a chirp for christmas

Monday, January 4, 2010

Whew! The holidays are over and the kids go back to school tomorrow! Between the blizzard and the winter break, we've had plenty of together time. Actually, the hubs and the grandparents did a lot with the kids while I was in the basement trying to make progress on sewing stuff for chirp & bloom.

Can I just say that I have the sweetest husband ever? He's more of a Amazon/Home Depot/Gap kind of guy, but he went and got himself set up with an Etsy account just so he could get me something I would like for Christmas. And this is after threatening to just wrap up the sewing machines I had to buy this year and stick those under the tree.

Out of all of my "favorites", he picked this sweet little bird necklace by Sue Urquhart of Lulu Bug jewelry in Santa Rosa, California. I find birds uplifting and cheerful. They are part of why I love working at home- I get to have the windows open and hear the chirping of the birds. The necklace is made of a material called "PMC" which stands for precious metal clay, the precious metal being silver. It's a relatively new material that's only been around for 12 years or so. I have only a vague idea of what is involved in metalsmithing, but what I usually picture is gobs of red-hot molten stuff getting poured into molds. Not so with PMC.

It handles basically like regular clay and gets fired in a kiln. Sue etches the imagery for her jewelry onto brass plates and prints the textures onto the clay. The technique allows for fine details which get even finer as the clay shrinks (about 15%) in firing. There is some finish work after the firing involving brushing and filing. I'm sure it's all a lot harder than it sounds, but not as hard or limiting as traditional metalsmithing. Sue's blog has all sorts of interesting tidbits about it.

See? Not all jewelry has to be made overseas in mass quantities.

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