Monday, May 28, 2012

The sorry story of the amethyst - and why I had to dump her.

Terrible things have been happening in the studio. Things that had me thinking I should give up, walk out, and never go back.

I can't tell you what happened. It's a mystery even to me. Yes, I have my suspicions but until I am a more experienced jewelry maker I will have to wait to confirm them.

I'll tell you this for nothing ... I wont be buying any more amethyst for a while.

I didn't like the stone to begin with. It was too big, too uneven, and it had a scratch on the front, (yes, a scratch), a clue to the outcome right there ... but, I had promised it to a friend for her birthday. (Another clue, never promise anything ...).

I suppose really this should be a story about going with your gut and stop being so stubborn, but I'm still too annoyed with the whole thing to admit it.

Long story short. I soldered that @^&@$* piece probably eleven times. I knew it wasn't going to fuse, each and every time I did it. So, why, for the love of God people, did I continue, time and time and time again! We might never know.

I finally abandoned the piece, but not the stone. No, I took out some more silver and started again, determined to make this pendant work, because now it was a fight to the end.

This is when I fell into despair. 

Remarkably, however, even then I continued. I even took it to an international level, calling my dad in England for advice and to vent my theories. Dad's not a jeweler but even that didn't deter me from my crazed path for answers.

The madness continued. I went to my daughter's graduation thinking the break would be the answer. I would come back refreshed and with new skills that would enable me to finish the task.


I did finally finish the piece, by which time I hated it. It's big. It's ugly, I had to put prongs over the scratches. It's used up more silver than I care to admit. But! I won! (I think.)

My friend wont be getting it for her birthday.
In fact, I am going to take it to pieces and reclaim the silver the first chance I get - that will teach it to mess with me ...

As for my friend, I bought another stone. Purple because that's her favourite colour. Sugilite - because amethyst is now banned from my studio.

I hope she likes it because it's the last birthday present she'll be getting ... joking jules :)

I read on a jeweler's blog once (wish I could find it) that when she had fought with a piece and finally ruined it, her husband told her that she should then, not only make it again, but make it twice. I kind of like that, it fits right in with my stubborn streak. I'm not quite fully recovered to fight with the amethyst again, just yet, but, here are a few other pieces that I managed after got back on the bike, so to speak.

Take that amethyst! Mwaahaahaa ...

Friday, May 25, 2012

where i've been

This is my baby (second from left), newly graduated from university :)
Man how the time has flown. I remember when she was just 18 months old, like it was yesterday. Bouncing around on the bed, laughing and playing with us until she suddenly bounced right off. Same as when she swung right out of her baby swing. Nothing like hearing the rhythmic swaying of the swing suddenly take on a totally different sound when the weight of your child exits from it. Yes, it's all fun and games until someone crashes to the floor. 

Surprising that she made it through college really.

friday notes:
still in a slump. a bit exhausted i think from all the turmoil. kids coming home for summer, the eight hour car ride to the graduation ... and back again. the fact that the a/c in the graduation girl's apartment had not been working for days and days and days and she didn't mention this and we just melted away into big blobs because somebody (me) forgot to book a room at a hotel in time before every mother and her family came to watch their child graduate. etc. etc. but all is good.
except i'm having a really hard time with the jewelry at the moment. it's like, suddenly, all i touch goes wrong. but i will not give in. i will never surrender! (that was in my best winston churchill voice). anyway, i can't give up as i've just had a large delivery of silver turn up, and have ordered some more cabochons. 

oh well. i'm nothing if not persistent ...

love you becky. rock on.

Friday, May 11, 2012

jewelry versus painting versus the sofa

Better day today.

I did get off the sofa yesterday and go into the studio. I decided on jewelry and tidied my table.

I know the corner doesn't look that tidy, but, believe me, it is.
So this made me feel good. I felt really accomplished before I even started anything. I was good to go. But then, everything I touched went wrong.
Yep, everything. No exaggeration. 
I must have attempted to solder one thing, three times, another twice. Nothing took. I don't know what I was doing wrong. The silver was clean, it was all flush, but just wouldn't solder. I'm wondering if the solder I was using was old, (can it be old?)I know I cleaned that also. Maybe it wasn't solder. But it was in my solder area. I don't know.
So, I gave up, no point going on down a soul destroying path, and thought, I know, I'll paint.
Man! Wrong move.
I spent the rest of the day painting only to scrub it all off in the end. I guess when you have a bad day nothing is going to change it.

Should have stayed on the sofa.

Needless to say I hesitated going into the studio today. 
I steered clear of the jewelry table as, I must admit, I couldn't face another day messing it all up. But, I did paint, and it was o.k. At least I enjoyed it.

Funny thing is, at the end of the day, I realised that I'd been painting it upside down. O.K. so I'm not really sure but I think perhaps it looks better this way up.

friday notes:
willow had an eye appointment today. here she is in the waiting room.

we're seriously thinking about getting her some doggy prozac as she is a nervous wreck when we take her anywhere.
her eye is good and she doesn't have to go back for six months.
if you remember, here she is with her special collar on.

looking rather pitiful.

poor willow.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

cats, dogs, tennis balls and joshua ledet

So far today is a sofa day.
Hopefully I'll be able to get off it at some point but I'm not holding my breath.
Every so often I have a slump, and, 'go into one', as it's known as in England.

Don't really know why. 
Perhaps I'm just tired, but I feel a bit low and useless.

You know. One of those low and useless days :)

I've got paintings waiting to be painted. Stones waiting to be set. Quilt designs waiting to be designed. Even pots waiting to be ... well, you get the idea. But I can't be bothered to even think about them. 

