With only a short time to prepare for this opening at the gallery, I decided to start by making the jewelry items that take less time: earrings and necklaces. This way I would have items to show, even if I had to finish up the more time-consuming pieces later (meaning, any pieces that include cabochons to set).
Even with my earrings, I rarely make the same exact pair twice. I consider them the ‘sketches’ of my jewelry line. I can try out proportions, shapes, and combinations of stones, and see how they work.
I started by soldering a pile of different sized circles, and then made simple shapes out of sheet silver. I piled them on my bench near my stones, and started to play with combinations and sketch ideas. Then I spread out a piece of fabric on my work table, and started laying out rows of the pieces I would make in rows. This way, when I walk into the studio the work to be done is clear. I pick up the silver and stones for a set, identify the sketch, then put together the piece. It goes down on a piece of fabric with the completed pieces. This way I can see how many are ready and how many I have left to do. Very motivational.
By late Thursday night I had the body of the show in place. Still to do - the photography, the labeling, the pricing. This is why I have always taken my own photos: last minute production! Ah well.
Then - the crazy part - I decided to try and put together three pieces with cabs. Here is one of the sketches. I use hand-held butane torches at home, and I tried my best to evenly heat these larger pieces to temp. No luck. So did I let it go? No! I called a friend with an enviable studio on a nearby island. Julie - a generous, tool-loving friend, invited me to use her torch. I took a morning ferry that gave me 2 1/2 hours in her studio. I managed to set the bezels for all three cabochons, and have a nice catch-up with her as well. Thank you, Julie!
I feel that I’m in a good place with the deadline aspect of openings with this small, local coop, Chimera Gallery. Have a reception date motivates me to put together new work, but doesn’t amp my stress level. In the end, I didn’t complete the cab pieces, and I’m ok with that. They will make it to the gallery later!
We had an enthusiastic, interested crowd at the opening. My favorite openings are the ones where the conversations are about the work. This was one of those! It’s a great time for me to ask for opinions about the new designs and stones. Thanks to everyone who came to look and chat!