Stretching my boundaries

This weekend I just completed one of those inevitable “favor projects” that come your way more and more often when people find out you are a jeweler. But this one was different. This one was a turning point for my confidence, plus it gave me several ideas for some work I would like to make because of what I accomplished doing a favor for someone else. Nice.

So far I have done about 10 repairs this year. Everything from patching a strip of silver onto the inside of an over stressed cuff bracelet that had cracked, to sizing down a 10K gold ring with the stone left in place. Every repair that comes my way sends a tremor of fear down my spine because I dread the unanticipated mishap that might cause me to turn someone’s treasured jewelry object into a molten puddle. Luckily, I haven’t done this yet.

The cool thing about these little side jobs is that they give me a chance to challenge myself in ways that I like. Because, there are challenges that make you grow as a person, and there are challenges that are just a big fat pain in the butt. I do my best to steer clear of the latter, but sometimes they are unavoidable. Anyway, back to the latest project.

What made this project so cool was the thought behind it, the meaning of it, and the symbolic gesture it would become once I completed my part of the deal. A talented and creative friend of my son’s asked me to saw an antique silver serpent ring in half so he could present half to his beloved for her birthday on Friday. A relatively easy job of anneal, flatten, cut, anneal and coil again. But, what made it cool was that I sawed the serpent in half down the length of its spine — which created two separate snakes that could be worn together as one — or worn as two rings by two people who have to spend time apart, but are as interconnected as that snake originally was. As I cut that little reptile in half, it set my imagination on fire.

I put the package in the mail yesterday with a big smile on my face. Because now I have 3 pages of ideas I have sketched out due to the concept of that little ring. I can’t wait to get to my bench this weekend. Best of all, I can buy some metal with the fee I received for doing the job. Double nice.


About Helen Driggs

Metalsmith, Teaching Artist, Writer, Maker of things. Former Senior Editor of Lapidary Jewelry Artist Magazine View all posts by Helen Driggs

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