13 January 2011

disarray + wish I knew then ...

I really do wish I knew then what I know now ...
One of the less wonderful sides of making jewelry for a living is acknowledging that not all my designs are foolproof and that repairs are a fact of life.

At the time it seemed like such an excellent idea and in some cases, it still is - firing sterling chain into PMC3 - well, mainly because I could and it looked very cool.  What I know now is that all chains are not created equal and some are better suited to the task. 

 Case in point - foxtail.  Perusing the Rio Grande catalog, it looked like just the ticket.  What I found out, too late, was that it breaks.  And isn't that just a large bummer?  Pieces had been sold and gone out into the world, my fingers were crossed hoping the new owners would be gentle with their new earrings.

Thankfully, it seems they've held up rather well as I just recently received the first pieces for repair - I know it's at least 3 years later, maybe 4.
The trick with pmc and repairs is accurate replication - between my very inexact way of working and the shrinkage factor, it's always a challenge.  With these, I had to make some changes, mainly switching to a sterling snake chain and adding pmc bails at the top of one of the dangles.  They're almost finished, actually the replacement pieces are in the tumbler waiting for me to reassemble them and ship them off.  Here's pre-tumbler:

Which leads me to the next thing.  I spent most of yesterday, while pieces were tumbling, trying to get back to work.  With my pmc tools still strewn about, I started hauling out my bins of components.  I sat there trying different combinations over and over and over and ... well, let me just say nothing was flowing.  Inspiration was painfully absent.  I finally gave up and resorted to surfing the internet ... mindless zoning out.  This morning, I came back to my table and the disarray and, with the added advice from my horoscope:
 Your natural psychic abilities may be short-circuited today, dear Sagittarius. ... Your imaginative faculties could be rather garbled as well. The best possible advice: take the day for yourself ... You can go back to your routine tomorrow.

I've decided to leave it be, at least for today.  So far I've extracted one vehicle encrusted in 8" of snow and sent Dave back to work.  Cleaning up the breakfast dishes then lead to a thorough cleaning of my beloved English tea kettle.  Years ago, when my kettle was sparkling and new (at the time an enormous splurge), I had a British friend comment on it being a "proper kettle" ... that it is.  It's still a bit crusty, but it's back to being shiny.

After this, I will shut down the computer and spend the rest of the day just following my nose, see where my gaze lands.  I'm thinking some more shoveling, clearing off the other vehicle, I'd like to do a bit of writing in my journal, maybe peruse some books from my library and drink lots of tea with water heated in my sparklie proper kettle.

One more thing before I leave.  I've never been one to read poetry.  I love listening to poetry readings, but sitting down and reading always seemed such a strange activity.  I've never understood how you could read one poem after another.  It seems like one poem should be read and then time allowed to savor and reflect before moving on.  I don't know, maybe that's what most people do, just not me.  What I really do love is watching films about writers and poets, listening to the cadence, the vocabulary, watching the hand gestures and body language.  One such film was a Christmas present for the house - the film is The Practice of the Wild, which comes with the book The Etiquette of Freedom.  It's mostly a conversation between Gary Snyder (Dave's favorite poet) and Jim Harrison.  It's absolutely wonderful.  We watched it twice the first night along with all the DVD extras, which are equally terrific and again last night.  Here's the trailer ...

Also, I'm now a big fan of Jim Harrison.  He's an absolute delight in the film and I think the description I read of him being "a force of nature" is dead on. 

So until next time and with deep gratitude, I send warm blessings - kvk

p.s.  I did take a bunch of pictures of all the snow, but figured everyone's got lots of pictures of the snow and there wasn't much I could add that was different or interesting.  But there is this one ... looks like jewelry inspiration to me ...


  1. I was just going to say your snow photo looks like a beautiful necklace in the making.

    I want one : )

    Happy New Year to you Kathy!


    p.s. I do need a piece of your beautiful artwork this year.


  2. Firing sterling with fine silver can make it brittle. I nearly cried when I made a bunch of decorative headpins and I had mixed up my sterling wire with my fine silver wire. Every time I went to bend the wire, it'd snap. (This was all recently sent away to be refined, but STILL!)

    OH! I always love your recommendations for film and books. They are always right up my alley. You might be interested in checking out a book called "Semina Culture: Wallace Berman & His Circle". (Maybe your library can order it, since it's pricey now?) It is a catalogue that goes with a show that appeared at NYU's Gray Gallery back in New York. It seems like all of the creative artists and writers in the Beat Movement were involved and knew each other. I wish that I had gotten a copy when I saw the show. $25 then. $350 now! Wish I knew then too!

  3. Hey Hillary - it's going to be a lovely necklace! I've been working out bits in my head ... keeping my fingers crossed the vision will come to life.

    Oh Andrew, I've had some very painful pmc experiences. The worst was burning up $150 in diamonds before I found out because they're carbon, they start burning like charcoal above 1250. So much more info out there today compared to when I started in 1998, there was virtually nothing. It was all just a grand experiment.

    And thanks for the book idea, I'll track it down for sure! It's like the Calder Jewelry book. I saw the exhibit in FL and didn't want to haul that huge $50 book back on the plane. It's now out of print and $425.


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