Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Never Have I Needed A Vacation More

Through all of my years of schooling, and even while working at the bank in NY, I never felt such a need for a break as I do now. Everyone is feeling it...shear exhaustion. A half hour before class ended today, in a state of worn-out delirium, I had to put my tools down. It's only been an hour since that moment and in 15 minutes, it's back to the shop for me. Back to the stress, the pressure, and the noise. Don't get me wrong now, I still LOVE what I'm doing. What I'm doing (and Loving) is a serious challenge. It is a constant test in patience, focus, and the utilization of the myriad skills learned over the past 3 months. Good God, has it been that long? It has flown by. Not a day missed, even when sick. Not a single tardy, my heart would not allow it. My mind is saturated with angles, measurements, temperatures, gold, silver, tools, tools, and more tools; stirring through my mind without much pause, but to think of gems and design instead. Ok...well...i'll have to continue this tomorrow....So begins another 3 hours.

{Next Day} Well, Night Lab was a success for me, as I was able to finish two projects and hand them in for grading -I got A's on both, though I would have given myself Bs. Passed out last night at 8 of the clock in all my clothes, and awoke at 5:30 confused and slightly dehydrated. It is now 3:30 in the afternoon, class has ended, and I am quite simply in pain. Spent the last 2 hours of my day hunched over a grinding wheel, shortening and re-shaping my gravers. It was almost a waste of time...I mean it needed to be done, but I'd been working all day on the fabrication of an oval head for about a 5x7 stone - attempting to make two silver ovals with a difference in size of about a millimeter (took a few tries), solder them closed (melted one, had to start again), shape them on a mandrel(making a perfect round far easier than a perfect oval), and file & polish the tiny ovals to near perfection (most people just order a pre-made head). These tiny ovals become the upper and lower gallery wires of the setting, protecting the stone as well as letting the light in. After that was through, I had to use a cylinder bur to remove 40-50% of the metal from the four "corners" of the ovals, making notches at ten degree angles for the prongs to fit in place. I still have to solder the prongs to these tiny oval gallery wires and being as it needs to be perfect, I decided to wait for a day I was better rested. So, I worked on my gravers and cleaned up my bench...and here I am, struggling now to formulate clear and grammatically correct sentences. I feel as though perfection this week in anything, is far out of reach. More to follow tomorrow...right now, I need a beer.
Well, today was the last day of class, and tonight I head back to NY on the red-eye. I'll be back to Cali on January 1st to finish the second half of the Graduate Jeweler program. As for that perfection I mentioned above...today I was aiming for that, and I'm happy to say I'm getting closer. I was working on a ring today with a gypsy set center stone and two flush set stones on the ring's shoulders. Setting these stones is an ancient art that should not be rushed. You must remove just the right amount of metal...it is like nearing the edge of a cliff..closer, and closer, and closer till where just one more tenth of a millimeter will make you fall. It is playing Chicken. And as always, the loss of focus for but a second, could spell absolute disaster..
That's all for now....I have to go pack. Merry Christmas and to all a good night.