Monday, July 1, 2013

Using Whatcha Got

The fixin's
A few weeks ago I submitted an entry to take part in a high end craft show here in Richmond Virginia. But as I haven't participated in a retail show in over a year and have precious little to display (especially for a three day show), I decided to beef up my stock of earrings - which are always a best seller.

I used Easy paste solder and put several
'beads' of it on the inside of the tube.
While my work primarily consists of jewels made of metal clay, I also love collecting old bits and pieces of almost everything to use as focal elements. Going through my stash of found objects, I rediscovered some mother-of-pearl handled cheese knives that I purchased at a swap meet in LA a few years ago. Just the handles. No blade attached. But where the blade would have met the handle were lovely embossed strips of fine silver. And looking at them gave me an idea.

By soldering the setting upside down with
the tube on top of the disk, I allowed gravity
 to work to keep the pieces in place. Holding
the flame underneath the screen drew the
solder down onto the disk and bonded
the two parts.
I removed the oval strips from the handles, and dropped them in Attack to remove the remnants of resin which had originally been used to attach the parts. After washing and drying the residue, I soldered the oval tubes to oval disks that I had originally bought to use as stations in the re-conceived chains I like to make. Two holes at the bottom of the tube would hold rivet wire for a kyanite spear bead that had been in my collection for longer than I can remember, and a piece of 20 gauge sterling soldered into a hole the in center of the disk would function as the ear wire. All in all, it took about 3 hours to fashion two pairs of really lovely earrings from materials that I had lying around the studio.

The finished product

When getting ready for a show, the thought of making perhaps a hundred pairs of earrings can be daunting. But if you redesign components you already have, you'll quickly create one-of-a-kind pieces that your collectors are sure to love.

Posted by Lora Hart
Artistic Advisor


Libellula Jewelry said...

Those earrings are absolutely lovely. They are definitely a perfect example of looking at things differently and making do with what we already have.

Lora Hart said...

Thanks Libellula! What a lovely compliment. Using what we have, and looking at each bit in a new light, is not only a good way to make use of our existing stock of components, but it sparks our imaginations to move in new directions.

Tracey said...

These earrings are absolutely fantastic! Knowing their origin makes them doubly so. I'm always looking at things for their unintended purpose; makes for great discovery. Best Wishes at the show.