reticulated earrings

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Engineering 101

Brass Footings Pin
All my life I’ve been stable.
Dependable, reliable, responsible.
No matter how you word it, it all comes
Down to the same thing,

Well, by some people’s standards at least.

Ok, so own it.

But who says having your feet
Solidly anchored to the ground has to be boring?

Make something.   

As simple as this pin looks, it was a minefield of trouble.  It’s true; I have lots of experience in minefields.  As many of you know, I have been fretting over handmade Valentines every year for the last twenty, fussing over impossible sewing projects (12 sundresses in 12 days), starting thousands of knitted scarves that no one has ever seen (ok, I did finish one—Gina has it; oh, and that kid-scarf that was only about 12 inches long), and of course there was also that “crazy quilting” faze that I refuse to talk about; but mixed metals?!!  I’ll need to use sharp pointy things, and FIRE, and, gasp, sandpaper!  You want to talk about grit?

It did seem a little arrogant to take this on.  I had taken ONE 16-hour metal collage class (granted, with a master) and immediately started stocking my studio (with sharp pointy things and small flame throwers and, gasp, sandpaper).  My first, ehem, professional, project was designing and producing a pin.  I would use copper, brass, and aluminum, and, since aluminum doesn’t submit to soldering, I would have to put it all together with “cold connections” (that’s jewelers’ lingo for running from fire).  I’d have to get over my fear of tools and get started.

I did.  And even better, I finished it!  I remembered to keep fire away from my recycled corrugated aluminum (aluminum comes from a dysfunctional family:  it’s happy to melt but it won’t fuse to itself) and my cold connections were a huge success.  The pin back was a complication, since the pin back of my PIN was something of an afterthought!

I was going for texture, interest, functionality (fame, fortune, etc.).  Yes, an Engineering degree would have helped, but c’mon, it’s not like it’s a bridge or anything.

Cut copper sheet
Cut brass sheet 
Recycled corrugated aluminum
Copper wire rivets