Monday, June 28, 2010

Sketchbook Diving

Now that my deadline is past, I'm looking for a new project to inspire me after a few days of loafing. Of course, the first place to look is my sketchbooks. It's rather distressing how wonderful ideas get recorded, with much excitement, only to fade into the background as the realities of more pressing obligations elbow in. So it's good to have them on paper, where they can't fade completely from existence. At moments like these, there they are, ready for reincarnation.

The project that caught my fancy of the moment is a very simple bracelet. A nice simple project is perfect after the complexities of an advanced level Master Muse project.

I chose this idea because it involves bronze, and other than the two-day workshop with Hadar, I have avoided bronze for almost a year. For various reasons, including the plethora of formulations bursting onto the market, the frustrations of many artists over unfavorable results, and the dislike I have for wearing protective gear to work, I have put it away until someday. Someday finally arrived, so I donned the Gloves in a Bottle to prevent my hands from turning green and my skin from potentially absorbing toxic copper. I also used a N95 particulate dust mask to protect my lungs when sanding or filing, which I tend to avoid as much as possible. Past experiences with bronze clay have convinced me that my mostly quiescent asthma may flare in response to exposure to bronze dust. I wear protective gear for silver, too, in some circumstances, but the known high toxicity of copper worries me more.

The very simple shapes of this bracelet were accomplished with smooth, thin sheets of clay laid over polymer clay molds of the leaf and flower shapes. It seems almost too restrained, but I need to see what it looks like linked together, I guess. It's also a retry at working thin with bronze, which failed for me previously.

Kiln loading time coming up, so we'll see if three cards thick is too thin. You might notice I had to add another leaf, needing more length to account for shrinkage. Assuming survival through the kiln, these links will be joined with torch-beaded wires, and I'll get to work out the details of the hidden clasp I'm designing.

I also quick carved another bird ring, trying to get the mojo back.