I received some comments on my previous post to the effect than since my passion is for jewelry, I should focus my energies to making it happen. As I said, the problem with that is that I have neither the tools nor the resources to do so. I feel this deserves some explication.
First the tools. I do own basic bench and hand tools: the saw, the files, the mandrels, the benchpin, etc…
But these are the things I need: the most important item is the TORCH system. This includes the torch heads, hose, gas canisters, and the oxy-acetylene gas. Cost? Approx. $200-300.
The second crucial item is the FLEX-SHAFT system. A jeweler’s rotory engine and a long flexible shaft hand tool. Cost: approx. $150-200. Could be subsituted with a Dremel flex shaft hand held tool, approx. $85.
Third: the SMITHING tools. Items include a horn anvil, planishing stakes, dapping blocks, a planishing hammer, a rawhide mallet, and a forming hammer. (And those are just the basic hammers, not the specialized forging tools!) Approx. cost $300.
And finally, the CAUSTIC CHEMICALS: sulfuric acid, nitric acid, polishing compounds, patination compounds, and ammonia. Plus the proper vats to store such liquids. Approx. cost $100-200.
Then there’s the “luxury items” I crave: a rolling pin, a beadblaster, and a enammeling kiln (Cost of all combined? Upwards of $3000! I don’t plan on acquiring these items until my practice is well established, of course).
Now for my resources: STUDIO SPACE and MONEY.
I currently live in a small one-bedroom apartment. Even if I could afford all those tools, I still need a space that’s big enough to hold a work bench, a smithing post, and a sink. It also needs an air vent to suck out acid fumes, polishing pollutants, and gas vapors. It only needs to be the size a large walk-in closet, but it must be separated from main living areas, well ventilated and well-lit. I could wear a gas-and-particle safety mask, (approx. $50), but I live with other creatures, and I cannot pollute their air!
As for money; well, suffice to say, I don’t have any. And credit is not an option. I had hoped to sell paintings, drawings, prints, and manuscripts to finance my way towards a jewelry studio, but due to many reasons (some of which I recounted in Tuesday’s litany of woe), it isn’t working.
And to my knowlegable readers: yes, I could use cold joining techniques and bead stringing designs, but that’s not the kind of jewelry I create. I use fire to join and a hammer to shape. I love soldering and reticulation, and combining unrelated metals into a whole. I desire to
experiment with mokume gane and granulation, of forging and doming gold into waves and spheres. Setting gems also requires a torchand flexshaft in order to make seamless bezels and crowns.
I’ve got three, four sketchbooks full of designs for rings, pendants,and hollowware, and I don’t have the resources to make any of them. I know I could, and should, at least do some beading and cold-joining. At least it’d be something. At the very least I should stop complaining. Bah.
So, now you see why I am fustrated, why I must keep my passion for jewelry at bay. I can’t do what I want to do. I need tools, space, and money. I need an apprenticeship or assistantship or a co-op where I can “rent” the use of a studio. I just don’t know where to go to find any of it.