangers, construction workers, artists, healers, and heroes.  Water Protectors.

ancestorbells

We are humbled by their sacrifice, by the time away from families, occupations, home and hearth. We are thankful for all who have traveled from miles around, even from the other side of the world. In honor of the brave men and women on the front lines, in honor of all of the Ancestors who have come before and for the sake of all the Ancestors to follow, 50 percent of all proceeds from our Ancestor Bells will be donated directly to the Oceti Sakowin camp. This is about a future for us all.

MNI WICONI
WATER IS LIFE

#nodapl #waterislife