Saturday, April 23, 2011

Student Work

This was a project completed by one of my students, Barbara, at the Lorton Workhouse. She is an artist-type, dabbling in this 'n that. She thought she'd try traditional metalsmithing, as she had just taken an enjoyable seminar or two with Carol Hamilton, also at the Workhouse, learning about metal clay.

She started to lose her hearing in her 30's, and hence now wears hearing aids. She wanted to create a pair of hearing aid guards, so when she went outside on windy days, her aids would not be howling from the onslaught of wind and air. They were to be functional, but also beautiful. She worked on creating templates of the earpiece, and then cut out, filed, sanded, and domed the sheet silver. Next she created coils in silver twist-wire, and after many soldering operations, soldered on these coils to the sheet silver. They are reminiscent of the ear, aren't they? She used a brass brush (leftover from her silver clay class) to burnish them, and then folded the wire around her ear; one left long enough to attach back up the front of the earguard.

Here's a picture of Barbara modeling her hearing aid guards. I was so struck by how elegant, personal and meaningful this project was to her. This was not an easy project- it took her many hours of forming, soldering, melting (oops) re-doing, etc... before she "got it", but she didn't give up. They're so chic, industrial, organic, and eye-catching, aren't they??


Sharon said...

I've never seen anything like that. What an amazing idea. I'm in awe of the thought and work that went into that, especially for a newbie!

Silver Vine Jewelry said...

Very impressive, totally innovative, and elegant in design and function. humbling - just what art should be!!

And I bet they would catch on, besides.

Peggy Shiffrin said...

Very cool! smart, clever, and functional design-work!

stoneaddict said...

She'd never soldered before and this was a challenging project- she wanted to use twist-wire, which is difficult to solder because it doesn't flow under the wire smoothly like plain wire. Plus, soldering delicate wire on a larger piece of sheet is challenging- she did melt some wire because of this challenge. They still look like "jewelry", but when worn, they look so industrial and dare I say, Borg-like (Star Trek nerd- me).