Week 15 is Aries. Aries is a "masculine " sign- It's rather depressing, but this means it's a extrovert or "positive" sign, not necessary a "guy". Seems like a slam to all those wonderful women born in this time frame each year, but I didn't set the astrological rules. Still, after last weeks' hubby watch design, it's gotten me to think more about design jewelry for males. Or more specifically, jewelry that either sex could wear without feeling out of sync. So when I set out to make this pendant, I was keeping that concept in mind. I used 14 ga copper ( copper is the Aries metal) and then spent quite a bit of time texturing it. I made the rings and alittle bail to hang it on with 16ga. It's very simple, which I think would allow a male Aries wear it, yet pretty enough that a female might enjoy owning it also.
For Week 16 I made these copper washer earrings. Now they seem very simple to the casual eye, but they represent a great deal of work. Let's start with the washers. I got these through Harbor Freight, and my first attempt to texturize them fail miserably. The washers are rock hard, no bend in them at all.. So I set them aside for a couple of months.
Enter my metalsmithing class at the local art center. I know that metal comes in different tempers, but in the class the teacher demonstrated how to change metal from work hard to dead soft - and easy to work with - again. I remembered the washers!! So I annealed a handful of washers, and boy, does that make a difference trying to hammer them. I thought the first time my hand was going to fall off!! (let's try an experiment.. get a penny and pound it with a hammer.. you might dent it, but it's seriously hard. that's exactly how the washers were)
Delighted, I decided I wanted a light, almost matte sort of texture for these earrings. I've always wanted to make my own texture hammers, so I got out my dremel and went to town on a cheapo hammer. Now I'm not all that used to power tools, certainly not to alter steel.. so what happens when you touch steel to steel, especially if some of the steel is moving at 35,000 rpm's ... you get sparks. duh! I wasn't expecting sparks.. infact to keep the mess down in my studio I'ld laid newspapers about 2 inches under and around where I had the hammer... fortunately I didn't catch my studio on fire, and i"ll be prepared the next time. But I was really nervous there for a while. It was worth it, I got exactly the effect I wanted with my new hammer. It's interesting though, the texture on the hammer head gets pounded in with each use.. so at some point I'll have to retexture it. ( I'll skip the newspaper and just clean the floor next time.. or better yet take it downstairs to the torch area where it won't hurt anything if it sparks) I used crystals and quartz crystal. I've made a 2nd pair for sale in black crystals.. used different hammers on the washers. I just love to play with my hammers!!