Petroglyph-Inspired Jewelry Designs

When it comes down to it, petroglyphs are simply images carved into stone. What's so hard about that? However, for some reason, this challenge prompt from Karen at Art Elements for October threw me for a loop. Despite the fact that the challenge is open to any art medium, I certainly knew that I couldn't carve into stone and make something pleasing. The idea of carving into polymer clay kept running through my head, but polymer clay isn't a medium that usually turns out well for me. I was almost resigned to not participating in the challenge. However, just a few days before today's reveal, I was finally hit with some inspiration. 


I may not be able to carve into stone, but I could use the images from petroglyphs as inspiration to etch metal and then use stone beads to create finished jewelry designs!

I began by cutting a few simple shapes from sheets of copper and brass. 

To get the designs into the metal, I began by using permanent ink. For the brass piece, I drew an odd spiral design that was reminiscent of some of the spiral petroglyph images I found online. For the two copper pieces, I decided to use some of my hand-carved stamps to imprint images. The fact that these were indeed carved helps to echo the inspiration some. I could have used either method on either of the metal types.

Using packing tape to hold the back of the metal, the faces of the designs were dipped into PCB etchant for about an hour. I did this step outside as I'm not a fan of the smell of the etchant. As well, I wore gloves to keep the acid off my skin. 

Once the designs were etched into the metal to my satisfaction, I removed them from the acid and neutralized them in a mix of baking soda and water. From there, I cleaned, filed, aged, and sealed the metal. After that, it was a matter of punching holes and working them into designs.

As I mentioned before, I wanted to use stone beads in the designs to further give the pieces a more authentic petroglyph feel. For this copper bracelet, I was drawn to use green beads as there's something about copper and green that just seem to perfectly go together. As such, I selected these fire agate beads. 

I initially envisioned only one hole on either side of the bracelet, but the double holes balance it out much better.

As well, the bracelet is probably much longer than it needs to be, but by closing the lobster clasp on any of the loops in the chain, it can be sized down to fit just about any wrist. 

With that done, it was time to move to the next bit of etched copper. 
For this second piece, the small size of the metal encouraged me to use it as a necklace pendant and add dangles. With the rock theme in mind, I was drawn to those long rectangular cubes of gray marble. They absolutely exude stone! In fact, they feel a bit like Stonehenge to me, though I don't think there are any petroglyphs on the stones there. (I could be mistaken though.) 

To ensure the chain curves around the neck well, and because I only had six of the tubes, I used matching marble nuggets at the back of the chain. As well, there are small copper beads between each of the stone beads. 

The shabbiness of the stamped image and the rustic-ness of the stones definitely give this necklace an ancient feel to it. 

Finally, it was time to work with the last etched pendant. 
Alas, since inspiration hit me so late, I ran out of time to finish this last piece. I think I was saving the best for last since the clarity of the drawn image makes it my favorite of the three. I plan for it to be a super simple necklace made with the small garnet beads pictured,

The holes on the garnets are so small that I didn't have any small-gauge brass wire prepped to complete this design. As soon as that happens, I'll either add it to this post or share it with you another time. 

And, wouldn't you know it; once I got rolling with these designs, I had all kinds of ideas of what I could with the petroglyph-inspiration. I guess I'll have to save those for later. For now, I'm super pleased with how well these came out, especially since I had no idea at the start. 

I'm looking forward to seeing what the other designers created for this challenge, especially since it was open to any medium. Below you'll find a list of all the artists from the Art Elements team and the Guest-artists like myself. Make sure to hop around and share some love!

Art Elements Team:


Guest Artists:

Jill Egan
Tammy Adams
Alison Herrington
Alysen
Sarajo Wentling
Jenny Kyriach
You're HERE ----> CraftyHope
Kathy Lindemer

Thanks for stopping by. Make sure to follow Art Elements to see what the next challenge is going to be and all the other goodness they share there. I know I'm looking forward to it. 

I'm also sharing this post at the following link parties: Beautifully MadeSweet Inspiration, Saturday Sharefest, Mad Skills, Tutorials and TipsMade by You Monday and Recipe & DIY Linky.

