I’m preparing for upcoming workshops at the Tucson Gem Show in a couple of weeks. When I wrote the class proposals on short notice, I only attached photos that I already had available, such as the floral wedge earrings. Now that I have a little more time, I’m exploring variations on a theme.
I try to encourage my students to be original in class. I prefer when all the student work looks at least slightly different than mine (more is good!). After all, the point of making jewelry for yourself ought to be to put your own personal stamp onto it. As a teacher, I strive to teach students artistic thinking as well as technical skills. So I’m trying to break down the process for students to show them how discreet decisions at each step of the process can lead to a lot of possible variations on a theme.
For the sheet metal class, I’m exploring the ideas of shape, texture, and dimension. There are plenty of simple-to-cut shape options such as discs, squares or rectangles, in addition to the wedges shown. For texture, I can use a hammer or punches or a rolling mill (not that I’ll be taking one of those with me!). For dimension, I can leave the sheet flat, or I can curve or dome it with a dapping or swage block. My metal clay components that get fused on top are individual as well. All those decisions at each stage of the process lead to many different looks. The only limit is imagination!
For the workshop that combines wire and metal clay, I also explore variations. My original project for this class was the double ring earrings shown above, with the metal clay components bridging the two rings.
These can be easily altered by using single rings with fitted components inside. Another variation is to stretch a large ring into an oval and have the metal clay component fit over the ring. Of course, much more complex shapes are readily available with a little fussy cutting and fusing.