I'm happy to say the rings are finished, photographed, and on their way to the happy couple! What a relief to make a short deadline with beautiful results, don't you think? I'm looking forward to peaceful sleep now, no more fitful nights working out how I'm going to place this piece of silver or keep this other area from heat damage.
Ahhh... that's a good feeling! As soon as the final photos are sent to me, I'll post them here. Until then, only the bride and groom get to see what they look like. ;)
This project has me jumping! Sue's prongs are on the ring, seats for the diamonds are cut and all leveled. The piercing design is drawn, drilled, and sawn out on her ring. All that's left are the lots and lots of filing, sanding, and polishing stages. Jon's ring is about halfway through all the stages, and both rings will be finished by the end of the day.
My photographer had to postpone until tomorrow, so I was able to spend more time cutting out the piercing design and then use today for polishing. It's better to take my time with it since it adds not only the open feel Sue wanted, but because I really wanted to add to the story of the rings. The piercing creates the third vine on her ring using open space. There's a quote in the Bible that "a cord of three strands is not quickly broken", and each vine on her ring represents one of the cords (which represents the two of them bound together with God in their marriage).
Here are pictures of the prongs on (they won't be cleaned until the final stages) with the vine design being laid out and then pierced. The other photo is of Jon's ring during the rough polishing stage.
The rings are looking good! The tiny pieces on Jon's ring went on in one pass as well, although it took longer to heat up that much metal. I only struggled with one or two pieces before the flux settled down (even though it's dry it can still bubble up), but they behaved in the end.
Unfortunately, the thickness and width of the metal was more than I accounted for, which affects the ultimate size of the ring, so it didn't reach the right ring size. So, back to the bench to fix the problem, which added about two more hours to my day - but I got it right the second time. :)
Since I was on a roll I started putting the prongs on Sue's ring, which I hope to finish tomorrow. I'm still on schedule, but there is no room for mistakes now. I can't wait to get those diamonds in!
The pics are of Jon's ring first and then Sue's being hammered into shape on the mandrel.
Ok... things are going very well - don't worry Jon; I'm on schedule so far. All of the pieces on Sue's ring soldered very quickly and in one pass. I've never had that happen before, and I work with tiny pieces a lot, especially when I work in filigree. It was beautiful!
I laid out all of the pieces on Jon's ring, and am letting the pieces dry before soldering to prevent the tiny bits from jumping. The flux paste is what makes it look wet in the photos, and once it's dry it looks powdery white. The first photo is Sue's ring before soldering (with bits of solder on it), and the other two are the slow and methodical process of laying out the motif on Jon's ring.
At first I had a thinner silver wire for the his vine (the same size as for Sue's), but the scale made it look too feminine so I beefed it up with an 18 gauge and less curl, which worked perfectly. The leaves are also slightly larger on his, 3-4mm vs. the 2mm leaves on Sue's. I also added extra leaves that are spread throughout the design since there aren't any stones (and it fills the space nicely).
Tomorrow I solder Sue's ring closed, size it properly, and work on getting all the pieces of Jon's design on the ring. Keep watching for updates!
Has it really been that long since my last post? Wow, time flew by... but also, if there's nothing to say, than why make something up? Sometimes I just like to hunker down, get lots of work done, and then step back to reassess where I've been, where I'm at, and where I want to be. And it's led to this... A serendipitous request for wedding rings by two very sweet people who need them made quickly! I try not to feel ill when I think of just how soon they need to be done!
Jon, I thought you might enjoy watching them from start to finish - although you might not want to let Sue see them so she'll be surprised on your day!
I'm back from my travels for awhile, and dearly looking forward to resting and spending time in my garden. Chicago was disappointing as far as sales go, but was also one of the loveliest settings I've shown at. This art festival was an Amdur production, and Amy was there in person to make sure everything went smoothly. I was pleasantly shocked to see her in an orange traffic vest directing artists and cars to their assigned spots. She even came around to warn us of high winds for Saturday night so we could buckle down extra tight. This is a woman not afraid to get in there and make sure things are done right!
Before leaving the area, we stopped at the Chicago Botanic Garden - what a treat! 360 some acres of beautifully maintained garden, including a gem of a Japanese garden on its own little island. That alone was worth the trip...
I'll be back in Chicago soon for another of her shows, and hope to see a better return on my investment this time. If not, this sort of thing drives me to improve my work, find better shows, and re-evaluate my direction and how to get where I want to go.
Virginia Beach Boardwalk art show was a blast, if not an interesting collection of weather phenomenon. A tornado touch down near the show late Friday night tested the strength of every tent not to mention the nerves of each artist. This followed by sweltering heat in the 90's on Saturday, and then Sunday's high winds that culminated in a sand storm. Whew!
Smaller crowds and fewer sales surprised the veterans of this show, some who have been coming for over 30 years. Even so, I enjoyed myself completely, meeting new artists and patrons, jumping in the waves after show hours, and trying to body surf, too. I now have sand in places I didn't know were possible!
After restocking a bit, I'm off to Chicago to the Glencoe Festival of the Masters art show. Here's hoping for fewer tornadoes, cooler weather, and no sand in my teeth - am I asking for too much?
Show season's in full swing, so my posts will be a bit spotty as I scramble to fill orders, create new pieces, and travel the countryside.