Comments

  1. I love what you have made here, your jewellery is very beautiful, the choice of etching petroglyphs and the beads you chose work so well together

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    1. Jill, Thank you so much! I can't believe I didn't come up with the idea sooner, but am so glad it finally hit me. I appreciate you taking the time to pop in. It means so much! :)

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  2. The bracelet is my favourite piece you are right the double holes really do finish it better than one would have - for me at least.

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    1. Laney, Yes, that bracelet came together so well. I keep thinking I could take a few links out to make it not so long, but I like it just as it is that I hesitate to change anything. So glad you agree about the holes too. Thanks for the kind words and the support!

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  3. This is а brilliant interpretation, Hope! All three pieces look like they were found in archaeological excavations and so do the marble bеads! BTW, what is the name of the closure for the necklace? Somebody told me these are really strong but I don't know how to search for them :) This is also my favorite piece!

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  4. These are beyond fantastic! I love it when an idea transforms and then the inspiration hits and you run with it. I can see a whole line of work like this in your finished jewelry line - as these are SO awesome! I would totally wear something like this and have to tell everyone the story behind it :)

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    1. Marsha, Oh goodness, thank you! A whole line huh? That's a lot of etching! I guess I better get more comfortable with the process and the chemical. Those make me so nervous. But, your encouragement means the world to me. Thanks so very much. You've made me day! :D

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  5. Great job etching, Hope! Sometimes the last minute inspiration is the best! I love what you made and look forward to seeing the last necklace, but yes, the pendant will be the star of the show!

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  6. Beautiful work, perfect for this challenge!

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    1. Thanks so much Cat! I had no idea rock carvings could inspire me so much!

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  7. Wow! These pieces are awesome. You really captured the feeling of the challenge... I honestly don't think I can pick a favorite, because I like them all. Thanks for sharing part of your process, too--that's always fun to see. You really knocked this one out of the park. :)

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  8. I can’t decide which I love more! If I had to pick, I would choose the marble necklace. It is so earthy and your design on the pendant is beautiful. Great Idea about using tape to suspend the metal in the acid!

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    1. Alison, Oh thank you! Once inspiration for this prompt finally hit, it was like the designs just flowed out of me. I tried not to overthink the pieces, and that definitely worked out well. As for using the tape, that's the tried and true method I've found from other tutorials. And, it works fairly well. I appreciate you popping in! Thanks.

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  9. I so love your take on this theme! I actually prefer both of the more organic rough looking pieces because they really look like they are ancient! The designs are wonderful and to add stone beads just adds the perfect touch to the whoe story! Love it! :)

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  10. You had an inspired idea using the etching technique. My favorite is the blue necklace. It is gorgeous. I appreciate your tutorial too. Well done!

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    1. Kathy, Thank you! I can't believe I didn't think of etching sooner for this challenge. I simply had a brain block because the originals are in stone. And, that held me up for far too long! I'm so pleased you like the necklace. That means so much to me. Thanks, again!

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  11. I Love the marble necklace. It looks like it could have excavated at an ancient ruin in western Asia. The bracelet is fabulous as well.

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  12. I love your etching, especially the stamped designs! Matched with the stone beads they make beautiful pieces of jewellery.

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    1. Caroline, Thanks so very much! I hate that I didn't think of etching earlier so that I could have carved other stamp designs for the challenge. But, the ones I used ended up working well too. I appreciate your kind words more than you know!

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  13. I love etched copper. It is such a fun process when it works for me:-) You did a fabulous job of creating necklaces that highlight your etched metals. I love your choice of stones for each one. I am sure the brass pendant with the small garnets will be fabulous when you finish it. I really love etching on that piece!!

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    1. Cathy, Isn't etching so cool? I always hesitate doing it because of the chemicals, but every time I pull metal from the acid and clean it off, I'm AMAZED at how awesome that stuff works. Yes, the etching on the brass worked out so well. I think because of a combination of things. First, the image was much more clean from me drawing it with the marker. Second, the brass was a thinner gauge than the copper but I only soaked them for the same amount of time. In any case, I think they worked out well. In fact, I'm surprised at how well it all came together in such a short period of time. Thank you so much for hopping by!

