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Guest post from Marcie Abney Carroll – Laminate Pendants

Hello ABS-ers! I come to you today with a guest post from metalsmith and jewellery artist Marcie Abney Carroll of La Bella Joya. Recently, she has been experimenting with some new and rather lovely laminate layered pendants (I may or may not have some in my collection….) and today she shares with us a little behind the scenes. Oh, and make sure you read all the way through to the end for a super special ABS coupon code!
Three years ago, I was fortunate enough to
take a few classes with one of the heavy hitters in the metalsmithing world,
Melissa Manley. She taught me the necessary techniques to begin my own journey
in working with metal. My favorite tool and the one that I’ve spent the most
time practicing with is the jeweler’s saw.
I enjoyed using the saw on sheets of
silver, copper, and brass. But about two years ago, I was inspired by Thomas
Mann’s book, Metal Artist’s Workbench to
experiment with different mediums that could be cut using the jeweler’s saw.
This opened a whole new world of materials. I was particularly interested in
the work I had seen other artists doing using laminate countertop samples and I
wanted to see if I could use these tiles to create work that reflected me and
my own unique style.
I was fortunate enough to source most of my
samples from local wholesalers who were willing to let me comb through Formica
sample graveyards and carry home boxes of discontinued colors and patterns. I
started sketching shapes and themes and brainstorming ways to connect and
combine different tiles to add more color and texture to my work.
I ended up with a pile of failed attempts
as I tried to make something that still looked and felt like a kitchen counter.
It wasn’t until I began to look at the laminate as a vehicle of color and started
taking advantage of its sturdiness that I started really creating unique pieces
out of the tiles.
Inspired by my Pinterest travels, my
feathers were the first batch of pendants that generated interest when I posted
a photo of them on Instagram (follow me @labellajoya). I have since wielded my
saw to create other pendants and components and I’d like to give you a little
peek into my creative process.
Each 
component begins as a sketch in my sketchbook. I usually scan and make a
copy and then run the individual sketches through my Xyron sticker maker and
adhere them to the laminate samples that I’ve chosen to use.

I then cut each shape out individually
using my jeweler’s saw. I end up with a big pile of laminate cast offs, all of
which I hoard thinking I’ll use them again for smaller charms! 
I drill tiny holes in each
piece of laminate and rivet them together securely using copper wire. I’ve
mostly made pendants, though I have a few pieces with two holes that could be
used as connectors. 
The
backs are left raw and all the edges are sanded smooth for comfortable wear.
I’ve really enjoyed wearing and creating
with these pendants. Laminate, as a material, is light as a feather (no pun
intended) which means these components are wonderful in asymmetrical designs
and work well with the very trendy necklaces that feature groupings of similar
charms and beads on long chain.
When I listed my first batch on Etsy, I was
so excited to see them fly off to other jewelry artists to include in their
creations. It was definitely an exciting feeling to think that another artist
was inspired by my work!
I’m currently working on birds and still
enjoy rummaging through my laminate piles to create new color combos with the
feathers. I’m always looking for new sources of inspiration. The color
possibilities really are endless and some of the laminate samples have such
great faux wood and stone textures that they lend themselves to natural
inspirations. 
I’m constantly adding new pendants and
components to the shop as I make them. I’ve got a sketchbook full of
ideas!  Birds, butterflies,
pansies, and an idea to combine the laminate with metal are currently filling
my pages. The best way to follow my creative journey is to follow me on
Facebook or Instagram where I post new creations, sometimes as soon as I make
them!
I’d like to thank the editors of Art Bead
Scene for the opportunity to share my creative process, and to celebrate I’m
offering a special 15% off coupon in my shop! Just type in the code ABSFEATURE14 in the coupon code box upon checkout and receive 15% off your entire purchase!
Here are all my important links:

Also, if you create something with one of
my laminate pendants, I’d love to see a photo and I would definitely feature
your work on my blog! 
Thank you so much Marcie for sharing so generously with us today – I have loved reading this post and can’t wait to see where you will go next with this versatile technique. 

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