Friday, June 8, 2012

Sirens of the Sea

When I recently cut up a vintage platter to make bookmarks, I saved the pieces of the rim, knowing that I would find some future use for them. 
Part of the rim made me think of waves which got the ideas churning in my mind.
I knew that I wanted to make a piece featuring one of the photos of my Mom and her friends at the Jersey shore.
When she was young, my Mom was a member of an accomplished water ballet team.
The team traveled around the country competing and performing at various venues.
When back in New Jersey frequenting the beaches, they liked to pose for pictures.
I love the photos that have a choreographed look, but my favorite is one of my Mom (in the center) and two friends standing on the rocks of a jetty with waves crashing behind them.
I've always liked the ethereal, dreamy quality of this image.
I reduced scanned images so that they would fit into a 1" diameter brass bezel and printed them out onto regular paper. 
I decided to layer the brass bezel with another piece of metal to get the substance I wanted, and pulled out some of the scrap metal left over from my vintage platter bookmarks.
My idea was to make the base look like a splash, and I sketched out ideas to scale until I had a shape that I liked.  With rubber cement, I glued a copy of the splash onto my metal and cut out the shape with a jeweler's saw.
Because the splash is made of plated metal, I needed to use cold connections.  My rivets serve a double purpose- connecting the bezel to the front of the splash and a bar pin to the back.
The rivets did present a bit of a problem.
I had planned to lay my photo directly into the bezel, but the rivets created an uneven surface.  My solution was to cut a 1" diameter circle of  thin sheet metal to which I glued my photo before setting it in the bezel. 
With the image of a small propeller plane trailing an advertising banner (always present on a summer day at the Jersey shore) in mind, I cut out a piece of 18 gauge brass for my stamped message.
A length of 'waves' from the platter was cut, filed and sanded to hang below the banner.
I joined the 3 sections of the pin with sterling jump rings because I wanted both the banner and the waves to have movement.
So....I did have a bit of a problem with the banner.
This is what happens when your drill bit snaps off while you're in the middle of drilling (always a bit startling).
I was drilling the hole above the 'y' when the bit snapped, and of course it snapped right at the surface of the brass, leaving me with nothing to grab hold of with my pliers.
I tried smashing it through with my center luck.
I tried drilling it out with a new drill bit of the same luck.  That only ruined another drill bit.
I ended up using a larger drill bit after more smashing with my center punch.
I did get through, but only after ruining my stamped 'y'.
This pin is a keeper for me, so I don't will help to remind me of how to do a better job the next time.


  1. Your jewelry is really amazing the way you put it together! It is always fun to look at your blog and see what you are up to!

  2. Thanks Annika. So nice to hear from you!!