I am so excited about the opportunity to gift several eco-conscious celebrities an original Ahimsa Designs earth-friendly necklace through the renowned Artisan Group! Some of the celebrities who will receive this new design include Sheryl Crow, Hayden Panettiere, Ginnifer Goodwin, Edward Norton, Adrian Grenier, Kate Bosworth, P!nk, Leonardo DiCaprio, Rachel McAdams, Emily VanCamp, Woody Harrelson, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Daryl Hannah, Malin Akerman, Ted Danson, Orlando Bloom, Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Hartnett, Sting, Barbra Streisand, Alicia Silverstone, Courteney Cox, Cameron Diaz, Mark Ruffalo, and Natalie Portman. Check out the new design here.
Creating these pieces taught me valuable lessons about my own abilities, planning and becoming a better jeweler and business owner. Here is the story about their production…
I normally create custom orders as they come in which keeps things interesting for me. I enjoy making different pieces every day. This opportunity presented more of a challenge, especially since I tend to be a bit of a procrastinator. I had 30 necklaces to make (plus the original prototype I made and a couple of orders that came in while I was ordering supplies) and only a few days to get it all finished. I had actually planned ahead with the first step, ordering the supplies. As I started to get busy with orders, taxes, shows, inventory, kids, etc the raw materials continued to sit on my bench and I was cutting it close. I’m embarrassed to say how close. After allowing myself to momentarily freak out with the dramatic “There is no logistical way I will get this done” hysteria, I made a plan. After all, Sheryl Crow is one of the recipients! I just kept imagining her and the other amazing eco-conscious celebrities wearing this piece, spreading the message of AHIMSA and change. I realized I finally needed to set up a production line on my bench to maximize my productivity or the pieces would not ship out in time, even if I gave up sleep.
So, I cut 33 pieces of wire, then fused them with the torch and shaped them into imperfect rounds (somewhere between circles and ovals) with a hammer and mandrel. The next step is my favorite part, flattening the metal wire so that it is flat enough to stamp. This is loud and full of energy and I feel a major release afterwards, especially after hammering 33 of these things! Now they are ready to be stamped, so I position each metal stamp onto the flattened wire, check it from all sides to make sure it fits on the metal and is spaced correctly and then hit it with the brass head hammer. One down, 32 to go to finish the 33 letters on each piece. (Hmmm…I just realized I need to research the meaning of the number 33… 33 necklaces with 33 letters.) I like for my work to look real and imperfect, so I don’t obsess about the spacing, but I do have high standards for my finished pieces. Standing hunched over my bench for hours, carefully positioning each letter creates some chaos in my neck, back and hips. I had to stop frequently for some yoga stretches and massages from my sweet husband. (Thank you David)
Now the outer silver piece is created (but not quite finished) and it’s time to make the copper tag that hangs in the center. Is anyone still with me? I hand-cut each tag from a sheet of copper. I use shears instead of a jewelers saw so that each piece is unique, shaped just a bit differently, to give them each character and a one-of-a-kind look. After these were all cut, I used a different set of stamps and repeated the same process as before to hand stamp the word “ahimsa” on each copper tag.
Adding the patina to all of the metal is one of the final steps. I mix a solution and place all of the silver pieces into it for a few minutes. I take out the silver and then repeat the same process with the copper tags. I could probably mix the silver and copper in the solution, but I never do. I rinse and dry all of the pieces. Next I use the dremel to create texture and remove some of the patina. This is also when I clean up the sides of the metal to make sure there are no rough, jagged pieces anywhere. (This is also where I should wear a mask and goggles to protect myself from metal dust and small sharp airborne particles.)
The last part of my production line was assembling the silver and copper components together and placing them in the tumbler for a couple of hours. Finally, I connected the pendants to the necklace chains and packaged them in eco-friendly bags with personalized hand written notes. Oh, and then I bundled them up and paid a small fortune to have them shipped in time.
I hope that you find beautiful and meaningful ways to celebrate our planet this weekend. I designed this piece to remind myself that living intentionally and doing everything I can to live without doing harm (ahimsa) can create change. Get inspired and go be the change!
Tomorrow is Earth Day and I will posting another blog about why being an eco-friendly family and business is so incredibly important to us.
The completed piece! Check it out here.
Love & Light,