Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Jewel of Ireland Found

My Aisling ring; Lotus earrings, Butterfly pendant

Sometimes I wonder, what is this insatiable hunger!   No matter what, there cannot be enough in life that I need to experience, share, learn, and grow with.  That constant driving force to be and do all that is within reach.  A curse... a blessing... or!!

Ask Irish land (my term of endearment for Ireland)

I believe the gusty Irish winds have finally blown me into the right “kitchen”, so-to-speak.  With an abundance of time on my hands during my trip, I finally found the best “food” in town- The School of Jewellery in the heart of Dublin.

Station of preference 
During the month of December 2012 I went to a Crafts exhibition.  Yet weeks before, I have been searching on the internet for a place to learn traditional jewellery making skills, a craft I have not ventured into before and thought would be great to compliment the beading I already do.  Lo and behold, right there, is a stand for “The School of Jewellery”. That one moment changed everything and has put me on a path of no return in more ways than one.  But for now, let me share with you my first path.

A few days after the exhibition, I walked into the beautiful, cozy, and welcoming school and was greeted by Goldsmith, Designer and Owner of the school- Deirdre O’Donnell.  And after a few hours of Orientation, I was more than ready to get started. On the spot we agreed that I may take a class or 2 before the Christmas break season and that I would return in January to continue the 10 weeks program. 

I don’t think I will ever forget Day 1.  Never did I think I could be happy cutting anything in a straight line! But I sure was ecstatic.  Seems odd yet it’s true.  Amazing how something as simple as a straight line would be part of someone’s’ joy but you would have to experience it to believe it.

Day 2 and Day 3 required me cutting, sawing, filing and drilling out the shape of a beautiful butterfly out of a brass plate that was then to become a lovely silver-plated pendant. 

Almost there
The 2nd project consisted of making a Silver ring and with real Silver there was no room to mess up as it doesn't come cheap nowadays.  Some of the materials and tools used included:  2 mm silver plate, saw with size 0 blades, files, pliers, hammers (steel and wooden), steel bench block, Ring Mandrel, 240 and 800 sand paper sheets, drilling and drill bits (brass to polish and steel to drill holes), flux, hard silver solder, wire, torch, 3-1 oil, black marker pen, and last yet not least, my selection of stone to be set in my ring, Blue Quartz.   Now do not ask me about steps and sequences as im still a beginner, yet what I’m certain of is with great tutoring, assistance, instruction from Deirdre and her team, I am the proud maker of my 1st real silver ring!   A couple of days later I asked my teacher Deirdre to give my ring a name.   Today, the Birth Certificate says “Aisling” (Irish for- Dream) is her name.  And since then I never leave home without Aisling J
Ready to go and get the Blue Quartz setting done 

Now, did all those projects manage my hunger pangs!   Absolutely, and I am craving for more. 

My 3rd piece was a pair of earrings.  Now they may look simple to make but, I must say, they were the most challenging for me.  Why!!  Well, firstly this project was up to us students to decide on and create.  I chose to make dome-like shaped earrings.  And little did “Beginner Bettina” know she sub-consciously does it again and puts herself into something above her head.  My fingers have yet to forgive me.  
Let the adventure begin

Happy Lotus
The pair of earrings I later called Lotus, required the use of a silver plate and a Dapping block filled with semi-circular holes to help to create and manipulate the size and form of the dome I wanted.  Now for the tricky part, and which may be hard to believe; the most challenging part was HOLDING the piece steady.  Who would have thought that could be an issue.  Well, it was.  Being a Goldsmith and Silversmith requires strong fingers.  I’m sure I have newly formed miniature muscle growth in my fingers now J   Filed, sawed, sand papered, banged this little being into life!  Lastly, drilled a little enclave on the back for the earring post to be soldiered onto it.   So, after a couple of days of hard work, my fingers and I witnessed the blossoming of Lotus.

Now the big question:  Am I satiated forever or do I have room for more
I leave that to you to figure out. 

Until then

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