so there are still furious rages in our daily conversation about how bad the economy has gone and how everyone is struggling real hard to survive on their own feet, and how it has affected every single field, including the fine art jewelry field. however, it has also given jewelry artists a mixed blessing in my opinion. i strongly believe that there is no such thing as “absolute rules” in art making, only guidelines. say, if you don’t put flux on the to-be-soldered surface, well, with some wicked luck it might still flow but chances are, it won’t create a solid bond. those “rules” are probably meant to be followed. that’s the HOW part. it takes years and years of observing, experimenting, practicing, and failing and succeeding by the experts, or regular nerds like me, to figure that part out. that HOW, are my guidelines, and i happily follow. however, why are we supposed to follow the so-called “norm”, or more glamorously phrased “tradition”? who makes it only “right” to make fine jewelry out of high-end material like gold, platinum, or diamonds? don’t get me wrong, i understand how each of those material has its own unique quality, and hence literally precious value. i do not intend to disrespect tradition just to make me sound special. my point is, why bother thinking WHAT is okay to make jewelry out of? the recession serves as a destructive force of creation. it certainly is a mixed blessing. because not that many people, whether they be artists or customers, can afford to buy the expensive material, new and exciting things happen! i’ve seen hundreds-dollar gemstone bezel-set in high carat gold cooperated into plastic bangles, and hand-engraved sterling silver pendant with dangling crystals thrown on rusted raw steel beautifully sealed chain… eggshell finishing, casted silicone, drawings on plywood, dog’s hair, moss, jellybean, bones, teeth… to name a few. when it’s done right, absolutely gorgeous, why not? enough of the thinking for the day, how about some action? here’s my baby-step attempt to show the world how ordinary materials could transform into extraordinary art pieces. how do silver, copper and prisma color sound for a start?
scrap sheet copper i purchased by the pound, raw and beautiful
chopped into small pieces, cleaned and annealed, ready for some pattern
say hi to one of my favorite toys the roller mill, a.k.a. rollertron. u feed him annealed metal, he'll give u magic.
this time i use 100 grit sandpaper, brass wire and copper mesh. they are my paintbrushes.
when i'm happy with the patterns, i trimmed them down and rounded the corners. somebody's wearing these, i would not want to see her/him get hurt would i?
the center punch tool is my pencil. i use it to mark where i wanna drill.
i drill the smaller holes first...
then the medium and the large holes. and i finish them by using a larger size drill bit, cleaning the burs and also creating a beveled edge for the next step.
here comes the tiny teeny sterling silver disc!
doming it with the dapping block
smallest dome i could get
and it's going onto one of the holes on the copper piece
lining the little domes up for a little bit of fire action
pre-melting solder on
after a nice bath...
half of them will be brooches
and the other half will be necklaces after i solder chains on. the bars are for hanging more decorative elements in the very last step!
i then brush on a few thin layers of patina, just to give it even more teeth to hold the pigment i'm gonna add right after.
finally!! prisma color!!! it's a whole lot of coloring and melting wax and waiting...and i lost count on how many layers i have to do to get it built up. but i'd say it's all worth it.
when i'm finally happy with the color, i seal them and add different chains as tentacles. my metal jellyfish are born.
along with the matching brooches, they're now happily waiting for the right person to dance with!! ❤
copper jewelry exist in a lot of culture and it’s not the newest material that people wear, however, it’s not nearly half as popular as silver or other kinds of ‘high end’ material. some think that they’re too soft and not durable, some think that they look too raw and unfinished, and some simply prefer something shinier. i personally love the warm tone and the humble quality that copper brings, and the flexibility it has in cooperating with other material. hopefully this series gives you another impression on “cheap material”, which is not exactly cheap in my defense, and opens up more ideas in your art making too!