Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff
Namaste. A term I associate with my Yoga practice and feeling peaceful, happy, centered. The literal meaning of the word is “I bow to you”. However, I prefer the definition that Mandy Ingber, of Yogalosophy, provides…. “The Spirit in me salutes The Spirit in you”.
As I looked at this finished piece, I felt such a sense of peace and calm. I feel this was a subtle change in my work. I did several things I had not done before. Dan thought it best demonstrated metalwork because my design didn’t ‘feed’ off of the stones….that is their shapes or markings.
The creation of this piece took some interesting twists and turns. I knew immediately that I liked the pairing of the round Petrified Palm Wood with the tongue shaped Imperial Jasper. I had never set a tongue shaped stone before; when I bought it from Gary B Wilson in April, Lexi was with me and she said it was no problem. She explained how and I laughed and said “Duh”! Just had to think about it after she told me what I needed to do and of course it made sense. Thanks Lexi!
This is my initial sketch of what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted a sun like background for the round Petrified Palm Wood. And just having the sharp edges wouldn’t work, it would need to be overlaid on a backing so the wearer wouldn’t be poked by sharp edges.
You can see from this that I was initially thinking of calling the piece ‘Leap’. And I was concerned about the number of ‘rays’ emanating from the circle. I showed Lexi my sketch one night during one of my lessons and she suggested that I reduce the number of ‘rays’. She had a little sunshine charm, which I photographed, and thought I could use as an example of where I wanted to take this piece.
You can see I still couldn’t get away from my design to have lots of ‘rays’. The sketch in the lower left corner became the final one for the rays. I had never tried to saw a shape like this before and I thought, let’s give it a whirl. I’m accepting Lexi’s philosophy of “It’s only metal”. Hey, I can recycle any failures by broomcasting or other means, so it’s ok. Try it, see what happens, you may be pleasantly surprised! Well, I was very happy with the result. Ah, but there’s more to this story….
I overlaid my ray piece on top of its rounded square back plate. Set the bezel for the stone. Had a bit of trouble with that bezel and there was this ‘bubble’ in the center which was telling me I wasn’t doing it right. Things finally got to the point where I overheated the piece and it started to melt! Oops. But remember, “It’s only metal”. Here’s the piece that taught me a lot from the failure…..
I started again. This time I drilled a hole in the center of that ray piece to allow the air to escape and prevent the bubble. Completed the overlay of the ray on a its back plate and soldered the bezel in place. Added a bail to the back of the top piece. Completed the setting for the tongue piece. Soldered the joining jump rings in place that connect the two settings. Set the stones, oxidized the sterling and viola! Namaste was born.
The journey to bring this piece into being was a lot of fun for me, in spite of a few set backs. Learning and understanding how to do things appeals to me. And I feel like I am rewarded in many ways by going through the process.
Believe me, I know how fortunate I am to have a mentor like Lexi Erickson. Her encouragement as my teacher and closest friend is invaluable. Dan too provides that encouragement and support as I work in the studio and come out for breaks or discussions about what I am doing. Of course, the bassets are my studio mascots and there is at least one of them in there while I’m working….sometimes underfoot…..sometimes sleeping at my feet.
Remember, failure is as much a part of life as success. If we accept that failures are showing us a better direction, a better way if you will, it becomes a winning situation for us. Embrace the journey.
Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.