Rings are my main focus of interest in jewellery making
Rings are my main focus of interest in jewellery making. The first one that I made was a representation of a Moth set with a black star sapphire .
In order to display the ‘star’ in such a sapphire is to shape it as a cabochon. I believe that this is the Middle French word for ‘bald head’ and it describes very accurately the appearance of such a ‘cut’ of any kind of stone used in jewellery, smooth not faceted. Lit from above the ‘star’ is usually seen as having six points radiating from the centre.
At the time of creating this ring I also unwittingly adopted an approach which has stuck with me for my forty-odd years of jewellery making: I usually allow the stone to suggest the form of the design, almost as a sculptural process. I rarely design a piece beyond a very basic suggestion; from the beginning, the design comes from finding the solution to a problem – how to hold the stone firmly, and one hopes permanently, in the setting.
This first ring was made from scrap pieces of silver, some of it coin silver, which has a content close to that of Sterling but alloyed with other elements to harden it for constant handling. I shaped and fitted and bent, sawed and hammered and through solving the problem of securing the sapphire I was presented with something suggesting wings and a central body. From there I followed whatever design, balance and taste instincts I may have been blessed with and the result was my First Moth.
From what I’m writing here you may guess at my secrets – probably to all of my life’s activities. Fascination, often short-term single-mindedness, experiment, love of ‘smallness,’ of miniaturisation and detail, an opportunist’s dependence on accident and above all, on luck, the invaluable magic ingredient.
I love making things, I love the ‘doing’ of things. Luck shaped the success of my acting career and a probably undeserved facility for interpretation and the ability to display it before the public sustained it for about thirty five years, and finally Luck, tired of my dependence on it, brought it unceremoniously to an end in the form of Multiple Sclerosis. Never a star, either by inclination or achievement, I had been a devoted Company member, a theatrical problem solver, and since I have become unable to ‘do’ the Theatre, my interest in it has changed. My respect for it remains and my love and admiration for all my friends who are still ‘doing’ it, but, My Goodness, I’m not as entertained by it as I always was, and of course I can’t be fulfilled by it.
And because it’s in my genes I now am filled, indeed consumed by other interests, passions if you like. My painting, which was always my first love, (possibly because I find it so difficult,) my SiPaddings, a new wonderful discovery, and my jewellery-making, among other things.
I can’t describe the satisfaction I get from carving and polishing my precious and semi-precious jewels. I don’t facet them, I don’t particularly like faceted stones and I find no interest in diamonds.
The way I deal with the jewels is to sculpt them I suppose, to make irregular cabochons, trying where possible to be directed by the overall shape of the rough material. As I have said I love rings, I make pendants, actually I like jewellery that touches the skin. However because of the sculptural possibilities I’m thinking of
possibly branching out into brooches. And the Moths are always fluttering in the back of my mind along with all their Insect relatives. I’ve also formed a romantic attachment to Bats and Frogs.
But at the moment I think there is enough to keep me busy, and to talk about. (I’ll try not be quite so autobiographical as I’ve been here but I’ll probably fail.) When the website was suggested to me I thought “I have nothing to say, I have no great philosophical message to offer to the world.” I still feel that to be true, but I’ve been encouraged to engage in this blog as part of my website adventure and so with your indulgence I’ll keep going, mainly about my ‘doing’ but also about anything that crosses my mind which interests me.
Perhaps with some of my afore-mentioned Luck you might be interested too.