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  14. I love the rustic, roughness of your images and your etch. Perfect for this challenge. The chunky marble beads are really appealing with the pendant - and they arent beads I would be drawn to myself. Your design really activates them. makes them sing. I am glad you could join us this month!

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    1. Jenny, Thank you! Those chunky beads are ones that were gifted to me from a friend that had too many, and they're not something I would have bought myself either. But, I was sure enough so glad to have had them for this challenge. They were just the right thing to bring the design back down to earth. Thank you for your kind words.

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  15. Wow! I love what you did. I especially love the etched copper and the jewelry design in which it is incorporated. Really inspired and totally evocative of the art of ancient peoples. Thank you for joining our challenge!

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    1. Karen, Thanks so much! I'm so pleased that you like what I was able to create. Thank YOU for the challenge. Petroglyphs aren't something I would normally be drawn to from which to create, but once the idea of etching hit me, a whole world of possibilities opened up before me. I'm so sorry I jumped on board so late, but one I found that inspiration, I was running with it whether I was going to get to be a part of this reveal or not. But, thank you for giving me the chance! :)

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  16. Hope, your etched pieces came out superbly and I agree that the double holes add something special. And I love your choice of stones / beads, they complement perfectly! What gauge metal did you use? It's so nice to be able to exchange ideas about metals.
    I've never tried Staz On, well, because I don't have any stamps for one reason! That would put me in a whole other 'gotta have/buy this to do this, etc.' frenzy and since I'm away from home, too many things to eventually take back home. I use a piece of styrofoam and tape the metal to it and it floats on the surface of the etchant. Like you, I'm VERY careful with the etchant and surroundings. Baking soda neutralizer is an absolute must. Alysen.

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    1. Alysen, You are too sweet! As for the gauge of metal...that piece of copper isn't marked. It's definitely thicker than the 26 gauge brass I used, but still think enough that I was able to cut it with tin snips, so probably 24 or 22. I'm sorry I can't give you a better answer than that. I have way more supplies than I know what do with, so I can imagine not wanting to get anymore, especially being away from home. But, I definitely recommend the stuff - it comes in all kinds of colors. I used the green because it was my...juiciest one. Your use of styrofoam with the etchant is a cool idea. I've never seen it done that way. Best of luck with your future experiments. Thank you for swinging by!

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  17. Ooooooh . I have some copper screaming to me right now, Thank you for this tutorial.

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    1. Michele, You are so very welcome. If you have any questions at all about the process that I didn't cover, please don't hesitate to let me know. I'm always happy to help!

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  18. Your etched pieces are wonderful and the gemstones work so well with the theme - nice work!

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  19. Cool challenge! I love how rustic the pieces turned out.

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  20. I love your etched pieces. And yes, copper and green (or blue green) are meant for each other. The bracelet and necklace are lovely and I look forward to seeing the garnet with the brass piece when you complete it.

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    1. Tammy, Thank you! I hadn't considered blue at all for that one. Isn't that weird? I think I was immediately pulled to something mossy and grassy since the scallops on the bracelet make me think they're petroglyphs indicating hills or mountains. I have got to get to finishing that brass and garnet one - perhaps today as it's supposed to storm all day. I'm really just held up by getting the wire prepped. Thanks so much for taking a look!

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  21. Etching was a brilliant technique to use for this challenge... and even better that you used your own hand carved stamps! I really love that necklace... and am excited to see what you do with the remaining pendant and garnets. Great stuff!

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    1. Sarajo, Thanks! I'm still befuddled as to why I didn't think of etching earlier on the month. It now seems like it would have been obvious. But, I got stuck on the idea of rocks and stone and couldn't see past it for some reason. I finally got started with the garnets yesterday and am liking what I'm seeing so far! Thanks for taking a look!

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  22. Love, love, love them. Every single piece is something I could imagine wearing. Beautifully done

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    1. Aw, thanks Michelle! That means so very much to me! :D

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