Thursday, April 28, 2011
Well after a long process, that was longer than I thought it should be I finished this ring.
This ring serves many purposes:
• I wanted to up my skill level in what I was presenting and working on with the RAW challenge
• I wanted to play with shapes, there are a lot of really cool geometric rings out there, I wanted to try one
• I felt the need to make a commemorative ring
Lets start with the commemorative part:
I am a dorky fan girl. I have accepted this, its just part of who I am, and I currently have a huge crush on Peter Steele.
I have a thing for tall dark broody guys with long black hair and green eyes. (This basically describes my husband--I've already admitted Im fairly shallow and have a limited "type" of guy I will look twice at--and my husband finds this all completely amusing.) Peter Steele was the epitome of tall dark and handsome. He was 6'8"ish, had traffic-light green eyes, and long long black hair. He wrote, sang , and played bass for Type O Negative. His voice was like dark chocolate, deep and resonating, and he was built like Conan the Barbarian. Unfortunately he died last year.
I was actively sketching ideas for a commemorative piece to mark the anniversary of his death. I was not originally playing with geometric shapes (I was looking at artistic representations of a penis, heck the man's stage name was Peter Steele and he was the first model for Play Girl to pose erect). I then sort of ditched the idea, and thought I had moved on to just working out some geometric ideas--not related to a commemorative piece--when I realized I was recreating the Type O Negative logo. I ran with that idea (and I could wear it around my kids with out having to explain why mommy has a penis on her finger).
I admit Im not some long time fan of the band, they had minimal impact on my life. Yes I heard their music, heck I even remember the video for Black No. 1 (Its really hard to forget a guy who can play a stand up bass like a guitar) but I didn't really know who they were. I was more familiar with Peter's face because he would show up on websites for some of my favorite authors as an example of what character X, who just happened to be a vampire or a werewolf, would look like. Yes Im a huge paranormal smut- I mean romance- book reader. For some reason Peter Steele's death has turned me into a fan, and artistically has impacted some projects in very interesting and good ways. So, no, I originally wasn't out to make a band fan-girl ring. But now I have I am glad I have.
The original design was plain silver, the second version involved green stones in the center part and an enamel channel, I love the look of enamel and stones.. well that was a disaster. The enamel has actually always been "fauxnamel" I found the PERFECT finger nail polish color. After I finally gave up on the stones, I made a new band with a channel for enamel.
The fauxnameling process was easy, and I took it slow in layers. It looks pretty good, and Im just not really an enamel kind of gal.
I've learned a bit more about ring making with PMC on this project:
• Even if you plan on doubling up the shanks eventually, make them 5+ cards thick
• The standard 2 hour 1650 firing schedule will shrink PMC+ even more, and it makes for a stronger ring
• no matter how thick and dry a pile of slip looks, its still not going to be as structurally sound as if it were made from lump clay
• if the project looks like it would work better using traditional metal smithing techniques, thats probably the case--this ring probably would have been easy breezy with cut pound and solder
• I need more tools- a circle template is a must, now I have to go digging thru my old art school tools, since I know I have one
• planning ahead helped a lot. Making the cardboard mock up to see how it would go together was a project saver.
• drying forms are a must, I made some U shaped drying forms for box rings, and I am really glad I did.
• I need to work on my finishing skills. Yes I made this ring for me, but from a technical stand point and construction, its a mess. Its embarrassingly bad for a level 2 PMC artisan.
• If you do use the standard firing schedule, make the ring more than 2 sizes up. I made this ring size 11 to fit my chubby 9 finger, it shrank even further and fits my pinky.
I would do a whole lot of things differently if I were to do it again. Would I? If I do it will be in bronze or copper, and then I have to use a whole different set of construction techniques from the silver. This may not be a bad thing.
Honestly if I were ever to try to do it again, I would learn how to do it with traditional methods.