Traveling Coral Cuff on the West Coast September 18 2015 2 Comments
There comes a time when you know a lot about metals and skin pH reactions and it all collides with your knowledge about sculpture and wearable pieces as it pertains to porcelain jewelry. That moment came about five months ago. You may recall this gorgeous piece of porcelain coral...
She was my pride and joy. My sweetums. My little heartache because every single carving after this one never reached a firing stage. It broke, it drove the time and effort up during carving. My excitement shifted into glum-moodiness about the whole design effort.
But then, I came around to the accessibility of brass and its historical representation through the metal ages and honestly? I took a risk to try and work with a local foundry. Trained in lost-wax casting during college (while I studied architecture, don't be so surprised!) -- my studio is just not setup as a metal foundry so much as it is for small scale gold melting and porcelain kiln fires. So, I took my carved porcelain piece and shrunk it down and cast it into wax for sprewing up for a lost-wax-cast piece. Basically, I was preparing to have it melted into brass or sterling silver. I did two things after my first casting was in my hands. I banged it on the table. That things was WAY too thick. The second thing I did was skin test it. Because lordy-lordy, I have the worst skin for testing metals on. My skin EATS plated metals so that's a no-no in my book. I also will find any residue of nickel (no matter how tightly bonded to the metal) so even going to the dentist where they use stainless steel is no fun. Stainless steel is not nickel free my friends... among other metals. So just be careful where you buy from or just shoot me a message.
I sourced a responsible and honest brass melter and I am so happy to have this beautiful design back and wrapped around my wrist. Going a step further. I created a special surface protection for wearing against skin pH such as my own. Have you ever turned black from a silver metal? Possibly green after wearing copper or brass around your finger? I used to think it was because the metal was dirty and poor quality. But this chemical reaction has to do with your skin pH. Your bodies natural oils tend to be balanced more toward the acidic side of nature, so naturally, metals will tarnish. This notoriously happens to me for my fingers, neck, ears... which is why I always choose to work with fine 14k gold-filled metals. This is also why plated metals don't work well for me and why the plating quickly etches away to reveal the typically used nickel bond. (boo-hiss).
Being able to protect my awesome and expensive-taste skin from tarnishing nice and basic historical metals like brass lets me celebrate the gold-tones without the crazy cost. So, I'm seriously delighted with myself. [Pats self on back.]
Since my husband and I traveled for the past two weeks for a couple of shows I had lined-up in September: a pop-up at Moorea Seal and the maker show with Brit + Co for Remake 2015. I had pictures of my recently completed coral cuff exploring the PNW with me.
Hiking through the Oneonta Canyon Columbia River Gorge in Oregon.
Grabbing coffee with Midnight Pacific founder Stacey Mairs in Portland, OR (who shot this photograph). Then, that same day, arriving at the CA coastline for my first beach run with my husband (the big runner).
It was definitely an inspiring trip and I will have some great memories of all the running I got to share with my favorite guy.
We even snagged a 13+ mile run on about four different trails in the Redwood Forest. So traveling down the coast from Seattle to San Francisco will be a hard-to-beat road-trip for our years to come.
Hope you all have had a wonderful start to your September!