Sunday, 31 December 2017

The Rest of The Story

Does anyone remember Paul Harvey? If you do, you are probably, like me, getting up in years. Paul used to do syndicated radio features where he would dig out little known facts behind major stories or the lives of famous people. And he always finished his segment with this line:
"And now you know the REST of the story!"
After I published my last blog post, a couple of people asked about the mechanics of the piece. It struck me that if I was calling it "process jewelry" I should show you the process. So here goes.
First, I must tell you that Vickie has several decades of experience making jewelry from polymer clay and her work is spectacular (we have some beautiful examples in our store). Moreover, she is known for her exceptional finishing- the added care that makes her pieces rise above the rest.
Second, our philosophy, especially when working with copper, is to make every piece we can. So here is the back of the piece.
As you can see, there are marks visible on the back of the copper plate. We could remove these but choose not to. These are the artist's marks and we feel that they should be left to show the "process". Here, you can also see the backs of the hand hammered eyelets and how the fastening copper wire is joined. Care is taken to tuck the ends to ensure there are no loose ends to catch on skin or clothing and, if necessary we smooth the ends by using a file or sanding using 600 grit paper.
Also, you will note that the connectors (jump rings) are hand made from copper wire. A rod is attached to a power drill and the wire is connected to the end of the rod and then wrapped using the rotation of the drill. WARNING! If you do this, be sure to use leather gloves to hold the wire as it can cut you if it gets loose. Then, a jeweler's saw is used to saw individual rings. (As the lowly apprentice, this is my job). The coils used to hold the cord are made in much the same way with sections, rather than individual rings, being cut to the desired length. The top end is pinched to secure the cord and the bottom end is opened up to accept the jump ring. Finally, the cord is cut to the desired length and a clasp is added.
Both sides of the clasp are hand made from hammered copper wire. It is important to flatten the paddle on the open piece so it can slide easily into ring on the left of the photo.
So the process starts with the shaping and finishing of the stone. Vickie decides on the shape and I do the execution. Then, Vickie comes up with a concept for the setting and we are both involved in the execution with her deciding shapes and me making all the copper findings.
The end result is a piece that is not only sturdy and beautiful in a somewhat primitive way, but also very interesting.
And now you know the REST of the story!
We hope you are having an enjoyable holiday season and look forward to seeing you at the Artist's Mark Shop in the New Year. There are some exciting changes that I will be detailing in upcoming posts as well as more examples of our process jewelry so come back and check from time to time..

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