New pieces

Today it's sunny and Spring-like outside. Its hard to be inside the studio. But when I go outside to walk the dog and enjoy the weather I get all sorts of great ideas and I want to curtail my walk to hurry back to the studio. No pleasing me.

I am working on some pieces I'm excited about. So like the kindergartener I am. Here's my show & tell for the day.

Unless otherwise noted this are my quick photos of the work. My photographer does a much better job. :-?

First I took my new favorite shape, the Zoa, and made it larger, and worked it on to a simpler, more elegant neckwire. Its hung on 3 strands of stainless steel wire. The hook & eye closure is made to go with the pendant. This particular pendant went home with a wonderful sculptor in Bellevue. I delighted she saw and loved it. Some pieces find the right home quickly.

Zoa_multi-strand_nckl
Zoa_multi-strand_nckl

And while I was at it, I made another Zoa pendant into a box clasp. Or a box clasp into a Zoa pendant. This a new direction for my usually rectangular box clasps. I love these white fresh water pearls.

Zoa Boxclasp
Zoa Boxclasp

This box clasp lead to another idea. What if I made multiple shapes and attached them all together. Would that work?

I think so.

BoxClasp Circles mookaite
BoxClasp Circles mookaite

The stones in this necklace come from Australia. One doesn't see Mookaite often but I'm quite fond of it.

All these pieces can be seen live and in person at my next show in Scottsdale, Arizona. Come by, say hello, and mention you read this blog and I'll give you a gift and maybe a hug.

The box clasp

Like everyone else I sometimes have a hard time getting focused and getting going. Life happens and when your work is in your home, life interferes with work. I'm a great believer in my ability to multi-task, but sometimes it just leads to me bouncing around like a ping-pong ball getting a little done.

Metalsmithing requires focus and attention to details. A casual moment can undo hours of work as an over-heated piece falls apart (or melts!) under a too hot torch, a careless saw cuts a kerf into a carefully etched surface, a sanding disc is allowed to go too far.

When I get to this place I need to stop trying to do many things at once and refocus. As I retreat to my studio and sit at my bench more often then not, my thinking is still scattered  and I have no idea where to start. Things seem either too easy and simple or too complex to work on until I get my brain working. What to do?

I recently decided that the best thing I can do at this point is to start making box clasps. Technically box clasps are fairly difficult, but I've done enough to be fluent in them. I know each step, how to do it, what order to do them in. Making them challenges my skills as a metalsmith, with the precision, cutting, soldering, measuring, filing; but I know what to do and have no questions as to sequencing, what temperature solder I need, what the pitfalls are. Making box clasps brings me back together and centers me on the here and now.

All the intricacy and detailed labor of the box clasp is hidden on the inside. My version of the clasp is actually a box within a box. I was taught to make a tight precise fit to insure years of trouble free wearing. It is more time-consuming but ultimately produces a clasp that will last indefinitely and never release unexpectedly. It makes me proud every time I sell one as I know its a special item with a great deal of my efforts and thought put into each clasp.

Below is the very condensed version of the making of a box clasp plus a peek at its inner workings.

1. The inner box is made & a slot carefully filled to accept the tongue of the clasp.

box-clasp-step-1












2. The tongue with the trigger is soldered and carefully filed and fitted to the box.

box-clasp-step-2-tongue-trigger












3. The etched sterling top deck is soldered in place and a the slot for the trigger is pierced & filed into a tight fit. This photo shows the box within a box, part of this clasp.

box-clasp-step-3-box-in-box











4. Once the bottom plate is added the tongue continues to get refined so it has the pleasing and important "CLICK" when it is fully engaged. Then the findings are soldered on, it is thoroughly cleaned, and is ready to be patinaed and added to a necklace.

box-clasp-step-4_cleaned-ready-for-patina











5. Finally the clasp becomes the central part of a necklace. In this case a rough cut carnelian necklace with yellow turquoise. Its ready to go to a client.

box-clasp-step-5-strung