Monday, May 1, 2017

Hodgepodge 184/365 - Energy

Today was the last day of my book arts/metal arts workshop. Since I was done with my main project, yesterday afternoon I started working on a hinge. It was based on a medieval design that Christine had a drawing of, which I proceeded to cut out of some brass with a jeweler's saw. It went quickly, and as the day ended, I was excited about finishing it this morning.

But then Christine, abjectly, pointed out that the drawing I'd been working from missed one crucial feature: the long strips that get curled into the hinge knuckles, which, together with a pin, attach the two hinge pieces together. The drawing was meant to highlight the avian design, not to be used as a template for the hinge proper.

Oh well. At least I'd gotten some sawing practice in. That never hurts.

Later that evening, Christine messaged me: "Hey, solution! We can solder hinge knuckles onto your sawn-out pieces! Not hard. I'll help! Yeah?" I responded in the affirmative, of course. The words not hard are music to my ears. And with help? Hell yeah.

But this morning, it being the last morning, and several other projects being wrapped up, the studio was pretty hectic. Christine was going to demo the soldered-knuckles approach, but first she needed to answer questions, finish invoicing us for purchases from her little shop. So I set about sawing the design out with enough extra metal to fold knuckles. That way I'd have two hinges, made in two different ways.

Finished hinge on the bottom;
would-be soldered hinge on top
Long story short, Christine did do her demo just before lunch. But it wasn't until midafternoon that I finally made my first hinge, using the folded-knuckle approach (basically, taking some round-nosed pliers and twisting the metal into an O, into which thin brass tubing was inserted, the ends of which I knocked down into rivets).

When, at about 3:15, it came time to do the soldered-knuckles approach, I ended up with teeny tiny pieces of tubing that I was supposed to solder—having soldered exactly nothing since last year—to my hinge leafs. I painstakingly got everything set up—and it really was a pain—then asked Christine to come help, but by then (we were supposed to be done at 4) she was deep into assisting Joanne with her cover decorations. Joanne's book is beautiful, and complex, and five years in the making—a serious project. My hinges were just practice, exercise; and the likelihood of my ever actually using them was pretty much zilch. So . . . I abandoned the project. It was fine. I was done. 

Hence the subject of this post: energy. I am very much a morning person when it comes to good energy. By midafternoon, however, I can be, especially if I've been working hard, used up, and losing my patience, my exactitude, my ability to care. Such was the case today. As I fiddled with the teensy-weensy bits of brass tubing, I really didn't care anymore. Especially when Christine pointed out that they weren't aligned correctly. (Who knocked those out of square, anyway????)

It would have been different, no doubt, if these hinges were part of my own serious project—then I would have been feeling desperate . . . but then too, I'm sure I would have been working harder all along to not arrive at the afternoon of the last day with the hinges left to do. Because just as I'm fairly aware of my energy ebbs and flows, I'm also pretty good at pacing myself with a complicated job.

So I ended up with one decent hinge that I'll get no use out of, most likely; two pretty  pieces that I might use as decoration somehow on a cloth-covered book; and a pretty swell metal-and-leather finished book. Not a bad haul.

And being all done let me skip out a little early, such that I was home by 8.

I will miss that high-energy studio of Christine's—so much inspiration and stimulation just in the physical surroundings; so much good cheer and curiosity and industry among the students; so much skill and intelligence and caring on the part of Christine, a wonderful teacher indeed.

Here are some photos I took this afternoon while I was waiting to solder.

Bench on the left is Christine's, with the big work table beyond
Taken from the same spot, but looking left:
Carol and Susan, with Joanne and Laurie by the window;
my workbench is the box at the far right of the photo
Looking back toward Christine's bench from my work station
Looking toward the front, but from the other corner: you get a
good idea of the nice space that it is from these photos

Sometimes waiting isn't a bad thing, because I'm very glad to have these mementos of another wonderful metal arts workshop. It'll probably be my last one, since I never expect to get set up myself to work with metal. It involves machinery, torches, heavy-duty vises, chemicals—stuff like that. And having room for all that doesn't hurt either.

That said, I am considering a one-on-one enameling workshop with Christine later in the year. Maybe I have room in my own little studio for a (teeny) enameling oven. Who knows? I'd be very glad to work with Christine again, even if it ends up being just for fun. I feel lucky to have met her and to count her as a friend.

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