My husband and I attended the Ann Arbor Art Fairs this afternoon.
It's the first time I've been to a really good high quality art fair
since I started casting silver 5 years ago.
I soon found I was looking at all the jewelry with different eyes
than ever before.
In the past I just glanced at the designs and either liked them or
didn't, and moved on quickly to the next booth..
This time, I stopped and looked at techniques and construction
methods, whether or not I liked the actual pieces.
I stopped to talk to several artists about how they made things that
interested me, and was pleasantly surprised to find that they were
all happy to talk to me about their work, rather than keeping their
techniques to themselves. I looked at the artists' names to see if I
recognized any names from Orchid, but I didn't see any.
I discovered that I have gained respect for techniques just from
reading about them out here, even though I've never tried doing them
myself. I found myself drawn to fabricated jewelry that I never would
have even glanced at in the past, because I know from reading on here
how difficult it can be to do that fine small scale assembly. I talked
to a woman who makes only one-off built-up wax designs, casts them
and sells them--she never makes molds of her work, and never carves
anything. She gave me pointers in wax buildup techniques, and in
turn, I told her about Orchid, and about wax carving classes with
I met another woman who does delicate silver work that is completely
held together by perfectly balled wires--32 gauge and finer balled
wire. I came away from her booth with a new resolve to master the
evil water torch that is the bane of my soldering existance.
I fell in love with textures that were applied to metal with acid
etching and rolling mills. I think I might need to add a rolling
mill to my shop someday soon.
The acid etching, well, that might have to wait until we can move
and I have a separate building for the shop. I'm not too sure about
having those chemicals in the house around the parrots and dogs.
When we were on the way home, I found myself making a mental
shopping list of new tools I'd like and new things I want to learn to
do. I didn't buy anything today other than lunch, but I suspect this
is going to be my most expensive trip ever to an art fair.
so much to learn, so much to make so little time
Feathered Gems Jewelry