Hi y’all! It’s been awhile again. I know. Life has been all kinds of in the way of me getting any creative work done. I’ve been working on some custom orders but not much in the way of anything new. So when I learned that the wonderful Deryn Mentock was offering a class built on design challenges with some great techniques thrown in, I knew it was something that *needed* to make it onto my fall calendar. My creative fires are in great need of stoking.

The first design challenge = symmetry.  I dug out an old pocket watch that I’ve had for at least 2 decades.  It worked fine as a necklace just on a velvet ribbon. But I decided it was time to give this old thing a new lease on life!

You know I almost didn’t work with this pocket watch because it’s not silver. Crazy, right? I almost always wear sterling silver (and have no plans to part with this piece!) so I spent some time figuring out how to mix the metals. I finally decided not to use any (as in NONE) silver what-so-ever. It made sense to not have any shiny, sterling silver as to not compete or look like I’m trying to be matchy-matchy with the other sterling silver I already wear. So here’s where I try something new: steel wire.

I used faceted onyx beads, of two different shapes, for variety. I mixed in a few smooth blue tiger’s eye beads because they are deep in color, so they blend fetchingly with the black. But they also have some pretty highlights that are similar to the golden shine of the pocket watch. I wrapped all the links in the steel wire and then made some little springs to hold the velvet ribbon. The velvet ribbon is from the original necklace and it ties in the back and I can adjust the length a bit as needed.

I’m quite happy with how it turned out. I’m very interested to see how the steel wire wears. Since it’s a dark annealed variety of steel wire, I’ve got my fingers crossed that it doesn’t rub off on the white blouses I love to wear. If it passes my wear-ability test, this hardware store staple may make more appearances in my work.

It’s not easy (for me, anyway) to show the variation in color in the blue tiger’s eye beads but you get the idea a bit here.

As I worked on this piece I thought a lot about time and how we measure it in very symmetrical ways. The actual experience of time, however, is nothing but symmetrical; summer vacations fly by but meetings and math classes drag on forever. My mind ended up wandering past the idea of momento mori, and ‘vanitas‘ paintings. And the skull bead just seemed to fit right in along the old watch, black beads and the dark steel wire.

And since some of you won’t be happy with out seeing the face of the watch, here it is:

There are 5 more weeks of challenges coming up and I’m planning to share my results here, good or bad. You know what else I’m planning? To not go out shopping for ‘new’ found objects to use in my challenge pieces. I’m going to re-work old pieces and use the things I’ve been hoarding collecting & squirreling away for years. I’ve got lots of little things lying around here that ‘I’ve been planning to make into something’  for a while, time to put that stuff to work! Now I’ve just set myself up with a lot of challenges: the design challenge pieces, blogging about them and not shopping for stuff for the design pieces. We’ll see how all *that* goes…

See you next week!

FYI: Deryn Mentock’s Alchemy of Objects class registration is open until October 15th with the online classroom open until November 30th. The challenges will be posted during the first 6 weeks and then there’s plenty of time to stretch your creative muscles. There are private facebook, flickr and yahoo groups for support, feedback and to learn not only from Deryn (a treat!) but from the other students, too. Come join us, it’s not too late!

P.S. Deryn is giving away 2 spots in this class. Visit here for the details but do it before Saturday the 22nd (that’s when she’s drawing the winners!)

***Update*** I ended up adding a small quartz crystal to the watch bow and NOW it feels done!