Friday, October 19, 2012

Handmade Has A Heart And Soul

I recently had a really cool customer contact me with a special request.  He needed a gift for his girl and he needed it like now.  He said he understood these things take time and my time was valuable but he would be willing to pay extra to make this happen. 

Woah!  Who says stuff like this anymore?  I knew this guy appreciated handmade and I needed to accommodate him. 
I mean really, he could just walk into a store and get something.  But he wanted my something. 

So, as I was making his piece I decided to document the journey. 
I don't think many people realize what goes into handmade.  The care we take, the thought we put into it, and the time.  It takes a long time.  Like a really long time.  Or maybe I'm just slow.  See for yourself. 

This particular piece was a Hebrew Name Necklace.
I started by sawing the letters into a piece of silver...

Then I cut the excess silver off the edges and filed it into the desired shape...

Next, I cut another bigger piece of silver for this piece to sit on, stamped the back, did my "trashing", then prepared them both for soldering.  The piece with the letters was turned upside down, heated, and fluxed.  Tiny pieces of solder were placed around the edges...

Then out came the torch...

The piece was heated until the solder flowed. 
This piece was then placed on top of the bigger piece and they were both heated until the solder flowed again and the pieces were permanently connected...
Now it's into the pickle pot for a warm acid bath...
After about 20 minutes or so the piece comes out, gets rinsed off, sanded and more filing if necessary.  A hole is then drilled in the top for the bail attachment.  Next the piece gets oxidized, brushed with steel wool, and buffed to a nice satin finish. 

In the home stretch now, the bail and chain are attached and it's officially a necklace!
Now for photographs, packaging, and shipping. 

Are you bored yet?  See, I told you this takes a long time!

There will never be another piece exactly like this one because it was made with my hands and not stamped out by a machine.  And honestly, I couldn't do it exactly the same again if my life depended on it. 

So, the next time you're buying something for yourself or as a gift think about what kind of message you want to send.  You're unique, you have a heart and a soul and what you wear should should too.