First, I wanted to show Debra's work that she accomplished during her week of this challenge. She created a bezel set ring with a garnet (my birthstone by the way). Read her post, "Accountability...and a Garnet Ring". It is a beautiful ring and a step forward toward perfecting her metalsmithing skills. I applaud her enthusiasm and her motivation in stepping out of her comfort zone.
I learned a few things this week as I worked on my challenge piece. Firstly, it is easier to follow through with a plan when someone takes the journey with me. Knowing that Debra was facing the same fears as I, but that she was pushing herself to try some new things, gave me confidence to do the same.
Secondly, it is easier to follow through with a project after overcoming the initial fear of starting. Once I dove in, it was sink or swim, so I had start doggy paddling. And that is exactly what I did this week, I dove in and paddled hard. I had bought the book, "Metal Clay Rings: Silver Jewelry Inspired by Nature", by Irina Miech. My desire was to make a ring with metal clay. I had purchased the metal clay to make the ring, but had not followed through with the plan. I was fearful of opening the package of clay, because once I open the package, there is no turning back. Once I dove in, I had to be committed to see it through.
And thirdly, I learned my fear had actually brought about consequences that I was fearful of in the first place. I was fearful of wasting clay if my project didn't turn out as planned or if I did something terribly wrong. When I purchased my very first clay package, I had also ordered some metal clay paste. But because of fear, I didn't get around to opening the package for a few years. (Yeah, I know, I waited way too long). The clay paste had actually dried out in the package without my opening it. Now I'm trying to rehydrate it to use for slip. But the very thing I feared would happen if I proceeded with my project happened anyway.
So, what did I make? I did make my ring. I made it from a mold that I had made months ago from a fern. It is an adjustable ring, which is an easier ring to make than one that is a solid band. I've still yet to learn how to size rings properly.
And from the scraps that were left, I made a pair of earrings and soldered them on sterling posts. I used my kiln and my torch, and I still have all my appendages!
My projects turned out like I imagined them, but the process of stepping out of my comfort zone was much easier than I imagined...thanks to a little push from a friend.