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[personal profile] cahn
(note to [personal profile] ambyr: I have also been working on a long Byzantine chain for… uh… six months now, in little bits and pieces. I'm hoping I can actually finish it up this month. I'll try to post a pic when I do.)

So as you probably all know about me by now, I get these obsessions that last anywhere from a couple of weeks to a year long. They're about different things, but fairly reliably I can count on having an obsession every couple of years on some sort of jewelry-making, particularly with gemstones. I was overdue for one of these; pregnancy/nursing hormones this time around made me completely uninterested in gemstones, which was really really weird. I mean, this must be the way the rest of the world feels about them: I would look at a gemstone and think, "That's pretty!" but not feel like I had to do anything with it, or gaze at it obsessively, or (if it wasnt' something I owned) buy it (I don't buy gemstones very much these days, except cheapo lab synthetic stones — it was more of a pre-having-kids sort of thing -- but I always want to buy them, or did), or even feel compelled to look at more pictures of shiny. Then I got below my body's nursing threshold (I'm still nursing for a month or two longer, but only once in the morning) and bam! obsessiveness back again. Mind-body is weird, yo.

Anyhow!

So for the last fifteen years or so (…wow, now I feel old), since I became aware it was possible to actually make jewelry oneself, I've wanted to be able to make carved/sculpted jewelry. I tried to learn wax carving and then I got all excited about Precious Metal Clay (PMC) — now this is actually really cool stuff, it's small particles of silver (or gold, bronze, etc.) mixed with a binder that burns off at low (kiln-attainable) temperatures.

But the problem is that I kind of suck, a lot, at carving and sculpting and playing with clay. This is probably related to the fact that I find it deeply boring. (On the other hand, fabrication — sawing and soldering and drilling and hammering metal — is SUPER COOL and I love it, but I just don't have the physical or the mental space to think about doing that right now.) Also, the other thing I suck at is being careful about finishing work. So I made a couple of small PMC pieces that look, quite frankly, like something one would make in (early) grade school with clay, only were a lot more expensive to produce. (As you might expect, PMC is rather more expensive than silver, which itself hasn't been cheap for a while.)

And PMC is also pure silver — not sterling silver, which is an alloy of silver and other metal (usually copper, sometimes something else cool like germanium). Pure silver is much softer and weaker than sterling silver, so you aren't really supposed to make jewelry out of it. You can, but it will deform and scratch and break really easily. Something like a bracelet is Right Out.

Anyway, to make a long and circuitous story even longer, I just recently found out that I can model stuff with Blender, which for me is way WAY easier than sculpting in real life. (And it's also easier to undo mistakes! which is key!) So, yeah. Apparently the only thing that can make me spend entirely too much time on a steep-learning-curve sort of endeavor of my own volition is the prospect of being able to make Shiny Things. My brain really needs help. (If I could spend anything near like that amount of time on, like, actual Improving Life And/Or Career sorts of things...) I'd mucked around with Google Sketchup several years ago, but it's really not suited for this sort of thing. Blender is, steep learning curve and all. (Uh, and also someone made this awesome plug-in for making gemstone-shapes-for-modeling-purposes and prongs which I am totally using in the projects below.)

Printed at Shapeways (yes, this would be a super money sink if I actually had time to do this hobby properly, but perhaps fortunately, I don't) in Frosted Ultra Detail plastic and gold-plated brass. The former still doesn't fit my wrist properly after two iterations. (The back of the bracelet digs into my wrist.) I think I'm wedded to symmetry and my wrist is just not symmetric. Ah well, maybe iteration three will be the charm. The latter I got right first time out (I printed a prototype copy in plastic, just to see; the gold-plated brass is the second copy) and is going to be a birthday present for my mom. (Actually, the prongs are way too short, but that's okay for a pendant -- wouldn't work for a ring, though, as I would worry the stone wasn't secure enough.)

I seem to be getting off of this particular obsession (…I really don't have the time to obsess about it, which I think my brain is finally understanding), but I hope I can keep doing stuff once in a while, because it's awfully interesting and fun, and amenable to messing around for short stints here and there. And perhaps more to the point, I really like the results. :)



Bracelet
Bracelet
Infinity Pendant

Date: 2016-06-28 09:19 pm (UTC)
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
Cool! Every six months or so I price out 3D printed stainless steel as a comparison to the conventional machine shops we use for some of the more complex parts I design... it's getting really close. We'll be 3D printing a lot of internal components within the next year or two, I'd bet.

Blender terrifies me. I've looked at it once or twice as a potential video editor, but the interface is so crazy.

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