Last week, during Brooch a Day, I decided to play with layers and dimension. I like the way some vintage pins are constructed by setting stones in each layer and then cold connecting them all together. (Cold connection means that no heat is used to join the metals, which is a good thing if you want to set stones before connecting. Most stones, except diamonds, can't handle too much heat.)
I used the scrap metal that was on my bench and cold connected the layers.
I annealed the metal to soften it and then formed it a bit, to experiment with depth.
I realized one reason that flowers are a popular motif for brooches. The layered petals in nature can be reproduced with layers of metal. I rarely show flowers in my work, but I decided to cut the metal like flowers, just this once.
Since a cold connection can be any material, I went with simple suede cord instead of metal, to flaunt that option.
I'm enjoying the every day challenge as I take steps each day to play with a process, technique or design.
Sometimes, when I'm making orders I work on something just for fun during the minutes while I'm waiting for a piece to cool, or soak or ..well..whatever.
So, this is the latest "fun" piece I just finished yesterday.
The two strips of blue enamel hold a secret inside. Look in this picture and you will see the top two strips are etched with the words DISCOVER and JOURNEY. I love those two words. Life is a journey and every journey is the opportunity to discover. Wear these earrings and you'll be ready for the journey, ready to discover your one of a kind life.
I covered the words with several layers of Prussian Blue enamel. It's so rich and deep, like a night sky or the Atlantic waters. The natural shells have a mystical swirl pattern. They dangle from sterling silver posts that I made by hammering for texture. I couldn't resist engraving a little star to top it off.
These are long statement earrings. They measure 3 inches long!
I think they would be a perfect birthday or graduation gift.
I put them on the Etsy store this morning. I'm not sure if I'll make anymore. What do you think? Should I add them to the Metal Sky Collection? Or maybe they fit into Pirate Tides? I'd love to know what you think.
My idea of the perfect day goes like this. I take a walk on the beach in the morning. I find some little treasure that has it's own story. I bring it home to my studio. I create a new piece of work, using this object. I take a picture and share it with my friends online.
I love reading about local history of my area. Henry Hudson came here, to Sandy Hook, NJ in 1609. In the ships log is this observation about the Lenape Native Americans.
"This day many of the people came aboard, some in mantles of feathers, and some in skins of diverse sorts of good furs. Some women also came to us with hemp. They had red copper tobacco pipes, and other things of copper they did wear about their necks."
When I find shells on the beach, I just want to wear them. I think it's an ancient instinct within all of us. Here is a shell I found on Sandy Hook, made into a simple pendant of pure copper, to wear about your neck.
This pendant is available for purchase on my website in the Beach Walk Treasures Collection.
On most mornings, I take a walk on the beach. I pick up treasures as I find them. Shells with nature made holes are great finds. Purple bits of clam shells, that I call wampum are also special.
I couldn't create a collection of these in one day. I just add to it, little by little.
That's how it is creating a jewelry collection, too. A little at a time, piece by piece.
Here, I've begun to create a ship's wheel in brass. I'm going to carve it from the thick metal. First I draw a sketch, then transfer that to tracing paper.
It would be easier, of course, to use a charm from a commercial jewelry suppply house. Many jewelers do that. But that has no appeal to me. If I put my name on it, I want it to be from my own hands.
It takes longer, this way. I work on a new piece a little bit, day by day. Eventually, I'll have a collection.
Many of my pieces begin with a walk on the beach. Here's a view of what I focus on. Can you guess which shell will become the next piece of jewelry?
I empty my pockets onto the jeweler bench. Just a few treasures today.
From Shell to Jewel
The chosen one. Wrapped in silver. Now I need to file the silver closer to the uneven height of the shell.The transformation has begun.
Mary Lu Wason
is a studio jeweler. Here she shares the inspirations, discoveries and process of creating her art jewelry collections.
@PirateTides on Instagram