August 5th, 2006
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.