Returning to the Studio

It has been about 4 years since I have made any work for sale. I have made a few gifts, and spent time organizing and cleaning, but I have not dedicated time to the studio; there have been other projects and other priorities.

So I am happy to say that I have finished my first piece for sale today, and it has been a journey. Getting back on the horse, so to speak.

The pendant, “Unbroken” is fabricated from sterling silver sheet and incorporates chasing and repousse, with a boulder opal below. The fabrication required multiple soldering steps with holding pieces at funny angles and lots of problem solving.

The first piece I was working on this year I ruined by being over-confidant in my soldering skills that have been hardly used in the last few years. So, solder jumped into the chased background when I over-heated the pieces trying to solder on a backing. I am going to share a photo, so that you can gasp in horror. I may have been a bit grumpy and torched them until they fused, just for spite.

So before I soldered anything on “Unbroken”, I practices a bit and found a jar of iron oxide (yellow ochre) and reminded myself to slow down.

And when I had everything assembled and was ready to set the stone, I dropped my piece of labradorite on the concrete floor of my studio and it broke.

I was rather discouraged because I was really looking forward to finishing this piece. Instead of giving up. I unsoldered the original bezel portion and started looking through my stones to find a replacement for the labradorite.

And then I saw the piece of boulder opal. It was a broken cab that broke while I was setting it. And it was just what I needed.

(Thanks are offered here to Bruce McKay, from whom I took a stone carving class, and which I recommend to any jeweler/metalsmith who works with stones, so that they can fix a stone when needed.)

The shape of the boulder opal is better, I think, than the labradorite that I had planned. And so i named the piece “Unbroken” in an ironic jest.

But the name is fitting. I am unbroken, even after the last four years of seeing our country decline so close to the edge of fascism. The horse it unbroken when it is wild and free. The stone is only broken if it has not been mended.