Greetings, everyone, and thanks for stopping by to check out my blog. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity, what with the holidays and applying for shows and all. Naturally, there's been a lot of crashing and burning being done.
For instance, while my latest show was well run, and the weather was fairly decent for this time of year, and there was a good crowd, and the coordinators and other artists were lovely, I did not sell a single, solitary piece. Not a one. I came to the conclusion that it just wasn't my market and I should aim for more high-end shows. This is all well and good, but when one aims for high-end shows, there is a LOT more competition. Art jewelry is a competitive medium and there are a ton of people who are more experienced and more talented and have more skill than me. So, as a result, I've been rejected from most of the shows I've applied to this time around. I reviewed my rejected applications and could find no rhyme or reason for why they might not appeal to the judges, so I decided I need to up my game and learn some new skills, add texture, and take my work to the next level to make it really stand out.
As you may have noticed from previous blogs, I work with argentium from time to time. Argentium is an alloy of silver similar to sterling, but it has germanium added to the mix. This addition not only helps keep the silver from tarnishing for a longer period of time than either sterling or fine silver, but it also gives the silver the wonderful capability of easily fusing. This way, you don't have to use solder, which takes a few steps away from the process, and you can do some neat things with it. The problem is that argentium is tricky to work with. If you handle it right after fusing, the metal can actually shatter! (I saw this for myself at the Vickie Hallmark workshop I attended back in September.) You also have to get the heat just right or the argentium won't fuse. Since I was confident from my workshop, I decided I'd tackle a more ambitious project than simple stone settings and do some layers to create more texture and visual interest. The slide show below shows the unfortunate results.
Alas, my poor piece! Doomed by my own ignorance! I declared it abandoned and went to drown my sorrows in hot chocolate. After mulling it over, I didn't want to waste the back plate, which had some visual interest, even if it wasn't close to being perfect, so I decided to mess around and see what I could do with it before I consigned it to the scrap pile. Here is the result:
I sawed around the scrollwork on the back of the base plate, then threw it in my new tumbler (that's going to have to be a story for another day, because I destroyed a tumbler, too). Then I added black onyx and dyed magnesite beads to complete the bracelet. Finally, to make the scrollwork stand out, I took a teeny tiny paintbrush and painted in some patina solution to darken the empty spaces. I think I may go back in tomorrow to darken them more, but you get the general idea. So, I managed to save some of the proof-of-concept piece, but I think if I'm going to do any more elaborate argentium projects, I'm going to have to do it under adult supervision. I am very glad that the Craft Guild of Dallas is moving to their new facility in January so I can start up classes again! I have a lot more I want to share, but it's getting late, and Mr. Karlsson and the kitties are demanding my attention, so it will just have to wait for another day along with everything else. Tune in next time!