Friday, April 29, 2016

My Happy Dance - The Finished Piece



I'm doing the Happy Dance!  It's what happens when a completed project looks like the picture in my head!  
As a designer (interior designer or jewelry designer) I generally have a picture in my head that needs to be translated to paper.  It could take the form of a floor plan, a sketch, a collage of ideas.  Once it gets onto paper then the 'how to make it happen' stage takes over and eventually the pieces come together.  Once the project is complete there is  that moment of fear and of anticipation,  The question, "Did I get it right?  Does it work?"That question is always right there no matter how much research, knowledge and talent has gone into the project.  Almost always the completed outcome is within the realm of acceptability. Sometimes I get to do the Happy Dance because it is so close to that picture in my head.

Today's post is about sharing the process and the joy in the finished piece with you.

My dad was a lapidarist by hobby and one of the stones he cut and polished was an oval opal.  I love seeing the fire in this white opal and picked it up often just to look at it and to think about how I could set it.  I did this for several years.  Finally the time had come to design a setting.  My sketchpad started to fill with ideas -some good and lots not!  

a variety of designs

After selecting the one I wanted to use, I started collecting the pearls and the wire.  Lots of thought went into the way to fasten the wires and how to design the bail and what textures to use.  I started making the silver clay backing and embedding the bezel.  Making the bezel the correct size for the stone is always the most challenging part for me.  It has to be just a little bigger than the circumference of the stone because there is some shrinking of the clay.  If it is too big the stone will fall out and if it is too small I have to find another smaller stone!  The bezel wire is embedded about half way into the clay - too far and you will see it or holes on the back of the piece and not far enough it will not be secure.  This time the bezel gods were with me!

Bezel wire embedded in the backing

Back of setting with design 

Next step was to make the cones and loops to hold the silver wires and to make the bail.

pieces to be applied
Once all the pieces were dried and sanded, I attached everything and drilled a hole to allow the wires to come from the back (looking like the cone was holding them).
To make sure the stone would fit after firing I placed fiber paper where the stone would lay and then filled the area with Satin Cast (a type of plaster). That's the white material you see in the oval.


Ready to put in the kiln

After the piece is fired, the Satin Cast is removed and I check to see if the stone will fit.  That's the beginning of my Happy Dance!  Sanding and polishing take a little time but must be done at this point.

Eight 24 gauge wires were cut and torched to form a single ball, cleaned and placed in the hole so the ball is on the back of the pendant.  The wires are twisted a little and placed through the loop at the top and side.  I decide how long I want the wires and where the tiny pearls will be placed.  The pearls are secured, a chain added and it's complete!

I may continue my Happy Dance for days!  I hope you enjoyed the journey and the finished necklace and are dancing with me.



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Friday, April 29, 2016

My Happy Dance - The Finished Piece



I'm doing the Happy Dance!  It's what happens when a completed project looks like the picture in my head!  
As a designer (interior designer or jewelry designer) I generally have a picture in my head that needs to be translated to paper.  It could take the form of a floor plan, a sketch, a collage of ideas.  Once it gets onto paper then the 'how to make it happen' stage takes over and eventually the pieces come together.  Once the project is complete there is  that moment of fear and of anticipation,  The question, "Did I get it right?  Does it work?"That question is always right there no matter how much research, knowledge and talent has gone into the project.  Almost always the completed outcome is within the realm of acceptability. Sometimes I get to do the Happy Dance because it is so close to that picture in my head.

Today's post is about sharing the process and the joy in the finished piece with you.

My dad was a lapidarist by hobby and one of the stones he cut and polished was an oval opal.  I love seeing the fire in this white opal and picked it up often just to look at it and to think about how I could set it.  I did this for several years.  Finally the time had come to design a setting.  My sketchpad started to fill with ideas -some good and lots not!  

a variety of designs

After selecting the one I wanted to use, I started collecting the pearls and the wire.  Lots of thought went into the way to fasten the wires and how to design the bail and what textures to use.  I started making the silver clay backing and embedding the bezel.  Making the bezel the correct size for the stone is always the most challenging part for me.  It has to be just a little bigger than the circumference of the stone because there is some shrinking of the clay.  If it is too big the stone will fall out and if it is too small I have to find another smaller stone!  The bezel wire is embedded about half way into the clay - too far and you will see it or holes on the back of the piece and not far enough it will not be secure.  This time the bezel gods were with me!

Bezel wire embedded in the backing

Back of setting with design 

Next step was to make the cones and loops to hold the silver wires and to make the bail.

pieces to be applied
Once all the pieces were dried and sanded, I attached everything and drilled a hole to allow the wires to come from the back (looking like the cone was holding them).
To make sure the stone would fit after firing I placed fiber paper where the stone would lay and then filled the area with Satin Cast (a type of plaster). That's the white material you see in the oval.


Ready to put in the kiln

After the piece is fired, the Satin Cast is removed and I check to see if the stone will fit.  That's the beginning of my Happy Dance!  Sanding and polishing take a little time but must be done at this point.

Eight 24 gauge wires were cut and torched to form a single ball, cleaned and placed in the hole so the ball is on the back of the pendant.  The wires are twisted a little and placed through the loop at the top and side.  I decide how long I want the wires and where the tiny pearls will be placed.  The pearls are secured, a chain added and it's complete!

I may continue my Happy Dance for days!  I hope you enjoyed the journey and the finished necklace and are dancing with me.



No comments:

Post a Comment