Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Golden Acorn with Jean Stark

Is it Hot in Here?

After a week-long workshop in granulation with Jean, it was sweltering.

I just had probably the most intense jewelry workshop of my life. It was fun, scary, enlightening, nerve-wracking, frustrating and joyous all at the same time.

I started off by working three days on forming the above dome out of 22k gold and adding on those miniscule granules one at a time. Sometimes they would sit nicely where they were supposed to be, and other times they would slip down or slither over to hook up with some other granule formations they were not supposed to be a part of. But it was definitely 3 days worth of work before I reached the point of being ready to begin fusing. My brilliant teacher, Jean Stark, was at my side to watch over me as I began to fuse. My heart was actually beating faster and my palms were sweaty. I'm not kidding about this. I was SCARED. Anyway, the torch was put to the dome and heated until it was a bright, glowing red (I thought for sure it was going to just burn up and melt into one big blob). Jean gently encouraged me on how to use the torch, and little by little the granules fused to the gold. It all happens so quickly. Knowing when to stop and move the torch away before melting is a skill one develops over time I imagine. At this point in my granulation experience, which is practically zero, all I could do was try not to blink in case I missed the "flash" that told me the granules had fused.

Then it was on to making the bail, as well as re-firing the dome again and again to fuse wayward granules. I must have torched this dome at least 10 times, so you can probably imagine how happy I was to bring this baby home all in one piece.  

Amazing experience with an amazing teacher!