The Blog Carnival….a group of jewelers get together via the web, once a month, to post on a topic that has to do with jewelry. It's a fun way to hear different opinions from wonderful artists. Hope you'll visit their sites and read their great blogs. Please post a comment or two. It's always great to know who is reading and your shared thoughts.
Topic: Out of all of the pieces you've created, which one means the most to you and why?
Sometimes these topics just throw me for a loop. I suppose this one did because I do not get emotionally tied to the pieces. For me it's about the process or the journey, not about the outcome. It's the challenge that I seem to enjoy or the process of the technique. This made me realize, what one wise metalsmith seemed to define, as one of the differences between a maker and an artist.
I suppose that's why when I was contemplating this blog, I did think about my favorite ring that has disappeared. It was made entirely of metal clay syringe and was filigree in design with stones set throughout. Everywhere I wore it people complimented me. It's been lost for more than 5 years, and I still pine to wear it. One of these days I'll make another.
I enjoyed making the ring and it was a huge challenge. I made it about 8 or 9 years ago when not many were working with the syringe and certainly not making the entire ring out of syringe. I am very hard on my rings and that ring had been worn for about 3 or 4 years without any misshaping or distortion and had never cracked or broken. This is why I know if you engineer a ring well, even in fine silver metal clay, it can last. This ring was completely open with scrolls and lovely swirlies, polka doted with stones. It was not a syringe mess but looked like an silver version of an open scrollwork gate. However, if any ring was, this one was a distortion waiting to happen. It didn't though. So I knew that my "paste solder" technique was a winner. I made sure to "paste solder", as I refer to it with my students, which I believe helped to reinforce all the connections. I also fired it properly and work hardened it.
"Paste Solder" is where you take metal clay paste and reinforce every connection or joint once or twice. This helps to give extra support. Everything is well connected and blended at the seams with a clay shaper, wet. It's how I do all my joints, but now they are done with lavender oil paste. They are invisible and solid. When dropped in the greenware state, they break not in the joint areas. This technique also helps with shrinkage issues which also can create weak spots in your work for later failures down the road.
I'm sure moving forward my work will have more emotion tied to the pieces. I've come to realize, with more introspect, to look at my feelings and why I create. To ask, what's this piece's story? Previously I just created. I didn't think about why I was creating or the meaning the piece had. I was playing, experimenting, challenging myself. It was more about the material and not myself. Now, I know what the material can do (after 13 years of play) and now it's time to explore my art from a different place. The place perhaps of the artisan and not the maker. Pieces that have a story and not just a timeline.
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