Sunday

Sterling Silver Dragonfly on Copper Square




I have been making bugs... using my pen and my torch...
I like to study bugs.... 
they are small,  with lots of delicate working parts, amazingly strong for their size... 
some nasty, some nice... 
and there are so many different kinds... and they do so many different things... 
Bugs are just all around very  interesting subjects to get to know more about..

We designed and created the sterling silver  Dragonfly  on copper square early in the year
and it is time to build up stock again.. not a good season to be running out of popular designs...
although I have to admit there are a few other styles that I am very low on,
if not completely out of at the moment..
and I should have had more made...  but alas... time... energy....... a good book.






Lots of tiny Dragonfly parts all prepared... cut, shaped and hammered ... 
little dragonfly wings, little dragonfly bodies and little tiny silver grains for the dragonfly eyes... 
That is one in the middle, there's more in a little wooden dish to the left... 

 We usually split up the jobs..  
Johns' hands are stronger than mine, so he gets to handcut all the copper squares
 and do the heavy hammering.. 
I layout all the tiny parts and set them up..  

 ... sometimes my tools or my big hands have accidentally knocked my board 

.. Not a good day when that happens...





Here they are all covered in carbon.. it has to be removed
  but the texture and color is gives for taking a photograph suits my fancy ...
 I really love this contrast.

and

I absolutely Love the Pattern they make all lined up like that...
I imagine quilt patterns, floor tiles, rugs, fabric ...




I start rearranging them
to see what they might look like with all there tails touching 
or their little pairs of eyes all staring at each other




 Then I am imagining them all divided by long bands of another metal 
or fabric if they are a quilt  and what kind of borders could be invented.. 
 or maybe designs inlaid in wood.. or a surround for a fireplace 
or borders around the edge of an illuminated book.........

oh once it starts it is hard to go back to work... 
 the Dragonflies are distracting me from the Dragonflies...

 but I'm sure you know what it's like 
and how one thing leads to another and another....
  
 



Back to reality... 

Now they are ready for the pickle pot
-  a nice name for being dunked in a scalding acid bath - which will remove all the built up carbon. 

  John drills holes in the tops with the flex shaft...
  We sand and polish them in the vibratory tumbler.
Then I make the earwires and attach them 
and we are all stocked up again...




$25.00 pr.     ...approx.  1½" from top of ear wire to bottom of copper square
...bug drawings (in first photograph)  from my sketchbook 


  Pearl Jam...  "BUGS" 



All handmade at our DESIDERATUM Art Jewelry studio 
in St. Martins, on the Bay of Fundy,  New Brunswick, Canada


...click for more of our Whimsical designs

31 comments:

Arija said...

Lovely Gwen, delicious thought you playing with the squares and making beautiful mosaic patterns, so many possibilities . . . a leather-bound book with the metal mosaic on the cover, illuminated pages of a compendium of bugs . . .

A Heron's View said...

Very skilled work and repetitive work and when every set is complete. Do you every wonder what & where those flies will be & see on their travels and whose ears they will be carried :) ?

Steven Cain said...

Very cool.

I love the army of dragonflies on the fusing board. Like something out of a dark, animated short.

I took the full tour of the house. Sigh.

Owen said...

Absolutely loved this glimpse into the creation of dragonflies, and the patterns you are playing with. I'm sure you have all sorts of avenues to explore with these, no limits.

I'm not a religious person in the sense of codified dogmatic organisations, and have certainly mocked the creationist school of thought on occasion, especially when they start talking about banning the teaching of evolution; but I couldn't help thinking with some amusement, as you described how the slightest bump could scramble all your carefully laid out dragonfly parts, that if people were put together like this, what an amazingly intricate process that would be, and heaven forbid anyone bump the worktable before the whole thing was welded together. Beautiful post Gwen...

Ruth said...

I agree that it is pure delight to witness your process and your tremendous skill in this post. The pen and ink bugs at top are wonderful, and knowing you love to find and study the little creatures around you makes it special indeed.

There is so much here to send me off in a hundred directions. I see MC Escher as well as your tiles. And quilting at the moment, I know what you mean about the designer in me going off and off. I love designing quilts, but not necessarily finishing them!

I love your commenters' thoughts here too. Lots of good energy here! I think we'd all like to fly up and spend the day watching quietly from the corner. I promise not to stomp.

Carol Steel 5050 said...

What a thoroughly delightful blog post! I loved the photos and commentary pulling me through the complete process. It is a challenge to keep on task when designs and playing with patterns distracts and pushes creativity further and further. Thanks for sharing this artistic process and all the bits and balls and squares and wings that go with it.

Guillaume said...

Beautiful. I developed a keen interest about dragonflies since I read The Dragonfly of Chicoutimi. Which has very little to do with dragonflies.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Oh Arija, wouldn't that be so great.. I can smell the leather now!... I would love it!

Yes Heron's View i think of this all the time... and every now and then I spot someone wearing our earrings and they don't know we made them ... I want to tell them thank you for wearing our work but we just smile instead.


Steven, I love that image you brought up... they do look like they are on a mission don't they. ... and so that was your footsteps I heard.

Owen, ha, ha... tiny bits of people parts spread all over the work table... very slow going.. could get messy!!

Ruth, you're right....finishing is the hard work part of the entire bright idea... designing, and thinking up the multitude of possibilities is definitely the most fun!!!

oh Carol, distraction is my middle name!! It is always hard to keep on track when there are just so many possibilities to follow up!

Thank you all for spending some of your valuable time with me!!!

ArtPropelled said...

Dragonfly magic! Lovely to see your process and your images. It's good to play. You never know where it will take you.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Guillaume, no matter where it comes from, Dragonfly love is what we need. I will check it out.

