Monday, April 14, 2008

Ooooo, Sparkly!

There was one more goal I omitted from my list in January. I want to be using better quality stones in my work. The kind of stones that make you stop in your tracks and say "Wooo."

Okay, okay, so perhaps it's really just an excuse to horde more stones, but I have made some good headway in the past two weeks. Look for these and other delicious opals to be appearing in work in the next year. I can't wait to find them homes.

Recent Projects -- Fletch* Earrings

Yesterday I completed my favorite pair of earrings yet. They are two simple curved discs, covered with fine silver and copper balls that have been sanded flat. Initially, I had started them to match this ball bearing ring; however, some errant solder made me decide to sand them flat instead of leaving the balls round. The extremely long earwires allow them to have a great deal of movement, and the brushed finish seems to suit their industrial look.

The hook on the back to catch the earwires worked out extremely well. Sometimes it is a challenge to get the idea that works so well in your head to work equally well in the real world. This time everything worked as I had imagined.

Next up: similar cuff links and a pendant already underway.

*"It's all ball bearings nowadays." -- Fletch

When good times go bad

I used to describe my knitting as moving from one debacle to another. I very much enjoyed the time I spent knitting, but things frequently would go awry. I learned a great deal about patience -- and problem solving -- through the amount of time I spent up to my elbows in yarn. I also learned to give myself a break, and learned that making mistakes was very much a part of the learning process.

Fortunately, the debacles have been much fewer and far between in my jewelry endeavors -- and that brings us to Sunday.

I had put seemingly endless hours into this pendant: fusing silver and 22K gold, building up layers, feeding them through the rolling mill, adding to the layers, piercing, soldering, finishing. I spent more than an hour on the patina alone. Once it was complete, I started to set the stone -- a large beautiful ruby. In short, a bad solder join gave way, and the entire setting worked its way loose. (You can see one side of the join in the photo; it is on the bottom of the center hole.)

The most surprising thing to me was my "no problem" reaction. I'll have to rebuild the setting and reattach it (it floats in the center of the pendant and is comprised of four elements), and I will end up removing my carefully applied patina -- but I am still amazed that my level of frustration stayed well in check.

Probably thanks to those hours and hours of knitting . . .