Monday, July 16, 2012

Druzy Stone Hokey Pokey

You put your druzy stone in,
You put your druzy stone out,
You put your druzy stone in,
And you shake it all about,
You do the hokey pokey
and you turn your stone around
That what it's all about.

Bird Song brooch
©2012 Vickie Hallmark
fine silver bird and leaves fused to
Argentium sheet and wire,
hemimorphite druzy and CZ

The Bird Song brooch is finished. Not to say that it turned out well, but it's finished. Multiple mistakes on my part have made it a piece to put into my learning curve pile, not into my jewelry box. 

Elements of this project that I'm proud of:
  1. Design. Clearly, my design skills outweigh my fabrication skills, but the latter will improve.
  2. innovation. Fusing metal clay with Argentium is new territory and I'm blazing the trail for myself, not following an easy path laid by others.
  3. Skills. True, my fabrication skill is less than stellar, but I am improving.
  4. Voice. My work clearly has my personal voice. It doesn't look like anybody else's. I can't blame my errors on any one else.
Bird Song brooch, reverse
©2012 Vickie Hallmark
fine silver bird and leaves fused to
Argentium sheet and wire,
hemimorphite druzy and CZ

Lessons I've learned from this project:

  1. Gold should be added to silver late in the process. Otherwise, there's a distressing tendency to turn gold into silver. Not the desired alchemist direction.
  2. Solder is my friend for fixing errors.
  3. Something will undoubtedly move out of place when the flux bubbles. The more components to check, the more likely I will miss one when warming and nudging.
  4. Even, thorough heating for fusing is easier than it sounds. Any little deviances will result in bits popping off later at inopportune times.
  5. When in doubt, solder it! See #2 and #4.
  6. Surprises happen. Air gets trapped below sweat soldered pieces of fine silver on Argentium, and may expand when reheated later. 
  7. Triangular cabochons are harder to set than round or oval. Duh!
  8. Heavier bezels are a good thing, so that when the bezel gets mutilated by taking the stone in and out multiple times, there's plenty of material for filing and sanding. 
  9. When everything is almost finished, something else will go wrong.
  10. Distraction leads to flaky black patina. Flaky black patina requires major sanding and never seems to patina nicely again.
  11. Druzy stones inevitably invite the hammer handpiece to hit them, typically on the very final stroke.
  12. CZ stones are not invulnerable to heavy sanding and polishing, see #10.
  13. The polisher will inevitably skip off the area to be highlighted and hit the background intended to stay black.
  14. Hemimorphite doesn't like chemicals, which affect both its color and the druzy surface. LOS is a chemical.