It is no secret that I don’t really appreciate WInter. I really don’t like the cold, I miss the garden and I am so cheap (frugal?) that I hate listening to the furnace burn up our money. However, I do find that snow drifts are very inspiring. My last set of snow day pictures yielded some neat shots that made braving the biting winds of February feel worthwhile. When my fingers defrosted, I looked through a set of crisp, cold and very interesting photos. The rippling snow patterns compelled me to begin work on a series of high relief Repoussé cuff bracelets and some medallion pendants. Winter, it turns out, is a good time for craft.
I have been a metalworker for a very long time. My studio paraphernalia and my tools have been in boxes for the last few years. We bought this nifty little house and now I have the space to set up my workshop again. So very nice!
I like to work in sterling silver, in bronze and in gold — and each of these are malleable enough for me to work them in a technique called Repoussé. “To push”, that is the definition of the word Repoussé, well “pushed up” actually, in French. There are so many ways to change the shape of a piece of metal. Metal can be forged by a hammer, pierced by a saw, drawn into wire, carved with files or gravers, or made molten and then cast into preformed shapes but Repoussé is my favourite way to shape metal.
Making jewellery with this technique is quite meditative and I love working with my chasing tools, my pitch pot and a my cunning little chasing hammer. It is pleasing to listen to sound of the hammer making the little tap, tap, taps, that chase lines and forms into the metal. I even love the smell of the black resiny pitch that holds my work in place. There are newer varieties of pitch that clean up more easily and are generally considered superior but I am a creature of habit and I like using my old “medieval” style tarry black pitch pot.
Things have really changed since the last time I took jewellery photos and they have definitely changed for the better. This change consists of a simple little iPhone. I never was a gifted photographer and most likely never will be, but I am really happy with the shots I can get with this nifty little phone-camera.
Most of the pieces that left my studio over the years went unrecorded. I am not patient with fussy cameras (I would rather be working) and so, just did not take any pictures. This little device takes reasonable shots with no need for special lenses, no need for a light box… yes, this is more like it! I do find it quite helpful to be able to look through the jewellery work of my past and with some more practice I am hoping that this little camera will make it much easier to make a proper archive.
I am also hoping that my newest set of Repoussé pieces will prove to be worth documenting!11