Oakland Rose Garden and a Special Giveaway

Having only lived in the bay area a few years, there’s still so much we haven’t discovered or visited yet. One of the “places to see” on my list was the Morcom Rose Garden in Oakland. Given that we have dry season here almost year round, I figured there were only a few months of the year when I could catch the roses in full bloom after the California rains have finally fallen.

I recently had the pleasure of visiting this beautiful garden last month with one of my nieces, and I am so glad we went! The garden was much larger than I had anticipated. Among the rows upon rows of gorgeous roses, each one different (and labeled!.. although I didn’t bring a notebook..) the garden also had a gigantic multi-tiered waterfall that cascaded down the hill.

We meandered through each pathway and took many pictures, of course! Here’s a few of my favorites.

Not roses obviously, but these pretty flowers filled a median in the entryway.

Gorgeous magenta petals!

Partial view of the tiered waterfall..

This gorgeous rose looks like it had been hand painted.

Watercolor petals..

This rose trio reminded me of a necklace I made before..

See the resemblance?!

Classic ivory roses. So beautiful and delicate.

The petals are starting to fade away, but still look so pretty and fragile..

I just adored this one. It looked so unique!

After our tour of roses, we decided to take a break for a snack and some silly pictures!

Well, that garden sure was inspiring, to say the least. Now onto the giveaway!

Hand formed clay roses on sterling silver posts (approximately 3/8″ wide.)

As part of my Etsy Christmas in July special (and because I just love flowers, which is obvious) I’m giving away a pair of my Petite White Clay Rose Earrings! Want to win them? Here’s how to enter:

Required: Leave a comment telling me what your favorite kind of flower is. No, it doesn’t have to be roses to qualify. ;)

Additional Entries: Up to two bonus entries can be earned by doing either of the following (Please leave a separate comment for each additional entry)..

A. Become a fan of Victoria Camp Designs on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/victoriacampdesigns. Leave a comment here to tell me you did! (Addendum 7/11: Already a FB fan? Gain this extra entry if a friend signs up! For privacy, just let me know their initials in your comment here so that I can verify on my page that they’ve joined. FYI, fan name lists do not show up publicly on the FB page!)

B. “Pin” one of my jewelry items onto Pinterest and comment with the link of your pin! Items can be pinned from my Etsy shop, Website, or this blog. You can pin as many items as you want, but please be aware that only one extra entry per person will qualify.

Entries will be accepted from 7/11/2012-7/22-2012 midnight PST. I will randomly select a winner using a number generator from random.org on 7/23/2012. Winner will be notified via email and announced on this entry. Good luck!

7/23/2012- Time’s up! Congratulations to winner number 11, Marj!

Fine Silver Rose Earrings

Happy 2012! I’ve been using my new kiln for the past month, and wanted to share one of my new (sort of!) designs. “New,” referring to the medium more-so than the design. If you’ve visited my website or Etsy storefront, you’re probably familiar with my clay roses. I’ve recently returned to working with precious metal clay, and decided what better to use to start off with than the roses?

For those that aren’t familiar with precious metal clay, let me give you a brief explanation: precious metal clay is composed of microscopic particles of precious metal, held together with an organic binder. Although the working properties of this clay are slightly different than other clays (for example, it dries out much faster) it can be cut/shaped/molded/carved in a similar fashion. The clay is then dried, fired (heated/cured,) then burnished (hardened,) polished and buffed. The organic binder is burned off in the firing process, leaving just the metal behind! Pretty neat, huh?

Precious metal clay is available in fine silver, copper, bronze, gold (22k) and most recently sterling silver.  I’m using fine silver right now, since I’m already familiar with it, and will be using the copper next! (Note: Fine silver is higher quality and does contain more silver than sterling silver: .999 instead of .925.)

I thought I’d share a few photos from the process involved in making my fine silver rose earrings. It takes a long time to complete each rose (and earring) but the finished result is beautiful and well worth the effort.

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver rose earrings

(A finished pair of fine silver rose earrings.)

First and foremost, I shape the clay. I make the fine silver roses by hand, petal by petal – the same process used in my polymer clay roses. (No molds are ever used for my roses – each one is unique!) I sand and smooth the clay, then let them dry.. sometimes overnight, sometimes in the kiln.

Next, I fire the roses in my kiln. The temperature I use ranges from 1200-1500F degrees, depending on the design. (Yes, that is HOT!)

Victoria Camp Designs - kiln

Once the roses are fired and have cooled down, I take them out of the kiln. They appear “white.” This is a crystallized layer that must be burnished to remove. You can use a tumbler or a burnishing tool.

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver rose1

I use a hand burnishing tool for these, since I need to get in between all of the little creases and crevices of the petals. You can see on the top right petal, burnishing also makes it shiny! (It helps harden the metal, too.) The rose must be burnished on all sides, top to bottom, around every edge.

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver rose2

Once burnished, the rose looks shiny. As you can see, the final product is in fact a solid metal piece. This one is fine silver, which contains more silver (.999) than sterling silver (.925.)

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver rose3

“Shiny” silver is nice, but I want a little more depth in this rose design. My next step is to oxidize the silver. Both fine silver and sterling silver will naturally oxidize over time (this happens with exposure to air, water, etc.) but I use a chemical solution to speed up the process. Here you can see that the roses have oxidized, and look dark gray/black. I actually like how these look oxidized, but will keep going..

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver rose4

After oxidizing, I polish the outer edges and petals of the roses (as well as the earring posts) to return certain areas to a pretty shine. I use a polishing pad and polish each rose by hand. You can see that I have left some of the oxidization on the inner portion of the petals, to create some texture and depth.

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver rose5

A close-up of the rose.. doesn’t that look pretty? I definitely prefer the oxidized details over the previously completely shiny rose.

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver rose6

Here’s a photo of the roses in various stages.. Starting from the left, the two light gray roses are fine silver clay that has been sculpted and dried. They are ready to go in the kiln, but haven’t been fired yet. The shiny silver rose to the right of them has been fired and also burnished. The two small roses to the right of that have been fired, burnished, oxidized, and polished. The earring I am holding has also gone through the complete process as well, from creating to firing to finishing.

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver roses

 

The item listing for the petite fine silver rose earrings can be found here:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/91118038/petite-fine-silver-rose-earrings-on

Earrings Sale!

It’s time for the next “category” sale in my store! This weekend, all earrings in the Everyday Collection are on sale. Use code EARRINGS during checkout to receive 10% off your earrings purchase.  The sale runs through tomorrow evening (10/30/11.)

A few favorites..

Sterling Silver Peacock Pearl Drop Earrings

Sterling Silver Peacock Pearl Drop Earrings

 

Dark Teal Rose and Vintage Glass Earrings on Sterling

Dark Teal Rose and Vintage Glass Earrings on Sterling

 

Tiny Silver Bow and Orange Garnet Drop Earrings

Tiny Silver Bow and Orange Garnet Drop Earrings