Bronzite, faceted smoky quartz, and mookaite for inspiration.
WIP--Chrysoprase beads and silver necklace.
Sometimes one has the urge to torch things. At such times, it helps a great deal if one remembers to have one's propane torches filled up and ready to go. That is something I failed to do and to complicate matters, my butane torch, the workhorse of my jewelry making adventures, went kaput. There is always the scary hot MAPP gas torch which I use for serious stuff, like reticulation, but it is no fun to use on hot and humid days. The thing to do then is get beady. Today, I am making silver leaves that will be dapped and hammered to form a necklace along with chrysoprase beads. I am not quite sure whether this design is the one I want. I could use silver beads and add cabochons--perhaps opal or moonstone--the the leaves. That would call for soldering and soldering calls for a new butane torch. It seems that I will have to buy one anyway. In order to dangle gracefully, those leaves need soldered findings--loops. Drilling the top of the leaf and inserting a wire loop might work too. I will experiment.
Against my better judgement, I agreed to do a show in Maryland, in autumn. Junior is all for it. Her homemade soap and felted bags are usually a hit and she gets to meet other artisans. My jewelry is too expensive for country fairs and at best I sell half a dozen pieces. The good thing is that a couple of the buyers might become loyal patrons, returning to commission new projects. All in all, we artisans work for the love of the craft. Few of us are able to leave their day jobs and yet we persist, knowing that we are competing with ill-paid Third Word craftspeople for whom a dollar an hour an acceptable salary. My hometown has a silver shop that sells jewelry made in Bali and India and the Smithsonian sells quilts made in China. I am not sure who benefits from globalization. Perhaps it is good that the Balinese, Indians get paid a dollar an hour. I have slightly higher overhead and therefore I need a better salary that is better than that. Perhaps it is ethical to buy inexpensive crafts made by Chinese political prisoners whose working conditions would give OSHA inspector cardiac arrest. You get decide; Third World craftspeople usually cannot.


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