Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Fiddler Ring

Although I have been brought up to sit still and quietly for long periods of time, there are certain times that I am unable to just BE. Sitting at the counter at a diner, I'll spin back and forth on the stool until somebody asks me to stop.

And now I present to you my new fiddler ring, designed for the monkey-people who like to have something shiny with which to fiddle. The ring itself is flared on each end, which traps three floating rings around the outside. The idea came from one of my clients who showed me her fiddler ring from Israel and asked me to try to make one, then I saw more rings like it at a jeweler's in Gothenburg and didn't let myself buy one (but I did get some earrings). My friend Cheryl says his signature is in Hebrew, so I did a little more research and found that these are normally called spinner rings or worry rings and may even be based on ancient Tibetan prayer wheels. I guess Israel just has good silversmiths, which is why they often come from there.

This piece was no small feat for me. Turning on my torch is a hurdle in itself, and this is the second time I've done a soldering project this week. It began with a sheet of sterling and two kinds of wire. I formed the sheet into a ring and then soldered the ends together, hammered it round on the ring mandrel, filed it, realized the seam wasn't completely soldered, torched it again until it sprang open from the forming, soldered some more, filed, polished.... I also soldered the three rings out of wire, then hammered them round and textured the middle one with the corner of my hammer head. Then I used a plumb bob to flare one side of the inside ring. Unfortunately, the tip of the bob reached all the way through and was hitting my bench block, so I ground the tip down with my new handy-dandy bench grinder, admittedly purchased for no particular reason other than Harbor Freight had them on sale. (Then I realized I'll have to get another bob for my original use of flaring small tube rivets with the point - whoops). So after I got one side of the ring flared I stuck on the floater rings and flared the other side to trap them on. Speaking of stuck on, it is wee bit small for me and I may have to go stick my hand in the fridge.

I'd like to set the record straight for a moment. A lot of people think because I am a jewelry designer, I make jewelry all day every day. I am happy to let them think that, but in reality I make jewelry whenever I feel like it or whenever I have a deadline. Does anyone else find that they get so much more done when they have limited time? For the last few weeks I've been busy filling orders and I still manage to work in side projects like this. So much that my beading studio in the basement is intact because I don't want to stop everything and move my stuff upstairs. I did move my torches to the garage yesterday, so I have a good place for dirty work. And now I can't stop thinking about making little stacking rings like the floaters here. Gotta make hay while I feel like it, and after that I'll move my studio. Interesting how my procrastination tactics become chores, and vice versa.

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