Saturday, April 30, 2011

Yikes! What Now? Or Why I Love Some of My Mistakes

A friend gave me a bag of old jewelry a while back.  In the bag was a copper cuff that was bent out of shape.  I had some brass cuffs that I was etching and I decided to etch the copper cuff as well. 

First I tried putting it on mandrel and bending it back in shape. It didn't work so I annealed it, straightened it out and etched it.

Unfortunately I didn't have enough etchant in the container and the middle section of the bracelet made contact with the bottom of the container.  This section didn't etch well compared to the rest.  The bracelet did shape up nicely on the mandrel after the annealing though. The top of the bracelet, the part most visible, had very little etching and what it did have was very shallow.  Okay, I decided, this was not a bracelet I could sell.

Then I found a brass butterfly woman stamping.  I had previously experimented with bending this stamping with my bracelet bending pliers but hadn't done anything with it.  I decided to rivet it to the top of the cuff. 

This was tricky.  The stamping had an open back and I had to be careful not to crush it.  Also, it was difficult to rivet the wings because of the curvature of the cuff and because the rivet heads were somewhat recessed on the front of the wings.  I used my smallest hammer and a nail punch that I found at Lowes.  I balanced the cuff on the punch with the top of the rivet seated in the hollow of the punch, and very carefully tapped the rivet on the inside of the cuff. It worked. The stamping nicely covered the shallow area of the etching.

butterfly woman cuff

I would never have done this if I hadn't made a mistake with the etching.  Some of my most creative and satisfying work comes out of a mistake I've made.

I still can't sell it:  I like the cuff so well I'm keeping it for myself.


QueenMarcy said...

OMG, Leslie, that is GORGEOUS!!! I want to try the etching one of these days. Why can't you sell it? If I did not have 979,846 cuffs already, I would buy it.

Leslie Todd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leslie Todd said...

Thanks, Marcy. I meant I can't sell it because I like it so well I'm keeping it for myself. :)

Judy said...


ziggy stardust said...

It is beautiful!!! Do you know of any classes in Houston for jewelry making? I missed the Adorn Me classes and cant wait until next year!

Leslie Todd said...

Thanks, Ziggy. I don't know of any other classes, but I'm sure there must be some. Bead Fest is going to be in Arlington in October.

Leslie Todd said...

Judy, thanks!

Jules said...

Leslie I love the cuff! (I'm a little behind on my blog reading---busy busy busy) It's gorgeous. I have an entire bag of brass cuffs waiting to be etched as we speak. My first opportunity I'll be etching away and decorating them. I can't wait. I've already forgotten most of everything I learned about now I know who to come to when I get stuck :) Keep up the FANTASTIC work!!


Leslie Todd said...

Thanks, Jules. I have lots of etching I need to get busy with. I got some cool new stamps that I can't wait to try.