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It's nice to be back in the studio! A lot of stuff came up last week,… - Metals Geekery

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My artisan metalsmithing site
My original Celtic designs in various media, including jewelry
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October 22nd, 2006


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05:40 pm
It's nice to be back in the studio! A lot of stuff came up last week, so I wasn't able to do as much as I would have hoped.

However, I have cleared 2 more project boxes, bringing my project box total down to 23! Woohoo! And this is including the 2 I've refilled: 1 with J's anvil ring, which is a tad big for him (even though it's exactly the size we thought would fit well) and so I plan on adding little lumps tot he inside- since I cant' safely heat it with the enamel in place, I plan to drill very small holes, bead some wire, and thread the wire and tap the holes, then screw in the lumps... and we shall see! If the concept works, I'll epoxy the threads; and 1 with a set of 3 argentium hearts cut out of sheet, for my experiments in argentium decorative fusing and granulation. (One of my students is very keen to try granulation, and given my experiments in fusing it thus far, it'll be a LOT easier and more reliable to use argentium than fine silver! but I want to try it myself first!)

I examined the various stones I'd baked for over an hour at argentium hardening temperatures, with mixed results. The sapphire was unaffected, as I'd expected- but it's good to know. The garnets actually held up pretty well; one had some inclusions that darkened, but not badly, and the clear ones survived wonderfully. The peridot also came through fine, though I think the color was slightly affected; it seems a hair darker and more yellow, but not bad. The citrine and amethyst developed unsightly brown blobs, as did the blue topaz- rather a surprise, that, since I'd though it was turned blue with heat!, and the tourmaline.

So I think it is going to be sapphires for the argentium confetti ring. I may use a combination of larger orange and slightly smaller dark blue ones- that might be fun... I also have sapphire melee in assorted colors, so that would be an option.

I have also decided to use fine silver bezels for the argentium fused heart settings. That way I can set the stones after hardening the argentium; the disadvantage is that the bezels themselves will not be hardened this way, but for earrings that's fine, and I think it's acceptable even for the bracelet catch.

The projects I finished today, by the way, are the gold-and-drusy earrings- probably the jewelry item that has cost the most in materials of any piece I've made thus far!- and a hairstick based on an oak stick J turned for me a while back with an unfinished top, and i have added a large garnet cab in a silver setting, with a garnet teardrop dangle. Pretty! Pictures will be forthcoming. I am planning on selling the earrings- I really don't have a lifestyle that suits them, pretty though they are!- but will likely keep the hairstick (unless someone falls in love with it...).

And besides that, I cleaned a LOT of enamels. This is very, very boring. However, one of my project boxes is "To Be Enameled", and so I have taken the next step. And it's a bit unfair to have all these in 1 box, too; there are 4 (I think) separate projects in it, and they probably ought to have their own boxes. :P To wit: the January-themed plique thimble; a sunburst plique pendant with a setting for a lovely large citrine in the middle; a pair of lotus earrings of 20-ga. silver, so I'm not sure that the unsupported firing technique will work for them; and a cloisonne pendant with a triple spiral motif that I have decided to enamel in ice colors: turquoises and white and clear, mostly. The enamels for the first 3 are now cleaned, and I plan to begin with the thimble and the pendant.

Lark Books is seeking entries for "500 Vessels," and I'm torn. It is not like I need another project! And the dec. 1 deadline is a bit aggressive for coming up with a whole new concept and executing it; I generally complete things "in the fullness of time," though the smileys prove I can be more efficient. However, I am not sure whether boxes count as "vessels"- I tend to think of vessels as more in-the-round- and while I have vague concepts for a couple of things- a perfume pendant, and "reliquaries" for the ashes of a couple of former and beloved cats- none of them are at the point where i can sketch out an approach, exactly. So I probably will not. It's not, honestly, like I'd have a chance of getting into it anyway; the books are very artsy, and I tend not to be.
Current Mood: busybusy

(4 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:porcupinegirl
Date:October 22nd, 2006 10:20 pm (UTC)
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never say never. the books have a tendency to be artsy yeah but they usually contain quite a few pieces that are more traditional and just exceptionally well crafted. it also depends on the jurors they pick. you always have a chance :)
[User Picture]
From:afmetalsmith
Date:October 22nd, 2006 10:52 pm (UTC)
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Oh, OK, I won't say never. :)

I did some pieces that i thought were pretty damn good for the first one they did- "500 Brooches"- and they didn't make it. J thinks it was because the photography was lacking (since he did it); I think that it was a blend of that and that my stuff wasn't artsy enough... and a couple of the pieces were pretty damn artsy, for me!

I think the idea of ex-kitty reliquaries is an excellent one... but the cats are/were important enough that I don't want to cut any corners; the pieces need to be PERFECT. So that's an issue. And with the perfume vials- I just don't have a nifty concept. Yet. So we shall see.

Thanks for the encouragement!
[User Picture]
From:porcupinegirl
Date:October 22nd, 2006 11:17 pm (UTC)
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the photography tends to be a HUGE issue. i'd guess that was a lot of it.

hey outta curiosity, where'd you get your rainbow of sapphires from?
[User Picture]
From:afmetalsmith
Date:October 22nd, 2006 11:32 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I got them at one of the local gem-and-jewelry shows- probably from ValueGem or the like? I can look up the vendor tomorrow. They had some boxes of tiny sapphire- and by that I mean 1.5-2mm- melee, and we got some. I separated it out to yellow and green and several shades of blue and pink ad a couple of orange, all of roughty 2mm- meaning, in practice, 1.8-1.9mm.

The photography might or might not have been an issue. It wasn't superb for the size and resolution... but it didn't suck, either. The aesthetics of my work were cleartly also pertinent, given what they published. :P

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