While in school I had all the equipment needed to solder, proper ventilation, tanks, pickle and all the forms and and hammers I could imagine. I sadly, took all of this for granted. Since graduating in 2005, I have been working in cold connections, which means simply, finding ways to connect metal with out soldering. I have been happy to work this way, in fact I felt that it perhaps made me a bit more creative when it came to designing with out immediately reverting to soldering. I felt, and still feel, that working in cold connections was like problem solving.
It has been in the last year or so that I have been seeking growth and change in my work. I have sketch books filled with designs I have had rolling around my head for years now with no way of bringing these to light with out the use of fire. So why, you may ask, did I not just purchase the equipment necessary to work this way. The answer is really not very interesting. I have felt uncomfortable having tanks in my house, I have no ventilation and it had been so long since I have worked this way, would I even remember how to do it.
Turns out, playing with fire is like riding a bike. I am not sure you really forget. As soon as I heard the "pop" of the torch as I lit it, I felt right at home all over again. Back in college, I was working on very "clean" pieces with bezel set stones and quite frankly, that work was not for me. It is still not. I am just not a precise enough person to work that way. This time, I was determined to work in a whole new way. I came to the studio with a large jar of sterling scrap. This jar contained every scrap of sterling I have created since 2003. I went into the studio with one goal in mind.....up-cycle these scraps.
I carved various shapes into charcoal blocks and laid my scrap in the fresh grooves and carefully, heated that metal until it was molten but not liquid and worked it around with my pick until I was pleased with the shape and texture of it. I couldn't stop. I couldn't get enough. I am not yet sure where I am going with this technique but I am in love. I would leave the studio feeling sunburned, my hands red and dry from the heat, but I was instantly hooked.
It just goes to show that as artists, discovery is the ongoing theme of our lives. Whether its self discovery, the discovery of a new process or a new material, this evolution is ever present. It is a good thing I love change!
Written by Sara of Heaven to Bessie.