We have a client that calls on us about once a year to make some very cool pieces for his family. It turns out that they (the entire family) are big fans of a particular band that is “off grid”. And as such, this band has an entirely different kind of following. Many of these followers will go from place to place as the band pays different venues. The band has it's own tee shirts, albums, cd's, and basically all sorts of merchandise including their own tequila. Our client, Philip sends us what he calls “glyphs” and gives us a few hints as to colors, type of jewelry wanted and price range and then we “dress up” these “glyphs". This year was a banner year for this project. We were allow a generous budget and the choice of materials was wide open.
Susan, his wife was to get a necklace and seashell and the “glyph” were the only parameters given. Well I have always wanted to work in Paua shell inlays. The Paua shell is really the colorful iridescent inside area of an abalone shell. I wanted to use the greens and blues often found in this enticing material.
I had to do a lot of research in a hurry to know what was needed and what the procedure was for turning the chunky abalone shell into the fine thin colorful inlay material I needed. As it turns out, the dust created when you grind away the over burden from the shell is very toxic. Please do not try this without a through investigation. I found the technical staff at RioGrande an invaluable resource for many of the aspects of this project.
After building the center element using a curved sided triangle as a focal element I then finished the tedious process of the inlay. I then covered this element with the “glyph”. All that was needed now was the stringing of the “Raven's Wing” pearls and the sterling letter blocks. The overall effect was rich and almost intoxicating not entirely unlike that of an exotic dark chocolat (apologies to Joanne Harris).