Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Custom Tibetan Turquoise Bolo Tie

A family friend had a very large nugget of Tibetan turquoise he acquired while living in Asia in the 1970's. He wanted it made into a bolo tie and asked me to put together a custom design.

This project was full of challenges. First, it's daunting to work with a precious one-of-a-kind object from a client, in particular a soft stone like turquoise that likes to crack. Second, the nugget was very irregular, making it hard to set (at least it presented a challenge for my fledgling stone-setting skills). Third, someone had already drilled two holes all the way through the stone back in the day, so that it could hang as a pendant on a cord, and I'd have to figure out what to do with those very visible, crookedly-drilled holes.

I put together a design that involved prong setting the turquoise nugget, attaching said prongs to a pierced sterling silver backplate, and putting ball rivets through the existing drilled holes so that they'd attach to the backplate. Then I attached a bolo mechanism, brown leather cord, and silver end pieces on the cord.

The client appears very satisfied, and I am too. More than anything I'm happy that I'm increasingly able to come up with a design in my head and replicate it in metal pretty faithfully.

Here's a few photos of the initial sketch and the final piece.

Friday, September 23, 2011

It's Mini-Crisis Time

Yes, already. Just over two weeks into the school semester and that panicky feeling is back. My hope is that more frequent but smaller crises will have a depressurizing effect and thus avoid a whopper of an episode like I experienced last semester.

Yesterday was a frustrating day and I had a wee, mini breakdown. We're doing logo design in my Production class and I'm not happy with mine. I'm close, but just not there yet. We also received our first really big assignment - to design a suite of five related pieces - and I was feeling wholly uninspired, like I couldn't conjure up a good idea if my life depended on it.

I think a lot of this is quite normal given the nature of the program at CCA and the kind of discipline and dedication that metalsmithing requires. I also think my mindset and emotions were affected by not having eaten properly during the day, not having run since Sunday thanks to a sinus cold, and being on hour 7 of studio classes.

I went for a run today and immediately felt better. Things are once again more in perspective. I still don't have a logo design that I like, I still don't know what on earth I'll do for my five-piece collection, but I have faith that those solutions will come.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Wheel Turns On...

School is back in session, life again has taken on that roller-coaster feeling as I try to reconcile deadlines, projects and my own jewelry work with the fact that time is limited, as is my energy. I've gotten better at cutting back on activities and trying to be sure I'm not spreading myself too thin. I delete emails about art openings, community events, travel bargains, discounts at my favorite stores all because I know I can't be tempted by these fun and interesting possibilities. I can only keep up with so much.

Outside my school obligations, I am able to dedicate myself to Rico and my family, running, a limited amount of my own jewelry production, and a very occasional concert or dinner out with friends. I laughingly said to our neighbors the week before school started, "See you in December!" Except it wasn't a joke...

I actually like having to prioritize, though. I think it leads to more quality time spent with people, more focus dedicated to the activities you know are essential. And I really appreciate my leisure time, that's for sure.