Sunday, 9 March 2014

Lost... & A "Pearl Bones" Necklace-in-Progress Found...

Another week lost due to psychologically horrific (me, the colossally chicken patient -- I am terrified; hear me cluck) dental pain, including an attempted tooth-yanking this past Wednesday -- the fill-in (sorry, couldn't resist) dentist was unable to get me frozen after an hour and 4 or 5 needles -- and not for lack of trying: it turns out I have an anatomically anomalous jaw and the nerves aren't where they're supposed to be, hence the decades-long inability of just about every dentist I've ever gone to being unable to get me frozen, or, if they do manage it, it takes at least an hour and still requires mid-work anaesthetic top-ups -- and me having become the wimpering, cowering patient from hell.

For some voodoo, woo-woo, whatever-woo reason my current doc is the first I've found in some 20 years who's been able to freeze me solid the first time. I'm now waiting on him to get back tomorrow from his vacation (how dare he go away to have fun!?) and wade through myriad stacked-up patients until he can yank my tooth last thing on Wednesday afternoon. After which, early-early Thursday morning I will hop into my packed truck, head to Paris to my magical hairdresser Marie, proprietor of Peridot Hair Design, then finally get on the road to take part in the March 2014 edition of The Gem Expo at the Hyatt Regency in Toronto. To add to my current misery, a pile of transcription work showed up a few days ago, all due before I go.

Meanwhile, I took advantage of six peaceful hours sitting at the market yesterday and finally started putting together this necklace using the copper "bones" I'd made a week ago.

I had about ten inches completed when one of my regular customers came wandering by. I asked what she thought, truly never imagining that she would even like this style -- she's a Swarovski fanatic through and through. She loved it. Sold. Another argument for always be making things while you're sitting at a market or a show when it's quiet -- and go ahead and show unfinished pieces to anyone who stops by. Get their feedback. It'll gobsmack you every time what they will tell you, and makes them invested in the end result. They'll look at the other items on your table with new eyes. And believe me, by showing works-in-progress and starting conversations, I have sold more items in their unfinished state than I can remember. (Just don't forget to photograph 'em before they're gone for good.) Bonus is if I'm able to finish the item while they complete their shopping. Then they're over the moon. I also use this opportunity to plant the seed that I do small repairs inexpensively, often while they wait, and can also remake old jewellery they might have lying around.

These are the short "bones" that I've been making where I cut 14 gauge wire to 3/4", rather than the original 1" and hammered with a twist. I tried hammering them so that both ends are the same, but compared to the angled bones and the light sparking off the copper, the flat bones just look... well, flat.

After hammering, the 3/4" wire gooshes out to about 1". The longer bones I made a couple of weeks ago are great with bigger, chunkier beads, but I found these shorter ones to have a finer and more elegant look, hence combining them with the smaller diameter pearls. The downside, of course, is that you need more bones to make anything -- or you could space them out further. I thought about trying 5/8" or even 1/2" lengths but economies of scale kick in at that point -- any necklaces would cost double, but... the shorter lengths would make a much nicer bracelet, as well as earrings for people for whom longer dangles don't suit. (Is that even a sentence? Sigh... my brain is not functioning at all these days.)

These are a particularly nice selection of small baroque pearls with a beautiful, subtle rainbow lustre I found in a thrift shop somewhere years ago, could've been the Goodwill, Sally Ann... can't remember when or where. But I bet I only paid a buck for them. Took the original necklace apart and then never did anything with them, stayed lost in my stash until they resurfaced a couple of days ago. I've never found anything comparable since.

I'll make similar drop earrings to the crystal ones I posted a week or two ago. I have copper earwires, but I asked what my customer preferred. She wants sterling earwires, despite that they'll look different. What I'll do is make the wires instead of using store-bought and add a copper bead to tie the two metals together.

Question: is there a trend back to matchy-matchy? I've been asked more times for matching earrings, and even a matching bracelet after years of being told nobody wears jewellery that matches these days.

Because it looks like these bones are going to be a popular item, I will make several pairs of earwires at the same time to have them ready to go for more earrings. If you're new to reading my posts and want to try making these yourself, head on over to Lisa Yang's blog for the various tutorials on bones, as well as lucky horseshoe and teardrop bracelets. I'm presently fiddling around with my horseshoes to make a necklace or choker. Haven't quite figured that all out.

One more plug for The Gem Expo. Hyatt Regency on King St., in downtown Toronto. March 14, 15 & 16. Follow the link to get $2 off admission, see the vendor list and sign up for classes. Hope to see you there.

Thanks for looking!

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