Look what showed up on my doorstep last night, fellow clayheads. Ancient Modern by Ronna Sarvas Weltman. I’ve been looking forward to this book, by virtue of the piece on the cover alone. I’m happy to say that the fresh aesthetic of the cover image is carried through the entire volume.
Now, I should stop and admit right here that I’ve only had this book in my possession for about 15 hours, one of which I’ve spent eating, one of which I’ve spent getting kids off to school, two of which I’ve spent online, and eight of which I’ve spent sleeping. I’m not sure where the other three hours went, but they didn’t all go to perusing this book. All that to say, I’ve gazed at the pictures, and I’ve thought about how the most appealing techniques might translate into my own work, but I’ve not yet read much of the text.
With that in mind, how about a small guided tour through some of my favorite features of the book so far?
I’ve already mentioned the unique look of Ronna’s work. The textures, shapes and colors all work well here, and the pieces look like they could easily be selling in a museum shop. I appreciate that the gallery is populated entirely with Ronna’s own work. It makes for an appealing consistency.
For me, the focus on wire is worth the price of admission. I enjoy making beads and components from clay, and I like to think I’m pretty good at it, but when it comes to finished jewelry, I always feel as if I am at the mercy of the findings available to me. Learning to make one’s own findings not only lessens one’s dependency on outside sources, but it also ensures that the parts holding one’s pieces together truly look like an intentional aspect of the design. I’ll be reading this clasp-making section very closely.
Periodically I get on a ring kick, I locate a store that sells an appropriate finding, and I go to town making a dozen or so of them. The hardest part of that process, to me, is the “locate an appropriate finding” step. What’s available goes from being too cheap-looking to too expensive to too impossible to make look attractive. And then, once the ring blank is in-hand, it nearly always dictates how I must attach my clay. There’s very little room for experimentation. How freeing, then, to be able to eliminate the finding altogether, and make my own! I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have visions of chunky rings dancing through my head right now…
Before this book arrived, I was getting ready to switch out of clay mode and into sewing mode for a while. Now I’m not so sure. I wonder if I can make room for both on my work table?