Legacy Village on Cleveland's east side (near Beachwood) went well - and I got to meet so many new people! A special hello goes out to Linda and Lea who both have surprises coming in the mail very soon! Now I'm running around creating, cleaning, and packing for the big Va Beach Boardwalk show. The weather there is warm and sunny, but thunderstorms are a threat every day of the show, and coming off the ocean, sometimes they're pretty freaking violent. Let's see if I come back in one piece or if I have some terrific stories to tell you!
Relax, get yourself a lovely umbrella drink, and enjoy summer...
It wasn't good news for our kitty. He has the aggressive kind of cancer that has probably spread throughout his body already, so there's nothing we can do for him. We decided to keep him comfortable as long as we can, but he probably won't make it through the summer. Evidently this kind of cancer can consume everything w/in 3 to 6 months. (sigh) I am glad that we get some time with him; and he's so happy! It feels like we were perfectly placed at the right time to get him from the cat rescue, give him a great home for 3 years, and love him to the very end. When he's gone and the time is right again, we'll give another cat a loving home.
On the art front, my oldest daughter won best of show for her category in a local art show, and my other two daughters placed in theirs! A good day for them, and tomorrow I go to the Ohio Designer Craftsmen exhibition for the artist's reception for a piece of mine that was selected to go on tour for the next year.
So many things happen every day that I end up not sharing anything at all. Bad habit - maybe. I try to keep things focused on my work, but sometimes other events just fill up and overflow into every part of my life and end up on here. Today is one of those days.
My sweet kitty Q (named after the Star Trek troublemaker) who just turned 3 has had a rough week. We found him limping around the house Sunday, and figured one of the little critters he tried to hunt must have fought back and scored a few points. I couldn't find any wounds on his foot, so expected him to feel better the next day. On Monday I found a lump on his thigh, and figured it was the source of his limp, called the vet and explained that it was pretty large and hard. I thought it was swollen from a bite or bee sting. Today he had an emergency biopsy, 54 cc's of fluid removed, and a large tumor taken out.
It seems that 1 out of 10,000 cats will react to normal immunizations by growing cancer cells at the site of the injection. Dear, sweet Q was number 10,000. By Friday we'll know if it's the very fast growing aggressive type of cancer or not. If it is, there's nothing we can do. If he narrowly escapes this horrible end, then they'll try to remove his entire leg to save his life.
To pick up the thread hinted at the close of my last post, my hard work last year has really paid off. I'm not sure why I'm so surprised about meeting my goals and reaping the benefits of them - maybe because sometimes life doesn't always give back and play fair. I know that's happened to me before (lots of hard work and no return, or worse, negative return).
Focusing on a few design lines, getting professional photos, and creating a stylish booth were lofty but reachable goals in 2008. Because I stuck to it and did a good job of it, I'm now a happy recipient of too many show acceptances! I have the odd task of turning down shows that I wouldn't dream of missing last year. It's hard to do, too, considering all the application fees that my bank statement reminds of.
So far I've gotten 4 Chicago shows, one in Massachusettes, one in Virginia, two in the Columbus area, and two on the East side of Cleveland. Nearly every show I applied for was accepted! I've even had a piece accepted into "The Best of 2009" exhibition put on by the Ohio Designer Craftsmen. It'll travel for about a year around the state going to different locations until it comes back to me (unless the piece sells). There's a photo of it on my web site. That's a huge step from last year, and I want to encourage anyone else out there. If you're struggling to get somewhere, set your goal and then fill in the baby steps in between. The baby steps really make it do-able. I even put deadlines on each step so I didn't get behind.
Share your goals with people, too! Be crazy and let the whole world know what you're planning to do. Share it here on my blog or on your own - or if you're really nuts, post it on both! It'll hold your feet to the fire to have a little accountability, and when you final get that sweet prize at the end, we can all celebrate!
The last couple of months have been a time for me to take a thoughtful look at who I am and where I'm going. While I'm sorry for the absence on my blog (despite all those helpful New Year's resolutions to post more often), it's been a necessary time to really explore.
A lot of fun and exciting pieces have come out of this rumination vacation, as well as some unexpected changes on a bigger scale (for my life). And not everything culminated in answers; I have new questions and some areas seem even grayer than before. I don't mind that kind of tension though. It's better to ask the questions and not have answers than to make them up, or worse, not even ask the questions at all!
So for now I'll leave you with knowing that I have had a wonderful several weeks discovering what I really want to do and who I am as an artist and person.
Content and very happy,
P.S. My hard work over the last year has paid off; I've already been invited to 4 shows in Chicago this summer!
I saw an exhibit earlier this month that I never thought I'd see in my lifetime.
"Artistic Luxury" is currently showing at the Cleveland Museum of Art and contains some of the most amazing pieces. Imagine Lalique, Faberge, Tiffany (both father and son works) all in one building. I was so excited I could hardly focus long enough to see straight when I first got there!
The crowning moment for me was when I walked into the room where part of Lalique's original iron gate for his booth at the 1900's World's Fair in France. I am really in awe of all of his work, but it had such an impressive impact on me to see something he made especially for his booth display. I know how much work I put into my own display for art shows, and this blows everything I've seen away. I have a book with pictures of his work and entire display, but never imagined seeing it with my own eyes. What a pleasure!
If you have the ability to see this display, I urge you to go! Artistic Luxury