3 July 2013

Finding the findings

I have been struggling to get to grips with traditional metalworking skills, particularly those needed to craft the mechanics of jewellery pieces.  Failures, in varying degrees, so far include soldering, brooch pins, metal piercing. and anything that requires precision measurements and accuracy.  To be fair, I love my piercing saw (handed down from my father - a truly masterful goldsmith) and although I love the meditative process of piercing, I lack the patience to have any satisfactory control over the finished dimensions and form.   

Metal is such a cold, rigid material, it feels alien to work with compared to the flexibility of fabrics.  The act of working in metal is inevitably violent - heating the material to the point of surrender, before plunging it into a cold bath and then hammering it, bullying it, into taking on new forms and shapes.  Fabric on the other hand, would protest to the point of disintegration at such treatment.  If you have ever tried to fit a sleeve in a garment, you will know that fabric needs to be gently coerced or stretched into place.

It's taken me a while to accept the inevitable, but I am unlikely to be a maker who can draw on a wealth of traditional jewellery skills to solve the mechanics of my work.  But that doesn't mean I have to let go of producing the forms I need.  

I have written previously of my use of found objects, my findings ... and it's perhaps opportune that this same word is used to describe the small bits that go into the making of jewellery and garments.  I wonder what will happen if I replace jump rings and brooch pins with findings from the wonderful world of haberdashery?  Rather than using the obvious (buttons, zips, buckles etc.) the world of tailoring is full of hidden mechanics that support the structure and function of a garment ... methinks a trip to MacCulloch and Wallis is called for!

Flesh colour underwire casing, Macculloch & Wallis 

1 comment:

  1. Would a couron stick help to make jump rings made from thread? I can bring one on Thursday if it helps. Cathy