Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Etched Metal Put to Use

I have been forcing myself to use some of my etched metal that has been a heavy presence in my jewelry work tote.
It remains a real challenge for me to cut up some of these pieces of metal as I wonder if the project that I'm imagining will be worthy of the beautiful etching.
It's a completely ridiculous hurdle that I place in front of myself...I can always etch more metal.
But....there it is, and I am happy to say that I cut up a piece of etched nickel to make a commissioned piece.
A collection of small, rectangular pieces were cut using my metal guillotine.
All edges were then filed and sanded.
I wanted to be able to continue away from my workbench, so I pulled out my hand punch.
Sitting at my workbench, I would normally use my flex shaft, but this hand punch is nice to have when I can't be tethered to my studio space.
When I'm making holes for connector pieces, I'm usually very particular about the location of those holes. 
It's especially important when the components that I'm making are as small as these little etched chiclets.
If I'm more than a smidge off, the balance of a piece can be less than what I find acceptable and then things end up in my metal scrap box that I keep on the floor under my workbench.
Even though I was using this hand tool, I prepared as if getting ready to drill with my flex shaft.
I marked each hole location with a Sharpie marker and then marked each of those locations with a swift hammer hit on a center punch.
This gives me a nice dimpled indent for the hole punch to nestle into before applying pressure to actually create the hole.
The process is a little time consuming, but worth the effort...I really do not like tossing etched metal into my scrap box.
Once the holes were made, the chiclet pieces were slightly curved by shaping them on my bracelet mandrel.
I was then ready to make the necklace that had been requested.
I normally like to add a variety of wire wrapped gemstones and pearls to my chains so that I can develop interesting color and texture schemes.
This commission was for a necklace that was all metal.
I used sterling wire to wrap the etched components to very short segments of sterling chain.
The short segments of chain were included to make the necklace fluid so that it would lay in an appealing way.
I couldn't resist adding just a touch of color.
One sterling wire wrapped, faceted aquamarine bead was attached to the last ring of the chain extender.
I've had a few recent requests for simpler chains.
A man stopped by my booth at the recent Media Fine Arts & Crafts Festival and spent a good amount of time looking at my necklaces, especially this one, featuring Swarthmore College's Parrish Hall (home to my son's dorm room) in the pendant.
He finally looked at me and said, "You know....I think I could carry off this pendant real nicely, but that chain is just too poofy for me."
We both cracked up laughing and I said, "You are so right about that!"

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