A chronicle of the meanderings, false starts (which in retrospect, while sort of embarrassing turned out to be highly instructive), epiphanies, selective apathy (still evolving), wild mood swings, opinions (subject to frequent change), and life lessons of an inveterate dabbler (and her latest dabblings).
Sunday, March 18, 2012
The Power of Money
I have a big bag of money from around the world--some of it I collected on my own travels, and some of it my mom gave me. I've hung on to it for years. Wouldn't it be cool, I thought, to use some of these coins in a piece of jewelry? But alas, I lacked the patience to drill them. (This is why I need a drill press.) So they languished in a drawer. I ran across them again yesterday, and pulled them out and pawed through them for a while, reminiscing, and put them away again.
Today I decided it was time to seriously work on my inventory for the little component shop I have in mind. I started working on some charms with some wire weaving, idly thinking about what a pain in the ass etching is and how beat up my brass texture sheets are and isn't there anything lying around the house somewhere that I could use to pound a cool texture---
OH MY GOD. THE COINS.
I leapt up, the Metal Muse on my tail. I was driven now.
I furiously dug in the drawer for the bag of coins, hauled them out and dumped them on the living room floor (where I do my hammering, hunched over like a Balinesian basket maker.) I pawed hungrily through them, looking for patterns, lettering, borders...
I found some with intriguing, intricate patterns and decided what I would do.
I annealed my copper pieces in the torch (until they glowed orange), quenched, pickled and cleaned them.
I took the first one, and positioned it atop a coin:
I fastened it in place with painter's tape:
Then I pounded the crap out of it with various hammers (with the coin underneath my copper shape), first with my really big one, then a little tapping in the center with my chasing hammer to make sure the center of the design was deeply impressed in the metal.
I did a bunch more with the more artistic looking coins:
The coins I eventually chose were from Japan, South Africa, Mexico, Swaziland and a bunch of British coins that I think my grandmother might have picked up on a vacation somewhere--the British ones are all from the late 50s and early 60s. The designs on them are fabulous! The beauty of these coins is how tough they are--they really take a beating! And they don't really cost anything.
I like how the copper shapes look almost like relics--like those misshapen coins you see brought up from sunken ships.
These will be destined for clasps, focals, connectors, and maybe even a little pair of earrings. I might attempt a little patina embellishment on them.