The stone I selected for my class project is a Plume Agate. I did not realize how healing the process of setting it into silver metal clay would be. As you know, Prescott had two fires close by this summer – the Doce Fire and the Yarnell Fire. It is not possible to have a fire close to your town without being affected. It is not possible to lose 19 firefighters in one of those fires without being affected. When I selected this stone, I saw plumes of smoke with the sun setting behind them. I saw the burned ground with the lacy texture at the base of the stone. I saw the beauty and the destruction of fire and I knew this was going to be my commemorative piece.
As I sketched the design for the setting, I wanted to emphasize the texture at the bottom of the stone. I wanted to keep the main part of the setting simple so the eye would go to the plumes and I wanted to continue a flame from the front to the back.
The fine lacy texture at the base of the stone continues onto the silver metal clay. The flame starts at the top of the stone, becomes the bale and flows onto the back around the opening or ‘hot spot’ of the fire.
I may never look at a stone cabochon the same way again! Lisa Barth’s class, Setting Stones Elegantly, at Metal Clay on the Bay in San Diego cemented the idea of ‘listening to the stone’ and seeing what it offers before designing the setting.
Analyzing the cabochon’s shape, texture, and color made me aware of the difficulty I would have setting the stone and made me aware of the elements I would need to incorporate into the setting. It gave me the opportunity to tell my story.
I have to say that I don’t usually spend that much time communing with my stone! I also have to say that taking the time to look at my stone and designing the setting for it produced a great piece.