Monday, May 7, 2012

Letting go of fear

Sometime early last year, I purchased a tool that I knew would open up many new possibilities in my work. As I usually do, I purchased the best one I could - I really don't like purchasing cheap tools just for learning thinking I'll upgrade once I'm more proficient in using the tools. The whole point of the best tools is actually making your job easier, so why start with something of lesser quality? (if you can afford to, of course)

The tool arrived, I inspected it - and I stashed it away in a box. Until now.
I'm talking about a jeweler's saw. I tend to read a lot and research before going into a new technique, so I had read extensively about how you brake numerous blades as you start, and how it's the sort of technique that you're better off learning formally. In a class. With someone who knows what they're doing.

So it remained stashed away. As I mentioned before, around here, there are no classes, no teachers, no supplies, zero, nada, zilch (is that a word?).

But there comes a day when a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. So I got my beautiful jeweler's saw out (it's red too, one of my faves), and got to it.

Well, I'm happy to report it's been easy peesy... I can even saw round shapes, and turning corners is apparently the most difficult thing to master. Not to yours truly! And not a saw blade was broken. Woohooo!!!

Here's a few things I've made:

Sterling silver strip with riveted copper round, wire wrapped amethyst briolette

A triangular shape sawed from a copper sheet with a riveted flower makes my "Enchanted" piece

The copper heart in my "Home is Where the Heart Is" was also sawn.

And while I was at it, why not teach myself to set a stone with tabs? Well, I learnt that more difficult than sawing is measuring very accurately so your stone fits inside the tabs and all the rivets are where they should be. This was the biggest pain - when I finished, I hadn't left enough space in the top layer around the stone, and it didn't fit inside. So I had to wrestle the tabs back and forth - luckily I didn't break them - until I could finally set the stone.

I find that working with metal takes so much longer than other techniques I tried before - sawing takes time, and then there's all the filing... but I also find it very fullfiling. I like to make each individual component, I like that I can see how much I worked on a piece.

Lately I have been using some handmade beads from other artists in my work, and I love to do that, but I really don't want my work to be just a nice sum, well-put together, of components others have made. I really want to sweat over my pieces. The process is 90% of the fun for me. So I guess I'm in a long term relationship with my jeweler's saw.

Now where did I put the soldering supplies I bought last year?...

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