Last semester, I enrolled in a Jewelry and Metalworking course, and with the encouragement of an amazing instructor, I fell in love with metal. The first semester of class is full of mishaps- you melt wires, destroy bezels, burn yourself on a hot torch, and cry over the woes of cutting tiny jump rings that refuse to be flush.
Then, somewhere towards the end of the semester, you realize, wow, I have learned so much from all that frustration, and I love this! All the students in the course bounce ideas off one another and the encouragement is incredible. Nothing better than working in a room full of artisans. Some days, the room just surged with inspiration and artistic energy!
Copper was the metal that appealed the most to me, as it patinas and distresses beautifully. Creating my own art jewelry from sheets of metal and spools of wire is extremely liberating! I was able to blend my love of all things Natural History and my newly acquired skills to create pieces that appealed to my own personal aesthetics.
Flight of the Cicada
Since about 2007, I’ve been selling my art creations on Etsy and I wanted to design a line of handcrafted jewelry to introduce into my shop. After contemplating on what direction to go in, this is what I came up with – The Etched Menagerie:
I began by drawing sketches of various animals on a sheet of heavy copper. Victorian Woodblock prints were a heavy influence on my style here. After I was satisfied with my illustrations, I carefully cut out each copper shape and etched the image onto it. Because of the tiny details, I had to re-draw and re-etch most of them (while crying inside in frustration). Once the pieces were etched, I spent a lot of time at the grinding wheel smoothing edges and etch marks. To give the pieces an antiqued look, I used my favorite patina and played around with ways to apply it to the copper.
Cheetah necklace with shield toggle clasp
The effect of the patina was a rainbow-like one. The final pieces were finished with handmade findings and a heavy, antiqued copper chain.
Sea lion with sea urchin toggle clasp
Rhino with hand crafted toggle clasp
In a few weeks, I’ll be starting back up with my next metalworking course. I’ve already been contemplating so many new creations. I’m so eager to get back to working with metal and torches!
My jewelry pieces are available for sale in my Etsy shop, The Curious Panther: http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheCuriousPanther