Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Long Time No See!

Wow. It's been too long. I've been really busy with non- metals related stuff these last 2 weeks. I think February 19 was the last day I went in. The family went to Flagstaff for the long holiday weekend. We went to take the boy sledding. There was tons of snow and he loves snow! He had a blast. I hate the cold but I managed to do fairly well and fortunately the hostel had an amazing gas furnace in the room and eternal hot water. I took many many photos but otherwise got very little done, which I suppose, is the point of a vacation :-)

February 19 (or whatever day it was that week) was a tough day. I wasn't feeling well and was down for some reason. I went into the studio with very little enthusiasm. I was stressed out and it was just a blah day. I knew we were going out of town for the weekend, which makes for all kinds of work- laundry, cleaning, etc. (I have to come home to a clean house and have put fresh linens on the bed before I go- and yes, I realize that's a little neurotic) and on top of that, my mom and step dad were coming to visit the first week of March and I was in a panic trying to get the house cleaned and organized and dragging M with me- he's not naturally prone to tidyness. I'd finished the heart chain clasp (sorry no pics at the moment- I'm still in a panic trying to get the house cleaned) and there wasn't much in the studio that fit my mood to work on. And in reality, I only had about 1 1/2- 2hrs max to work that day. I pulled out my projects (many many in-process) and just sort of stared at my desk for a while.
You know, there is value in just sitting sometimes and particularly that day, it was beneficial to just sit at my bench for a while. I was away from the house and there wasn't anything else I could do- no grading, photography, knitting, nothing. I sat there and I thought about my work, my projects, what I was going to do next, next, next and ended up managing to forget about my woes and focusing on metals, even if it was just in my head. I'm so busy so much of the time I'm constantly rushing from one thing to another, crossing things off my to-do list that never ends and I never get (or rather, make) time to just sit and think about what I want to do. So in this instance, doing nothing in the studio ended up being incredibly productive! Once I sort of came to, I pulled out some metal and started making some new Primal Scream pins. I needed something simple so that the peace I'd achieved wasn't marred by any technical stresses and they are wonderfully straightforward to fabricate.
So my thought for this post is, take some time to just sit at your bench every now and then, let you mind wander through your projects and absolutely do not think about how many you have unfinished or how much time it's going to take you to finish them, just wander and think about production process, what you will do, what might be the next project, etc. I know it helped me recharge. I hope it works for you, too :-)

M forgot about Valentines Day over the weekend while we were in Flagstaff and felt bad he didn't even have a card for me (I didn't care- having someone to share the holiday with was all the bonus I needed). On our last day, he and the boy went out into the park to make a snowman. It was already time to get back to Phoenix so I was feeling a little impatient and my impatience kept growing as I watched them (mainly M, the boy was too interested in throwing snowballs) labor over this snowman. I couldn't get close because I was wearing street shoes and the snow went well above ankle height in some places. Well, the snowman was looking really odd and I was thinking M was trying to do some crazy snow sculpture we really didn't have time for, so of course I was getting annoyed. We needed to have the boy back in time to feed him and get him to bed to go to school the next morning and I didn't want us to be driving into the night. Finally, M comes over and wants me to come see the snowman. Because of the shoe issue, he carried me piggy back over to where they'd built the snowman. I'll let you see what it was rather than tell you. What a guy.

It says, "Happy V Day J. Love, M&A"
Awwww :-)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

so little time...

Only a couple of hours in the studio this week. I've been cleaning up and shooting my fold form line that I used to make years ago but I can't do that much hammering any more so I'm selling the remainder on Etsy. I have a portion of the line that I decorated with kumboo, a Korean overlay technique on silver with 24k gold. I love the technique but I've never been all that happy with the result on these pieces. The silver is so shiny and textured you can hardly see the gold. So I finally took a chance and patina'd the silver with liver of sulphur. The nice thing about liver of sulphur is it doesn't touch gold so the silver went black and the gold just popped out. Then I threw the pieces back in the tumbler. I love to tumble liver of sulphur pieces b/c when they come out they've got this amazing shiny gunmetal black surface and the patina is burnished and sealed in really well. I still have to take a pic of the fold form pieces but I did do this with the little pendant I photographed below so here are the before and after pics.
The pieces came out great in my opinion. They are shiny grey, the hammer texture comes out and the gold looks great. I think it will take a more adventurous jewelry person to wear black metal but the end result is quite striking and very different from the gold- free versions so I'm happy.
FYI- whenever you patina your silver make sure you don't have any tarnish on the surface. The patina really only wants to stick to clean metal. I missed cleaning a handfull of the old pieces but patina'd them anyway and after tumbling it was evident that the surface coloration was not uniform. The areas where there was some tarnish underneath was mottled. So I'm going to have to clean those pieces, re-patina and re-tumble.

First pic- before tumbling- stone is just laying in the setting- it's not going to be tumbled
Second pic- Tumbled and stone is set