Thursday, June 2, 2011

Only three years

Finally finished a piece I started in Linda Kline's bezel setting class at the 2009 PMC conference.  (At least I think it's finished..... have to sleep on it.  Not totally satisfied with the beading but already wasted some sterling silver wire and crimps trying to get it right.  It's one of those things I know what I have to do but balk at doing it.)

Anyway, after three years I finally figured out what I wanted to do with the main focal piece.  (The current price of silver got me moving on unfinished pieces.)  In past posts, I've talked about how my jewelry talks to me and tells me what it needs to finish it.  Well, this one was mute on the subject until a couple of months ago.  Even then I had to drag it out of it.

Many ideas have passed through my brain in those three years as to what to do.  The original piece was made with no holes as the main focus that day was on making the bezel.  I had done a bezel setting in my Level 2 class where we were required to push the bezel into the wet clay base.  (Something Leslie Tieke felt needed to be changed.)  Leslie told us about the two (or three depending on how you want to look at) part firing method.  The bezel is measured, fitted around the stone and then soldered or pasted together with metal clay paste.  If pasted, the bezel is fired.  The backing is also made and fired.  Then the bezel and backing are pasted together and fired again.  (Basically that is the method in a nutshell.)  Pushing the bezel into wet clay may result in cracking.

At one point I was going to make a mini-face (of a lapidary artist) to hang off the bottom of the focal piece. He was supposed to be thinking about the stone.  As you can see that changed and a metal clay bead ended up at the bottom.

The piece needed more than just a jump ring to hang it from the cording (which later became beads) so I pulled out my extruder (another tool that's just been sitting in a drawer) and made a curved bail.  What fun!  Plan  to do more extrusions.  Originally I was going to hang the piece from the bail but that just wasn't going to work, hence the textured piece draped over the bail.

As I've done in many of my pieces lately, I made a clasp to match.  I do like the looks of the focal point (even though it took so long to design.)  What I don't like was the craftsmanship on my beading.  Much as I don't want to do it, I'll probably be taking it apart and redoing it.  This time I will measure very carefully and not try to eyeball it.  (I know from past experience that I'm no good at eyeballing.  Got to pull out the measuring tools.)

Oh, and wish me Happy Anniversary this Sunday.  I've been married 40 years.  (Kind of scary though..... I actually could celebrate 50 years.  I've been with the same guy since I was 12.   And my mother thought it wouldn't last!)

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