Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Creating New Work with Old Ideas

This week I wanted to create a signature piece of jewelry, one that would epitomize my work. I've made several small pendants lately, but I decided I needed a necklace composed of multiple links. I pulled out the sketchbook and riffed on lots of recent ideas, including the triangular and cloud shapes of recent brooches. None of them looked right.

Flock necklace sketch
©2012 Vickie Hallmark 
As I chatted online with my friend, Lora Hart, she suggested that I use the pillow shape I mentioned just yesterday in my earring variations. What insight! How obvious in retrospect! That ability to cut right to the heart of the matter is why she's a great mentor (check out her her Mentorial if you need your own pop of insight). I quickly abandoned Skype and sketched a rough idea of the idea.

Flock necklace templates
©2012 Vickie Hallmark 
Then I pulled out the index cards, cutting at least three variations (different colors) until I got the proportion just right. After more than an hour of intense work, I finally moved to metal clay.

Flock necklace, ready for firing
©2012 Vickie Hallmark
sterling silver clay
Twelve hours later (!), I gave up on the idea of stones, since I didn't have what I wanted in the stash, and committed the sterling clay greenware to the kiln in its first, open shelf firing. This morning, I buried it all in carbon and restarted the kiln for sintering. Why didn't I think to build it in fine silver clay, which always fires perfectly?? Please, kiln gods -- fire my sterling clay perfectly!