Creating the findings series
Creating a new series of work is always a vulnerable and exciting time for an artist. I find myself restless with anticipation before a new large body of work is produced. Sometimes so I might not be acting in the most proper of southern ways. (frustration for lack of time to make gets me crangry- which is my word for creative angry) I honestly can't even begin a new body of work until I have done several things. The list looks a little like this:
think on it...like all the time. while running, trying to sleep, trying to do other things. like over think it
sketch it out in my jewelry sketchbook. add notes for ideas. look on pinterest a little to be sure there's nothing else quite like it. I want to be creating work that's authentic.
gather supplies. sometimes this is the most tedious part. trying to locate all my tools, pieces and parts. it's also the most expensive part of the process.
clean the house and studio work spaces. I kinda create all over the house so I like to start with everything clean, even the toilets.
begin. the findings series is very very labor intensive. but very rewarding.
So I thought I'd share a bit about my process. It's fairly lengthy but I have a routine down to make my time most efficient.
It starts with my new glass cutting system called the Beetle Bit System pictured above. (here's a link to what I bought. Although true disclaimer, I don't use it quite like I should and probably could have just purchased the white grids and used a ruler.)
Each pendant is carefully cut to fit the finding. Some look better in ovals, others square or rectangle. Oval is the most difficult. But since it's handmade I really don't worry so much about the wonkiness in it. I work on this under the carport on a table outside. The grinder is very messy.
After the glass is cut and cleaned squeaky clean, I clamp them and place in an ice cube tray to be copper foil taped.
Once I have a nice number ready I foil the pieces carefully. This is an IMPORTANT step. Bad foil= bad soldering. Lesson learned. It sucks to have to re-foil a previous soldered piece. I foil while watching TV usually. It's an easy job just tedious.
Then the soldering happens. Which is another set up. I have a teensy studio in the carport which is set up for jewelry making. The stinky fuming stuff happens in here not the house. I have a great filter system that removes the yucky smoke soldering produces (Hakko-400 link here). Lawrence likes to hang in my lap, Chase on the floor. Although I think Chase would like to sit in my lap. hehe..
After this, the flux has to be removed with rubbing alcohol, which during a pandemic was very difficult to locate. My sweet hubby is always looking out for me and found it at the gas station of all places. See below the yucky goo around the perimeter. That's flux and that has to be removed before you can darken.
After this step I then darken the shiny silver. I don't have to do this step, but aesthetically I like it not shiny. Then that step has to be buffed with steel wool (this is by far my least favorite step. It makes my fingers all torn up. And yes, I know I can use a glove but I feel more connected with naked hands.)
Then the putting all the pieces together happens. This time I have opted for simple chain and have created layering pieces you can purchase to add depth. I also am making available different chain lengths because the jump ring I attached is sorta BIG. (oopsy) But that makes it easy to switch to a different necklace. I personally wish the solid round chains would come back that you could add a slide pendant onto. Those would be perfectly suited for my heavy pendants.
Anyhoo...I share all this with you so you have a better understanding of the prices on these lovely pendants.. Some people don't really get the effort that goes into creating a body of work. Of course there are expenses...although my findings were technically free, the parts and equipment weren't. Labor is something that as an artist I struggle placing a value on. Do I charge hourly and divide that out? Do I price based on size? I mean honestly a small piece took as long as a big one. But doesn't a large piece signify more value? I do look at my market and think about my person...I want people to be able to afford the pieces and still honor my time and talents. It's a balancing act for sure.
After Artwalk Friday I hope to get the pieces listed into my website. So be sure to follow up on that next week!