Robyn, I agree, Playing is a journey that should never end!!

Susan said...

gorgeous !! I too, love to see the creative process unfolding. xo Susan & gang

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Susan... and gang!! sometimes I want to take apart all the little steps that make up the creation of almost anything being worked on at the time and study them just a little deeper.. I bet you do too! there are always so many things to be grateful for and inspired by.. Thank you for visiting..

Are you curious about me? said...

What an interesting post, so nice of you to explain all of the different stages and procedures, I had no idea.. That each piece had to go through so many different processes.. How clever are you.. Not only have you got dexterous fingers but good eyesight to
boot.. How tiny are those little pieces...
Fantastic work, thank you for such a lovely post..

Have you moved house yet? Did you make the memory box for your house..

laura said...

As a proud owner (and gift-giver) of several of your earrings, I enjoyed seeing this process!
And, your art house is for sale!! I wish I could buy it: a dream house!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Julie .. I am always curious to know the process of bringing an idea to life and I have always enjoyed when you show steps in the production of your artwork... the net is such a great place to share; it is so different now than it was 20 years ago trying to figure out how to do things(with no computer).. then it was even difficult to find good books on the subject especially when living in a rural location.... I'm still planning the memory box.

Thanks Laura, I just love that you shared our work with your friends ...one of the nicest compliments.. yes our home is for sale... it is a long term plan especially in this economy but that's ok cause we all love living and working here.... Even if it doesn't sell that's OK too.

louciao said...

Thanks for taking the time to explain and illustrate in "live (still)action" the process of making your beautiful earrings. All those little pieces, all those steps, all adding up to sheer delight for the recipients. I took a jewellery making course once but was too afraid of the torch.
And oh my goodness--all those little fiddly bits--the eyes! No wonder you need to distract yourself by making bigger pictures and dreams of other incarnations of the design. Oh yes, the visions of an artist once they're let loose are as strong and delicate as the wings of a dragonfly.

pauline said...

Gwen, these are so cool!!! And i totally understand how you would get distracted by the beautiful visuals of lining them all up diagonally - like a tiled floor or patterned quilt. :-) I so get it. See? One of the challenges of being an artist is sticking to the task at hand when EVERYTHING around us becomes visually appealing with a little imagination. :-)

Great work. i love the dragonfly earrings... thanks for sharing. xoxo

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Louciao, I know exactly what you mean about being afraid of the torch.. It took me years to get brave enough to use it.. I would do every cold closure there was (ex. rivets, links etc) just to avoid the torch... but like anything else, once you become used to it, it's fine.

Now with am imagination like yours, don't tell me you never get distracted.. haha.

Hi Pauline, it is a challenge at times for sure... it is like solving puzzles.. I like that.

Cuidado said...

Ah, we artists(production workers) know our moves. I am cre8ing too; it's craft fair season after all. I need a break but my day job gets in the way of that. Good luck and the best of the season to you and John. Lets make hay.

Jeri Landers said...

Well, so that is how you do it! Fascinating work!
I agree that it is easy to become distracted with all those buggy eyes staring hither and thither.

I too, find the bug world quite fascinating,creepy, frightening and sometimes beautiful. I collect bugs wherever I can find them to use as art models. Here in the South, we have a nice variety of very LARGE bugs.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Cuidado,
Best of luck to you at the Christmas shows too... such a busy time of year.. energizing though, don't you think?? The weather is great today for traveling.. hope it stays so.

Hi Jeri,
Oh that sounds wonderful.. perfect models, and a collection to boot.. Your farm animals must inspire your work too... Your characters are so lovely, detailed and humanistic.. just sweet!

Lord Wellbourne said...

I have always loved dragonflies and hummingbirds because of their colour while on the wing. The engineering alone is mind-boggling.

I really love the patterns you created with them...and I immediately thought floor tiles and back-splashes. The surround idea is fabulous but I think the fire would get jealous!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Oh my Lord, that is lovely.. I never thought of the fire.. how thoughtless of me... I guess it is moths that fly towards the light..

cathyswatercolors said...

Gwen, so good to see your wonderful work. I can see the bugs as jewelry for certain. I am wondering about your house? Any news? Sooo beautiful.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Thanks Cathy... we figure the house selling will take awhile in todays economy but that's ok, we love living here.. and it really got us to finish up quite a few things around here... we even put a new roof on our barn, by ourselves of course,, big huge tiring job... looks great now.

Morna said...

Hi, Gwen. Of course I love all those repeated squares. I have been thinking for a while about things along these lines .... I wonder if you will, one day, continue playing with the idea of putting it together like a quilt, with metal strips of "fabric" etc. It could be the world's most gorgeous trivet, or hang on a wall, or be imbedded in a floor or a step or a stoop, or ? ? ?
- Morna xo

Gwen Buchanan said...

Oh yes Morna, once we start to think of the way designs could be translated into different mediums, the possibilities become endless.. kind of thrilling isn't it.. repeat designs can be very lovely.... but you know that already, and I believe you are a Master of it.

Jacky said...

I love repeat pattern and texture...wonderful to see all the dragonflies making such beautiful designs.
I look forward to seeing what you do with them.
What a beautiful area you live in. The scenes of the bay are so serene, such natural beauty.

Jacky xox

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Jacky... looking out the window this morning all is very still... perfect time to walk along the shore with the dogs.. I look forward to all the beauty you will create this year!!

rivergardenstudio said...

Oh Gwen, these are completely entrancing. I especially love the way you played with the copper squares in the second to last shot!
roxanne

Gwen Buchanan said...

Thank you so much Roxanne, they were so fun to do.. It is a joy to create little pieces that were not in existence before and then manipulate further to evolve more ideas.. oh if we never had to work for a living, think of all the ideas we could all come up with. my best to you!!