Day 21. A ring every weekday during March= 21 original rings, and I didn't even cheat by using any preexisting rings! The last ring is a bouquet made of 14k gold fill wire, just a fun little explosion of metal. I consider my brain expanded from this exercise in forced creation, and I only hit the wall yesterday after failing to make a concrete ring that worked (more playing in store, surely), but this morning looked brighter in the inspiration department and I was able to complete the month's task. Yippee!
Today's ring is something I have been thinking of for a while without quite knowing how to approach it; a ring that allowed for a changing display. I was inspired when the daphne odora began blooming and I wanted to make a 'scent' ring, one that could temporarily clasp a little blooming branch of intense daphne. At the same time, I have always wanted to incorporate another passion of mine, photography, into jewelry. This coiled steel ring, tight but open at the top loop, is my solution. The result is a living ring that changes its display with a whim!
Today's ring has been through the ringer, so to speak. This is not how it began! Originally, I planned to master granulation (hah! how naive I was!) and add it to the top surface and set small cabochons within the granules. I have not yet mastered that technique, though, and really that was WAY too huge an undertaking.
But after managing to get a bit of granulation to fuse down, I switched gears and added some torch fired enamel, though with an ill prepared surface and uneven firing it only worked in some places. Luckily, I happen to love how mottled and organic the surface looks now!
I love the ring form, and how when it is worn it actually covers three fingers. VERY cool! What else could be added to the 'table' of the ring? Limitless!
Plywood and pearl art ring
Yesterday's ring, taken another step. Too far? In brainstorming, which this month of making rings is all about, nothing is too far.
One idea I didn't have the materials for was to create a little showcase in the cut out square, maybe screw acrylic covers on both sides such that the 'box' could be filled with a kaleidoscope of gemstones to shake and view.
In my "other" life, I am trained as an architect and have a lot of hands on experience building. One of my favorite materials is Baltic birch plywood, with its beautiful, clean surface and graphic layering. I have tones of scraps of it around the wood shop and whipped up this ring using a chopsaw and drill before filing and sanding. If I'd had time I would have used something like Daly's Pro-Fin to build up a glowing protective finish, but in a pinch used matte acrylic medium just to protect the wood.
Just a playful exercise-- I drilled a hole in a plastic bunny so I could insert a steel ring shank, painted the bunny with green nail lacquer, then used jewelry glue to adhere a line of rubies. Wouldn't it be cool to cast the bunny in solid silver and truly set the gems? That would surely be over the top (in an awesome way).
Today's ring was an exercise in fusing fine silver by wrapping it around and folding over the ends before torching. Once I had done this, I realized I had the perfect space left to channel set a tiny gemstone, so I put in a little sapphire. Fine silver is so soft, though, that if I remake this ring I will use sterling for better sturdiness.
Today's ring takes the simple wrap-around technique I used in the stick ring and simplifies it a bit more, creating a basic wrap prong setting to fit around the gorgeous raw blue apatite gemstone. Raw + crude = elegant!
Coiled steel tornado ring with amethyst crystals
Today's ring began with the idea of creating a spiral coil in a vase-like shape. I wasn't sure when I began what I would put in the center, but I had an idea of it functioning sort of like the vases in new VW Bugs. Instead, when I finished the steel coil shape it seemed to cry out to be stuffed with an explosion of something extraordinary, hence the raw amethyst crystals. Two crude materials transform each other, I think.
Yesterday was a soldering disaster. I still don't know what was going wrong with my technique, but it took me all day to finally get my copper spiral soldered to the cast sterling ring I had sitting around. I was so exhausted by the frustration of over and over cleaning, sanding, degreasing, torching, and pickling that I faked the peridot settings (a peridot on each side) until I have more energy to re-anneal the copper to soften it enough to be able to press around the gems to hold them.
Today's ring, the cast sterling silver set with blue topaz teardrop with added granular prongs, I actually made the other day when working with the other cast ring. I love how this one turned out, and I was careful to place the granular fine silver close enough to actually function as prongs.
Today I am working on another piece, still playing with trying to use granulation to set stones, but this time trying to set cabochons on flat sterling. This will require more success than I have had so far getting granulation where I want it on my silver. Hence, posting the other ring as today's! We will see where...IF...this ends up.