Saturday, July 18, 2009

For the Love of the Art

I have been making jewelry one way or another for about 20 years. No, I have not written any books or tutorials, nor have I traveled to the Hill Tribes of Thailand to learn the secrets of their fine craft. I have not spent thousands to learn at the feet of a master craftsman, or made it my life’s work to win the Saul Bell Award (although I have tried…the Saul Bell Award, that is).

But I’m damn good at it. I use what I’ve got: tools and beads collected through the last two decades. And let’s not forget those free tools: imagination and “no fear”. And I use “no fear” as a mantra when I’m about to either 1) severely wreck or 2) delightfully enhance a piece of silver.

I love the jewelry arts, and, as most of you do, find it hypnotically addicting. There are worse drugs to be hooked on. Although with jewelry making, I don’t have to steal from my son’s college account to feed my habit.

I’m suspecting there are more of you like me…jewelry making is your pastime. You have to work full time to have health insurance (if it’s offered) and to pay for stuff like food, clothing, shelter, kid’s (or your own) education, and let’s not forget fun stuff. But you still have that overwhelming desire to hammer the metal, string the beads, burn the silver, and get that awesome sense of pride when you or someone else wears your masterpiece. And that’s when everyone wishes they could do this for a living. Yeah, me too.

Let’s share our learning experiences from our collective jewelry-making history. You never know what you can learn from a half-assed jewelry artist. Or what she can learn from you…new ideas, mistakes that turned into something cool, weird techniques, new products and tools to die for.

I’ll start…below is a photo of a pair of earrings I made by cutting silver sheet with metal shears. Yeah, yeah, I know…I already got beat up about it by a couple of people on the Art Jewelry Forum, but I’m over it. I wanted a cool texture on them, so I found a cinder block in the backyard and pounded the concrete texture into them with a plastic mallet (both sides). By that time they were very hard, so I torched and domed them in a wooden dapping block. I added the ear wires and tumbled them for a couple of hours, added the lime jade beads, and now wear them with everything.

1 comment:

  1. Well, *I* think they're lovely. The finish is good, the curvature is well done, the wrapped loops are incredibly even. And, on top of it all, they're attractive. What's to beat up??