Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The anvil is not afraid of the hammer.*

I bought the anvil. I did. I've taken a couple pictures of it. Quick snaps, no glamour, so I need to put some vaseline on the lens, set up Butterfly lighting, hmmm, how would that work on an anvil, maybe I should go for modified Rembrandt—strike a pose! You're beautiful, baby! Beautiful!

Unfortunately, I didn't have enough roses today to do this up to true American Beauty standards but really anvils don't need sexing up—they're dead sexy just as they are.

UPS delivered my silver Thursday last. Even put a 'raincoat' on it. And knocked. They knocked! So all is forgiven. Though they did almost break the anvil out of its packaging. They're not big readers, I guess. After all, the box did have a label on it, big white letters on a bright red background—ANVIL.

I did get into the studio on Sunday, at nine. I feel so virtuous. Sandi showed up a bit later. This time we actually worked. I threw the reticulation silver, the new piece, 16 gauge, in the kiln for its first round of depletion silvering. Quenching it in the crockpot, not a good idea. Dramatic though, especially when you're a bit sleepy. I rinsed the pickle out of my dress, mopped up the floor and I moved the crockpot back to its usual spot and turned it on. The sheet turned coppery right off, to be expected. It stayed that way. As it was, by the time I got around to throwing it in the pickle, already approaching 2 o'clock, I chose not to put more sparex in the crock. My mistake. I stayed for at least another half hour. The extra pickle would have helped, might have helped. The coppery stuff never sloughed off, the pickle never turned blue, no bluer than it was. Pat hasn't come back to electric blue pickle for months and months, I so wanted to surprise her. When I rinsed the sheet, much of the stuff came off as I rubbed. It needs more pickling and, of course, has yet to be burnished. (I wonder if stale beer actually works better than liquid soap or was just what was on hand?) Still it looks to be a much easier, less time consuming process than using the torch. I can do other things, while the oxides form.

I've had a "vision" of a choker, articulated, made from reticulated silver. Variants have followed—alternating plates of reticulated and smooth, reticulated and enameled (one version in black, another in drop dead red). Cabs have also raised their voices, though I'm not sure where I'd put them. I suppose they'll tell me. I'm not sure what gauge to consider. Something heavy enough to stand up to the neck, to hold its shape. It's going to be just straight out plates, no forming to give it strength and structure. Hmmm, and here's a question, if some plates are enameled and some reticulated, do the reticulated plates need to be a heavier gauge to look right juxtaposed against the enameled ones? How about cloisonned ones or champleve? Decisions, decisions.

I wish I could get a clear idea of how to articulate them, though. I know I don't want jump rings. I still believe that jump rings are too often the lazy man's out, a failure of imagination. And I want articulation, I want joints of some sort, hinges, I don't know. I want something—mechanical. I will have to ponder and peruse. I know it's out there, the solution to my problem.

I worked some more on the 7 Rings Collar, the solution I think might actually work. I spent a good deal of class cutting and filing and sanding. I spent more time on Sunday cutting and filing. Never got around to the sanding. And I still need to cut more out. I'm almost done with that coil of gauge 4 copper wire from Lowes. Time for trip. I will be picking up another five gallon bucket and lid (for quenching in clean pickle, I think I'll make some more vinegar and citric acid, lots of citric acid. I'll still be transfering the reticulation silver to the crockpot for the main pickling.) And, no, I still don't have the clasp exactly worked out. I'm closer. And no jumps rings.

I have some lovely pieces of sterling wire for making big rivets. 2, 4 and 6 gauge, 6 inches of each. Then 8, 10 and 12, 24 inches each. I could have gotten more of the larger sizes, I should have, but when she told me how much the order was running already, well, my hands got a little clammy and my heart or my courage failed just a trifle. Between that order and the anvil one, I spent what I count as a bunch of money. I have broad shoulders. I will soldier on.

And I have yet to buy any more copper. I need copper or will not be able to make the next generation of fold-formed cuffs. The difference in price between Storm Copper and Contenti is amazing. No wonder Storm Copper doesn't charge you shipping. You're already paying for it. Unless Contenti's prices are way out of date and that could be true. I will need to do a little comparison shopping. And Storm Copper really is a great resource for the heavier gauges. They don't quibble about 12 gauge, try to talk you into 14 instead. Hell, they carry 8 and maybe even heavier. 12's a walk in the park. And the dimensions they will supply are nice--up to 36 by 48. Most places, you're lucky if you can get a square foot.

Oh, Hauser and Miller now makes 12 and 14 gauge sterling available in 12 by 12. This is good to know. This is very good to know.

Bob and Martha's baby was born Thursday last. A busy day all around. I went to Weirsdale and shot for two hours (all I could handle as I was extremely sleep deprived and the day was hot and humid). I got at least a couple pictures I like. Lily Sentz was born a month early. UPS did not lose my metals package.

Good thing the package from Rio arrived the day before, good thing I ordered it. I now have 12 inches of heavy walled sterling tubing and a niece in need of a teething rattle. Well, probably not much of a need as yet. No teeth. Probably not that much interest yet in making things rattle, either. I have a little wiggle room. Damned overachiever, being born early.

I'll need to get her full named nailed down—good luck getting that answer from Bob. Then come up with a lily design for the etching. I don't know where I'll come up with lettering for her name. My calliging skills aren't up to the job and somehow I think that carolingian miniscule just doesn't say Baby Rattle Thing. I could be wrong. Maybe it's a job for Rustica? Half Uncial? Humanist Bookhand? Lombard Caps?

The internet is my friend. I'll find a nice font online.

I've thought of cutting posies out of sheet, simple round, five-petaled dealies and then etching, chasing or carving some detail into them or would that be onto them. I don't know. Chasing is likely to mark the back of the posy was well as the front and I don't want that. The five-petaled dealies have a certain symmetry that I find pleasing in this context but wonder if I could work on the lily motif some more. Is there something I could use that would say lily but would not be too pointy? More pondering to follow.

I have decided on a cross (not a crucifix, I don't want lightning to strike when God sees my wax carving non-skills) for Beatrice for her you're not a baby anymore, sorry I wasn't working metal when you were born so you didn't get a teething rattle present. So far I'm thinking I will do champleve and basse taille on it. Pat says she has gold foil if I want to use some and I might buy a little bit from her. And after all, it will be a very little bit. It will be a cross wearable by a child after all. I'm trying to remember if I've ever seen enameling over granulation and I think I have but maybe I'm making it up. There's no reason that it wouldn't work though. Only problem would be in the not burning up, the not melting, the cross or of the walls of the cells. But it could be, would be, a really neat effect. I have to pull out my books and see what I can see.

I need to make up a design. I wouldn't mind coming up with something that is vaguely reminiscent of a crucifix. Or otherwise make it all symbolic and spiffy and not just attractive. It is after all going to be a cross which is for some people more than a goth fashion accessory. Do goths wear enameled crosses?

*Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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