Sunday, 28 August 2011
A couple of years ago I came up with the idea of drilling sea glass, which I had personally collected on beaches discovered on my travels, core with sterling silver and hang from a heavyweight chain. They quickly became one of my best sellers. Neither I nor my customers had seen anything like this before.
Sadly, well documented now, I had a simple household accident, tearing the tendons in my dominant arm which stopped me working with silver because it was too painful to grip hammers and bang away at the metal. I hoped that treatment, the last of which was an op to sort out the damage I had done, would resolve everything but it quickly became obvious that, despite what the doctors said, I was never going to have much grip in my right arm so weilding a hammer could either break windows or have me up on a manslaughter charge for an innocent passer by. Sadly I sold all my silver work equipment; then discovered lampworking - which uses some of the tools I'd just sold!
The way I cored the sea glass was long and labour intensive. Large holes in sea glass have to be drilled using a cordless drill, the bits being too large for my dremel drill press. I wasn't able to grip the drill for long once I had hurt my arm, and shaping the silver core using dapping punches and hammers was out of the question.
I recently bought a bead corer from Mango Beads and hoped it might have the capacity to core larger pieces than just big holed beads for charm bracelets. Yesterday I set myself the challenge of getting this to work.
First obstacle: the 2 Ni Cad batteries for the drill are failing. One refuses to hold a charge, the other only for a short while. Having found replacements on line, I needed a stiff brandy to get over the cost. Then I saw the cost of a new drill - since when were they in 3 figures? Have I had this drill so long??? Some things will have to wait a while, lets see if these are still popular before I go mad buying new batteries. I did get out the big power drill husband gave me one Christmas - but it's mains electric and I drill into glass under water, and anyway it needs two hands to hold and that doesn't leave one for the glass. I abandonned that idea before I'd gone very far!
Second obstacle: time erodes memory. Having managed to get a charge in a battery, I still can't hold the drill for very long, because of the pain it gives me. I'd forgotten that. Solution: the battery dies about the same time I do, so I drill one set of glass, put the battery on charge and move into the large studio for a bit of coring.
After a couple of false starts I am getting the hang of coring several pieces of glass together. They don't need the oomph I'd normally give to a bead - it tends to crack a piece of glass if I do, but that leaves a slight movement with the glass which I find rather pleasing and tactile.
Then came the next obstacle: I popped them in the vibro polisher for a quick polish, only to find the tiny polishing pins found their way behind the glass and along the silver copre. Nothing would get the little blighters out so the only solution was to cut the silver away and start again. A waste of silver, a waste of time; the solution to this was that husband appeared at just the right time to ask if I wanted to go out for lunch. Too darn right, mister. Things feel better once you've had a break and at least I could face cutting up the silver and starting again by then.
So here are the end results. They are for sale in my Etsy, Artfire and Folksy shops, along with other beautiful pieces of sea glass jewellery (or will be in the next few days) as well as lots of other jewellery, beads and textiles.