Hi, I’m Anne, the gal behind AnneMade Jewelry. As far back as I can remember I have loved making things… Fabric things, clay things, painted things. When I was a kid I fashioned clip-on earrings from telephone wire because my dad wouldn’t let me get my ears pierced. My great aunt was a rock hound who showed me how to tumble stones to wrap in wire, and then I got into beading and polymer clay designs as a teenager. I took a break from jewelry making in college, choosing to study Biology because I love the outdoors and the human body. I also figured it would be more employable than an art degree. In 2004 I my creative side won out and I started AnneMade Jewelry. Although mostly self-taught, I have had the pleasure of learning metalsmithing and PMC from Carolyn McManus, I received my PMC Certification from Tim McCreight, learned lampwork from Starleen Colon, and wirework from Barb Switzer, Eni Oken, Lisa Niven Kelly, Sharilyn Miller, and Connie Fox.
One thing I have felt strongly about all along was that I didn’t want to create an empire. I hear stories about chefs who open a restaurant, hire and train a great staff, and then never really go to the restaurant. I don’t want to work like that, so that’s why I chose the name “AnneMade.” Not only do I personally design and create the jewelry, but I’m the one answering email, keeping accounting records, photographing jewelry, ordering supplies, managing the website, labeling for retail stores, writing tutorials, meeting with buyers, packaging for shipment… My studio is a mess, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I live in Virginia with my sweet husband and two young kids, so a lot of my life isn’t even jewelry related. To see what’s new in the studio you can subscribe to receive my blog entries by email over to the right, or follow AnneMade Jewelry on FaceBook or Instagram. You can reach me at anne at annemade-jewelry.com .
Here is a little more about some components I use…
My family loves to walk on the beach. Years ago when Steve and I lived near the Delaware River I noticed colorful, frosted gems lying in the sand, catching the sunlight and realized it was sea glass. I brought some home and wrapped it in wire, and that was my first line of AnneMade Jewelry. I adhere to the North American Sea Glass Association’s Code of Ethics, which basically says that I never tumble, add artificial colorants, treat sea glass chemically with etching compounds, or use artificially created sea glass.
So what is it? Sea glass (also called beach glass) is just pieces of discarded bottles, tableware, & windows that can be found anywhere there is a large enough body of water and a history of garbage dumping. I have found sea glass in Delaware, California, Bermuda, and Barbados. The shards of glass are pummeled by sand and waves for many years, which naturally smooths the edges and etches the surface. The more wave action on the shoreline and the longer the glass is in the water, the smoother the pieces of glass tend to be. No two pieces are exactly alike, and there are many different colors.
Common Colors (mostly from beer bottles)
cobalt & cornflower blue
seafoam green (from Coca-Cola & white wine bottles)
aqua (from Mason jars)
deep olive green (from red wine bottles)
teal (sometimes from a bottling company in Bermuda)
lavender (from World War era glass; the glass component manganese was unavailable from Germany during the wars and the substitute turned lavender with prolonged UV exposure)
red (from tail lights of old boats and cars).
You can find out more about sea glass from the following books:
Pure Sea Glass by Richard LaMotte, photography by Celia Pearson
Sea Glass Chronicles: Whispers from the Past by C. S. Lambert, photography by Pat Hanbery.
Hill Tribe Silver
Created by family-artisans of the Karen tribes in northern Thailand, these beads contain “high content” silver (above sterling’s 92.5%). Hill Tribe families use traditional methods passed down from generation to generation. Each design is made by only one family, and the artisans are paid a fair wage for their products. Too often entire villages in this region are seduced into growing illicit drugs in order to survive. There are also cases of individual families allowing their children to be sent away to large cities for factory work. Many times they are deceived by the employer, and girls are sent to work for the prostitution industry. Working silver has become a valuable alternative to these practices, while sustaining a traditional craft and providing the Hill Tribe people with a reliable source of income.
AnneMade Fine Silver
I use PMC (Precious Metal Clay) brand of silver clay, the coolest jewelry making products to hit the market during my generation! Made by Mitsubishi Materials of Japan, PMC consists of tiny particles of pure silver that are recycled from the film industry. The silver powder is held together by water and an organic clay binder. Silver clay can be worked like modeling clay: rolled, stretched, imprinted, squirted through a syringe, you name it. It takes on texture from any object it touches, which yields some very interesting results.
After the clay is dry it gets fired in a digitally-controlled kiln to burn off the binder and sinter (fuse) the metal particles. The result is a solid, 99.9% pure silver object referred to as fine silver. (Sterling is 92.5% silver.) To finish I use a wire brush to remove loose particles and give the piece a satin finish, then I burnish the piece in a rotary tumbler with stainless steel shot to polish the surface. I oxidize (darken) most of my fine silver pieces, which brings out the surface texture and gives a rich patina.
Stones that are fired in place must be able to withstand the extreme heat of firing, so when I use stones in my fine silver pieces they are cubic zirconia. CZs are created at a high temperature and are free from inclusions that can lead to breakage during firing, so they are beautiful, brilliant, and perfect for this application.
Flameworked glass beads are some of my favorite things. The tip of a glass rod is heated in a torch flame (the “lamp”), then the molten glass is wound around a metal rod (mandrel) and the surface of the resulting bead is shaped and decorated before being placed in a hot kiln. Beads are kiln-annealed (soaked in heat then cooled very slowly) to remove internal stress and give strength to the glass. Then the beads are removed from the mandrel and cleaned.
The glass that lampworkers typically use is “soft” soda-lime glass made by Effetre, Lauscha, Creation is Messy, and Bullseye. Some of the lampwork beads I use are my own creation, but I also like to support other lampwork artists. These little works of art are worth every penny!