Lesson learned. Less is more.

It’s been on my mind for a while now to stop with the fiddly things.

I’m not sorry that I made my last piece as I think I’m really getting better at soldering all the little bits together.

What I’m not good at is polishing.

I like the oxidized look, but I’m beginning to get irritated that I can’t get it to look how I want it to.

I like the fact that for it to not be oxidized I’d really have to step it up.

Shiny silver shows up every mistake.

Challenge accepted?


Only because I don’t like shiny as much as oxidized, but I’m thinking this will step it up for me.

We’ll see.

I don’t want to stray too far from my style, even if my style is going a little over the top right now.

Here’s the piece as finished as I could make it.

Without its dangle.

And I hate it.

What I do like is the back.


I’m thinking of making more of these for the front.

I also like the ruffle around the turquoise.

At one point I got so frustrated with the finishing that I made a real hack job of getting the stone out so that I could really get down to business.

I think I have a tendency to give up on a piece when I know I’m never going to like it and so am not as careful with it.

I’m working on that.

I didn’t mind as my intention, after I realized that the bezel wasn’t going to make it, was indeed to ruffle it and then solder a new bezel inside of the old one.

It would mean grinding away some of the width of the turquoise, but me and Jools were up for that.

That’s until I got really fed up with the thing and GLUED the stone in.


You read it correctly.

I glued the darn stone into the bezel.

I have never done that before and have vowed never to do it again.

What happens now?

Well the piece never gets to go out into the real world.

That’s for sure.

I might keep it around to experiment more with the finishing, but it will probably find its sad self melted down at some point to become a new model.

Maybe a few of these.


I kind of like that. I even kept this one for myself.

I know!

So here’s one of my first pair of shiny earrings.

With a little tiny bit of oxidation, because I couldn’t help myself.



All Spud can say about it is


When exactly did you say I can get this darn collar off!

She is not amused…

16 thoughts on “Lesson learned. Less is more.

  1. Michelle c

    Well she is no longer a she. So Spuds is finding a new self. And I love the setting that you hate. I am feeling a labradorite or lapis with silver flecks. Somehow the turquoise is not at home. Hence the glue was needed to keep it there against its will. Just me. I talk to rocks. We understand each other.

    • coldfeetstudioblog

      lol a woman after my own heart!

  2. Gale

    I’m sorry that design thwarted you. Your skill at soldering those small bits is enviable, and I’m sure you will meet the challenge of the finishing work. Meanwhile, I love how honest you are about the challenges. Anyway, I like the back, too–and I bet that turquoise wouldn’t mind moving there. If it weren’t glued.

    • coldfeetstudioblog

      I hate to tell you that I don’t like the turquoise either. Don’t let it upset you as much as it does me though 🙁

  3. Suzanne Beavis

    I still think the piece is really nice. I’m not too fond of real shiny stuff. I like a texture that captures the patina and holds on to it a bit. I like to dip my piece until it’s fairly dark. Then I take the patina off the high spots. You put an incredible amount of work in that piece. i once asked a couple (husband and wife), who had been making nice jewelry for a long time, how they set difficult stones. They laughed and said they sometimes use glue! My metalsmith teacher would be horrified! But then again, she rarely ever sets stones.
    I like your style!

    • coldfeetstudioblog

      Thanks Suzanne, I’m getting over the glue (a little bit), but not much…

  4. Cecilia Robinson

    I am not sure if this reply is going to go through, but I will give it a bash. I have actually written quite a few replies to you over the last year that just disappeared into the sky never to be seen again. Not sure where the problem is, probably on my side, and I will try and work it out. Just wanted to say that you are so fortunate to have your own unique style, I will recognize a piece of yours anywhere. It is just you, and you must try not to lose it. It is okay for you not to like everything you make, you have to try different things, but within your own style. The pendant in question is a “tight” for my taste, not your usual free spontaneous self. But you can change it without scrapping the whole thing, take it apart, do a new backing etc. or just put it away for a while till something else comes to mind. As far as the polishing is concerned, your work is of an organic and handcrafted nature, it should not be perfectly polished. I think you have to oxidise, otherwise it will be too shiny and a lot of the texture and detail will be lost. You have proved to everybody that technically you are highly skilled and can do the job, so now relax and have fun! Just saying! Did not mean to lecture! Now I will see if this actually posts on your blog!

