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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Broaching topics

The Tyrants Brooch Trio: Bathory, Vlad, Ivan

What can I say about brooches, broaches, and pins?  They are the blouse fasteners, hat pins, purse clasps and conversation pieces of the world.  But what does that have to do with me?  I make necklaces, bracelets, hair clips and earrings!  ...Well, now I do brooches too.

At first, like with many things, I was afraid of making brooches.  There was always some internal monologue holding me back from even trying.  One day, around Christmas, my friend C-note (that's what i call her because...that's what I call her), asked me to make a brooch for her to give to one of her college friends for Santa Day.  I told her 'I dunno C-note.  I've never made brooches before'.  She looked so disappointed at the news that I had to try.  You see, C-note doesn't ask for much, but she gives A LOT.  I told her that I'd do some research and call her if I could figure it out. 
I've repaired brooches, but only to the extent of getting jeweler's glue and resetting stones.  But that didn't mean I could MAKE a brooch.  I needed research.  I decided, 'What the heck!  I wanna make me some history and help out a friend while I'm at it!' and started reading about how brooches are constructed in the modern world. 
Elegante Brooch (commission)

Since I don't know how to work with leather, sewing machines, or do molten metal, I had  to go for the more mundane method of construction.  Glue.  Not that cute white glue from grade-school.  Nah.  I needed extra strength, industrial style glue.  At first I tried krazy glue.  That turned out to be a mistake.  You see, they tell you how great krazy glue is at sticking to stuff, but they don't tell you how good it is at NOT sticking to stuff.

While giving the simple brooch I made first a test drive, the whole darn thing fell apart.  Piece by piece it broke off until there was nothing but a pin back.  It was all because krazy glue dries brittle.  Something as vigorous as dropping a krazy glued jewelry item can cause the glue bonds to break. 
So, I went for my tried and true E-6000 glue!!!  It held beautifully.  Why?  Because it's literally liquid rubber.  First of all, it's sticky.  Secondly, it seeps into the pores of things contracts around them as it dries.  Thirdly, it's stretchy.  So, wiggling will not dislodge it once it has fully set. The only thing that will remove it is a knife and pliers, but ...only after an atomic explosion to loosen it up. 

Once I had got it in my head that making a brooch with the E-6000 glue isn't different from making a pendant the same way, I finished C-note's request so fast, that I made mistakes.  I had to tear it apart...and in doing so, destroyed the brooch completely.  Actually, the glue did that because it wouldn't let go.  Still, I finished the brooch.  Once it was finished, I was so excited to show her that I forgot to photograph it.  Ha! 

No worries though.  Of all the jewelry items I've learned to make, brooches are by far the easiest ones to make once you've got the design all drawn up. I'll be churning out more as I gather more materials and create new designs. 
Rosemary Brooch: Gift to Mother