Making Pendants and Earrings is Fun!

   Posted by: Joy Alyssa Day in art, jewelry

I grew up watching my dad making all kinds of wonderful things down in our basement. He was (and still is) a magnificent silversmith. He would take the odd rocks that he'd find and break and polish them into beautiful gems and then mount them for rings, pendants, and bracelets.  The basement cave where he had his soldering iron and all the various parts and pieces set up was a mystical treat for me when I was so young.  I'm sure the interest I had is part of what built in me to be confident enough to build and create all the nifty stuff I do.

As I got into artwork though, painting is what took over. Of course, I had always had a "sculptural" bug creating my costumes and such. But with the glass paintings, it was all very flat, but the sculptural element kept creeping into the back of my mind. Then the opportunity to create our first glass sculpture came up. WooHooOOOoo!! I was all over it like cheap polyester, cutting the glass pieces to fit, getting the kiln and learning how to mold glass... Ahhh.....

Our first sculpture was an enormous piece - the Lifetime Achievement Sculpture for the Space Foundation. 7.5' (2.3m) tall, 345 lbs. (156.5kg).

Ascending Stars Lifetime Space Achievement Award

"THAT was your first sculpture???!?!?!??" Yes, it was. I always start big. My first forward painting (I reverse paint on glass, normally) was a 26' (7.92m) x 4' (1.22m) mural (boy, was THAT hard to get my mind used to...). It just happens that way. A client will say "Can you do **THIS**?" and I/we say "You Bet!!!" and then go about how to do it. And, really, I figure if I start out doing something huge and impossible, then everything else is going to be easy after that, right?

But I digress....  So I've been doing these large glass sculpture pieces, but never really anything sculptural and small, until recently. Getting into the jewelry has been a lot of fun, and very interesting and educational. I don't actually wear jewelry. I don't have any piercings and rings drive me nuts, not to mention that I'm quite often getting my hands coated with grease, sawdust, shavings, kiln wash, or other toxic materials that rings would not like. If I go out, I may wear a necklace or watch, but usually I forget, and I don't go out much anyways.  So I never really thought about making any, because jewelry just isn't much on my mind.

The pieces, though, have been a lot of fun. Getting the color and little swirls and such into smaller pieces has been a challenge, and I really like that! I've never been one to be able to keep making the same thing over and over again. I don't have the attention span for it. But each of these has their own little combinations, their own personalities and their own little quirks as they get made.

And working small also has the advantage of testing new techniques without blowing through a lot of glass if it fails.

Of course, you hardly ever hear about failures from artists (from us, anyway), but they do exist and I've been trying to be more outgoing about both the good and the bad. I would love my clients to really get to know me and the processes we go through.

Again, I digress.... I have been quite fortunate to have had a good amount of praise and good wishes for the new jewelry line, and who knew I would be enjoying it so much? I always figured I'd be working big, big, big. These little gems are perfect to let the other parts of my brain work and fill in little gaps of time, and I continue to be struck by the beauty held in each piece.

I guess my dad always knew about the fun of making jewelry, and I'm glad to have found out.  And I'm only just beginning... so many more techniques to try!

What do you think? Do you like them? Do you have suggestions? Comments? What would you like to see? What kind of jewelry do you wear? Help me to learn, please?

Peace, Joy

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