Monday, March 3, 2014

When Opportunity Knocks

Gabriel Craig. This is one of my favorites. I just can't figure
out how in the world he 'married' that thin gold chain to the sterling
ring shank. I prefer to believe it was magic.
You just never know what's gonna pop up. Opportunities can happen any time, and if you're prepared, taking advantage of them can actually be fun instead of stressful! That's what happened to me when Professor Susie Ganch from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) sent a mass email to instructors of the Visual Arts Center where I teach. Susie organized an event called "The Radical Jewelry Makeover" in Richmond in 2007 and it's traveled around the world ever since. That random email allowed me the opportunity to take part in the 2014 version!

I'm so honored and excited to be participating, and very grateful that my puttering around with metalsmithing techniques is allowing me to transform my baggie filled with odds and ends of discarded and forgotten jewelry into something new and fabulous.

Also participating are professional goldsmiths, VCU metals students, independent jewelry makers, and my friends Robin Kranitsky and Kim Overstreet. Some past participants include Amy Tavern, Nina Dinoff, and Catie Sellers - along with many, many other talented jewelry makers. I'm slightly intimidated by their advanced knowledge and experience, but considering how often I've taken the same type of introduction to metalsmithing classes - I'm prepared for the challenge.

I got a huge baggie filled with beads, pendants, crystals, chains, and other treasure, but this is what I'm working on first. I think it will be a stilted brooch (meaning that the top piece of brass will be elevated above the bottom piece).

You can see samples of the completed projects from every year here.  We're only allowed to use the elements that have been donated, so no metal clay in this project. That's why my piercing, soldering, riveting and other metal working skills are so valuable. Learn as much as you can. It will not only take your metal clay work to another level of skill and professionalism, it will open up opportunities that you never knew existed!

Posted by Lora Hart
Artistic Advisor

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