Sunday, November 20, 2011


What is it that makes me start taking things apart?

Isn't the whole idea to put components together?

I'm not alone in this....I hear other jewelry artists talking about the same thing. Or working for hours/days on a piece only to wake up somewhere down the line & look at it and just shake their head....wondering what led them to create such a thing.

Somewhere along the way, we just have to trust ourselves & stop second guessing. I think it's not unlike when I'm working on a painting or collage...and wonder..."is it done?"  There are times when I know it's done. I look forward to the day when that happens with my jewelry designs. ;)

Yesterday I took apart this necklace.  Last night I put the handmade bronze focal on a pair of chains, and added a smooth, wrapped briolette. (I wish I could recall what the stone is!)  I also added a second chain to the mix - and tied some little ribbons to the longest chain. 
Less is More
I think I've improved making these little babies.
Less is more, I think.

And now I'm working on some bead links to be added to the second chain.

I hope I don't take it apart.

I'm trying to be mindful of why I make the choices I I won't have to re-do so many things in the future. I know that I actually lean toward earthy, gritty colors & textures more than delicate, pastel ones. And I think that's what happened here.

However...having said that, I also think the bottom line with this piece might be that I'm not completely happy with the original design of the ginkgo leaf... I think in my mind, the stem is bending too much. I'm not really surprised by that, since at the time I was more obsessed with the process of carving the ginkgo leaf in a lino block as a mold for bronze clay.  Now it looks like I may have to carve another one. ;)



Petra Carpreau said...

That's what bronze clay looks like! It's bloody gorgeous! Not as pricey as pmc3 either is it? I may have to treat myself!
Ha - that we 'just' have to trust ourselves and stop second guessing!! I don't know - that doesn't feel like a 'just' ability to me!!! It feels like the hardest part most of the time. Crazy though really, because when you don't do that, it really shows in the finished piece. Every time I start overthinking a piece, I end up hating it, because it looks contrived and has no flow. Of course it doesn't, because it hasn't! It's all that sodding self-doubt crap though, isn't it? I was reading an old post of Fanci D's the other day, and the accompanying comment by her old mate Sparrow, who said -
"My drug is self-doubt, and it's a hooker like nobody's business"!! It's of much comfort to know you're not alone in those uncomfortable feelings. Then there's Fanci herself of course, but I don't consider her to be your average mortal!
Petra xx

Lela Bouse-McCracken said...

Hi Petra,
Yes, that's one version of bronze clay. It's very easy to work with, but even though you can achieve bright, shiny gold colors with it, that's just not what I'm after.

Right now I'm experimenting & trying to tone it down a LOT. I've tried several things with not much success. If I can get it into a deep, earthy color with textures, maybe I'll let it stick around.

I've taken this necklace apart again and am trying some metallic glaze on it. What I'd really love to try is some I've ordered "Torch-Fired Enamel Jewelry: A Workshop in Painting with Fire" by Barbara Lewis. Just another excuse to order more stuff. ;)

Petra Carpreau said...

Could you use it as a paste, do you think? I went and ordered some yesterday, so I'll have a go myself! I was thinking of maybe rubbing a thick paste of it into the black stoneware clay I use. I think the grainy texture of the clay would stop it looking too shiny, but still have that rich bronzy lustre. We shall see ....

Lela Bouse-McCracken said...

That sounds like an interesting take on bronze clay, Petra. I guess you were thinking of rubbing it on an unfired piece?

I did one pendant with the bronze clay where I embedded little copper chips into the clay. It turned out pretty well...I might do it again later sometime.

At what temp do you fire the black clay? If it's in the same range as the bronze clay, I don't see why it wouldn't be a good experiment.

I've really been thinking of getting some clay for that I have a kiln again. I wish my brain would just stop with obsession on processes and just get on with making jewelry. ;)

Cindy said...

Lela, I have to say your original necklace was so I'm sure your revision will be just as beautiful. I really dislike taking apart my pieces after all of the time I put in to i put them aside and end up forgetting about them. Which is really a waste. I have a small box waiting to be taken apart of these days!

Lela Bouse-McCracken said...

Hi Cindy...
Taking things apart seems to be a recurrent theme with me though. I'm going backwards so fast that I'm going to meet myself making something one of these days. ;)

I'm still just so caught up in trying out so many different processes - I feel like I'm just trying to find my mojo so I'll feel really good about what I create.

And again, thank you for the instructions for the spiral clasps. I'm still trying to perfect that. ;)

Your work is an inspiration! Thanks for stopping by! What a lot of exclamation marks! ;)

Petra Carpreau said...

Just a follow up - no, on fired clay, then fire again. That black stoneware has to be fired high to get it to turn black (1120-1240C). I've done it pretty successfully with pmc3, so I don't see why it wouldn't work. Might be nice on terracotta too.

Lela Bouse-McCracken said...

Just deleted my question...and jumped over to your blog to check...those black pieces with pmc3 look pretty cool!