August 5th, 2006

anvil, ring

(no subject)

On Thursday we got a flier for an upcoming art show that the Worcester (MA) Historical Society is hosting featuring... the smiley face.

As most people do not know, the smiley face was created in Worcester, for the reconciliation celebration of 2 insurance companies merging. (This is the short version; the long version is on the flier, and I can be more informative if such is desired, although I warn you that the complete story involves several multisyllabic, multi-word insurance company names and can probably cause any eye to glaze over.) The artist was Harvey Ball, if memory serves (the flier is not at hand), and he got paid $240 for it. And the rest is history.

So, this one of Worcester's claims to fame (and there are quite a few! Really!) is to be celebrated with an art show.

This is irresistible to me.

I can submit 1 or 2 pieces (and, being a jeweler, 1 piece could be a pendant/earring set or something). I've started 3, figuring that one will drop by the wayside or not turn out as well as I'd prefer in the time I have (about a month).

1. Cloisonne pendant/necklace. The enamel will be a very straight rendition of a classic smiley face, in the classic yellow and black. I will probably texture the background, so that the texture will be visible through the transparent yellow enamel. This will be set in a somewhat elaborate setting, probably involving forged wires and likely one or more small yellow sapphires (assuming I can find ones I like that aren't exorbitant) and tiny black diamonds.

This could have compatible earrings.

This is the piece I most want to do, and if the others drop back before the show so I can complete this (as well as commission work, etc.), that's OK.

2. Cloisonne smiley insert into signet-style ring. I will need to come up with some elaboration for the ring itself- something as simple as J's isn't really right for this.

A benefit to this one is that I have a couple more of that style of rings on my to do SOON list, and might be able to combine the processes.

3. I'm going to try a plique-a-jour one. Yep, I'm nuts. It'll be about 1.25" outer diameter, have a outer rim of a zig-zag metal between 2 heavier gauges which will be filled in yellow and black, the classic yellow background and black features, and the background yellow will need to be filled with enough thin wire meanders to make the cell size small enough to work. Should be interesting. I will probably plan on a simple loop on the piece itself, and a nice bail that will include the yellow sapphires and/or black diamonds.

I'm hoping to use the yellow sapphires because their color is truer to the bright primary yellow of the smiley than citrine's is; citrine tends to a honey shade.

I decided against cast or pierced ones with a keum-boo overlay of fine gold; it's not as technically interesting, plus I'd really rather stay away from gold for these.

So I've started work on these 3 in some of the gaps I have while other stuff is pickling, tumbling, etc. I'm not to any of the exciting bits yet, but am getting the basic structure done... and am making a lot of sketches for the setting for #1.
anvil, ring

(no subject)

My other accomplishments for the day: solid work on 2 ongoing commissions.

The first is a large (physically) piece, and all the soldering is DONE, the pre-polishing is DONE, and I have a bit of forming work and the final polishing left... and that's all. However, I am thinking about how it's too big to fit any of my nice boxes, and so might whip up a bag or something for it.

The second is some adaptive work on the wax for one of my Electric Celt designs, that the client wants in white gold. And that's so cool! Gold's a lot heavier (and stronger, in alloyed form) than silver, so I thinned down the pendant so it wouldn't be as heavy. I experimented with making a new wax bail for it, but the 2 waxes seem pretty incompatible, plus I wasn't best pleased with any of the designs, so I'm leaving the regular loop on and will make a bail when it comes back from the caster. I ought to be able to send it out Monday, and I can hope that they are not so swamped that it takes a long time!

And in the remaining time, I rounded the bordering wires for the smiley pieces, so the 2 for the cloisonne are ready to be soldered onto the backing sheet, and the plique one is ready for me to start working on the border. I was very relieved to see that over time I had acquired 2 really BIG ring mandrels... and the new one went up a bit more than the older one. The plique is 1.25" diameter, which is something like a size 25.5 ring- really huge! but the newer big ring mandrel went up to 26, so all is well. I crimped some thin wire for the decorative part of the border, and fitted it in; I still need to solder it, but it's ready for that.

I also put a thin coat of Renaissance Wax on the silver and "new gold" layers of a pin/pendant I'm reworking a bit. It has 3 layers, all with 3 lobes: a bottom one that's etched copper with colors and patination for the leaves, then an embossed and formed "new gold" (aka rich low brass) layer with 3 petals; then a similar but more dramatically formed layer that's silver. These are held together with a rivet that goes through all 3 and is soldered onto the back of a setting for a big citrine cab.

The problem is that all the layers rotate. This is not a feature; it's a bug.

So I took it apart, and drilled out the holes in the 3 layers to be bigger so they can accept a tube rivet which can then itself accept the original rivet. If I cannot cinch the tube rivet tight enough to prevent rotating, I will drill a very small additional hole next to it, through all 3 layers, and add a second rivet. That'll slow it down. :) I'm hoping that with the tighter cinching the original rivet will still be long enough to extend through all the layers- that's my main worry.

I'm also replacing the nickel-silver pin with a steel one.

If this one works out, I'll do the same on its sibling, and then I'll feel more comfortable selling it.