Monday, April 27, 2009

For Lack of A Manicure and a New Design

I have come to terms with the fact that my fingers will never again look manicured. My fingernails will always be short and chipped, and my finger tips will be rough and callused. At any given time there will small cuts and abrasions on my hands and perhaps small blood blisters from a hammer that went off course or a nasty pinch from pliers.

Exhibit A:
Lovely! I'm not sure if you can see exactly how bad my fingernails look. But they are bad. I wonder if this is natural or if I'm particularly bad at something or if I'm doing something wrong.

That cut is from this:

This is a Moore's disk, a little sandpaper wheel with sharp(ish) edges, as I found out.

This is my newest ring:

I've recently purchased some new tools, a couple of bezel mandrels in different shapes because I'm getting ready to start using stones of different shapes. Pretty excited! I had them overnighted (along with some stones I need for some orders) so they should come tomorrow. I also bought a burnisher to use in the flex shaft, so that will be good. I'll be using that to smooth the rim of metal around the stone.

This was another project I worked on last week. The customer wanted my Raw Circle design, but she also wanted it modified, with less metal around the stones and fewer texture marks. And she also wanted it joined into one ring. I finally figured out how to do that without any trouble by using this ceramic mandrel I had purchased to use while soldering.

I had a bit of a rough weekend, everything I touched seemed to go wrong. Ever have that happen? Some days it's just like I have the Midas touch, everything turns out awesome, and then the very next day nothing works and I have to scrap a project. I just want those days to get less and less. I think sometimes that I'm getting too tired and that I haven't recognized when I need to stop and rest. Maybe I should divide my week up into different work days, like Monday, Wednesday, Friday work at the bench. Tuesday, answer emails and order materials. Thursday work on drafts of new designs and maybe work on special projects. But I think that I have to answer emails everyday, I think customers really like it when I get back to them within a day. I normally do unless they have a question that I need to think about or if they're jerks, in which case sometimes I wait for a while. I really hate it when people email me with one line like "How much would this _____ be?" or "Can you do this______ and this ______?" Without a hello or giving their name or anything. It's just strange, I think. I would never approach a stranger with a demand for an answer like that. Maybe I'm being sensitive, but it just seems rude. And those people usually never order anyway. It's the people who actually take the time to write an email and give me their name that actually order things and I almost want to just focus on those people.

I'm thinking about getting equipment to start casting things this next month. It's a big step though and I don't makes me nervous!


tracylee811 said...

Sorry to hear you had a rough weekend, mine went the same way! Your jewelry is beautiful, thanks for sharing your creative process.

bdeclee said...

Hey Justine,
I found your blog in a really circuitous way. That's what's so great about the internet, but makes it such a time sink. I think I linked from someone on, Particularly Pretty. Then I went to her blog, and she featured a ring of yours. I clicked on the link and went to your Etsy shop, which I loved, and then read your profile and followed the link to your blog, which I am enjoying reading IMMENSELY because I relate to it so much.

Seems to me that you are well on your way to being a real live goldsmith. I am beginning my journey in July, when I have an intensive 5-day course. Like you, my fingernails look like dung; I have "metal block" from time to time, and snoring dogs (terriers).

Good luck to you! I am going to link your blog to mine ( Cheers! - Barbara

Bean Collins said...

Hi Barbara,

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to look through my blog. I'm glad to know I'm not just dropping stuff into the void! Good luck with your intensive, I'm sure you will love it!


Linzy said...

Hello Bean Justine-

Wandered here from your Etsy store (bravo), and just wanted to comment that linking your blog is a great idea. When it comes to jewelry, there is so much option and a fair amount of overlap (one can only be SO original, although you seem to be doing well with that) and for the handmade sector, I think the personality and values of the seller might really tip the scales- it is the hands behind the work that makes a piece more than just metal. I just wanted to tell you to enjoy the cuts, scrapes, and fingernail breaks that you earn while working. The metal is shaping you just as you are shaping it. It is a very co-dependent relationship. Yes, Justine, love sometimes hurts. But isn't it worth it?
Keep up the good work. Casting is one of my all-time favorite methods and I will probably pop back by sometime and take a peek at what you do with it.

Cheers, in VT.

Bean Collins said...

Hi Linzy,

Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog. I appreciate the feedback. I'm very excited to start casting as one of my design options. I love fabricating, and it has definitely influenced my designs and styles. But I think I'm ready to explore the other options that wax carving offers.