    • coldfeetstudioblog

      I love the lecture. I need connection with others who do the same. I can’t believe I have found so many mentors 🙂

      Thanks Cecilia Robinson. Defender of the Universe. I really appreciate your response more than you’ll probably know 😉

  5. Hmmm, I get you. The front looks a bit… but it might be that you messed up the photo intentionally 🙂 The back is just gorgeous. My metals teacher told me that a matte result looks better if you first give the piece a high polish, and then matte that down. But then I guess it depends on what style you’re after: if you go after the bohemic, that might be the wrong after all. I think the point is, that you should know how to do a high polish, even if you don’t use it… a bit like you should practice drawing life-like, even if you prefer to make abstract stuff. On the other hand: think health and environment and use less dusty stuff that gets into your lungs, and justify your rough look by that 🙂
    Anyhow, you already have that big polishing thingy. Or maybe your pendants are too fiddly and detailed and three-dimensional to do on a wheel without grinding them down altogether? You just need at least three grades of polishing paste on different wheels. In my class they were brown-red-green, but that depends on the brand, I guess. And wash with detergent and a toothbrush in between every grade, so you don’t contaminate the next. You could use acetone to dissolve the most stubborn remnants. (I don’t want to even think about cleaning your complicated pieces!! Give me a big, flat oval… ) But maybe you knew that ages ago.
    Sometimes I love those pastes, but usually I just polish to a decent non-scratchy finish (on small stuff I use those silicon cylinders on my Proxxon, or the 3M bristle wheels for very three-dimensional stuff), and throw things in the tumbler with steel shot for several hours. It has been ok with all stones so far, and the shot gets into all the small nooks, or hardens earwires without flattening them — and I can cook dinner while it hums away!

    • coldfeetstudioblog

      I absolutely agree with you and I think this is why I should definitely take up the challenge of making a piece completely finished and not be so ready to smother it with black. I think oxidation can cover up a multitude of mistakes until you hit a problem and the piece ends up like mine and there’s not much hope for it. At this point I’m really becoming more and more interested in the perfection of a piece. It’s my newest challenge, and I enjoy nothing more that a new challenge 😉 I think I can do it. I think I’m just a lazy jewelry maker…

  6. I love your style, and I actually giggle when you use the term “fiddly bits” – these “bits” are what make it yours! I echo everything said above – I can recognize your style anywhere! I do not agree with your “lack of polishing skills”, but then again, we are our worse critics, aren’t we! Turquoise is my favorite stone- probably because it is my birthstone.

    Cannot wait until you post a picture of Spud without her “Cone of Shame”…poor baby – hate those cones!

    • coldfeetstudioblog

      Poor Spud. She’s off her meds now so I’m hoping she’ll buck up a bit. I don’t expect just now she’ll be running up the walls as before, but I would like to see that cheeky sparkly in her eyes again 🙂

  7. I admire the courage in your honest sharing. I liked the piece totally black, perhaps with only minimum highlighting. Akin to one of those beautiful night bloomers. Always the journey for me. Often when I’m not expecting it, the destination tends to be at the whim of the creative spirit blowing that day through my studio. Poor Kitty.

    • coldfeetstudioblog

      I liked it totally black also. I’ve often thought of not changing it much after oxidizing it, but wonder if people who buy silver jewelry want it to look that drastically different to its natural state.
      I don’t like to make shiny jewelry, although I do appreciate it. I’ve decided to work on it a little more just to experiment with different techniques, but as the Dread Pirate Roberts always said, I’ll probably kill it in the morning…

  8. KJ

    What the heck do I know? I like shiny. I weave beads and am learning to weave wire. To me, the piece looks good.

    What I do know is that we are our own worse critics. I have cut up too many pieces not to understand that desire to meet our own expectations and to see each and every tiny flaw.

    BUT… you heard all of that above. What I really want to know is what you do with that scrap once it is melted down? How do you process it? Inquiring minds want to know, or at least this inquiring mind. I really think I am going to take my first silver smithing class this winter. Then I might not like shiny.

    • coldfeetstudioblog

      I just re use it. I melt it down into blobs and run it through my rolling mill. I’m definitely going to make some more shiny things because I think it will help me learn more. I agree that we’re our own worse critics, but actually, although I get disappointed with my pieces, I always enjoy trying to figure them out.

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