Saturday, 22 March 2014

Rain Has Its Rewards

A Good Day at the Bench

A couple of days ago, I was pre-weeding our vegetable garden in a short-sleeve t-shirt. Today dawned dry but with a nasty, cold wind that warned of rain. I just managed to take a walk, make and eat breakfast, and do the grocery shopping before it began. Seemed an omen — ought to spend the afternoon at the bench. The studio is open. Come on in and have a seat.


I had a couple of projects to finish — both are on the bench in this photo, along with a pair of pliers and a steel burnisher.

On the left, a mixed metal heart pendant. I cut out the copper and silver hearts a few days ago.  Yesterday, I soldered the small, silver one atop the larger copper one, using a tiny silver circle as a spacer to give it some depth. I also soldered a bail on the back.

Next to the heart, that abalone necklace I've been struggling with. It has been a long process — first, cut out the plate and reticulate it (see blog post of July 20 about reticulation). Next; cut, trim and attach the top bar. After that came cutting, fitting and mounting the claws and attaching a pair of posts at the top so the chains can be attached. I'm trying for a hint of Japanese Moon Gate with this piece. It seems to be working.

Bleeding Heart Pendant

I wanted to do a Raku patina on the Bleeding Heart pendant (blog post about Raku on May 22) so this afternoon I assembled the pine cones and needles in an old sauce pot I picked up in a thrift store. I cleaned the heart with super-fine steel wool and then with detergent and Comet cleanser. That is clean! Grabbed another bunch of needles and took pot, needles, the heart and my torch out to our carport. I had to brave the weather because I didn't like the idea of filling the studio with smoke and making you cough! The carport kept me dry but the wind sure did not feel at all like two days into spring. The Raku process worked. I gave this a gentle polish and sealed the patina with archival wax. Here, atop my iPhone, is the finished piece. The photo does not do the colors justice. They are really lovely.

The Moon Gate Necklace

Here it is. Boy, that one took some time, didn't it?
Today, I polished the piece, bringing the top bar to a mirror-shine and lightly polishing to backplate to maximize its fabulous texture (remember that Cannon Beach shot of waved-textured sand?). Next I set the slice of abalone into the claws and finished by smoothing them over . The final step was easy — I used two jump rings to attach the chain so the piece can be worn.

When the rains let up and the light improves, I will use my photo setup to take pictures of both pieces. I want the best possible light because both of these have colors that are hard to capture. 

Come over to the house and I'll pour you a cup of coffee before you go home.