Martin Houses

My favorite way to start the morning is with a hike in Warner Park. It's such a beautiful place, and its peacefulness readies me for a productive day. Yesterday, as I was walking through the sweeping field that leads to my favorite trail, the martin houses caught my eye. 

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I love the sculptural forms of each house and the way they're all connected with metal spokes. The houses made me think of some rough faceted mother-of-pearl that I had just purchased, so I was anxious to get back to my studio and flesh this one out.

I began the piece by employing a method that I often use to create little gemstone clusters. I wired each piece of mother-of-pearl and then configured the stones on a longer sterling wire to create a wonderfully knobby pendant. 

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This technique was a great way to capture the spokes connecting the houses. I then formed three silver "wings" and soldered them together.  I wanted to incorporate the curved ridge crowning each opening and in the process capture the feeling of flight. Lastly, I attached the pendant and slid the piece on a flat sterling curb chain, one of my favorites, as it lays nicely against the skin. 

Admittedly, this interpretation is a bit abstract, but I love where the photo took me. This piece is $135.00

Moon Shell

I was hooked for life on metal work the first time I took a cheap ball-peen hammer to some copper wire. Watching the metal spread out with each strike and running my fingers over the beautiful marks left behind was so satisfying. It seemed impossible that I could become even more smitten with my new hobby, but when I discovered all the cool tools that were "necessary" for metal work,  I fell through the trap door to the realm of equipment obsession.

In the world of metalsmithing tools, it's a short road from serviceable to luxe. My first tool splurge was a Peddinghaus forming hammer. It's what I use to this day. I love it. I still have my cheap ball-peen, but while I seemingly make weekly trips to Goodwill in an attempt to keep our home clutter-free, I don't think I've ever gotten rid of a tool related to my work.

So, I was cleaning out a drawer in my son's room, and came across this shark eye moon shell that we found in beautiful St. Joe Bay. I knew it would inspire a piece that would need some hammering perfection. 

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I wanted to capture the spiral of the shell, but didn't want to rely on one continuous piece of silver for this. In just about every piece I create, I use a signature ball wrap to close loops of wire, so I thought this technique would be the perfect way to continue the spiral and allow for the addition of a piece of rainbow moonstone. 

 

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I really like the way the moonstone captures the luminescent gleam of the shell. This piece is about an inch in diameter ($132) and I plan to create more in varying sizes. 

As always, thank you for reading. I welcome comments and questions and invite you to subscribe to my blog.

-Suzanne