Greetings, and thanks for visiting my blog! It's been a while, hasn't it? Well, go ahead and get settled on the couch, fix yourself a beverage and a snack, and have a read. I've been up to no good, as per usual. Now, as I'm sure most of you have gathered, I am a trained musical instrument repair technician, in addition to this whole jewelry and art thing. (Yeah, I need to do a blog about my art. I know. One crisis at a time.) The pieces of jewelry I am about to show you came from one of the most startling repairs I ever attempted. I nearly lost a finger, and definitely lost some pride that day. The resulting works, however, were worth it.
Feast your eyes on THIS!
The cabochon and earrings are actually wood from a badly damaged bass clarinet body that I inlaid with variscite that a lovely person from New Mexico sent to me. This whole piece has quite the convoluted story as to how it went from being part of a bass clarinet to being part of a piece of jewelry.
Several years ago, I got a call from a middle school band director in Flower Mound, Texas, telling me that one of her students had gotten angry and snapped a fully assembled Yamaha extended range bass clarinet in half. For those of you keeping score, a Yamaha extended range bass clarinet (aka low C bass) costs about $9000 new and is a sizeable chunk of hardware. She sent me pictures of the damage, and it looked to be something I had the equipment for, so I accepted the repair on the condition that the school district make the family of the student pay for the repair, because, I mean really. Our tax dollars should not have to pay for something some little heathen with anger management issues destroyed.
I received the instrument, and saw that the tenon had been sheared off, so I decided to cut out a new socket on my lathe and insert a tenon to replace the one that was damaged. Easy-peasy. Except it did NOT go according to plan. When I fed the joint into the cutter on my lathe, it got hung up on something, and the resulting force caused the joint to split halfway up the body. Thankfully, Yamaha had an available replacement joint, but I really did think that I was going to lose a finger when that thing popped open. And I was left with the smoking wreckage of the damaged joint. I shoved it into my parts cupboard to bring out as a lesson to children for when they asked what was the worst damage I'd ever seen.
Fast forward a few years to last November, when I was working on a piece that I was really excited about. I had the perfect green Mojave turquoise stone picked out, but alas, the little thing had the colossal effrontery to chip on the side and I couldn't repair it. I got the idea to shape some of the bass clarinet wood into something similar, but it took me forever to cut the chunk that I got, so I abandoned the idea.
Fast forward to this September, when I was at Market Days at Liberty Crossing in Gainesville, Texas. One of the owners of the Buchanan Family Pecan Farm was looking for a particular shade of light green stone for an inlay project she was working on, so I was on the hunt for green stone that was suitable. Along the way, I thought, wouldn't it be fun to try to inlay some crushed stone into that chunk of bass clarinet wood I cut last year, so I did.
Here's how I did it, in pictures:
I then decided to make a multi-strand necklace to go with it. I was going to use onyx beads, but I quickly realized that the necklace would weigh a ton, so I had to order black wood beads instead. It turned out alright. I even made the end caps, which was another first! I made the clasp from fine silver and a ring key from a clarinet. The best part is that the necklace works by itself as well as with the pendant! Unfortunately, I didn't photograph the process of making the end caps (which is for the best, because it was really tedious). Take a look!
This glorious piece (with matching earrings!) is available on my website and on Etsy. It will also appear in person at my upcoming shows, until someone decides to give it a loving home.
Friendswood Art in the Park,, Friendswood, TX. November 16-17
John Paul II High School Christmas Bazaar, Plano, TX. November 23
Friends of the Library Artisan Market, Grapevine, TX December 7-8
(10% of the sales go to the Grapevine Public Library!)
Market Days at Liberty Crossing Holiday Sip-n-Shop, Gainesville, TX December 20-22