I think one of the problems is I have all this stuff that I love to do but can't get over the hurdle of what to do with it all once it's done. Doesn't seem like a big deal but the idea of thinking about prices, approaching shops or galleries etc. is kind of freaky for me. 

But, I'm not going to dwell on it. (Well, I am, but I'm going to pretend I'm not). I'm going to sit here with my tea and Willow and worry about the next step when the tea's gone.

Willow is a tennis ball collector extraordinaire.

We have never bought her a tennis ball but she has 10 of them squirreled away. That's not including the ones outside in the garden. She collects them on her walks. We think the balls from the tennis court get lost and make their way down the stream where she takes her walks. Or runs, if truth be told. (We don't think she knows how to walk). She bounds through the stream (I call it a stream here, for aesthetic imagery, but it's actually a ditch), and picks up anything she can find just so she's doing the retrieving bit that spaniels do so well. Yes, she is a repressed bird dog. Poor Willow but yeah for the birds.

Spencer is here with me also. But then Spencer is always with me when I sit on the sofa. 

Spencer sits right next to be. Wally sits on my lap and Pickles on the arm of the sofa, right next to me. It's like I have a protective circle of cats around me. Sometimes it get a bit much and I have to have a word with them ... doesn't work. It's like they don't even know what I'm talking about. Got to love them though.

thursday notes:
don't have any because i'm feeling too low and useless.

except, someone explain to me why this boy is even in this competition ...

Saturday, May 5, 2012

how to recover from a mild mishap - or, help, my turquoise is on fire ...

So, here's the thing. I'm not good at being told what I can't do. If someone says I can't do something, it kind of plays on my mind, like, why can't I? - until I do it.

I like to make my own way. You can tell me, but, I'm going to do it my way anyway, even though I know that I'm probably going to mess up.

Well, I've done this before, and muddled through fine, but today ... today was a different story.

Here's a necklace I made yesterday.

I was fairly pleased with it as I had made all of those little bezels, but, deep down I knew it wasn't going to lay properly on the neck.
It bugged me but I finished it anyway by putting a chain on it. Then I tried it on, and, sure enough, the little bezels kept turning and twisting and refused to play nicely with the rest of the necklace. Sooooooo, I thought, perhaps if the links were soldered. But, I also thought, I've already set the turquoise and you can't solder after you've set the stones ... 

So, you see, this is where it all started to go wrong.

As I said, I've done this before and I have been lucky enough to succeed, (really lucky) but, today this is what happened.

(All you jewelry makers out there, close your eyes at this bit, it's not a pretty sight.)

To be fair, it was quite spectacular as there was real fire and everything. Who knew the thing would actually catch fire! I expected, if all went wrong, that it might scorch, but not real flames. I had to blow it out.

As you can see, I started to take the bottom turquoise out of the bezel. And, it would have come, but then I thought, oh, to @^^&$ with it, and I changed the necklace up to this.

It's not really what I wanted but at least it lays properly :) and there's always another day to try again.

And now really close your eyes ... I decided that I would still use my burnt turquoise.

Really?!!! you ask.

Yes, really.

So now I have this.

And, this. 

I don't know, maybe I'll keep them, maybe I wont, but I still had a good day in the studio :)

saturday notes:
i have tomatoes on the tomato plants! And, peppers on the pepper plants! One day there wasn't any, the next day, loads ... exciting.
we've just finished watching yet another, (how many can there be?) zombie movie on the t.v. this time set in london. we were laughing as they were definitely ninja zombies. one minute they weren't there, the next minute they were everywhere. a bit like the tomatoes really. stealth zombies, only they made too much noise - screaming and stuff.
now, the return of a man named horse is on. ripped nipples an' all. and a man has just cut his eyes open. good grief why!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

funky turquoise

This is a little funky. It reminds me a little of co-joined twins. In a bit of a creepy way. Or two turquoise stones trying to get away from each other. Perhaps that's a better way to describe it. See the little prongs pushing each other away in the face. Aggressive turquoise, now that's a thought.

But I'm interested in where this design style might go.

There's something about it that I really like yet feel that any jewelry maker out there will be thinking. OMG what on earth did she think she was doing there! I don't usually colour outside the lines, but, you know, I think I might just start doing that a lot more.

thursday notes:
feeling a little nervous for the guardian angel.

i've even begun to feel sorry for him being out there all alone at night. He's in the creepy end of the garden. He looks so forlorn, in that - yoohoo, it's me, over here, hello, couldn't you at least set me straight?! - kind of way.
Maybe I should hire a little helper to keep him company ...

oh, and by the way.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

paintings, guardian angels and the evil cat.

This is still on my table.

I worked on it some more yesterday and changed the sky to red. I like the red but think I prefer the original colour now that I'm looking at the photograph.

I just don't know if I like it. It seems so boring and childish. 
I like the instagram photo of it though :)I'm thinking that perhaps instagram makes everything look better.

So I got disheartened with this one and went back to this one.

I like the sky and the church seems to be coming along. But I'm just not happy with anything at the moment.
I'm going back in there today. I'm determined to persevere with it.

tuesday notes:
time for another hair cut but i just can't be bothered with it. got to get out of the funk.
i put a guardian angel by the tomatoes. they don't seem to need it as they are doing so well, but, just in case.

actually in this shot he is standing more by the jalapenos. the tomatoes are in the back.
he looks really worried, like - please, no, don't leave me here, what if something happens, - kind of thing. but, you know, someone has to do the job. i'll pay him extra.

and i will leave you with another wally pic as i love him so much ... :)

i know he looks evil here but that's just because he is a little evil. maybe that's why i like him so much. 
i have to say he's my favourite. don't tell spencer and pickles ...