effort less

Melissa is slapped down by the soldering gods. Licking her wounds, she strategizes how she might improve her performance tomorrow.

I had a day of mixed success in the studio yesterday. I was re-blasting a piece that I had attempted to colour with the microtorch last week, which hadn’t worked out. Blasting and refinishing all went fine, with the colouring that I decided upon working a treat. Re-stringing was easy too; I had decided to omit a piece of the puzzle, the effect of which changed/improved the whole look of the pendant. It was going great, until I had to solder. Four simple ends should be easy-peasy; it’s something that I have to do on practically every piece. I’m looking right now at a brooch I wore recently, and it has eight of these solder points, which is about average.

Yesterday though? Could. Not. Do.

I had many attempts, with the ends of the cable getting shorter and shorter each time (you just can’t make silver solder stick to carbon-blackened stainless steel). In the end I had to walk away, three out of four points completed.

As my littlest sister would say: “Fail. Epic fail.” (The rest of my sisters would quote John Lennon in the Beatles movie Help and say “Jeweller, you’ve failed!“)

Today I’m in hiding from the studio, doing paperwork. Cowed?… yes. Attempting to regroup for more action tomorrow? Certainly.

self sourcing

Melissa buys titanium, and calls it a successful day. Lazy? No, not exactly… Relaxed? Maybe…

So what am I doing with that drawing, you may well ask? It’s currently in the inbox of the laser-cutter, patiently awaiting the arrival of the metal through which it is to be sliced. The titanium was purchased earlier today and is currently racing by courier to catch up with the drawings. (And what of the stainless steel? Well, it enjoys a more relaxed existence at this stage… I can only assume that it is idling in a rack at the laser-cutters.)

Need titanium? I did. So I went to see Commodity Marketing and got myself a sheet of 1mm, and a 914mm length of 1.2mm wire. The sheet was grade 1, though I forgot to ask about the wire. But wait! There is tube! Though the smallest diameter that they hold stock of was about 20mm. (I would have liked some 1mm…) When speaking with the rep he acknowledged that many jewellers would like for him to stock more tube, but apparently we don’t order enough.

I saw that he had small-ish packets of the 1.2mm dia wire, and assume that the tube would be sold the same, say 50 or 100 per packet. It would be interesting to see how many are in a packet, and how many jewellers are interested in sourcing such titanium in Melbourne…

drawing is oooo-ver!

Melissa talks camera, and lights, aaaand action!

So today it’s back to… photography. There will be studio time later today, (HOORAY!) but for the moment, I’m working on shooting straight.

I have a Leica D-Lux 4 which takes a pretty good shot. I know very little about cameras, but I have several friends with Leica’s, (and one with the cheaper but identical Panasonic Lumix LX3, you know who you are!) and generally, they rave about them. I try not to, but hey, here I am now…

Having said that, I’ve had this Leica with and without a lighting setup. I have to say, the lights are probably more important than the camera. I didn’t realise back in Perth (given the unmatchable access to powerful natural light year-round) how important lighting is, so I struggled in Melbourne for a while with my previous (but still not too bad) camera.

Now I have the camera, and the modest light setup, and I can shoot this;

and turn it into this!

(hopefully there’s detectable improvement)

way down in the hole

Melissa whines about adding centre points to 1500, 0.5mm diameter holes. No sympathy please, it was her idea in the first place.

There are over 1500 holes in my latest pattern. Having drawn them all, I now have to go back and add a centre point to each of them for laser cutting. Lucky I drew them all on their own layer, or might never have found them all.

(drawing not to scale…)

questions questions…

Melissa has cause to pause and question. The question is an image; the answer… who knows?

Today an image I produced to ask a question of my laser cutter. To save costs*, I’m putting in the tabs and lead-in’s for my latest drawing.** Not all holes are drawn equal, and this one in particular is hard to define as it’s not a stand-alone void. The question is, “does this hole need a tab?”

Well? Does it?

* it’s a boring job, so if the client volunteers, why not let her do it…

**Didn’t I say it was going to sort the women from the gels?

distribution

Melissa does the jewellery version of housework. Getting organised in autumn? Man, it’s like it was spring!

Today was a ‘jump outta bed’ kind of day. But oh, what to do with the sudden burst of energy? After writing a list of what I’m meant to get done in the next couple of months, I sorted into physical piles what pieces are going where. Then I stored each collection with a big yellow label attached for easy identification.

After this, it turns out there’s a small pile of pieces left over. Time to do something about it!

more of you know who…

Melissa is interviewed by Steph. A lovely time was had by all 😀

I have some new work in e.g.etal. It is much of the the work from the Return show – like the Random Strung Planes above, just without the hand-cut pieces (they are awaiting another engagement). To coincide with the new works appearing in-store, I have been interviewed by the lovely Stephanie, and photographed too. I now appear on their blog.

It was my first time being interviewed, (I’ve spent hours on the other side of the digital recorder, and the transcribing bit really hurts) but I think it went ok. I do look like a dork in the sandblaster photo, but hey, if that’s the worst of it…

black and night

Melissa did a workshop with Bettina Speckner in 2009. She shares now? Ulterior motive afoot? Read on…

from the Bettina Speckner workshop I did last year.

The centre work alters recycled objects, while the other two work with large black beads which I took from my small collection of large beads (I had three in black, three in red and three in white, all acquired in Albany, WA, while I was on assignment down there for a few days, years ago.) These were bought specifically to wear to a 20’s theme party held by my littlest sister.

The necklace recycled an umbrella handle (from an umbrella I ‘borrowed’ from my mum/dad, and which later collapsed in a Melbourne storm – hey, it was originally from London, so don’t talk to me about a Perth umbrella not living up to a Melbourne shower…) and an electrical power cord. I sliced everything (yup, one trick pony…) and then reconstructed the parts.

I flippantly dismiss my slicing as my ‘one trick’, but in this case I was looking at my practice from a different angle, and created some particularly self-reflecting work. For whatever reason, I ended up working in reverse. I usually design a bunch of shapes, and then slice them. For this I sliced a bunch of objects, and then designed with them.

I was reminded of this project this morning, when I opened a parcel from Jasmine Matus for the Box Project. It’s going to be an interesting experiment, whichever way I slice it.