Intimidate - to frighten or overawe (someone), especially in order to make them do what one wants.
Are you easily intimated? I am speaking in the "jewelry making" sense of the word, of course. I used to be. With all of the social media plastering images - Face Book, Pinterest, Etsy, heck, Google Images - it's hard not to be. I used to wonder, "how I could I live up to that?" I would swoon over images of jewelry that quite frankly, scared me into thinking "how in the world did they make that"; or, "I could never do that!"; and the worst one, "My designs never look as good as that, why do I continue to do this?" . It would actually depress me. Bottom line is, I don't need to live up to any one's standards, except my own - and most importantly, I don't want to. It took me years to say this last statement.
Don't get me wrong - I still ooh and awe over images of pure art. But nowadays, I am admiring the art instead of downgrading my own and berating myself into trying to unsuccessfully emulate it. Why would anyone want to copy someone else's designs in the first place? I will never understand that, and it actually infuriates me! I simply appreciate its beauty, but I will admit that sometimes, my mind wanders into the techniques used to create this fine art.
By doing this, I have realized that my repertoire of techniques needs tweaking - some a lot more than others. Like bezel setting...and using that least favorite tool in my arsenal - the jeweler's saw. So, a couple of week's ago, I made a challenge for myself - use only sheet metal and wire - and create a piece of jewelry that is 100% handmade - and in the process, tweak those two techniques. I have lots of cabochons that need setting - but, bezel setting is very frustrating for me. So, I decided to practice using copper instead of those precious gemstones that will one day make a gorgeous focal/earrings/bracelet, or ring, I hope.
I have recently acquired a few handmade stamps from Danny Wade. So, I cut out a copper disc from a very old piece of copper where my etching did not quite etch deep enough, and domed the metal to resemble a cabochon. I then stamped some pretty designs on a back plate, held my breath, and used that jeweler's saw that I absolutely despised.
I added some handmade chain that took way too long to make (that is an understatement)...
...and added a copper tube bead from my stash that has a bit of PMC fired on for texture and color.
I have not taken this bracelet off since the day I made it. Feeling successful with that saw and bezel setting, I made a few more pieces. With each back plate sawed, it got a little bit easier. The bracelet below features a handmade bead - in the shape of a drum, if you will, with matching stamping along its sides.
Infinity link soldered chain on this bracelet.
Tiny little post earrings - I FORCED myself to saw around that excess back plate, instead of grabbing my shears.
Then came the necklace - and this focal truly almost killed me - my spirit, at least!
It was not the sawing that almost did me in (though it is not perfect)...it was the bail! That is the third bail I soldered onto that back plate. I just did not like the first two, I was getting tired of soldering on a bail...hating it and soldering it off...solder on another one...solder it off. So, it is what it is! Each link in the chain is soldered - even those itsty bitsy jump rings.
The last piece is a ring. I even stamped the bezel wire - a first for me.
I truly feel like this "challenge" was an accomplishment for me - practice, practice, practice. And that jeweler's saw...I am now a huge fan!
While I am still on the subject of emulating other's work, last week, Carol had introduced a new tool on Love My Art Jewelry (see her post here). Her bracelets made with the techniques used with this tool (bending brake) were simply gorgeous. She was kind enough to include a link as to where she purchased this marvelous little tool. There is a Harbor Freight Tool store located not too far from my house, though I have never even stepped foot inside. What a mistake to wait that long! I picked up the tool, and started to play.
Not the best pictures, but Carol suggested "slipping something decorative" into the channel created inside the border edges of the folded over metal . So, I did a bit of fold forming on some 30 gauge sheet, and made this cuff.
This is possibly the biggest cuff I have ever made, though it is only 1 3/4" wide, it seems thicker!
I had time to make one more little design using this cool technique. This pendant is actually 2 pieces of metal - the base, with the folded over edges, and the inside piece of metal.
If you look closely, the inside design features a piece of brass and copper (I used 24 gauge) that were soldered together into one flat sheet, and independently textured. Carol demonstrated this technique last year in this post post (click here) and it has been on my "to try" list ever since first reading it.
So, while I did have to wipe the drool off my keyboard when seeing Carol's designs, I did not feel the need to copy them - rather, make them my own. (Thank you, Carol!) :)
I am continually inspired by the art created by the contributors of Love My Art Jewelry, as well as the myriad of artists that surround my "online" world, and for that, I am truly grateful. Inspiration instead of intimidation - that's my motto these days.
Inspiration - something that makes someone want to do something or gives someone an idea about what to do or create
Thanks for hanging in there for another long post - now go create something wonderful!