I live in a place where I truly experience the four seasons. Winter is cold, usually with snow, Summer is hot and humid, Spring blooms beautiful flowers and Autumn has crisp air, blue skies and glorious sunlight on a paintbox of falling leaves.
I love each season. The older I get, the more I appreciate what each one offers. Accepting what they do bring is easier than missing what they cannot bring.
This has been a beautiful summer. I don't want it to end. And yet, I'm looking forward to the Fall. I'm always more creative in the Fall and more focused.
How about you? How do you feel when summer ends?
Have you ever used a penny machine? That old fashioned, gear driven machine that squashes a coin into an elongated souvenir? If so, you've used a version of a jeweler's rolling mill. A mini rolling mill is the latest addition to my jewelry studio.
The cool thing about making jewelry is that there is always more than one way to perform a task, to get to a similar end result. I've been getting by for several years without a rolling mill, but I finally bought a mini, to make my tasks go a bit quicker. I still intend on saving up for a full size top of the line Durston mill...someday..to make everything even quicker and easier.
Anyway, above are two examples of how I've put an X onto metal. (I use these in my Pirate Tides Jewelry Collection.) The bronze X was created using etching acid. The sterling silver Xs were made with my new Rolling Mill. I used the bronze X that I had etched, and pressed it with annealed silver, so the etching was transferred to the silver. This is how your penny comes out with "Souvenir of ..." on it.
Don't let the image fool you. Even though it's a machine, it is still hand powered. My strength and adjustment of the gears is needed to perform the tasks. This is true with most "machines" in the studio jewelers shop. Come back next Tuesday and I'll tell you about another tool in my studio.
This post is the first in a series, titled Tools Tuesday. On most Tuesdays, I will share some pictures and information on the tools I use to create the jewelry I make for you.
Did you hear the recent story of the old lady in Italy who took it upon herself to redo an ancient Fresco in her local church? It turned out, the job wasn't as easy as she thought it would be!
That happens to me sometimes, although with not quite as drastic results.
I took wax working tools with me on my recent vacation. I hadn't worked with wax for 3 years, actually since I learned how to use it. At school I surprised myself with how quickly I "got it". My teachers were encouraging and I enjoyed the process. In the years that followed, I always thought, I've got to do wax again. It's so easy!
Finally, one day at a peaceful spot at the edge of a clear water lake, I set the wax working tools on a marble slab table and began to carve. I had seen some Byzantine crosses at the Met and was inspired to try making my own version in a wax model (to later be cast in silver). I also started a ring, but knew I wouldn't be able to finish without my electric flexshaft.
At the end of the day, I was hot, tired and covered in tiny flakes of green wax. The cross and ring models were sorry little things. I wasn't disappointed though, because I felt good that I had taken the first step to realize I need time to practice those skills. So, I am closer to creating what I've envisioned. Still, it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be!
How about you? Have you had a recent experience where you found out it wasn't as easy as you thought it would be? Tell me in the comments, I'd love to know.
I just got back from a peaceful week in a beautiful cottage on the shores of a lake in Mid-Coast Maine. It was magical!
I am so refreshed now. While there, I reviewed some of my goals and plans for my business. I'm so happy with the way everything has been going. I have a few ideas for where the art jewelry and the wedding rings are going.
I'm full of energy and ready to get going!
Mary Lu Wason
is a studio jeweler. Here she shares the inspirations, discoveries and process of creating her art jewelry collections.
@PirateTides on Instagram