Let’s see. It seems so long ago when I think of it now. I was trying to make a simple hinge with metal clay. Seemed easy enough. I rolled out two small rectangular pieces (practically the same size) and then rolled, by hand, a long tube. The instructions said to cut them up equally in 3 parts. So I did. Pretty much equally.
Then I saw trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with me and I had trouble. It appears I was supposed to simple wet the top of the already dried piece of clay and place 2 tubes, one at either end. Just a dash of water should do it and it will absorb the tube onto the clay as if it was thirsting for this moist little almost evenly cut tube. NOT. It didn’t stick at all. And that went for the other tube at the other end and for the middle tube which was in the middle of the other pieces’ end. You know, this is like trying to explain tying your shoe laces with no hand gestures.
This went on for two days. Day and night, night and day. And I would walk around my house looking at door hinges, cabinet hinges, hinges on boxes, shower stalls till really I was becoming, as they say, “un-hinged”.
I did get to the point where they did stick. I think was ready to use crazy glue at this point but I believe, if memory, what’s left of it, serves me right, wound up making a new tube with three MORE equal parts. Perhaps I even started the whole thing all over. I know I used copper. When it was finally dry, leather dry, bone dry, mental dry, dry mouth, dry mind, I put it in the kiln. And I waited and watched television and re-arranged things in the studio. I was actually angry. I was talking to the clay, first nicely then not so nicely until, really, under my breath I was swearing at every single little thing I was doing to make this possible. I hated the hinge. Why did I need to do a hinge? Oh yeah, so I can open and close things and it’s cool and a learning curve and I did want to learn.
The kiln was programmed as per instructions. “I set it and let it go…” I waited. When the time came I tried to act all non-chalant as I moseyed on over to the kiln. At this point, I haver personal relationships with most all of my tools. Some are my very favourite teachers’ pets…A nice piece of work, you did there…: ) Have an apple. Clearly, there were other tools that I despised. I think that’s a whole other story. Suffice to say that if anyone was in the room with me while I was making this hinged book (2 pages, front and back) they would suggest strongly I find a new hobby. Not gonna do it…(Think Dana Carvey doing George Bush)…
Finally I open the kiln. It’s cooled down. Me, not so much. I sift out the two pieces and they are, yes, IN TACT! They have shrunk but that’s just fine. They are both in one piece. Admittedly they were rather dark but I just gave that up to small copper pieces can get very dark? I yelled out to my husband to come see…”HEY IT WORKED. Come look at my hinge!!” Yes, very sexy, we know. My husband, oh so patient and supportive, saw that it looked good and asked to hold them, to see how the hinges fit in. And that’s when the whole damn thing crumbled. Why me? Why me? If you are on Facebook and are a jewelry friend of mine, you probably saw the photos and the status updates. You gotta know, this slayed me.
The next day of my existence of a metal clay jewellery designer (yes, it’s starting to feel like a prison sentence..) I opened another book. I looked at other hinged things. I watched a video or four. I settled on a well-known designer’s pendant of a hinged-house (like that doesn’t give away her name). Well, at least this project had more ooomph to it. Some features to add and different shapes and of course, the hinges. This is starting to remind me of the that TV show, “The Hills”. But I digress.
So this time I had a template. I made it all by myself. Hello, a kindergarden kid could cut out and glue two pieces of paper on a playing card. I certainly treated it like surgery and I was just an intern. Template done, again, not perfect, but done.
Wait. I have to stop. In the middle of all this as I was posting stuff and clearly my frustration was palpable, spreading out to other countries, a wonderful lady, Wanaree from Illinois suggested I get an “extruder”. Sounds like a gun for hire….”The Extruder”….I’ll shoot you into even pieces with different shapes if you like, ma’am…”
This angel sent me one but while I waited until it got to Canada, I kept on with my new hinged-house. I used bronze and copper because I was all out of silver. That was fine by me. I felt like I was painting again. I came across the exact same *((^(*(_ problem adhering the tubes onto the tops of the pieces. FINALLY I did it and when they dried, I reinforced it and dried it again. Rinse and repeat if you know what I mean.
Long story longer… it was now all greenware. I realized I didn’t have proper wire to go through the hinge. Not only that, I had to BALL UP the ends of the wire, blah, blah blah, blah, blah. Just when I was feeling relatively secure, I watch a video of balling up wire. Hmmm. I need a special torch. That wasn’t a good idea for me at that moment. So I thought, well, this is just a test. I will run some wire and stick something on either side, G0D Willing if this should turn out.
Somewhere in the meantime and in between time I did eat, sleep and wash. Those menial things are a blur but I did notice that I was getting heavier and not exercising as much. Another blog, another time.
The hinged-house goes into the digital kiln on Program #1. I slept. About 9 hours later, I sift it out of the kiln. By George I think she’s got it!. It fit (kinda wobbly) it didn’t break. I polished it and put a headpin through the hinges and just wrapped the other end behind the piece. Why not? Just for now.
I was happy. I was ready to go on Weight Watchers. I looked forward to playing piano again. Just no more hinges for awhile.
A great night sleep followed and the next morning, you got it, THE EXTRUDER arrived.