Sunday, February 15, 2015

Etched Squares, Fussy Design

Last year I etched pieces of silver nickel sheet not knowing how I would use the metal,
but knowing that I would eventually come up with a plan.
One plan that I eventually thought of was to make earrings that used negative space as a primary part of the design.
I rarely draw my ideas;
I see the idea in my mind, sit down at my workbench
and start cutting/sawing/drilling.
A collection of small squares were cut
and central
(actually, close-to-central)
circles were cut out to create that negative space.
All squares were filed and sanded before being drilled for the connection that I was imagining for the earwire.
The connection was to be balled copper wire formed into an arc.
To do this, I first balled one end of the wire,
threaded the wire through one of the drilled holes and back out through another.
The unfinished end of the wire was then balled and the remaining wire was shaped into an arc.
Turns out that the plan imagined in my mind was much easier to do than the plan executed at my workbench.
Even though I was working with segments of wire cut to the same length,
it was difficult for me to end up with matching arcs.
The second balled end would be a smidge too large or a smidge too small.
It was also frustrating to shape the arc.
I tried shaping before balling the wire, but then annealing happened and misshaping happened and frustration happened.
Shaping after balling the wire meant I couldn't fit my preferred tools in the available space.
I made the above pairs of earrings at least a year ago and I apparently chose to forget about the reasons why I abandoned that design.
I still had some of the squares in one of my workbench stashes...
and made this pair of earrings last week.
I think they're lovely, especially the wire-wrapped, blue chalcedony briolettes that dangle below.
But making the copper arc reminded me why I chose to stop making this fussy design.
I still had some of the negative space squares
and decided they needed to become something else. 
They became this bracelet
featuring a central, bezel-set labradorite  cabochon.