Here it is October fourth and I still haven't done my bezel setting. (Too much golfing, traveling and watching grandchildren .) But..... today I finally spent some quality time in the studio and got back to it.
Earlier this year, I designed a piece for one of the triangular stones, the Jasper Mookite. It was a rather expensive stone (so I'm not sure I should have started with it.)
The second thing I shouldn't have done was pick a setting that required so much precision in the placement of the bezel.......... but I did! Last June I made the backing and eye-balled the size which was just a hair too small once it shrank in the firing process. (I know that's not the way to get a good fit but I had a moment of lazy insanity.)
Sooo....... the piece sat for four months until I got the ambition to work on it again. This time, I scanned the drawing (it was drawn to fit the stone) and increased the size by 115% to allow for the shrinkage of PMC3. The original piece was three cards thick which was something else I didn't care for, so the new piece is six cards thick. The extra thickness gives the piece a nice heft to match the weight of the stone and more area to create a nice beveled edge.
Today I finally sanded the piece, added the hidden bail and beveled the edges in preparation for firing. I also made two hallmark pieces to add to the back...... 99.9%FS and my AW. While trying to figure out where to place the two little pieces on the back, I happened to notice the plate with all my paper clay scraps. In an earlier post this past summer I talked about the work of Vickie Hallmark and how beautiful the back of the pieces were. She takes as much care with the back as she does with the front of her pieces.
I always tried to make the backs of my pieces clean and neat but I never really designed the back (unless it was for a reversible piece.) But today I decided to decorate the back with the left-over pieces of paper clay.
The unfired back.
The piece was fired at 1470 degrees for forty five minutes. And guess what......... it pretty much shrank to the exact same size as my eye-balled first piece. Am I good or what? The thing that isn't good is the fact that my bezel piece barely fits (and I mean barely.) It's not a whole lot better than it was on the first piece but I think I have it worked out.
The next step is to join the bezel and the backing piece with oil clay, fire and insert the stone. I'm getting so close to finishing it (but I've been there before so I'm not holding my breath cause I'll probably pass out.)