Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Life is a circle

For 13 years I taught elementary art before I transferred to the high school level and finished out my last 22 years there.  Usually I had three elementary schools that I saw each week.  One of them was Oakland Elementary which consisted of K-6 classes.  Oakland was a rural school that sat in the middle of one of those weather centers.  There could be a major blizzard at Oakland, but in town the sun was shining (which meant that school would not be let out early.)  Often whoever had bus duty had to stay until after 5:00 because the buses couldn't get through.  Even though it made for longer days, Oakland was a wonderful school to work in.  The people I worked with were great and the students were great.

I saw about 300 children a week (and in those days I could remember every single child's name...... don't ask me about names now though.)  Surprisingly there are elementary students that I still remember.  One of them from Oakland works with my son.  In the mornings Dan use to carry boxes to all the classrooms for me (there wasn't an art room.)  Dan's wife, Angel was a student there also and I remember her crying when we got a letter back from Andrew Wyeth.  (He painted Christina's World.)

For Christmas this year, Dan wanted a necklace made for Angel that included a pearl they'd gotten at Sea World.  (The pearl was such a pretty teal color.)   How convenient that I had taken Gordon's class on a box ring with pearl.  I kept the design simple and made the necklace reversible but I had to work out a different method for setting the pearl, as it wasn't drilled.  (And I wasn't about to drill the pearl since there was only the one.)  Instead of setting the pearl on a post, I created a small dish to work as a well to hold lots of glue.   This would create more surface for maximum contact with the pearl.

This isn't something I would have done with a ring, but a necklace doesn't take the beating a ring does.  My biggest concern was getting the dish the right size for the pearl (which luckily worked out.)  I torch fired the little dish so I could check it's size and remake it if needed.  My next concern was that it would shift inside the box during firing (but it didn't.)  When Gordon fired our rings, he filled the box with vermiculite to keep them from slumping.  I wasn't able to do that since the dish enclosed the opening.  That was another concern but it all worked out.

At least for this piece, the Jewelry Gods were watching out for me.  I think they were on hiatus when I was doing my wrapped piece!

1 comment:

Zoe Nelson said...

That's a beautiful piece! I'm sure Angel was pleased.